Ten Songs from ‘One-Song-Wonder’ Films

I get requests for song lists from readers all the time. Often, it turns out that the person hasn’t been through my list of lists I’ve done. Occasionally, the suggestion is something that’s either so difficult to do (songs about war, one I’ve promised myself I will someday achieve) or so ludicrously easy (songs about broken hearts) that I don’t even want to begin.

Very occasionally, though, a reader writes in with a suggestion that makes my eyes light up. Sometime back, a reader named TN Subramaniam wrote, asking me if I’d like to do a list of songs that were the one major hit song in a film otherwise characterized by forgettable songs. As an example, Dr Subramaniam suggested a song: Tum jo aao toh pyaar aa jaaye from Sakhi Robin, a lovely song, but one which wasn’t merely from an obscure film, but also from a film that had no other songs that readily come to mind.

Since I have a self-imposed rule about including songs only from films that I’ve seen, I can’t include the Sakhi Robin song, but here are ten songs that I think meet the criterion: a single great song, or at least a very popular one (not necessarily a great song, even), from a film that had otherwise no very well-known songs – among the general public. Connoisseurs of old Hindi film music, who know and love the obscurest of songs, please do not count yourself among the general public!

Of course, these are all from pre-70s films.

1. Dhalti jaaye raat keh  le dil ki baat (Razia Sultana, 1961): The only woman to have sat on the throne of medieval Delhi, Razia Sultan (not Sultana, which is a term used for the consort or the daughter of a Sultan—which Razia, a Sultan in her own right, was not) has had at least two Hindi films based on her life. The Hema Malini-starrer is definitely the more well-known, but this one too, despite its very ahistorical plot, was not bad either. This film, starring Nirupa Roy and P Jairaj, had a fairly lacklustre score—barring this one song, which is lovely. It’s not seemly (apparently) for royalty to go singing and dancing in the moonlight, so the feelings of Razia and her beloved, Malik Altunia, are voiced by an unnamed couple. Commoners, but with wonderful voices, and singing a beautifully romantic song.

2. Saba se yeh keh do (Bank Manager, 1959): Lots of people, on learning that I prefer Asha Bhonsle to Lata Mangeshkar, have said that Asha can only sing peppy or flirtatious songs. To them, I have responded with various examples of songs that have been sung by Asha and do not fall into either of those categories. This one, a gorgeously subtle and beautiful one in praise of a sweetheart, is invariably top of my list. Saba se yeh keh do was composed by Madan Mohan, and I love the fact that he keeps the music so subdued that Asha’s voice is allowed to hold centrestage.

3. Ek haseen shaam ko (Dulhan Ek Raat Ki, 1967): Loosely based on Thomas Hardy’s classic Tess of the D’Urbervilles, Dulhan Ek Raat Ki is a film I watched once, long ago, and have never felt the urge to revisit. Not because I didn’t like the cast (Nutan, Dharmendra and Rehman can always be counted upon to deliver), but because this one was just too depressing and grim for my liking. It didn’t even have great songs—except for one, which is memorable. Ek haseen shaam ko is one of those all-time great romantic songs that I can listen to (and watch) again and again. I love the picturization, with Dharmendra and Nutan walking under the trees. I love the echo effect that comes in now and then. I love the lyrics.

4. Gumsum sa yeh jahaan (Duniya Jhukti Hai, 1960): Yet another classic love song, from a film that was otherwise fairly forgettable. Duniya Jhukti Hai starred Shyama as a married woman with a child, who remembers her past with her lover (played by Sunil Dutt) in this song. Hemant, who composed the music for Duniya Jhukti Hai, did give it several songs, but none of the calibre of Gumsum sa yeh jahaan, a duet with Geeta Dutt. Their voices meld together beautifully and the lyrics are a good balance between playful and romantic.

5. Raahi matwaale (Waaris, 1954): Do composers, like writers (I can speak for writers, since I am one myself), know when they’ve created something good? Something that has the potential to be repeated? Songs with several versions in the same film—female solo, male solo, duet, etc—are not exactly uncommon, but Raahi matwaale (composed by Anil Biswas) is one of those songs that the composer—or the film’s director?—seems to have recognized as being pure gold. It appears the first time round as a duet, sung by (and picturized on) Talat and Suraiya. Later, it appears as a fast-paced but sad solo sung by Suraiya as the (presumed) widow. Later still, Suraiya sings it again, but this time as a slow, sad song.

Of all three versions, this one—the duet—is my favourite. And what a fabulous song it is, too. Both to listen to, and to watch.

6. Thandi hawaayein lehraake aayein (Naujawan, 1951): I would’ve thought a film with a score by SD Burman would have had one hit song after another. The music of Naujawan is—possibly since this was one of SD Burman’s earliest films—all right (not great), barring this one song. Picturized on a lovelorn Nalini Jaywant, wishing her lover (played by a dashing Premnath) were with her, Thandi hawaayein lehraake aayein occupies a special place in Hindi film music not just because it’s a lovely song, but also because it has inspired so many other songs: Roshan used it as a basis for Tera dil kahaan hai (Chandni Chauk) and then pretty much reused that in Rahein na rahein hum (Mamta). And RD Burman did his take on the tune at least twice: once in the highly popular Saagar kinaare dil yeh pukaare (Saagar), and in the less popular but lovely Humein raaston ki zaroorat nahin hai (Naram Garam).

7. Tum na jaane kis jahaan mein kho gaye (Sazaa, 1951): And, from the same year that SD Burman composed Thandi hawaayein lehraake aayein to words by Sahir Ludhianvi, the two men teamed up again to create another immortal song in a film that had otherwise relatively forgettable songs. Tum na jaane kis jahaan mein kho gaye is a poignant plea, a cry of distress from one who has been left alone and friendless, and who now teeters on the brink of despair. Picturized (appropriately enough, considering she seemed to fit so easily into these roles and moods) on Nimmi, this is one of those songs that made me watch a film, only to discover that the film itself was not worth the watch.

8. Na jaane kahaan tum thhe (Zindagi aur Khwaab, 1961): It’s not as if Zindagi aur Khwaab had bad songs (it was very rare for a Hindi film during the 50s or 60s to actually have songs that hurt your ears). But all the other songs of Zindagi aur Khwaab pale into insignificance in comparison to this absolutely lovely one for which it is known. Na jaane kahaan tum thhe is one of my favourite Manna Dey duets, as well as one of my favourite romantic songs. Fabulous music (by Dattaram Wadkar, a sadly underrated composer), good lyrics (by Kavi Pradeep)—and the rendition by Suman Kalyanpur and Manna Dey is wonderful.

9. Eena meena deeka (Asha, 1957): Although Dil Deke Dekho is invariably named when it comes to Asha Parekh’s debut (with reason: the film’s credits billed her as a ‘Filmistan Discovery’), she actually first appeared as an adult in Asha, released just a year before Dil Deke Dekho. Asha was a forgettable film and its music, by C Ramachandra, wasn’t spectacular—except for one song. Eena meena deeka, a delightfully peppy number, incorporating the Western rhythms that C Ramachandra embraced so wholeheartedly and well. And C Ramachandra (as also possibly the director, MV Raman?) seems to have realized that this song was a winner—it appears in two versions, male (by the lead actor, Kishore) and female (by Asha Bhonsle, picturized on Vyjyanthimala). My favourite is the Kishore version: it has more zip and zing to it, plus Kishore brings his own brand of zaniness to it.

10. Mohabbat zinda rehti hai (Changez Khan, 1957): The 1950s saw two Hindi films with similar story lines: an all-conquering warrior falls headlong in love (or lust, call it what you will) with a beautiful girl whose homeland he has invaded—and tries to force her into being his, irrespective of her own wishes or the fact that she loves another. One film, starring Pran in the title role, was Halaku, which wasn’t a complete dud and had pretty good music as well. The other was Changez Khan, with Sheikh Mukhtar in the title role. This one, with a past-his-prime Premnath, teamed with real-life wife Beena Rai, came a cropper.

But for this one song. Mohabbat zinda rehti hai, a paean to love, defiant love, ever-lasting love, ‘love that laughs at locksmiths’ (as Wodehouse would have put it). Rafi renders it brilliantly, making it perhaps the only reason to remember this otherwise obscure film.

Which songs would you add to this list?


115 thoughts on “Ten Songs from ‘One-Song-Wonder’ Films

  1. Great collection of songs! As for me, whenever I hear the phrase “one-hit-song films”, I always think of Black Cat (1959) and the Rafi-Lata duet “Main tumhi se yeh poochhti hoon”.


    • Yes, Main tumhi se poochhti hoon was a good song (and quite a hit) in a film which otherwise had fairly forgettable songs. And what was Balraj Sahni doing in that film, anyway?! It was most uncharacteristic of him.


  2. Excellent theme and set of songs. Having been a reader of your blog for the last 6 years or so, you must allow me to nit-pick for once. Zindagi aur Khwab had another gem (atleast to me) of the Dattaram style – Kahti hai jhuki khu jhuki nazar – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XBDj_qjA34o – sung very nicely by Suman Kalyanpur ji.

    On a related note, can I request you to prepare a list of – “What you hear is not what you see” songs. Beautiful to hear, very bad to watch. There are a few songs that come to my mind in this theme.

    As always enjoy your writing, though I dont tend to comment often.

    Thanks once again


    • You’re right, Kehti hai jhuki-jhuki nazar is a nice song. But (perhaps thanks to my obsession with Na jaane kahaan tum thhe!) I still think it pales in comparison to that one. :-) But we’ll agree to disagree, shall we?

      I have often thought of doing a list like the one you mention. I should get down to it one of these days! There are plenty there – especially featuring Raj Kumar or Rajendra Kumar – which comes to my mind. :-D

      Thank you so much for taking the time to comment, and for the appreciation.


  3. Beautiful collection of songs Madhu. Rest of this is kinda long.
    Just a little background – back about 30 years ago, after I had moved to the US, it was hard to find rare old Hindi songs. EMI was not releasing them, but there were companies releasing the films on video cassettes – there were shops where you could rent them and I would go from store to store looking for rare films – sometimes I did not even know the name – but I was looking for that 1 song that was obscure that I had never heard, or had heard on Vividh Bharati but never knew the film. I would look for films with music by composers like S D Burman or Madan Mohan and hope for a lovely composition that they had put in a B-grade film. So this thread is very close to my heard. I had this elaborate set-up to record songs directly from the VCR – which came with its challenges since you had to tee it up just so, and pause it just so – no software to clean up the recording or edit the ends. But I did this since it was the only way to find some songs. I discovered the music of films like “Johnny Walker” like this – btw, IMO, that film would not be appropriate for this thread – some lovely songs by O P Nayyar, but I digress.

    While I know that the definition of what is a beautiful song vs forgettable song is completely subjective, I will disagree with you on whether these are the only worthwhile songs in some of these films. I disagree on at least a couple and will try and make my case :-) I will reiterate that the idea of what is popular and what is good is completely based on the individual and the company you keep.

    So let us start with “Dulhan hai ek raat ki”, which I realized after watching is loosely based on Thomas Hardy’s “Tess of the D’Urbervilles”. While I did not know the music of this film before I saw it, I remember being blown away by some of the songs. There are at least 3 other lovely songs in this film. The first is the beautiful “Kai din se jee hai bekal” sung by Lata Mangeshkar.

    And the second in this film is also by Lata and quite a classic. “SapnoN me agar mere tum aao to mai so jaooN”. I love that line btw.

    The film also has a couple of songs by Bhupinder. I am not sure if these are his first songs in the film or if he had already been part of the ensemble song in “Haqeeqat” – but these are definitely his first solos. I like the title song – though it is not superb, but definitely not forgettable for me – the other song by him is “Ghaayal hiraniya” – a short piece which is also nice.

    There was another Lata song that I recall getting air-time on the radio, but was not one that I liked “Aap ne apna banaaya, meherbaani aap ki” by Lata.

    Now let us talk “Changez Khan”. This film has what is among my favorite Lata solos. I don’t know how this song did in terms of popularity, but it would have been a shame if it did not do well IMO. Again, this song has a line that I love “gar hum na miTe ae dil, maut phir kaise jiyegi” – talk about over the top sorrow. Anyway, here is a link to the song.

    With the rest of the films, it is a finer line of what is good vs not. I know some of the songs and am fond of them, but I am not sure if they were popular.
    “Duniya jhukti hai” had a cute Asha/Rafi duet “Pyaar me joker ban gaye hum” which I like. But it is obscure. And I cannot find it on youtube to link to here.

    “Zindagi aur khaab” – I always knew it for 2 songs – one is of course the absolutely superb duet you have mentioned above with brilliant, just brilliant minimalist acting by Meena Kumari in this scene. But the other song is a Suman Kalyanpur solo “Kehti hai jhuki jhuki nazar” that I like.

    “Waaris” over-all had very nice music, but you are right about this being the standout. My favorite of the 3 versions is the sad Suraiyya solo version. Especially when you contrast it in terms of the slight differences in tune to the faster paced duet, it is lovely. Had to do a bit of searching – and here is a link.

    “Sazaa” had a couple of other nice songs, none as beautiful as this one – both of these songs had Sandhya Mukherjee’s voice. The better known one is the duet “Gupchhup gupchhup pyaar kareN” which is a duet with Hemant Kumar.

    Hope I made a case worth considering.


    • That was a long and detailed (and well-thought out!) comment, Thank you for that, sangeetbhakt. And yes, I agree with you about the beauty of a song (or the beauty of anything) being completely subjective. So, of course, what you find a ‘worthwhile’ song to be included in this list may not be ‘worthwhile’ for me, or vice-versa. Before I compiled this list, I actually sat and listened to the ‘other’ songs of each film, and didn’t find any that I really liked, so that was my rationale for that particular song appearing in this post.

      I suppose ‘popular’ might be a more appropriate way of describing the song I’ve chosen from each of these films? I don’t know.


  4. There are so many wonderful songs (one per film ) of some eminently forgettable 1980s films…so I think I will not clutter the post with those :)


      • OK :)
        Since they are quite hummable , here goes..

        Neele Neele Amber Pe from Kalakaar

        Roz Roz Aankhon Tale from Jeeva

        Saathiya Tune Kya Kiya from Love

        Bin Here Sanam Mar Miteinge Hum from Yaara Dildaara


          • Ii did not comment on this thread because’
            a) In most cases I had not heard of other songs why many of the songs listed too had to be “dusted off ” my memory
            b) As you rightly pointed out … it is a matter of subjectivity and may be you should have named it ” one popular” song films.
            ” Digression warning”
            That being that the mention of ” neele neele ambar” was too much of a bait to let go.
            LIsten to this

            Kalyanji anandji seem to have lifted from Ilayaraja..
            This itself is unusual… blatant lifting as opposed to ” inspired”
            But it only seems quid pro quo for what Ilayaraja may be at the behest of the director did a few years earlier.

            Familiar , yes go to the original

            Wonder if we can solve all our North south divide in this spirit of give and take!
            This post is an excuse for me and hopefully for all of you here to listen to the other songs!


  5. I am afraid, like ‘ sangeet bhakt ‘, i also can not agree to your view that all these films were ‘ one song wonders ‘ . He has already given voice to majority of the things I wanted to say, here are a few humble additions :
    1. DULHAN EK RAAT KI had that wonderful Lata number ‘ maine rang li aaj chunariya ‘ which was equally popular if not more. In fact, if I remember correctly, it was awarded as the best song based on classical raga’s ( Piloo ) by Sur Singar aur similar organization in those days. Again, if I’m not mistaken, you had included this song in some series of best 10 songs a few years back.
    2. BANK MANAGER ( 1959 ) had a wonderful and reasonably popular lata number ‘ kadam bahke bahke jiya dhadak dhadak jaye ‘ apart from the great Asha song that you have rightly mentioned.
    3. DUNIYA JHUKTI HAI ( 1960 ) had an equally popular Rafi number ‘ phoolon se dosti hai, kaanton se yaari hai ‘.
    4. WAARIS ( 1954 ) had a classic Talat song ‘ kabhi hai gham kabhi khushiyaan yahi to zindagani hai ‘.
    5. ZINDAGI AUR KHWAAB ( 1961 ) had a popular Mukesh song ‘ kabhi kisi ki khushiyaan koi loote naa ‘.
    6. AASHA ( 1957 ) had a very good Lata number ‘ tu na aaya aur hone lagi shaam re ‘.


    • As sangeetbhakt mentioned (and I agree), beauty is subjective. I do recognize some of the songs you’ve mentioned – after all, I did listen to all these songs from these films while I was compiling this post – but I didn’t like them as much as the song I eventually picked. My reasoning was that one song outshone all the others from the film by a long length. Not, for instance, like Pyaasa, Paying Guest, CID, Barsaat ki Raat,etc, where there is no one song which was a clearcut hit above all the rest.

      What I’m trying to say is that I felt that these songs – the ten above – seemed to be far better than all the others in their films. Not that there weren’t other good songs in the films (there were, as you’ve listed). Not even that there weren’t other popular songs – but that the popularity of these songs eclipsed that of the other songs.

      I have no idea whether I’m making myself clear. Of course, this is just my viewpoint.


  6. Asha (1957) has three versions of Eena Meena Dika. Two as we know and the third picturised solely on Minoo Mumtaz which appears at the end of the movie and I think its coloured (not sure).


  7. Hello Madhuji,
    I good collection of songs of course! But as you said, the favourite songs for a person is subjective.
    But still, Dulhan ek raat ki has some wonderful songs, ‘Sapnon mein agar mere’ is a lovely song, again MY personal favourite from the movie. But it’s quite well known too, at least I guess so!
    can we include, of course you may have seen these movies, but fit the bill in my opinion…….
    Jayega Jab yahan se from ‘Moti Mahal’

    Devta Tum Ho mera sahara from Daira (you have seen this, i think)


  8. a few more films,
    but again a well known film name for me may not be familiar to someone else. I mean to say, the name of the film has turned immortal just because it had that particular song, which was immensely popular. otherwise the film would have gone into dark.

    Jogiya se preet kiye – Garam Coat

    Kashti ka Khamosh safar hain – girl friend

    Keh rahi hain dhadkane pukar kar – Laal Pari

    Puchho na humen hum unke liye – Mitti mein sona

    Kaise koi jiye – badbaan

    Tu shokh kali main mast pawan – Main suhagan hoon

    Tang aa chuke hain – light house

    Sham e gham ki kasam- footpath

    we can include, aeri main to prem deewani from Naubahar into the list
    and do dil dhadak rahe hain by Asha & Rafi from Insaaf.
    no one knows anything about the film, but it’s name is alive just because of the song.
    Let’s see if you agree to my opinions!


    • “no one knows anything about the film, but it’s name is alive just because of the song.“. True for most of these, though Footpath and Garam Coat are fairly well-known movies in their own right. I haven’t watched Garam Coat yet, but Footpath is good in a somewhat odd way.

      Interesting lot of songs; there were some there that I actually didn’t know about, or had heard so long ago that they didn’t leave any impression.

      Thank you very much for the Do dil dhadak rahe hain reference! I love that song. So fabulous.

      I’ll offer one song of this type: Darshan do ghanshyam nath mori akhiyaan pyaasi re from Narsi Bhagat. Lovely song, forgotten film (I think).


  9. This is such a fascinating theme you’ve chosen! The only problem is that the universe of “one song wonder” films is so large, especially if one goes beyond the “popular” songs into the territory of less popular (though known to serious Hindi music fans), but beautiful (subjective, of course) songs. Hindi cinema of the 50s and 60s is replete with songs that are remembered even today even though the movies in which they featured have long been consigned to the dustbin of history. The music of that era is so layered in terms of popularity. Here are some of my choices – most of the movies they belong to are quite obscure:

    This song is quite popular but the movie’s only claim to fame is that it was Vyjayanthimala’s first Hindi film
    “Saiyan dil mein aana re” from Bahar

    From one of Shammi Kapoor’s lesser known movies
    “Jaan-e-bahar husn” from Pyar Kiya To Darna Kya

    There are some other good songs in this rather obscure Shashi Kapoor film, but this one stands out:
    “Thehriye hosh mein aa loon” from Mohabbat Isko Kahte Hain

    This is an obscure Dharmendra movie, none of whose songs are available on video
    “Na jaane kyun hamare dil” from Mohabbat Zindagi Hai

    There are other good songs in Usne Kaha Tha, but the song which it is known for is this one:
    “Aha rimhjim ke ye pyare pyare geet” from Usne Kaha Tha

    This Manna Dey gem is from an unknown movie called Sapera. I don’t know anything else about this movie. There is no video – someone has pasted pictures of Madhubala – as an icon of “Roop”, I suppose
    “Roop tumhara” from Sapera

    I had never heard of the movie “Lala Rukh” but it has this lovely song (with beautiful Arabic influences) – The video starts from around 1.40
    “Hai kali kali ke lab pe” from Lala Rukh

    In this case, the music director G.S. Kohli is also a “one song wonder”
    “Tumko piya dil diya” from Shikari

    I have many more in my list – maybe I’ll post some more later. Apologies for the long post!
    Apologies for the long comment!


    • “The only problem is that the universe of “one song wonder” films is so large, especially if one goes beyond the “popular” songs into the territory of less popular (though known to serious Hindi music fans), but beautiful (subjective, of course) songs.

      Thank you for that disclaimer! Yes, that was what I was attempting to explain in the introduction to this post – but you have put it much better than I could! And you’ve come up with some absolutely lovely songs. For Shikari, though, I’d put forward another great song: Chaman ke phool bhi tujhko gulba kehte hain.

      And I have reviewed both Mohabbat Zindagi Hai (not so very obscure, the entire movie was on Youtube when I watched it) and Lala Rukh (which is a delightfully romantic Raja-Rani film, easily my favourite Talat Mahmood film).


  10. Some more songs from “One song wonder films”.
    “Agar bewafa tujh ko pechan jate”, from Raat ke andhere mein.

    Can anyone imagine Shammi Kapoor also have one song wonder film?
    “Baar Baar Dekho” from China town.

    “Baharon Mera Jevan Bhi Sanwaro” from Aakhri Khat.


    • For both China Town and Aakhri Khat, I have two really good club songs to mention, both of which (in my opinion) are as good as – if not better than – these ones. In China Town, there’s Rangeen bahaaron se hai gulzar:

      And in Aakhri Khat, Bhupinder appears onscreen, singing Rut jawaan-jawaan:


  11. Thank you Madhu. My all time favorite duet “Aa neeel gagan tale pyar hum kare” Film Badshah, Shanker, Jaikishan. Film Mayurpankh ” Mohabbat ki Daastan aaj sunaye, Shankar Jaikishan. Mayurpankh was expensive flop by Kishore Sahu


  12. Great list of songs Madhu. The one song I remember – sham e gham ki kasam – used to love that song so went off to see Footpath at one of those morning shows and was so disappointed with the rest of the songs – had to wait almost to the end for this song! This is pre video players…..


    • I can imagine! I was lucky enough to be able to watch Footpath on Youtube – and that after one false start (I began watching, got bored after a while, and then rewatched it several years later). Yes, the other songs are quite forgettable, nothing compared to Shaam-e-gham ki kasam, at any rate.


  13. Madhu,
    This is a very innovative theme. But as I went down your list, I was surprised to see ‘Dulhan Ek Raat Ki’ in it. This was one of the best scores of Madan Mohan having a number of outstanding/extremely popular songs. Some have been already filled up by the readers. Some are still not mentioned -one of the best of MM-Lata, ‘Maine rang li aaj chunariya’; Mahendra Kapoor-Lataduet, ‘Aapne apna banaya meharbani aapki’; Asha Bhosle-Lata Mangeshkar duet, ‘Hamaar kaha maano rajaji’.

    In ‘Duniya Jhukti Hai’ there is an outstanding Rafi song, ‘Phoolon se dosti hai’ kaanton se yari hai’.


    • From the number of people who’ve lambasted (?) me for having disregarded the other songs of Dulhan Ek Raat Ki, it certainly seems I messed up there! Let me just say that in my opinion (which need not be anyone else’s, I hasten to add), no other song of that film comes close to Ek haseen shaam ko. :-) And the same goes for – again, as far as I am concerned – Gumsum sa yeh jahaan.


  14. I believe , that somewhere down the line , as the comments grew , many songs from films were included , which had some below average songs , compared.to the popular ones . What i feel , that originally the theme may have been meant to showcase those songs , which have contributed to keeping the name of the movie alive in the minds of the viewer , which otherwise would have been erased from the memory as an obscure, forgotten film .

    Some such examples could be :
    1) Laal Laal gaal – Mr. X.
    2) kitna haseen mera piya hai allah- Sunehra Jaal.
    3) Na jaane chand kaisa hoga – Rocket Girl .


    • “as the comments grew , many songs from films were included , which had some below average songs , compared.to the popular ones .

      Yes. :-) A lot of the people who frequent this blog are a little too knowledgeable about old Hindi film music, and often too well-aware of rare songs. Or songs that are relatively rare. And they’ve become so familiar with those songs, they don’t realize that for the average, non-fanatical listener, the song is actually not too well-known.

      I like the songs you’ve suggested. Especially Laal-laal gaal. Thanks!


  15. I absolutely love Dhalti Jaye Raat. Not only other songs but even the music director was forgotten (Lacchiram). I believe you have covered this in another old blog post that talks about forgotten/obscure songs.

    Others already commented on Dulhan Aek Raat Ki. Besides Aek Haseen Sham Ko which I absolutely love, The other Madan Mohan song from the Movie which I grew on me was “Sapno main agar”. There are some amazing delicate work by Madan-Lata in the stanzas that I love. I understand these things are so subjective! Perhaps popularity may be a more black and white indicator? No pun intended. :)


    • “Perhaps popularity may be a more black and white indicator? No pun intended. :)

      You’re right. Popularity, and that too among the general public. Not people who are experts in digging up obscure songs and falling in love with them! ;-)

      Actually, I will go and correct that right now. Thank you, Ashish!


  16. These these films are recognized from only one song.
    “Badbaan” Kaise Koi Jiye

    “Subah Ka Tara” Gaya Andhera hua ujala

    “Solva Saal” Hai Apna Dil Tau Awara, and it was the number one song of 1958 in Binaca Geetmala.


    • I would say that among the general public, possibly only the third song, Hai apna dil toh awara, is a popular one. The earlier two are good but probably only well-known to a smaller number of people.

      Incidentally, my father recalls that another song from Solvaan Saal – Yehi toh hain woh – used to also be very popular back then, so much so that street children used to go around singing it. But since we’re talking of today, I’d go with your opinion, that this one is the best-known song from the film.


  17. Some more “popular” songs from films that have largely been forgotten (and did not have any other songs worth mentioning):

    “Teri duniya se door” from Zabak

    “Saaz-e-dil chhed de” from Passport

    “Do ghadi woh jo paas” from Gateway Of India

    “Yeh mausam rangeen samaa” from Modern Girl

    “Halke halke chalo sanware” from Tangewali

    “Aye saba unse keh zara” from Ali Baba and 40 Thieves

    “Bahut haseen hain tumhari ankhen” from Adhi Raat Ke Baad:


    • Yes. Lots of good songs there, though I’m not sure whether one would count some of them as being highly popular outside of a select group of devoted fans of Hindi cinema. For example, when I posted a list of Chitragupta’s song to mark his birth centenary, several people mentioned that they’d never heard Ae saba unse keh zara. But what a fabulous song that is!


      • I agree with you, “Aye saba unse keh zara” is a fabulous song. But there’s some confusion about who its music director is. In some places SN Tripathi is mentioned as the MD. I checked the credit titles of the film (available on youtube – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WOcQjiQ_7tQ&t=144s). The music is jointly attributed to SN Tripathi and Chitragupta. A real conundrum!


        • Chitragupta started out as SN Tripathi’s assistant. So I think this was a case of him collaborating with his mentor. So it would be hard to tease the actual composer apart.
          On a different note, I seem to have been the one who kicked off a stream of messages around “other” songs in the films mentioned in this post which I thought were lovely – eventually leading to Madhu adding more caveats. Was not my intent – I was just trying to make a case to Madhu that they were ones that stood out for me.


          • @sangeetbhakt: I assure you, it wasn’t just you. There were obviously others who felt the same way. Maybe I just hadn’t been too precise about what I considered fit to be part of this list!


        • Oh, I hadn’t realized the music was credited to two music directors. Now I wonder… Anyway, whoever composed it, did an amazing job of it. It’s one of those lovely melodies that would sound romantic even if the words weren’t there to convey the romance.


  18. “Connoisseurs of old Hindi film music, who know and love the obscurest of songs, please do not count yourself among the general public!”

    Nice changes made there
    Can’t control smiling


    • LOL! Yes, some of the comments really made me realize I had to emphasize certain aspects of the criteria. ;-) Seriously, people like you and AK should be in a completely different category from the rest of us mortals. :-D


      • OMG,
        It’s like an honor to get these words from someone like you. I consider you as my mentor, I’ve said so before as well. So I’m completely overwhelmed with emotions.
        But yes, one point you mentioned is worth considering. As we know many rare gems as well, when someone says ‘heard for the first time’ about them, it feels odd. I always try on my blog not to go for rarest of songs. But I should remember henceforth that general public should be kept in mind, who usually have heard only the most popular ones.
        Thanks again for your prasing words.
        Made my day!


        • I don’t think you should stick to just the popular songs. After all, how are others to know of songs that are lovely but near-unknown if everybody only talks about the famous songs? Some wonderful but lesser-known songs have come to my attention because of people who had no qualms about sharing them. So please don’t stop! :-)


          • Yes, I agree with you.
            One of my friends, teases me about the rare songs that I put on my blog. According to him, these are nonspecific songs, from obscure films. I always get irritated with his attitude.
            For him only well known songs from well known composers are worth listening and the rest are just to be ignored or should not be given much importance.
            But I see your point, you are correct.


    • Yes, Ehsaan mere dil pe is easily the most famous song of Gaban, though – as someone else pointed out – the film itself is no non-entity, given that it’s based on a Premchand novel, and stars some heavyweights.


  19. Hi Madhu, nice post. Not sure if these are already mentioned in the comments but these are my inputs.
    1. Saath ho tum aur raat jawan…Kaanch Ki Gudiyaan
    2. Hum tere bin jeena sakenge sanam…Thakur Jarnail Singh
    3. Aayega aanewala…Mahal
    4. Khush hai zamana aaj pehli tarikh hai….Pehli Tarikh
    5. Mere mehboob na ja….Noor Mahal
    6. Jane kaisa hai mera deewana…Ansoo ban gaye phool


    • Some nice songs there (I was especially glad you mentioned the Noornahal song – that fits so well here). But, as JP Murty has also pointed out, Mahal had some other good songs too. While I love Aayega aanewaala the most, Yeh raat phir na aayegi is also one of my favourites.


  20. A very good & innovative post, got me thinking long & hard; but my points have already been made earlier by perceptive readers via their comments.
    As always, it was a pleasure to go through your choices (Tum Na Jaane from Sazaa came to my mind as soon as I read the introduction); and those of your readers.

    My suggestions :
    1) Dekh Tere Sansar Ki Halat Kya Ho Gayi Bhagwan; from Nastik
    Hopefully, this qualifies; I looked at other songs in this film but could not find another well-known/popular song (of course by my aam junta 99 % standard, and not that of some of the 1%ers on this blog :))

    One of your readers mentioned that it should be possible to find several songs, and especially if you consider the 70’s decade; it is certainly true. I know you may not like even the one & only “popular” song; but nevertheless here are some candidates

    2) Samaa Hai Suhana Suhana, Nashe Mein Jahaan Hai from Ghar Ghar Ki Kahani

    3) Kiska Rasta Dekhe from Joshila
    Even though this film has a couple of songs that I like, hopefully you will agree that this song deserves to be in this list.
    After all a combination of Sahir & someone from the Burman clan (even though Sahir & SD did not work after Pyaasa, that did not stop SD from prohibiting RD from working with Sahir) & Dev & someone from the Chopra clan; should create something everlasting :)


    • oh but Joshila also has the somewhat well known ‘dil men jo baatein hain’ and the more popular ‘kuch bhi kar lo’ … or wouldn’t those be considered to be popular enough?


      • You are right about “Dil Mein …” & “Kuch Bhi …” being popular when Joshila was released in 1973. The question is how has their popularity survived in relation to “Kiska Rasta …” over the last 40+ years. Without doing any detailed data analysis, my off-the-cuff estimate is that “Kiska Rasta ..” has probably improved in popularity (especially because it is a good song); whereas the other two have probably decreased. Whether this is sufficient to include KR in this list is an open question.


        • I would agree with you, Samir. I think Kiska rasta dekhe is really the only song from Joshila that’s endured. The others are good and were (probably? I don’t know) popular back then, but not so much now.


    • Nice! From Nastik, I also really like O naiyyawaale ho saavdhaan, but I agree that’s not that well-known… whereas Dekh tere sansaar ki haalat is iconic.

      Kiska rasta dekhe fits right in! I watched this film for this song and then cursed myself for wasting so much time. :-(


  21. The way I see it, that one song needs to be the “only” thing that people remember about the movie. Like “Main tumhee se poochhati hoon” from Black Cat. If people remember other songs, or the movie plot, or the acting, then it’s a no go.


    • No, not the only thing from the film, the only song from the film, that people remember. There are several films from among those that people have suggested – for example, Daera – where the film itself is superb, or at least good, but except for one song, not much is remembered of the music.


  22. My dear, the list of songs here on the blog post and in the comments is so wonderful…I so wish I wasn’t in office right now. I feel like singing all of them. Ek se badhkar ek, all of them! After a while, I wasn’t even reading all the comments very carefully, just the mention of the songs was so glorious.
    Thank you, for helping us remember these songs. Someone mentioned that these songs were ‘forgotten’: I disagree. They wouldn’t be here if they were.


    • Thank you so much, Rajani! I am so glad you enjoyed this list, and the songs others have added in the comments. And I agree with you completely: these songs aren’t forgotten at all. :-)


  23. Some more songs from films mostly forgotten, but remembered for their one song only.
    “Meri tasveer lekar” from Kala Samundar, so obscure I think video of this song is also not available.

    “Mere mehboob qayamat hogi” from Mr. X in Bombay

    “Jaag dil-e dewana” from Oonche log

    “Jhilmil sataron ka angan hoga” from Jeevan Mrityu

    Title song from Hamari Yaad Ayegi

    “Sau baar janam lenge” from Ustadon ke Ustad”


    • I agree with Jhilmil sitaaron ka aangan hoga, Hamaari yaad aayegi and to some extent Meri tasveer lekar (not so very popular, in my opinion). Ustaadon ke Ustaad also had the delightful Helen song Maine kaha thha aana Sunday ko, but yes, that’s not as popular as Sau baar janam lenge.

      As for Mr X in Bombay, it also had the very good (and pretty popular) Khoobsoorat haseena:

      And Oonche Log also had Aaja re mere pyaar ke raahi, perhaps as popular as Jaag dil-e-deewaana:


  24. Madhulika, I thought of a theme for a post on Hindi film songs. Not sure whether you’ve covered it before – if you have, please ignore. Non-instrumental, non-verbal elements like whistling or choruses used to feature in many old songs. Maybe you do a post on that


      • its actually a very cute movie Dustedoff..do try and watch it, and the song is nice :) (intact I am not sure which is lesser known, the song or the movie :).


          • I thought the list was about the songs that were the one major hit song in a film otherwise characterized by forgettable songs. This song fits the list that way.

            Moreover, ‘Socha na tha’ did not do well at the time it was released. It was only after Imtiaz Ali’s other movies did well, that people took notice of this film too. At the time of the film’s release, the song was more popular. Now we may say that the movie is more popular than the song :)


            • Yes, you’re right. The theme is songs that were the only popular songs in their respective films. Whether or not the film itself was a hit is immaterial. It just so happens that a lot of obscure films did have one good song, but that’s not the criterion for this post.


  25. I think “Maine Tere Liye Jag Chhoda” from Mahua (1969) fits these criteria. The song is remembered even today, the film is forgotten and no other songs are popular, AFAIK.


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