Moon Songs, Part 2: Adjectives for the Moon

When, to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the moon landing, I posted my list of songs addressed to the moon, I ended with a caveat: that was not the only post. There would be more. Because the moon is so popular a motif in Hindi film song lyrics, it’s not surprising that it is dragged into songs about the night (which, of course, is almost synonymous with romance); about the beloved (whose beauty is compared to that of the moon); and even about someone much-loved, not necessarily a love interest.

But there are also plenty of songs which are about the moon. Yellow, lost, crazed with love, wan, lonely: the metaphors applied to the moon are a dime a dozen.

Therefore, this list: ten songs that contain an adjective for the moon. Besides my usual restriction—that the song should be from a pre-1970s Hindi film that I’ve seen—I’ve imposed one more restriction: that the adjective for the moon must occur in the first two lines of the song.

Without further ado, therefore, onto the list.

1. Chaand bhi koi deewaana hai (Apna Ghar Apni Kahaani, 1968): Otherwise a fairly grim film about a family devastated because of the husband’s alcoholism, Apna Ghar Apni Kahaani was redeemed by an absolutely adorable romance between the characters played by Mumtaz and Sudhir. Their chemistry was so good, and their romance so well-written, that I’d gladly watch this film again just for them.

… and for this absolutely sublime song. Likening themselves to the moon and the waves, the two lovers describe these companions of the night. Especially the moon. A deewaana, maddened by love; and an awaara, a wanderer, who roams all through the night. Its sorrow unknown to us mere mortals, a companion through the night but always on its own, distant. Lovely lyrics, wonderful music (N Dutta’s) and a beautiful rendition by Asha Bhonsle and Mahendra Kapoor.

2. Chaand maddham hai (Railway Platform, 1955): Sahir Ludhianvi, while usually applauded for the brilliance of his anti-establishment, socialist poetry, also excelled at another form of poetry: the depiction of nature. Chaand maddham hai is an example of his prowess at describing nature, though here (as in several of his other poems, like Parbaton ke pedon par), the exquisiteness of nature is basically a setting for romance.

The moon here is dim, pallid. The sky is silent, the night all hushed and waiting: will her lover not come to her? She seems to know that he will not; he is lost to her, gone to another.

Sadly enough, this beautiful song is missing from Railway Platform, at least in the versions I’ve come across. I have no idea whether it was originally there and later dropped, but if it was, what a sad loss.

 

3. Khoya-khoya chaand khula aasmaan (Kaala Bazaar, 1960): My love for this song dates from back when I was a child and first saw it on Chitrahaar.  Dev Anand’s character, wooing the lovely Waheeda Rehman, draws her attention to the night—the stars twinkling in an open, clear sky; the gentle breeze; the lost moon. All call for romance, all beckon. Will she not listen to them, at least?

The setting is beautiful, the music lovely, the lyrics and Mohammad Rafi’s singing—all excellent. What lets this song down for me is Dev Anand’s ‘dancing’, or whatever you’d call it. That excessively loose-limbed gambolling, those arms swinging bonelessly from side to side, always puts me in mind of an inebriated gorilla.

4. Chaand ek bewa ki churi ki tarah toota hua (Daag, 1952): The refrain of this song—Koi nahin mera is duniya mein—is probably the more well-known part of this beautiful lament from Daag. But this song actually begins with a description of the night, forlorn and miserable: and the very first line of that description is a description of the crescent moon: like the broken bangle of a widow. I think that’s such a brilliant simile (kudos to Hasrat Jaipuri for the lyrics): the sorrow and despair of a widow is reflected in her broken bangle, and the moon, compared to that symbol of misery, becomes symbolic of despair too. The rest of the song carries forward the loneliness through other similes and metaphors, but that broken bangle is so striking an opening…

5. Aadha hai chandrama raat aadhi (Navrang, 1959): From the ‘lost’ moon (which I assume refers to a no moon night) of Khoya khoya chaand to the thin crescent, shaped like a widow’s broken bangle, of Chaand ek bewa ki churi ki tarah, to the half-moon.  And here is the classic song about a half-moon: a man, devoted to his completely oblivious wife, adopts her as his muse and dreams up songs aplenty, visions in which he and his wife sing of their love. In this dream sequence, while the wife (Sandhya) dances with a whopping eight water-pots piled, one on the other, atop her head, the husband accompanies her in singing. The moon is half, the night is half gone; let not their rendezvous be left midway too.

(Ironically enough, the moon that appears in the backdrop, painted onto an artificial sky, is not a half-moon but a crescent).

6. Chup hai dharti chup hain chaand-sitaare (House No. 44, 1955): Dev Anand seems to have had a fair number of songs about the moon picturized on him. There’s the song addressed to the moon (Dheere-dheere chal chaand gagan mein), to songs about the moon (Yeh raat yeh chaandni phir kahaan, Phir wohi chaand), to the songs in this list. Was that because Dev Anand was invariably a romantic hero (even in films where he was a bit of an anti-hero), and the moon is pretty much synonymous with romance?

Here, he’s the calm, quietly happy young man, waiting in the moonlight for his beloved. All about him sleep: the Earth is quiet, the moon and the stars are silent. It is just him, him and the solitude that surrounds him as he waits. What I especially like are these two lovely lines about the beauty of the moon: Nikhra-nikhra sa hai chaand ka joban, bikhra-bikhra sa hai noor ka daaman (The youthfulness of the moon is heightened; the veil of its light is scattered).

7. Chaand zard-zard hai (Jaali Note, 1960): Yet another Dev Anand song, and this time with one of my favourite actresses, the gorgeous Madhubala. Here, while others dance the night away, these two people, very attracted to each other, praise the moon. A yellow moon, golden and full, tinting the night and arousing a ‘sweet ache’ (that doesn’t sound as romantic in English as it does in the original Hindustani, ‘meetha-meetha dard’). Jaali Note didn’t have as good songs as did the other important Dev Anand-Madhubala film, Kaala Paani, but this is not a bad one. At any rate, it’s the only song I’ve come across which talks of a yellow moon rather than a white or silver one.

8. Aaj ki raat naya chaand leke aayi hai (Shaadi, 1962): Whoever did the art direction for this lovely song doesn’t seem to know exactly what a new moon looks like—or was Rajinder Krishan, who wrote the lyrics, not literally meaning a ‘new moon’ in the astronomical sense, but in a more metaphorical sense? Because Saira Banu’s character, a poor girl dumped at the wedding mandap after having been married, has been through some really miserable times, and has suddenly found happiness. Love, fulfillment, joy have come her way. Is that why the moon and the night, all at once, seem utterly new to her?

9. Woh chaand khila woh taare hanse (Anari, 1959): One of my very favourite songs picturized on Raj Kapoor. A bubbly Nutan plays the girl who, fed up with the diffidence of her beloved, teasingly points out to him what an absolutely gorgeous night this is—and how anybody (meaning, obviously, him, as he admits graciously) who doesn’t succumb to the romance of the night is an ignoramus. This is a ‘blossoming moon’: a full moon, perhaps? Its rays spread their arms, stretch out their veil across the star-studded sky, inviting the lovers to indulge in a little romance.

10. Chaand ko dekhoji (Chaand Mere Aaja, 1960): From one of the many Hindi films that actually had ‘chaand’ in its title (others include Chaand, Chaudhvin ka Chaand, Dooj ka Chaand, Chaand par Chadhaai, etc), this very melodious song describing a romantic night. Two lovers, played by Bharat Bhushan and Nanda, are out on a night-time rendezvous and call each other’s attention to the moon. How it drenches the atmosphere with intoxication, how it arouses a certain magic in the hearts of these two.  There’s more: the moon is even supposed to encourage the lovers, egging them on by telling them that these are the days of their youth, their heyday: don’t let these days and nights go waste.

There is yet another important category of moon songs. Not songs addressed to the moon or songs describing the moon, but songs that compare someone to the moon. That’s up next (and it will be, I promise, the last of these moon songs).

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51 thoughts on “Moon Songs, Part 2: Adjectives for the Moon

  1. Great list (as always !!). Khoya Khoya Chand is one of the greatest gifts to mankind from the Hindi Film Industry but in a very bad wrapper (Dev Anand pretending to dance when in reality he was pushed from behind). The first son – Chand bhi koi deewana hai was a revelation to me. Occasionally heard on Vividh Bharati (where else?) but fell in love after careful listening. Thank you

    • Another great post, thanks! And as a devout, dogged, determined disser of Dev, I got a BIG smile out of your “inebriated gorilla” imagery 👍😂 LOVE the song, and your write up 👌

      • I’m so glad I’m not alone in this :D
        Khoya Khoya Chand, what an amazing song, one of the best ever in Hindi cinema – but how my jaw dropped when I watched Kala Bazar for the first time – Couldn’t wait for this song to come up, but what an uninspired picturization was this? Even the trees look bored.

        • “Even the trees look bored.

          The trees and the sky don’t look bad to me, but Dev Anand – oh, Lord. The less said about him the better. What on earth is he doing, swinging about like that? It’s downright embarrassing. I admire Waheeda Rehman for being able to keep a straight face and even look somewhat loving. Just goes to show what a fine actress she is. :-)

    • Glad you liked Chaand bhi koi deewaana hai. My very first introduction to that song was through Chitrahaar, years ago. Back then, my sister and I used to ensure we had a blank VHS tape in our VCR all ready when the programme started, so we could record any song that sounded good. We happened to record this one, which was how I got to watch it again and again over the years. It still remains one of my favourite songs.

  2. CHORI CHORI, 1956.

    Ye raat bheegi bheegi Ye masth nazare
    Uta dheere dheere Ye Chand Pyara Pyara..

    AALAAP, 1977.

    Chand akela jaaye sakhi re..

  3. Of course, in Punjabi, the moon gives arise to the synonym for beloved/husband/lover = chann or channa, so it´s literally everywhere. As in Chan kithan guzari aayi raat ve – Surinder Kaur version is the one I like best. Here used in a Hindi film

  4. A good list Madhuji!
    If the third part is on its way, how thrilling it would be if it coincides by chance with my moon post!
    (mine has a long way to go!)
    A question,
    Is there really an adjective to the moon in the last song song, Chand Ko Dekho Ji?
    The moon creates magic in the couple’s mind, but he hasn’t been called magical as such!
    No song right now to add!
    :-)

    • “Is there really an adjective to the moon in the last song song, Chand Ko Dekho Ji?

      Hmm… I interpreted it as such. My thought was that the adjective “intoxicating” or “magic-inducing” could be applied to it. But I guess that’s open to debate!

  5. A beautiful collection of songs involving the moon. The oldest that comes to my mind was a great hit of its time ( 1942) -“Tu kaun si badli men mere Chand hai aaja” from Khaandaan sung by Noorjahan. By the way, the Guitar in Navrang song was played by Verni Tau -under the Baton of Chitalkar Ramchandra !!. I wonder how I missed it while compiling the list last September . Seems age is finally catching up !

    • A great collection of songs as usual! Between these two posts and your forthcoming one, you’ve covered almost all possible song situations in Hindi films involving the moon.

      Here are three songs which have the moon performing some action:

      “Dekho ji chand nikla” from Ali Baba aur Chalis Chor

      This one is about the moon getting “lost”. But the moon disappears very fast, considering that it appears shining brightly in the beginning of the song
      “Chand jaane kahan kho gaya” from Main Chup Rahoongi

      This one is a foot tapping number, though the line is somewhat illogical – equivalent to “The moon is shining in moonlight”, and the setting is a bit incongruous – an indoor club scene where there is no moon

      “Chanda Chandni mein jab chamke” from Mujrim

      • Nice songs, but are all of them are really about adjective + moon? They seem to be more about moon + verb. Deewaana, maddham, khoya, aadha, toota, khila… sometimes the verb and the adjective overlap, but I’m not sure that applies in these songs, except perhaps Chanda chaandni mein jab chamke, since that might be a chamakta chaand. But open to interpretation, I guess.

  6. Gulzar again.

    PARICHAY, 1972.

    Beeti na bitaye raina…
    ….
    Chand ki bindiwali bindiwali ratiya..

  7. Hello,
    I’m back with a few songs, perhaps fitting the theme,
    Nkila Hai Gora Gora Chand
    by Usha Mangeshkar & Suman from Guest House
    Usual gora gora chand

    Chandrama Madbhara Kyun Jhoome Badar Mein
    by Lata Mangeshkar from Patrani.
    Sensuous moon, but she calls her so only in the beginning, the word is not repeated later, I think!

    Rootha Hua Hai Chanda
    by Lata Mangeshkar from Aaram
    Again, Cute pair of Dev & madhubala, she is coaxing him.

    And, to end
    I’m not sure, if it really fits
    O Janewale Chand
    by Rafi from Bazaar

  8. A few more,
    Chandi ka gol gol chanda
    From piya milan ki aas

    And,
    Not actually addressed to moon, but to the little one
    O mere chanchal Chanda

    • Chaandi ka gol-gol chanda (which was on my shortlist – you can see that I even retained its memory in my post, since the introductory screenshot for this list is from that song) fits beautifully. Ae mere chanchal chanda doesn’t fit, because it’s not really about the moon. It fits in my next post, though, which are songs that compare a person to the moon. :-)

  9. Wonderful set of songs, particularly love “chand bhi koi deewana” and “chand madham hai.” They have an otherworldly quality to them that seems very apt for the lunar theme.:-)

    Anyway, here’s another “khoya khoya chanda” song that I like very much.

    Khoya khoya chanda khoye khoye taare – Door Gagan Ki Chhaon Mein/Kishore Kumar/Shailendra/Asha Bhonsle

    • Lovely song, Shalini! Thank you so much for this. :-) And I agree totally about the ‘otherworldly’ quality of those first two songs. There’s something so utterly ethereal about them. Mind you, I don’t even like Mahendra Kapoor that much, but Chaand bhi koi deewaana hai is sublime, as far as I am concerned.

  10. Madhu ji , Namaste ,
    Nice theme , I must say .
    Nd yes , like many others , the first song
    “चाँद भी कोई दीवाना हैं ” was a pleasant surprise for me .

    Let me add one more adjective to the चाँद
    It is from ” मेरे अपने ” , penned by Gulzar ,
    the most surprising thing is that our lovely moon is given the adjective
    ” ( एक भिखारन का ) कटोरा ” !!!

    • Wow! I had never heard this song before. Very nice one, and I love the metaphor. Reminded me somewhat – when it comes to an unusual adjective – of the Daag song in my list. Thank you for this.

  11. I’m not sure I really understand your underlying theme… Chup hai dharti chup hai chand sitare seemed more like a verb than an adjective to me. ‘The moon is silent…’ but I suppose then ‘Chand madham hai‘ could also be verb as well as adjective…

    And Chand ko dekhoji seems more like ‘Look at the moon…’ to me, followed by whatever the moon is doing. Or I could be totally befuddled, which is also possible. :)

    So not being quite clear on what you are aiming for, see if these fit:
    Chand mera dil chandni ho tum from Hum Kisise Kum Nahin

    Chand chhupa aur taare doobe from Sohni Mahiwal Which could mean a moon in hiding? (I think?)

    Chaand taakta hai idhar from Dooj ka Chand

    This one surely fits – the moon is a guest.
    Chand hai mehmaan, ae dil from a film called Tarzan aur Circus.:)

    And this is not a song, but a poem, written and recited by Meena Kumari as part of her ‘I Write, I Recite’ album.
    Chand tanha hai, aasman tanha

    • I think there’s a bit of blurring between verb and adjective at times. I interpreted the ‘chup hain chaand-sitaare’ as ‘silent moon’, and chaand ko dekhoji, masti lutaaye jaadoo jagaaye as ‘intoxicating, magic-inducing moon’. If a silent moon and an intoxicating moon are a moon+verb, then a takta chaand would also be moon+verb, no?

      I wouldn’t think Chaand mera dil is an adjective for the moon, because he’s actually talking about the relationship between the two people, isn’t he? He is the moon, she the moonlight. Mera dil chaand hai, tum ho chaandni would be another way to put it. But that’s my interpretation – you could be right.

      Love the songs, though, as well as the recitation. Thank you! :-)

      • then a takta chaand would also be moon+verb, no?

        Of course! But then, as I said, I was rather muddled about the rules, and since ‘Chand ko dekhoji was allowed, I figured ‘taakna’ would also be.
        So I added it, with you as the arbiter of whether it fit or not. :)

        • Ah, I thought since you didn’t agree that Chaand ko dekhoji contained an adjective, you wouldn’t think taakna would fit either. I hadn’t realized you were merely jumping on to the bandwagon. ;-)

  12. Madhu ji, you have not not included these two iconic moon songs in any of your posts, not sure if these songs fits into the theme, as its rather confusing to me. Part one is ok, but second one, well—

    • Neither Yeh chaand sa roshan chehra nor Chaudhvin ka chaand ho are adjectives for the moon. :-) Do please read the last sentences of my post, you’ll see where they fit in. In fact, these two songs will be coming up in my next post.

  13. There is this lovely song from Takshak.. Khamosh Raat , Sehmi Hawa.. and later in one of the paragraphs, the words “Chand bhi tha bujha bujha taare bhi the madham madham” … which was nice..Bujha Bujha Chaand is not usual in Hindi Cinema :)
    Does not exactly fit the criteria, but the song does somehow have a dreamy , moonlit night quality to it..

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