Moon Songs, Part 3: Comparisons to the moon

To mark the fiftieth anniversary of the first time humans set foot on the moon, I compiled this list of moon songs. Then I followed it up with this, very different, list—also of moon songs. One list of songs addressed to the moon; another list of songs describing the moon. There are lots of other songs about the moon—from Chalo dildaar chalo chaand ke paar chalo to Chanda chaandni mein jab chamke, songs which mention the moon in all sorts of situations and contexts (more often than not romantic). There are songs drawing people’s attention to the moon (Dekho ji chaand nikla peechhe khajoor ke), songs about the rising of the moon and the absence—or obliviousness—of a beloved (Chaand phir nikla, magar tumna aaye, Woh chaand khila woh tare hanse), songs that use the moon and its proverbial beauty as a metaphor or simile.

It’s the last of these types of songs that I’m looking at here today. Songs where the singer compares someone to the moon.

As always, these songs are all from pre-1970s Hindi films that I’ve seen. Also, to make it less easy, the comparison should occur in the first two lines of the song.

These are in no particular order, though my favourite songs are at the top of the list.

1. Yeh chaand sa roshan chehra (Kashmir ki Kali, 1964): I heard this song on radio long, long before I saw it on television. I never thought of asking my father, back then, whom this was picturized upon, and taking the lyrics of the song for gospel truth, wondered which Hindi film actress it could be about whom it was said that ‘zulfon ka rang sunehra, yeh jheel se neeli aankhein…’ Blue-eyed blonde? Indian? (Yes, I hadn’t seen Saira Banu’s faux ‘Brit’ look in Purab aur Paschim yet either). The rest of that line may be all wonky, but the first simile used could fit any pretty lady (and therefore fits a blushing and sweet Sharmila Tagore well enough): her face is like a moon. Flawless and beautiful.

2. Chaudhvin ka chaand ho (Chaudhvin ka Chaand, 1960): A classic song of ‘comparing a face to the moon’. The awe in Rafi’s voice, in Guru Dutt’s face, and Shakeel Badayuni’s lyrics, the almost holding-my-breath quality of this man’s praise for his gorgeous wife… beautiful. If there is a fitting tribute to the beauty of Waheeda Rehman, it is this song: it captures her loveliness so well. And the comparison to the ‘moon of the fourteenth day’—that is, the full moon—is spot on.

3. Chaand sa mukhda kyon sharmaaya (Insaan Jaag Utha, 1959): Madhubala’s famed beauty is played down a bit in Insaan Jaag Utha by giving her a rather prominent mole and a deglamourized look, but how you can hide beauty like that? And Sunil Dutt’s character, a thief on the run who falls in love with this illiterate village girl working at a dam construction site, ends up singing not one but two songs where he compares his sweetheart to the moon. One is the more boisterous Yeh chanda Rus ka na yeh Jaapaan ka; the other is this one, sweeter and gentler and more intimate. A lover quietly teasing his beloved, and she responding. Wonderfully romantic.

4. Mere saamnewaali khidki mein (Padosan, 1968): Sunil Dutt again (though a very different-looking Sunil Dutt, not at all the debonair hero of Insaan Jaag Utha, but the silly-looking Bhola with his far-from-stylish haircut). And serenading a lady by comparing her to the moon, too. Except that this time, in keeping with his character’s general un-hero-like character, he’s not even doing the singing himself. In this light-hearted song where Bhola makes known his feelings to the unimpressed Bindu (Saira Banu) who lives next door, it’s his ustad, Kishore Kumar, who’s actually doing the singing. It’s all romantic: oh, this piece of the moon that lodges in the opposite window—but the lyrics are too flirtatious, the singing too teasing, to really win the lady’s heart, never mind if he’s calling her a piece of the moon.

5. Chaand si mehbooba ho meri (Himalaya ki God Mein, 1965): From a playful but still complimentary ode to a lady’s beauty, to one that’s downright insulting. Did no-one of all those involved in the creation of this song—the lyricist (Anand Bakshi), the music directors (Kalyanji and Anandji), the singer (Mukesh), the director (Vijay Bhatt) or even the actors (Manoj Kumar and Mala Sinha) realize just how insulting this song really is to the woman it’s addressed to? Because this man says he never thought he’d have a sweetheart as beautiful as the moon. And yes, she is exactly as he thought she would be (logically, given the previous line, not as beautiful as the moon).

But perhaps there’s something I’m missing here, or misunderstanding. At any rate, it fits in this list: it is a song, after all, that compares someone to the moon, even if that someone is an imaginary someone.

6. Ek raat mein do-do chaand khile (Barkha, 1960): A rather more conventional song, one that lavishes praise on the beauty of the one being serenaded. A pair of young newly-weds sing a sweetly romantic song, one that happily marries the actual moon in the sky with the one here on Earth, according to the adoring husband. One moon has blossomed in the night sky, shining out from between the clouds, he says. And another here, shining out from behind the ghoonghat. The moon in the sky is everybody’s, but the moon in the ghoonghat—and this is such a cute bit of pride—is all his. Sweet!

7. Ae chaand ki zebaayi (Chhoti si Mulaqat, 1967): Why do filmi men in boats sometimes seem to be so completely oblivious to the expressions of the women they’re wooing? At least Rajesh Khanna’s character in Woh shaam kuchh ajeeb thhi can be given the benefit of doubt, because Waheeda Rehman only looks a little sad and wistful. Not so here; Vyjyanthimala’s character in Chhoti si Mulaqat has just discovered that she is actually married to another man, and is (not unsurprisingly) distressed to find that she now has to choose between her husband—whom she doesn’t know and doesn’t even remember from her childhood—and the man she loves.

She is so distressed, but her lover is oblivious, happily serenading her, calling her the ‘elegance of the moon’, telling her to come on and fall into his arms…given that she’s smiling by the end of the song, though, this man’s technique perhaps works with some women.

8. Gore-gore chaand se mukh par (Anita, 1967): Mukesh seems to have sung playback in several songs where a man serenades a woman by comparing her to the moon. Here, his becomes the voice of Manoj Kumar, who praises Sadhna’s character. The focus of the lyrics is really on her eyes (unfortunate, really, since by this time, Sadhna’s eyes had stopped being her best feature because of her thyroid condition). But the song begins with comparing the ‘fairness’ of her face to that of the moon.

9. Phool sa chehra chaand si rangat (Raat aur Din, 1967): Raat aur Din had a few really good—and really popular—songs, like the wonderful Dil ki gireh khol do and the twoversion Awaara ae mere dil, which is perhaps one reason this relatively low-key song often gets overlooked. It’s a good song, though, and one of the few in this list where the serenading is a public affair. Not for Pradeep Kumar’s character the quiet intimacy of Ek raat mein do-do chaand khile (even though he is married to the woman he’s serenading, and could therefore just as easily have sung this in the privacy of their home). No, he sings her praises at a picnic, much to the embarrassment of his wife, who looks utterly mortified.

10. Mehfil mein aap aaye jaise ke chaand aaya (Mohabbat Isko Kehte Hain, 1965): To end, a song that is unique in this particular list: it’s the only song where it’s not a woman but a man who’s being compared to the moon. Not even one man, but several, though I like to think that the two dancers here are directing most of their song to Shashi Kapoor, who plays one of the men who’s come to visit this kotha and watch the mujra. The others, sadly, are no oil paintings… but maybe it’s Shashi to whom these women are expressing their gratitude, for his having graced their mehfil this once.

Which songs would you add to this list? Do share!

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55 thoughts on “Moon Songs, Part 3: Comparisons to the moon

  1. Fanaa aamir Khan kaajol chand sitare song but no direct comparison to kajol

    Gali me aaaj chand niklaa where nagaarjuna coming to pooja bhatt house is called as such

  2. DILLAGI
    Tu mera Chand main teri Chandni..

    KAAJAL
    Mere Bhaiya Mere Chanda..

    JEENE KI RAAH
    Chanda ko doondne sabhi Taare nikal pade

    RESHMA AUR SHERA
    Tu Chanda main Chandni..

    ARADHANA
    Chanda hai tu mera Suraj hai tu

    EK PHOOL DO MALI
    Tujhe Suraj kahoon ya Chanda

    SAAGAR
    Chehra hai ya Chand khila

  3. Very good list of songs Madhuji
    It appears a favourite thing for comparison with lady’s beauty.
    But you’ve chosen very good songs,
    The last one on the list, is my favorite too. So is the song from Raat aur Din. It’s a overlooked song, but it’s nice.
    To add a few songs,

    I’ll start with my favorite
    Woh chand Se chehra liye from Qawwali Ki Raat

    Main to Chanda Se gori by shamshad

    O gore gore chand Se mukh par
    Same mukhada in Anita’s song

    Woh chand Jaisi ladki
    From new devdas

    • Woh chaand sa chehra liye was new to me. This film seems to have had some really nice songs. I cringe from watching it, though, because I don’t like Kanwaljeet. Main toh chanda si gori naar was also new to me. Nice!

      The Beqasoor song was in my longlist, but fell off along the way. :-)

      Thank you for the songs, Anupji!

  4. SATI SAVITRI
    Tum Gagan ke Chandrama ho Main Dhara ki dhool hoon..

    DEEWANA
    Se Sanam jisne Tumhe Chand si soorat dee hai

    CHANDNI, 1942
    Main Chanda hoon ya Chandni

    SAANJH AUR SAVERA
    Chand Kanwal mere Chand Kanwal

    HUM KISISE KUM NAHIN
    Chand mera dil Chandni ho tum

  5. AARTI
    Ab kya misaal Doon main tumhari Shabab ki
    Insaan ban gayi hai Kiran Mahtaab ki

    AASHIQ
    Mehtab tera chehra kis khwab mein dekha tha

  6. SANGAM
    Ye mera prempatr padh kar..
    Tujhe Suraj main kehta tha

    Tujhe Chanda main kehta tha
    Magar us mein bhi daag hai

    • That mention of the moon comes too far into the song… as I mentioned, the criteria for this list included that the comparison should be mentioned in the first two lines of the song.

  7. Very nice collection of ‘Moon’ songs…but why do you think ‘Chand si mehbooba’ is
    insulting to the heroine? The hero is
    expressing the wishes of many a
    common men who wish their wives to
    be ‘bholi’ and ‘seedhi sadhi’. He has
    his feet firmly on the ground, for once😃

  8. Mam, i dont know much hindi.. below two songs i posted have word chaand in it. I dont know which category it comes…if wrong sorry in advance
    Chand kitni door tha….

    O natkat nanhi ladli

    • I’m sorry, these don’t fit. :-) Chaand kitni door thha doesn’t fit, because it’s not as if he’s comparing her to the moon, though I will concede that there is a hint that he believes the moon and stars have come down to earth because she is now his. O natkhat nanhi laadli also doesn’t compare the little girl to the moon; it just tells the girl that the moon is looking down at her.

  9. Finally my “déjà vu” moment! :) :)
    Three list is made, and only about this list I can say-“Heard them all before”. Your other list had just couple of songs which I had heard before. That was making me sad somewhere.
    Great work ma’am!

    • Yay! Yes, I know what you mean. There are times I’ve read posts on other blogs where I’ve only heard of a couple of songs. And I feel very triumphant when I find a post where I know all or almost all the songs. :-)

      Thank you for the appreciation, I’m so glad you enjoyed this.

  10. A lullaby from ‘ Saanj aur savera ‘ by Suman Kalyanpur ‘ chaand kanwal mere chaand kanwal chup chaap so ja yun na machal ‘ is also a good example.

  11. Madhu, you’re misinterpreting Chand si mehbooba ho… :)

    The first two lines go: Chand si mehbooba ho meri kab
    Aisa maine socha tha – “When will I ever have beloved as beautiful as the moon?”

    And answers himself: Haan tum bilkul waisi ho jaise maine socha tha – She’s just as he dreamed.

    And later on in the song, he sings: ‘Aisa hi roop khayaalon me tha, jaisa maine socha tha; haan, tum bilkul waisi ho jaise maine socha tha.”

    Your list has some of my absolute favourites like Chaudhvin ka chand ho, Ye chand sa roshan chehra and Phool sa chehra chand si rangat.

    Tell me if this fits:
    Tu hai chanda toh main chakor from Aaghosh

    I only skimmed the comments so I don’t know if anyone added this:
    Tum gagan ki chandrama ho from Sati Savitri

    Ek raat mein do do chaand khile from Barkha

    Gore gore chaand se mukh par from Anita

    • That’s an interesting interpretation of Chaand si mehbooba, and I agree that it does fit. But I happen to be not the only one who thinks it’s open to interpretation – several other people on Facebook also told me they thought it’s a horribly insulting song! I don’t think a song should be left open to such misinterpretation. But thanks, this had not occcurred to me.

      The Aagosh song definitely fits, and Tum gagan ke chandrama ho is a lovely song, which of course fits too. Gore-gore chaand se mukh par and Ek raat mein do-do chaand are both on my list. :-)

      • Gore-gore chaand se mukh par and Ek raat mein do-do chaand are both on my list. :-)

        Forgive me. I must be more brain dead than usual. I swear I read your post. All of it.

        Re: Chand si mehbooba if you rearrange that first line thus:
        Chand si mehbooba meri kab ho[ga], aisa maine socha tha”

        I assume the transposition of words was to fit the metre.

        • “I assume the transposition of words was to fit the metre.

          Ah. Finally, the penny drops. As in Nuktacheen hai gham-e-dil.

          Thank you, Anu. You’ve shown me a different perspective on that. It makes sense that way.

    • I thinkyour interpretation about ‘Chand Si mehbooba’, is not correct,Ms. Warrier. The hero seems to imply that he never wanted a
      lover as beautiful as the moon… but
      a simple girl, who can share his pleasures and sorrows. The girl in the movie is a ‘dehati’ girl
      (of course, glamorised as per Hindi film
      requirements)

  12. Another great post with some lovely songs.

    Here’s another sweet song comparing the woman to the moon.

    Chanda dekhe chanda to woh chanda sharmaye – Jhoothi/Bappi Lahri/Kishore Kumar-Lata Mangeshkar/Maya Govind

  13. Remembered another song; this one likening a man to the moon. Interesting that both men and women can be called the moon, but moonlight(chandini) is exclusively feminine.

    Aaj main dekhoon jidhar jidhar – Doli/Ravi/Asha Bhonsle/Sahir Ludhianvi

    Here’s a song that breaks my heart to listen to or watch.
    Mere chanda mere nanhe – Aakhri Khat/Khayyam/Lata Mangeshkar/Kaifi Azmi

  14. Oh, I love that song from Doli that was picturized on both Babita and Nazima. BTW, I would like to kill those rumor mongers who spread the canard that Nazima passed away way back in 1975. Nazima is still alive. She had quit films after marriage and had completely shunned the limelight. Both her sons are married!
    Thanks to Tabassum – the character artiste and TV anchor – I came to know that Nazima is alive!

  15. Madhu, Barkha is a 1960 film and not a 1969 film. Barkha was a remake of the Tamil film Thai Pirandhal Vazhi Pirakkum, released in 1958.It was directed by the duo Krishnan–Panju, and produced by A. V. Meiyappan under AVM Productions.This film included a bullfight not present in the original.
    Lead actor Jagdeep was paid ₹750 as a monthly salary, and lead actress Nanda was paid ₹15,000.

    • Thank you for pointing that out. It was a typo; I had meant to write 1959. Have corrected it now. I like that trivia about the relative salaries of the two leads! Wow.

  16. Even the song from Aakhri Khat is so memorable. I have seen the film. Considering Chetan Anand wanted Priya Rajvansh for all his movies (he was besotted with her, despite being married to Uma) wonder why he didn’t use her instead of Indrani Mukherjee.
    This song may not fit the theme. But it was quite a popular song – Chanda Ki Kirnon Se Lipti Hawayein Sitaron Ki Mehfil Jawan – featured on Baldev Kosa and Padmini Kapila in the 1973 release Intezaar.

  17. There is no dearth of Chand songs in our movies, but to find one that fits these 3 criterion must have been quite a job. What a compilation, wonderful.
    Ok, now this may be long. Seriously.
    I too had thought of Reshma Aur Shera song, but Dr. Shetty has already suggested it. Besides the metaphors in that song do not stop at channd.
    Then there is the song from Laal Bangla: “Chand ko kya maloom, chahat hai use koi chakor”. I think the hero is trying to tell the heroine in a roundabout way that she is his chaand- and he is chakor. Please clarify.
    Then there is one that I thought could fit the first part. From Abdullah- “Maine poocha Chaand se”. But may be not, because it’s not a direct question, just hearsay evidence of having asked the moon.
    The qawwali “Chaandi ka badan, sone ki nazar”, popped up. But again Chaandi here I guess means the metal silver (Argentum with atomic number 47) and not moon.
    And about “Chaan si mehbooba ho meri”. I think both Anuji’s and Sh. Nadkarni’s interpretations are right. But I wouldn’t care, as Raaj Kumar had already told Mala Sinha, even moon does not compare to her beauty “Chaan aahen bharega, phool dil thaam lenge”.

    Finally, though out of context, I remembered two poems. One is “Panchvati” (Maithilisharan Gupt). The following lines of which are often used as an eg. of “anupraaas alankaar”:
    “Chaaru Chandra ki Chanchal Kirne”,
    and another line where the poet says Sita’s beauty is better that moon because-
    “Vah mukh dekh pandu sa padkar
    Chandra gayaa Paschim ki or”
    This is really getting long, but if you permit, there is one more poem “Prakruti Varnan” a part of which depicts the beauty of Sharad season after rains. I am just laying down a couple of lines (used as an eg. of yamak)-
    “Kaali ghataa ka ghamand ghataa
    nabh mandal taarak vrind khile”
    That really was long. I am stopping.

    • I was wondering when someone would suggest Chaand ko kya maaloom (which certainly fits the theme) – so thank you, especially, for that. Maine poochha chaand se, I don’t think so…

      Nice poems you’ve quoted from there. Charu chandra ki chanchal kirnein especially made me nostalgic. :-)

      • At least I got one right.
        And I forgot to mention the poet of the second one. It’s by Shridhar Pathak and the first part describes summer.
        By the way, how about a list of songs describing night. Must be plenty of them. Night, stars, chandni, that sort. Because I just remembered a poem from my text books……..

  18. Aditi ji,
    How interesting!
    MAN PASAND, 1980, our own MY FAIR LADY has a delightful Kishore Kumar ,Lata Mangeshkar song ( Amit Khanna, Rajesh Roshan)
    Saa Re Gaa Maa Paa Maa Gaa Re Saa
    .(. leading to…)
    Charu Chandra ke Chanchal Chitwan
    Bin badra barse saawan
    Megh Malhar Madhur man bhavan
    Pavan Piya Premi Paawan…

    A sort of tongue twister as a part of the singing training. Dev Anand and Tina Munim.
    The corresponding song in MY FAIR LADY, 1964 is
    The Rain in Spain.
    You must be aware of the movie being a screen adaptation of Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion with Rex Harrison ( Professor Higgins) and Audrey Hepburn ( Eliza Doolittle).

    Madhu ji,
    Have dozens of songs fitting the themes of all the 3 Moon posts. Am lethargic to post. Will do sometime soon.

    • “Have dozens of songs fitting the themes of all the 3 Moon posts. Am lethargic to post. Will do sometime soon.

      No hurry. As it is, the important thing for me is to have good songs posted. Not a laundry list of every moon song that fits these themes. :-)

    • Thanks you Sir.
      I have seen Manpasand, but I don’t remember the songs. Thanks for mentioning the one above. I know about Pygmalion too, but haven’t yet watched “My Fair Lady” yet.

      I too am waiting for you other song suggestions. As you can see I could hit just one right.

  19. Don’t know whether this will fit the theme as this this is about night missing its friend the moon.
    “Rat hamari to chand ki saheli hai” from Parineeta

  20. 2 gems from renowned Marathi movie “Umbaratha”

    Smita Patil is a warden to women’s hostel cum shelter. And song sung by women encamped is an quiet yet bold expression of missing conjugal bliss understood by every inmate and rarely given thought by others

    Chand Matala

    Sunya sunya maifilit mazya

    I still feel full moon of your presence in this abandoned night.

    Translation found on net
    https://www.musixmatch.com/lyrics/Lata-Mangeshkar/Sunya-Sunya-Maifilit-Majhya/translation/english

    Wikipedia https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Umbartha

    A movie about woman who dares to cross doorstep ( for lack of better English word. No it is not same as limit. It isu about leaving away from your family for your work and upheavals it brings.)

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