Around India’s Towns in Ten Songs

Towns and cities. Not countryside, not rural hinterland.

As a family, we’re very fond of travelling. At least once a year, we make sure we go on a road trip (usually) that would take us through several towns, spending a couple of days here, a couple there. Exploring places beyond what we’re familiar with.

Of course, with the pandemic, that’s on hold for the time being. Though my husband and I are vaccinated, the LO (the ‘Little One’, our seven year old daughter) isn’t, and we don’t want to run any risks. So, we’re stuck at home, and I confine myself (and occasionally the LO, who is also fond of old Hindi film songs) to watching videos that take us places. Songs that are filmed in places far and wide, songs that go beyond the usual tourist attractions. Songs which make you feel you were, for those brief few minutes, in another town.

That’s what this list is all about: ten songs which are set in an Indian town or city. Not necessarily songs where the lyrics are about the city (though there are some songs in this list which do, to some extent, fulfill that criterion too), but songs which have been shot in the place in question. While I follow my usual rules for this selection (all songs from pre-70s films that I’ve seen, and no two songs from the same film), I’ve added a further criterion: these songs show portions of the town and city in question that are outside of famous tourist attractions or landmarks. So while Ek shahenshah ne banwaake haseen Taj Mahal showcases the monument in all its splendour (and has been covered in my post on songs picturized on UNESCO World Heritage Sites), the song itself shows nothing of Agra. This post is not about specific monuments, not about specific gardens and tourist sights: it’s about the towns and cities that are home (at times) to those places. These songs show off more of the towns and cities, not just the famous sights in them.

Without further ado, here’s the list, in no particular order.

1. Mumbai. Ae dil hai mushkil jeena yahaan (CID, 1956): This was the city where I came up against an embarrassment of riches. With nearly 95% (or more? I don’t know) of Hindi films back in the 50s and 60s being set in Bombay, the city was pretty prominent in most songs. From the sea front to Gateway of India, from Flora Fountain to the Koli fishing villages somewhat further out of town: film makers picturized their songs all across this iconic city. Which to choose, then? I was mostly torn between two of my favourite wandering-through-Bombay songs, Baaju samjho ishaare from Chalti ka Naam Gaadi, and this one. Ae dil hai mushkil was what I finally settled for, because not only does its picturization showcase Bombay, so do the lyrics—and so well, too, highlighting the brashness and ambition and competitiveness of the big city, but in its way, also the go-getter attitude, the urge to get ahead in life. As they make their way past crowds sitting along the sea front, past cricket grounds and apartment buildings, riding along in a Victoria (so much a Bombay institution, too), Johnny Walker’s and Kumkum’s characters serenade Bombay in the quintessentially classic song about the city.

2. Shimla. Haseenon ki sawaari hai (Love in Simla, 1960): With a name like that, Love in Simla had to have at least one song actually picturized in the hill station. Haseenon ki sawaari is just that: a song that doesn’t just serve to show off the beauty of its heroine and the blossoming romance between its two protagonists, but also the charm of Shimla. While some of this song is obviously rear projection, a good bit of the song has equally obviously been really filmed with Joy Mukherjee pulling a rickshaw with Sadhana seated in it, through Shimla. They go down the Mall, they pass Christ Church and the Band Stand, they go down several roads lined with shops, restaurants, beautiful old Swiss chalet-style half-timbered houses. It’s a pleasant enough song, but the setting is the icing on the cake: a lovely view of a Shimla which has actually changed quite a bit (for the worse) in the decades since.

3. Kolkata. Eent ki dukki paan ka ikka (Howrah Bridge, 1958): Sunoji yeh Kalkatta hai sings Om Prakash’s taangewaala as he drives his tonga through the city. The song is, all said and done, a ploy to try and hide (from the passenger sitting beside him, part of the gang of villains) the hero (Ashok Kumar) who’s travelling inside. But while he’s about it, Om Prakash sings a paean to Kolkata and to Bengalis that’s in a class by itself when it comes to describing a city. The song’s lyrics speak of Ballygunge and Chowringhee as the tonga travels through those areas, and of the Jheel (with several Anglo-Indian couples promenading on its bank). The tonga goes past Victoria Memorial and Park Street, and finally goes down the iconic Howrah Bridge, which is where the song climaxes.

4. Darjeeling. Main chali main chali (Professor, 1962): From the late 1950s on, for the one decade when he was a major star, Shammi Kapoor acted in several romantic blockbuster hits set in India’s hill stations: Kashmir, Ranikhet… and Darjeeling. Professor, set in Darjeeling, had several songs (Humre gaon koi aayega, Aawaaz dekar humein tum bulaao, and Ae gulbadan among them) which fully utilized the picturesque views of the hills and mountains around this beautiful ‘Queen of The Hills’. But this song, though it too is mostly filmed on the hills outside the town, has some views of Darjeeling itself. Main chali main chali begins on the Mall Road, after which Kalpana (followed by Shammi Kapoor) climbs into the Toy Train, and goes all the way to Batasia Loop. Not much of the town, but yes, it’s there; and Darjeeling can be seen in the distance later in the song as well.

5. Varanasi. Log toh markar jalte honge (Gauri, 1968): Varanasi is probably one of the few cities, neither a metropolis nor particularly scenic (though it does have a fine collection of beautiful old temples), which appears fairly frequently in old Hindi cinema. Its religious significance (and in some films, like Sunghursh, its overall importance as a town of wealth and power as well), Banaras/Varanasi/Kashi makes this a fairly-frequently seen town in cinema. In Gauri (not a film I otherwise liked; it was too melodramatic and silly for my liking), this song really showcases the riverside of Banaras. The Ganga, the ghats, the temples and buildings beside the river, as a despairing Sanjeev Kumar walks past, trying to make sense of life. Or of death, of both.

6. Haridwar. Ek paisa ka hai sawaal (Ganga ki Lehren, 1964): The Ganga again, and at another of the important towns along its way. Haridwar, though not specifically named as such in Ganga ki Lehren, was the setting of this very melodramatic and tiresome film. While the title song, the peppy and delightful Machalti hui hawa mein, is also picturized along the Ganga (and in it! Kumkum ends up literally rolling about in the shallows), not very much of the town itself can be seen in it, apart from a few distant shots. In Ek paisa ka hai sawaal, though, all the action, so to say, happens along the river front, as Master Shahid’s character wanders about, beseeching passersby to give him some money. The temples, the ghats, the riverside homes and other buildings: as in Log toh markar jalte honge, here too the town is seen from the river in all its (somewhat seedy, in this case) glory.

7. Delhi. Chal mere dil lehraake chal (Ishaara, 1964): Given that Delhi is the national capital, and has been a city of considerable cultural and historical significance as well, it’s a little odd that so few films were set in Delhi (or, even if they were set in Delhi, they weren’t shot here). But perhaps that was a result of distance from the cinema industry centre of Bombay, as well as the bureaucratic hurdles that were to be encountered if one wanted to shoot in Delhi. But some films and some songs have been shot in Delhi, and here is one of them.

Ishaara was set in Delhi, and perhaps its best-known ‘Delhi song’ was Dil beqaraar sa hai, which was picturized at Humayun’s Tomb, there was this song too. Part of it is rear projection, but there are sections—for example, coming from Jama Masjid, near the railway bridge, around Connaught Place and just beyond—where Joy Mukherjee is actually cycling through Delhi.

8. Lucknow. Yeh Lucknow ki sarzameen (Chaudhvin ka Chaand, 1960): Yeh shahar laaldaar hai, yahaan dilon mein pyaar hai wrote Shakeel Badayuni in the credits song for this film. While Chaudhvin ka Chaand is known mostly for its title song, its credits song often goes undiscussed, even though (like Eent ki dukki paan ka ikka) it is an interesting paean to the city it talks about. What I also like is the way the song is picturized: while it may look at first glance like just a series of stills, it isn’t; there is stuff happening there. A boat being rowed down the Gomti. A burqa-clad woman climbs up into a domed pavilion, and another walks through an arched gateway. The pages of a book, lying open on a book stand, flutter in the breeze. A very elegant and subdued representation of a city.

9. Srinagar. Humko tumhaare ishq ne (Ek Musaafir Ek Haseena, 1962): Through the 50s and 60s (and beyond), Kashmir was probably the most sought-after destination for Hindi film-makers eager to show off its beautiful locales; many films had—if nothing more—at least one song picturized in the flower-bedecked Mughal gardens, or on Dal Lake, or among the meadows and groves of the Kashmir Valley. There were many films, among them Kalpana, Junglee, Kashmir ki Kali, Mere Sanam, and Ek Musaafir Ek Haseena, which were mostly set in Kashmir.

While most of the Kashmir songs are picturized in very touristy settings—Nishat, Shalimar or Chashm-e-Shahi Bagh, Pari Mahal, and so on—Ek Musaafir Ek Haseena is that rare film where the songs (OP Nayyar at the top of his game, with some memorable tunes) are set against somewhat unconventional backdrops. This song is one such: Joy Mukherjee, playing a harmonium as he stands in a shikara, goes along the backwaters of the Dal Lake, sings to his beloved as he searches for her. The quiet serenity of the canal, the traditional old wooden houses lining it: all very Srinagar.

10. Bengaluru. Main albela jawaan hoon rangeela (Humraahi, 1963): And, to end, a city from the South. It’s not as if South India doesn’t feature in Hindi cinema; thanks to major film production houses like AVM Productions and Gemini Studios, based in Chennai, there were a lot of Hindi films, big banner ones too, being filmed in Southern India. Most of these, however, tended to have songs set against some predictable backdrops: the Ooty Botanical Gardens was a popular setting, for instance, as were the Brindavan Gardens near Mysore.

Humraahi, however, began with this credits song, picturized against a backdrop of what was then Bangalore. Rajendra Kumar, as the inveterate flirt, drives through Bangalore, past the VIdhan Soudha and its environs, stopping briefly in Lal Bagh and Cubbon Park. While the two parks are tourist sights, the bulk of the song is on the road, along the well-manicured fringes of lawn near the Vidhan Soudha area. Interestingly, from what I can tell, the spire-topped monument one can see in the upper left quadrant of this screenshot seems to be a cenotaph that was demolished in 1964, just a year after this film was released. (A reader informs me that the cenotaph was situated close to Hudson Memorial Church, and the road approaching it was known as Cenotaph Road; it’s now called Nrupathunga Road).

(Note: I haven’t been able to find a video clip of just this song; the link, therefore, is to the film itself—if you click on it, you can watch the song at the beginning of the film).

What other cities and towns can you add to this list? I’d like to see more songs in somewhat off-the-beaten-track parts of the country!


75 thoughts on “Around India’s Towns in Ten Songs

    • Hi Madhu! Just love the theme ..”Around India’s Towns….” And as always, a fab choice of songs to go with the theme! …
      It feels great to be traveling around …..esp. now, when one is still constrained to be at home…..

      Straight off, this is the first song that comes to mind… (no surprise at my first choice……it is shot by K K Mahajan) It is not particularly melodious or great to hear…but visually captures “Bambai Sheher”, as seen by a newbie (Jaya) to the city.

      “Bambai Sher Ki Tujko Chal Sair ….”
      From Basu Chatterjee’s “Piya Ka Ghar” (1972).
      LINK to the song on YouTube:

      Hope you enjoy the travel in this city (in the 70s…)

      Praba Mahajan


      • From Praba …Sorry! I hit Send before I checked for spelling gaffes….
        A “Sher” crept in… instead of “Sheher”… when writing the title of the song…


      • Oh, yes, Praba! Lovely song. I would like to add another one. This doesn’t have anything in the lyrics about Bombay, but the picturization is possibly the best showcase of Bombay in the monsoon that is there in Hindi cinema. Rimjhim gire saawan, from Manzil:


          • Thanks to AK’s “Totally! “…in response to Madhu’s comment on the song “Rim Jhim Gire Sawan” ( the version shot in the monsoon rain).
            And belatedly, thanks Madhu for having included this song here..

            At the risk of digressing from the theme here…(“Around India’s Towns…..)
            am quoting here…what the principal characters of that shoot had to say:

            Tweet by Amitabh Bachchan on the Version shot in the rain (sung by Lata Mangeshkar)

            June 4, 2011

            T 393 -“Yes, song for Manzil – ‘rim jhim gire saawan’ beautiful … shot live during monsoons .. no rain machines used .. those were the days”


            Amitabh Bachchan@SrBachchan


            Moushumi Chatterjee (expectedly) had a lot more to say:

            Speaking of the famous rain song Rim Jhim Gire Sawan in ‘Manzil’, Moushumi says, “It looked very romantic for Amit and me to be running in the rain. But shooting it was a nightmare. I remember we shot it over two days on the streets of Mumbai in real monsoon rain. Basuda didn’t want to shoot in artificial rain. Amit would arrive at the locations with his brother Ajitabh in a small car. We would shoot in the pouring rain and then rush back to take shelter in that car. I remember the colour from my green saree began to bleed in the heavy rain. Then suddenly Amit said to me. ‘Have you seen your face?’ He asked someone to get me a mirror. All the eyeliner was on my cheeks making me look hideous. On top of this, there was the problem of our mismatched heights. Amit is super-tall I am short. Basuda’s cameraman the wonder KK Mahajan had a tough time keeping us together in a frame together. Shooting that song was not easy”.


            And here is an excerpt from a report from “SCROLL”:
            (Readers may recall having seen this ..on an earlier blogpost by Madhu…)

            “There are two versions of “Rim Jhim Gire Sawan”, of which the light classical track sung by Kishore Kumar, is better known. But Lata Mangeshkar’s up-tempo version is by far the better of the two. Shot in rain-drenched Mumbai and featuring some of the best-known landmarks of the city, the song is a tribute to gifted cinematographer KK Mahajan’s ability to capture life as moviegoers know it.

            Bachchan and Chatterjee splash about at Marine Drive and the Oval Maidan in Churchgate and frolic in front of the Victoria Terminus station to the oblivious stares of the public. The rain was real, and it helped that neither actor was too well-known, Chatterjee told
            The actress was new to Mumbai in those years, and she discovered the city’s best-known parts through the shoot. All these years later, “Rim Jhim Gire Sawan” is a tribute to a gentler, less crowded, and truly romantic city before it started going down the drain.




    • Thank you, Ravi. Yes, Suno suno Miss Chatterjee is another great song that showcases Calcutta. I like it a lot, especially that bit where Johnny Walker rides a bicycle next to the tram and sings to her while she sits inside the tram.


  1. I would have certainly added Navketan Tere Ghar ke saamne in the list Based on the capital city Delhi ,one can see the splendour of Connaught Place ‘hate when the new generation calls it Rajiv Chowk’ Defence Colony, Mehrauli India Gate of the 60s in a few songs


    • I would have loved to have added Tere Ghar ke Saamne, but I can’t think of any songs in which the city is shown. The film itself has plenty of scenes of the city, as you mention, but I can’t find the city in the songs. Dil ka bhanwar kare pukaar was shot on a set, and to me Yeh tanhaayi haai re haai also looks like a set, not real ruins and trees.

      P.S. Agree totally about hating it when people call Connaught Place Rajeev Chowk. Horrible.


  2. Have you heard London Paris ghoom ke dekha by Mukesh picturized on Rajindranath in Parivar 1967 Another film based on Delhi and this song shows my city which I adored of the mid 60s


    • Oh, yes. That song is in my ‘Delhi songs’ list, which I will hopefully post sometime soon. It has lots of good views of Delhi, plus the names of the places are woven into the lyrics very well too.


  3. Lovely post, Madhu… and what an interesting theme. For me the “Delhi” songs would be from Tere Ghar ke saamne. A couple of the songs show Delhi of the early 1960s – Dil Ka bhanwar kare pukar was filmed in Qutub Minar; Yeh Tanhai haye re, somewhere in Mehrauli….


  4. Great concept and great list.
    I think two songs from Barkha would qualify

    Aadmi chirag hai showing varanasi

    I couldn’t recognize the place in this song. Could it be Hampi?

    Woh door jo nadiya bahti hai


    • Thank you, Anupji, both for the appreciation, and for the two songs. I had seen both of these before, but had totally forgotten about them, so these are very welcome additions to the list!

      I have no idea where those ruins are that can be seen in the background of Woh door jo nadiya behti hai. It may be Hampi, I agree, but I’m not sure. Hopefully someone else can identify it.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Madhuji, your post made me feel so nostalgic about all the cities that you mention. There is so much to see in our own country. I am reminded of a couple of songs which show the city as an integral part of the song.
    1) Hum Hian Raahi Pyaar Ke (Nau Do Gyarah) which shows Delhi and Agra along with the beautiful road journey. and
    2) Seene Mein Jalan (Gaman) Mumbai through the eyes of a migrant Taxi Driver.


    • Thank you, Anitaji. Yes, Hum hain raahi pyaar ke does show Delhi and Agra, but to me it looked as if it focussed almost completely on showing the monuments of those cities (and Fatehpur Sikri), not so much the everyday markets and roads and other ‘common’ places, which was why I left it out. Seene mein jalan is a fine example of this theme, thank you for that!


  6. Oh
    And what about Hum Panchhi Mastane

    This one from Bride and Prejudice.
    Marraige has come to town.

    Could be on sets. But looks authentic. Area near Chandni chowk.


    • Thank you for these, especially Hum panchhi mastaane, one of my favourites!

      The Bride and Prejudice song is definitely a set. :-) I think it would be impossible to actually film a song in the Walled City – just too crowded.


      • Oh
        I forgot, Bride and Prejudice is set in Amritsar. Not in delhi. So the market place in the song could be there in Amritsar. Some of the shops in the song look old, look real ones. Still can’t say.


  7. In terms of songs highlighting a city – (though this might have been too recent for your tastes – but the song “Yeh hai bambai nagariya” from the 1978 Don certainly paints a picture of the city. Also the melanchony “Yeh Kya Jagah hai doston” in Umrao Jaan calls out Faizabad (now renamed as Ayodhya).
    And then there is Kaashi Hile Patna Hile – the popular Bhojpuri song. I understand this is not strictly a movie but did feature in Dangal.


    • Oh, yes. Yeh hai Bambai nagariya is a good song in that it combines both picturisation and lyrics that are about a city or town; it shows off Bombay pretty well too:

      Yeh kya jaga hai doston is a lovely song, but it doesn’t really show much of Faizabad, does it? Only a fleeting glimpse in the beginning, but that’s all.

      I had a look at Kashi hile Patna hile, but most of it is set in the countryside – there are only glimpses of Kashi, Patna and Calcutta. So that doesn’t qualify… the point of this post was that the picturisation of the song should showcase a city or town.


  8. I posted. I did, I did, indeed I did! :(
    This is a wonderful theme, Madhu. And I’d love to add some songs that feature my city – Bombay.
    Suniye, Kahiye from Baton Baton Mein…
    The song starts at Bandstand and then proceeds to a nice Bandra neighbourhood; there’s the local train to add colour.

    Prabha posted the song from Piya ka Ghar. But here’s a modern song that showcases Bombay so lovingly. Rangeela re and Yaaron sun lo zara from Rangeela which showcase places as diverse as Bandra, Juhu-Versova, Navi Mumbai, specifically Belapur.

    You wanted Delhi? :) This is a horrible song, but it does show case Delhi, even sings about it. Mehbooba from Chandni.

    Khwabida from Dolly, Kitty aur Woh Chamakte Sitare (which, if you haven’t watched yet, you must).

    Do you think Masakali from Delhi-6 counts?

    I haven’t added the links because I think that’s what caused my comment to go pouf! Hopefully, this will post.


    • “I haven’t added the links because I think that’s what caused my comment to go pouf!

      No worries. :-) I’ve added them in, it’s not a problem!

      And thank you for all these wonderful songs; the Baaton Baaton Mein and Rangeela songs I had heard before, but not the other ones. All hit the nail on the head, and all showed off the cities so well (and yes, Masakalli certainly qualifies – some fabulous views of Delhi there, cityscapes and up close too).

      Thank you for the Dolly Kitty aur Woh Chamakte Sitaare recommendation. I don’t think I’d even heard of this one before. Have added it to my Netflix queue!


  9. Madhu,
    The post has become more interesting because you have decoupled it from the name of the towns occurring in the song. You have included many famous places, therefore, your stated prohibition of famous tourist places is breached. I remember many exotic places where songs have been picturised: Jaisalmer, Mahabalipuram, Ajanta/Ellora/Elephanta caves, Rishikesh (we can treat this as different from Haridwar). May be you can plan its Part 2.


  10. It’s funny, but as I was going through the post, the song that immediately came to mind was “Humko tumhare ishq ne” from EK Musafir Ek Haseena as I remembered my Mom telling me that it was filmed in the Rainawari district of Srinagar. She worked in Rainawari for a while in the late 60s and the area, and consequently this song, holds a special place in her heart. Needless to say, I’m delighted to see it on your list.

    Although I haven’t traveled within India much, I have been to Jaipur and recall that Shuddh Desi Romance was filmed mostly on location there. “Shaam glubai seher gulabi” from the film does a nice job of showcasing the Pink City, I think.


    • Thank you for telling me that was Rainawari! I have heard of Rainawari, of course, but I don’t remember having visited the place. This was a nice way of visiting it. :-)

      Thank you for the Shaam gulabi seher gulaabi recommendation. This was new to me; yes, a lovely showcasing of Jaipur.


        • I’m very fond of this one. Sunidhi and Shreya being my favourite, I love it. Still couldn’t recollect it.
          I watched this movie first day first show much to disappointment. It’s original Marathi film, doghi (दोघी) being both, featuring Sonali Kulkarni, Renuka daftardar and uttara bawkar was very good. Hence I had high hopes with Yashraj films and the star cast. But alas.


          • From Praba Mahajan,

            Ref. to AK / ‘Songs of Yore’ :

            “This post has become more more interesting because you have decoupled it from the name of the town occurring in the song” .
            So true…

            I have ventured to post references to a few songs.
            Do hope the LINKS given below “work”….

            To begin with:

            From Bhimsain’s “Gharonda” (1977)

            “Ek Akela Is Shehar Mein”

            Singer :- Bhupinder Singh
            Lyricist:- Gulzar
            Music Director:- Jaidev
            Cinematographer: A K Bir
            Director: Bhimsain


            “Do Deewane Shehar Mein”

            Singer(s):- Bhupinder Singh, Runa Laila
            Lyricist:- Gulzar
            Music: Jaidev
            Cinematographer: A K Bir
            Director: Bhimsain

            From “Man Pasand” (1980)

            “Rehene Ko Ek Ghar Hoga”

            Singer: Lata Mangeshkar
            Lyricist : Amit Khanna
            Music: Rajesh Roshan
            Cinematographer: K K Mahajan
            Director: Basu Chatterjee
            Am aware that I’m taking a chance with including the last one…. \
            from “Man Pasand” (…not great print quality…either).
            In part, while there is little of the city actually “seen”…..
            ….interestingly, thematically it is so linked with the 2 songs from the film “Gharonda”…the yearning for a “ghar” in the “shehar”.

            (And, as is obvious this song is ‘based’ on “All I want is a room somewhere” from “My Fair Lady”.(1964).
            The director had duly credited G.B. Shaw’s “Pygmalion” as inspiration for his film).
            So much for the trivia…

            Hope you enjoy this song…..


    • @Usha, thank you so much! I grew up in (then-)Bangalore, and haven’t been back for more than a decade now! You brought back such memories – my friends and I have wandered around most of the places seen in this song. :)


    • As you can imagine, I had never heard Gangadhara gaurivara before. Not just a fine showcase of the city, but a good song too – I loved the music. Thank you so much for this! It’s perfect for the theme.


  11. I have often used popular culture references in my lectures on architecture and design and culture studies, especially for their archival value. So this then a special post for me, as the criteria is also not to have the lyrics specific to a location , but the picturization should depict the non-tourist, non-monumental parts of the city.
    I would add the following couple of songs to the list:
    Main ik chor, tu meri rani, from the movie Raja Rani, which is partly picturized in Chowpatty and then a walk in the street where the TATA showroom in Mumbai used to be (can someone identify the exact area please? Probably Tata Headquarters ?)


    • How interesting! (BTW, referring to popular culture does seem to work to help illustrate points in a range of disciplines, doesn’t it? I know my sister makes occasional references to folklore, myths, popular ‘historical’ films etc to try and explain a historical fact).

      I hope someone familiar with Mumbai will be able to help answer your question about this song. :-)


    • Oooh, I loved this film, and I loved the way it showcased Delhi throughout. I remember being happy that here was a film where the locales were all familiar to me, not the completely alien environs of all the Bombay-based films (I didn’t visit Bombay till I was in my 20s; till then, all I’d seen of the city was through cinema).


  12. Another lovely post with a very unique theme….Ae Dil hai Mushkil Jeena Yaha & Mein Chali are the favourite ones.

    When you talk about towns, the one which comes to mind is ‘Ek haseen nigah ka dil pe saya hai’ from Maya Memsab. It captures famous Church area in Shimla .’Yeh Shahar bada purana hai’ also seem to be shot in Shimla with entry in Mall Road.

    A very unique song picturised in Srinagar is ‘Naam Adaa Likhana’ . It shows waterways and typical tall and narrow window panes of houses there.
    I am not 100% sure if this was real. But if it is a set, it is a good one.

    And I would desperately like to add ‘Ghar bhara sa lage’ and ‘Shukrana Gul Khile’ from Shikara movie for Srinagar. But alas both of them show Kashmiri houses, waterways, lifestyle but not the town.

    ‘Raata Lambiyaan’ from ‘Shershah’ movie which is shot beautifully in Chandigad.

    ‘Kitne Dafe’ and ‘Rangrez’ from ‘Tanu Weds Manu’ which show Lucknow.

    Then there are ‘Ranzana hua’ and ‘Tum Tak’ from Ranzana which showcase Banaras with all it’s glory.

    ‘Dhadak’ title track shows Udaypur beautifully.

    And so is ‘Jhansi’ in ‘Sun mere humsafar’ from ‘Badrinath ki Dulhaniya’

    Delhi seems to be favourite even in recent times with
    ‘Tu Chahiye’ from ‘Bajrangi Bhaijaan’

    ‘Kaun tuze yun Pyar karega’ from M.S. Dhoni

    and ‘Chand Sifarish’ from Fanaa.

    Then there is ‘Pehli Pehli bar mohobbat ki hai’ from ‘Sirf Tum’ which showcases Nainital and another town from Kerala. The movie does not bother to tell the name of the town though Actor is shown to be working there. But town it is, and people from Kerala may be able to identify the same.

    Would love to add ‘IK Onkar’ from Rang De Basanti which shows Golden Temple, Din saara gujara tore angana from ‘Junglee’ which shows Verinag. Din hai bahar ke from Waqt for Nainital but sadly they don’t fit the criteria.


      • Hi!
        From Praba again….

        After the abundance of “later-day” songs…..

        Here is a throw-back, as it were…to the early ’60s in Bombay.
        I am referring to “Shehar Aur Sapna” (1963) directed by K A Abbas.

        Madhu, (and friends), Hope you’ll bear with me, as I quote (at some length) from observations on the theme behind “Shehar aur Sapna” and the songs….so relevant….even in these times.

        Also, some problem with the formating…as I have done a “copy+paste” from the Sources, to ensure accuracy…..

        (Sources duly given).

        “Shehar aur Sapna”, with lyrics by the incomparable Ali Sardar Jafri, is about urbanisation and displacement. Many films have since been made on this theme, but it was Abbas who made the first film about displacement.

        The main characters are a young couple. They leave their respective villages and come to the big city in search of a livelihood. In the concrete jungle of Mumbai, they are unable to find a place to live. So they create their home inside one of the many unused drainpipes. Their displacement from home leads to tensions and friction in the relationship, which is compounded by the harshness of the big city.

        The songs in the film are sung by Manmohan Krishna, at that actor and singer unparalleled.

        Ali Sardar Jafri has written this dirge, which seems to give voice to all displaced persons.

        Lyrics given here for two of the songs:

        Hazaar ghar hazaar darr

        Ye sab hain ajnabi magar

        Khabar nahi ki ab kidhar

        Mudegi apni rehguzar

        Yahan se jayenge kahan

        Amaan payenge kahan

        Ye zindagi ki behisi

        Ye behisi ki zindagi

        “Thousand homes thousand anxieties
        All around is strangeness but
        Unknown in which direction
        Will now our path turn!
        Where will we go from hence
        Where will we find refuge
        This life of indifference
        This indifference of life”

        The song “Pyaar Ko Aaj Nayi Tarah Nibhaana Hoga”
        (“Part 3” in the LINK given below):
        sung by Manmohan Krishan is a metaphor for hope even in times such as this when displacement shatters relationships and love withers away. It is sung by a bard and directed towards the young protagonists Dilip Raj and Surekha:

        “Pyar ko aaj nayi tarah nibhana hoga
        Hanske har dard ko, har gham ko bhulana hoga
        Aansuoon se jo bujhe jate hain aankhon ke chirag
        Khoon e dil deke unhe, phir se jalana hoga
        Abhi khil jayenge, masle huye kuchle huye phool
        Shart bas ye hai ke seene se lagana hoga
        Voh jo kho jaye to kho jayegi duniya sari
        Voh jo mil jaye to saath apne zamana hoga”

        “Love will need a new impetus
        All pain will have to be borne with a smile
        Tears are extinguishing lamps of eyes
        They will be rekindled with the heart’s blood
        Withered flowers will bloom again
        Only one condition, hold them in your embrace
        If she is lost my whole world is lost
        If she is found I own the entire world”
        SOURCED from:
        “Ocean In a Goblet: The Songs from K A Abbas’ Films”

        In a sombre mood: A rare song from a rare film:
        It does not make for easy viewing…

        (This is all that seems to be left for posterity).
        but please do make time for the efforts of the director,
        Credits given here, below for the ‘songs’ :

        Part 1 – “Ye Shaam Bhi Kahaan Hui”
        Part 2 – “Patthar Ka Bhagwaan Yahaan Hai”
        Part 3 – “Pyaar Ko Aaj Nayi Tarah Nibhaana Hoga”
        Part 4 – “Hazaar Ghar, Hazaar Dar”

        “Shehar Aur Sapna” (1963)
        Singer: Manmohan Krishan
        Music: Jag Phool Kaushik
        Lyrics: Ali Sardar Jafri




        • Thank you so much for this, Praba! This seems like an unusual film. I looked for it online, but couldn’t find it; I hope it surfaces someday, because I’d like to watch it. Good song, of course, but what great cinematography. That’s really striking.


          • Thanks Madhu for bravely negotiating through my last post w.r.t. the film “Shehar Aur Sapna” by K A Abbas.

            I did try to find the name of the cinematographer of “Shehar Aur Sapna”, but could not find any “complete listing of the crew” for this film on IMDb or any other site.

            What did emerge from my search was that cinematographer Ramchandra
            (his name is also sometimes written as Ram Chandra) photographed several memorable films of director K A Abbas from 1952 – (“Anhonee”) up to 1969 – (“Saat Hindusthani”). So, in all likelihood, he would have been the cinematographer for “Shehar Aur Sapna”.

            I also noted that IMDb has made a serious error by crediting cinematographer Ramchandra’s work, aa to a later-day cinematographer, S Ramachandra ( born in 1948), who trained at the FTII. His first independent work as a cinematographer was the feature film “Sankalpa” (Kannada, 1973, directed by PV Nanjaraja Urs).

            S. Ramachandra went on to have a prolific career as a cinematographer, photographing many critically acclaimed films – many in Kannada cinema.
            He had a long association as a cinematographer with internationally acclaimed director Girish Kasaravali.
            S Ramachandra died at the age of 62 in 2011.
            Not quite trivia…but thought it fit to mention this.
            Apologies for holding forth at length…
            Not giving any LINKS for obvious reasons…!

            It is sad that “Shehar Aur Sapna” (1963) which received the National Award for Best Feature Film, is not available for viewing….


            • Thank you for that insight into the two Ramchandras.

              It’s so sad, you know, that even a film that won the National Award doesn’t seem to be readily available for viewing. It’s obviously not one of those ‘lost films’ – there are clips of the songs, the videos in beautiful condition – but why it doesn’t seem to be available commercially is beyond me. A sad reflection on how poorly we value our cinema’s past.


  13. There is another beautiful song ‘Aaoge Jab Tum Sajana’ from ‘Jab We Met’ which showcases Shimla.

    And ‘Moh Moh ke Dhaage’ from ‘Dum Laga ke Haisha’ features Haridwar with it’s narrow lanes and constant presence of Maa Ganga.

    ‘Namo Namo ji Shankara’ from ‘Kedarnath movie picturizes Kedarnath pilgrimage, temple and surrounding area. Would it qualify?

    Why don’t you make a post for songs picturised in foreign locations? A lot of bollywood songs picturised outside India.


    • “Why don’t you make a post for songs picturised in foreign locations?

      You know, I was certain I’d done a post of that sort, then I realized that the post I’d done was about songs that refer to foreign locales, not which are necessarily picturised in foreign locales (as an example, Mere piya gaye Rangoon). I must do this list, sometime soon. Thanks for reminding me.


  14. An enjoyable post with a good choice of songs.
    Its a nice idea to focus on the picturization of the cities and not just the names in the songs.
    Here’s one song taking you around Kolkata:
    Shaharon mein se shahar suna shahar Calcutta – Jagir (1984)

    And some more Mumbai songs:
    1. Ye haseen bambai – Holiday in Bombay (1963)

    2. Ye bambay shahar ka bada naam hai – Kya Yeh Bambai Hai (1959) – The picturization covers the city very well and even the lyrics are enjoyable, reminding one of aye dil hai mukshil

    3. Rote huye aate hai sab – Muqaddar Ka Sikander (1978)

    4. A taxi ride through Bombay – Kaii baar yun bhi dekha hai – Rajnigandha (1974)

    Even Basuda’s Chhoti Si Baat covers Bombay very well, with all the 3 songs showing the city to some extent.

    5. Bom bom bombay meri hai – Rakhwala (1989)

    6. Bam bam bambai humko jam gayi – Swarg (1990)

    7. Bombay Bombay – Kroadh (1990)

    8. Duniya mane bura to goli maro – Arjun (1985)


    • Thanks You AS for all of these. The point to note here is that due to change in tech as well as ease of access , the newer films have had a lot more opportunity to shoot at real locales and in towns/cities other than Bombay.


      • The newer films have had a lot more opportunity to shoot at real locations. — Very true. Also in 50-60s, stories were either village centric or they were based in big cities ( Mumbai, Delhi, Lucknow, Chennai, Kolkata etc). A lot of movies were shot on sets.


  15. Some songs posted on Kashmir, and I had dithered a lot about adding the following ones, but then this is what Kashmir is today , so might as well acknowledge it.
    Songs from the movie Lamha (2010) which actually was a decent movie in terms of depicting reality and I wonder why it got little mention.
    Anyhow, here are two songs from the movie, Salam Zindagi and Rehmat Zara , which bring Srinagar to life , as it reels under the violence, especially the non-aorist areas, the ‘downtown’.


    • Thank you so much for these, ak. I am wondering why I’ve never heard these songs before (actually, I’m even beginning to wonder if I’ve heard of Lamha before). I’m guessing this film didn’t make waves because, for the overwhelming majority of the country, it seems to show what are very uncomfortable truths. :-(


  16. When a movie is named ‘Life in Metro’, is it surprising that metros are featured in songs? Most of the songs feature Mumbai but ‘In Dino Dil Mera’ is sweet one and ‘oh meri jaan’ shows some typical yet unique Mumbaiite sights like Banganga Talao, skyline and auto rikshaws.


  17. I think ‘Jo Humpe guzrati hai’ from ‘Mohobbat isko kehte hai’ is partially picturized in Mumbai where Shashi is seemed to be roaming looking for something.


  18. I had intended to post this earlier , but slipped my mind, and also I dithered because it is not a song , but an entire move… Sara Aakash .
    This is based on the novel of the same name by Sh Rajendra Yadav
    The film is shot extensively in Agra, and in the ancestral house of Sh Yadav himself.

    And a special shout-out here to Prabha Ji as I read that shooting in the actual house was on the suggestion of Sh. KK Mahajan who advised Basu Chetterjee that it was the best location and could never be recreated in a set.


    • Hi ak!
      So very happy to see this post..with the reference to Basu Chatterjee’s “Sara Aakash” being filmed at writer Rajendra Yadav’s home in Agra., at KK’s suggestion.

      KK had often talked to me about the shooting of this film… as he also did, w.r.t. filming “Mrinal Sen ‘s “Bhuvan Shome” (1969) and Mani Kaul’s “Uski Roti” (1970)…all three being intrinsic to the New Wave in Indian Cinema at that time….

      For those who are interested, the “Wikipedia page” on the film “Sara Aakash” (1969) features a quote from Rajendra Yadav (from his Introduction to the second edition of his book – which Basu Chatterjee had adapted for his first feature film- ) on how the film came to be photographed in his home, at KK Mahajan’s suggestion…( Pl. see under ‘ Production’ on the Wikipedia page for Sara Akash”.

      Fittingly, KK Mahajan won the first of his Four National Awards for Best Cinematography — for his work in “Sara Aakash” (1969).

      Thanks again, ak, for this post.
      As also for all your unique posts on Dustedoff.

      And ak, a correction to be made…
      It is ‘Praba’, and no ‘ji’, please…..


    • Thank you for this, ak! When Basu Chatterjee passed away, I began watching Sara Aakash with a view to perhaps reviewing it. I don’t know why, perhaps it was not the right time for it, I just couldn’t get into the right frame of mind to continue with it. I left off after 10 minutes. Someday, I must watch it. I’ve heard such good things about it.


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