Ten of my favourite Hasrat Jaipuri Songs

Today is the birth centenary of one of Hindi cinema’s greatest lyricists, the very prolific and versatile Hasrat Jaipuri. Born in Jaipur on April 15, 1922, ‘Hasrat’ was named Iqbal Hussain, and took to writing poetry fairly early in life. In 1940, not even 20 years old, Hasrat moved to Bombay, where, though he attended mushairas and wrote (and recited) a good deal of verse, he was also obliged to take up a job as bus conductor. This job helped him make ends meet for the next 8 years, when Hasrat had the good fortune to be noticed by none other than Prithviraj Kapoor at a mushaira. Kapoor was so impressed by the young poet, he recommended Hasrat to his son Raj, who was then in the midst of planning Barsaat (1949). Hasrat was taken on to write songs for the film, and that was the start of a very long association with RK Films—Hasrat wrote lyrics for all of Raj Kapoor’s films for the next two decades and more, invariably alongside fellow lyricist Shailendra.

Of course, Hasrat also wrote for many other film-makers and many other films, his songs running the gamut from comic songs to philosophical ones, from songs of hope and of dreams, to pure romance. Love songs, indeed, were Hasrat’s forte, and there are many who believe that if Sahir Ludhianvi was the doyen of revolutionary songs and Shailendra of sad songs, it was Hasrat who commanded the love song.

In commemoration of Hasrat’s birth centenary, therefore, ten of my favourite songs written by him. A transcription of these songs, along with a translation, is available here. As always, these songs are in no particular order, and are all from pre-1970s Hindi films that I’ve watched.

1. Is rang badalti duniya mein (Raj Kumar, 1964): One of my absolutely favourite love songs, this one combines several of my favourites: Shammi Kapoor and Sadhana for one, Mohammad Rafi at his heart-meltingly best for another, and superb music by Shankar-Jaikishan. But where would this song be without Hasrat’s fabulous lyrics? Don’t tempt everybody, this lover tells his beloved: your beauty will sway just about all, since this world cannot be relied upon.

After he’s told her how the intentions of everybody and everything are suspect—from the storm to his own heart—comes the icing on the cake: Main kaise khuda haafiz keh doon, mujhko toh kisi ka yakeen nahin; Chhup jaao hamaari aankhon mein, bhagwaan ki neeyat theek nahin. How can he say goodbye (khuda haafiz, literally ‘God keep you safe’) to her; he cannot even trust God. Hide within my eyes, he urges her; for I suspect even the intentions of God.

2. Panchhi banoon udti phiroon (Chori Chori, 1956): A paean to freedom, this song is picturized on Nargis, playing the poor little heiress, whose every move and every minute is spent surrounded by, stifled by, the restrictions and guards set about her by her doting and very wealthy father. Restrictions that hem her in so badly, when she finally breaks free, she must celebrate that freedom by racing into the countryside, running through the fields and singing of the independence that is finally hers. Superb music (Shankar-Jaikishan) and a beautiful rendition (Lata Mangeshkar), but look at the lyrics too: how Hasrat evokes nature coming together to surround this young woman; how she becomes one with the breeze, the sky, the lightning, the clouds. How she seems to leave the overcrowded world behind and unshackle herself from all her cares.

3. Yeh meri zindagi ek paagal hawa (Ziddi, 1964): Another woman, also singing of freedom—but freedom of a different kind, a woman and a situation of a different style. Asha Parekh’s character in Ziddi, changed from a tomboy to a sati Savitri because of love, realizes that the only way she can bring joy to those around her is by sacrificing her love (yes, well…). So she sets out to prove, to her beloved (played by Joy Mukherji) and others that she’s a ‘bad girl’. A girl who knows no faithfulness, no commitment; a wild wind, staying never still, never in one place. Yeh meri zindagi ek paagal hawa is an interesting blend of metaphors on its own, but juxtaposed with Panchhi banoon udti phiroon, it’s even more intriguing, because you see how skillfully Hasrat uses the same (or similar) elements of nature—the open sky, the wind, the seashore—but in such a way that they fit the message of impermanence, of something fleeting. Not quite the freedom of the previous song, but a sort of negative looseness, of not being tied down even by bonds of love.

4. Haal-e-dil hamaara jaane na (Shriman Satyawadi, 1960): Raj Kapoor, in the course of a long career as both actor and director, played several characters that spouted philosophy in verse. In Anari, in Shree 420, in Teesri Kasam and many more films, he sang of seizing the day, of being kind and good, of honesty, of love towards all. And more.

In this song, his character sings of the pain and anguish of being poor, of being rejected: but at the same time, of carrying on. Of not letting adversity crush one’s spirit or loneliness make one despondent. Hasrat uses several different poetic styles to get the message across, but my favourite is the imagery contained in that last stanza: Hum zameen ki khaaq sahi, aasmaan par chhaayenge. How evocative.

5. Ichak daana bichak daana (Shree 420, 1955): I think one hallmark of a great song is that it becomes a part of local culture to the extent that one forgets its origins. I remember, through all my childhood, the popular riddle Hari thhi mann bhari thhi, laakh moti jadi thhi… if riddles were mentioned, that one was the first on anybody’s list. It was only many years later that I realized it’s actually part of a song, and one, too, that is all about riddles. Hasrat Jaipuri, in this absolutely delightful song, channels his inner Amir Khusro and creates a stunning bunch of riddles that hit the nail on the head. Each time. From a peacock to a red chilli, from a pomegranate to an ear of maize, a quartet of four everyday things that are immortalized in one song.

6. Dil mera ek aas ka panchhi (Aas ka Panchhi, 1961): It’s interesting to see how Hasrat puts a different spin on the same trope, keeping in mind different situations. The bird, flying free in the sky, takes on a different symbolism in this song, when compared to Panchhi banoon udti phiroon. The bird of Panchhi banoon udti phiroon is merely rejoicing in its freedom, in the happiness that comes from being unchained. It has no aim, no destination. The bird of Dil mera ek aas ka panchhi, however, is not aimless: this one flies up with a goal in mind. The sky is where it’s headed, as high as it will go. An inspiring song, and one where the music and the rendition really add to the lyrics.

7. Yaad kiya dil ne kahaan ho tum (Patita, 1953): A love song, but one with a difference. This is not the sizzling romance of an Is rang badalti duniya mein or the dreaminess of a O mere shah-e-khubaan; this is the love that comes as salvation. Usha Kiran’s character, repressed and exploited, left pregnant by a brutal rapist, finds herself utterly bereft and alone—but into her life comes this man (Dev Anand) who loves her for who she is, and who does not (unlike the rest of the world) hold her responsible for her misfortunes. His love turns her life around, and this is what comes through in this comforting, warm song of a love that is truly deep, truly supportive. While it’s hardly surprising that she should regard him with a certain level of gratitude, what I love is that he reciprocates that feeling: he is grateful to her for coming into his life.

8. Raat aur din diya jale (Raat aur Din, 1967): Nargis’s last role (?) had her playing a schizophrenic woman, part of the time a docile, ‘good’ wife and daughter-in-law, the rest of the time a fashionably Westernized, dancing-drinking-singing woman out painting the town red. As the conflicted Baruna, trying desperately to find her way through the mists of her own mind, Nargis put up a fine performance—and this song is an insight into what this character is going through. I like the way Hasrat manages to portray, through the lyrics, the sense of bootlessness, of loss and confusion that Baruna feels. An emotion, too, for which she herself cannot account.

9. O mere shah-e-khubaan (Love in Tokyo, 1966): For me, this is one of the most romantic songs in Hindi cinema. Part of that, of course, has to do with Mohammad Rafi’s fabulous rendition of O mere shah-e-khubaan. Part, too, owes itself to the fact that the setting (a Japanese garden) is lovely, Asha Parekh and Joy Mukherji provide much eye candy, and the situation oozes romance: she doesn’t know he has seen through her disguise, and has been weeping over a lost love…

But if you look beyond the music, Rafi’s voice, and the picturization, Hasrat’s lyrics too are sublime. The companion who is always beside the lover, through the wilderness and the desert. Whose beauty and love light up his life; like whom there is none other… Momin Khan Momin was the one who had come up with that classic ‘Tum mere paas hote ho goya, jab koi doosra nahin hota’ (in exchange for which Ghalib was ready to give up his entire corpus of poetry), but Hasrat is the one who takes up that thought and weaves a song out of it that breathes romance in every line. Stunning.

10. Woh chaand khila woh taare hanse (Anari, 1959): And, to end this list, another romantic song. While the refrain of this song (and the entire picturization of it) is playful, teasing, the lyrics of the song make it clear that Nutan’s character, while she does pull the leg of her rather naïve beloved, also loves him a lot. Besides being a wonderful love song, this is also one of the most exquisite descriptions of a night that I’ve come across: the imagery (‘taaron ka jaal’, ‘chanda ki chaal mastaani’, etc) is memorable—and all of it ties in so beautifully with the theme of love.

Happy birthday, Hasrat. May your words never be forgotten.


45 thoughts on “Ten of my favourite Hasrat Jaipuri Songs

  1. Wow, 8 songs out of 10 composed by SJ One each for Dattaram SDB Actually very difficult to choose 10 out of so many gems. Good effort


  2. I would have chosen one song from Sehra composed by Ramlal ‘tumko pyar ho sajna………or one of those haunting songs ‘all’ from Tere Ghar ke Samne My first choice would have been yeh tanhaiyee haye jaane….by Lata


  3. Hasrat Jaipuri has left us with “Hasrat” for more songs from him. Unke Khayal Aaye To( Lal Pathar), Ehsan tera hoga mujh par(Junglee),Tum mujhe yoon bhula na paaoge(pagla kahin ka),Zindagi ek safar hai suhana(Andaz) are a few more of Hasrat’s immortal songs which will remain so long as people retain their desire for soulful songs & songs which can lessen burdens of life ( andaz)set to music


    • I had forgotten this post, AK, but yes, truly difficult to tell the two men apart. Their songs have too many overlaps, too many points of similarity for anybody to be able to pick one song and confidently identify it as being from either Hasrat or Shailendra.


  4. Extraordinary post like always. It’s such a pleasant surprise to see Haal-e-Dil Hamaara from Shreeman Satyavadi in this list. I had seen this movie on Doordarshan around four decades back and this particular song pierced my heart like an arrow. Today this movie and this song both appear to have been forgotten. I have seen Ziddi and love to listen to its songs (especially Teri Soorat Se Nahin Milti Kisi Ki Soorat) but never took notice of the song mentioned by you. Now I will listen to it attentively.


    • Thank you so much, Jitendraji. I too recall watching Shriman Satyawadi many years ago on DD (and being very surprised by Mehmood’s unusual role). To me, too, this song is the one that really stood out, back then and even now.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Sathya. And yes, I do love the way Hasrat uses nature to put across different messages – and how often he uses the same elements from nature in subtly different ways, too. A true master.


  5. Though I would never rate Hasrat equal to Sahir, Majrooh and Shailendra, i like his combination with Shankar Jaikishen a lot. That is a fine list. the tune of ‘Is rang badalti duniya mein’ always reminded me of ‘ehsan tera hoga mujhpar’, seemed like a followup to it. personally, prefer the Rajkumar song, both music and lyrics.
    some other songs of Hasrat which come to mind, all well known, and plenty of RK as well ;)
    1.Pankh Hote To Ud Aati Re (Sehra)
    2.Jaoon Kahan Bataa Ae Dil (Choti Behen)
    3. Jane kahan gaye wo din (Mera nama joker)
    4. Sama hai suhana suhana, nashe mein jahan hai (Ghar Ghar Ki Kahani)
    5. Aansoo bhari hai yeh jeevan ki raahen; and ;
    Masti bhara hai sama (Parvarish)
    6. Jaane Na Nazar Pehchane Jigar (Aah)
    7.Gumnaam Hai Koi (Gumnaam)
    8. Kaun Hai jo sapnon mein aaya (Jhuk gaya aasmaan)


    • Some really good songs there, in your list. A couple of them (the title song of Jhuk Gaya Aasmaan and Jaoon kahaan bata ae dil) were on my shortlist, so I’m especially happy to see them here too! Jaane kahaan gaye woh din, much as I hate the picturization (and RK as clown, which gives me the shudders), has great lyrics – really good.


  6. on a different note, I am surprised that Patita (1953) has not been reviewed on this blog. It might be the best film Dev Anand did outside Navketan and Guru Dutt’s films in the 50s. Very unusual and progressive from what I recall, considering its leading lady’s character in the film and the fate of such women in films of later supposedly ‘modern’ (?) decades. It deserves to be much better known.
    Also its soundtrack, along with Daag (1952) taught me to always check credits of composers. when one looks at the hero and the singers for him in Patita, one would guess SD Burman (he did Taxi Driver later with Dev and had Talat sing for him and was already the only one to have Hemant as the voice of Dev). on the other hand, Daag sometimes gets mistaken for being Naushad’s score. Both the films were composed by Shankar Jaikishen and are good examples of composers giving great music to films outside the banners and stars they are strongly connected with.
    Btw, is Shriman Satyawadi a precursor to Satyakam?


    • Yes, I should review Patita; it’s such an unusually progressive film, especially for its time. And it had some great songs, even other than Yaad kiya dil ne; Hain sabse madhur woh geet ranks as one of my favourite Shailendra songs.

      Talking of Shriman Satyawadi vis-a-vis Satyakam… I don’t know, honestly. RK did a lot of these sort of films, no, about very honest and upright men whose honesty ends up being their downfall? It’s been very long since I watched both of these films, but if I remember correctly, Satyakam is also very different in general tone – more realistic, whereas Shriman Satyawadi is fairly conventional masala movie type. I could be wrong, though.


  7. A great list!
    I always wonder about your ability to come up with ten songs. I would have ended up with a couple of parts at least. One dedicated to SJ- Hasrat Jaipuri combo and second on his association with other composers.
    As always I missed the birth centenary year. Not a surprise I guess!
    Anyway, thank you for a beautiful post. I enjoyed a much awaited relaxation on a Saturday evening with these songs. Except the first song, I like all the other ones. Mainly, Yaad Kiya Dil ne and Haal e Dil Hamara.


    • I’m glad you liked this, Anupji! Thank you.

      “One dedicated to SJ- Hasrat Jaipuri combo and second on his association with other composers.

      Please do! I would love to read that, whenever possible. Still many months to go in his birth centenary year, so… :-)


  8. Is it surprising that I did a Hasrat Jaipuri list on his birth anniversary 4 years ago? :)
    What is surprising is that we have only two songs in common – Is rang badalti duniya mein and Yaad kiya dil ne kahaan ho tum, though we do have two other films in common as well – Ziddi and Chori Chori.
    From my list then: Neel gagan ki chhaon mein from Amrapali and Duniya bananewale from Teesri Kasam. And to reinforce your point about how much he was inspired by nature, Dil ka bhanwar kare pukaar from Tere Ghar ke Saamne. :)

    What a lot of lovely songs he wrote, to be sure!


    • I had forgotten you’d done a Hasrat post, though actually I’m not too surprised that we had only two songs in common – with the huge number of absolutely lovely songs he wrote, there was so much to choose from, I’m perhaps a little surprised that we even had those two songs in common. But I must admit that Duniya banaanewaali was on my shortlist. :-)


  9. I liked that your idea to post about lyricists. Oftentimes they are rarely celebrated for their contributions. I especially love your mentions ‘Yaad kiya dil ne’, ‘woh chand khila’.

    Here are my favourites
    कहता हैं समय का उजीयारा एक चन्द्र भी आनेवाला हैं
    इन ज्योत की प्यासी अखियन को अंखियों से पिलानेवाला हैं
    जब पात हवा से बजते हैं, हम चौंक के राहें तकते हैं
    दिल पंछी बन उड़ जाता हैं, हम खोये खोये रहते हैं

    ‘Neel Gagan ki chhao mein’ from ‘Amrapali’ is exquisite in entirety – the dance, music, sets, costumes not to forget Vaijayanti Mala.
    And actor’s expressions go hand in hand with beautiful lyrics by Hasratji.

    In my teenage years, ‘Yeh mera prem patra padhkar’ was sniggered at by girls, as they (or someone they knew) would have received at least one letter proclaiming the same. Somewhere down the line, I watched movie and was hooked by Sitaar prelude, Rafi’s sublime voice and mukhada in that order. I heard the anecdote that Hasratji had written such a letter in his younger days. I often wonder how impressed would have been the original recipient.

    मैंने क्या जुर्म किया, आप खफा हो बैठे
    प्यार मांगा था, खुदाई तो नहीं माँगी थी
    I often feel that Rafi’s mellow voice and Dev Anand’s onscreen charm, often overshadow earnest and teasing lyrics of ‘Teri zulfo se judaai to nahi maangi thi’ from ‘Jab Pyar Kisise Hota Hai’

    तुझ से रोशन हुई दिल की गहराइयाँ
    तेरे चेहरे की झिलमिल से मंज़िल मिली
    ऐसी प्यारी पूनम सर आँखों पर …
    When Hasratji write these lines in ‘Tuze Jeevan ki Dor se’ in ‘Asli Naqli’, he is not merely describing Sadhana’s beauty, he is describing love’s deep impact on lover’s mind. It is such a sweet romantic song.

    अपने बीमार-ए-ग़म को देख ले, हो सके तो तू हमको देख ले
    तूने देखा ना होगा ये समां, कैसे जाता है दम तो देख ले
    ‘Aaja re ab mera dil pukara’ from ‘Aah’ is anguish personified.

    जान पर मेरी बनी, आपकी ठहरी हंसी
    हाय मैं जान गई, प्यार की फितनागरी
    दिल जलाने के लिये, ठंडी आहें न भरो
    देखो रूठा ना करो…
    ‘Dekho Rutha Na karo’ from ‘Tere Ghar ke Saamne’ is pure mush.

    कल तेरे जलवे पराये भी होंगे
    लेकिन झलक मेरे ख़्वाबों में होगी
    फूलों की डोली में होगी तू रुखसत
    लेकिन महक मेरे साँसों में होगी
    ‘Dil ke zarokhe mein’ from ‘Bramhachari’ is not just about flashy sets and dance, heavy orchestration, handsome Shammi. Its soul is lyrics (and Rafi’s voice)

    ‘हमारी जान हो तुम भी, अगर चल दीं तो फ़िर क्या है
    तुम्हारे बिन, बहारों में, ख़ुशी क्या है, मज़ा क्या है
    ओ जान-ए-मन न जाओ तुम किसी का दम निकलता है’
    I have a love-hate relationship with ‘Chale Jana jara thehro’ from ‘Around the World’. I can’t bear watching elderly Raj Kapoor romancing young Rajashree, neither do I like to hear Sharada’s sweet but heavily accented voice. But whenever I hear, it is on repeated mode due to lyrics, music and Mukesh.

    मतवाले चाँद सूरज, तेरा उठाये डोला
    तुझको ख़ुशी की परिया, घर तेरे लेके जाएं
    इस दिल में जल रही हैं अरमान की चिताएं
    ‘Taqdeer ka Fasana’ from ‘Sehra’ is beautiful

    अपने दिल का दामन भर लो, मर जाओगे प्यार कर लो
    कल का सपना किस ने देखा, इन राहों से आज गुज़र लो
    अजी ऐसा मौका फिर कहाँ मिलेगा, हमारे जैसा दिल कहाँ मिलेगा
    आओ तुमको दिखलाता हूँ, पैरिस की एक रंगीं शाम,
    देखो देखो देखो देखो देखो ‘An Evening in Paris’
    Clearly written to meter and yet quite entertaining lyrics about Paris nightlife.


    • Thank you for that long and well-thought out comment, and all those songs! I agree with pretty much all of those; they’re all wonderful – the only song that I wish had been done differently is the one from Around the World. Sharda is terrible and the picturization gives me the heebie-jeebies. Such a shame that such beautiful lyrics were wasted on this.


  10. Lovely list, Madhuji! Even I wonder how the choice of the lyricist was made by SJ. Thus, there are many movies of SJ where both have penned songs, though the distribution maybe lopsided – Dil Apna Aur Preet Parayi being an example. Only two out of 7 songs of this movie were written by Hasrat Jaipuri.
    My Hasrat Jaipuri favourite is from Anarkali with C . Ramchandra being the music director. Mohaabat Aisi Dhadkan Hain. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KXA_saSWFYs


    • Thank you, I’m so glad you enjoyed this post. And thank you for adding Mohabbat aisi dhadkan hai – a beautiful song. I must admit I’d forgotten about it, mostly because I tend to forget the other songs of Anarkali; the only ones I really remember are Jaag dard-e-ishq jaag and Aaja ab toh aaja meri kismet ke khareedaar… and both I remember for the music, rather than the lyrics.


  11. I very much enjoyed your comments on these. Nearly all were songs that I have heard, but of which the music wasn’t much to my taste. It was both a useful and a pleasant exercise to reconsider them from a lyrical perspective. The excerpts you type up and discuss are extremely helpful to my poor Hindi : )


  12. I loved the way you analyzed these so familiar songs that I replayed them in my head and was surprised to find that lyrics that I had taken for granted by humming them incessantly had a meaning that I had missed. There are some songs, some on this list, that one is so familiar with that after sometime you stop paying attention to the lyrics. Reading your analysis was certainly an eye-opener. Nice job!


  13. I like your descriptions for the songs. It makes me appreciate the songs more.

    Here’s a beautiful song “O Mere Pyar aaja” from Bhoot Bungla. Tanuja looks lovely.


  14. Thank you for bringing back to memory, these ever green songs composed by Hasrat Jaipuri. Of course, the music directors and the playback singers play important roles but, as you have said, where will they be without the lyrics?


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