Ten of my favourite ‘secondary romantic couple’ songs

Think of ‘Hindi film song’ and chances are, you will think of a romantic song. A hero and a heroine, in a garden or under a moonlit sky, singing of their love for each other: the quintessential Hindi film song. But besides the heroes and heroines, there were often, too, the secondary couple. The man was often the hero’s sidekick, the best friend who helped him defeat the villain, overcome the objections of the disapproving father, and so on. The comic best pal’s love interest, too, was often of a similar bent of mind: good-hearted, nutty, comic in her own way. Also (oh so stereotypically) often an Anglo-Indian or a Goan, a girl who had few inhibitions about dancing and singing with her man.

The secondary romantic pair served several purposes. They provided, if not comic relief, at least some moments of light-heartedness (think Johnny Walker’s and Kumkum’s characters in the otherwise so grim Pyaasa). They brought a ray of hope, a refreshing change from the melodrama and seriousness that might plague the hero and heroine; they often helped in very concrete, practical ways. And, thankfully for us, they invariably had at least one romantic song to lip-sync to, and it was often just as good as the ‘main’ romantic songs. Some of these, in fact, are iconic songs in their own right.

So, to get down to this list: ten songs picturized on a secondary romantic couple. Most of these are duets, but some are not. As always, these are all from pre-1970s Hindi films that I’ve seen. In no particular order:

1. Jaane kahaan mera jigar gaya ji (Mr & Mrs 55, 1955): Johnny Walker must hold some sort of record for most songs picturized on somebody who wasn’t usually a lead actor (though he did play the lead in several films). In any film in which Johnny Walker was a supporting actor, and his character was given a romance of his own, you could be sure there would be a song picturized on him and his leading lady. This one is my favourite, as he and Yasmin go singing and dancing through an office that’s mostly deserted (though there’s a peon around, watching them with a bemused look) because everybody else has gone for lunch. The lyrics are delightful, the music is bubbly and peppy, and Johnny Walker and Yasmin are simply superb.

2. Sanam tuh chal diya rasta (Maya, 1961): Agha teams up here with none other than a bubbly and very pretty Helen as he romances her (by basically telling her that her going away and leaving him to his own devices isn’t going to dampen his spirits). The setting is very public: they’re in a chawl, surrounded by all the people who live there (including Edwina Lyons, dressed in a kashta sari, though sadly not dancing). A peppy and delightful little song; what I love is the playfulness in Helen’s expression and in her dancing (pretending to waltz with her tiny little handbag, for instance) and Agha’s corresponding funniness. I love that he does dance a bit, but that it’s a slapdash sort of dancing: he is no Fred Astaire, and he doesn’t pretend to be one.

3. Nain tumhaare mazedaar (Junglee, 1961): Her bubbliness suppressed (ineffectually, as it happens) by a tyrannical mother (Lalita Pawar) and a stiff, unbending older brother (Shammi Kapoor), Shashikala’s character, nevertheless, escapes their tyranny every now and then—and falls in love with one of her brother’s employees (Anoop Kumar). As they sing about how delightful they find each other’s company, these two do the rounds of all the conventional ‘romance song’ backdrops: the lakeshore, the seaside with the pounding surf, the mountainside, but with their mad cavorting, his tripping and falling every now and then, her vivacious teasing: no, you can’t mistake this couple for the (usually) more sedate romantic lead pair. 

Nain tumhaare mazedaar, from Junglee

4. Arre na na na na tauba tauba (Aar Paar, 1954): Johnny Walker was arguably the one actor who had umpteen songs of this type picturized on him: his character romancing a feisty female, often with as good a sense of humour as his, both of them getting up to various antics that made romance a funny, playful, teasing matter, not the serious stuff of the leads. Also (unlike some of his contemporaries, notably Mehmood), many of the songs Johnny Walker lip-synced to were very good songs in their own right.

Take this one, where he is paired with the girl whom he married shortly after, Noor. Noor and Johnny go all over the zoo, keeping one step ahead of her bossy mother. He tries to woo her, she rebuffs him, but with a twinkle in her eye: she isn’t immune to his charms, after all. A delightful song (and what delightful lyrics, too).

5. Hum toh hain tum pe dil se fida (Bewaqoof, 1960): IS Johar was not always the supporting actor; in several films (mostly his own productions) he was the hero. In Bewaqoof, though he did have a fairly major role to play as Kishore Kumar’s friend and confidant, it was Kishore who got first billing. Even then, IS Johar got to lip-sync to Mohammad Rafi’s wonderful rendition of a very romantic song. IS Johar’s character walks along, following his lady love (played by Krishna Kumari), singing to her of his feelings. He’s persuasive enough to have her melt by the end. This also one of the rare songs where Johar isn’t looking half bad, really; even handsome in places.

Interestingly, the music of the opening lines/refrain bears a striking resemblance to that of a section from Kya teri mehfil hai sanam from China Town (1962). China Town had its music composed by Ravi; Bewaqoof by SD Burman.

6. Jaa jaa re jaa deewaane jaa (Grahasti, 1963): Mehmood and Shubha Khote were paired in many films, often with him playing the role of the hero’s friend, she the heroine’s saheli. And when they co-starred, they invariably had at least one song together, from melodious classical ones like Ajhun na aaye baalama saawan beeta jaaye (Saanjh aur Savera, 1964) to wacky ones like Main tere pyaar mein kya-kya na banaa (Ziddi, 1964) to lots in between. This is one of my favourites, because it’s such a hummable song, and so likeable. Shubha Khote is very pretty and vivacious, and the nutty sort-of dance in the garden lets them match steps well.

7. Aaja meri jaan tere qurbaan (Ummeed, 1962): Ummeed is a film which left me a bit mystified. It’s nothing exceptional, but not awful either. And while it does have a release date (supposedly) of 1962, the film was obviously made much later: Joy Mukherjee, Nanda, and Leela Naidu, all look considerably older than they did in 1962. But the film had excellent music (by Ravi), including some hit songs like Mujhe ishq hai tujhi se meri jaan-e-zindgaani and Humne chaaha magar kuchh keh na paaye. And, this delightful little song, picturized on Agha and Sabita Chatterjee, who plays his love interest. Peppy and fun, it’s a cute little romantic number that I like a lot.

8. Thoda sa dil lagaake dekh (Musafir Khana, 1955): The thing in common between this song and the previous one? In both the love birds find their song and dance broken up by the arrival of a disapproving parent (parents, in this case). But before that happens, Shammi and Johnny Walker are in their element, she trying to bolster his spirits and telling him that even if he can’t be hers, he’d do well to try making her his. A sweetly romantic sentiment, and I love the joyous playfulness of these two, as he strums on his Hawaiian steel guitar and Shammi prances about. The music itself is fabulous (OP Nayyar, obviously heavily inspired by Sugarbush when it comes to the refrain, but putting his own spin on the popular tune), and Shamshad Begum and Rafi sing it with characteristic verve.

9. Suno suno Miss Chatterjee (Baharein Phir Bhi Aayengi, 1966): Johnny Walker again (and no, even this isn’t the last song featuring him; he acted in so many songs of this type, there could be a Johnny Walker post dedicated only to secondary romance songs in which he appears). From the classic love triangle, Bahaarein Phir Bhi Aayengi, is this frothy and light-hearted song in which Johnny Walker’s character goes all across Kolkata, trying desperately to win back his sweetheart (Madhavi).  When, to shake him off, she climbs into a tram, he pursues her on a bicycle, before getting on to the tram himself; and then, into a garden which is (of course, this being Hindi cinema) full of dozens of young Anglo-Indians, dancing for all they’re worth. Johnny Walker is, as always, fun, and the first half of the song is quite a good showcase of Kolkata in the late 60s. 

10. Kal talak hum theek thha (Detective, 1958): And, to end the list, yet another Johnny Walker song. Detective, with music by the underrated Mukul Roy (Geeta Dutt’s brother) is mostly known for the songs picturized on its leads, Mala Sinha and Pradeep Kumar: Do chamakti aankhon mein kal khwaab sunehra thha jitna and Mujhko tum jo mile being the standouts. But right up there among my favourites from this film is this song, with Johnny Walker and an actress I don’t recognize singing of their love under a moonlit sky. I love the pep and fun of this song, and I invariably end up comparing it to Mujhko tum jo mile: two similar situations (lovers meeting at night), but played out so differently!

Which other songs of this type do you like? Please share.

46 thoughts on “Ten of my favourite ‘secondary romantic couple’ songs

  1. I love this list! Thanks to my own great love, academic and otherwise, for Johnny Walker. ‘Bambai meri jaan’ from C.I.D. (not on this list) tends to get more play than many of the others so it’s wonderful to see lesser-known numbers here, especially the delightfully playful ‘Suno suno Miss Chatterjee’. Thanks, Madhu!

  2. My personal favourite is the Musafir khana song-and the contribution of the Guitar by Hazara Singh(who also played it in the same style in Mera naam Chinchinchoo) cannot be overstated in making this song so memorable.
    Another memorable song that comes to mind is “Main jaan gayi tohe Saiyaan” .

    • I agree, Papa! Thoda sa dil lagaake dekh is really wonderful – and Hazara Singh’s playing plays a huge part in it. I also like Main jaan gayi tohe saiyyaan a lot.

    • Thank you for this song, Anitaji! I like this one a lot.

      I am really looking forward to your post. If you still need suggestions for other couples, here are two songs featuring secondary romantic pairs:

      Here’s Vijay Kumar (Waheed, brother of Johnny Walker) with Nazima in Poochho toh naam bhi apna from Dillagi::

      And, a very different type of song, but definitely featuring the secondary romantic couple; Prem Chopra – and Nazima again (does that go against your rule?) in Aaj pila de saaqi from Doli:

  3. Great list! I was immediately reminded of several Mehmood – Shubha Khote songs including this one from Love in Tokyo

    • This is my favorite too. What a superb rendition by Manna Dey. Poor Manna Dey, he got stuck with Mehmood but what wonderful songs he sang for him.

    • Yes, Main tere pyaar ka beemaar is such a fun song. Mehmood and Shubha Khote did indeed have a lot of good songs featuring the two of them, plus Manna Dey was superb as Mehmood’s voice.

  4. I would certainly add Mahendra Kapoor/Asha Bhonsle duet ‘din hein bahar ke tere mere……..Sahir/Ravi from Waqt Shashi Kapoor/Sharmila on whom it was picturized were secondary stars then atleast in the film

  5. Dear Madhu – Love the selection and you started with Jaane kahan mera jigar, which I love. Another of my favorites from Howrah Bridge – Tujhe jaan gayi main saiyan.

  6. I remember ‘Phool Gendwa na maro’ from Dooj ka chand’ when Agha lip syncs to the sound of a gramophone ( I think Praveen Paul was opposite him). Must be the first example of this type. Repeated in Padosan, of course!

    • This is so uncanny. I watched Dooj ka Chaand just last week. But by then I’d already compiled and written up this post, so I decided to skip Phool gendwa na maaro even though it fitted in this list. That makes me even happier to see you mention it, thank you!

  7. Love the theme, Madhu. You’re right – you could make a whole list of secondary songs featuring just Johnny Walker. Here’s one from 12 O’ Clock: Dekh idhar ae haseena featuring Johnny Walker and Ashita Majumdar.

    Seema Deo and Sailesh Kumar in Bhabhi ki Chudiyaan – Kahan ud chale man pran mere

    Poonam Dhillon and Sachin in TrishulGapuchi gaphuch gam gam

    Howrah Bridge – Mohbbat ka haath jawani ka palla – Sundar and Kammo

    You have a screen shot from this song, but since you didn’t post it, I took the liberty. :)
    Mehmood and Shubha Khote in Choti Bahen – Main rangeela pyar ka raahi

    And Kishore Kumar and Kalpana in Pyar Kiye Jaa – Dil hum ne le liya ( I suppose Kishore would be considered the second lead here?) If not, there’s always Mehmood and Mumtaz from the same film – O meri maina.

    Rishi and Neetu in Kabhi Kabhie – Tere chehre se nazar nahin hath-ti

    • Thank you so much for all those great songs, Anu! A lo of my favourites there (and I’m hitting myself for not having remembered O meri maina – I love that one so much, and it would have fitted this list so well). I wasn’t absolutely sure that the Kishore-Kalpana pair in Pyaar Kiye Jaa would count as a secondary pair, or as on par with Shashi-Rajshree, but Mehmood-Mumtaz were definitely not the leads. :-)

      Also, your comment reminds me that I’m yet to watch Bhabhi ki Chudiyaan… someday, hopefully soon.

  8. THANK YOU for a great list! After seeing MY number 1 listed as YOUR number 1, I’m going to have to check the others I’ve not seen yet. “Jaane kahaan mera” is such an awesome mood-lifter, just thinking about it makes me smile, looking forward now to trying the rest, especially the Johnny Walkers

    • “Jaane kahaan mera” is such an awesome mood-lifter, just thinking about it makes me smile

      I couldn’t agree more; that’s such a wonderful song, and so perfect in every way. :-) Johnny Walker was a gem, and I think the verve and fizz he brought to his acting was probably infectious; I’ve seen loads of songs in which he manages to make other people around him too look like they’re having a lot of fun.

  9. Very good concept and nice list of songs. Enjoyed reading.
    To add,
    I know, not your favourite, but
    fits here
    Main tere pyar mein kya kya from Ziddi (Mehmood and Shubha khote),

    there could be a separate list of thier songs. In fact I had such a list in 2017. My favourites among their songs are songs from Sasural, Humrahi and Beti Bete. Not to forget, Saanjh aur sawera.

    And
    Ek baat hai kehne ki from Samson
    Amita and Firoz Khan

    I’ll more songs in case I remember.
    :-)

    • I hadn’t ever seen Ek baat hai kehne ki before; thank you for this, Anupji. This reminded me, when it comes to the situation, of Dhalti jaaye raat, in which the song is not sung by the lead pair but by another (in that case, not a couple who actually have a story of their own; just played by dancers, that’s all). The song of the ‘others’ voices the sentiments of the lead pair.

      Glad you enjoyed this post, thank you!

  10. What a great theme, Madhu! I like all the songs you’ve posted and am not the least bit surprised to see Johnny Walker so heavily in it – he was such a joy to watch on screen.

    All the JW songs reminded me of Choo Mantar where he actually had the lead role and the secondary pair of Shyama and Karan Diwan scored this delightful, teasing number.
    Humne jab dil that diya – Choo Mantar/O.P. Nayyar/Mohammed Rafi – Shamshad Begum

    And here is Shyama again, this time with Rehman.
    O kali anar ki na itna satto – Chhoti Bahen/Shanker-Jaikishen/Asha Bhosle – Manna Dey

    • I had completely forgotten about Humne jab dil thha diya – thank you for that, Shalini! Lovely song. :-)

      Coincidentally enough, just the other day I was watching Kali anaar ki (in preparation for another song list, in the works…). Even though I’ve watched Chhoti Bahen, I completely forgot that these two were really a secondary romantic pair rather than the primary. What a wonderful song, though. And Shyama is a favourite of mine – so very watchable, always.

  11. Another nice song on a secondary pair is from Basera (1981) Tumhe Chhod Ke Ab Jeene Ko Jee Toh Nahin, picturised on Poonam Dhillon and Raj Kiran

      • :) Glad you liked it
        There is another one , Mausam Mausam , lovely Mausam from Thodi si Bewafai . Such songs, picturised on the non-lead pair , were a handy tool to establish a romantic relationship of the secondary pair, which cut down on unnecessary scenes allotted to them. Plus the opportunity to slide in a song always helps :)

            • Two of these songs I didn’t know of – the Hum and Dil Ashna Hai ones; and I must admit Mausam mausam lovely mausam, while tuneful and otherwise nice, always irritates me for that ‘lovely’ bit in it! I keep wishing the lyricist had used a non-English word instead. Just as is the case with Hum aur tum aur yeh samaa from College Girl, which also has that annoying lovely, lovely, lovely in it. :-)

  12. I did not notice any song of the Mehmood Aruna Irani duo. One song which sticks in the mind is Aaha aaha a hi nahi Abhi nahi from Man Mandir. They were a hot secondary pair in the seventies (and allegedly romantically involved too!)
    Nitin
    Nitin

    • Oh, good one! Yes, Mehmood and Aruna Irani did feature in several films and songs together as secondary romantic leads.

      Here’s another song which has them in it, Jodi hamaari jamega kaise jaani from Aulad, a song I find pretty funny.

  13. Wonderful list and suggesting some other songs.
    1) Tum arbon ka (sawa lakh ki lottery) from Chori Chori. Picturized on Bhagwan, dont remember who played his wife.
    2) Na bhawra no koi gul from Aarti. Picturized on Rajendranath and Vijaya Choudhury
    3) In baharon mein akele from Mamta. Dharmendra and Suchitra Sen being the secondary pair in the movie
    4) There were 2 duets in Grihasti featuring Manoj Kumar and Rajshri.
    5) Wondering if Abhi na kao chhod kar falls in to this category. Dev Anand & Nanda were the primary pair?

    • Thank you, both for the appreciation and for the songs you suggested – some really nice ones there. I had forgotten all about Na bhawra na koi gul, though I have seen Aarti.

      I think of both of Dev Anand’s characters in Hum Dono as pretty much on an equal footing, so their romances too would be equal. So, personally, I wouldn’t slot Abhi na jaao chhodkar as one of these songs.

  14. Ajahu na aaye balma sawan bita jaye, from_Sanjh Aur Sawera_Meena Kumari & Guru Dutt in lead role, and this beautiful song picturized on Mahmood and Shubha Khote.

  15. So many new songs for me. Any clue what happened to the bubbly Yasmeen from Jaane kahan? I always thought it a pity that she and Yashodhra Katju from Kismet ka Khel never made it to the big leagues. Parents obviously don’t fall into the secondary pair category. That rules out Anupama’s Dheere Dheere Machal. But I found their passionate,tragic love story a nice contrast to Sharmila and Dharmendra’s (mostly) silent love story.

    • As it happens, I do know what happened to Yasmin. She married makeup artist Jimmy VIning shortly after Mr & Mrs 55 was made, and subsequently left films. I agree with you that she (and Yashodhara Katju) never made it big. Both were excellent actresses, and so very watchable.

      Oh, I think Dheere-dheere machal certainly qualifies! They are a romantic couple, and they are secondary. And the song is such a wonderful one. :-)

  16. I recently saw “Kahin Din Kahin Raat,” in which yet another Johnny Walker song charmed me:

    Not only is the melody very pleasant, but so are the views of the city.

    These songs all have an ethos that is not, to my mind, entirely summed up by their belonging to the secondary romantic couple. As you mention up top–and as most readers’ suggestions have continued to bear out–we think of these songs as being lighthearted and often overtly humorous. Some films get so replete with characters and romantic narratives that responsibility for the “silly” song gets pushed on further down the line. For example, Anu had listed above the very goofy “Gapoochi Gapoochi Gam Gam.” “Trishul” doesn’t even have especially many characters, nor is it a two-hero film. Yet “Gapoochi Gapoochi Gam Gam” seems clearly to belong to the category of song we’re discussing, whereas “Jaaneman Tum Kamaal Karte Ho” (belonging to the proper “second” couple of the film) is very different in flavor.

    • Oh, yes. Yaarin ki tamanna hai is a nice song – this film had some good songs, but all wasted on a complete nutter of a film (though some might argue that Kahin Din Kahin Raat falls into the “so bad it’s good” bracket).

      True about what you say regarding the secondary romantic pair song getting pushed down the line – I think it becomes ‘tertiary romantic couple’ in that sense.

      • I tricked myself badly with that film! I had thought I had seen and enjoyed it before. Turns out that I was actually thinking of “Kahin Aar Kahin Paar.”* I managed to find some enjoyment in “Kahin Din Kahin Raat”–it was frequently very pretty to look at–but man, oh, man, Biswajeet’s wig! I don’t know when I’ll recover.

        *Definitely a “nutter” too, from what I recall, but less serious and more self-aware.

        • Ah, I see. I think I’ve seen Kahin Aar Kahin Paar, but I’m not sure…

          “man, oh, man, Biswajeet’s wig! I don’t know when I’ll recover.

          Oh, God. Yes.

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