Old Hindi songs and the subtle Punjabi touch

The old Hindi film songs are known for the use of Urdu words and a subtle touch of Punjabi. Listen to the Hindi songs from 1950s, 1960s and 1970s and you will feel this bias. However, this influence has slowly faded away over the recent years…

Listen to old songs from Indian Hindi movies (now called Bollywood movies), you will notice two things:
1. A lot of songs are written in pure Urdu,
2. There is a clear influence of Punjabi language/wording on a lot of old Hindi (or Urdu) songs.
To understand this influence, you have look at the history of Indian Cinema in early 1900s. Before the Indian Partition in 1947, even though the movie production was concentrated in Bombay, north India was a prime spot for shooting the actual film scenes. Lahore and Delhi were commonly used for urban settings; the Kashmir valley and the Himalayan foothills were the key spots for natural scenery and natural beauty.
The political and religious unrest in Punjab in 1940s played into the Punjabi infusion into Hindi cinema. Many Lahore based actors, directors and singers moved to Bombay to avoid living amongst the riots and the social divisions. The likes of B.R. Chopra, Mohammed Rafi, Sahir Ludhianvi, Verma Malik… were impacted by the Punjab Partition and all of them made their name in Bombay film industry sooner or later. Pran, our favorite ‘Villain of the Millennium’, started in Lahore in Punjabi cinema in 19040, his first film was Yamla Jat. After acting in several movies in Lahore, he moved to Bombay after 1947 partition of India.
In early 1900s, Punjab was one of the most prosperous region of India and Punjabi actors were preferred for the lead/main roles because of their fair complexion and taller/stronger stature. Starting with Prithviraj Kapoor (Kapoor family), Rajesh Khanna, Sunil Dutt, Dharmendra… Punjabi dominance in Bombay film industry was very noticeable and they brought Punjabi culture with them. Even more is true about poets and song writers.
For example, if you listen to ‘Roti Kapda Aurr Makaan’ movie’s songs, there is a clear Punjabi influence. The song ‘Mehangai Maar Gayi’ starts with a mixture Urdu and Punjabi:
‘Usne kahaa tu kaun hain, maine kahaa ulfat teri
usne kahaa takta hai kya, maine kahaa surat teri
usne puchhaa chaahata hai kya, maine kahaa chaahat teri
maine kahaa samjhaa nahi, usne kahaa kismat teri…’ Continue reading “Old Hindi songs and the subtle Punjabi touch”

Rafi – the versatile maestro of Indian Music

Just try to imagine soulful and broken-heart songs from Guru Dutt without the playback voice of Rafi.Shammi Kapoor’s jumping jack and light hearted dance numbers are impossible without Rafi.Rafi is one of the most versatile singers of all times; his voice and his music is simply irreplaceable…

“I am incomplete without Mohammad Rafi. I used to often go for the recoding of my song, which was sung by Rafi, only because I used to like telling him how I would perform on this song on screen so that he can sing it that way. Even he liked my involvement” ~ Shammi Kapoor

This is an understatement that Mohammed Rafi has left a lasting and permanent impression on the Indian music. In fact, Rafi and Indian film music are inseparable.

Just try to imagine the soulful and broken-heart songs from Guru Dutt without the playback voice of Rafi; or try imagining Dev Anand’s movies without Rafi’s songs – ranging from romantic to sad. Shammi Kapoor’s jumping-jack and light-hearted dance numbers are impossible without Rafi. It is inconceivable to think of Indian movies of 50s, 60s and 70s without Rafi’s melodies.

When it comes to the Indian Music, Rafi was a true genius. From classical to folk, from sad to romantic, from religious to dancing tunes – he was able to sing every genre with equal finesse. For every mood, for every occasion, you can always find memorable numbers from Rafi. The man could sing anything, and in any range of octaves.

“Chaudhvin Ka Chand Ho”(1960, Chaudhvin Ka Chand)
“Chahunga Main Tujhe” (1964, Dosti)
“Baharo Phool Barsao” (1966, Suraj)
“Dil Ke Jharoke Mein” (1968, Brahmachari)
“Kya Hua Tera Wada” (1977, Hum Kisi Se Kum Nahin)
“Maine Poocha Chand Se” (1980, Abdullah)
“Yeh Jo Chilman Hai” (1971, Mehboob Ki Mehandi)
“Khilona Jaan Kar” (1970, Khilona)
“Suhani Raat Dhal Chuki” (1949, Dulari) Continue reading “Rafi – the versatile maestro of Indian Music”

Pardesi songs! Best Bollywood songs for the NRIs and Indians abroad!

The ‘pardesi songs’ carry the theme and the emotions of Indians living abroad. Being away from their birth-place, separated from their loved ones left behind, starting a new life in a new country… and the distance itself – a mixture of emotions come into the picture…

The best pardesi songs – Best Bollywood songs with NRIs and ‘Indians abroad’ theme!

Pardesi is someone living away form their mother land, living away from home in another country, a foreigner. This article is dedicated to all those pardesi souls and NRIs around the world.

The ‘pardesi songs’ often carry the theme and the emotions of Indians living abroad. Being away from their birth-place, being separated from their loved ones left behind, starting a new life in a new country… and the distance itself – a mixture of emotions come into the picture. There are lots of patriotic songs and good ones too. However, the ones included here are more related to the unique situations of living overseas, rather than regular patriotic songs. Here are some of the best Bollywood songs that many NRIs and Indians living abroad can relate to:

1. Chithi Aayee hai (Movie: Naam): One of the best songs that directly connects to all the feelings of Indians who have migrated from India, but still miss their motherland. Beautiful lyrics tell a touching story of an average immigrant.
Tune paisa bahut kamaya
Es paise ne des chhudaya….

Pankaj Udhas’s melodious voice adds to the appeal of this evergreen and super-hit song.

2. Bharat ka rehne walaa hoon (Movie: Purab Aur Pachhim): ‘Hai Preet Jahan Ki Reet Sada / Jab Zero Diya Mere Bharat Ne’ is one of the most memorable song that highlights the virtues of India and the Indian culture, especially for those who live overseas. This number has ideal settings – featured in England with crowd including Indians, hippies and English audience. Mahendra Kapoor’s voice and Manoj Kumar’ acting is a winning combination. Continue reading “Pardesi songs! Best Bollywood songs for the NRIs and Indians abroad!”

Bollywood Quiz – Kishore Kumar, the legend

Kishore Kumar – one for the all-time great voices of Hindi film music. The quiz 6 below is based on the trivial questions about this legendary Bollywood playback singer. Other similar quizzes are linked here.

Kishore Kumar – one for the all-time great voices of Hindi film music. The quiz 6 below is based on the trivial questions about this legendary Bollywood playback singer.

Many more similar quizzes are linked below, give it a try!

Good luck! 🙂

Kishore Kumar's legal name was:





Kishore Kumar was famous for this style of singling that involved making a high-low-high-low sound (an extended note which rapidly and repeatedly changes in pitch from the vocal or chest register to the falsetto/head register).





Kishore Kumar's son also became a Bollywood singer in 1980s, his name is





This actor was commonly supported by Kishore Kumar's voice as a playback singer in the film songs:





Kishore Kumar's second wife was the famous actress.....





During the Indian Emergency (1975–1977), Sanjay Gandhi asked Kishore Kumar to sing for a Congress rally in Mumbai, but Kishore Kumar refused. As a result, the Government put a ban on playing Kishore Kumar songs on....





Kishore Kumar won 1982 filmfare award for this famous song from Namak Halaal:







Other Quizzes:
Know your Bollywood?:A Bollywood quiz about old movies of yesteryears!
Bollywood Trivia Quiz: A well rounded quiz about Bollywood and the Indian Cinema. Try it!
Evergreen playback singers of Bollywood!The quiz is on the all-time popular playback singers of Bollywood!

Continue reading “Bollywood Quiz – Kishore Kumar, the legend”