Multiple Versions Songs (17): Haunting Melodies in Different Moods And Settings

May 17, 2014

Guest article by Ashok M Vaishnav

(As the SoY regulars are aware, the series on  Multiple Version Songs has grown in dimension well beyond what was originally envisaged by Ashokji, about a year and half back.   Fortunately, SoY family has some tremendously talented and knowledgeable people, and they chipped in with guest articles, on my request, to cover various aspects of this theme. 

Following close on the heels of the last post on Rabindrasangeet-Pankaj Mullick, written by Venkaramanji, which was 16th in the series on the Multiple Version Songs, this post on Haunting Melodies in Spooky Films  just shows the enormous range of MVS.  The haunting melodies are meant to be repeated a number of times in the movie to create an effect of suspense, mystery, fear and eeriness.  It takes an analytical mind with sharp observation, like Ashokji’s, to decipher the varied moods and settings of the different versions of  such songs.  I am happy to present this article by him which widens the exploration of MVS. – AK)

Haunting MelodiesThe journey exploring a definite genre of Hindi film songs – Multiple Versions of A Song – has had several streams till now.

‘Haunting Melodies’ is a genre in itself in the film songs. These types of songs are normally the cornerstone of a thriller or a suspense drama. Typically, the song either precedes ‘that’ event in the narrative which builds the suspense or helps build aura of suspense around a character or a set of events in the film. In that sense, quite a few of the haunting melodies simply repeat in relation to the flow of the story. But there are quite a few which have major, or sometimes subtle, variations in lyrics, rhythm or orchestration – to amplify the differing events / situations in the film narrative.

This genre has also been very effectively used in several other storylines like multiple incarnations.

Here is my take of such songs:

1. Aayega aanewala by Lata Mangeshkar from Mahal (1949), lyrics Nakhshab Jarachvi, music Khemchand Prakash

It is just a coincidence that one of the most iconic songs of an equally iconic film is the first in the roll here, but had I chosen these songs in some specific order, the song would still have been the one to open the innings.

The song has two very well-known versions – one a slow one and another fast. Both versions have been used quite tellingly in the film, both in terms of the development of the plot as well as characterisation of the principal characters.


2. Kahin deep jale kahin dil by Lata Mangeshkar from Bees Saal Baad (1962), lyrics Shakeel Badayuni, music Hemant Kumar

We have one more iconic song in the genre of haunting melodies in a suspense film. This is also a landmark song of Hemant Kumar- Lata Mangeshkar combination. The song has three versions and each version is filmed as a specific sequence to reflect a degree of variation in the composition, which, in essence, aims to capture subtle difference of the mood (as in these cases) or different settings in which the song is picturised.


3. Aye mere dil-e-naadan, tu gham se na ghabarana by Lata Mangeshkar from Tower House (1962), lyris Asad Bhopali, music Ravi

The first version sets the tone of it being a theme song of a suspense film. The song maintains its intrinsic character of the undercurrent of emotion of pathos as well.


The second version is a short clip, but seems to have a meaningful context in the film.


YT also contains apparently a third version. However, I could not make out much difference with respect to the said second version.


4. Naina barse rim jhim by Lata Mangeshkar from Who Kaun Thi (1964), lyrics Raja Mehdi Ali Khan, music Madan Mohan

We are clearly able to differentiate the variations in the different versions, used at different settings in the film. Madan Mohan, while venturing into a different genre, has retained his silken touch.


5. Jhoom jhoom dhalti raat by Lata Mangeshkar from Kohra (1964), lyrics Kaifi Aazmi, music Hemant Kumar

In the original story, Rebecca, from which the film is apparently inspired, every time the female protagonist comes up in (virtual) contact with the memories of her predecessor, the feelings evoked are subtly different. Director Biren Nag, in terms of picturisation, and the music director Hemant Kumar, in terms of the composition of a typical haunting melody, have put in their best efforts to invoke those psychological feelings in the way the song appears in the film several times.


6. Mere mehboob na ja by Suman Kalyanpur from Noor Mahal (1965), lyrics Saba Afghani, music Jaani Babu Qawwal

True to the tradition, each of the three versions has somewhat different settings and context every time this haunting melody is played. Incidentally, the song also remains a landmark in the career of Suman Kalyanpur.

The first version is a simple reflection of suspense, hence seems to be fast paced, as if to capture the faster pulse beat.

Part (1):


The second version has an underlying element of pensive mood.. the cheroot, unlit by a lamp, being quietly lit by the image of the heroine.. and all such sequences… hence a somewhat longer paced rhythm of the song.

Part (2):


By the time of the third version, the mystery has been deep rooted enough; mark the lengthening of a few notes higher in scale accompanying music.

Part (3)


7. Kisne mujhe sada di by Mohammad Rafi and Suman Kalyanpur from Saaz Aur Aawaz (1966), lyrics Khumar Barabanqvi, music Naushad

In this subcategory, we have an interesting variant, a duet. Naushad has gamefully tried his hands at this genre. The female voice echoes in the first part to create an eerie effect.


The second version is more on the side of pathos of the relationship.


8. Tujhko pukare mera pyar by Mohammad Rafi from Neel Kamal (1968), lyrics Sahir Ludhiyanvi, music Ravi

Here we have a haunting melody in the genre of films based on the theme of reincarnation. In the first version, the storyline of the film is fully introduced – an unfinished love saga of the previous incarnation.


Whereas, in the second version we are exposed to the poignancy of the male protagonist’s yearning, which keeps on haunting the female protagonist compulsively for his love who is wrenched away by a feudal mind-set.


The soundtrack of the film also has deftly used ‘aalap’ of the song not only in the male voice, but also in the female voice in the true style of a theme song.

9. Akele hain chale aao by Mohammad Rafi/Lata Mangeshkar from Raaz (1967), lyrics Shamim Jaipuri, music Kalyanji Anandji

In the exacting sense in which we started this series, the present song may be considered a twin song – with a version by Rafi and Lata Mangeshkar. Obviously, the female version was considered mandatory for this kind of song. Since a male version song is not very common in a haunting melody, I am presenting the Rafi version here.


10. Akela hun main hamasafar dhoondhata hun by Mohammad Rafi from Jaal (1967), lyrics Raja Mehdi Ali Khan, music Laxmikant Pyarelal

And now we have an all-male version in this genre.

The first version is slightly fast paced, and seems to have been filmed more to set up the background on which the story seems to hinge upon.


The second version:


And, now the third version:


There are a good number of other haunting songs in suspense films, which appear several times in the film, but these variations are not full songs. It could be either a partial rendering of the song, or one version being actually performed by the protagonist, while the other version coming as a background song. Hence, I have refrained from classifying these songs as different versions.

Similarly, there have been versions where a few lines of the principal (haunting) song keeps on reappearing to emphasise the theme of the film (as in case of Neel Kamal mentioned above), but all such versions do not seem to have been captured on You Tube, hence I have not been able to put such songs as well.

SoY fraternity has considerable knowledge to hold a different view, and I would be very happy to be corrected.

So, we await a soulful discussion, till we embark upon the next stage of our journey………

{ 32 comments… read them below or add one }

1 N Venkataraman May 18, 2014 at 3:59 pm

Ashok Vaishnavji,

After a longtime we are seeing your article in SoY. It is exactly after one year your article on Multiple version songs had appeared here. Last year August you wrote on Avinash Vyas. You arrive with a bang with the song Aaayega aanewala. Your return coincides with the arrival of another energetic Gujarati on the national scene. Namo Namo Ashokji. Mhaara haardik abhhar swikarjo.

This post gives one more dimension to this series. When one listens to (most of) the songs that you have presented, with one’s eyes shut, they do not sound spooky, there is more pathos. Thank you for the enjoyable post and songs. Tamney salaam aapi ,for your commitment and passion and also for initiating this marvelous series.

Will the songs Mere mehboob Qayamat Hogi from Mr X in Bombay and Mera saaya saath hoga from Mera Saaya fit into the theme of this post?
Akji, are you dedicating this month for guest articles on multiple version songs like last year?

2 N Venkataraman May 18, 2014 at 4:27 pm

Please read ‘one year before’ in place of ‘after one year’.

3 AK May 18, 2014 at 5:13 pm

I am the culprit. Ashokji’s article has been with me for quite a while. He has been very considerate, as have been other guest authors whose articles have been posted after a lot of delay. I know it looks somewhat discourteous, but I have two reasons, I don’t know if they are convincing: One is scheduling in the midst of what has been flowing; the other is mail by readers that they would like to have some gap in the series.

Obviously, there is a lot more to come in the series, but scheduling has to fit with other requirements, such as Anniversaries, special articles etc. I seek that you, Ashokji, and other guest authors continue to show the same understanding.

The two songs you mention eminently fit in the series. At least the versions of Mere mehboob qayaamat hogi have very distinct and different tempo and moods.

4 mumbaikar8 May 18, 2014 at 6:29 pm

Hats off to you for compiling a winning team, each player of your team shoots aces one after the other.
All we, dumbfounded admirers, can do is applaud.
Last week Venkataramanji gave the multiple version songs a new dimension, now you have come up with a new avatar, well done!
You have given reasons for dropping some songs, I would like to know the reason why you have dropped the evergreen soulful pukar, “Jo wada kiya woh nibhana padenga”

5 arvindersharma May 19, 2014 at 3:01 pm

Ashok Ji,
Congratulations on this beautiful article.
Haunting melodies have a such a lasting effect on one’s adolescent mindset that sometimes as a child, you are often left with a fearful impact. (Of the visual scenario).
On the other hand,
the imprint of the song is so embedded on your mindset, (a very high percentage of these songs were exceptionally melodious), that even after decades, it refuses to leave. I have seen
people with hardly any sense of music bursting into lip singing, whenever such a song is played.
Ashok Ji,
One great song and the other one, my favourite, missed your radar.
Koi door se aawaz de chale aao by Geeta Dutt from ‘Sahib Biwi Aur Ghulam, music by Hemant Kumar
and another equally sonorous, if not in that league,
Sathi re, tujh bin jiya udaas re by Lata from ‘Poonam Ki Raat’, music by Salil Chaudhary.
My immediate reaction going into this post was to add these two songs, there being numerous others which I am sure, will be added by other knowledgeable readers.

6 ASHOK M VAISHNAV May 19, 2014 at 6:34 pm

# N. Venkataraman
Entire nation is scripting a new chapter in history of the nation. I am quite sure more and more of positive, activist strategizing and implementation in the matter of political arena of the nation should augur well for healthy debates , and resultant decisive choices.
It so happens that if we substitute the words appropriately, our captain AKji, also can don this cap, in so far as Soy is concerned.
Thanks for both the songs.
The first one a classic version in two different voices has inherent variations. Mera Saaya Chalega also keeps on being played in the film, each time with a different, subtle variation.

7 ASHOK M VAISHNAV May 19, 2014 at 6:43 pm

We had covered Joh Wada Kiya in our earlier articles of multiple versions in duets.
The first version is song of pure joy, two lovers able to meet each other, whereas the second when is a classic pathos of separation.
Even as the song does have mesmerising effect, would we classify it as haunting?

8 ASHOK M VAISHNAV May 19, 2014 at 6:48 pm

# arvindersharma
Thanks for both songs.
Koi Door Se Awaz De can be placed as an ideal manifestation of a haunting song. Do recollect the way song brings in a feeling of eeriness, even when the spectator is not actually aware what is in the store – a la Hitchcock style.
Saathi Re no doubt appears several times in the film and has two official versions.

9 ASHOK M VAISHNAV May 19, 2014 at 6:53 pm

I do not think you need to really explain why you schedule the post that way you do. That is your “PREROGATIVE” – Look I am quite infected by the current national churn, and so simply pick up the words that float in the air.
We are part of your cabinet, but only you have the mandate.
And the way different series have grown, we are happily game in casting our vote in your favour !

10 N Venkataraman May 19, 2014 at 7:32 pm


I was waiting for Ashokji’s reply and rightly said “it is your prerogative”.

Since you are the initiator and architect of this grand episode unfolding here, you should be one among the inner circle. a la Amit Shah. I hope to get at least something like “a Governors appointment” !

11 AK May 19, 2014 at 11:07 pm

Ashokji, Venkataramanji,
Thanks a lot for your graciousness. I would avoid politics, as it is very infectious, and in today’s euphoric moment there is a risk of politics swamping music. Just to bring some irreverence into the whole thing, a friend of mine plans to sue the new man from Gujarat, because he got spondilytis watching TV non-stop for 20 hours.

When I read this article my mind went to Dharti ko aakash pukaare from Mela. It is perfectly haunting, comes several times in the film, and could fit in a spooky film. However, Mela is not. Should we call such songs ‘haunting songs in a non-spooky film’? Koi door se aawaz de would then go in this category.

12 Anil Kane May 20, 2014 at 1:20 am

Ashok ji,

A beautiful haunting song ‘ barbaad e muhabbat ko kab tak yeh sazaa doge, ya saamne aaoge ya apna pata doge ‘ may be added to your list. This song is sung by Lata under the baton of C. Ramchandra for ‘ Meenar ‘ (1954).

The song is in 2 parts and appears in the film a couple of times either as a background song or as picturised on the heroine Bina Rai who is a ghost.The theme of the film was re-incarnation. It had some spooky scenes and was given an Adults Certificate.

Although it is a lovely song it did not become famous and is hardly remembered today.

13 Ashok M Vaishnav May 20, 2014 at 11:17 am

#Anil Kane
Thanks for a marvelous song – here is the video link

Song has a few beautiful stokes of piano in the anatara music interlude., which adds to the song’s haunting mood.

14 mumbaikar8 May 20, 2014 at 5:29 pm

I do think there is some element of haunt in 2nd and 3rd part of Jo wada kiya woh nibhana padenga but it is not spooky.

15 arvindersharma May 21, 2014 at 11:06 pm

Some good haunting songs have been composed in some of the most nondescript Hindi films.
Some of those songs, they never belonged to the ‘A’ grade list but charming no doubt, are as under.
Teri talash me, the title song of the film by Asha, music by Sapan Jagmohan,
Main Ek paheli hoon (in two parts) by Lata from Ek Paheli, music by Usha Khanna,
Sunayi de na se tum ko, by Suman Kalyanpur from Lal Bangla, music by Usha Khanna,
and a very less heard song,
Ae Raat ke andhere, mujh ko gale laga le, by Asha from Wo koi aur hoga, music by Usha Khanna again.
Now I’ll mention two popular songs.
Main shayad tumhare liye ajnabi hoon, by Asha from Ye Raat Phir Na Aayegi, music by O P Naiyyar and
Gumnaan hai koi by Lata from Gumnaam, music by Shankar Jaikishan.
Usha Khanna deserved more than what she got, we can see the quality of music she gave in these ‘C’ grade movies is superb.

16 Subodh Agrawal May 23, 2014 at 7:54 am

An excellent theme presented very well. My felicitations to Ashok ji.

AK has mentioned ‘Dharti ko akaash pukare’ from Mela. It is one of the most haunting melodies from the golden age. However, it never appears as a full song. I have a vague recollection of hearing a stanza once decades back, but I have not been able to locate it – even in the days of internet. I once bought an LP of ‘Mela’ hoping for the full version, but I was disappointed.

If fragments are to be considered then there is ‘Babul’ – another Dilip-Nargis film. It has this fragment ‘Aao sajan khade hain duwaar, lene ko aaye kahar, doli mein ho ja sawar’ that occurs more than once.

17 SSW May 23, 2014 at 5:56 pm

Nice exposition Ashok Vaishnavji. I don’t see movies (Hindi or otherwise) often so I’m not sure if the songs I mention are played several times in the course of the films .

This particular song by Lata composed by Laxmikant Pyarelal from Sau saal baad is one of the best I have heard of its genre. I find the arrangement quite distinct particularly when Lata sings “teri yaad mein O sitamghar…the way her voice floats around sitamgarh and then drops when she sings “jal rahi hoon”, there is a very slight flute accompaniment. I also like the way the line “mere humdum tu nahi aaya ” is taken and the instrumental filler right after that.

Then this one which is a fabulous composition by her own brother. Hridayanath’s compositions in Marathi are amazing. It is not as of yore as AK would like but still a beautiful representative of the genre . Sung lower than most music directors would have Lata sing and the voice is old now but that I think that adds to the soul..
I think Salilda’s composition “tujh bin jiya udaas re” is quite complex musically, perhaps more than the situation warrants. But it is an unmatched composition.

I would classify this next song too as a haunting song , I believe it appears more than once in the film. Salilda always used the dominant 7th chords in his haunting compositions . He had a couple in Malayalam too.

Salilda repeats his own phrases from this song in “tujh bin jiya udaas re” and he’s done it in other songs to. He liked that phrase a lot and variations on it.

18 N Venkataraman May 23, 2014 at 9:15 pm

Nice additions. I would like to make a query. Dominant seventh chord means you tone down the 7th note. Is it the same for all scales. My question may look silly. I am not very much familiar with western music.

19 SSW May 24, 2014 at 2:00 am

Mr. Venkataraman, yes it is the same for all scales. The chord consists of the first note (tonic) of the scale, a major third, a perfect fifth and the flattened seventh. In indian music it would be characterized as
Hindustani : Sa , shudh gandhar, pancham, komal nishad.
Carnatic : Sa, antara gandhara, pancham, kaishiki nishada.

For example Aja re pardesi is set in the key of G and this portion
Aa ja re e .. has the notes

where F is the flattened seventh in the scale of G major, it gives this feeling of reaching towards the tonic G for completeness. The line starts with D which is the pancham…

This is all probably very boring ….but its fun.

20 N Venkataraman May 24, 2014 at 12:13 pm

Thank you for the clarification.
If I have got it right, On G major scale, the 7th note (Suddha ni/ Kakali Nishad) is flattened ( Kaisiki Nishad or Komal Nishad).

No it is not at all boring, I am trying to get a grip of it. May be this is not the right forum to seek such clarification.

21 SSW May 24, 2014 at 4:56 pm

Mr. Venkatataraman, the 7th note is flattened in the dominant seventh chord. Otherwise the G major scale (or any other major scale) is the same as Bilawal or Shankarabharanam. Traditional western music works with chord progressions. Salilda’s music was a uniquely different, eclectic mixture of folk, raga and chordal arrangements.

22 N Venkataraman May 25, 2014 at 12:53 pm

Thank you once again SSW.

23 SSW May 25, 2014 at 5:36 pm

On a slightly facetious note this song has been sung in different settings across non-film and film boundaries by different people but here is one haunting (sic) rendition and this is sung by a man though he is a bit too substantial to be a ghost. The song appears multiple times in the movie sung by two different characters in various untuneful keys. But this time its all very nice in yaman kalyan.

24 Rakesh Srivastava May 25, 2014 at 6:32 pm

Nice article in a nice category!! One more song is coming to mind.I am not sure if it deserves to be mentioned here.Song is-More Naina Sawan Bhadon,sung by lata in a 1965 movie Vidyapati with music by V Balsara.

25 Ashok M Vaishnav May 26, 2014 at 11:08 am

These are certainly very good haunting songs, but we would include them here only if each repetition in the film has a distinct variation.

Usah Khanna started with a bang, but it was really unfortunate that Lady Luck did not smiled at her, as much as she deserved.
Here are the songs with their video links –
Teri Talash Men – ‘Teri Talash Men” (1965) -Asha Bhosale – Sapan Jagmohan

Main Ek paheli hoon – Suman Kalyanpur – Ek Paheli (1971) Usha Khanna –

Sunayi de na se tum ko – Suman Kalyanpur – Lal Bangla (1966) – Usha Khanna – Part 1 – and Part 2 –

Ae Raat ke andhere, mujh ko gale laga le – Asha Bhosle – Wo koi aur hoga (1967) – Usha Khanna – video clip for both parts –

Main shayad tumhare liye ajnabi hoon – Asha Bhosle – Ye Raat Phir Na Aayegi – O P Naiyyar –

Gumnaan hai koi – Lata Mangeshkar – Gumnaam – Shankar Jaikishan-

26 Ashok M Vaishnav May 26, 2014 at 11:18 am

# Subodh Agrawal
Thanks for melodious addition.

Thanks for wonderful additions, laced with ‘bountiful knowledge’ about what the song means and why

#Rakesh Srivastava

Vidyapati song is indeed a gem
here is its video link

27 arvindersharma May 26, 2014 at 3:56 pm

Ashok Vaishnav Ji,
Your point taken. But don’t you think that it is very difficult for pure audio buffs like me know whether a particular haunting melody in an obscure movie has been played repeatedly. I listed the above mentioned songs from pure memory and just had a feeling that songs like these must have been repeated in the movies they belonged to. Another addition,
Mere naina sawan bhadon by Lata and Kishore separately, film Mehbooba, music by R D Burman (the song from Vidyapati is a class apart) is the one which come to my mind.
Many thanks for correcting me for the song ‘Main Ek paheli hoon’, where I mentioned Lata as the singer instead of Suman Kalyanpur.

28 AK May 26, 2014 at 10:43 pm

The credit titles open with Shamshad Begum’s version, which is a full song:

I saw the movie not too long ago on YT. The song comes many times in fragments in many moods and mix of Mukesh and Shamshad Begum. But I think the record companies brought out a full duet version too.

29 AK May 26, 2014 at 10:52 pm

Thanks a lot for adding Main ek sadi se baithi hun from Lekin. It is one of the rare songs of the 90s when Lata Mangeshkar does not sound tired or heavy (here I disagree with you, though I agree generally she was over the hill by then). This song needed to be added.

30 SSW May 27, 2014 at 3:31 am

AK, I said “the voice is old now but I think that adds to the soul” , it sounds better than perhaps it would were the voice younger.

31 ksbhatia August 12, 2014 at 11:47 pm

SSW’ji,AK’ji and others, I think Suman kalyanpur was as effective as aasha’ji and lata’ji as far as haunting melodies are concerned e.g……”tum agar aa sako to aa jaao ” from ek saal pahle and ” mere mehboob na ja aaj ki raat na ja “from noor mahal . Aasha’ji was superb in ” na jane kaun yeh awaj deta hai ” from puran milan . Music carried extra load factor in enhancing haunting effects . Black and white movies carried additional charms and scored over the colored ones. How can one forget the beautiful Rafi’s melody ….:”sau bar janam lainge ” from ustadoan ke ustad…… which carried all these properties.

32 ksbhatia August 12, 2014 at 11:58 pm

Subodh’ji ,you have given very good examples of Mela and Babul songs. There is one more song from Mela….by Shamshad and Talat ….” Chhod babul ka ghar mohe pee ke nagar aaj jaana parra rendered by each in different situations.

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