My favourite happy songs of Mukesh

August 27, 2011

A tribute on his death anniversary August 27

Mukesh I recently heard a joke on a reality show which went something like: Jo jeetega wo Singapore jayega, jo harega wo Mukesh ka gana gayega. I found the joke quite neat, though I did not agree with the underlying premise. I do not view a song as a happy or sad song. Great songs are beyond this classification. How do you describe Amir Khusro’s Aaj rang hai or Main to piya se naina mila ayee re. These songs are of joy and union between two lovers. But every time you hear Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan or anyone sing them, it brings tears to your eyes. But deferring to the popular stereotype of Mukesh as a singer of ‘sad’ songs, here is my tribute to him on his death anniversary August 27 with a compilation of my favourite ten ‘happy’ songs of Mukesh.


1. Zulfon ka rangeen saya from Anjaam (1968), lyrics Qamar Jalalabadi, music Ganesh

It does not get more exuberant than this.  Feroze Khan in turtleneck sweater is cavourting around Shahida with gay abandon. But she looks quite stiff, I guess because she has been made to wear revealing clothes by the director against her wish.  They are quite unmindful of being watched upon by another couple, perhaps a private detective hired to spy upon them.  The detective off and on covers his face, unable to witness such unrestrained flirting. This is my top Mukesh happy song even though coming from a B-grade film from an obscure music director.  Ganesh was the younger brother of Pyarelal, the famed Laxmikant Pyarelal duo. He was a highly talented composer as this song shows, but could not grow under the shadow of the big banyan tree of the elder brother.

2. Teri nigahoon pe mar mar gaye hum from Sahbnam (1964), lyrics Jawed Anwar, music Usha Khanna 

This is a fabulous racy song by Mukesh picturised on Mehmood and Vijaylaxmi, an actress from South.  While Vijaylaxmi looks quite inhibited, Mehmood is completely unrestrained.  You can see his beautiful thumkas.  Though he was the hero in this  film, as he was in many films, this song shows he was destined to become a great comedian.

3.  Dum dum diga diga from Chhalia (1960), music Qamar Jalalabadi, music Kalyanji Anandji

This is one of the best singing in the rain by Raj Kapoor.  He dances, as best as he can, splashes in puddles of water, plays around with the umbrella, climbs up the ladder on to the straw-roof.  This has the power to make him intoxicated without drinking.  Some of the best Mukesh songs are given by KA, who have been assisted by Laxmikant Pyarelal in this film.   In late 60s LP would emerge as one of the most dominant composers in Hindi films, and would rule the roost with their mentor KA in 1970s.

 4.  Ruk ja O janewali from Kanhaiya (1959), lyrics Shailendra, music Shankar Jaikishan

Did someone say that Mukesh was a singer of sad songs? The famed RK team comprising Mukesh, Shailendra and SJ create this absolutely happy song, though not under RK banner. 

5. Thumak thumak mat chalo kisi ka dil machalega from Kahin Pyar Ho Na Jaye (1963), lyrics Indivar, music Kalyanji Anandji

Mehmood again in hero’s role is enjoying the company of a bevy of girls.  But his real object of attention is Shakila, who is none too pleased by this teasing song even though it may be so melodious in the voice of Mukesh.  In the end she has to relent.  The combination of Indivar and Kalyanji Anandji gave some fabulous Mukesh songs, this being one of their best.

6.  Suno ji suno hamari bhi suno from Ek Dil Sau Afsane (1963), lyrics Shailendra, music Shankar Jaikishan

Raj Kapoor tries desperately to match the dancing of Waheeda Rehman.  He has to obviously give up.  But you have a beautiful Mukesh song on Raj Kapoor while Waheeda dances on joyously.

7.  Mere joota hai japani from Shree 420 (1955), lyrics Shailendra, music Shankar Jaikishan 

An iconic and completely carefree song for Raj Kapoor, as he enters the city of Bombay, armed with his innocence and honesty as his best asset.  He is going to be rudely shocked by the cynical and duplicitous city, but he would outwit them all with his buffoonery act.

8.   Chal mere dil lahra ke chal from Ishara (1964), lyrics Majrooh Sultanpuri, music Kalyanj Anandji

We are used to seeing Rafi songs by Shankar Jaikishan or OP Nayyar for the lover boy Joy Mukherjee.  Mukesh proves he can be no less joyful for Joy.  Another beautiful composition by Kalyanji Anandji

9.   Mere man ki Ganga aur tere man ki Jamna ka from Sangam (1964), lyrics Shailendra, music Shankar Jaikishan

Raj Kapoor could not take no for an answer, so he refuses to believe that Vyjayantimala did not love him, but she loved his inseparable friend Rajendra Kumar.  By that time his younger brother Shammi Kapoor had become a rage as a wild lover boy.  A visibly pot-bellied Raj Kapoor in a funny dress climbs up the tree unseen by Vyajayantimala who has dived in the water far a swim.  In a queer mixing of Krishna metaphor, he has carried her clothes and his bagpiper with him (might as well have carried a flute) and, to make sure you do not miss his creativity, has also stuck a peacock feather-like thing in his hair.  The prelude music surprises her and then follows this teasing song.  Today a lot of things about Sangam would appear illogical.  But the movie became a sensation, and the song became the anthem of the roadside Romeos hanging around girls’ colleges.

10.   Hum aaj kahin dil kho baithe from Andaaz

And finally this song from Andaaz which brings to my point that great songs are beyond happy-sad classification. Nothing illustrates this better than the four great Mukesh solos in this film. Is Tu kahe agar jeevan bhar main geet sonata jaun a happy song? Is Toote na dil toote na a sad song. And is Jhoom jhoom ke nacho aaj a happy-sad song because it talks of किसी को दिल को दर्द मिला है किसी को मन का मीत. And you have this remaining great solo Hum aaj kaheen dil kho baithe with Dilip Kumar on the grand piano in apparent joy, Nargis leaning on the piano, looking at Dilip Kumar fondly and caressing her pet very suggestively. A picture of perfect bliss and apparently a happy song, which you would like to hear in the solitude of night with your eyes closed.

{ 44 comments… read them below or add one }

1 arvind August 27, 2011 at 1:29 pm

anil,i was at coonoor( a tea auction centre in nilgiris) railway station,waiting for the narrow gauge train for mettu pallaiyam when i read the news of his passing away.could not believe what i was reading.anil, iwould like to add this madhumati song(suhana safar aur ye mausam haseen….) to ur list.

2 Sanjay Prakash August 28, 2011 at 12:23 am

I agree, Suhana Safar from “Madhumati” should have figured in the Top 10 list. A couple of other peppy songs of Mukesh come to mind, which could find a place among his best, though I am not very sure whether in the Top 10:
Tauba yeh matwali chaal (Patthar Ke Sanam), Mera naam Raju gharana anaam (Jis Desh Mein Ganga Behti Hai), Sab kuchh seekha humne & Sajan re jhooth mat bolo (Teesri Kasam).

3 AK August 28, 2011 at 7:10 pm

@arvind, Sanjay Prakash
All the songs you have mentioned are very good, but which one we replace? Mera naam Raju gharana a-naam can perhaps fit in in place of Mera joota hai Japani, as both are essentially the same song. In both, the movies open with an innocent, simpleton and good-hearted Raj Kapoor singing these carefree songs. He would come face to face with the darker side of this world which he would set right on the strength of his goodness.

4 A P JOSHI August 29, 2011 at 6:14 pm

I think his renditions were out of this world.
What I think about him,
“If you want to enjoy music with people/crowd just start playing new dance songs, If you want to enjoy music with your betterhalf start playing Lata-Kishore duets, but If you want to listen only for youself and your soul just switched off lights, close your eyes and put headphone on the ears and start Mukesh numbers you will be definitely in the other world.”
No other singer can do this.

5 dustedoff August 29, 2011 at 6:15 pm

Great list, AK – and a couple of songs there that were new to me. I agree with you about the thin line between a happy song and a sad one… after all, if you listen to the words of Woh subah kabhi toh aayegi, it’s full of hope – therefore a happy song. But the tune, and Mukesh’s beautiful restraint as he sings it, is very sad. And anyway, too many of my favourite songs are actually very sad ones!

Another good Mukesh song that’s rather light-hearted: Dekho mausam kya bahaar hai, from Opera House. Good fun!

6 AK August 29, 2011 at 7:14 pm

@A P Joshi
I could not agree with you more.

Dekho mausam kya bahar hai is a great song and my special Chitragupta favourite. Had I not restricted my choice to solos this would have figured in my list (it is a Mukesh-Lata duet). In fact there is a case for doing a duets list – some which immediately come to my mind are Begani shaadi mein Abdullah diwana from Jis Desh Mein Ganga Bahti Hai and Chura le na tumko ye mausam suhana from Dil Hi To Hai.

7 dustedoff August 30, 2011 at 9:14 am

Oh, yes, AK! Please do a ‘Happy Mukesh duets’ list! Would love to see that.

8 A P JOSHI August 30, 2011 at 12:57 pm

Happy Mukesh Duets list.
1. Kya Khoob Lagti ho.
2. Tumne kisi se kabhi pyar kiya hai.
3. Kisi Rah me kisi mod par
4. Je Hum tum Chori se bandhe ek dori se
5. Phool Tumhe Bheja hai Khat me.
6. Bol gori bol tera kaun piya.
7. Wo Pari Kaha se lau, teri dulhan jise banau.
8. Dhire Dhire bol koi sun na le.
9. Hum dono mil ke kagaz ke dil pe.
10. Kabhi Kabhi mere dil me khayal aata hai.
11. Iftedar ishq me hum sari raat jage.
12. Bol meri taqdeer me kya hai – Hariyali aur Rasta.

9 A P JOSHI August 30, 2011 at 3:53 pm

Mr. AK,
It is said that Mukesh could’t sung on high pitch, but I could not agree with this. There are many songs sung by Mukesh are on high pitch, so AK please do a ‘Mukesh on High Pitch’ list!
I can suggest some songs if you say.

10 dustedoff August 31, 2011 at 7:26 pm

@AP Joshi: Oh, it isn’t as I couldn’t think of 10 happy Mukesh duets – there are several songs of his that are duets, are happy and which I like a lot. I just wanted to see what AK’s choice would be!

(PS. Isn’t it ‘Ibtida-e-ishq mein hum saari raat jaage’? (not ‘Iftedaar..’))

11 Gaby September 1, 2011 at 12:45 am

AK, what about Kisiski muskurahaton pe from Anaadi. In my view this plea to universal human values trumps the nationalistic fervour of Mera jhootha hain japaani.
Youve prompted me into a Mukesh marathon.

12 AK September 1, 2011 at 5:11 pm

@A P Joshi, dustedoff
I was not planning to do another Mukesh post anytime soon, but seeing your interest, I am going to do it in near future, more so because my list is going to surprise you.

It is Ibtida-e-ishq mein (If the beginning of love keeps me awake the whole night and restless, God knows what is in store ahead!)

I can never tire of Mukesh, would love to join your marathon. How do you view Ae dil-e-awara chal from Dr Vidya?

13 Subodh Agrawal September 2, 2011 at 9:46 pm

Awara hoon, Tum agar mujhko na chaho, Kuchh sher sunata hoon main, Maine tere liye hi saat rang ke sapne chune, Gaaye ja geet milan ke, Matwali naar thumak thumak chali jaaye among solos. Hamsafar mere hamsafar, Khayalon mein kisi ke, Dam bhar jo udhar munh phere, Phir na kije meri gustakh nigahi ka gila, Yeh kisne geet chheda, Duniya waalon se door, Jaane na nazar pehchane jigar, Saawan ka mahina, among duets. The lists are endless. You are very brave AK, to try and pick the 10 best!

14 Subodh Agrawal September 3, 2011 at 10:19 am

@AP Joshi: My favourite high pitch songs of Mukesh would be – Jhoomti chali hava, Jaane kahan gaye wo din, Laut ke aaja mere meet, Sajanwa bairi ho gaye hamar, Kuchh sher sunata hoon main.

15 K R Vaishampayan September 16, 2011 at 3:32 pm

Hello AK,
Joke on the Reality show that you related was downright pedestrian. I shall get away from such crass things and veer myself to Late Mukesh Chandra Mathur. He was by far the best singer we had who did justice to Pathos without transforming it into Bathos. Your listing is apt as ever. However, Suno ji suno hamari bhi suno from Ek Dil Sau Afsane reminds me of another song worth mentioning from the same film viz: Kuch Sher Sunata Hun Main Jo Tumse Mukhatib Hai. Besides there are many more Mukesh sung for other composers. But this listing has truly universal appeal. Thanks again AK for such wonderful compiling and appropriate comments. Regards – KRV

16 AK September 16, 2011 at 7:07 pm

@KR Vaishampayan
Thanks for your compliments. I thought one could treat the joke as a joke. You are right, there are several more good songs, but they can not fit in ten. In fact, looking at several comments about his duets, I am planning a longer list on his ‘happy’ duets.

17 KBS Sidhu October 9, 2011 at 8:57 am

Would you classify this as a Happy Mukesh song, sir?

“Aashiq” [1962] is an Indian Hindi film directed by Hrishikesh Mukherjee. Starring Raj Kapoor, Padmini, Nanda, Raj Mehra and Johnny Walker.
Music is by Shankar Jaikishan…………

18 KBS Sidhu October 9, 2011 at 9:14 am

Is this supposed to be happy or funny?

Never heard it before.

Mukesh & Lata – Mujhe Kahete Hain Kalu Qawwal – Dulha Dulhan [1964]

19 AK October 9, 2011 at 3:20 pm

@KBS Sidhu
Main ashiq hun baharon ka is a perfectly happy song for this post. The only problem was limitation of numbers.

Without getting into semantics, Mujhe kahte hain Kallu qawwal is eminently suited for my collection of his happy duets.

Mujhe kahte hain Kallu qawwal from Dulha Dulhan

20 KBS Sidhu October 10, 2011 at 12:52 pm

Sir, when are you coming out with your selection of “sad” songs of Mukesh?

21 KBS Sidhu October 10, 2011 at 12:55 pm

Sir, is Talat Mehmood absent on this blog…or was not able to locate him?

22 AK October 10, 2011 at 2:58 pm

@KBS Sidhu
When you think of Mukesh you think of Dil jalta hai, Tumhe zindagi ke ujale mubarak, Teri duniya mein dil lagta nahi etc. They would be all called in popular parlance as ‘sad’ songs (I would try to describe them by some other term, as just categorising them as ‘sad’ seems to trivialise them). That explains the joke on the reality show, which made me do a list of ‘happy’ songs foloowed by happy duets. For any Mukesh lover you can be sure Dil jallta hai etc are the quinteseential Mukesh songs, and I would do a list at some time. But not any time soon, as I want to get back to my series Forgotten Composers, Unforgettable Melodies.

You are right, Talat Mahmood is so far absent from this blog, which is quite surprising, considering that I hold him in great esteem. You would find many glowing references to him in my blog, and also his songs in various articles. I just had so many themes crowding for attention. Then I started the series on forgotten composers, which got interspersed with tributes to great singers on anniversaries etc. I have to do a number of Talat exclusives, which now it seems has to wait for some opportune moment.

23 KBS Sidhu October 11, 2011 at 5:16 pm

Full Moon today (11th October, 2011)….. when are we going to get a list of these songs?

24 AK October 12, 2011 at 10:58 am

@ KBS Sidhu
The lists are a part of me – these are the songs which I breathe, live with as I am sure every Talat and Mukesh lover does. As for timing I have to resume Forgotten Composers, Unforgettable Melodies. Several readers have mentioned about C Arjun, Lachhiram etc. Which means there is a recognition of these forgotten composers who gave eternal songs, even if they were very few. Then a friend of mine, who has deep insight into music, has offered to write a series of articles on a theme, which would be a significant contribution to Songs of Yore. (I do not want to kill the curiosity by disclosing it). I plan to run this series from November onward. With these two series running concurrently, I would look for special occasions to put in other articles. Talat Mahmood’s birth anniversary falls on February 24, which would be a good occasion to make up for his omission. But I can tell you it would contain some surprises.

25 KBS Sidhu October 14, 2011 at 10:19 pm

Mere man ki Ganga aur tere man ki Jamna ka from Sangam (1964), lyrics Shailendra, music Shankar Jaikishan is a Happy song, but I find the other songa “happier” one.
Sangam – O Mehbooba Tere Dil Ke Paas Hi – Mukesh.

26 AK October 16, 2011 at 12:07 am

@KBS Sidhu
You may be right. But perhaps Mere man ki Ganga became a phenomenon with its role as the anthem for road-side Romeos.

27 Tarun Gupta October 16, 2011 at 12:43 pm

I love all Mukesh songs , primarily he sung melancholies and suited Raj kapoor so well ….one which I like the most is ‘Tauba yeh matwali chaal”….thanks for this nice initiative….great work done indeed:)

28 Tarun Gupta October 17, 2011 at 8:27 am

I immensely enjoy listening to another Mukesh special “Mera Joota Hai Japani”…..a very nice album of songs:)

29 Tarun Gupta October 18, 2011 at 8:37 am

In context of Hemant Kumar , my favourite songs are:–
(1) Hai apna dil toh awara naa jainei kis mei aayega.
(2) Na yeh chand hoga na taarei rahenge..
(3) Tum Pukar lo..
(4) Yeh raat yeh chandni phir kahaan
(5) bekrar kar kei hamei yun na jayiye…

30 AK October 18, 2011 at 3:31 pm

@Tarun Gupta
You may like to visit my blog on Hemant Kumar- Lata Mangeshkar duets, which also contains discussion on a number of his solo songs.

31 KBS Sidhu November 1, 2011 at 9:18 pm

Dheere re chalo mori banki hiranian….

Johar Mehmood in Goa

32 AK November 2, 2011 at 10:16 am

@KBS Sidhu
I absolutely love this song.

Dheere re chalo mori baanki hiraniya from Johar Mehmood in Goa

33 jignesh kotadia January 1, 2013 at 3:14 pm

@Akji…superb collection of happy mukesh…..i m also adding a lively song of him. This is exceptional bcoz its a rare combination of C.RAM-MUKESH.

34 jignesh kotadia January 1, 2013 at 3:17 pm

this one also is absolutely suitable to our topic.


35 jignesh kotadia January 1, 2013 at 3:20 pm

and this one too…..
Mukesh – Na Kajre Ki Dhar

36 AK January 1, 2013 at 5:27 pm

Both are lovely songs. Thanks.

37 latha September 12, 2014 at 12:48 am

My list goes like this :-
1. Chodo kal ki baten kal ki baat purani
2. Tum jo hamare meet na hote geet ye mere geet na hote
3. Aasman pe hai khuda aur zamin pe hum
4. Kai baar yun bhi dekha hai ye jo man ki seema rekha hai
5. Gaa deewane jhoomke zulf kisike choomke
6. Dekhte hi raho aaj darpan na tum pyaar ka ye mahurat
7. Banke chakori gori jhoom jhoom naachori
8. Chaliya mera naam chalna mera kaam Hindu, muslim…
9. Kahin karti hogi wo mera intezaar jiski tamanna main phirta hun bekaraar
10. Ye din kya aaye lage phool hasne

38 AK September 12, 2014 at 9:46 am

From your list Dekhati hi raho is the kind of song I had in my mind.

Tum jo hamaare meet na hote is interesting. The song creates a sad mood. Now that you mention it, I am noticing the lyrics, but I still find it difficult to include it in Mukesh’s happy songs.

39 ksbhatia September 13, 2014 at 12:27 am

AK’ji, Latha’ji ; Nice new additions to the listings. Add few from my side …….”Yeh to kaho kaun ho tum ” from aashique…….”Chand ko kya malum chahata hai usae koi chakore” .music usha khanna film [?]……” Main rahi bhatakne wala hoon koi kya jaane matwala hoon ” from Baadal……” Aaye jaane jigar” from Aaram……and duet “Nazar nazr se ho rahi hai baat pyar ki ” from maye nashe main hoon as also” Main khush nasseb hoon mujhko kisei ka pyar mila ” from Tower house[?] . ” Zindgi khawab hai ” from jagte raho.

40 arvind December 4, 2014 at 12:36 pm

mukesh proclaiming ‘main diwana mastana ‘ in the movie 40 din composed by babul.

41 Naresh P. Mankad September 29, 2015 at 7:28 pm

Mukesh has given a lovely romantic song, ‘Raat nikhri hui” for Hum Hindustani but the song really qualifying here is the beautiful composition “Neeli neeli Ghata” from the same film. It is the best example for arguing that Mukesh never lagged in happy songs.

42 Naresh P. Mankad September 30, 2015 at 1:42 pm

I later realised you have a separate post on happy duets of Mukesh, this was for solo. I was for some reason stuck and could not backtrack. I received three messages of duplication of post.

43 AK September 30, 2015 at 3:03 pm

Naresh P Mankad,
I have to nevertheless thank you profusely. Neeli neeli ghata is a beautiful song. Heard it for the first time.

44 Naresh P. Mankad June 4, 2016 at 10:44 pm

In the post on Sardar Malik on SOY, a link for a rafio interview is given in comments section.

In the interview, Sardar Malik pays glowing tribute to Mukesh that will gladden the hearts of music lovers: If you play five to six flutes – of middle sur, upper sur and lower sur – “the sound you got became the voice of Mukesh.”

His voice had some special qualities: it had depth, and was sensitive, emotive, with a distinct appeal.

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