Nuptials in Bollywood

January 14, 2018

Guest article by DP Rangan

(With Makar Sankranti and Pongal, as the month-long ‘inauspicious period’ comes to an end and the wedding season is set to resume with full vigour, our indefatigablete  DP Rangan comes up with a very nicely-timed post on nuptial songs from our films. In his characteristic style, Mr Rangan packs in a lot of sociological information on the evolution of the institution of marriage across cultures. He also comes up with an outstanding collection of songs of different hues. Thank you Mr Rangan for yet another excellent article. Coincidentally, a message is doing the rounds that the state of Virginia (US) has resolved to designate 14 January every year as Pongal Day in their calendar. Let me also wish the readers Happy Makar Sankranti and Pongal. – AK)

Pi ke ghar aajMale and female interrelationship among Homo sapiens tended to be loose in ancient days when they started to spread over the globe, starting from Africa. They migrated on foot in close-knit groups and colonised Europe and Asia over a period of more than several thousands of years. At that time they were primarily a hunter gatherer group wandering all over following their prey. There were no permanent settlements. Life expectancy was low and mortality rates quite high particularly among males who were the prime hunters. There was no fixed bond between male and female and change of partners was quite common.

Around twelve thousand year ago, a great revolution took place. Agriculture involving domestication of plants started in several parts of the world on a major scale where human beings were already living. The earlier nomadic habits of hunter gatherer society went into decline and people started living in permanent settlements. With assured supply of food, human population started to expand and better security of life led to formation of regular bonds between the genders of human society. The institution of marriage was the next major step in the evolution of organised society. I realise what I have stated so far is an oversimplification of what really transpired over time, but plunging into details would not materially alter the conclusion and in a musical blog such write-ups are also not needed.

Societies of humans started coalescing into tight-knit groups and with development of language and culture diversity set in. Biological factors also led to development of races among humans. Day to day living practices also moved in tandem. Marriage was a custom recognised by the society and the state. Marriage was an occasion for get-together of relatives of the bride and the groom and also friends, and celebration of the event in a festive and joyful manner. Marriage rituals also differed among races as Christians, Muslims, Hindus etc.

The origin of the word marriage can be traced to the Middle English word, mariage (1250-1300 AD). The word mariage is itself a derivative of the old French word, marier (to marry) and the ultimate Latin word, marītāre (to provide with a husband or wife) and marītāri which means to get married. Matrimony is derived from the old French matremoine, which itself originated from the Latin mātrimōnium.

Marriage can be broadly classified into three categories – Monogamy, Polygamy and Polyandry (gamy means marriage). Monogamy was practiced primarily in the Western societies, i.e. Europe and Americas under the authority of the Church for a long time. Polygamy was followed in some regions, such as the Middle East, Africa and Asia. In olden days women had little right over marriage. In the male dominated society of yesteryears, they were considered mere chattels. In the modern era, all these have generally disappeared and women have also gained equal right. Most states in the world now support monogamy. Polygamy is still prevalent in some societies, but economic compulsions of supporting more than one wife have tended to discourage it. Polyandry is the least practiced and is generally prevalent among people where females are hard to come by and to prevent division of small parcels of land among male siblings in a family by sharing a female among them. They were prevalent in a few societies in Himalayas and Tibet. The latest development is recognition of same sex marriage by the state, especially in the West. More and more countries are legalising this form of marriage.

In India till about the 1930s, child marriage was the rule rather than the exception. Girls were married off when they were not even ten year old. Some of them became widows even before attaining puberty and were forced by the society to live as such in miserable conditions for the rest of their lives. With the advancement of society, age of marriage was raised by legal enforcements by the state and this practice had died out. However, even now in Rajasthan, this practice persists and child marriages are held in a group with the blessings of politicians, though they are patently illegal.

Film magnates of Bollywood considered marriage as an important event in their film making. It was woven as part of the story and picturised wherever the storyline allowed it or was dictated by it. Bride-teasing by her ‘sahelis’ was a regular fixture and there was the usual chorus song. When the doli departed with bride in it, the family and friends would sing a sad bidai song. One of the best songs was – Chal ri sajani ab kya soche – by Mukesh from the film Bombai Ka Babu. SD Burman composed the immortal tune. In many films nuptial scenes were displayed with a song in tandem. It is usually a song by a male singer or at best a duet. I have come across only one instance of a post-nuptial song by a female singer. The learned followers of the blog like Bhatiaji may yet bring out more such songs. I am placing before the community of blog followers a few of the songs connected with marriage and nuptials in particular.

1. Chhupakar meri ankhon ko by Lata Mangeshkar and Mohammad Rafi from Bhabhi (1957), lyrics Rajendra Krishna, music Chitragupta

This is a picture from Kollywood. It is about the problems and conflicts in a family faced by an elder brother and his wife in dealing with his much younger brothers after they are married. Balraj Sahni, Pandaribai and Nanda are the main actors. Shyama and Jagdeep celebrate their wedding night with this delightful song. Chitragupta has given wondrous tunes in this film and all the songs are hits. The solo by Mohammad Rafi, Chal ud ja re panchhi, is a great song, most apt for the scene portrayed which would move one to tears.

2. Pi ke ghar aaj pyari by Shamshad Begum & chorus from Mother India (1957), lyrics Shakeel Badayuni, music Naushad

A Mehboob Khan production and a near remake of his own 1940 Aurat, it was a great picture describing the life of a poverty-stricken rural woman from marriage till her old age and the way she struggles to overcome the obstacles to raise her family alone without her husband, and the supreme sacrifice she made in shooting her own son to save the honour of a girl from the village. Nargis gave stellar performance, ably supported by Sunil Dutt, Raj Kumar, Rajendra Kumar and others. Naushad gave outstanding music and all the songs are evergreen. There were 12 songs in all embracing all the crucial scenes in the film. This song portrays Nargis as a young bride proceeding to her in-laws’ place. Shamshad Begum’s singing is outstanding.

3. Ek raat mein do do chand khile by Mukesh & Lata Mangeshkar from Barkha (1959), lyrics Rajendra Krishna, music Chitragupta

Jagdeep, Nanda, Anant Kumar, Shubha Khote and Leela Chitnis are the major actors. A trademark song from Chitragupta with his style of orchestra, the song is pleasant and Mukesh sings in a joyous mood. Nanda as the young bride and Anant Kumar enact the scene.

4. Chaudavin ka chand ho by Mohammad Rafi from Chaudavin Ka Chand (1960), lyrics Shakeel Badayuni, music Ravi

A love triangle set in Lucknow society between Guru Dutt, Waheeda Rehman and Rehman, it has other actors as Johnny Walker, Minoo Mumtaz and Tun Tun. Ravi has composed entrancing tunes and this one by Mohammad Rafi is one of the best by the singer. The lyrics describing the beauty of Waheeda is top class. Any lady would welcome such words about her to be uttered by her lover or husband.

5. Dhoondo dhoondo re saajana by Lata Mangeshkar from Gunga Jumna (1961), lyrics Shakeel Badayuni, music Naushad

Dilip Kumar and Vyjayanthimala are the lead actors. This is the story of two brothers – the younger brother who becomes a cop, and the elder brother (Dilip Kumar), who had sacrificed his interests for the sake of the younger brother, forced into becoming a dacoit by the circumstances. Entwined within this story is the love affair between Dilip Kumar and the village belle (Vijayantimala) which ends in a tragedy. Naushad has given several enticing songs and this is one of them.

6. Aaj ke raat muradon ki by Mahendra Kapoor from Dharmaputra (1961), lyrics Sahir Ludyanvi, music N Datta

A movie based on partition period, it deals with the conflict between the two communities who were torn asunder in the wake of the imminent British departure from the sub-continent and Jinnah whipping up passions for a separate Muslim nation. The main actors were Shashi Kapoor, Mala Sinha and Rehman. N Datta, who never got the due he deserved, gave wonderful music in the film. This song by Mahendra Kapoor is the most apt for the post-marriage scene of Rehman and Mala Sinha. Another popular song is one by Asha Bhonsle – Main jab bhi akele hoti hoon.

7. Tumse izhaar-e-haal kar baithe by Mohammad Rafi from Mere Mehboob (1963), lyrics Shakeel Badayuni, music Naushad

The film starts with a singing scene from a college in Aligarh, i.e. Rajendra Kumar singing the title song in the voice of Mohammad Rafi – Mere mehboob tujhe – calling on his lady love Sadhana whom he encounters in the corridor of the college. There are other senior actors like Ashok Kumar, Nimmi, Ameeta, Johnny Walker and Pran in the film. Rajendra Kumar is united with Sadhana thanks to the efforts of Ameeta, who also loved him but sacrificed it. Naushad has brought the lyrics alive with his great tunes and this song by Rafi is one of the best in the film.

8. Jaan-e-bahar husn tera bemissal hai by Mohammad Rafi from Pyar Kiya To Darna Kya (1963), lyrics Shakeel Badayuni, music Ravi

Obviously a Kollywood production, the film had as the main actors Shammi Kapoor and B Saroja Devi, the other major actors being Pran, Om Prakash, Kapoor and Prithviraj Kapoor. Ravi has composed tunes for 9 songs in the film and it is in his typical style easily distinguishable. This song by Rafi flows smoothly and is pleasing to the ears.

9. Chehre se apne aaj to parda uthaaiye by Mohammad Rafi from Palki (1967), lyrics Shakeel Badayuni, music Naushad

The story is about the conflict between a Nawab (Rehman) who marries the girl (Waheeda Rahman) under the mistaken impression that she is a widow. Her first husband (Rajendra Kumar) supposedly dead returns alive to claim her but is refused. He is not discouraged and pursues this with vigour. In the end Nawab returns Waheeda to the original husband after acceding to her pleadings. Naushad has composed tunes in his usual style and this is one such song by Mohammad Rafi.

Hitherto I have presented songs sung in pure bliss by the couples in happy union. Life is not always rosy. There are also instances of forced marriages either by the boy or the girl and the partner, who is coerced into wedlock, is obviously locked in misery. I present a song of such a nature in conclusion of the post.

10. Ye raat suhani raat nahin by Talat Mahmood from Dil-e-Naadan (1953), lyrics Shakeel Badayuni, music Ghulam Mohammad

One of the dozen odd films in which Talat Mahmood acted as the hero in the initial stages of his career. The producer advertised to select a heroine opposite him and chose Peace Kanwal for the role. She did not act in any other film thereafter. Talat Mahmood is forced to wed Shyama, acting as sister of the heroine under the urgings of Peace Kanwal (heroine). He is upset and sings this song of pathos on the night of the wedding, much to the chagrin of Shyama. Ghulam Mohammad has given exquisite tunes for the film’s nine songs. Two more solos by Talat Mahmood in the film are also entrancing.

I am sure there must be dozens of nuptial songs in our films. I leave it to the knowledgeable readers to post their favourite songs.










{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

1 N S Rajan January 14, 2018 at 11:14 am

Very good theme and a good selection. Naturally, there are many such songs. I, for my part. would like to offer one more from the movie, Parineeta (1953). Asha Bhonsle and chorus. Lyrics by Bharat Vyas, a great poet and music composed by Arun Kumar Mukherjee. ( He was the composer for the famous movie ‘Kismat’ ( 1943) and many other hit movies of the time. The song: ” Gore gore haathon mein mehendi rachaake, nainon mein kajra daal ke, Chalo dulhaniya piya se milne, chota sa ghoonghat nikal ke”. Thanks.

2 Mehfil Mein Meri January 14, 2018 at 1:56 pm

A nice theme.
Some wonderful songs there on the list.
To add a song, I’m suggesting a different song of first night.
From bahurani
Main Jaagoon Saadi rain sajan tum

3 Arunkumar Deshmukh January 14, 2018 at 3:48 pm

N.S.Rajan ji, #1

Music director for film Kismat-1943 was Anil Biswas and NOT Arunkumar Mukherjee.

4 D P Rangan January 14, 2018 at 8:55 pm

AK many thanks for your appreciative foreword, which to me appears as over appraisal of my moderate skills. The month dubbed as ‘inauspicious’ is a holy month in South India when people wake up very early and listen to religious songs sung by Alwars as certain saints were called postponing day to day issues as also celebration of marriages.

Rajanji thanks for the appreciation. The song you mentioned is sung before marriage, if my memory is correct. I have seen this movie more than ten years ago. The theme is songs after marriage is over and the couple meet in privacy. Still it is a good song.

Mehfilji fully appreciate your comments. I think the groom is a nit wit and the bride seems to be an angel ministering to him and concealing her disappointment. As I stated in my tenth song, songs of anguish could also fit in the theme.

5 ksbhatia January 14, 2018 at 11:56 pm

D P Rangan ji ;

Your article shows your hard work and dedication ; your attitude and your work level . We all were missing your inputs for long in the recent articles ; but now we know the reasons.

The theme is really emotional one with plus and minus sides of love and marriage . When a relationship ends it can do a great deal of damage to one or both the parties . Man is just left with……
…..I have loved
……been loved once
…….I miss the love

1. Man bhawan ke ghar jaye gori….Lata, Asha….Chori Chori….SJ

2. Daman mein daag laga behthe….Rafi….Dhool Ka Phool….Ravi

3. Chali re chali re mein to…Asha…Saranga….Sardar Malik

4. Hum safar saath apna chhod chale….Asha, Rafi…Aakhri Dao…MM

……to be contd.

6 AK January 15, 2018 at 6:00 am

DP Rangan,
I was aware the notion of the ‘inauspicious period’ that is ‘Kharmas’ from mid-Dec to Makar Sankranti is peculiar to North India (and if one wants to be more accurate, Hindus). I should have been more accurate. But your style of hard work and in-depth research is reflected in this article too.

7 Manoj January 15, 2018 at 9:01 am

Very much disappointed , Mr, Rangan you have written the article from western sources only and with western mentality for Hindi songs.
Hindus were pioneers in regularizing and fixing marriage ceremonies from Vedic Period onwards, at least eight to ten thousand years back when Christianity and Islam did not exist. Proper mentioned should have been mentioned in short instead of inappropriate comments.

8 D P Rangan January 15, 2018 at 2:36 pm

Bhatiaji thanks for the appreciation. Song showers has started. Keep it up. Try to post songs sung after marriage as I have tried to do in line with the title.

Manojji sorry to have disappointed you. I have written a general article and not a Ph.D. thesis. I do agree institution of marriage is much older than western civilisation because our ancestors from ancient times were far ahead when there was no worthwhile civilisation flourishing in West. I only talked about rituals of marriage among religions. In no way can it be construed marriage started with Christians. Prior to Christiaanity marriage was a known social custom.

AK thanks for the appreciation.

9 Ashok M Vaishnav January 15, 2018 at 5:09 pm

Very good theme presented with a very thorough “prelude’.
I recollect “Suahagn’ song wherein because of some curse, or something like that or some machination of a wily villain ,the married couple is not able to consummate their relationship.

Tu Mere Samne Hai, Teri Zulfein Hai Khuli……

10 Anil Kane January 16, 2018 at 12:57 am

A novel theme, Sir.

The song from Bhabhi, very first one in your list was picturised on Shyama and Jawahar Kaul. Jagdeep was paired opposite Nanda in this film.

This is a minor point. The song itself is one of the best in the list.

Anil Kane.

11 t mohan January 16, 2018 at 1:21 am

The two songs i can think of right away are
1 ek tera sath humko do jahan se pyara hai from the film ‘Wapas’. Its a beautiful song of the wedding night.
2 the ever popular ‘kabhi kabhi mere dil me khayal aata hai’…which is a poignant song of leaving the past behind and embracing the married life.
I will mention more songs as I am reminded of them,
T mohan

12 D P Rangan January 16, 2018 at 3:26 pm

Vaishnavji thanks for the appreciation.

Kaneji I like your viewing this theme as novel.

Mohanji thanks for adding two more songs. They fit the theme in full.

13 ksbhatia January 16, 2018 at 11:24 pm

D P Rangan ji ;

In continuation , here are a few more songs that I suppose fits the bill.

5. Tumhi mere mandir….Lata….Khandaan….Ravi

6. Yeh dil sada dhadka kiya….Kishore….Aansoo ban gaye phool…LP

A few teaser songs on wedding day……

7. Mere baane ki baat na puchho…..Asha, Shamshad…Gharana…Ravi

8. Chhoone na doongi mein haath re…Asha, Lata…Zindagi…SJ

… be contd.

14 ksbhatia January 17, 2018 at 12:14 am

D P Rangan ji ;

Sir, I have a strange feeling …….I think the song @7 …Tum se Izahar hale kar …..from Mere Mehboob came much much before rajendra , sadhna wedding day . I feel the more close or appropriate song could be…

Jaaneman ek nazar dekh le…..Asha, Lata…

15 SSW January 20, 2018 at 2:18 am

A song not so much from yore and marriage that did not go too well, but a really nice composition. Really well sung by Alka Yagnik.

16 ksbhatia January 20, 2018 at 11:01 pm


Thanks for the reminder of this hidden song composed by Bhupan Hazarika . The dance and the folk tune reminds me of the bihu dance of Assam . During my posting at Guwahati during 1979 – 80 I was exposed to the beautiful culture of this part of the country . The main Fancy Bazaar was always sounded by continuous playing of Hazarika’s song…..Brahamputrooouu . ….matching the hustle and bustle of the main market .

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