Ten best songs (solos) composed by SD Burman

October 31, 2015

A tribute to SD Burman on his 40th death anniversary (1 October 1906-31 October 1975)

SD BurmanMusic evokes strong emotions. Therefore, it is natural that SoY has seen serious difference of views on songs, singers, music directors and a whole host of related issues. But none has been as sharp as mine with Dinesh’s. It is beyond my comprehension that anyone could be as dismissive of Naushad as he has been. Further, very often he ‘does not care much for’ the songs I have posted. He very graciously ascribes this to the difference in personal tastes. But there has been something more basic on which our views are diametrically opposite.

Dinesh is a great believer in some kind of unified theory of music. He has been advocating to prepare a list of overall ten best songs of a year or a music director and, further, to select the Best of Bests, Sartaj song. I have been equally clear that it is undoable for the sheer complexity of the exercise, and, therefore, we need to break it into convenient sub-headings.

In spite our sharp differences, I admire Dinesh, because like a true-blue diplomat, he has held on to his position steadfastly. I have decided to make a concession for the sake of friendship and cordial bilateral relations, and to attempt a list of ten best songs (solos) composed by SD Burman. However, this is without prejudice to my long-stated position. For avoidance of any doubt, it is made clear that it is a one-time exception, and it will, not be treated as a binding precedent. I reserve my right to agitate my principled position at an appropriate forum and at appropriate time. (Dinesh is a former IFS officer, having worked in the MEA and several missions abroad.)

Dinesh suggested three MDs for this exercise: SD Burman, Salil Chaudhary and Khayyam. SD Burman’s variety in terms of singers and types of music is amazing. Among the Golden Era greats, none has given as many memorable songs for as many singers. Putting it in another way, there is no major singer whose best ever songs would not include some SD Burman compositions. My saturation coverage earlier provides a good building block from where I can choose songs.

The best way to start is to shortlist a few top songs of different singers. This is not in any order.

SD Burman
1. Sun mere bandhu re
2. O re maanjhi
3. Wahan kaun hai tera
4. Hum bekhudi mein tumko pukare chale gaye
5. Jaane na mera dil deewana
6. Ye mahalon ye takhton ye taajon ki duniya
7. Din dhal jaaye haaye raat na jaaye
8. Khoya khoya chaand
Hemant Kumar
9. Ye raat ye chaandni phir kahan
10. Jaane wo kaise log the jinke
11. Hai apna dil to aawara
12. Na tum humein jaano na hum tumhe jaane
13. Teri duniya mein jeene se
Talat Mahmood
14. Jalate hain jiske liye
15. Mitwa laagi re ye kaisi anbujh aag
16. Kisko khabar thi kisko yakeen tha
17. Jaayein to jaayein kahan
18. O jaanewale ho sake to laut ke aana
19. Chal ri sajni
20. Ae dil-e-aawara chal
Manna Dey
21. Mat ro mata laal tere bahutere
22. Upar gagan vishal
23. Poochho na kaise maine rain bitaayi
24. Kisne chilman se mara nazara mujhe
25. Hato kaahe ko jhoothi banaao batiya
Kishore Kumar
26. Maana janab ne pukara nahi
27. Hum hain rahi pyaar ke
28. Mere labon pe dekho aaj bhi taraane hain
29. Dukhi man mere sun mera kahna
30. Ek ladki bhigi bhagi si
Lata Mangeshkar
31. Thandi hawaayein
32. Jhan jhan jhan jhan paayal baaje
33. Tum na jaane kis jahan mein kho gaye
34. Jogi jabse tu aya mere dwaare
35. Chaand phir nikala magar tum na aaye
36. Khanke kangana bindiya hanse
37. Kaanton se kheench ke ye aanchal
Asha Bhosle
38. Ab ke baras bhej bhaiya ko babul
39. Dhalki jaaye chundariya hamari ho Ram
40. Koi aaya dhadakan kahti hai
41. Nazar laagi Raja tore bangale par
42. Kaali ghata chhaye 
43.Tujhe mili roshani mujhko andhera
Geeta Dutt
44. Mera sundar sapna beet gaya
45.  Aaj sajan mohe ang laga le
46. Waqt ne kiya kya haseen sitam
47. Aaj ki raat piya dil na todo
48. Tadbeer se bigadi hui taqdeer bana le
49. Man more hua matwala
50. Nain deewane
Shamshad Begum
51. Sainya dil mein aana re
52. Duniya ka maza le lo duniya tumhari hai
53. O pardesiya, pyar ki bahaar le ke
54. Raja jani laaga mohe nainwa ke baan reLaal Kunwar
Other singers
55. Chhodo chhodo mori bainya saanwre – Suman Kalyanpur
56. Pahle na samjha pyar tha – Amirbai Karnataki (Eight Days)
57. Kabhi bhoole se na poochhi man ki baat rasiya – Paro Devi (Do Bhai)
58. Jab tum the hamaare aur hum the tumhaare – Arun Kumar (Mashal)
59. Ye baat koi samjhaaye re – Sandhya Mukherjee
60. Wo na aayenge palat kar unhein lakh hum bulayen – Mubarak Begum

Many readers would be still dissatisfied that the above list does not include some of their most favourite songs. But don’t forget, we are talking about arriving at the best ten songs. Therefore, to my mind the above list is a good starting point, as it captures the best SD Burman created for different singers.

For coming down to ten we have to necessarily do some rationing, such as not more than one song per singer. This is a very unsatisfactory way of dealing with music; but as I had commented earlier, how do you compare Sun mere bandhu re to Hum bekhudi mein or to Thandi hawaayein or to Ye raat ye chaandni phir kahan? Even with this rationing SD Burman is such a multi-faceted talent that I would not be able to reach the ‘Other singers’. This contains some absolute gems. Therefore, let me present some ‘Special songs’, which would not figure in the conventional best ten.

Special songs:

Kabhi boole se na poochhi man ki baat rasiya by Paro Devi from Do Bhai (1947), lyrics Raja Mehdi Ali Khan

There is something charming about vintage. This is a delightful dance song, picturised on Paro Devi herself. Paro Devi who? I leave all such questions for our Arunji.

Pahle na samjha pyar tha, samjha to tumhin chal diye by Amirbai Karnataki from Eight Days (1946), lyrics Qamar Jalalabadi

By the time the lady realises it was love, her man had left. SD Burman creates this outstanding song in his debut movie for the leading singer of the time.

Chhodo chhodo mori bainya saanwre by Suman Kalyanpur from Miyan Biwi Raazi (1960), lyrics Shailendra

When I hear this song I am absolutely entranced. It is an excellent SWRP, with a delightful inflexion when the recital ends. The lead pair, who are apparently married, are somewhat inhibited, when they hear this beautiful melody filtering through. The lady is gingerly trying to pull her husband towards the song, and you see a couple of unknown actors expressing their love with unrestrained dancing and singing. Musical orchestration of SD Burman is equally superb. I recall Madhu (Dusted off) has written on songs picturised on minor characters. But within that category, there is a very specific type of songs, which are meant to be a vicarious expression of love of the restrained lead actors, who may be lovers or a newly married couple. Listen to and watch the absolutely delightful Chaahe nain churaao in this genre. Baar baar tohe kya samjhaaun also starts in the same vein. How about compiling the best dance songs watched by the shy lead pair with an expression of wishing they could do it so freely? O jaanewale baalamwa is structurally of this type, but cataclysmic changes had taken place in the lives of Karan Dewan and Swarnlata.  (As I drafted it, I found Anu has covered this sub-genre too in her recent post titled ‘Unvoiced Emotions, Expressed Feelings’. Interesting telepathy.)

Now I present the best ten songs (solos) as a tribute to SD Burman on his 40th death anniversary. If you like it, you can thank me. If you had had enough of his saturation coverage, blame Dinesh.

Best ten songs

Now I start taking one best song of each singer.

1. O re maanjhi by SD Burman from Bandini (1963), lyrics Shailendra

There is something other-worldly about the voice of SD Burman. Between Sun mere bandhu re and O re majhi, if I consider only the audio, the former appeals to me more as a plaintive call (आर्त्त पुकार). But the picturisation makes a huge difference in impact. In the climax, Nutan is at a fork, torn between the train’s whistle on the one side beckoning her to a new life with Dharmendra, and the steamer on the other with a life with her past, Ashok Kumar, who appears to be terminally ill, always needing an attendant. In the last few minutes of the film she has realized that what she thought as betrayal by him was in fact a supreme sacrifice on his part for the cause. Dinesh rightly says that a song is a sum total of lyrics, singing, music and its context. One of the iconic climaxes in films, it has a painting like beauty. This is complemented by beautiful lyrics by Shailendra, and singing by the matchless maestro himself. So here is my song no. 1.

2. Hum bekhudi mein tumko pukaare chale gaye by Rafi from Kaala Paani (1958), lyrics Majrooh Sultanpuri

There are different views whether Rafi or Kishore Kumar was SD Burman’s most favourite singer. But everyone agrees that he had a special regard for Rafi; there were songs which were meant only for him, and SD Burman is easily rated among the top five composers who gave the best songs for Rafi. Hum bekhudi mein tumko pukare chale gaye is one such special song which brings out the quintessential Rafi. What voice modulation and what emotion! Dev Anand is superb in lip-synching the song. As the readers are aware, it is based on a Bengali non-film song Ghum bhulechhi, sung by SD Burman himself. I have stated earlier that his voice belongs to another planet, but you can admire his genius in adapting those songs in the voices of other playback singers, and creating another set of timeless songs.

3. Ye raat ye chaandni phir kahaan by Hemant Kumar from Jaal (1952), lyrics Sahir Ludhiyanavi

Hemant Kumar is everyone’s favourite. He cannot sing anything which is less than sweet and melodious. The ultimate lover boy, Dev Anand in checkered sweater, with the guitar in his hand, singing this sublime Sahir poetry in moonlit night – can anything be more romantic? No wonder the song makes Geeta Bali swoon. It can easily count among the overall best songs of Hemant Kumar.

4. Mitwa laagi re ye kaisi anbujh aag by Talat Mahmood from Devdas (1955), lyrics Sahir Ludhiyanvi

Even with a very small number of songs for Talat Mahmood, SD Burman was able to create many immortal songs for him. Jaayen to jaayen kahaan fetched him his first Filmfare award. If I only consider the audio, Jalate hain jiske liye is my top Talat favourite. But seen in totality, Mitwa has a picture-postcard beauty. Bimal Roy was the cinematographer in PC Barua-KL Saigal’s Devdas (1935). When he makes it himself twenty years later, he brings alive the village of Sharatchandra’s Bengal. Rated as the best Devdas adaptation, it is an example of the film version enhancing the original literary work. Devdas realises that the letter he wrote in haste has toughened the pride of Paro, and the situation has become irretrievable. You can’t think of another song of such loneliness, despair and hopelessness.

5. O jaanewale ho sake to laut ke ana by Mukesh from Bandini (1963), lyrics Shailendra

Ashok Kumar’s failure to turn up on the promised date brings Nutan and her father shame in the village. Unable to stand the slander, Nutan leaves stealthily in the night when this atmospheric song beseeches her to come back, if possible. The poignancy in Mukesh’s voice ‘..ho sakey to’ gives enough foreboding that it is not going to happen.

6. Mat ro mata laal tere bahutere from Bandini (1963), lyrics Shailendra

Manna Dey’s Poochho na kaise is placed at a special pedestal by the connoisseurs. I have a great fondness for Bhairav’s consort Bhairavi, and therefore, I have a huge liking for Hato kaahe ko jhoothi banaao batiyan and Kisne chilma se mara, even though these are light-hearted songs picturised on comedians. But one song which always gave me gooseflesh even without the visuals was Mat ro mata laal tere bahutere. In the movie the song is only obliquely connected to the main story. Ashok Kumar, who had ‘betrayed’ Nutan, was a revolutionary. This jail, which housed the Bandini, also housed some revolutionaries. In this scene one of the them is being taken to the gallows, watched by his stunned mother and all the inmates. The man is calm and confident and pleads with his mother not to cry; he was born on the earth crying, but now he was taking leave with smile on his lips.  You can admire SD Burman’s genius in giving a fast and joyous orchestration to a song which is deeply poignant.  Manna Dey is in his elements in conveying pathos and bravery at the same time with his full-throated voice.

7. Maana janaab ne pukara nahi by Kishore Kumar from Paying Guest (1957), lyrics Majrooh Sultanpuri

If SD Burman had a special place for Rafi, he had fondness for Kishore Kumar. Pre-1969 (Aaradhana), it was only SD Burman who made Kishore Kumar a lead singer under Navketan for Dev Anand. Their songs range from a deeply soulful Dukhi man mere to a playful Mana janaab ne pukara nahi. The song fits like T with the persona of the eternal romantic Dev Anand in this fun movie. I chose Rafi’s serious song, let me take Kishore Kumar’s light-hearted teasing song.

8. Thandi hawayein lahra ke ayein by Lata Mangeshkar from Naujawan (1951), lyrics Sahir Ludhiyanvi

आहा हा हा अहा हा हा हाहा – What a composition! The innocent beauty Nalini Jaywant steeped in love, cool breeze, the moon and the stars, Sahir’s poetry, SD Burman’s music with excellent instrumental and whistling interludes, Lata Mangeshkar’s divine voice. This is my clear choice for Lata Mangeshkar, and I don’t care if it is alleged to be inspired from a foreign tune.

9. Ab ke baras bhej bhaiya ko babul by Asha Bhosle from Bandini (1963), lyrics Shailendra

Bandini again! But I have tried only to balance the singer, if I start restricting not more than one song per film, I would lose some real gems. Ab ke baras bhej has a special niche among Asha Bhosle songs. The female prisoner on the grinding wheel has no real hope that anyone would come for her. It is said that when Asha Bhosle sang this song, all the emotions for her brother and family welled up inside her, as she was estranged from them at the time, and you have this immortal gem. If you want to limit one song from Bandini, you have to keep this one. Choose Sun mere bandhu re for SD Burman, Chal ri sajani for Mukesh and some other song for Manna Dey from my shortlist.  This double song link also includes the bonus of Amir Khusro’s Kaahe ko dini bides lakhi babul mere in the voice of Mukesh from Suhagraat (1948).

10. Waqt ne kiya kya haseen sitam by Geeta Dutt from Kagaz Ke Phool (1959), lyrics Kaifi Azmi

SD Burman gave Geeta Dutt her first superhit song Mera sundar sapna beet gaya. This remains an eternal favourite. Waqt ne kiya scores for its overall impact, with Guru Dutt/VK Murthy’s famed play with light and shades, Kaifi Azmi’s elegant poetry, Geeta Dutt’s singing and SD Burman’s outstanding music in this film, mirroring Guru Dutt’s own life of a superb talent torn between two women, leading to his ultimate destruction.

11. Man mor hua matwala by Suraiya from Afsar (1950), lyrics Narendra Sharma

Suraiya is another singer for whom SD Burman composed very few songs, but these still count among her best. Nain deewane based on Rabindrsangeet, She din dujone, is equally popular. A less known song from the same film, but my great favourite is Pardesi re jaate jaate jiya mora liye jaye. The superb combination of wind, string and percussion instruments with a very elongated Mo…………r in Suraiya’s melodious voice creates a haunting effect. And what poetry by Narendra Sharma – तुम सुर हो मैं मधुर रागिनी / तुम नस नस रस की फुहार मैं रोम रोम मधुशाला.

12. Sainya dil mein aana re by Shamshad Begum from Bahaar (1951), lyrics Rajendra Krishna

SD Burman and Shamshad Begum seem to be a most unlikely combination. But see how they jell in this debut Hindi film of Vyjayanthimala. This was a remake of the Tamil film Vazhkai (1949), also starring her in debut. The song is an everlasting hit, and very popular for remixes.

I would find it difficult to prune the above list to ten. If baker’s dozen can be thirteen, why not resolve that SoY’s ten can be anything from ten to thirteen, depending on the context.

And the ‘Sartaj’ song?

I stick to my principled position. The burden of proof lies on the person who challenges the default position. The person claiming that the sun rises in the west has to prove it, and it is not for the others to disprove it. The time has come for Dinesh to prove that he means what he says.  I call upon him to fulfil his part of the obligation and complete the exercise of choosing the Best of Bests.

{ 113 comments… read them below or add one }

1 D P Rangan October 31, 2015 at 11:19 am

Another great essay on S D Burman. I am fully in agreement with you on your choice of best songs ofLata Mangeshkar, Asha Bhonsle and Geeta Dutt. Even as I glanced through the list without a peep down under, I chose these songs and was pleased to see we are in harmony in many respects.
I always hold the belief what is deeply hidden comes out without one being aware of unburdening himself. Ak you are also no exception. You must be mentally imagining the records created by others as a challenge to your cherished beliefs going up in flame leaving no traces and you rising triumphant like phoenix from ashes. Otherwise I cannot comprehend your mentioning ‘Jalate hain jiske liye’ at song No. 4 above.

2 D P Rangan October 31, 2015 at 11:47 am


Your choice of Devdas and the song of Talat Mahmood would no doubt be upheld by many more and you will be patted on your back for your aesthetic taste. What about this song from film Angarrey, music set up by S. D. Burman. Is it not equally entrancing expressing more or less a similar mood.

Doob gaye Akash ke tare


3 D P Rangan October 31, 2015 at 11:51 am

Here is the same song in live, i.e. extracted from the original film.


4 ksbhatia October 31, 2015 at 2:23 pm

AK ‘ji ;
A perfect tribute to the great singer and composer . All the songs chosen in your 60 songs listings represent in general the best of mine as well. I agree with you and Dinesh ji on choosing the best songs that takes into account aesthetic appeal as well . One can mar or enhance quality of a song by its cinematographer or its art director . Take the case of ….Aaj sajan mohe aang laga lo…..I think picturisation of this song is a mile stone in bollywood history as to presentation of a song in its totality . I wish this song to be there amongst top tens .
There are two more songs which I wish could find a place in 60 songs listing :
Lata’s…Phelli hui hain sapnoan ki bahen
S D B ‘s…Dheere se aana bagiyan mein
Once again thanks for this wonderful post.

5 AK October 31, 2015 at 3:06 pm

DP Rangan,
Thanks a lot. I thought I have made myself clear on Jalate hain jiske liye. The ‘song’ is great, but its picturisation underwhelms me. The telephone thing looks trite to me.

Doob gaye aakash ke taarey is a very nice song. Does not sound like a film song, but like numerous geets he has sung.

6 AK October 31, 2015 at 3:11 pm

KS Bhatiaji,
Thanks a lot for your appreciation. I knew even 60 would not be enough. Dheere se jana bagiyan mein – I wanted to confine it to film songs. If you have followed my SD Burman series, you would remember I regard his NFS, including his private Bengali songs, as out of this world.

7 Antara October 31, 2015 at 3:50 pm

Some of my eternal favorites… can never ever ever outgrow their magic…

Ab ke baras… the one song that makes me get a lump in my throat that refuses to go.

Waqt ne kiya… drop everything and listen and get carried away… Heaven help you to come back to the ground realities again.

Thandi hawayein…. swing away in the cool breeze…. Wonder why you left out that delightful waltz Phaili hui hain sapnon ki baahein…. It plucks the listener and puts him/her plum on the rainbow and swinnngggg… 🙂

Yeh raat yeh chandni …. the greatest song of impulse and beckoning… peerless!

Mitwa lagi…. Wish Sarat Babu had seen this one. He didn’t think much of his novel and left it unpublished for 17 years. He would have changed his mind I am sure.

Ore maajhi…. pure love that rises above everything else.

Oh well… no point choosing favourites AK… I simply love all of them. Awesome list, wonderful analysis. Enjoyed thoroughly and will return!

8 Peeyush Sharma October 31, 2015 at 4:17 pm

Well written and interesting. I might have included a few more songs from later movies as well, yet great list.

9 AK October 31, 2015 at 4:27 pm

Thanks a lot for your appreciation. You are right, it is impossible to choose a favourite.

10 AK October 31, 2015 at 4:29 pm

Welcome to SoY and thanks a lot. I have seen your article. Excellent.

11 Ajay Vyas - October 31, 2015 at 5:12 pm

Pure blissAK
I salute your hard work & dedication in bringing this glorious past to us… Words are not enough to express my gratitude to you… Now, how do I get rid of this lump in my throat?
Ajay Vyas – London 31 Oct 2015

12 mumbaikar8 October 31, 2015 at 5:58 pm

Choosing one song from SDS’s best. Is, I think, an impossible task.
Like Anu I would enjoy.
All 60 and may be 120 more.
Talking about overdose. I would love to die of SDB’s overdose:)

13 AK October 31, 2015 at 6:14 pm

Ajay Vyas,
Welcome to SoY and thanks a lot for your appreciation. One solution I can give you – get out of London’s grizzly weather.

14 AK October 31, 2015 at 6:16 pm

You can never have enough of SD Burman. I think I should not corner all the thanks to myself. It is fair that we pass on some to Dinesh.

You meant Antara?

15 mumbaikar8 October 31, 2015 at 6:20 pm

No I meant Anu that is her ‘तकिया कलाम “

16 D P Rangan October 31, 2015 at 7:54 pm

Amirbai Karnataki song is soul stirring. It appears to be based on the Raag Desh. I never knew it was debut for SDB. What a title – 8 Days. Did it run for as many days.

17 D P Rangan October 31, 2015 at 8:24 pm

Amirbai Karnataki song is soul stirring. It appears to be based on the Raag Desh. I never knew it was debut for SDB. What a title – 8 Days. Did it run for as many days.

How do you choose one from 13 as best. Next to impossible. Each has its own merit and rendered very well by the singers too. When both the genders are involved, no choice is possible and anything can be challenged. If I were to imagine all the thirteen to be race horses all of them are running in parallel track and reaching the goal post at the same time. It is close finish with no winners or losers.
It is like the ball which was thrown in Priam’s court by a jealous Greek Goddess forcing poor Paris to make his choice to whom it could be given which resulted in total destruction of Troy in the end. There would be endless squabbles among participants each advancing arguments in support of his choice. It is like a mathematical theorem for which no proof has yet been advanced. I would enjoy listening to each one of them and declaring all of them as joint winners. Had it been 12 songs, I would have told hold the trophy for one month in turn. Best solution would be elimination of one song from the above list and allowing the rest one calender month each to hold the olive leaves like ancient Olympic champions.

18 AK October 31, 2015 at 8:48 pm

DP Rangan,
We have still to hear from Dinesh who is going to choose Best of the bests.

19 Ravindra Kelkar October 31, 2015 at 8:58 pm

As usual, excellent post. I would have gone for “Jalte Hain Jis Ke Liye” for Talat, “Poocho Na Kaise Maine Rain Bitayi” for Manna Dey & “Phaili Huwi Hai” for Lata. Picturisation quality for me doesn’t come into it. I generally, prefer to listen to the song.
Selecting the best amongst these is futile as well as useless & I fail to comprehend why one should do it. Even selecting the best 10 songs is a subjective matter, so selecting the best amongst the best is a complete waste of time.

20 AK October 31, 2015 at 10:23 pm

Ravindra Kelkar,
Thanks a lot for your compliments. At some point of time I too would have gone with Jalte hain jiske liye. On Poochho na kaise, I am aware of its status, but I have something about Bhairav. Phaili hui hai I am more sure – in my list of top 4-5 it does not figure. But to each his own.

On selecting the best you are saying more firmly what we have been saying more diplomatically. But I am still giving a chance to Dinesh.

21 Ashok M Vaishnav October 31, 2015 at 10:39 pm

Not much room is left for the disagreement, n that having gone through this list there is hardly a song which immediately comes to mind as missing from the list.

If one would ponder over for more time, there certainly may be some that can come as one’s own choice…..

So here I go off to hunt for my ‘best choice’ and see which of these I would knock off !

22 ksbhatia October 31, 2015 at 11:33 pm

A K’ji;
After listening and watching all the songs, again and again , I will vote for Top Three songs as :
1. Mitwa lagi re yeh kaisi ……Talat……Devdas
2. O re maanjhi……..S D B…..Bandini
3. Thandi hawaiyen ….Lata…..Naujawan

My rating is based on the quality of the composition vis a vis its lyrics , interlude that captured the situation in the movie beautifully ; as also the mood and performance of the actors .

23 Anu Warrier November 1, 2015 at 12:13 am

The ‘best’; the ‘best of best’… then what? The ‘bestest’? 🙂

I like every single song you have listed here. They all number among my favourites. Right now, if I had to pick one, I would still end up dithering between Ye raat ye chandni phir hawa, Chand phir nikla, Aaj sajan mohe ang laga le, Waqt ne kiya, Ab ke baras… have I listed every song you have listed, yet?

I’m still baffled – what’s the point of this exercise? Will choosing really give you a definitive ‘best of the best’?

Anyway, I don’t think I care enough to worry about why you would do it; suffice it to say that you have posted enough songs for me to listen to, one after the other. That, to me, is bliss. 🙂

24 SSW November 1, 2015 at 2:34 am

AK nice songs, SD as a composer had such a wonderful sense of melody, that he could bring out beauty with the minimum of notes. I have never been able to do a best of , too many things influence me at different times. You have veered towards older compositions. I would like to present some that I find interesting.
Rangeela re
Beautifully arranged , great use of rhythmic movements by strangely even the strings and of course guitar and congas, a lovely violin solo in the middle and of course Lata.

Raat akeli hai
Can we leave the other sister behind? Right from the first few notes on the keyboard and the slow unfolding by Asha and the cymbals …such a lovely combination of alto saxophone and flute. Asha would go even higher than this in another SD Burman song possibly the highest any female singer has touched in Hindi though one could argue that she sang falsetto there.

For Rafi since you mentioned Kaagaz ke phool to me it brought to mind the title song.
Sebastian D’souza’s arrangement of this song is wonderful. The organ and the slow pedantic measured notes on the double bass only emphasizing the first beat of the 3/4 rhythm most of the song is set in, the use of the male and female parts in the chorus.
Talking of arrangers one must not forget the amazing arrangement for “Yeh raat yeh chaandni” by Anthony Gonsalves. Without that arrangement for me the song would not be half of what it is.

For Kishore Kumar I this song floated into my head… mainly because of the bluesy guitar lick that goes on , beautiful because there is almost no real differentiation of mukhda and antara it is almost an unbroken sequence..and the ending, though on the tonic, somehow still seems incomplete.
I must admit that Dev Saab’s hirsute appendage on the upper lip put me off a bit.

So many good songs , I could never limit myself to a best of…:-)

25 AK November 1, 2015 at 5:49 am

Do come back after you have found your ‘best choice’.

26 mumbaikar8 November 1, 2015 at 6:03 am

Your comments always make the songs more enjoyable.
Kishore was SDB’s preferred singer after Aradhana, but I always have a ” Kaash Rafi had sung these songs” feeling for two of his songs.
The one you have mentioned, Dil aaj shaair hai from Gambler, is one of them the other is
Phoolona ke rang se from Prem Pujari.
I am glad he picked Rafi for this song from Gambler
Mera man tera pyaasa

27 AK November 1, 2015 at 6:04 am

I am with you, and I think everyone agrees that best of bests across singers is undoable. SDB created many iconic songs. Therefore, it is trite to say that I am happy you liked my selection.

28 AK November 1, 2015 at 6:19 am

Thanks a lot for your detailed comments. From your list I would give a skip to only Raat akeli hai. Dekhi zamane ki yari is indeed a wonderful song, with chorus interludes as flashback as you have mentioned.

You make interesting observations about Dil aaj shayar hai. Do you think the sense of incompleteness is because it is more of a recital? I think there are some more songs of this type. One that I recall is KL Saigal’s Preet mein hai jeevan. Pankaj Mullick’s Sundar nari preetam pyari ends hanging in the air.

Ye raat ye chaandni phir kahan – absolutely agree with you. Can we say, film songs, at least some of them are as much about arrangement as about the tune. I don’t know whether we had arrangers in 1930s and 40s. But think of Ek bangala bane nyara. Without the long instrumental prelude the song is barre. RC Boral used it many other songs. Did he do the arrangement himself?

It is sad that MD gets all the credit, the musicians and arrangers remained behind the curtain.

29 D P Rangan November 1, 2015 at 8:01 am

I would also add the following Asha Bhonsle songs for consideration.

Dila Laga Ke – Kala Pani
Dalti Jaye Chundariya – Nau Do Gyarah

30 Dinesh K Jain November 1, 2015 at 8:32 am

Thanks, AK, for a special feature’ only’ for me!! I appreciate the gesture and the effort made by you. I was out of station, and have just returned to the world. Will revert asap, with my comments, and ‘my’ list of the ‘Ten Best’.

31 SSW November 1, 2015 at 8:46 am

Mumbaikar8 thank you. I think I would enjoy Rafi singing the songs as I did Kishore. I like different interpretations and they would have been different.

AK, I did not really give a list and ” Raat akeli hai” , for me musically is right up there with anything that SD has created, but tastes differ.
Most songs of the 30s and 40s did not really have much orchestration so really there wasn’t much use for an arranger.

Yes it is a pity that we don’t recognize arrangers or musicians but we’ve never been very good at keeping exact records and then again we are listening to songs, not music.

32 AK November 1, 2015 at 2:20 pm

DP Rangan,
The second song figurers in my list at #39. A great song.

33 SSW November 1, 2015 at 3:26 pm

AK I did not answer your question about the “Dil aaj shaayar hai”. I think it is the lyrics here. Usually when a song reverts back to the tonic it seems a natural return but in this case it the lyrics state what will happen, not what has occurred. I guess again this is my interpretation. I tried picking out the notes on my guitar and it came back to the tonic. I was also amazed at the song’s simplicity. So melodic and so simple. It reminded me of an interview where Kamalahasan for his film Thevar Magan (which was remade in Hindi as Virasat with Anil Kapoor) wanted a really simple song that was as monotonous as possible so that it could be sung by somebody who was a tyro. So he sang an SD composition that Rafi had sung, to Illayaraja to indicate what he wanted to demonstrate the simplicity (Kamalahasan is quite a good singer) and Illayaraja came out with a simple melody that was inspired by the SD tune.

34 Ravindra Kelkar November 1, 2015 at 3:32 pm

After giving a more careful thought on short listed songs for Rafi, I would have found it difficult to exclude “Kahin Bekhayal Ho Kar” & “Aise To Na Dekho” from Teen Deviyan & “Apani To Har Aah Ek Tufan Hai” from Kala Bazar.

35 AK November 1, 2015 at 9:29 pm

Kahin bekhayal ho kar is also my favourite. But if you want to include all of your list, some songs would have to be removed, or you have to increase the number.

36 AK November 1, 2015 at 9:36 pm

You are very clear. Thus there may be two reasons – 1. Musical – it does not end at tonic. 2. Lyrics – lyrics leave as unfinished.

37 Ravindra Kelkar November 1, 2015 at 10:40 pm

Very interesting comment that you feel that you miss Rafi in the two songs you have mentioned in your comment no 26.
Actually, Rafi was so versatile & great that you could say the same for many of the best songs sung by other singers.
As far as Aradhana songs are concerned, “Kora Kagaz Tha Yeh Man Mera” is the only great song in that film, for me the remaining songs were not that special, just routine stuff.

38 SSW November 1, 2015 at 11:07 pm

AK I think my typing has left my grammar and meaning a little off key. 🙂
I meant the song reverts back to the tonic so it has to be the lyrics. But then again there is this indefinable sense of how the last note hangs in the song. That positioning is something that was pretty uniquely SD. It isn’t that simple to get , my teacher sometimes says “when you stop concentrating on the notes, you will play the music.”

39 ksbhatia November 1, 2015 at 11:28 pm

AK’ji ;
I entirely agree with S S W @24 and @31 . The arrangers and musicians must be given due recognition for their contribution as melody makers . In fact chorus singers should also get the recognition . I remember Raj Kapoor did mentioned names of the chorus singers in the titles of his movie Shree420 . I am not aware weather any other followed this practice .

Shanker Jaikishan were well supported by their Astts Dattaram and Sebastian as arrangers and are very well known to film buffs , but their main musician like Accordeone or mandolin or saxophone players are not known to every one . These players needs to be mentioned as highlighter of the song .

40 ksbhatia November 1, 2015 at 11:40 pm

When ever I think of Rafi , Devanand and S D Burman combo ; I think of Tere ghar ke samne ‘s trio songs :

1. Dil ka bhawar kahe pukar
2. Tu kahan yeh batta
3. Sun le tu dil ki sajja
Its a sheer pleasure listening to these songs again and again .

41 mumbaikar8 November 2, 2015 at 5:08 am

Ravindra Kelkar,
Actually I do feel about many songs, but I am extremely particular about these two songs.
This is what AK had said about SDB Rafi combination “As a music lover when I look at the Rafi songs of the above mentioned films, I feel as if a sculptor had crafted these songs with great care, and Rafi put soul into them with equal feeling. SD Burman knew those special situations when no one else but Rafi could deliver what he wanted.” AK had hit the nail right on the head. These two songs, I feel, fall in that category and had SDB done what he did in pre Aradhana days these songs would have been the pieces of art that both of them created in those good old days.

42 mumbaikar8 November 2, 2015 at 5:24 am

I had decided not voice dissent this time but after your response to Ravindra Kelkar comment #34 I feel like speaking up.
In past Hans has accused of being unfair to Rafi at times I felt he was stretching it too far but when you chose Rafi’s five song in SDB best collection I must say तो मुझे सोचना पड़ा

43 Antara November 2, 2015 at 5:35 am

Discussions on SoY are the best engagement to any article one can dream of. Hats off to AK for making readers react and respond with such enthusiasm.

Only two point I would like to mention here:

1. SSW: “It reminded me of an interview where Kamalahasan for his film Thevar Magan (which was remade in Hindi as Virasat with Anil Kapoor) wanted a really simple song that was as monotonous as possible so that it could be sung by somebody who was a tyro. So he sang an SD composition that Rafi had sung, to Illayaraja to indicate what he wanted to demonstrate the simplicity (Kamalahasan is quite a good singer) and Illayaraja came out with a simple melody that was inspired by the SD tune.”

This is very interesting, more so because the article we published in our Silhouette on Oct 31 written by Peeyush Sharma ji made a mention of Ilayaraja this way:
“Music collector, dancer, journalist, VAK Ranga Rao once narrated an incident to me. He visited the music room of Ilayaraja one day and noticed a framed picture of SD Burman hanging solitary on the wall. On asking about it, the genius from the South said any amount of salutations are not enough for someone who can create Yeh dil diwana hai dil to diwana hai (Ishq Par Zor Nahin, 1970). He is truly a Guru for all of us.”


As SSW says “AK I did not answer your question about the “Dil aaj shaayar hai”. I think it is the lyrics here. Usually when a song reverts back to the tonic it seems a natural return but in this case it the lyrics state what will happen, not what has occurred……I was also amazed at the song’s simplicity. So melodic and so simple.” – SD Burman always composed the tune first and had the lyrics written on them. So it was with Dil aaj shayar hai in Gambler – the lyrics were written after the tune was composed.

2. And when SSW is there, can Anu be far behind? This is one is for Anu dearest quoting her: “suffice it to say that you have posted enough songs for me to listen to, one after the other. That, to me, is bliss.”……

Anu, you said it. Agreeing 200%. With a cup of chai and the breaking dawn at 5:00 in the morning, this is the best beginning to the week, listening to these eternal beauties all over again…. 🙂

44 Soumya Banerji November 2, 2015 at 5:54 am

Sigh. Another list! And endless debates. To what end?

45 AK November 2, 2015 at 6:05 am

KS Bhatiaji,
One would like to acknowledge the musicians and arrangers, but unfortunately barring some very famous, most are unknown to us.

The songs of Tere Ghar Ke Saamne you have mentioned are all outstanding. Another thing that intrigues me is SD Burman’s ranking in the commercial pecking order. If you believe Raju Bharatan, when Naushad, C Ramchandra, Shankar Jaikishan and OP Nayyar were in one lakh club, SD Burman was in 20-40K. Strange if true.

46 AK November 2, 2015 at 6:06 am

Do I take it you are with me or against me?

47 AK November 2, 2015 at 6:10 am

It is interesting that both SSW here and Peeyush Sharma on your site should refer to Illayraja regarding SD Burman. That reminds me that a generation earlier Naushad was revered by South Indian musicians. (I am celebrating 2015 as the Year of Naushad on SoY).

48 D P Rangan November 2, 2015 at 6:30 am

I am bemused by your observation about Naushad. If you talk of people in general, Hindi songs are very popular in South even though majority cannot understand or even pronounce the words properly. For the musicians he was a gold mine with huge resources to plagiarise and produce bad imitations. Naushad must have been very magnanimous to ignore such crass slaughter of his tunes. Please tell me the higher judicial authorities to whom we all should appeal against your findings and get justice.

49 AK November 2, 2015 at 9:39 am

DP Rangan,
But I think you are supporting me. Imitation is the best form of flattery. South loved Naushad. But, still if you are aggrieved, you have the general assembly of SoY.

50 D P Rangan November 2, 2015 at 10:27 am


What a masterstroke. Your long innings in Govt. service has honed your skills in obfuscating an issue and so diluting it even the aggrieved party would not know what he was agitating for.

Appealing to the general assembly is like calling the flying denizens to assemble at one place for a hearing. Even then they would be squeaking , flapping and shouting at each other that I do not know who will bang the gavel to restore semblance of order and start with the proceedings. I give up the attempt as forlorn ab initio and continue to bear it. I will follow the adage my father used to state from his personal experience, i.e. I used to argue with him often – What cannot be cured must be endured.

Continue your post in this line merrily knowing your stand is unassailable. Why not the best ten of C Ramchandra and Naushad since this is their year as decided by you.

51 Ashok M Vaishnav November 2, 2015 at 11:12 am

Making of a choice indeed must have been as difficult to Shrinathji – 56 choicest items served for his prasada-

I would make only one exception – Saathi Na Koi Manzil (Bombai Ka Baboo) -n so far as the list here.


52 Ravindra Kelkar November 2, 2015 at 2:03 pm

You have a valid point here about the fact that only five Rafi songs are short listed (Lata has seven songs short listed).
I know I am sticking my neck out here, but possibly SDB is an exception in the sense that he was the only composer who has more number of great solo songs composed for a male singer. Almost all the other great composers of that era have more number of great solo songs created for female singers. I confess that I have not really studied this in great detail, but that’s the general impression I get. I am limiting the scope for this observation for Naushad, CR, AB, MM, SDB, OPN & SJ, since I consider them to be the top quality level composers.
Possibly, SJ might have more number of great male solo songs than the female songs, though I am not sure. But prima facie SDB definitely has greater number of superb quality male solos as compared to female solos. What’s your take on this?

53 AK November 2, 2015 at 2:28 pm

DP Rangan,
I ignore the first part of your comments as it is not relevant to the discussion. As for the second part, Naushad is my favourite no doubt, and CR too, the problem with them is that in 50s and 60s they were heavily leaning towards Lata Mangeshkar, and Rafi (in case of Naushad). Therefore, though I can have their best ten, but definitely one cannot say that they gave career best songs for ten different singers. SDB is miles ahead of anyone in composing best songs for almost all the major singers (I have put up 12).

54 Dinesh K Jain November 2, 2015 at 2:35 pm

AK and All

Okay, here is my list of the best 10 SDBs. In trying to do so, I did not start with any self-imposed conditionality such as only solos, but after finalising the list, I found that all 10 happened to be solos.

1. Piya tose naina lage re – Guide – For me a big and surprising omission in AK’s list. I still remember, rather vividly, when I first heard the 15-minute Guide promotion programme by the inimitable Ameen Sayani on Radio Ceylon way back in 1965 (1964?) when I was just entering my teens and had little appetite for classical music, he presented this song in its complete version saying that short of watching the film this would be the only occasion to hear it full, and so it was, until the dawn of the internet age. I was not taken in by it then, but this song , for its classical-based composition, melody, orchestration, Lata’s rendering, and picturisation, grows on you for ever the more you hear it. My all-time No. 1 song by SDB.
2. Khoya khoya chand – Kala bazaar – Another immortal gem of a song, made incomparable by Dev’s unique – by his own stylish standards, too – movements in the film, besides of course Rafi’s smooth rendering.
3. Tum na jane kis jahan – Sazaa – for its melody and orchestration…not to forget Lata.
4. Phaili hui hain sapnon ki – House No.44 – You would love this song for its innocent chirpiness and sweet rendering if you just ignore Kalpana K’s non-acting in the film.
5. Aaj sajan mohe – Pyasa – I ‘discovered’ this song when I watched the movie late during my univ days, and was blown away by its impactful picturisation.
6. Thandi hawayen – Naujawan – A memorable song, favourite on all lists. The first one penned by Sahir for SDB, and also his first when he returned to Bollywood with a vengeance.
7. Jalte hain jiske liye – Sujata – Needs no words.
8. Phoolon ke rang se – Not mentioned by any of you, so I am a little apprehensive including it here, except that it was my no. 1 song among ALL for many years. Besides, SDB and no Kishore; blasphemous, AK!
9. O re manjhi – Bandini – Again, needs no justification….And the last…
10. Jayen to jayen kahan – Taxi driver (Talat/Lata) – The best first Filmfare song!

I would also, like AK, add a few more of SDBs that I love: Ab to hai tumse (Abhiman); Chand phir nikla (Paying guest); Chup hai dharti (House No. 44); Dil ka bhanwar (Tere ghar ke samne); of course, Hum bekhudi mein (Kala Pani); Sun mere bandhu (Sujata)…and numerous others like in Paying Guest, Nau Do Gyarah, Chalti ka Naam Gadi, and so on.

To add tangentially, it was SDB’s Aradhana (not Shakti Samant’s so much) that catapulted Kishore’s singing career above all others, as well as Rajesh Khanna’s.

Many of you have already observed that SDB was one composer who maintained his high quality and popularity all through right till the very end, unlike other stalwarts like Naushad, OPN, SJ, CR, even Salil and Khaiyyam. In this respect, there is no one to beat SDB.

What has, however, long intrigued me is that much of SDB’s initial work in late 40s and early 50s, much to my surprise, was nowhere as captivating. Any comments on this?

On some other comments before this, I suppose there are two very distinct aspects to such music, as indeed to most art and most things in life, which are (a) its merit, and (b) its analysis including statistical – remember one of AK’s recent pieces loaded with stats? While the former is the raison d’etre why we all are here, some of us are, well, inclined to finding the latter, too, absorbing, just as in cricket. And once you start doing that, why stop before you verifiably conclude that indeed Bradman was the best ever. I can well understand that it is not everybody’s cup of tea, but that is how life goes.

AK, thanks again. Now I await Salil and Khaiyyam, Inshallah! Or rather, AK willing…

55 AK November 2, 2015 at 2:43 pm

Ravindra Kelkar,
I would say it in a somewhat different way, taking from my preceding comment. SDB was the only composer who composed great songs for every major singer of the golden era. Let us take one by one.

Naushad: Kishore Kumar, Geeta Dutt any great song that we instantly recall?

CR: Except Lata Mangeshkar and Talat Mahmood, How many CR songs would you fit in the 20 best songs of other singers.

AB: Except Mukesh, Talat Mahmood and Lata Mabgeshkar, how many songs in the best of other singers?

MM (and Roshan) are versatile. They might come close in diversity to SDB, but did they give best of Geeta Dutt?

OPN: No Lata

SJ: By far the most dominant, but except Lata Mangeshkar, Rafi, Manna Dey, Talat Mahmood and Mukesh, for other singers SDB miles ahead.

56 D P Rangan November 2, 2015 at 3:01 pm

Your arguments are sound if intent is to cover as many singers as possible. I have one more suggestion as follows:

Take any one singer – Rafi, Asha, Hemant Kumar, and Manna Dey. Confine to a period and choose best songs for composers. Here singer would be one but composers as many as possible. I deliberately omitted Lata Mangeshkar because O P Nayyar would be outside the fray, which is not fair in any presentation of this type.

57 mumbaikar8 November 2, 2015 at 4:14 pm

Ravindra Kelkar,
I have different view on male solos.
I think it is not MDs but the time period that matters.
In early to mid-50s when Lata was ruling the roost all the MDs including SDB were churning out Female solos.
In late 50s when the tide turned for Rafi they started giving preference to male solos. It happened more with SDB because he was not working with Lata and had to rely more on Rafi. CR and AB their resistance to Rafi made them extinct.
OPN was different for he had more duets then solos (if I am not mistaken)

58 KB November 2, 2015 at 6:53 pm

There were some excellent songs in Munimji, Paying Guest ,Nau do Gyarah and Funtoosh also. But they have not featured in this discussion.Same is the case with Taxi Driver and Solva Saal.

59 AK November 3, 2015 at 10:24 am

Soumya Banerji,
I had missed your sigh at #44. You might have seen we don’t do much socially useful work at SoY. But thanks for dropping by.

60 AK November 3, 2015 at 10:33 am

You didn’t notice song #11, 17, 26 in the list? They are from the films you have mentioned. Maana janab ne pukara nahi also figures in my best ten.

61 AK November 3, 2015 at 10:49 am

Thanks a lot for your detailed comments. You have fulfilled your obligation. I am very fond of Piya tose naina laage re. Ignore that I missed it in my shortlist. But I don’t think I would put it as the best of best of SDB. I would give that honour to an SDB song itself.

The period of 40s and early 50s belonged to Anil Biswas, Naushad and C Ramchandra. There is not much room at the top. He had a natural affinity with Geeta Dutt, spat with Lata Mangeshkar forced him to present a special Asha Bhosle. SDB was a very gifted singer as well as a thoroughly trained musician. Navketan came along. And post-1969, he re-invented Kishore Kumar and himself. All in all, one of the greatest.

62 mumbaikar8 November 3, 2015 at 8:40 pm

Sorry, I missed your comment # 46.
Ravindra Kelkar’s comment is the answer to your question.
It is not with or against you. I just raised a question?

63 Hans November 4, 2015 at 12:18 am

You have taken up and accomplished a difficult task. SDB was a genius and versatile and to make a list of best for him is just impossible. You have done it in a systematic way. The descriptions of most of the songs are reflection of what I think about them. Particularly, I would refer to ‘mat ro mata’. This song just has the same effect on me. Manna Dey’s songs are not mentioned by most when talking about patriotic songs. But, this one and ‘ae mere pyare watan’ are just super in this genre. I know his best for SDB is ‘poochho na kaise’ but ‘mat ro mata’ is not far behind. I would leave KK and Shamshad for the sake of top 10. I would change ‘kisko khabar thi’ for Talat, ‘tum na jane kis jahan men’ for Lata and ‘poochho na kaise’ for Manna Dey.

One query, is the song in Rafi list (#5) ‘tu kahan ye bata’.

64 AK November 4, 2015 at 9:38 am

Thanks a lot for your comments and endorsement.
#5 – yes that is the song.

65 ashok kumar tyagi November 4, 2015 at 2:55 pm

AK ji
Congrats for a brilliant article. Songs selected are all great songs.

KS Bhatia @39 wrote about musicians.
For Tabla/dholak OPN had GS Kohli, SJ( and some other MDs) had Datta Ram Wadkar, SD Burman had Pandit Shamta Prasad, Ravi had Ustad Latif Ahmad in some of his films, Naushad and Ghulam Mohammad had Ghulam Mohammad’s brothers on percussion instruments(one of them had a takhallus name ‘Wahshi’ and he was a tabla player of highest class).

SD Burman gave important space to solo Tabla pieces in preludes/interludes of many songs, e.g. Nazar laagi raja tore bangle(kala pani), Dekhne mein bhola hai(bambai ka babu), Mose chhal kiye jaye(guide), teri bindiya re(abhimaan) and the Manna Dey song from film Talaash:

Tere naina talash karein

Dinesh Jain@54. The first song to beg Filmfare award was ‘Tu ganga ki mauj mein’ – awarded in March 1954 for films of previous year. The song from taxi Driver got its award next year.


66 Dinesh K Jain November 4, 2015 at 2:58 pm

Ashok Tyagi

My understanding is that Tu Ganga ki mauj won Naushad the ebst MD award, but the best song award was won by Jayen to…

While I am at it, let me acknowledge a couple of inadvertent factual errors as also omissions in my last post. I hardly need flag them here in this group of such erudite people.

67 AK November 4, 2015 at 5:58 pm

Ashok Kumar Tyagi,
Thanks a lot for your appreciation.

68 D P Rangan November 4, 2015 at 6:04 pm


To stress the point about tabla role in S D Burman music direction, the following song from Mein Surat Teri Ankhen (1963) by Rafi would bear it out.


69 ksbhatia November 4, 2015 at 10:42 pm

Kis ko khabar thi by Talat is a strong contender for one of the top songs of S D Burman .

70 Ravindra Kelkar November 4, 2015 at 11:49 pm

SDB was a great MD. I consider SDB, OPN, Naushad, AB,CR, MM & SJ as the top MDs in the golden era. What your post points out is the fact that SDB was much more democratic or socialist in his outlook about giving songs to all the prominent singers of that time. Probably, the only missing singer is Mahendra Kapoor. At least, I don’t know any song of Mahendra Kapoor for SDB. All of these singers have sung memorable songs under the baton of SDB is not a surprise really, since he was a great composer. According to me, the ability to create a wonderful tune to meet the requirements of the song situation in the film, is what makes any MD great. Who finally sang it, has only a minor impact on the final output. As OPN claims, the orchestration & singers contribute only 25% in the final quality of song. Keeping this in mind, if we have high quality singers available to render the song, the final result is not going to be too different, if instead of singer A, singer B sings it. Just to make this more clear, let us examine the three Mukesh songs that you have short listed. I can imagine “Jaanewale ho sake to” being sung by Hemant Kumar, similarly “Sun ri Sajani” being sung by Manna Dey & “Ae dil-e-awara” being sung by Talat. Possibly, all the three songs could have sounded even better than what Mukesh managed to achieve.
SDB had many assistants who later became well known MDs, e.g. N Datta assisted him for Jaal. Then he had Jaidev for many years, followed by RDB. Probably for SDB, the role of an assistant was very important, because it’s claimed that at least at the start of his career as MD, he didn’t know anything about music arrangement & orchestration. It’s said that CR made musical arrangement for his first film & due to this fact, CR never considered SDB as a great MD.
Another observation I have is that SDB’s songs were more melodious when Jaidev was his assistant. I think “Guide” was the last movie for which Jaidev was his assistant. Probably it’s not a coincidence that for majority of the 12 songs you have selected, Jaidev was his assistant. If you notice, after Guide, many of his songs had more orchestration based upon western style & sounded a bit loud & hence less melodious as compared to his earlier songs. The music of “Jewel Thief” is a classic example of this. This was probably due to the influence of RDB as his assistant. SSW in his comments refers to Sabastien as his assistant, which I was not aware of. May be it was an exception. After Aradhana, RDB stopped being assistant to SDB & SDB’s wife Meera Burman took over that role. To my ears, I find his music for Tere Mere Sapane as better than Aradhana & more melodious since RDB was not in the picture.

71 Manoj November 5, 2015 at 4:10 am

I appreciate your test in selecting SDB’s songs. Thanks.

72 AK November 5, 2015 at 10:52 am

Ravindra Kelkar,
Thanks a lot for your very insightful comments. I don’t think it was a matter of being democratic or socialist, but SDB was just tops with everyone. Mahendra Kapoor unfortunately was one of the most unloved singers. He got his due later with Ravi, Kalyanji Anandji and OP Nayyar. One reason for his later revival I have heard is that there were some differences between Rafi and OPN, Ravi etc.

On imagining famous songs in other voices, I am more conditioned to associate the song indelibly with that singer. The only changes I can visualise is in cases where the voices are very close – let us say Lata Mangeshkar singing a Suman Kalyanpur song or Hemant Kumar singing Dwijen Mukherji’s or Subir Sen’s songs. Therefore, I don’t agree with your generalisation about singer A/B.

Among the assistants who became great music directors I have a very high regard for Ghulam Mohammad. Many of his songs I admire are no less than Naushad’s.

I entirely agree with you on Tere Mere Sapne, I find its music better than Jewel Thief. I don’t really know how much credit we should give to SDB’s assistants for his melodies. The opinion among the experts vary. One absolutist view is that we should not minimise the MD’s role and there is no question of apportioning any part of the credit to his assistant.

73 Ravindra Kelkar November 5, 2015 at 1:25 pm

I agree, that we don’t know how much credit one should give to the assistant or music arranger. As far as OPN is concerned, almost all the music pieces were composed by him in almost all the songs. Generally speaking, that’s the main reason, why invariably you can recognise that it’s OPN song as soon as you hear it.
About not agreeing with Singer A/B arguement, that’s fine. But just to make it clear, I am talking about best singers available. That includes Rafi, Talat, Manna Dey, Hemant Kumar, Kishore Kumar, Mukesh for male singers & Lata, Geeta, Asha, Shamshad, Suman for female singers. It does not include Subir Sen, Dwijen Mukherji, Mubarak Begum, Sudha Malhotra, SD Batish, Sandhya Mukherji, Meena Kapoor, etc.

74 KB November 5, 2015 at 2:18 pm

Mahendra kapoor has sung for SD in two films – Miya Biwi Razi and OP Ralhan’s Talash.

75 Dinesh K Jain November 5, 2015 at 6:05 pm


My curiosity was piqued too by the question whether Mahandra Kapoor ha ever sung for SDB. Alas, I could not find any Mahendra Kapoor song from Talash (1969). Even in Miya Biwi Razi, there is only one duet credited to MK (and AB) but its video or other details seem unavailable.

Maybe, KB, you would care to provide a few more clues, or details?

76 Dinesh K Jain November 5, 2015 at 7:07 pm


Thank you very much.

Evidently there are no videos or even audio recordings available anywhere on the net; what a pity!

77 Hans November 5, 2015 at 8:08 pm

Here are the links for the two Mahendra Kapoor songs by SDB. Both are video links.

Mil gaye milne wale – Miyan Biwi Razi
Mera kya sanam – Talaash

78 Dinesh K Jain November 5, 2015 at 8:31 pm


Thanks; both are fair songs.

May I ask how you found them , for my search at UT yielded only failure!

79 Hans November 5, 2015 at 10:53 pm

I normally search with film name and its year. For example, in Miya Biwi Raazi, I search ‘Miya Biwi Raazi 1960’ or ‘miya biwi raazi 1960 songs’. Some time we get different results by adding songs, though they appear the same. If I do not get the required song in the first 3 or 4 pages, then I search by the mukhda of the song. In this case, since you had mentioned that you did not find on YT, I directly searched the mukhda and got it. Sometimes I even go to google search, which sometimes gives the youtube link, because the google search is more advanced.

80 Ravindra Kelkar November 5, 2015 at 10:58 pm

Hans & KB,
Amazing find. Thanks for the information.
I think the Miyan Biwi Razi song of Mahendra Kapoor can be explained. As the story goes, Mahedra Kapoor won the best emerging singer contest presided over by prominent MDs which included Nuashad & MM. This was in the year 1958 or 1959. It was mandated by Music Directors Association that the winners will be given opportunity to sing at least one song by all the MDs prevelant at that time. So fot that reason, SDB must have used Mahendra Kapoor in that movie.

81 ashok kumar tyagi November 6, 2015 at 3:08 pm

Ravindra Kelkar ji
Yes, the agreement was that the judges will give a break to the winning singer. Consequently, Naushad gave the climax song of film Sohni Mahiwal to Mahendra Kapoor. C. Ramchandra was also judging that competition, so he gave him a number of songs for film Navrang.

82 KB November 6, 2015 at 7:58 pm

In fact CR used the vocals of Mahendra Kapoor in quite a few movies such as STREE and NAVARANG and later in films such as BAHURANI and TASVEER and almost upto the end of his career.

83 Ravindra Kelkar November 7, 2015 at 12:06 am

Ashok Kumar Tyagiji,
Thanks for your input.
I think it was not only the judges but all the MDs of that period were supposed to give break for the winner. OPN used him as a background voice in the film “Do Ustad” which was released in 1960 & I am sure neither OPN nor SDB were judges.

84 Subodh Agrawal November 9, 2015 at 11:10 am

I was prevented from commenting earlier thanks to a malfunctioning internet connection. By now everything I could say has been said – and said better – by someone else. So let me just thank AK for this brave and beautiful post. Brave because choosing so few out of such a vast field requires courage.

85 Hans November 9, 2015 at 10:55 pm

There was a very interesting point raised by Ravindra Kelkar and Mumbaikar8 in comments 52 and 57. Only difference was that perhaps Ravindra Kelkar was talking about great male solos by SDB and Mumbaikar8 was talking about the total no of male and female solos composed by SDB. I will give some stats in this regard. I have always divided SDB’s films in 3 eras. First is his films upto 1956 in which he sparingly used Rafi. Second was his Rafi era from 1957 to 1965. The third was his films after 1965, when he almost forgot Rafi again.

Now to the stats. In the first period, there were 33 films and in that period the distribution of solos between males and females was in the ratio of 3:1 and the great solos were also in the same ratio. In the second period there were 30 films and the solos were equally distributed among males and females, but the ratio for great solos came to 1:2. This was principally due to the fact that Rafi was singing for SDB and he had a lot of great solos in this era. In the third era, there were 26 films and the ratio between male female came to 60:40 and the number of great solos was also in the same ratio. So it was only in the middle phase, due to Rafi, the number of great male solos was more than the female solos. This has been the case with every MD, whenever Rafi has become the main male singer.

86 N Venkataraman November 10, 2015 at 4:26 pm

AK ji,
Congrats yet again for another wonderful article. A special thanks to Mr. Dilip K Jain for inducing you to come up with this post. One cannot have enough of S D Burman’s songs. They are evergreen work of a genius.
I do agree that the selection (60songs) captures almost the best of S D Burman’s songs. I would not like to greatly differ either from your choice of the best solo songs of the 12 main singers of S D Burman. Yes I would have gone for Poocha na kaise, but You are very right about Mat ro mata laal tere bahutere. It is a very moving song. Here is an interesting anecdote on this song told by Manna Dey in one of his interviews.
‘Another song close to my heart is the Bandini solo ‘Mat ro mata laal tere bahutere’. Sachinda was reduced to tears by the end of my rendition. He was very happy with my singing. This song too suffered because of change in situation. The original situation was that Nutun asks Ashok Kumar to sing a song and he says that I know only one song and he sings ‘Mat ro mata laal tere bahutere’ This was the situation Burman dada gave to me when I recorded this song. When the film got over Bimal Roy changed his mind. The song was finally picturised on a man heading for the gallows.’
It appears Manna Dey and S D Burman were not pleased with the change. But as you said even without the visuals Mat ro mata laal tere bahutere is a touching song.
Another interesting observation is that you have selected almost equal number of male solos (31) and female solos (29), where as female solos will account 65 % of S D Burman’s solos. Interestingly 23 of the male solos are from the 1956-65. The majority of the female solos (16) in your selection are from the period prior to 1956 (9 from 1951 ).

Hans ji has pointed out that the between 1956 and 1965 the solos were equally distributed among males and females and this was principally due to the fact that Rafi was singing for SDB and he had a lot of great solos in this era. Can Lata Mangeshkar’s absence for a few years during this period can also be another reason for lesser number of female solos during this period?
Based on your selection of 10 songs from the year 1951 and 5 songs from the film Bandini (1963) alone, can we say that 1951 was the best year and Bandini was the best film for S D Burman.

87 Shalan Lal November 10, 2015 at 5:56 pm

Sorry about so late but some works kept me away from this fabulous post which AK had taken so much trouble to create.
Here I am:
Following is my list of the songs but the selection is done under duress because I like almost all songs and music of SD. My view is that he should get posthumously Phalake Award for enriching Hindi Film songs by each song making it sweet using new experiments and adding new ideas in the songs. Tadbir Se Bigadi…. The song was a Gazal in format when it was written but changed it into a Night Club song format of the Hollywood song style. Classical style like the songs of C. Ramchandra. His first Hindi fim song in Paro’s voice was very famous and was remembered by the Tea restaurants even in the fifties. Mera Sundar Sapana is a all time great song. Chup Hai Dharti in HK’s voice is very evocative of the night scene. Chand Phir Nikala comes out from everybody’s heart. O Nigahe Mastana though it uses Asha’s voice it is not duet the voice is humming as if musical supporting instrument. The two songs “Aaj Sanam mere Ang Laga Le and Mera Gora Gora Ang have their roots in the “Chaitanya Worship but used in the films as provocateurs. I have doubt of the authorship of the “Aaj Sajan Mohe Ang Laga Le” under the name of Sahir. Dil ka Bhawar has wonder fully filmed inside the Qutub Minar while climbing down, Megha Chhaye lyric by Niraj is sheer poetry in Hindi and Sachinda is at his apex of the creativity and gave us the poetic experience. He did the same in the Pyasa and Kagaz Ke Phool. No other MD has done as rich creative contribution to the Hindi music as SD has done. He also added his unique voice successfully as singer to those peculiar Bengali style songs.
01 “तेरे बिना सूनी सूनी है मेरी फुलवारी रे (शिकारी 1946) Paro
02 “’मेरा सुंदर सपना’ (Do Bhai 1947) Geeta Roy
03 “मेरा दिल तड़पा कर कहाँ चला (Shabnam 1949) Geeta Roy
04 “तदबीर से बिगड़ी हुई तक़दीर बना ले (Baazi 1951) Geeta Roy
05 “झन झन झन झन पायल बाजे (Buzdil 1951) Lata
05 “’जीने दो और जियो’ (‘टॅक्सी ड्रायव्हर’) 1954 Asha
06 “Woh Na Ayenge Paltkar (Devdas 1955) Mubaraq Beghum
07 “फैली हुई है सपनों की बाहे” (घर नं. ४४) 1956 Lata
08 “चुप है धरती, चुप है चाँद सितारे” (घर नं. ४४) 1956 HK
09 “चाँद फिर निकला” (पेइंग गेस्ट) 1957 Lata
10 “ओ निगाहें मस्ताना” (पेइंग गेस्ट) 1957 Kishore Kumar
11 “आज सजन मोहे अंग लगालो” (Pyasa 1957) Geeta Dutt
12 “मोरा गोरा अंग ले.. (बंदिनी) 1963 Lata, Gulzar
13 “गा मेरे मन गा’ (लाजवंती) 1958 Asha Bhonsle
14 “अरे देखी ज़माने की यारी…बिछडे सभी बारी बारी” (कागज के फूल1959) Rafi
15 “काली घटा छाये मोरा” (सुजाता) Geeta Dutt 1959
16 “दिल का भँवर करे पुकार..” (तेरे घर के सामने) 1963 Rafi
17 “मेरे साजन है उस पार” (बंदिनी), 1963 Sachinda
18 “वहाँ कौन है तेरा मुसाफिर” (गाईड) 1965 Sachinda
19 “सफल होगी तेरी आराधना” (आराधना) 1969 Sachinda
20 “’मेघा छाए आधी रात” (Sharmilee)1971 Lata
Shalan Lal

88 KB November 10, 2015 at 6:26 pm

SD used Kishore Kumar’s voice for Raj Kapoor in Pyar (1950) and Mukesh’s voice for Dev Anand in Vidya (1948) which was unique.

89 AK November 10, 2015 at 11:33 pm

Welcome back. You have made up for your absence by your detailed comments.

I am somewhat surprised that SDB and Manna Dey were unhappy by the picturisation of Mat ro mata. Ashok Kumar singing this song for Nutan might have appeared sterile. The prisoner being taken to the gallows brings it alive.

When I selected the 60 songs I was not think of any rationing. I just took the 12 singers and started listing their songs. If there is a tilt towards some years or male or female songs, it is involuntary.

We would need to think more carefully to determine the best year of SDB. But I am more sure about Bandini. Five great singers – five great songs. It does not happen often. There was a time when 10-12 songs were common. Just imagine had SDB consciously tried to have all the singers in a film and compose a great song for each. I would regard Bandinik as SDB’s best.

90 ksbhatia November 10, 2015 at 11:34 pm

K B’ji’s two unique songs reminds me of other such lesser heard songs of S D B :
1. Dekho mane nahi ruthi haseena ……Asha , Jagmohan…..Taxi driver..SDB
2. Hum dam se gaye……Manna dey……Manzil…..SDB
3. Yaad aa gai woh nashili…Hemant….Manzil….SDB

91 AK November 10, 2015 at 11:42 pm

Shalan Lal,
Thanks a lot for your appreciation. On posthumous awards I have a somewhat different view. We have used ‘posthumous’ in such an over political manner that there is a need of law to prohibit posthumous awards if death has happened more than a year ago. But yes I am entirely with you that he eminently deserved Dada Saheb Phalke Award.

You have added some of his best songs. I would need to listen to Paro Devi song again.

92 AK November 10, 2015 at 11:45 pm

KS Bhatiaji,
Thanks a lot for mentioning these songs. Dekho maane na hi roothi haseena is my great favourite.

93 ksbhatia November 11, 2015 at 12:22 am

AKji ;
Your well come sir ; these are unpolished rare golden songs of S D Burman that qualifies to be kept in old vintage satin lined box under lock and key . This great composer gave a gem of songs all thru’ out his life time . The last three films of Hrishekesh mukerjee are the witness to SDB’s wealth of music till his death . Where as other great MD’s of his times vanished after fidling with composition which were flop after flop and left little to remember for . S D Burman truly stand tall amongst all others . A song in his memory :
Aye tum yaad mujhe …….Kishore kumar…..Milli


94 Ravindra Kelkar November 11, 2015 at 1:50 am

Thanks for your observations on great male solos as compared to great female solos. As you rightly point out in the second phase(1956-1967), male solos were greater in numbers than female solos, mainly due to Rafi. Somehow for me, whenever I think about SDB songs, I tend to recall & listen to Rafi, Kishore & Hemant Kumar solos more often than Lata, Asha & Geeta .

I was reading your old posts on SDB. In your Asha-SDB post, you have mentioned that Asha-SDB combo impresses you more than Asha-OPN, most surprising, indeed. The number of wonderful Asha-OPN songs will be at least three times than that of Asha-SDB. However, to appreciate those songs, you will need to overcome the anti Asha-OPN mindset .
Coming to your post on Kishore-SDB, you rightly point out that he was SDB’s preferred singer. However, in spite of this, he gave so many wonderful songs to Rafi, because SDB was a true professional & he realised the true Rafi qualities, as well as that he was the winning horse. After the tremendous success of Aradhana, he realised that times have changed &like a true professional he stuck to Kishore, who was now the winning horse. Also, in my opinion, Rafi’s voice was starting to sound a bit jaded by 1970 & SDB had a great ear in spotting such things. Another aspect was that the quality of Hindi Film Music was already starting to lose its sweetness & melody (this applies to SDB also). Most of the songs after 1970, were of quick-fix nature, there was less requirement to express subtle emotions/feelings, in which Rafi was far better that Kishore. OPN, Naushad & SJ were the MDs who were the real backers of Rafi. OP, Naushad were being phased out & the death of Jaikishan spelled doom to SJ. Film industry is a purely commercial field, so once Aradhana/Rajesh/Kishore combo clicked , due to the already evident deterioration in the quality of Hindi Film Music, it was inevitable that Rafi was going to lose his domination. Another point to be noted is that from 1970 onwards, there are hardly any Lata songs worth the mention(comparatively with the period 1950-1970), which again points towards the end of golden era. So all in all, as a Rafi fan vis-a-vis Kishore, I don’t actually feel sad that Kishore became number one, because there were hardly any songs which Rafi missed, which would have compared favourably with those of 1950-1970.
Another interesting point about SDB is the use of different male voices for the same hero in the same film. In Manzil, he used Hemant Kumar, Manna Dey & Rafi for Dev Anand. In Abhiman, he used Kishore, Rafi & Manhar for Amitabh. Remember, Amitabh is playing the role of a professional singer in that film. It is quite amusing to imagine a person who can be so versatile that he can sing like Rafi, Kishore & Manhar at the snap of a finger. He used Hemant Kumar & Rafi for Dev Anand in Solwa Saal & Baat Ek Raat Ki. Kishore & Hemant Kumar in Munimaji & Jaal, Talat, Kishore & Jagmohan in Taxi Driver, Rafi & Manna Dey in Kala Baazar & Bambai Ka Babu. He used Rafi & Kishore for Dev Anand in a number of films, which need not be mentioned. I am sure there are more examples. Of course, with the advent of Kishore as numero uno, there are a number of films where Rafi & Kishore sang for the same hero under different MDs, post-Aradhana. I know for Raj Kapoor, SJ used Mukesh & Manna Dey in a few films. But I think SD has used different male voices for the same hero in the same film the maximum number of times. One logical reason could be that, SDB created the tune first, & then thought about the suitable singer to do the best justice & got it rendered by that singer, this also enforces my belief that he was truly a professional.

95 Jignesh Kotadia November 11, 2015 at 1:57 am

a superb collection of SDB songs..singerwise in your post.
I have a very sweet memories of Wahan Kaun hai tera and Guide when i watched it in early 90’s thru VCR. The song had built an instant momentum with very first scene of Guide and thereafter the momentum maintained throughout the movie. The last moving moments of Allah Megh De Paani De Chhaya De Re were severe. I still not have courage to see this last part of Guide !

Allah megh de pani de chhaya de re Rama megh de
De de pyar de pyar de pyar de re hame pyar de

the most shocking music i listened under SDB name is Chhupa Rustum in 1973. Every song is a typical Rdb piece.. except that Madhur surs of Dheere se jana bagiyan men revisited by KK. Mera kya sanam of Talaash mentioned by Hansji here is also a RD song.. no SDB presence in it.. but my favourite Kitni Akeli Kitni Tanha si lagi is a pure bliss from the same movie !

Ohh Venkataramanji
Email na koi SMS
Jane wo kaun sa Des
Jahan aap rehte hai !

Happy Diwali and New Year to all SoY members.

96 AK November 11, 2015 at 8:38 am

Ravindra Kelkar,
Thanks a lot for your very insightful comments. I do have something on OPN-Asha Bhosle. For example, I have to make a confession today – I am not a great fan of Chain se humko kabhi. In the radio era I didn’t think a great deal of Chhota sa baalma and whole lot of OPN-Asha Bhosle songs. At this stage it seems difficult to overcome this.

Different singers singing for the hero in the same film – we are conditioned to find nothing odd in this. Western critics find it very odd, in fact the whole business of playback singing they find unacceptable. Audrey Hepburn was denied Oscar for My Fair Lady when it was discovered that another singer had sung for her. But it would be interesting to make a list of films using maximum number of voices for the same hero. How about Bluff Master, Mera Naam Joker to start with having three singers for the heroes. I think a good exercise for our Master diggers at SoY would be to look for cases in which at least 4 singers have sung for the hero.

Kishoe Kumar-Rafi-Aaradhana has been beaten to death. I have myself written a long piece on Rafi versus Kishore Kumar which is primarily centred around this watershed event. The best explanation that I have seen of this phenomenon has been given by our Ashokji, who said it may be seen as a Black Swan event. Let me mention that many, including Hans, question the proposition that KK overtook Rafi post-Aaradhana. I do hold that KK became the new Rafi. I don’t know whether Rafi suddenly declined and Kishore Kumar suddenly became better, but the latter’s songs started to attain the centre stage.

You have made some remarks about post-70 music. I am with you obviously, but that sets me thinking to compile the best songs of post-70 which would match to the best the Golden Era.

97 AK November 11, 2015 at 8:41 am

You too have become equally invisible.

Thanks a lot for your appreciation. Wishing you Happy Diwali too.

98 Ravindra Kelkar November 11, 2015 at 12:43 pm

Thanks for your comments. About Asha-OP, well the loss is yours, you are missing a great deal of happiness & joy, which is inherent in OPs music.
About trying to compile best songs post-70 to match Golden Era, Best of Luck, however, my advice will be to let it go, it’s a waste of time. It will be “Khoda Pahad Aur Nikala Chooha”. There are so many hidden gems in the 1950-70 era, yet to be discovered, so why waste time & energy for the above effort?
By the way, did Raj Kapoor had three playback voices in Mera Naam Jokar, which you have alluded to? I thought it was only Mukesh & Manna Dey.

99 AK November 11, 2015 at 1:01 pm

Ravindra Kelkar,
Rafi too is there with a very good Heer song, Sadke Heer tujhpe hum faqeer sadke. That comes in the forgettable third part of the film, therefore, probably most of us have forgotten it.

100 Ravindra Kelkar November 11, 2015 at 11:32 pm

Well!! Well!! Well! It’s a news to me that in RK film, Rafi is singing for Raj Kapoor. Somenthing must have happened to Mukesh, which made SJ/RK go to Rafi…..I have not heard the song. I haven’t seen Mera Naam Joker so I didn’t know that Mera Naam Joker was in three parts. I am a Dev Anand fan so generally I gave miss to RK films.

101 AK November 12, 2015 at 12:51 am

Ravinra Kelkar,
Here is the song:

Sadke Heer tujhpe hum faqeer sadke by Rafi from Mera Naam Joker (1970), lyrics Prem Dhawan, music Shankar Jaikishan

102 KB November 21, 2015 at 8:25 am

Dear AKji,

What a fantastic list of songs!

May I suggest one more arresting melody by Mukesh for the film Vidya (1948) – Bahe na kabhi nain se neer.

103 AK November 21, 2015 at 8:37 am

Thanks a lot. SDB is a fantastic composer. Bahe na kabhi nain se neer is an excellent song. It has figured in my post on SD Burman’s best songs for Mukesh. I should have taken his 100 songs.

104 a r modak January 11, 2016 at 6:54 pm

Undoubtedly, Rafi was at his best under the baton of SD
Khoya khoya chand
the GUIDE numbers
absolute gems

105 Ashok kumar Tyagi January 16, 2016 at 11:06 pm

AK ji has thrown the guantlet. Let us make a try for finding ‘sartaj geet’ out of 12 songs presented.
Firstly, the list is pruned down to 4, to make the selection a manageable task:
O re maajhi
Waqt ne kiya
Hum bekhudi
Ye raat ye chaandni

This has been done by studying the lyrics of all 12 and choosing the best 4. Shailendra’s remaining three songs for Bandini and Sahir’s song for film Naujawan are also running close on lyrics but lose out narrowly. Then I checked whether any of the 8 eliminated songs could get many more marks for Music/tune/vocal rendition and nose out any of the first 4. The answer was no except that ‘thandi hawayein’ appeared to be almost as good as ‘ye raat ye chaandni’ but loses because the latter has better lyrics.
Further coomment on lyrics of ‘O re maajhi’:-
The script of film Bandini presented to Shailendra a very challanging task for writing the lyrics of this song . Nutan, released from jail, is travelling to the duty station of Dharmendra, a doctor who wants to marry her. She discovers that her ex-lover Ashok Kumar who had ditched her for patriotic reason, is also on the move and has to board a steamer. His health has deteriorated and he needs personal care. In the earlier parts of the movie Nutan had taken a couple of impulsive decisions. Now she must take another impulsive decision in the given time of a few minutes. Shailendra wrote a marvellous song:
Mein bandini piya ki mein sangini hoon sajan ki, mera kheenchti hai aanchal…
Coming back to the topic of lyrics of the first four, Kaifi Azmi”s Waqt ne kiya comes second to O re maajhi. In the stanza ‘Jayenge kahan..’ the poet has brought out the paradoxical situation of all humans. Atma should have been trying to attain union with Parmatma but the power of Maya and human ego are in the path as distractions, In the movie, Guru Dutt’s ego is his enemy.
I keep ‘Hum bekhudi’ at third and ‘ye raat ye’ at fouth for lyrics.
Considering music and tune, all four appear equals.
For quality of singing, my rating is :
‘O re maajhi’ is first, ‘Hum bekhudi’ and ‘Ye raat ye’ are equals in second position and ‘Waqt ne kiya’ is fourth.
Thus overall position is
1. O re maajhi
2. hum bekhudi mein tum
3. Ye raat ye chaandni
4. Waqt ne kiya

Further praise of ‘O re maajhi’: In this song Flutes and Tabla are the only instruments used except a touch a santoor and maybe some other instrument. The tabla beats are exquisite. When SD Burman leaves the rendering after saying ‘mera kheenchti hai aanchal’ on a high note position, Tabla takes over leaving a profound effect and Burman comes back with ‘manmeet teri har pukar’ expertly. Truly a magnificent song for climax scene of a great movie.
Similarly, Sarangi, Tabla and Ghoongru are the only instruments used in the song ‘ Hum bekhudi’


106 AK January 17, 2016 at 1:15 pm

I would have found the task of choosing the Sartaj song daunting. If I were forced to do it my choice would have been the same, but my analysis would not have been half as good. Congratulations!

107 Ashok kumar Tyagi January 17, 2016 at 8:28 pm

Thank you Sir.
The compliments should ,in fairness, go to you and all the worthy members of SoY. Frankly I had haeard the songs ‘O re maajhi’ and ‘Hum bekhudi mein’ many times before, but on very very careful listening three days ago I realised that only two or three instruments had been used for these songs by SD Burman. How he still managed to create such great songs is a marvel. Credit is also due to Mohd Rafi and SD Burman himself for highest quality singing and to Shailendra and Majrooh for lyrics.

108 Siddharth January 18, 2016 at 1:13 pm

I thought selecting ten best solos by SDB was in itself a daunting task and then selecting best out of the best would be very challenging, no wonder none ventured into that. But kudos to you for doing wonderful analysis and coming up with the best solo.
I will just add that Shailendra was not only missed dearly by SJ but by SDB as well.

109 Ashok Kumar Tyagi January 20, 2016 at 1:09 pm

Please convey my thanks to Siddharth ji.

True. Burman da had a special chemistry with Shailendra as did Salil Choudhuri and of course Shankar Jaikishan. Neeraj came in but it was really difficult to match the Himalayan standard set by Shailendra.

110 KB February 2, 2016 at 7:23 pm

Whether it is Rafi orKishore or even Mukesh under SD they came up with unusual and brilliant numbers. Same was in the case of Salil Choudury who brought out the best from Mukesh ,Mannadey and Kishore and rarely Rafi. And surprisingly Talat did extremely well with Salil and a host of other composers. It is desriable to make a list of Salil Choudhary compositions as it is done with SD with different singers to show his range and versatility.

111 umesh chattopadhyaya October 7, 2017 at 11:12 pm

Different people have different choices … If my information is correct, Dada had rated “Poochho na kaise maine rain bitaayi” as his best. What is the opinion of AK and others?

112 umesh chattopadhyaya October 7, 2017 at 11:16 pm

Personally, I like a song not mentioned above: “Piya tose naina lage re” … but then, as I said, people are bound to differ in their choices …

113 AK October 7, 2017 at 11:34 pm

Umesh Chattopadhyay,
Welcome to SoY.

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