Multiple Version Songs (1): An overview of different types

November 13, 2012

Guest article by Ashok Vaishnav

(Mr Ashok Vasihnav needs no introduction to the regulars at Songs of Yore. His highly informed and researched comments are several times worth the original article. Therefore, his movement from the bottom boxes to the top line is a mere formality. I had written on Twin Songs more than two years ago, which was primarily about the plain vanilla songs which had a male and a female version. Anu Warrier also presented some twin songs in her blog recently. Mr Vaishnav, as is his wont,  recognises that Twin Songs are a small sub-set of a larger group, and delves deep and wide into this fascinating class of songs. In the first of his series of articles on this theme, he presents an overview of the various types of multiple version songs. A befitting Diwali gift to celebrate the multicoloured lights and sparklers. – AK)

Version Songs“In popular music, a cover version or cover song, or simply cover, is a new performance or recording of a contemporary or previously recorded, commercially released song or popular song. It can sometimes have a pejorative meaning implying that the original recording should be regarded as the definitive or "authentic" version, and all others merely lesser competitors, alternatives or tributes (no matter how popular).” [Source: Cover version].

Hindi Film songs also have their own versions of what can be broadly classified as “twin /cover / version” songs. The post on twin songs (recall: Twin songs: A front runner and a laggard) as well as a similar post by Anu Warrier (It’s The First Anniversary Of My Blog) have evoked diverse and interesting responses. The listing of twin songs itself – a song rendered by a female playback singer and a male playback singer in the same film – would be a subject of a massive compilation and research – which need to be categorised in convenient groups by a music director or a specific combination of male/female singers or by a male singer or by a female singer – to lend a meaningful insight to Hindi Film musicology.

Let us take one step back, for an overview of what types of other possible variations of this theme – twin or version songs – exist in the Hindi Film music.  Some very broad categories, known to all music lovers, are as follows:

1. ‘Hybrid’ songs (occurring in the same film)

A. Male solo (happy)/ (sad) – same singer/ different singers
B. Female solo (happy)/ (sad) – same singer/ different singers
C. Male or female solo/ duets or more singers
D. Screen version/ record version in different voices

2. ‘Hybrid’ songs (across different films)
A. Songs with the same tune, similar mukhda/ wordings used in different films.
B. Parody songs: e.g. in Mr India, Lamhe, Main Chup Rahungi

3. Classical ghazals/qawwalis in films/ renowned ghazal non-film singers
Lagta nahi hai jee mera, Nukta cheen hai gham-e-dil etc

4. Traditional bandishes (thumri/light classical/bhajans) in films/ non-films

Babul mora, Hato kahe ko jhoothi banao batiyan, Amir Khusro’s songs etc

5. Hindi film songs/ Other Indian languages films and folk
A. Hindi/Bengali
B. Hindi/Tamil, Telugu, Kannad
C. Hindi/Marathi, Gujarati
D. Hindi/Punjabi

It is obvious that there are so many songs in each category/sub-category that each would require a separate post which I propose to take up subsequently.  No single person can have enough information on this, and this has to be a collaborative effort.  Fortunately many of the SoY’s regular followers are extremely knowledgeable and they come from different regions.  They can help in compiling bank of songs and, perhaps also volunteer to write guest posts on some of the above categories in which they have more information.

The above categorisation may not be exhaustive.  The purpose of this article is to present an overview of different types of ‘Version Songs’, with at least one example in each category.

1. Hybrid “twin” /cover /version songs

A. Male solo / male solo OR a female solo / female solo OR a solo and a duet or a chorus OR a fast and another one in slow tempo types of version songs :

In the classic twin song scenario one song is rendered by a male singer and another by a female singer, whereas here we look at a song whose both versions are rendered by, either same or different, male singer or female singer or a duet or a chorus or any combination thereof. In most of these cases one song has fast (happy) tempo and the other one has a slower (sad) tempo.

Main Gaoon Tum So JaoBrahmchari (1968) A happy and a sad version – both by Mohammad Rafi – for which Shankar Jaikishan have composed music.

Main gaun tum so jao: Happy version
Main gaun tum so jao: Sad version

B.  Differing versions on film sound track and on the film music records

As the title suggests, in this variation one finds a different version on the Film soundtrack and on the music records released. Keen observers of Hindi Film Musicology will find many instances of this variation.

We are very familiar with Saranga Teri Yaad Mein by Mukesh in Saranga (1960).  However, thanks to the age of internet , we also have a Mohammad Rafi version of this song.

Saranga teri yaad mein: Mukesh
Saranga teri yaad mein: Rafi

C. The song used as an instrumental tune in the titles of the film

Shankar Jaikishan were one of those music directors who had tremendous knack of using the title song of the film as a very well composed and orchestrated instrumental versions in the titles of the film.

Mera joota hai japani: Mukesh in Shree 420
Title music of Shree 420

D. The popularity of the song induces noted professional stage performers to render a song

Here we do not refer to commercial stage shows performed by (so-called) ‘sound-alike’. But we do have to take note of re-renderings of a popular Hindi film by a noted professional singer / artist at highly specialised stage –shows.

Piya milan ko jana ha piya milan ko jana Kapala Kundala (1939) – Pankaj Mullick

Piya milan ko jana: Pankaj Mullick

This classic song has attracted several professional stage performers to render this with or without injecting variations in the original tune. Here is one such rendering by the Pakistani Ghazal singer Nadeem Umer.

Piya milan ko jana: Nadeem Umer

E. The songs which have either a common mukhda or a common first line of the mukhda

The mukhdas of several popular ghazals or folk songs also have been a matter of great attraction for use in Hindi film songs.

Dekh lo aaj humko jee bhar ke Bazaar (1982) – Jagjeet Kaur, lyrics Mirza Shauq, music Khayyam

Dekh lo aaj humko jee bhar ke: Jagjeet Kaur in Bazaar, music Khayyam

This mukhda also can be seen in this rendering by Tahira Syed, a noted Pakistani Ghazal Singer:

Dekh lo aaj humko jee bhar ke: Tahira Syed

2. Classical ghazals used in / as Hindi film song and its versions by professional ghazal singers

Ghazals have a very special place in the Hindi Film Song universe. Interestingly, one can find some ghazals written by the noted shairs which have been adapted very successfully into Hindi films. Some of these ghazals were natural choice as the film itself is based on the life of that shair, e.g. Mirza Ghalib (1954) , directed by Shorab Modi

Aah ko chahiye ek umra asar hone tak Mirza Ghalib (1954) – Suraiya – Ghulam Mohammad

Aah ko chahiye ek umra asar hone tak: Suraiya, Mirza Ghalib

This is rendered again by Jagjit Singh:

Aah ko chahiye ek umra asar hone tak: Jagjit Singh

3. (Folk) bhajans used in / as Hindi film songs and its versions by other professional artists as non-film songs

We would take up one of the most famous bhajans – Vaishnav jan to tene kahiye, by a Gujarati poet, whose devotion to Krishna is considered as legendary as that by Meerabai for from Marwar. Incidentally Mahatma Gandhi also liked this bhajan so much that it had become an inseparable component of his evening prayers.

Vaishnava jana to with lyrics and meaning translated in English:

Vaishnav jan to tene kahiye

And its film version by Bhupen Hazarika in Gandhi To Hitler.

Vaishnav jan to tene kahiye: Bhupen Hazarika

Now let us look at its different versions: By Lata Mangeshkar.

Vaishnav jan to tene kahiye: Lata Mangeshkar

And a Manna Dey version:

Vasihnav jan tene kahiye: Manna Dey

A classical rendering on tar shehnai by Maiya Singh:

Vaishnav jan to tene kahiye: Maiya Singh

How would Vaishnav jan to tene kahiye sound on the saxophone?

Vaishnav jan to tene kahiye: Saxophone

And no less, a Riyaaz Quawwali:

Vasihnav jan to tene kahiye: Qawwali

This is still a small list of examples of a vast number of versions of this bhajan.

4. Bandish or a popular folk or traditional song, used in /as Film Song and also rendered, essentially as non-film version, by a professional classical singer:

The Hindi film song may or may not be based on a classical raga, but the other version is definitely rendered in any of the accepted formats of Indian claasical Rags system.

Phulgendwa na maro version in Funtoosh (1956) – Asha Bhosale – S D Burman / Sahir Ludhyanavi 


Phoolgendwa na maro: Asha Bhosle from film Funtoosh


This has a far more popular version in Dooj Ka Chand (1964) by Manna Dey, music Roshan.

Phoolgendwa na maro: Manna Dey from Dooj Ka Chand

This traditional  Bhairavi thumri has been sung by many classical singers.  This piece by Rasoolan Bai of an early period 1935 provides an interesting version.

Phulgendwa na maro lagat karejwa me chot: Rasoolan Bai

5. Hindi Film Song, adapted from a song from another language.

A. The music director has composed a song in other language before or after the Hindi film song

Quite a few of our music directors who had been active in different languages would use the song in other language to use the tune in Hindi film songs. Many a times our lyricist would provide the lyrics to that tune, befitting the situation of the song.  But, there are very noted examples where the song in both languages is outright translation, the lyricist in both cases, generally being different. We have a large repertoire of such songs from the stable of our Bengali music directors – R C Boral, Pankaj Mullick, Hemant Kumar, S D Burman, Salil Chaudhary, RD Burman, to name a few.

Yeh bansi kyun gaye reParakh (1960) – Lata Mangeshkar – Salil Chaudhary

Ye bansi kyun gaye: Lata Mangeshkar from Parakh, music Salil Chaudhry

Now listen to its Bengali version – Bashi keno gaye

Banshi keno gaye: Bengali song by Lata Mangeshkar

B. Hindi film song on the same tune from the film re-made or (vice versa) in a different language

Hindi Cinema also has very rich tradition of films being re-made from original films in other language. There are instances where a Hindi Film has been successfully, subsequently, been re-made in other regional language(s). These situations also gives us its own genre of version songs.

Kuhu kuhu bole koyaliya – Mohd Rafi & Lata Mangeshkar – Suvarna Sundari (1957) – Adi Narayan Rao

Kuhu kuhu bole koeliya: Md Rafi and Lata, Suvarna Sundari

Telugu version of the song is Haayi haayiga aamani saage(Since my efforts to locate the related video clip has not succeeded, I have placed a stage performace where this song is presented):

Haayi haayia aamani saage: Presented on stage

Manalane Mangaiyin Bagiyam is the Tamil version of Telugu Suvarna Sundari and is heroine Anjali’s home production by her music director husband Adi Narayana Rao.

Tamil vesrion of Kuhu kuhu bole koeliya

6. Versions of Desh Prem songs

Desh Prem songs are also a genre on its own in Hindi film songs. So, we also see different versions of the same song – either because the mukhda or the entire song is immensely popular or because several versions of the films being made on the same subject.

Rang de basanti cholaShaheed Bhagat Singh (1963), lyrics Qamar Jalalabadi, music Husnlal Bhagatram

Mera rang de basanti chola: Shaheed Bhagat Singh (1963), music Husnlal Bhagatram

Then we have another good film on Bhagat Singh – Shaheed (1965) – which had the same song in the voices of Mukesh, Mahendra Kapur, Rajendra Mehta and chorus, lyrics and music Prem Dhawan.

Mera Rang de basanti chola: Shaheed (1965), lyrics and music Prem Dhavan

And its variations in the same film:

Mera rang de basanti chola: A different version

A recent version of the celebrated song figured in the film The Legend Of Bhagat Singh starring Ajay Devgun in the lead role:

Mera raang de basanti chola: The Legend of Bhagat Singh

7.  Adaptation of a tune from films from other countries

This is also a very interesting and widely (or hotly!) discussed genre of version songs. Our music directors drew inspirations not only from folk tunes or classical Ragas,  but have freely adapted (sometimes flagrantly lifting) the tunes from western films.  Aansoo samajh ke kyun mujhe by Talat Mahmood from (Chhaya), music Salil Chaudhary is considered to be adapted from a Mozart symphony. Incidentally, Salilda has used this tune for a Bengali song too. The listeners would hardly complain, since most of the renditions have been so masterly blended by native lyrics, innovative orchestration, and above all, very pleasing picturisation.  This site has a comprehensive list of Hindi film songs ‘inspired’ from foreign tunes.  The ‘Roll of Honour’ includes the biggest and most respected music directors.

Rimjhim rimjhim rimjhim ye barase moti ke daane: Private song by Suman Kalyanpur

Rimjhim rimjhim barse moti ke dane: Suman Kalyanpur

And Nazre mili dil dhadka from Raja (1995) too can not claim much originality:

Nazre mili dil dhadka: film Raja

Here you have the original title soundtrack of Come September

Come September title track

{ 56 comments… read them below or add one }

1 dustedoff November 13, 2012 at 10:35 am

Great post, Ashokji. Thank you! I’m looking forward to the other posts in this series.

By the way, Come September was also copied in a song from the Aamir Khan-starrer Baazi, as Dole dole dil dole.

2 N Venkataraman November 13, 2012 at 10:57 am

Ashok Vaishnavji and Akji,
Thank you for the surprise Diwali gift. I have just opened the gift pack.
As usual I will spend some time to go through your post in detail.
Will get back soon.

3 harveypam November 13, 2012 at 2:13 pm

Thank you Ashokji for this wonderful Diwali gift!
I am overwhelmed!
It was a treat to go on this path of discovery with you.
I knew that itna na mujhse tu pyar badha was derived from Mozart’s 40th symphony, didn’t know this about aansoo samajh ke kyun mujhe!

V. Shantaram also made bi-lingual film in his early career so there are bound to be songs in the same tune there. As far as I know there is also a Hindi version of his Marathi film Pinjra, but could never check if it has the Hindi lavanis in the same tune as the Marathi ones.

I think everybody meanwhile knows about chura liya hai tumne and If it’s Tuesday. I distinctly remember listening to a Telegu (or was it Tamil?) song in my childhood which had the same tune as chura liya hai tumne, but unfortunately could never trace it.

Can I suggest another group of songs to this collection?
folk songs and their versions in Hindi films for e.g., pallo latke re maro pallo latke.
Here is the version from Nauker [1979]

Here is an alleged folk version:

I have a feeling that agre se ghagro mangwa de rasiya could also fall in this category. RD. and SD. Burman also often picked up pahari tunes.

Thanks again for this wonderful post

4 Naresh P Mankad November 13, 2012 at 5:01 pm

The tremendous research and painstaking efforts that has gone into this very interesting article are evident and Ashokji deserves kudos for that. This will make us wait eagerly for the next part. But for now, all the holidays of Diwali and New Year will be taken up for reading and leisurely enjoying this engrossing presentation.

5 Mayur vachharajani November 13, 2012 at 6:42 pm

Just excellent.

6 Anu Warrier November 13, 2012 at 6:46 pm

What an interesting post. Ashokji, this is just the tip of the iceberg. Looking forward to more posts from you on this topic. 🙂

The Come September theme has been used in the background in Kashmir ki Kali too.

Salilda very often used his tunes with minor variations across languages. has his complete list of songs, painstakingly cross-referenced across the multiple languages he worked in. Here is one such from Chand aur Suraj:

And here is the original Malayalam song:
Salilda turned the chorus of this song into the mukhda of the Hindi song. The interesting thing is that both films released the same year, as did the following film.

He also used this as an interlude (starting around the 2.20 mark) in this song from Poonam ki Raat.

7 Subodh Agrawal November 13, 2012 at 8:49 pm

Just what we expect from Mr Ashok Vaishnav, whose love of music is matched only by his untiring ability for painstaking research. Thank you AK and Mr Vaishnav for this gem of an article.

I still think that the ‘cover’ phenomenon has not yet gone mainstream in India. Different versions of a song in the same film, or in multilingual versions of a film are quite old, and many excellent examples have been given by Mr Vaishnav. My own introduction to cover songs came when I was on training in France and heard the two versions of the popular ‘La vie en rose’ by Edith Piaf and Marlene Dietrich – both stalwarts. Here are the links: Edith Piaf –
Marlene Dietrich –
And now Louis Armstrong, with the benefit of English lyrics-

In India, except for the categories discussed above, covers are either dismissed as copies or dressed up as homage. Lata had many ‘homage’ songs of Saigal, Geeta Dutt, Mukesh and other singers. My favourite homage song is ‘Chal ud ja re panchhi’ by Talat. I wouldn’t have expected Talat to sing this song so well. I wonder whether he was really paying homage to Rafi, or making a point that he could also do what Rafi could?

Of late, ‘pop’ versions of old classics have started appearing in films and music videos. The most disturbing one I have seen is ‘Khoya khoya chand’ from the movie ‘Shaitan.’ I would rather not post the link here!

In the west it seems covers by artist of the same or higher standing than the original have always had an independent status. I came across this list of covers that proved more popular than the original. I don’t know enough about western music to comment on this:

8 ASHOK M VAISHNAV November 13, 2012 at 10:55 pm

Personally, I am indeed overwhelmed by very kind and somewhat undeservingly ebullient feelings showered upon me.
Yes, I do have a deep interest in old Hindi films. But, I really started studying the structured approach too for additionally enjoying these songs, once I became a more serious visitor to SoY and the blogs linked in its blog roll. So if there is a humble way of returning the compliments back to where it is deserved, I would certainly do so to SoY, its active participants, equally great blogs linked thereto.
The collective strengths of the SoY’s active readers can pool thier knowledge of all such sources and can make up a vast array of subjects on which such ‘inspired’ songs can be put across for the enjoyment for the present generation, as a legacy for the next generation and making up the days of yore generation (like me) by presenting hidden gems in a new light.
On the subject, Hindi Film Music can certainly be compared to an ocean where rivers of all types and kinds empty their riches, and make the ocean a real रत्नाकर, as it also draws upon its mettle form all directions of the rich traditions of our own history and culture as well as from the entire world.

9 Arunkumar Deshmukh November 14, 2012 at 11:19 am

Ashok ji,
I am impressed with the kind of analysis and grouping you have done of the multiple version songs.hats off to your deep interest and the kind of knowledge of the HFM.Superb !
I think there is room for one more category and that is songs created out of self plagiarism. I will explain what I have in mind.
In Hindi film industry the contribution of Composers from Bengal is just unmeasurable.There were actually 2 types of Bengali composers.
1.From East Bengal-Anil Biswas who shifted to Bombay way back in 1934 and S.D.Burman who came to Bombay in 1946
2. from West Bengal-Hemant kumar,who shifted to Bombay in 1952 and Salil Chaudhary,who came to Bombay in 1953.
These Bengali composers had done ample work in Bengali Film and Non film music.
When they came to Bombay and started composing it was but natural that they would remember their Bengali creations.
ALL these 4 composers have copied their own Bengali songs and made wonderful Hindi songs.The examples are too many to mention here.
For the sake of this note I refer to a Lata song from film AWAAZ-56,of Salil Chaudhary,Dhitang Dhitang Boley.This was a direct copy of the Begali song sung by Hemant Kumar,under Salil Chaudhary,s music.
Another famous song I remember off hand is Dheere se aana Bagian me by S.D.Burman,in both Bengali and Hindi. There are many such
Besides Bangla composers,there are some composer’s songs which have been copied from their own earlier songs.
What I have enumerated above refers to only tune and not the lyric or content.
Comparatively,my knowledge is much less in this field,but I thought this could also make a substantial group by itself.
-Arunkumar Deshmukh

10 Arunkumar Deshmukh November 14, 2012 at 11:21 am

here is the Bengali Hemantkumar Song-Dhitang Dhitang-

11 Arunkumar Deshmukh November 14, 2012 at 11:23 am

Here is Lata version from Awaaz-56


12 Arunkumar Deshmukh November 14, 2012 at 11:26 am

There are Tamil and Simhalese versions of this song also.

13 AK November 14, 2012 at 12:15 pm

I should add my compliments to Ashok Vaishnavji on his painstaking efforts. He has given a very nice road map to cover all kids of multiple version songs. As expected, suggestions have started pouring in. Arunkumar Deshmukhji’s examples of self-imitation can be covered in the Category 5 at the beginning of the article – Hindi film songs and similar songs in regional films/ folk etc. Harvey’s comments highlight the importance of Rajasthani folk. Similarly Himachali folk is also quite distinct, and must have been used generously in Hindi films. Punjabi has been specifically mentioned in the article. We may add category 5E for Hindi film songs and their source or similar Rajasthani/ Himachali or other folk.

Coming to self-plagiarism, a very good example I cite is of Naushad’s Lagan more man ki balam nahi jane, Jogan ban jaungi saiyan tore karan and Ghunghat nahi kholun re saiyan tore aage, all having basically the same tune. I do not know whether this needs to be treated as a separate category, or whether we should be using a pejorative term like ‘self-plagiarism’ for such creations.

14 ASHOK M VAISHNAV November 14, 2012 at 9:29 pm

@ Dustedoff – ‘Come September’ , and the tunes similar to that, have a very universal appeal. Many versions of such tunes have been tried, by different instrumentalists or composers. So, we can only expect music directors from Hindi film world not to remain beyond such influences.
I wish my continuing efforts, spurred by AKji, on the subject, also meet the tastes of connoisseurs like you and others.

15 ASHOK M VAISHNAV November 14, 2012 at 9:37 pm

@ Harveypam : The basic intent of the series is to bring out the comparisons between songs across different languages, and cultures, particularly based on the folk or inherently indigenous traditions of the local society, assuming that the song in Hindi Film was filmed under a similar socio-cultural milieu. Indeed, the subject is very challenging and interesting as well.
If many songs have passed the test of standing true in the context of the respective versions, there are as many which have miserably failed in maintaining the spirit of the original socio-cultural milieu.
This is where not only awareness of existence of such songs play important role, but also the knowledge of the contexts of different versions drawn from the regional cultures assume significance.
I would feel that SoY followers from different regions can pitch in their knowledge and experience to collectively enable AKji to shape up a meaningful discourse in the days to come.

16 ASHOK M VAISHNAV November 15, 2012 at 9:55 am

@ Anu Warrier
Yes, Anuji, Salilda was a great master in high-level creativity of adapting tunes and using them to brilliant effect.
I also recall a similar use of a mukhda – Ghadi Ghadi Mera Dil Dhadke – in the interlude music of Main To Kab Se Khadi … Aaja Re Pardeshi for Madhumati –
One more similar example is in Aajaa Aajaa Nadiyaamn Kinare (Raj Hath) where careful listening the music in the interlude @0.18 to 0.25, , would lead us to a germination point of full-fledged Chhaliya (Kalayanji Anandji) song – Baaje Paayal Chham Chham . Incidentally a comment on this video clip states” But this is a straight copy of Ron Goodwin’s number ” Desert Hero” from album ” Music for an Arabian Night”” – [I have no aspersions to cast by this example. but am just trying to amplify the discussion.]
{Please note that my observations or searches on other articles are basically guided by my similar intuitive hunches, and therefore, are likely to contain erroneous biases of a personal opinion as well..!}
SJ were also known for using the pieces used in the background music of their past films for tuning up full-fledged melodies into the later films, particularly w.r.t. RK banner. Raj Kapoor, himself, was master at creating a bank of such tunes for use in the songs of the future films.
These examples do tell us the degree of richness of the HFM of the Golden Period and pains taken by music directors of that time to peak the creative talents.
We also need to give extremely due credit to the lyricists for yeomen’s job they did to conjure of lyrics that fitted the tune like a T while crossing each of the T to the mood of the situation. So much so, those unsuspecting followers of film music could never imagine a sleight of hand, and would never complain for such a melodious act.

17 ASHOK M VAISHNAV November 15, 2012 at 10:00 am

@ Subodh Agrawal
Thanks for lending a much desired perspective of rationale of “cover” songs.
In my own view, our film music ,or for that matter the entire field of practicing art was driven more by the individual creative urge than by the collective professional approach towards institutionalizing the cultural or art values that each artist brings in a particular era. Loss of several master records of films of the past era, including some of the great works of Satayjit Ray or artists of similar stature is manifestation of such an attitude.
Thus, even as people like us may be writing the kind of articles that we write on the internet space, has an unintentional impact of re-living the legacy from a contemporary perspective.
In so far as the quality of some of the {so-called} Indian form version songs, we do have some master pieces that do not only justice to the original , but sound far better in its Indian incarnation – listen to this clip – – as an example. This video has assembled first the original tune – by legendary Arab chanteuse Aasmahan [1018-1944], which was so creatively adapted to ‘Ghar Aaya mera pardesi’ of Awara (1951), but set to our classic Bhairavi. The video clip then adds more Bhairavi gems of the duo – ‘Kisi ne apana – Patita (1953), ‘Main Piya Teri – Basant Bahar (1956), title song of ‘Dil Apna Aur Preet Parai’ (1960), Khushiyon Ke Chand muskarayere – Mayur Pankh (1954). – As a counter to this we have quite a few which are outright ‘dust-bin’ qualities, as mentioned by you.
Well, we do have to live with some poor quality ‘creations’ as well as live with the audacity of the creator’s courage to make such creations public. I recollect having read recently, that a close friend of one of the master sculptor went to his studio and found a huge of heap of discarded pieces of his work. On inquiry, the master is known to have said that the secret of a genius is amount of failures and ‘scraps’.
Also, the ‘covers’ do help in extending the longevity of a song, but, sometimes, does give a different interpretation by a different artist.

18 ASHOK M VAISHNAV November 15, 2012 at 10:07 am

@Arunkumar Deshmukh –
As also mentioned by Anu Warrier here above, the relationship between HFS and their Bengali origin seems to be quite well documented, on the net. I have had listened / down loaded such songs by, Asha Bhosle, Lata Mangeshkar, Hemnat Kumar, Manna Dey, Geeta Dutt, composed by Bengali Music Directors in HFM world.. I am quite sure that quite a few of gems by Pankaj Mallick, Jagomhan etc. also would have strong Bengali cultural lineages. I do not recollect if Mohammad Rafi or Talat Mahamood or Mukesh have had (many) such Bengali songs, even though they also have worked in equally closely with these music directors.
I remember that during 60/70s, there was a very healthy tradition of publishing private albums on the occasions like Durga Puja, and almost all major music directors would showcase their creative talents in such albums. Many such songs, then, would find a way to Hindi Films.
I have tried to touch upon the categories of regional languages under#4 and #5 . But, it is beyond any doubt that the richness of underlying content in the hands of the more knowledgeable person can create several studied articles in this omnibus category. Shri AKji has already opened up a vast potential challenge in his pointed and informed comment in this context.

19 SNH November 15, 2012 at 5:29 pm

Dear Sri Ashoh vaishnaviji,
I have gone through your interesting feature on old songs.

Regarding “Kuhu kuhu bole koeliya: Md Rafi and Lata, Suvarna Sundari Telugu version of the song is Haayi haayiga aamani saage. (Since my efforts to locate the related video clip has not succeeded, I have placed a stage performace where this song is presented…..”
would like share with you that I have the Telugu song in audio format.

You may please contact me at my email ID.


20 AK November 15, 2012 at 7:44 pm

Thanks a lot. I have sent you a mail.

21 AK November 16, 2012 at 11:41 pm

Here is the Telugu version of Kuhu kuhu bole koeliya (Hayi hayiga amani), only the audio (thanks to Ashok Vaishnavji)

22 n.venkataraman November 17, 2012 at 12:25 am

Ashok Vaishnavji,
I was expecting a write up from you on the subject ‘Contributions to Hindi Film Songs by prominent regional language music directors (1) – Avinash Vyas’, when your article, ‘Multiple Version songs (1) – An Overview of different types’ was posted on Deepavali by AKji. I was not surprised. Only the subject was different, with a much wider scope and depth.
Thanks for the erudite and painstaking endeavour. I thoroughly enjoyed and was enlightened by the engrossing contents and erudite language. Since this is an overview, I believe there is more to follow in the series. I would be eagerly looking forward to them. You have given an overview for seven major categories, with further sub- categories. With suggestion for more categories coming up, the task is going to be monumental. Will there be separate posting for each of the categories? If so, should we place our views and links in the respective categories as and when they appear? If we place all our views and links to the songs that have come up in our mind, this post will get cluttered. I feel the entire effort deserves to be well organized and documented. I will leave it to you and Akji to decide on this matter. In depth analysis in the follow-up comments has opened up new avenues for further discussion.
Thanks once again.

23 AK November 17, 2012 at 1:05 am

The best approach would be if the readers could give here general suggestions about how to organise it, or any other category/ sub-category we might have missed. As for list of songs and their links, it may not be useful to clutter this post here, best would be to send mail to, where we would try to organise it in the best manner possible. You are right, the idea is that each sub-category would warrant a post, there are so many songs in each. And it is going to be a collaborative effort literally.

24 ASHOK M VAISHNAV November 17, 2012 at 6:20 pm

@ n.venkataraman

AKji has quite succinctly laid out the philosophy for the way forward on this vast subject.

So, I will add my own views, with a view to share my predicaments, limitations and expectations in so far as the subject goes.

I am a text-book amateur when it comes to HFM and even more a layman when it comes to music. I approached the subject simply to let my hunches run wild, and then hand over the raw materials for AKji to lend a meaning to it, if at all it did contain any.

AKji has very adroitly baited me into molding my wild thoughts into a semblance of order. So, I may be able to carry on up to a point, and then a mere ‘literal’ collaborative effort also would not suffice. Like a dextorous conductor of the orchestra, AKji will have to set up a collaborative link so as to augment the knowledge gap.

And then there are categories, where persons with knowledge about that topic – Regional languages, folk, classical, to name a few – only can (and should) speak up call for mandatory collective collaboration.

I do look forward to this subject of version / cover songs to uncover a mine of treasures, akin to Shri Subodh Agrawal’s series of Classical Raag or AKji’s own series of Prodigally talented but poorly (commercially) rewarded Music Directors

So, whichever I look at it, AKji may have to play the role of leading the Orchestra, set the tune for the musicians (his active participants) play their individual part.

25 shankar December 12, 2012 at 4:22 pm

great collection

26 jignesh kotadia January 11, 2013 at 11:59 am

Brillian effort….Great work…..thank u v much Ashokji for this magnificent compilation.

27 mumbaikar8 March 3, 2013 at 7:20 am

Can these two songs fit in this category?

Nigahein milane ko jee chahtaa hai by Rafi from Parayee Aag (1948), music Ghulam Mohammad

Nigahein milane ko jee chahtaa hai by Asha Bhosle & chorus from Dil Hi To Hai (1963), music Roshan

28 AK March 3, 2013 at 5:51 pm

This is an interesting song. Even though the song is credited to Rafi, I think there is another voice, perhaps GM Durrani? In any case, Rafi had yet not developed his distinctive style, and it would be difficult to identify him if you did not know.

Nigahen milane ko je chahtaa hai is the common refrain in the two songs. Perhaps there is not much else in common. I leave it to Ashokji to decide whether it fits into any category. There might be a large number of songs with the same mukhada.

29 Mayur vachharajanim March 3, 2013 at 5:58 pm

Always waiting for mail of songs of yore and share with friends and relatives.i have not come across forum like songs of yore.

30 mumbaikar8 March 3, 2013 at 7:05 pm


I do not see ( mean hear) any other singer,it seems a solo to me no chorus either.
Let others, correct one of us.
Rafi’s voice is fresh, but still very much sound like him, to me at least.

31 jignesh kotadia March 5, 2013 at 12:02 am

Ashokji, Akji .. If i m not making any error, i m seeing another sub category in version songs. ”SAME LYRICS, DIFFERENT TUNES, DIFFERENT MDs, DIFFERENT COUNTRIES”

I found many but here took two exmpls.

32 jignesh kotadia March 5, 2013 at 12:08 am

this is indian version of ‘kuchh bhi na kaha aur keh bhi gaye’ (film- paraai aag_1948_tanvir naqvi_hameeda bano_g.mohd)

33 jignesh kotadia March 5, 2013 at 12:17 am

and this is pakistani version of ‘kuchh bhi na kaha aur keh bhi gaye’. (film- Azra_1962_tanvir naqvi_noorjehan_m.inayat hussain)

34 jignesh kotadia March 5, 2013 at 12:29 am

these both r my favs
Pakistani version of ‘tere dar par sanam chale aaye’ (film- Neend_1959_qateel shifai_noor jehan_rashid attrey)

35 jignesh kotadia March 5, 2013 at 12:39 am

Indian version. (phir teri kahani yaad aayi_1993_qateel shifai_kumar sanu_anu malik). Now this film has another female version of this song by sadhana sargam.

36 AK March 5, 2013 at 3:11 pm

You have given some very interesting examples. Commonalities between India and Pakistan is not very surprising considering that the two countries share a common musical heritage.

37 mumbaikar8 March 17, 2013 at 6:43 am

Here is another version of Na yeh chand hoga .
The pakistani movie sassi was released was in 1954 same year Shart was released
I wonder who was inspired by whom?

38 AK March 17, 2013 at 3:13 pm

It is very interesting. If they came in the same year, do we know which is original and which ‘inspired’?

39 mumbaikar8 April 11, 2013 at 5:48 pm

Ayi gori Radhika by Meena Kapoor and Ninu Mzumdar from Gopinath (1948), music Ninu Mazumdar

Yashomati maiya se bole Nandlala by Lata Mangeshkar from Satyam Shivam Sundaram (1978), music Laxmikant Pyarelal

Is this inspiration or plagiarism?

40 n.venkataraman April 11, 2013 at 7:10 pm

Very good find and a wonderful composition from a Gujarati composer of the yore. I would prefer to call the ‘SSS’ composition inspirational. The lyrics for Gopinath (1948) was from Surdas Bhajan, where as the lyrics for Satyam Shivam Sundaram was by Narendra Sharma.

41 mumbaikar8 April 11, 2013 at 7:23 pm

@ n.venkataraman
Thanks for your in put on inspiration, I cannot distinguish, where inspiration ends and plagiarism begins

42 Naresh P. Mankad April 12, 2013 at 9:45 am

You have brought to notice a lovely song of well-known Gujarati composer Ninu Majmudar. You are right, we cannot say for sure which is inspiration and which is plagiarism.

43 mumbaikar8 April 16, 2013 at 10:28 pm

One more twin song . Credit mentions Raj kappor as the singer but he sounds so much like mukesh, I am confused spcecially in solo.

44 AK April 17, 2013 at 6:06 pm

It is true that that Raj Kapoor sang for himself in Dil Ki Rani. We have earlier discussed several voices of Mukesh here:

Raj Kapoor singing for himself has been mentioned in comments#10 and 11. It is also true that he sounds so much like Mukesh. The surprising thing is why did he stop singing when he could sing so well?

45 Canasya April 27, 2013 at 2:21 am

My apologies if this post does not fit in here. Ashok ji has come up with an excellent classification of version songs. The categories are mutually exclusive, their differences well articulated with examples, and they are nearly exhaustive.

I recently came across a website entitled Down Memory Lane ( that lists several version songs that I had not heard before. These are versions of songs that were recorded by the MDs, were not used in the movies, but were released to the public by the recording company. I do not know how authentic the information on this site is. Because I remember that the Kishore songs from Tere Mere Sapne listed on this site were used in the movie and versions sung by Amber Kumar was also available in the market. I believe, for a couple of years after Polydor’s entry into India, HMV used to release Amber Kumar/Hemlata versions of Kishore/Lata songs recorded by Polydor. (I could not find those versions on YouTube, though). That site does not provide the links. So, here are some of the links that I could find.

Milte Hi Aankhen Dil Hua — Hemant & Geeta (Original by Talat & Shamshad, Babul, Naushad)

(One of the YouTube pages lists the female voice as Uma Devi’s, but I think it sounds more like Geeta Dutt’s).
Mohabbat Choome Jinke Haath — Hemant (Original by Rafi, Aan, Nasushad)

Gori Chori Chori Jaana – Mukesh (Original by Hemant, Ek Jhalak, Hemant)

Ye Hasta Hua Caarvan – Mukesh (Original by Hemant, Ek Jhalak, Hemant)
Chali Raadhe Rani Ankhiyon Me – Geeta (Original by Manna De, Parineeta, Arun Kumar)

Gore Gore Haathon Mein – Geeta (Original by Asha, Parineeta, Arun Kumar)
Ye Raat Bheegi Bheegi – Geeta & Bhushan (Original by Lata & Manna De, Chori Chori, Shankar Jaikishen)

Panchhi Banu Udti Firun – Geeta (Original by Lata, Chori Chori, Shankar Jaikishen)

Chhai Kari Badariya – Asha (Original by Lata, Jeevan Jyoyi, S.D. Burman)

So Ja Re So Ja – Asha (Original by Lata as well as by Geeta, Film Jeevan Jyoti, S.D. Burman)

(According to one page on YouTube, there is another version of this song in the voices of Lata and S.D. Burman. I could not find that).

Aye Kaatib-e-Taqdeer, Chupo na chupo & Do Naina matware – Pankaj Mullick (Original by Saigal, Film My Sister, Pankaj Mullick)

Ek Tera Sahara – Suraiya Part 1 (Original by Shamshad; Shama, 1946, Ghulam Haider)

Ek Tera Sahara – Suraiya Part 2 (Original by Shamshad; Shama, 1946, Ghulam Haider)
Dil Thandi Hawa Mein – Suraiya (Original by Shamshad; Shama, 1946, Ghulam Haider)

Ek Yaad Kisi Ki – Durrani & Suraiya (original by Durrani & Shamshad; Shama, 1946, Ghulam Haider)

Too Mera Chand Main Teri – Geeta & Shyam (Original by Suraiya & Shyam, Dillagi, Naushad)

Na Aadmi Ka Koi Bharosa – Mahendra Kapoor (Original by Rafi, Aadami, Naushad)

Chalo Chalen Maa – Noorjehan (Original by Asha & Hemant, Jagriti, Hemant)

Let me add couple of songs not in that list. The following song from Aadami has two versions. If I remember it correctly, it was the Rafi-Talat version that used to be played in the Binaca Geetmala on Wednesdays those days, although the movie had the Rafi-Mahendra Kapoor version.

Kaisee hasin aaj bahaaron ki (Rafi-Talat and Rafi-Mahendra Kapoor, Aadami, Naushad)

Madan Mohan’s versions of two of his Lata songs have been released on CDs. YouTube has couple of more of his creations in his voice, but those have not been released to the public yet and may not be called version songs.

Naina Barse – Madan Mohan (Original by Lata, Who Kaun Thi, Madan Mohan)

Mai Re – Madan Mohan (Original by Lata, Datak, Madan Mohan)

And the following is probably the ultimate
version song:
Bechain nazar betab jigar — Talat, Yasmin, C. Ramachandra

Talat had re-recorded this version (with, I think, Enoch Daniel’s orchestra) and HMV had released it in stereo. It became so popular (I am not saying “better” though) that today it is this version that is on all of Talat’s CD compilations. HMV (or Saregama, their new avatar) have managed to lose the original recording! This is what happens when we entrust our heritage to a monopoly.

46 AK April 27, 2013 at 10:06 am

Thanks a lot for your painstaking list. Many of the above songs have been discussed on this blog earlier in different contexts, such as the version songs of Mohabbat choome jinke hath, Gore gore hathon mein, Ae katib-e-taqdeer, Chhupo na, Do naina matware etc. Many you have mentioned are new to me, and I would love to explore them. There seem to be so many of them, it is not clear how should we organise them in a post.

Madan Mohan’s version songs are not surprising. He was himself a singer of no mean merit and would have recorded his own compositions for rehearsal with the playback singers. and with his son in HMV, these have now come as commercial records.

Talat’s auto-version songs, especially of his non-film songs happened perhaps because some of the original recordings date back to 1940s. After their stupendous success, the recording companies might have felt the need to re-record them in the 60s with the best technology available at the time.

47 Samir Ahmed October 19, 2013 at 11:04 am

Simply amazing sire! A thoroughly monumental effort on the part of the author and words can’t express the intrigue and joy I felt reading it. I have some time off work and hope to catch up with the follow-up series over the next few days…

How about songs which have the same tune but completely different lyrics? I don’t think this category has been detailed above but an example of this would be Raat Bhar Ka Mehmaan Andhera from Sone Ki Chidiya (1958). It’s past my bedtime so I hope you don’t mind if I just copy and paste my comment from the YT page here (I’m TangibleEmotions BTW), rather than rewrite the whole thing in alternative words:

Raat Bhar Ka Mehmaan – Mohammed Rafi

A wholly captivating adaptation of the ballad ‘Laila Laila Pukaarun’, emanating from the traditional bazaar opera Laila Majnu. This composition earnestly illustrates ‘rhythm king’ OP Nayyar’s versatility plus intellective adroitness if afforded the opportunity. Not unexpectedly, Rafi’s rendition is the idiomatic icing on the cake.

In preceding movies, Talat and Balbir have both rendered the traditional recital; Talat’s is here:

Balbir’s is here at 0.55:

48 AK October 19, 2013 at 11:51 pm

Even though Ashokji has given seven broad categories in this overview article, it has unfolded in a much bigger way and there are already over a dozen articles in the series, and still going. Some more Guest Authors have also joined to contribute in this mega-exercise (You can see all by clicking under ‘Category’/’Songs on Themes’ on ‘Multiple Version Songs’).

The song pieces you have added are fantastic. Thanks. Songs with different lyrics but similar tunes would absolutely fit I this category. I am sure Ashokji is reading it and now that he has enough rest, he may like to work on it. There are so many that we have to take care that the similarity is very apparent, and that there is some interesting point about the imitation.

49 arvindersharma July 19, 2014 at 11:39 pm

Two sets of songs with identical tunes, one a laggard and the other one a hit in each of the cases.
I have a feeling that the MD’s were so confidant of their tunes that they repeated the songs and the results were there for everyone to see.
The laggard first :
Kya kya na sitam tujh pe hue mehlon ki rani from ‘Mohini’, by Rafi, music N Dutta
Kya Kya Na Sitam Tujhpe Hue- mohd.rafi sahab,film…:

The hit song :
Tu Hindu banega na musalmaam banega from ‘Dhool Ka Phool’, by Rafi, music by N Dutta.
Tu Hindu Banega Na Musalman Banega HD:

The second laggard :
Aaj mausam ki masti by Lata and Rafi from ‘Banarsi Thug’, music by Iqbal Qureshi.
aaj mausam ki masti (banarasi thug ) lata – rafi:

The second hit :
Ek chameli me mandwe tale from ‘Cha Cha Cha’ by Rafi and Asha, music by Iqbal Qureshi.
Ek Chameli Ke Mandve Tale – Cha Cha Cha (1964):

AK Ji,
Ashok Ji, in my humble opinion is not resting but this post has taken a lot of rest.
Time for a little wake up.

50 AK July 20, 2014 at 10:49 am

You have given another unique category for Ashokji.

51 Ashok M Vaishnav July 20, 2014 at 11:37 am


Thanks, indeed you have opened up one more dimension.

52 arvindersharma July 20, 2014 at 11:43 am

AK Ji,
Thanks for your encouragement.
I can’t withhold myself from presenting another pair of songs, whose tune I felt was quite similar to each other.
The musical credit for these gems goes to Ghulam Mohammed and Naushad, who had a great and interesting relationship which you have already mentioned earlier.
My only lure of presenting these songs was that both these great songs have faded from public memory, but are nevertheless, a listeners’ delight.

Bheegi palkein utha, meri jaan gham na kar by Lata and Rafi, film ‘Do Gunde’, music by Ghulam Mohammed.
Do Gunde Rafi Lata Bhigi palke utha HQ audio:

Chal diye de ke gham, ye na socha ki hum, is jahan me akele kidhar jayenge by Lata from film ‘Son Of India’, music by Naushad.

53 AK July 21, 2014 at 6:38 pm

I must have rarely heard Chal diye de ke gham, if ever. Comparisons are odious, and Naushad is everyone’s great favourite including mine, but I can say without hesitation that Bhigi palke utha is miles ahead of his. Since Naushad’s came a few years later, we know who got inspired from whom, if at all. That reminded me of my post on My favourite Rafi-Lata duets where I had ranked this at no 2 after Shaym Sundar’s Ae mohabbat unse milne ka bahana ban gaya. This was followed by HB’s Sun mere saajana ho, Nashad’s Bhula nahi dena ji bhula nahi dena and SDB’s Tere bin soone nain hamaare. Only then I could fit in a Naushad number.

54 arvindersharma July 22, 2014 at 9:10 am

AK ji ,
I never compared the above mentioned songs.
I was only illustrating the similarly of their tunes and role of the MDs.
Please think from another angle.
Could it not be possible that Ghulam Mohammed again created ‘Chal diye de ke gham’ and permitted Naushad to use it.
Old time MDs and their associates acted with such magnanimity on a regular basis (other examples being SDB and Jaidev, and SJ and Dattaram).
‘Bheegi palkein utha’ is my all time favorite, and I was very pleasantly surprised to see it at second spot in your Lata Rafi list.
But I am in disagreement with you on the comment that it is miles ahead of ‘Chal diye’.
Music again, is a matter of very personal taste, and for once, I would remain fixated with my opinion.
(Asking you to change yours is a different matter, which I will gleefully do).

55 AK July 22, 2014 at 3:36 pm

If not miles ahead, you agree it is yards ahead. Then we are on the same plane.

There are many people involved in creating a song. It is likely a particular song was created by the Assistant, but credit would go to the MD.

56 arvindersharma July 22, 2014 at 4:15 pm

Agreed wholeheartedly AK ji,
The pleasure of sharing this musical journey with companions like you is no less tempting.

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