Jahan teri yeh nazar hai

The 1981 film Kaalia was a big commercial success. It cemented the status of Amitabh Bachchan as a popular star, and his increasing identification as the ‘angry young man’ of Hindi cinema with a stream of similar roles. Director Tinu Anand‘s first outing with the star, but not his last, would include many popular songs in its repertoire, including the romantic Tum saath ho jab apne. But the song that would remain the iconic hit from this film and this era of film music is the mischievous Jahan teri yeh nazar hai.
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Hawaon pe likh do hawaon ke naam

Do Dooni Char was a film made in 1968. It was based on Shakespeare’s Comedy of Errors, a source that would be referenced by Hindi films on several occasions in the future. Speaking of mistaken identities and doubles, a film of the same name, but with a mildly different spelling, would also be made in 2010. The two were not connected in any way, except that an actress appeared in both these films, decades apart; Doubles everywhere. This 1968 film starred Kishore Kumar and while I’ve probably only seen pieces of it, the song Hawaon pe likh do hawaon ke naam has always been a favourite of mine.
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Inteha ho gayo intezaar ki

By the 1980s, Amitabh Bachchan was at the height of his stardom. While the decade was not the most vibrant for the Hindi film industry in general, Amitabh went on to do some of his most iconic movies at the time. Their success can in no small part also be ascribed to some of the great songs that came out of them, because this was a time not all that far back in the past, and yet Kishore Kumar was still around to sing songs. In spite of the slightly downbeat trend in film music at the time, some happy gems did come out of it. Inteha ho gayo intezaar ki from the 1984 film Sharaabi, manages to be both by changing its mood half way through its length.
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Hum matwale naujawan

In the black and white Hindi films of the 1950s, it was fairly common for them to shoot a scene or two, or at least a song, on the streets of Bombay. Part of it was probably the relative ease of taking over a little piece of side-street in some suburb for the shooting while keeping away crowds, and the other was likely newer and more portable equipment that made it more practical. The crowds were not a problem, however, if your song incorporated them, like Hum matwale naujawan from the 1959 film Shararat.
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Chookar mere mann ko

This song from the 1981 film Yaarana has a special memory for me. While the song itself is a great little melody, what first comes to my mind is the way my parents described me singing the words to it when I was a kid, rather than what they actually are. While this doesn’t spoil the song for me, nor am I nostalgic about forgotten baby talk, Chookar mere mann ko still remains a worthy song to listen to.
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Dekha na hai re socha na

Hindi films have always been very fond of having songs which have a hidden meaning to the audience and some of the players on screen, but seem perfectly innocent to everyone else. I’ve spoken before of the typical Hindi film party song, with words that do everything from profess love to mock the antagonist of the piece; Dekha na hai re socha na from the 1972 film Bombay to Goa is very much an antagonist mocking party song, only it’s set on a bus travelling as indicated in the title, and has Amitabh Bachchan jumping around a lot wearing a shiny pink shirt.
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Ajnabi, tum jaane pehchane se lagte ho

Most songs in any language end up being about love. Perhaps love provides some extra creative impetus for the penning and singing of songs. But if that is true, then the loss of love seems to be all that much more inspiring. Thus we have heartbreak Hindi-film style, circa 1965, in Ajnabi, tum jaane pehchane se lagte ho with Kishore Kumar from the film Hum Sab Ustad Hai.
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Tum saath ho jab apne

By the end of the 70s, Amitabh Bachchan was the undisputed king of Hindi cinema and he had settled into a comfortable niche of angry action hero and romantic rogue that worked out quite well for him with almost every outing. Kaalia, released in 1981, was another in this line of Amitabh starers, along with Parveen Babi as his partner in on-screen romance.

Tum saath ho jab apne inherits a long history of Hindi songs set in strange parties where everyone seems satisfied to stand around and enjoy the song and dance unfolding before them, peppered with layers of meaning between the protagonist and the antagonist, who also happens to be invited, or is the host in some cases!
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Ek ladki bheegi bhagi si

Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi is the first Hindi film I remember seeing in its entirety. I’m sure there were others before then, but this one made an impact as a film, something separate and different from all that other stuff on TV. That effect was in no small part because of the songs.

As an Indian kid, film songs are a reality that you are exposed to from the day you’re born, but watching Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi and seeing this, the first song in the film, flow in from the unfolding story, was when it all seemed to fall into place. At last, a film song made sense as something with a story behind it and a story in it, rather than as random music and lyrics on the radio.

Beyond my personal reasons for loving this song, however, it is a song worthy of being remembered and enjoyed. It was in many ways ahead of its time, or at least it captured a perfect intermingling with the story of the film, which Hindi film music as often lost and gained and lost again over the decades.
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