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.

Yaraana was one of the many Amitabh Bachchan and Amjad Khan movies from the 70s and 80s, but unlike the rest, Amjad Khan played a good guy here. It is also one of several Amitabh and Neetu Singh movies. The film has music as a core theme, because Bachchan plays a singer from a village who moves to to city and becomes famous. The song is set in an empty auditorium, with Amitabh in his new sophisticated avatar singing a song as Neetu Singh happens upon him. It’s an interesting scene because it’s just the two of them in an empty stage-lit auditorium, and half way through the first verse, the entire thing switches to slow motion and the song continues without any mouthing of lyrics. From what I can see online, the song isn’t played in its entirety in the film, but what’s there is nice enough even without the additional verses.

Neetu Singh is her usual vibrant self, Amitabh is stylish in his white suit, and the few steps of dance and celebration they share in slow motion are in some ways more effective in conveying the emotion of the song than a very elaborate coordinated dance sequence would have been. There is a strangely discordant initial bit where Amitabh is shown playing the drums when the song has an introductory string solo, but such strange choices and lack of attention to detail were quite common in the films of the time, and still are on occasion.

Kishore Kumar has sung this in a very soft and melodic way, quite different from his more deep and booming voice in the songs of the late 70s and 80s. The music is extremely sonorous and melodic with some great use of the bongos for percussion. Rajesh Roshan certainly leaves it with his mark of eclectic instrumentation and generally uplifting music; A speciality of his.

The lyricist Anjaan penned words such as:

Tu jo kahe jeevan bhar, tere liye main gaaoon.
Geet tere bolon pe, likhta chala jaaoon.
Mere geeton mein, tujhe dhoonde jagg saara.


If you ask it, I will sing for you for the rest of my days
On the words you speak, these songs I will continue to write away
The world searches for you in my songs, over which you hold sway

Appropriately rousing stuff, but really it’s the never tiring music that keeps this song from being yet another forgotten tune, and it’s certainly one of Kishore Kumar’s best songs from the last years of his singing career.

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