Apr 142008

Last week marked the 50th anniversary of one my favourite films of all times Madhumati. Directed by Bimal Roy and starring Dilip Kumar, Vyjantimala and Pran Madhumati was the story of eternal love that cant’ be separated by death. One of the key ingredients that has made this movie an all time favourite is the sound track composed by  Salil Choudhary .

Salil Choudhary had composed, what for me, is the finest songs in any film. Starting with the peppy Suhana Safar aur yeh Mausam Hasi, to the haunting Mein to Kab se Khadi is Paar, to the earthy Daya re Daya Jangal Chad Gayo Papi Bichua (tnx Kuffir), to the soulful Toothe huve Khawbon ne, to the flirtatious Dil Tadap Ke Keh Raha Hai Abhi Ja, to the drunken Jungal mein More Nache to the lovely mujra Hum Haal-e-Dil Sunaaye ge – the film is full of songs that have endured the test of time…..

But, in a way that was Salil Choudhary’s expertise. The music that he composed transcends time. His melodies were marked by the use of western instrumentation in a uniquely Indian manner. Also unlike other music directors of his era (Shankar Jaikishen, Naushad  or O.P.Nayyar) hetended to  favour minimum instrumentation.  the purity of the voice rose above the sounds of instruments. Listen to Lata in the opening part of Jago Mohan Pyare or Aa Ja Re Aa; Mukesh in Raton ke saaye ghane or Kabhi door jab din dhal jaaye; to know what i mean.  Salil da also used silence – or the pause in the song as a fantastic method of transition (raton ke saaye ) .

The one thing that is guaranteed about a Salil da soundtrack – it would be impossible to find a mediocre song in it..


… Here are my favourites from his repertoire. in no particular order of preference

Suhana Safar aur Yeh Mausam Hasi – sung by Mukesh with lyrics by Shailendra. Picturised on a very young Dilip Kumar – full of hope and a joy for life as he takes on a new assignment working for the villanous Pran. Film Madhumati. The film is full of ever green songs, a fabulous background track and an atmosphere that can very rarely be replicated.

Aa Jaa Ri Aaa, Nindiya Tu Aa – sung by Lata Mangeshkar, with very basic accompaniment . The song is a mellifluous lullaby. Lyrics by Shailendra. The film is Do Bigha Zameen, and the dierctor Bimal Roy. The film had other wonderful songs like Dharti Kare Pukar Ke, Ajab Tore Duniya O Rama. The story is of a farmer who tries to redeem his Do Bigha Zameen (two measures of land) from the landlord (debt). The movie still resonates with poignancy today, especially in the light of farmer suicides over debt. And, no corporatisation is not the answer.

Kahi Door Jab Din Dhal Jaaye – Sung By Mukesh, Picturised on Rajesh Khanna for the film Anand. Director Hrishikesh Mukherjee. (Trivia: Hrishikesh Mukherjee was mentored by Bimal Roy). The movie is an absolute tear jerker. I remember sobbing my way through the film. Other gems in this movie are Meine Tere Liye Hi Saat Rang Ke Sapne Chune (mukesh), Zindagi Kaise Hi Paheli (Manna De), Naa Jiya Lage Na (Lata). No one quite made use of minimum instrumentation the way Salil Da did, to such wonderfully moving effect as in this song…

Jaago Mohan Pyare Jaago – sung by Lata Mangeshkar, picturised on Nargis, lyrics by Shailender. Directed by Amit Mitra. Prouced by Raj Kapoor – one of the few commercial disasters that he produced. The film is Jaagte Raho and the story is a of a man in search of drinking water in the city. I don’t think that Lata’s voice has been sweeter in any other song. I get gooseberries everytime I hear this song. The other masterpiece from this film is Zindagi Khwaab Hai (Mukesh)

Tasveer Tee Dil Mein, Jis Din Se Utari Hai – a lovely romantic duet sung by Lata Mangeshkar and Mohammed Rafi for the film Maya. The song is picturised on Dev Anand and Mala Sinha. Lyrics are by Majrooh Sultanpuri. The other song from this film that is an all time favourite is Ja Re Ud Jaa Re Panchi (sung by Lata)

Itna Na Mujhse Tu Pyaar Bada – sung by Lata Mangeshkar & Talat Mehmood for Asha Parekh and Sunil Dutt. Lyrics by Rajender Kishen. The film is Chhaya. Other great songs in this film are Aanknon mein Masti Sharaab Ki, Aansoon Samajh Ke Kyon Mujhe (both by Talat Mehmood). Once again the ability of Salilda to use what is essentially a western tune, but fine tune it for desi sensibilities…loved the interludes as much as the song. The film


O Sajna Barkha Bahar Aayi – sung by Lata Mangeshkar and picturised on Sadhna. The film is Parakh and the lyrics are by Shailendra

Koi Hota Jisko Apna – sung by Kishore Kumar, the film is Mere Apne. Lyrics by Gulzar. The film is Gulzar’s directorial debut. remember watching it eons ago, and finding it terribly mawkish and sentimental. But, love the song (despite its mawkishness & sentimentality)

Jane Man Jane Man – sung by Yesudas and Asha Bhonsle for Amol Palekar & Vidya Sinha. The film is Choti si Baat directed by Basu Chaterjee. The story is of two shy people who come together.  The film had other lovely numbers including Na Jaane Kyon, Hota hai Yeh Zindagi ke Saath (Lata), Yeh Din Kya Aaye, lage phul hase (Mukesh). A favorite at various antaksharis where people would sing this song with glorious besuranes… one of the most difficult duets to sing (in my opinion) …

Rajngandha Phool Tumhare – Sung by Lata , picturised on Vidya Sinha. the film is Rajnigandha. Like many Basu Chaterjee movies this too focused on the complexities of a man woman relationship and the feeling that the grass in greener elsewhere. Check out the Mukesh number in this film – Kahi baar yuhi dekha hai…yahi man ki seema rekha hai….


Nain Hamare Saanj Saakare .. a whimsical number sung by Mukesh. The film is Annadata starring Jaya Bhaduri and Anil Dhawan. I found the movie terribly dragging — but its soundtrack is superlative. Other lovely numbers in the film are Raton ke Saaye (Lata), Guzar Jaye Din Din (Kishore)

There are other great numbers from movies that I haven’t seen…. Ai Mere Pyaare Watan (sung by Manna De for kabuli wala), Baag Mein Kali Khili (sung by Asha for Chand aur Suraj), Kanha Bole Na (sung by Lata for Sangat); Ni Sa, Ga Ma Pa Ni, Sa Re Ga, Aa Aa Re Mitavaa (sung by Yesudas). The list is quite large.

These are some of my favourites…. But, the trouble with Salilda’s music is that every song that you hear of his you think to yourself ….. but that is my favourite….

Also check out The World of Salil Choudhary for his entire collection of his compositions  in all languages.

  16 Responses to “Salil Choudhary – the Melody Maker”

  1. , to the drunken Jungal mein More Nache to the lovely mujra Hum Haal-e-Dil Sunaaye ge – the film is full of songs that have endured the test of time. The 50th anniversary of the all-time classic, Madhumati helpsHarini remember other golden oldies by Salil Choudhary. I must admit that I’m a big fan too with being Dil Tadap Ke Keh Raha Hai Abhi Ja one of my all-time faves. See Also: Text Link Ads Monetize your blog. No clicks needed.

  2. Mehabooba Teri Tasaveer” (ISHQ PE ZOR NAHIN), “Nazar Na Lag Jaye” (NIGHT IN LONDON), etc. I am sure our fellow Rafi fans would come out with scores of such songs and freshen our memories.[POV] Salil Choudhary – the Melody Maker: Suhana Safar aur Yeh Mausam Hasi – sung by Mukesh with lyrics by Shailendra. Picturised on a very young Dilip Kumar – full of hope and

  3. aah. tribute much appreciated. daiya re daiya happens to be a great favourite- had great tempo, zest.. whatever. sensual appeal (ammamma of today’s item numbers?). and it goes: daiya re daiya re chaddh gayo paapi bichua, i think. i don’t think there is any mention of jangal. toote hue khwabon ne is also liked, and some other songs you name..and songs from chhoti si baat etc., one would like to pass over- too many friends used to hum them when young…and too many besura renditions can turn you off some songs, i guess.
    thanks, again.

  4. thank you…
    made the change… typo… jungle mein mor nache, merged into daya re daya
    too many besura versions of jane man … true… the other song that used to get terribly abused was jaane jaaa (jawani diwani)

  5. oh yes, thanks for this- Salilda is an all-time favorite – and each of these songs is a gem. (though can’t remember aaja ri aa nindiya tu aa…??) Na jiya laage na – much less popular than the others but my top fave in the movie. and also ‘oh sajna barkha bahaar aayi’

    also love the lesser known (to hindi audiences obviously!) – music from the malaylam movie ‘chemmeen’ and ‘poovannam pola nejam’ from the Tamil film azhiyada kolangal (a superbly melodious haunting song) – it was only recently I discovered the latter was by Salilda – from an unrelated post by Baradwaj Rangan on Balu Mahendra!

    and he was not just about melody – I mean, ‘aake seedhi lagi’ and ‘cheel cheel chillake’ from Half Ticket – would have thought?!

  6. hi
    i simply adore his music
    aa jaa ri aa – chk out you tube… i still don’t know how to embed…http://youtube.com/watch?v=xlxl3Mw0Gy8

    what i liked most about his music were the transitions and the subtle difference between stanzas… his music kept you longing for more of his music 🙂

  7. It’s almost like getting on to the ‘Wayback’ machine, for such are the memories these songs evoke.

  8. I think “O Sajana” is as an example of how a simple, subtle melody can be extremely romantic.

  9. Came here via desipundit. You seem to have missed the “Julmi sang aankh ladi” of Madhumati.

  10. @Anil … absolutely – while writing it I went down memory lane

    @Raj … totally….even stuff like Rajnigandha …. such melody….

    @bloghopper — not missed it out but left it out…. this and the other Lata Mukesh duet … ghadi ghadi mora dil dhadke…neither was ever a fav 🙂

  11. Can’t forget the evergreen melodies Salilda has composed in Malayalam.

  12. hi jo…
    must check out his Malayalam numbers… i have heard so much about them


  13. If there is a lesson to be drawn from the great Salil Chaudhury’s film music composing career, it is this: that, once you attain a good mastery of Indian classical music, it should not be difficult to understand the harmonic aspects of Western music for fusing them with light film music which can appeal easily and capture the hearts of Indian audiences [and even wider foreign, especially the Arab and Islamic, plus other Asian audiences. A deeply perceptive film music composer, such as Chaudhury sahab was, understand that all good film music must have an imaginative interpretation of classical music with modifications, a point which the lay listener does not appreciate as he thinks that film music will be unappealing if it is “based” on classical music. Those who succeeded in the true sense, in the film world, apart from Chaudhury, such as Shankar Jaikishan, Lakshmikant Pyarelal, OP Nayyar, Madan Mohan, SD Burman (not so much his son Rahul), and several years, all of them of a bygone era,understood the point and rose to heights in the Indian (mainly Hindi) cine music field. Anyone trying to compose for films, who thought that mere finering on the harmonium could produce durable music, failed, to be left by the wayside. To this category belong the full bunch of cine music composers, with their ‘music’ dying only within weeks, no one ever able to sing them for TV programs, although some of them record big sales of their recordings with a heavy dose of media marketing hype, and the unfortunate younger generation is dished out their stuff 24 x 7 and most of them suffer nervous diseases due to the jarring, raucous, absurd (con)fusion of notes. BTW,the differences bet. the two branches of it, Carnatic and Hindustani systems are really only superficial and not real. Ask a broad minded classical music connoisseur of the Southern system.

  14. hi m balakrishnan
    welcome to this blog and thank you for your comment.
    i love the way in which he used the accompanying musicians – the prelude to ja re ud ja re panchi being a case in point

  15. […] this is how I found your blog – another Salilda fan – read this from Harini’s blog on Salil […]

  16. Can somebody give me a complete list of songs composed by Salil Choudhary(hindi Film Songs)

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