Thursday, October 21, 2021

10 Grace-filled Songs to Celebrate Waheeda Rehman

A picture of eternal grace, Waheeda Rahman had some amazing films filmed on her. A good chunk featured Guru Dutt or Dev Anand, and she looked ravishing with both of them.

Waheeda’s 83rd birthday falls on February 3. To mark the occasion, we choose 10 marvellous songs filmed on her and list them in the order of their release. The task wasn’t easy, of course, and one had to leave out a few gems. But it was impossible to omit a single song from this list.

1. Kahin Pe Nigahen – CID (1956)

Though she had done small roles in south Indian films, CID was Waheeda’s Hindi film debut. She danced gracefully in this catchy number sung by the legendary Shamshad Begum. O.P. Nayyar gave the music, with Majrooh Sultanpuri writing, “Kahin pe nigahen, kahin pe nishaana”. The film also had the Geeta Dutt hit ‘Jaata Kahan Hai Deewane’.

2. Jaane Kya Tune Kahi – Pyaasa (1957)

In many ways, this song is all about Waheeda’s eye expressions. Paired with Guru Dutt, this was composed by S.D. Burman. Geeta Dutt sang Sahir Ludhianvi’s words, “Jaane kya tune kahi, jaane kya maine suni, baat kuch ban hi gayee”. This was a fabulous example of close-up cinematography by V.K. Murthy.


3. Waqt Ne Kiya – Kagaz Ke Phool (1959)

Brilliantly picturised by Murthy on Guru Dutt and Waheeda Rahman, this has remained an iconic number for singer Geeta Dutt. Kaifi Azmi wrote the unforgettable lines, “Waqt ne kiya kya haseen sitam, tum rahe na tum, hum rahe na hum.” Music was by S.D. Burman.


4. Rimjhim Ke Tarane – Kala Bazar (1960)

Kala Bazar had some great songs picturised on Dev Anand and Waheeda, including ‘Apni Toh Har Aah’ and ‘Saanjh Dhali’. But ‘Rimjhim Ke Tarane’ was remembered for its romantic shots and wonderful close-ups of Waheeda. S.D. Burman gave the music and Shailendra wrote the words, with Mohammed Rafi and Geeta Dutt teaming up beautifully.


5. Chaudhvin Ka Chand – Chaudhvin Ka Chand (1960)

Who can forget Shakeel Badayuni’s outstanding lines, “Chaudhvin ka chand ho ya aftaab ho, jo bhi ho tum khuda ki kasam lajawaab ho”? Ravi composed the tune and though it featured only the male voice of Rafi for Guru Dutt, it was aimed at Waheeda Rahman’s character Jameela.


6. Na Tum Hamein Jaano – Baat Ek Raat Ki (1962)

This had the pure magic of singer Hemant Kumar who was accompanied in a smaller portion by Suman Kalyanpur. The song was picturised on Dev and Waheeda. S.D. Burman composed the music to Majrooh Sultanpuri’s words, which began, “Na tum hamein jaano, na hum tumhe jaane, magar lagta hai kuch aisa, mera humdum mil gaya”.


7. Jhoom Jhoom Dhalti Raat – Kohraa (1964)

This time, Hemant Kumar played the role of composer, just like he did in the Waheeda song ‘Bhanwara Bada Nadaan’ in Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam and in the 1962 film Bees Saal Baad. ‘Jhoom Jhoom’ was one of Lata Mangeshkar’s most brilliant songs of the mid-1960s, with Kaifi Azmi writing, “Jhoom jhoom dhalti raat, leke chali mujhe apne saath”. The film was based on Daphne Du Maurier’s novel Rebecca, and Waheeda gave an amazing performance.


8. Aaj Phir Jeene Ki Tamanna Hai – Guide (1965)

The combination of Lata Mangeshkar and Waheeda Rahman worked perfectly again in this song also featuring Dev. Shailendra wrote the lines, “Aaj phir jeene ki tamanna hai, aaj phir marne ka iraada hai”. Music was by S.D. Burman, who also composed the Kishore Kumar-Lata hit ‘Gaata Rahe Mera Dil’ with Waheeda and Dev.


9. Paan Khaaye Saiyyan Hamaro – Teesri Kasam (1966)

A fabulous folk dance by Waheeda, with Asha Bhosle singing the nuances perfectly. The film also starred Raj Kapoor. Shankar-Jaikishen provided the music. Shailendra’s lyrics were filled with rustic lines like “Paan khaaye saiyyan hamaro, saanwali suratiya honth laal laal, haay haay malmal ka kurta, malmal ke kurte pe cheenth laal laal”. The film also had the Lata gem ‘Maare Gaye Gulfam’ filmed on Waheeda.

10. Rangeela Re – Prem Pujari (1970)

Music director S.D. Burman teamed.up with lyricist Neeraj who wrote, “Rangeela re, tere rang mein, yoon ranga hai mera man; Chaliya re, na bujhe hai kisi jal se yeh jalan”. Sung by Lata, it showed a saree-clad Waheeda dancing exquisitely with Dev watching on. In fact, Dev once said it was one of his favourite songs under his Navketan banner.

As mentioned before, there may be other favourites one could add. Waheeda had appeared in one of the versions of the Khamoshi song ‘Humne Dekhi Hai Un Aankhon Ki Mehekti Khushboo’ and later in ‘Mere Ghar Aayee Ek Nanhi Paree’ in Kabhi Kabhie. In every song she adorned, she bubbled with charisma.

Narendra Kusnur
Narendra Kusnur is one of India’s best known music journalists. Born with a musical spoon, so to speak, Naren, who dubs himself Kaansen, is a late bloomer in music criticism. He was (is!) an aficionado first, and then strayed into writing on music. But in the last two decades, he has made up for most of what he didn’t do earlier.

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