Filmmakers have always loved picturising songs on trains, and many of them fit into the storyline. Here, we choose 10 such songs.
While making this list, one condition was that the entire singing cast would have to be on board a train. Thus, we did not include ‘Jiya Ho’ (from Jab Pyar Kisise Hota Hai) and ‘Mere Sapnon Ki Rani’ (Aradhana) as the heroes, Dev Anand and Rajesh Khanna, were actually in vehicles outside, and the heroines, Asha Parekh and Sharmila Tagore, were inside the train. In both cases, only the hero ‘sang’.
We also didn’t include the popular ‘Rail Gaadi’ from Aashirwad, as Ashok Kumar was basically playing with children in a park. This list is chronological.
1 Aao Bachchon Tumhe Dikhaye – Jagriti (1954)
Better known as a patriotic song, this was composed by Hemant Kumar and filmed on Abhi Bhattacharya and a group of children on a train excursion. Kavi Pradeep sang and wrote the song which went, “Aao bachchon tumhe dikhayein jhanki Hindustan ki, is mitti se tilak karo, yeh dharti hai balidaan ki, Vande Mataram, Vande Mataram”.
2 Apni Toh Har Aah – Kala Bazar (1959)
A masterpiece composed by S.D. Burman and sung immaculately by Mohammed Rafi, it was picturised on Dev Anand who sang Shailendra’s line “Oopar waala jaankar anjaan hai”, with an allusion to Waheeda Rahman travelling in the top berth. The film also had the super-hit Khoya Khoya Chand.
3 Jhoom Jhoom Kauva Bhi Dholak Bajaye – Half Ticket (1962)
This was a fun song on a train ride, with Kishore Kumar entertaining fellow passengers, including children. Sung by Kishore with a chorus, it was composed by Salil Chowdhury with Shailendra writing, “Jhoom jhoom kauva bhi dholak bajaye, cheel cheel chillake kajri sunaaye”.
4 Rukh Se Zara Naqaab – Mere Huzoor (1968)
Jeetendra and Mala Sinha starred in this train song sung by Rafi in this social drama. Music was by Shankar-Jaikishen, with Hasrat Jaipuri writing, “Rukh se zara naqaab utha do, mere huzoor; jalwa phir ek baar dikha do, mere huzoor”. Rafi also had the hit ‘Gham Uthane Ke Liye’ in this film.
5 Gaadi Bula Rahi Hai – Dost (1974)
One of the most popular train songs, it was filmed on Dharmendra, with Kishore singing Anand Bakshi’s unforgettable lines, “Gaadi bula rahi hai, seethi baja rahi hai, chalna hi zindagi hai, chalti hi ja rahi hai”. The hit number was set to tune by Laxmikant-Pyarelal.
6 Hum Donon Do Premi – Ajnabee (1974)
Brilliantly picturised on Rajesh Khanna and Zeenat Aman on haystacks in a goods train, this R.D. Burman gem was sung by Kishore and Lata Mangeshkar. Bakshi wrote, “Hum donon do premi duniya chhod chale, jeevan ki hum saari rasme tod chale”.
7 Chuk Chuk Chak Chak – Rafoo Chakkar (1975)
In this hilarious song, Rishi Kapoor and Paintal dressed up as women to join a group of female travellers on a Bombay-Baroda journey. Usha Mangeshkar, Asha Bhosle and Mahesh Kumar sang this number, composed by Kalyanji-Anandji and penned by Gulshan Bawra.
8 Dhanno Ki Aankhon Mein – Kitaab (1977)
Only R.D. Burman could compose a song like this – and sing it too. It was picturised on the driver of a coal train, played by Ram Mohan, who sang for his beloved. Gulzar’s words were, “Dhanno ki ankhon mein ek raat ka surma aur chand ka chumma”. This was a very different kind of song.
9 Pal Do Pal Ka – The Burning Train (1980)
A filmi qawwali picturised on Jeetendra, Neetu Singh, Asha Sachdev and others on a train journey. Music was composed by R.D. Burman and Sahir Ludhianvi wrote, “Pal do pal ka saath hamara pal do pal ke yaarane hai”. Rafi and Asha Bhosle were the main singers.
10 Chaiyya Chaiyya – Dil Se (1997)
The song was a big hit in its time, coming as it did when actor Shah Rukh Khan and music director A.R. Rahman were at their peak. Sung by Sukhwinder Singh and Sapna Awasthi, it was written by Gulzar, inspired by Sufi poet Baba Bulleh Shah’s Thaiyya Thaiyya. Malaika Arora’s dance in the open train is remembered.
Of course, there are many more train songs which couldn’t make into this list of 10. Some were ‘Hai Apna Dil’ (Solva Saal), ‘Phoolon Ke Rang Se’ (Prem Pujari), ‘Hoga Tumse Pyara Kaun’ (Zamane Ko Dikhana Hai) and ‘Bichoo O Bichoo’ (Chamatkar). The Aap Ki Kasam song ‘Zindagi Ke Safar Mein’ was partly shot in a train too.
Over the years, all these songs had their own popularity, with listeners enjoying the ride.