Monday, October 18, 2021

10 Unforgettable Dharmendra Songs to Celebrate his 85th Birthday

In the good old days, Dharmendra was considered the most handsome actor in Bollywood and a matinée idol. Considered as one of the biggest superstars, in 1997, he received the Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award for his contribution to Hindi cinema. To celebrate his 85th birthday, Narendra Kusnur picks 10 unforgettable songs to reminisce…

One of the most handsome heroes in Hindi cinema, Dharmendra also had some great songs filmed on him. These included love anthems like ‘Pal Pal Dil Ke Paas’ and ‘Jhilmil Sitaron Ka’, though he was also known for his action roles.

On December 8, ‘Dharam Paaji’ turns 85. To mark the occasion, we choose 10 songs that represent his personality. The list is chronological.

1. Hui Shaam Unka/ Mere Hamdam Mere Dost (1968)

Dharmendra was shown tippling and remembering Sharmila Tagore in this ghazal-inspired song sung by Mohammed Rafi and composed by Laxmikant-Pyarelal. Majrooh Sultanpuri wrote, “Hui shaam unka khayal aa gaya, wohi zindagi ka sawaal aa gaya”. The film also had the Rafi hit ‘Chalka Yeh Jaam’.

2. Dekha Hai Teri/ Pyar Hi Pyar (1969)

Rafi sang Hasrat Jaipuri’s lines “Dekha hai teri ankhon mein pyar hi pyar beshumar, paaya hai teri baaton mein pyar hi pyar beshumar”. Shankar-Jaikishen provided the music and Vyjayanthimala was the co-star. Bhappi Sonie’s film also had the hit ‘Main Kahin Kavi Na Ban Jaaoon’.

3. Jhilmil Sitaron Ka/ Jeevan Mrityu (1970)

Filmed on Dharmendra and Raakhee, this wonderful love song had Anand Bakshi’s lines “Jhilmil sitaron ka aangan hoga, rimjhim barasta saawan hoga, aisa sundar sapna apna jeevan hoga”. Music was by Laxmikant-Pyarelal and it was sung by Rafi and Lata Mangeshkar.

4 Rafta Rafta Dekho/ Kahani Kismat Ki (1973)

A peppy number about a love-struck guy, it was composed by Kalyanji-Anandji and written by Rajendra Krishan. Kishore Kumar showed brilliant timing and comic sense, specially singing the Marathi lines “Javal ye laaju nako”. Rekha was the co-star, and the song was shot in an outdoor crowd sequence.

5 Pal Pal Dil Ke Paas/ Blackmail (1973)

One of the most popular love songs ever, this one was also picturised on Dharmendra and Raakhee. Composed by Kalyanji-Anandji, it was a huge hit for Kishore. Rajendra Krishan wrote, “Pal pal dil ke paas tum rehti ho, jeevan meethi pyaas yeh kehti ho”. It’s sung in most live orchestra shows today.

6 Gaadi Bula Rahi Hai/ Dost (1974)

One of music director Laxmikant-Pyarelal’s iconic songs, sung by Kishore. It showed Dharmendra in a train journey. Bakshi’s lyrics were, “Gaadi bula rahi hai, seethi baja rahi hai, chalna hi zindagi hai, chalti hi jaa rahi hai”. Story has it that one person wrote to Bakshi that he was contemplating suicide but this song lifted his spirits and he changed his mind.

7 Main Jat Yamla Pagla Deewana/ Pratiggya (1975)

The quintessential Dharam song showing him as a Punjabi Jat. Rafi sang to perfection, The combination of Laxmikant-Pyarelal and Bakshi worked wonderfully again, and the Punjabi lines “Ki o menu pyaar karti hai” matched the mood. Hema Malini also appeared on screen.

8 Yeh Dosti/ Sholay (1975)

An iconic friendship song picturised on Dharmendra and Amitabh Bachchan on a motorcycle ride. Sung by Kishore and Manna Dey, it began with Bakshi’s lines, “Yeh dosti hum nahin todenge, todenge dum magar, tera saath na chhodenge”. Music was by R.D. Burman.

9 Aaja Teri Yaad Aayi/ Charas (1976)

Shot in Venice and Geneva, this was a big hit in the Dharam-Hema roster. Interestingly, the opening lines were sung by lyricist Bakshi, before Rafi and Mangeshkar took over. Laxmikant-Pyarelal gave the music. The scene where Dharmendra flung his jacket in delight became memorable.

10 Hum Bewafa/ Shalimar (1978)

Krishna Shah’s mega production had international stars including Rex Harrison, besides the Indian cast of Dharmendra and Zeenat Aman. Kishore sang this beauty with the lines “Hum bewafa hargiz na the, par hum wafa kar na sakey, Hum ko mili uski saza, hum jo khata kar na sakey”. R.D. Burman added a tribal chant, and Bakshi wrote the words.

Unforgettably Dharmendra! Romantic and charming – with some beautiful songs to match his persona.

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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