Actor Naseeruddin Shah was a major force in Hindi parallel cinema in the 1970s and 1980s, before he began opting for commercial roles too. To mark his 72nd birthday on July 20, we choose 10 songs featuring him.
This list winds up in 1989, when ‘Tirchi Topiwale’ from Tridev became a national craze. In some songs, he makes only brief appearances. The order is chronological.
1 Saawan Ke Din – Bhumika (1977)
This almost seems like a continuation of last week’s ‘saawan’ songs. Shah, playing a film director, appeared briefly in the opening and closing shots as Smita Patil was shown shooting a song. It was sung by Preeti Sagar and Bhupinder, with music by Vanraj Bhatia. Lyricist Majrooh Sultanpuri wrote, “Saawan ke din aaye sajanwa aan milo, barkha jiya tarsaaye sajanwa aan milo”.
2 Khali Pyala Dhundla Darpan – Sparsh (1979)
Sung by Sulakshna Pandit, it was filmed on Shabana Azmi and Shah, playing a visually impaired man. Music was by Kanu Roy who made good use of the sarod. Lyricist Indu Jain’s opening lines were, “Khaali pyaala dhundhla darpan, khaali khaali man, khaali khaali man, bujhta suraj, jalta chanda, pathjhari saawan, pathjhari saawan”.
3 Sunayana Sunayana – Sunayana (1979)
In the late 1970s, singer Yesudas was very popular in Hindi cinema. This song was filmed on Shah and Rameshwari. It was written and composed by Ravindra Jain, and had the flavour of its time. The lyrics were, “Sunayana sunayana sunayana sunayana, aaj in nazaaron ko tum dekho, aur main tumhein dekhte hue dekhoon, main bas tumhein dekhte hue dekhoon”.
4 Saanson Mein Dard – Aakrosh (1980)
Shah played a lawyer in the film. Though the song was shot entirely on him, the song used a female voice (Madhuri Purandare) as a narrator. Music was by Ajit Verman and Suryabhanu Gupta wrote the lyrics, “Saanson mein dard, dard mein saansein basee hui, hum mein koi kisi mein samaae hue hai ham; hokar bhi apne aap ko paaye hue hain ham, hum mein koi kisi mein samaaye hue hain ham”.
5 Karoge Yaad – Bazaar (1982)
Filmed on Shah and Smita Patil, this was sung by Bhupinder. Music was by Khayyam, and lyrics were by Bashar Nawaz, who wrote, “Karoge yaad toh har baat yaad aayegi, guzarte waqt ki har mauj thahar jaayegi”. The song began in a train compartment and was followed by a flashback scene.
6 Maine Tumse Kuchh Nahin Maanga – Katha (1983)
This was picturised on Shah and Deepti Naval. Kishore Kumar sang it beautifully, with Raj Kamal providing the music. Lyricist Indu Jain wrote, “Maine tumse kuchh nahin maanga, aaj de do, aaj de do, sau baras se jaage in nainon ko, neend ki wardaan de do”.
7 Huzoor Is Qadar – Masoom (1983)
Shah and Saeed Jaffrey played inebriated people at a party. Suresh Wadkar and Bhupinder sang the song composed by R.D. Burman. Gulzar wrote, “Huzoor Is kadar bhi na itra ke chaliye, khule aam aanchal na lehra ke chaliye”. The film also had Anup Ghoshal’s ‘Tujhse Naraaz Nahin’ filmed on Shah and child artiste Jugal Hansraj, but that was used in a recent playlist of Father’s Day songs.
8 Mera Kuchh Saamaan – Ijaazat (1987)
Shah and Anuradha Patel appeared in this song, which was a big hit for Asha Bhosle. It was composed by R.D. Burman. Gulzar wrote it in a nazm format, beginning with the lines, “Mera kuchh saamaan tumhare paas padha hai, saawan ke kuchh bheege bheege din rakhe hain, aur mere ek khat mein lipati raat padi hai, woh raat bujha do, mera woh saamaan lauta do”.
9 Main Hoon Hero Hiralal – Hero Hiralal (1988)
Shah played a Hyderabad-based autorickshaw driver falling in love with a Bollywood starlet (Sanjana Kapoor). It was an exuberant street song sung by Amit Kumar. Music was by Babla Shah. Hriday Lani’s lyrics captured the protagonist’s love for his work and the movies, and went perfectly with the shots.
10 Tirchi Topiwale – Tridev (1989)
An out and out commercial number which might seem a misfit in this sequence, this was also one of the biggest hits associated with Shah. He was paired with Sonam in this group dance. Sung by Amit Kumar and Sapna Mukherjee, it was written by Anand Bakshi. Though it was mainly composed and arranged by Viju Shah, credits were given to Kalyanji-Anandji because of contractual obligations. Words were by Anand Bakshi. The hook ‘Oye Oye Oye O Owaa’ became a popular chant for the masses, though that part was lifted from Cuban-American singer Gloria Estefan’s ‘Rhythm Is Gonna Get You’.
In the 1990s and beyond, Shah appeared in some popular numbers including ‘Hoshwalon Ko Khabar Kya’, sung by Jagjit Singh in Sarfarosh (1999), and ‘Dil To Bachcha Hai Ji’, sung by Rahat Fateh Ali Khan in Ishqiya (2010). Then in 2014, Bappi Lahiri sang ‘Ooh La La’ for him in The Dirty Picture. That’s some variety.