Over the years, we have seen many songs where the hero or heroine is shown playing the piano, either at a party scene or to serenade a lover. This was quite regular in the 1950s and 1960s.Narendra Kusnur select 10 special songs for you to enjoy.
On September 24, Louiz Banks will curate the Mumbai Piano Day concert at the National Centre For The Performimg Arts (NCPA) in Mumbai. The event will focus on international music, mainly jazz. But inspired by the show, we shall talk of the piano in Hindi film music, where it has played an important role in a different manner.
Over the years, we have seen many songs where the hero or heroine is shown playing the piano, either at a party scene or to serenade a lover. This was quite regular in the 1950s and 1960s, though at times one heard sounds of strings and guitars instead of piano. These numbers expressed sadness or joy, romance or jealousy.
Here we randomly picked 10 among the many ‘piano songs’. The actual number of such songs is very large, but here are some popular ones. Favourites ‘Tera Jaana’ (Anari) and ‘Dost Dost Na Raha’ (Sangam) weren’t used this time as they were featured in the Shankar-Jaikishan list last week. There are also others like ‘Geet Gaata Hoon Main’ (Lal Patthar), ”Beqarar Dil’ (Door Ka Rahi), ‘Aaj Ki Raat’ (Ram Aur Shyam), ‘Tum Bin Jaoon Kahaan (Sad)’ (Pyar Ka Mausam)… one can easily add another 20. But in keeping with this column’s format, here are the 10 we have chosen in chronological order.
1 Tu Kahe Agar – Andaz (1949)
Dilip Kumar was shown on a grand piano, singing for Nargis, leaning on the musical instrument. Cuckoo did a marvellous dance routine. The Mukesh hit was composed by Naushad, with Majrooh Sultanpuri writing, “Tu kahe agar jeevan bhar, main geet sunaata jaaoon, man been bajata jaaoon”.
2 Main Dil Hoon Ek Armaan Bhara – Anhonee (1952)
The rare combination of actor Raj Kapoor and singer Talat Mahmood was featured in this song composed by Roshan. Nargis also appeared on screen. Rajendra Krishan wrote, “Main dil hoon ek armaan bhara, tu aa ke mujhe pehchaan zara, ek saagar hoon thehra thehra, tu aake mujhe pehchaan zara”.
3 Hum Pyaar Mein Jalnewalon Ko – Jailor (1958)
The beautiful Geeta Bali was shown playing the piano on this song sung immaculately by Lata Mangeshkar. Madan Mohan composed the music. Rajendra Krishan wrote, “Hum pyaar mein jalne waalon ko chain kahaan, haaye aaram kahaan”.
4 Chalo Ek Baar – Gumrah (1963)
This time, Sunil Dutt was on piano, with Ashok Kumar and Mala Sinha watching him. Sung by Mahendra Kapoor, the tune was composed by Ravi. In one of his most famous lyrics, Sahir Ludhianvi wrote, “Chalo ek baar phir se ajnabee ban jaaye hum dono”.
5 Khwaab Ho Tum – Teen Devian (1965)
Dev Anand actually played a glissando slide on this song composed by S.D. Burman and sung by Kishore Kumar. Majrooh Sultanpuri wrote the lyrics, “Khwaab ho tum ya koi haqeeqat, kaun ho tum batlao”. The song’s highlights were a harmonica solo and the back-up vocals. Simi Grewal and Kalpana were in the large party audience.
6 Dheere Dheere Machal – Anupama (1966)
Unlike the other songs featuring grand piano, this one had an upright piano played by Surekha Pandit, with Tarun Bose watching. Hemant Kumar composed the song, sung by Lata. Kaifi Azmi’s words were, “Dheere dheere machal ae dil-e-beqaraar, koi aata hai, yun tadap ke na tadpa mujhe baar baar, koi aata hai”.
7 Patthar Ke Sanam – Patthar Ke Sanam (1967)
Manoj Kumar was seen on grand piano, with Waheeda Rahman and Mumtaz in the party audience. This was a huge hit for Laxmikant-Pyarelal, with Mohammed Rafi doing the singing honours. Majrooh wrote, “Patthar ke sanam, tujhe humne mohabbat ka khuda maana, badi bhool hui, arrey humne, yeh kya samjha, yeh kya jaana”.
8 Pyaar Deewana Hota Hai – Kati Patang (1971)
This party song was filmed on ‘pianist’ Rajesh Khanna, who looked more into Asha Parekh’s eyes than at the keys. The hit song was composed by R.D. Burman and sung by Kishore. Anand Bakshi wrote, “Pyaar diwaana hota hai mastana hota hai, har khushi se har gham se begana hota hai”.
9 Suhani Chandni Raatein – Mukti (1977)
A bearded Shashi Kapoor posed on the piano as he sang for Vidya Sinha. The song also had many flashbacks of earlier days. It was a huge hit for Mukesh after he passed away. R.D. Burman composed the music and Bakshi wrote, “Suhani chandni raatein hamein sone nahin deti, tumhare pyaar ki baatein hamein sone nahin deti”. The opening piano was played for the soundtrack by Louiz Banks.
10 Aati Rahengi Baharein – Kasme Vaade (1978)
Amitabh Bachchan began with the piano and Randhir Kapoor joined on harmonica as Raakhee sang along. Kishore, Amit Kumar and Asha Bhosle got together on R.D. Burman’s composition. Gulshan Bawra wrote the lyrics. Interestingly, Amitabh forgot about the piano in the middle of the song, but Randhir remembered and played some notes.
The frequency of such situations reduced after the 1980s though one later had the odd instance like ‘Zindagi Har Kadam’ in Meri Jung, the Saajan song ‘Bahut Pyaar Karte Hain’ or the Parineeta number ‘Piyu Bole’. And if all the above-mentioned pianos were black in colour, Shah Rukh Khan played a special white piano for ‘Chand Taare’ in Yes Boss. He also jumped on top of a piano in Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge, playing some unique patterns. Call that improvisation, if you please.