From love songs to sad songs and frothy numbers, he had a certain style and charm in his writing. Narendra Kusnur chooses ten of his most versatile songs.
Among Hindi film lyricists, Rajendra Krishan was one of the most versatile. From love songs to sad songs and frothy numbers, he had a certain style and charm in his writing.
To mark his 102nd birth anniversary on June 6, we choose 10 songs that represent his genius. The fact that he wrote in simple language made his words more accessible to the masses. The list is chronological.
1 Chup Chup Khade Ho – Badi Bahen (1949)
One of Lata Mangeshkar’s early hits, the song also featured singer Premlata. Husnlal-Bhagatram composed the music, and the lines were, “Chup chup khade ho zaroor koi baat hai, pehli mulaqat hai ji pehli mulaqat hai”. Interestingly it was filmed on Suraiya, along with Rehman.
2 Shaam Dhale Khidki Taley – Albela (1951)
A popular song filmed on Bhagwan Dada and Geeta Bali, it was sung by Lata and C Ramchandra, who also gave the music. The opening line was, “Shaam dhale khidki taley tum seethi bajana chhod do, Ghadi ghadi khidki mein khadi tum teer chalana chhod do.”
3. Yeh Zindagi Usi Ki Hai – Anarkali (1953)3
An absolute masterpiece by Lata, it was composed by C Ramchandra, and filmed on Bina Rai and Pradeep Kumar. The opening lines “Yeh zindagi usi ki hai, jo kisika ho gaya, pyaar hi mein kho gaya” and the “Alvida” refrain were the highlights.
4 Unko Yeh Shikayat Hai – Adalat (1958)
Lata and music director Madan Mohan combined on this ghazal composed in raag Malgunji, with Krishan writing, “Unko yeh shikayat hai ke hum kuchh nahin kehte, apni toh yeh aadat hai ke hum kuchh nahin kehte”. The film, starring Nargis, Pradeep Kumar and Pran, also had the hit ‘Yun Hasraton Ke Daag’.
5 Aansoon Samajh Ke – Chhaya (1961)
Talat Mehmood sang for Sunil Dutt in this Salil Chowdhury composition. The lyrics were, “Aansoon samajh ke kyon mujhe aankh se tu ne gira diya, moti kisike pyaar ka mitti mein kyon mila diya”. The film, also starring Asha Parekh, had the song ‘Itna Na Mujhse Tu Pyaar Badha’.
6 Phir Wohi Shaam – Jahan Ara (1964)
Talat Mahmood sang the sad lines “Phir wohi shaam, wohi gham, wohi tanhai hai, dil ko samjhaane teri yaad chali aayi hai”. Madan Mohan composed the music and the song was filmed on Bharat Bhushan and Mala Sinha, who played Emperor Shah Jahan’s daughter.
7 Jahaan Daal Daal Pe – Sikandar-e-Azam (1965)
This hugely popular patriotic song was sung by Mohammed Rafi and composed by Hansraj Behl. It had the lines, “Jahaan daal daal par sone ki chidiya karti hai basera, woh Bharat desh hai mera”. The chant of ‘Jai Bharti’ became popular.
8 Ek Chatur Naar – Padosan (1968)
A hilarious song sung by Kishore Kumar and Manna Dey, and filmed on Sunil Dutt, Mehmood, Kishore and Saira Banu. Music was by R.D. Burman, and the song had the lines “Ek chatur naar karke singar”. Incidentally, Krishan and Sunil Dutt share birthdays.
9 Dekha Na Haay Re – Bombay To Goa (1972)
An uptempo fun song filmed on Amitabh Bachchan, Aruna Irani and Mehmood in a bus. Kishore sang the number composed by R.D. Burman. The antara “Mit jaayenge, mar jaayenge, kaam koi kar jaayenge, mar ke bhi chain na mile, toh jaayenge yaaron kahaan” was a highlight.
10 Pal Pal Dil Ke Paas – Blackmail (1973)
A Rajendra Krishan list is incomplete without this evergreen love song where he wrote, “Pal pal dil ke paas tum rehti ho, jeevan meethi pyaas, yeh kehti ho”. It was sung by Kishore, composed by Kalyanji-Anandji and picturised on Dharmendra and Raakhee.
Shortlisting 10 Rajendra Krishan songs was obviously difficult. While songs from Bhai Bhai, Dekh Kabira Roya, Khandaan and Kahani Kismat Ki missed the list, films like Padosan and Jahan Ara had multiple beauties and we could choose only one.
The effort here has been to create a good balance between fun, romantic and sad numbers, with a patriotic song included. As we said, versatility was one of Rajendra Krishan’s strengths.