Take a Sad Song, and Make it Better

Movie - Pyaasa

Narendra Kusnur examines the appeal of the melancholy number, and chooses 20 heartbreaking hits

Most followers of old Hindi film music are fascinated by sad songs. Interestingly, they often greet these tunes with joy, rather than feel gloomy listening to them. The reason is simple: these songs are sung from the heart and soul, and their words have a depth, relevance and nostalgia that makes them easy to identify with.

Over the years, there have been singers who specialised in this style. Kundan Lal Saigal, Talat Mahmood and Mukesh were regular, though Mohammed Rafi and Kishore Kumar sang many great songs too. For her part, Lata Mangeshkar had a string of hits. Naturally, their songs were compiled and sold as cassettes and compact discs by the record labels under the broad banner of ‘dard bhare naghme’.

Here, we choose 20 such songs that have been popular over the years, cutting off our list in the early 1980s. Like in the case of love songs we covered in the February issue, it was a tough task to shortlist the hits, as each reader may miss some favourite or the other. The order of songs is chronological.

About 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.

View all posts by Narendra Kusnur

22 Comments on “Take a Sad Song, and Make it Better”

  1. Few more
    1-na kisi ki ankh ka noor hun-Lal Quila
    2-Mohe bhool Gaye sanwaria-baiju banwra
    3-rasik balma – chori-chori
    4-hum tujhse mohabbat karke sanam-awara
    5-ye mera deewanaoan hai-yahudi

    1. Wow You are great .
      My choice is so akin to yours ,peoplevsay because Indians have seen so much tragedy that they get satisfaction in sad songs only.What nonsense .
      These Old Songs have such high philosophical Lyrics and the music is so appealing .I sm so happy for you .
      Thank you and Congratulations .
      I mean MUBARAK HO .

  2. Aaja Tujhko Pukare Mera Pyar… Neel Kamal
    Meri Yaad Me Tum Na Aansoo Bahana… Madhosh
    Na Milta Gham To Barbadi Ke Afsane… Amar

  3. sir, please forgive my audacity , is it possible to get the so beautifully selected songs along with some of the equally meleficious songs selected by some of the connoisseurs of hindi films in the form of a CD. Regards

    1. Dear Vijay,

      There are plenty platforms available where you can listen these music offline. You can also request someone in your family to download the songs and get it on CD/DVD or Pen Drive.

      Team Seniors Today

  4. The old songs are compose and sung so beautifully by those singers, that after so many years ,we still like to hear . Songs from Nagin, Baiju Bawra, Awara, Shree 420, is still feel fresh to hear and enjoy. Because in those songs,the artist give give there soul to it.

  5. Good selection !
    But the selection list seems incomplete without these songs listed ?
    ☆♡ Koiee Humdum Na Raha…
    Koiee Sahara Na Raha
    Sung by late Kishore Kumar
    film : Half Ticket or Dur Gagan Ki Chaon Mein …( not sure … pl help to recall the film title )
    ☆♡ Orey Manjhi…
    mera saajan uss paar
    main iss paar
    tu ley chal paar…
    sung by late S D Burman based on Bengal Folk Song – Bhatiyali Tune … Film : Bandini

  6. A very good collection indeed. It would have been better if we could have been able hear them on the F.b.Thanks.

  7. @U Tubers … requested to upload the melancholy songs listed above … if not in original… as cover version … giving us the sr.ctzns one more chance to relive our lifetime rejoices !

  8. Choice differs from person to person if I had a choice .I would include only songs between 1945 to 1960 he golden period of Hindi film music when singers like Rafi.Mukesh.Talat Mahmood and Hemant Kumar,K.L.Sehgal female singers like Noor Jahan.Johra Bai Ambalewali Kanan Devi ,Lata Aasha Geeta Roy Shamsad Begun were at their peak. Composers like S D.Burman,Roshan , Shankar Jaikishsn Ravi,Naushad and many more ruled

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