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.