Monday, March 20, 2023

10 best ‘Bombay Ravi’ songs

Music director Ravi had some huge hits in the 1960s. Besides some legendary work with Mohammed Rafi, he also gave Asha Bhosle and Mahendra Kapoor some wonderful songs. After focusing on Hindi films for a large part of his career, he composed many Malayalam songs from the late 1980s, being known as Bombay Ravi.

March 3 marks Ravi’s 96th birthday. On May 7, fans will observe his 10th death anniversary. On these occasions, we choose 10 of his Hindi film hits. The order is chronological.


1 Chanda Mama Door Ke – Vachan (1955)

In Ravi’s debut film Vachan, Asha sang all eight songs, including three duets with Rafi. The solo ‘Chanda Mama’, written by Ravi, was the biggest hit, and was often sung to serenade grandchildren. Years later, the opening inspired the main hook of the Laxmikant-Pyarelal song ‘Ek Do Teen’ in Tezaab.


2 Yeh Raatein Yeh Mausam – Dilli Ka Thug (1958)

The film Dilli Ka Thug had some good songs including ‘CAT Cat, Cat Maane Billi’ and ‘Hum To Mohabbat Karega’. On ‘Yeh Raatein’, Kishore Kumar and Asha got together to sing a waltz-like melody. The song, filmed on Kishore and Nutan, had Shailendra’s lines, “Yeh raatein, yeh mausam, nadi ka kinara, yeh chanchal hawa, kaha do dilon ne ki milkar kabhi hum na honge judaa”.


3 Chaudhvin Ka Chand – Chaudhvin Ka Chand (1960)

Considered to be one of the most memorable love songs ever, this was sung by Rafi, and filmed on Guru Dutt and Waheeda Rahman. Ravi created a simple, romantic tune in Pahadi, and Shakeel Badayuni wrote, “Chaudhvin ka chand ho, ya aftaab ho, jo bhi ho tum khuda ki kasam, lajawaab ho”. The song described a woman’s beauty marvellously.


4 Husnwale Tera Jawaab – Gharana (1961)

This Rafi masterpiece was filmed on Rajendra Kumar and Asha Parekh. Shakeel wrote the lines, “Husnwale tera jawaab nahin, koi tujhsa nahin hai hazaaron mein”. The film also had the popular grandma song ‘Daadi Amma, Daadi Amma, Maan Jao’ by Asha and Kamal Barot.


5 Baar Baar Dekho – China Town (1962)

An energetic song that went perfectly with Shammi Kapoor, it was shot in a restaurant featuring a band with guitar, accordion and trumpet. Shakila was the co-star. Ravi used a rock n’ roll style, with Majrooh Sultanpuri writing, “Baar baar dekho, hazaar baar dekho, ke dekhne ki cheez hai hamara dilruba, taali ho, taali ho”.


6 Chalo Ek Baar – Gumrah (1963)

Sahir Ludhianvi wrote this unforgettable song about a strained relationship. Mahendra Kapoor sang it perfectly, with the piano-playing Sunil Dutt appearing on screen with Mala Sinha and Ashok Kumar. The main lines were, “Chalo ek baar phir se ajnabee ban jaaye hum dono”.


7 Tum Hi Mere Mandir – Khandan (1965)

Lata Mangeshkar sang this super-hit filmed on Nutan and Sunil Dutt. While Ravi used a simple melody, Rajendra Krishan wrote lines expressing a woman’s feelings for her husband. The words were, “Tum hi mere mandir, tum hi meri pooja, tum hi devta ho; koi mere aankhon se dekhe toh samjhe ke tum mere kya ho”.


8 Aage Bhi Jaane Na Tu – Waqt (1965)

This was a party song sung by Asha, with Erica Lal lip-syncing. The scene also featured an ensemble cast of Raaj Kumar, Sunil Dutt, Shashi Kapoor, Sadhana, Sharmila Tagore and Achala Sachdev. Ravi’s iconic Pahadi tune was written by Sahir, with the lines, “Aage bhi jaane na tu, peeche bhi jaane na tu, jo bhi hai bas yehi ek pal hai”. The film also had the Manna Dey hit ‘Aye Meri Zohra Jabeen’.


9 Tujhe Suraj Kahoon – Ek Phool Do Mali (1969)

Filmed on Balraj Sahni, Sadhana and child star Bobby, this was a popular children’s song. Sung by Manna Dey, it was written by Prem Dhawan. The words were, “Tujhe suraj kahoon ya chanda, tujhe deep kahoon ya taara, mera naam karega roshan, jag mein mera raj dulara”.


10 Dil Ke Armaan – Nikaah (1982)

After a lean phase in the 1970s, Ravi had  a huge hit in 1982 with Nikaah. Besides hits like ‘Dil Ki Yeh Arzoo’, ‘Fazaa Bhi Hai’ and ‘Beete Hue Lamhon’, this song ‘Dil Ke Armaan’ sung by and picturised on Salma Agha became quite a craze. Of course, there were also many who criticised it for being too melancholic. Hasan Kamaal wrote, “Dil ke armaan aansuon mein beh gaye, hum wafaa karke bhi tanha reh gaye”.

Ravi was known for his sense of melody and simplicity. Though he did fewer films than some of his contemporaries, his songs stood out for their brilliance.

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.

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