I have often wanted to do a post on some of my favorite Hindi film songs. But somehow, I have never got down to it- the sheer numbers of lovely songs that I would have to choose from was rather daunting- in fact I have often felt that this subject would require a dedicated blog in itself! But the thought keeps coming every now and then. (Today especially - as I spent the morning at a beautiful presentation on the 1970s Hindi film melodies)
Let me begin by telling you what attracts me to a song. It is first the tune of course – which needs to be catchy enough to get my attention. After that it is the words. No matter how catchy a tune is unless I like the words it does not get into my list of favorites. The words of a Hindi film song are very interesting. The love songs have the hero praising the heroine- usually her looks- her eyes , her hair and comparing them to a lot of beautiful things. The heroine is often referred to as “gori” or the fair one! Certainly a fixation in our society (surprising how uptight we get when some American diplomat calls us dark while we aspire so much for fair skins) which has probably led to the huge sales of “ Fair and lovely”.
Therefore this song which I am present below is very unique because here the man describes his beloved as “ a very beautiful but dark girl” – Bahut Khoobsoorat magar sanwali si . He talks about her dreaming of him and tossing in her sleep pushing the pillow off her head!
I love the rest of the words too as it describes very small things that girls/ women in love often do – write the names of their beloved in their books and look at it nervously biting their nails, want to write a letter but don’t know how to begin ( chalo khat likhen jee mein aata to hoga magar ungliyan kap kaptien to hongi). In a way the words describe the man’s own dreams about someone being in love with him.
And of course I love the way Rafi sings it….. with all those sighs. A song from a film in 1977- a film that probably bombed at the box office . The song is not that popular either..! There are many who have not heard it ever!
Why is it that love songs are about lovely women? And what has beauty got to do with being fair? Some of the most beautiful women in the Indian film industry – Smita Patil and Nandita Das were/ are not “ fair” . Indian mythology abounds with stories with women who were not fair. Sita was not exactly fair( she was after all the daughter of mother earth) and Draupadi was “ Krishnaa” or the dark one!
So where did we get this obsession about a fair skin? Racially few Indians are fair as in fair. We discriminate those among us who are not and when we go to the western world we are discriminated against… CRAZY! Let us enjoy the beauty that people of our race have instead of hankering for what we cannot have and idolizing it through song and poetry!