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!


  1. Yes you are right! after all in real life inner beauty is all that matters.. and thanks for the song.. it was very soothing to hear at night!

  2. Yes, the song is soft and melodious to the ears! Rafi is always good at love songs!

    Even here, Savithri, Banupriya and many other heroines are dark but act well and became famous!

    Thanks for the song, Meera! I am familiar with the song. Kanwaljeet looks very young and funny!

  3. Meera, I agree. Hindi films with almost all actors fair-skinned, including some European or Brazilian who play the role of Indian Gaon ki Gori, are dominated by this thought. Only a few exceptions like Meena Kumari in "Main bhi ladki hun" and Jaya Bhaduri in "Doosri Sita".

  4. Thanks everyone for your com ments. @ Sunil Deepak I had seen Doosri Seeta ages ago. Must see it again to apprciate it more. Yes Sandhya south Indian heroines are dark but even that is being replaced by north Indian girls playing roles in the south. KP glad that you liked the song.

  5. Even a song like Raat kali ek khwab mein aaye praises saanwali surat. It is perhaps because of colonization that we look up to all things fair. There is a very deep bias towards fair skin in our country. Grandmothers, mothers, even neighbors are quick to point out "saanwali" or "kali." It is so deeply ingrained that there are actually very few Indians I've come across who are color neutral.

  6. beautiful song that one ..
    I have heard a lot on this kali , saanwali back when we use to live in our vilalge ..

    Smita patil was beautiful ...


  7. Thanks Rachna and Bikram. Yeah I forgot Raat Kali ek Khwab mein ayee. This Kali- Gori business really needs to go! I am fed up!

  8. I remember a song "kale hai to kya hua dilwale hai." We listen such songs and forgot.

    These days so many companies are banking upon this Kali-Gori think to sell their products. Matrimonial sites have the option like color of the skin. Everywhere we go , we faces this discrimination. This issue is very common during marriages.

    Good to increase the awareness.

  9. Nice blog. reading your blog makes me understand the Indian culture and i love learning about different cultures.
    I am your newest follower. Please stop by my blog too.

  10. Rachit, Tamunoibifiri welcome to my blog. Rachit, yes I remember that song. Had Mehmood in it..!

  11. I never heard this song but it was a nice one! Hmm I never had a problem with being a little tanned tho :-) hey what can I saw we aim to get fair skin, and they meaning the Americans and other people with fair skin spend a day at the beach in nthg but under wear trying to get as tanned as we are loool.

  12. Exactly right! Smitha is one such lovely epitome of beauty and she was dusky:) I do wish people come out of their FAIR AND LOVELY mania soon!

  13. People are obsessed about being 'fair', but then they get their fair share slightly afterwards. Ignorance is bliss, but not knowledge!

  14. Along with fairness, I feel women being expected to be fragile/delicate/'nazuk' is also unhealthy.

  15. Very Apt - This obsession for Fairness is also largely contributed by the media hype (sadly)

    Not so well written but here's my opinion:


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