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Tongue-in-cheek Songs

While writing my post on Songs of ‘Surrender’, which speak of self-deprecation and subjugation, I felt I must also enlist songs which are antithetical to these songs and thus this post on tongue-in-cheek songs. The flavour of these songs is completely different. These are songs which are peppered with back handed compliments; in these melodies, there is an attempt to get even in a subtle way. The lyrics of these songs are thus important as it is in them that all the humour or condescension is hidden. The mood of some songs is sombre as well. As always, my focus is on the songs of the golden era.

1) Maan Mera Ehsaan (Aan,1952) Lyricist Shakeel Badayuni, Music by Naushad, playback singer Md.Rafi. This song is from the the first Hindi film in Technicolor which was also the highest grosser of 1952. The music director Naushad used a 100 piece orchestra for the playback and background music of this film, which was a pioneering effort. The lyrics are replete with a sense of superiority and condescension even as there is an open admission of love.

Maan mera ehasaan are nadaan ke maine
tujhse kiya hain pyaar
maine tujhse kiya hain pyaar

meri nazar ki dhoop na bharti roop to hota
husn tera bekaar
maine tujhse kiya hain pyaar

2) Maana Mere Haseen Sanam (Adventures of Robinhood,1965) Lyricist Anjaan, Music by G.S.Kohli, playback singer Md.Rafi. This song is a masterpiece hidden in a nondescript movie. If one were to make a list of Rafi’s greatest solos, this would surely find a place in it. The ease with which he sings this tough composition speaks volumes of his immense talent. The music director is G. S. Kohli, who was O. P. Nayyar’s assistant since the very beginning. G. S. Kohli independently composed music for a few movies, this being one of them. This song showcases his potential and it is a pity that he did not work a great deal as an independent music director. The icing on the cake of course are the beautiful lyrics penned in chaste Urdu by Anjaan. There is no way one can enjoy this song in its entirety without appreciating the tongue-in-cheek lyrics which, simply put, translate as – you are no doubt awesome but I am wonderful too and you owe your greatness to me.

Mana mere haseen sanam
Tu rashq e maahataab hai
Par tu hain laajawab to
Mera kahaan jawab hain

Hairat se yun na dekhiye
Zarra hua to kya hua

Apni jagah pe jaaneman
Zarra bhi aafatab hain

Tere shabaab ka surur
Chhaya jo do jahaan par

Meri nigaah e shauq se
Aayaa woh inaqalaab hain

3) Tum agar Mujhko Na Chaho to (Dil Hi To Hain, 1963) Lyricist Sahir Ludhianvi, Music by Roshan, playback singer Mukesh. This is a song from a movie which has many other memorable melodies. This one however stands out for its gall and the veiled threat that is beautifully couched in the lyrics which only Sahir could have penned.

Tum agar mujhko na chaaho to koi baat nahin
tum kisi aur ko chaahogi to mushkil hogi

4) Humne Tujhko Pyaar Kiya hain Jitna (Dulha Dulhan, 1964) Lyricist Indeevar, Music by Kalyanji Anandji, playback singer Mukesh. This is another Raj Kapoor-Mukesh song but the tone and tenor is somewhat sombre. The disdain that is being expressed through the lyrics is unmissable.

Humne tujhko pyaar kiya hain jitna
kaun karega itna kaun karega itna

5) Haseen ho Khuda to Nahin ho (Mud Mud Ke Na Dekh, 1962) Lyricist Prem Dhawan, Music by Hansraj Behl, playback singer Mukesh. This is a romantic song that has been sung by Mukesh for Bharat Bhushan (rather difficult to imagine Bharat Bhushan lip syncing this kind of a song!) which has a tune similar to the song ‘mud mud ke na dekh‘ from Shri 420. The movie is called mud mud ke na dekh, which is therefore not coincidental. The song as is evident from its lyrics is one that scoffs at the beauty of the lady even as it obliquely praises the same. The tune of this song also reminds me of another song (which is not from a film), an inspirational one, written, composed and sung by Prem Dhawan. The lyrics are Khud Jiyo Auron ko bhi Jeene do. Prem Dhawan seems to have taken the liberty of using the tune of this song – Haseen ho Khuda to Nahin ho – whose lyrics he penned for his own song.

Hasin ho Khuda to nahin ho
ruko ruko hawa to nahin ho

6) Haseen Ho Tum Khuda Nahin Ho (Budtameez, 1966) Lyricist Shailendra, Music by Shankar Jaikishan, playback singer Md.Rafi. The mood and the lyrics of this song are very similar to the preceding song. It is a typical Shammi Kapoor song which speaks of the heroine Sadhna very contemptuously even as he woos her. Rafi, as usual, is exemplary.

 Hamare jaise agar hain laakho 
tumhare jaise bhi kam nahin hain
 jo khud hi patthar se phod le sar 
woh aur honge woh hum nahin hain 
nahin mohabbat mein mar sake jo
 bhala woh ji kar hi kya karenge
 haseen ho tum Khuda nahin ho 
tumhara sijda nahin karenge

7) Na Na Karte Pyaar Tumhi Se Kar Baithe ( Jab Jab Phool Khile, 1965) Lyricist Anand Bakshi, Music by Kalyanji Anandji, playback singers Md.Rafi and Suman Kalyanpur. This is a song which you will always hear while playing ‘Antakshari’. It is a rather delightful duet, with a lot of banter; it establishes the fact that Suman Kalyanpur could hold her own against any other top female playback singer. Putting down each other, for some amusement is, of course, the flavour of the song.

Koi dil na degaa anadi anjaan ko
humne de diya hain to maano ehsaan ko
hum bhule ik baar ki aankhen chaar tumhin se kar baithe

 aisa kya hain tumme ki hum ho divaane
phir bhi tumne khaabon mein aana nahin chhoda
teer nazron se chalaana nahin chhoda
ye shiqva sarkaar hazaaron baar tumhin se kar baithe

8) Zulf Ki Chhaon Mein Chehre Ka Ujala Lekar (Phir Wohi Dil Laya Hoon,1963) Lyricist Majrooh Sultanpuri, Music by O.P.Nayyar, playback singers Md.Rafi and Asha Bhonsle. An O.P.Nayyar masterpiece, this song has some interesting repartees from both the hero and his lady love, with each indulging in generous self praise and pooh-poohing the other. The lady boasts of bearing the burden of civilizing the man (almost like the white man’s burden!) and the man gloats about his sense of commitment.

Humne har dil ko sikhaya hai dhadakne ka chalan
de ke ulfat ki tadap de ke mohabbat ki jalan
tujh se diwane ko insaan banaya humne
teri veeraan si raaton ko sajaya humne

Seekh le rasm-e-wafa husn bhi diwaano se
daastaan apni bhari hain inhi afsaano se
rakh diya sar ko jahaan phir na uthaya humne
teri raaton ke liye dil ko jalaya humne

9) Isharon Isharon Mein Dil Lene Wale (Kashmir Ki Kali, 1964) Lyricist S.H.Bihari, Music by O.P.Nayyar, playback singers Md.Rafi and Asha Bhonsle. This song is another O.P.Nayyar classic which is like any other romantic duet except for the last stanza where the man takes (due?!) credit for finding the perfect partner, making it a tongue-in-cheek song.

Maana ki jaan-e-jahan lakhon mein tum ek ho
hamaari nigahon ki bhi kuchh to magar daad do
bahaaron ko bhi naaz jis phool par tha
vahin phool humne chuna gulsita se

10) Maana Ho Tum behad Haseen (Toote Khilone,1978) Lyricist Kaifi Azmi, Music by Bappi Lahri, playback singer Yesudas. I end my post with a less heard song penned by Kaifi Azmi whose opening lyrics are in perfect sync with the theme of my post. The back handed compliment is paid quite effortlessly. The song is picturised on Shabana Azmi and Shekar Kapur (who is quite unimpressive!). The film did not do well but this song stands out.

maana ho tum, behad hasin
aise bure, hum bhi nahin

This brings me to the end of my post on ‘tongue-in-cheek’ songs. As I wrote this post, I realized that film songs capture such diverse moods, emotions and feelings. There is almost one for every occasion. So I am rest assured that the playlists will keep coming as there is no dearth of emotions and situations in life. I hope you enjoy this post which is a completely different take on romance, where the person one loves is not God but an ordinary, imperfect human being whose idiosyncrasies can be laughed at.

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