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Songs of Defiance

Screen Grab Courtesy: YouTube

A few months ago I had written a post on ‘Songs of Another World‘. These songs conveyed myriad emotions – of hope, of playfulness, of escapism, of disenchantment, of inquisitiveness or of a never-ending search for the idyllic world. This post inspired me to write the present one – where the search is not for another world. The songs I list here are those where there is defiance, where there is cocking a snook at the world and not caring about what it feels. These songs are about living in the same world but on one’s own terms. The message is that the world/society should mind its own business and not interfere in others’ personal choices or relationships. I would also want to clarify here that songs where the almighty is being beckoned to help while defying the world such as Bedard Zamaana Tera Dushman (Mehndi, 1958) have been excluded. In the songs listed here there is no attempt to seek divine support or intervention while throwing down the gauntlet.

There are both duets and solos in this list. Some of the duets voice both defiance and diffidence – one voice (in some male and in others female) echoing defiance and the other diffidence. The cut off date of the songs is 1970. So here is the playlist!

1) Dar Laage Duniya Se Balma (Buzdil, 1951) Lyricist Kaifi Azmi, Music Director S.D.Burman, Playback Singers Lata Mangeshkar and Talat Mahmood. This song picturized on Nimmi and Premnath is perhaps the perfect example of the diffidence-defiance combination. The hero is confident but the heroine needs reassurance about what the world will say or do upon learning about their relationship. The entire song is on this theme. The name of the movie too somewhat resonates with my theme – Buzdil meaning chicken-hearted. It is a lovely melody with the lyrics being penned by Kaifi Azmi. This was Kaifi Azmi’s first movie as lyricist.

Dar laage duniya se balma  
ulfat na bane afsaana

Gham kyun ho 
tere saath saath tera deewaana 
tu deepak main hun parwaana

2. Bura Lagta Hain Lage Duniya Ko (Manmauji, 1962) Lyricist Rajinder Krishan, Music Director Madan Mohan, Playback Singer Kishore Kumar. This is an un-picturized song from the movie Man Mauji (meaning temperamental again somewhat resonating with the theme of this post) with all the elements that a Kishore Kumar song would have. Kishore Kumar – the capricious male lead – is waxing eloquent about how he would want to live life on his own terms. He does not care one bit about what the world will say about him or his ways. The song also exposes the hypocrisy that we witness everyday in our lives.

Seedhi chaal chalun ya tedhi 
main manmauji deewaana
bhare hue maykhane chhodu 
le lu khaali paimana
jis haal mein hun achha hun
kya lena mujhe duniya se
bura lagta hain lage duniya ko
apni marzi se jiyunga main to

3. Gori Chalo Na Hans Ki Chaal (Beti Bete, 1964) Lyricist Hasrat Jaipuri, Music Directors Shankar Jaikishan, Playback Singers Md.Rafi and Asha Bhosle. This is a peppy duet picturized on Shubha Khote and Mehmood (they have many to their credit!!). Interestingly, here the lady is defiant and the man diffident. He is her sounding board in this song. He warns her of all the perils and she takes them all in her stride. Shubha Khote has said in one of her interviews on All India Radio that she was going through a rough patch in her own life as her mother disapproved of the man she had chosen as her life partner. This song of Beti Bete, which she was shooting then, gave her solace.

Gori chalo na hans ki chaal Zamaana dushman hain
teri umar hain solah saal Zamaana dushman hain

Kuchh parwah nahin sarkaar Zamaana dushman ho
mujhe tumse hua hain pyaar Zamaana dushman ho

4. Tere Pyaar Ka Aasraa (Dhool Ka Phool, 1959) Lyricist Sahir Ludhianvi, Music Director N.Datta, Playback Singers Mahender Kapoor and Lata Mangeshkar. This is the famous Mushaira song of the movie where the lady and the gentleman vie on stage and finally fall in love. But all the wafaa (fidelity) that the man boasts of is only humbug as he disowns the lady and his child born out of the wedlock. The song is a masterpiece when seen in absolute terms – especially Sahir’s lyrics – but not when seen vis-à-vis the plot of the movie. In this song, it is the man who is defiant and the woman diffident. In the latter half of the movie, the standpoints are completely reversed. An interesting bit of trivia is that this movie marked the directorial debut of Yash Chopra – the master of portraying romance on screen.

Galat saare daave galat saari kasmein
nibhegi yahaan kaise ulfat ki rasme
yahaa zindagi hain rivaazo ke bas mein
rivaazo ko tum todnaa chaahte ho, 
bade nasamajh ho yeh kya chaahte ho 

 Rivaazo ki parvaa naa rasmo kaa dar hain
teri aankh ke faisle pe nazar hain
balaa se agar raastaa purkhatar hain
main is haath ko thaamnaa chaahta hoon 
wafaa kar raha hoon, wafaa chaahta hoon

5. Apne Saiyyan Se Naina Ladaibe (Ardhangini, 1959) Lyricist Majrooh Sultanpuri, Music Director Vasant Desai, Playback Singer Lata Mangeshkar. This song really makes me smile. The confidence coupled with defiance (Hamaar Koi Ka Kari hain !!) is what makes the song special. The lyrics, music, rendition and portrayal on screen – all of these – make it a delight to both watch and hear. The smattering of Bhojpuri in the lyrics adds a rustic touch to the song – with all the credit going to Majrooh Sultanpuri. Vasant Desai’s music is refreshingly different. All in all a pleasure to watch. The song has an ebullient Meena Kumari singing about how the world has no business telling her about how to behave with her beloved. Meena Kumari looks ravishing and lights up the screen with her cheerfulness. This song of Meena Kumari’s is so different from Piya Aiso Jiya Mein Samaay gayo re of Saheb Biwi aur Ghulaam, 1962 where the mood is the same, but she is so subdued.

Nahin rukne ki main duniya ke dar se
koi bole bole na talungi dar se
sajna ke angana mein khadi muskai be
hamaar koi ka kari hain
apne saiyya se naina ladai be 
hamaar koi ka kari hain

6. Todke Duniya Ki Deewar (Ladki, 1953) Lyricist Rajinder Krishan, Music Director C.Ramchandra (or R.Sudarshanam and Dhaniram??), Playback Singer Lata Mangeshkar. This song from the movie Ladki is unique because it has Vyjayantimala in a double role on stage – one dressed as a man and the other a woman, with Lata singing for both. Both the man and the woman echo the sentiment of defiance in this song. This song has to be watched in order to appreciate it better. The movie is an entertaining musical comedy with a satirical take on caste discrimination. Vyjayantimala, as always, dazzles on screen with her graceful dancing.

Tod ke duniya ki deewar 
balamwa karle mujhse pyaar
 jo hoga dekha jaayega

Sajaniya naina karle chaar 
mohabbat ho jaye ek baar 
jo hoga dekha jaayega

7. Sochoji Sochoji Zamaana Kya Kehta Hain (Zamaana Badal Gaya, 1961) Lyricist Aziz Kaisi, Music Director Iqbal Qureshi, Playback Singers Asha Bhosle and Md.Rafi. There is hardly any information available about this song or the movie. The movie appears quite nondescript. However, this song is a rare gem which I chanced upon while looking for songs for this post. It is not clear who the actors are. Rafi and Asha do a fabulous job. It is interesting how the man is diffident and the woman defiant to begin with and then towards the end sochoji sochoji... becomes chhodoji chhodoji…for both!! There is a meeting of minds and confidence of taking on the world is exuded towards the end.

Socho ji socho ji 
zamaana kya kehta hain
Kehne do ji kehne do ji 
kehne se kya hota hai
Chhodo jo chhodo ji 
zamaana kya kehta hain

8. Chhod Do Aanchal (Paying Guest, 1957) Lyricist Majrooh Sultanpuri, Music Director S.D.Burman, Playback Singers Asha Bhosle and Kishore Kumar. This is a very chirpy romantic duet from Paying Guest that makes you sing along. The lady is diffident to begin with and the man defiant. There is the ‘zamaana Kya Kahega’ refrain from Nutan – which is also the refrain of many other songs in this post. There is Dev Anand responding by saying ‘Deewana Kya Kahega‘. Though Nutan continues with the Zamaana Kya Kahega rant, towards the end of the song, she actually doesn’t attach importance to it and seems to in fact have sympathy for the deewana! The tone and tenor of Zamaana Kya Kahega changes to – So what, if the world has an objection? This duet is perhaps one of the best of the Nutan – Dev duo.

Chhod do aanchal 
Zamaana kya kahega
In adaao ka 
zamaana bhee hain divaana
divaana kya kahega....

Itna to sochiye 
mausam suhaana kya kahega...

Kisko yeh hosh hain apna 
begaana kya kahega...

Ek dil ek jaan hain ham tum
 zamaana kya kahega...

9. Chhedo Na Meri Zulfen (Ganga Ki Leheren, 1964) Lyricist Majrooh Sultanpuri, Music Director Chitragupt, Playback Singers Asha Bhosle and Kishore Kumar. Kishore Kumar is the hero and Kumkum the heroine. This is a joyous duet. It is however shot in an indoor location with no one around except the two of them. Thus, the sab log are actually missing. The song could have been picturized better so that the lyrics would have been in sync with the onscreen depiction. It is a lovely duet nevertheless, composed by one of the unsung music directors – Chitragupt.

Chhedo na meri zulfen 
sab log kya kahenge


Humko diwaana tumko 
kaali ghata kahenge...

Main pyaar hun tumhaaraa 
mera salaam le lo

Tum isko pyaar samjho 
tum isko chaahat ka naam de do
lekin zamaane waale
 isko khataa kahenge

10. Jab Pyaar Kiya To Darna Kya (Mughal-e-Aazam, 1960) Lyricist Shakeel Badayuni, Music Director Naushad, Playback Singer Lata Mangeshkar. I have saved the best for the last. If there is one song that epitomizes defiance, it is this. There is just no room for diffidence in this song. The manner in which open defiance is portrayed is commendable; each word of the song is perfectly enacted with an apt dance step /expression/gesture. This is a song where there is both, verbal and non-verbal communication, at work. The discomfiture of the royalty is almost palpable. The opulence of the set is evident in each detail. The manner in which Anarkali (Madhubala) takes Salim’s dagger and places it at the feet of Akbar in the song is a sight to watch. The gentleman is silent in this song but there’s no stopping the lady. Just before this song, Anarkali has been insulted by Salim who calls her a buzdil laundia (a diffident lowly girl). Anarkali through this performance before the royalty very eloquently establishes who the coward, is of the two.

The song begins with a vocal rendition by the noted classical singer of the time, Bade Ghulam Ali, representing the voice of Tansen. This rendition is followed by a solo by Lata. There is a long vocal prelude by Lata before the mukhda begins, setting the stage for the song. This song is a masterpiece in every sense – the on screen performance of the actors, cinematography, direction, lyrics, music and rendition. This was considered to be the costliest song to be filmed for a long time as ₹10 lakh were spent on it – in the year 1960. The song was filmed in a set inspired by the Sheesh Mahal, of the Amber Fort of Jaipur, in the Mohan Studios. This particular set was noted for its magnitude; it measured 150 feet in length, 80 feet in breadth and 35 feet in height. The reverberation effect was created by Lata recording from a distance, from a different room and slowly moving closer to the recording device, something similar to what was done to record Aayega Aanewala (Mahal,1949) to create the haunting effect.

Aaj kahenge dil ka fasaana 
jaan bhi lele chahe zamaana
maut wohi jo duniya dekhe
 ghut ghut kar yun marna kya..

chhup na sakega ishq hamaara 
chaaron taraf hain unka nazaara
parda nahin jab koi khuda se
bando se parda karna kya
jab pyaar kiya to darna kya..

Here ends my list of ten. There were many other songs but I did not include them as the lyrics were pretty much the same as those already listed. These songs listed above help us arrive at interesting inferences. There are several songs where contrary to the stereotype that women are meek and submissive, it is the man who is diffident. The woman displays more spunk. Another interesting observation is that in some songs while one is chicken hearted and the other outspoken to begin with, the song finally ends on a note of defiance, either overt or covert. Last, but not the least, some of the songs need to be taken (heard!!) with a pinch of salt, as all the spunk vanishes when the time to show character actually comes.

6 thoughts on “Songs of Defiance

  1. What an interesting theme, and some songs there that I’d never heard before! Thank you.

    Pyaar kiya toh darna kya was one of the two songs that first came to my mind when I saw your post. The other was this one, also from a Mughal historical (or quasi-historical!): Jurm-e-ulfat pe> I love the quiet defiance of this one, it’s really effective.


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