Songs of Betrayal

My last post on golden era film music was dedicated to songs of the unsure/insecure lover. From this sentiment emerges the theme for the present post – the songs of betrayal. In songs, betrayal is usually expressed by the words bewafa (disloyal) and bewafai (disloyalty). There are also songs where no such words are used but the general tone and tenor coupled with subtle lyrics convey resentment. Betrayal gives rise to a multitude of emotions and feelings – feelings tantamount to anger, sadness, surprise, disgust, shame, confusion and insecurity. In some cases, the urge to avenge the wrongdoer is also pretty strong.

There are many shades of disloyalty and the blame can be pinned on many – both animate and inanimate. Apart from the lover (sanam), the culprit could be time (waqt), or your best friend (dost), the world (jahaan/ duniya/ zamaana). In the context of a nation, another country which is a foe in the garb of a friend can also be the betrayer. India in particular has to deal with several such countries in her neighbourhood. It is these different hues that this post will try to highlight. The songs are of the golden era.

1) Mujhpe Ilzaam-e-Bewafaai Hain (Yasmin, 1955) Lyricist: Jan Nisar Akhtar; Music Director: C.Ramchandra ; Playback Singer: Lata Mangeshkar. This is a lovely, melancholic melody sung by Lata. The variations in the pitch through out the song make it special. Lata’s voice suddenly shoots up an octave in the antaras. This song is about how a person who is accused of betrayal feels; Yasmin in this case is innocent and so finds it hard to accept the Ilzaam-e-Bewafaai (charge of betrayal) hurled at her. She is extremely perturbed and the lyrics underline the same emotion.

Hain gawaara tera sitam mujh ko
har jafa hain teri karam mujh ko
jaan jaae, nahin hain gam mujh ko
jab muhabbat pe baat aai hain
ai muhabbat teri duhai hain
mujhpe ilzaam-e-bewafaai hain

The movie features Vayjyantimala (in the title role) and Suresh. Since Yasmin is a dancer, there are a good many songs and dances in the movie. Yasmin has many other memorable songs like Bechain Nazar Betaab Jigar.

2) Is Bewafaa Jahaan Mein (Aasmaan, 1952) Lyricist: Prem Dhawan; Music Director : O.P.Nayyar; Playback Singer: C.H.Atma. This song laments the distrustful character of the world as a whole. Looking for fidelity and trust in this world, would be the height of naïveté, according to the lyricist Prem Dhawan. The song is special for various reasons. It was with this movie that O.P.Nayyar debuted as a full fledged music director. His music in this movie does not bear his hallmark style. That was perhaps waiting in the wings. C.H.Atma the singer was a personal favourite of O.P.Nayyar ; thus, he was chosen to sing this song.

Is bewafaa jahan mein
 wafa dhundhte rahe
nadan the kitne hum bhi 
ye kya dhundhte rahe

In 1945, C.H.Atma had sung a non-film composition Preetam Aan Milo under Nayyar’s music direction, which had become extremely popular. Atma, though a very talented singer, could never break out of the K.L.Saigal mould and thus was not very successful in the later years. Incidentally, the lyricist of the song Preetam Aan Milo was Nayyar’s wife Saroj Mohini Nayyar. The same song was later used by Nayyar in Mr. and Mrs. 55 and this time he used Geeta Dutt’s voice for it.

3) Ye Duniya Badi Bewafa Ho Gayi Hain (Gumashta, 1951) Lyricist: Waheed Qureshi; Music Director: Datta Korgaonkar ; Playback Singer: Lata Mangeshkar. This is another melody – a forgotten melody at that – that exposes the deceitful character of the world. The music director is Datta Korgaonkar. Datta Korgaonkar was completely enthralled by Noorjehan’s voice and style of rendition. It was only after Noorjehan shifted to Pakistan post-partition that he started using other voices for his music. He retired from film music in 1965. Thus, he did not leave too many footprints. This song nonetheless bears testimony to his calibre.

Bhalai ka apni khilafa rahe hain
ke hum gum ke mare mite ja rahe hain
wafaon ki keemat khata ho gayi hain
ye duniya badi bewafaa ho gayi hain
mohabbat dilon se juda ho gayi hain

4) Meri Wafaein Tumaahri Jafaein (Amaanat, 1955) Lyricist: Shailendra; Music Director : Salil Chowdhury ; Playback Singer: Asha Bhosle. This is a rare gem. I fell in love with the rendition of Asha Bhosle. The lilting melody is pure magic. Salil Chowdhury’s music leaves you mesmerized. If you listen to the song without watching it, you are sure to think it is a tear-jerker. The lady accuses her lover of betraying her. But it is only when you watch it that you realize that even though the lyrics are serious, it is a fun song. It is just some leg pulling and friendly banter. It is picturized on Chand Usmani, Asha Mathur and Ashim Kumar(?).

Meri wafaein tumhaari jafaein
aansu likhenge fasana mere pyaar ka

5) Ai Bewafa Yeh to Bata (Captain Kishore, 1957) Lyricist: Tanvir Naqvi; Music Director : Chitragupt; Playback Singer: Geeta Dutt. This is a rare Geeta Dutt song that I chanced upon. The sadness and pain of being betrayed is conveyed with a lot of depth in the song. There are lots of questions to which answers are being sought. Unfortunately, only the audio of the song is available. Chitragupt’s music enthralls.

Nazren milaake ulfat jataake, 
apna banake daga kyun diya
banke paraya mujhko bhulaya, 
dil ko jalaya ye kya hain kiya
kis baat ka badla liya, 
ye to bata kya hain meri khata
aye bewafaa ye to bata
kya hain meri khata, aye bewafaa

6) Waqt Karta Jo Wafa (Dil Ne Pukara, 1967) Lyricist: Indeevar; Music Directors : Kalyanji Anandji; Playback Singer: Mukesh. When the theme is wafa/bewafai, this song surely needs to be included. What’s special about this song is that the betrayer (at least in the mukhda) is not the lady or her lover but time or waqt! This is rated as one of the best songs that Kalyanji Anandji composed with Indeevar as the lyricist and Mukesh as the playback singer. It is a song coming straight from the heart of a lover whose love is unrequited and just when he feels that there is still hope, waqt plays the spoilsport. The movie is a love triangle with the famed amnesia trope thrown in. The lady is however accused of betrayal as the song moves towards the antara.

Waqt kartaa jo wafaa aap hamaare hote
ham bhi auron ki tarah aap ko pyaare hote

apni taqdir mein pehle hi se kuchh to gam hain
aur kuchh aap ki fitrat mein wafaa bhi kam hain
varna jeeti hui
 baazi to na haare hote

7) Wafa Jinse Ki Bewafa Ho Gaye (Pyaar Ka Saagar, 1961) Lyricist: Prem Dhawan; Music Director : Ravi; Playback Singer: Mukesh. This is yet another gem sung by Mukesh. His heart break songs have a lot of pathos and they stir your soul. Picturized on Rajendra Kumar and Meena Kumari, this song has a blind Rajendra Kumar expressing his pent up anguish at being betrayed by his lover. The song has been shot very impressively, with all the lyrics being enacted wonderfully to convey the irony of the situation. The visually impaired Rajendra Kumar cannot see Meena Kumari – his beloved – standing in front of him as he sings mere saamne bhi agar ab wo aaye na dekhengi unko ye bebas nigaahe. Both the lyricist and the director have worked hard on the song. Rajendra Kumar continued to be the unlucky lover as far as Meena Kumari was concerned, for even in Dil Ek Mandir which released in 1963, two years after Pyaar Ka Saagar, he is forced to sacrifice his love.

Wafaa jinse ki bewafaa ho gaye
wo waade mohabbat ke kya ho gaye

8) Na Tum Bewafa Ho Na Hum Bewafa Hain (Ek Kali Muskai, 1968) Lyricist: Rajinder Krishan; Music Director : Madan Mohan; Playback Singer: Lata Mangeshkar. This song presents a different dimension of betrayal where the lady says – both of us are innocent, we have not deceived each other but still there is no way our paths can cross. It appears to be a case of circumstances/zamaana playing the villain. The song features Meera Joglekar, who seems to be a one movie wonder. She also happens to be the daughter of the movie’s director – Vasant Joglekar. The male lead is played by Joy Mukherjee who somewhat salvages the movie. Madan Mohan’s music and Lata’s melancholic rendition have made this song a masterpiece.

Na tum bewafaa ho, na ham bewafaa hain
magar kya kare apni raahen juda hain

Zamaana kahe meri raahon mein aaja
mohabbat kahe meri baahon me aaja
wo samajhe na majburiyan apni kya hain

9) Dost Dost Na Rahaa (Sangam, 1964) Lyricist: Shailendra; Music Directors : Shankar Jaikishan; Playback Singer: Mukesh. This is a song once again sung by Mukesh – the go-to singer for heartbreak melodies. Raj Kapoor – the delirious, obsessive and possessive lover – launches an all out (musical!) attack on his wife and his best friend, strongly believing that they have both broken his trust. He believes that only his heart is committed to love and his dear ones are out to deceive him. A helpless and perplexed Rajendra Kumar yet again bows out!! This stanza below is not available in the video version of the song. The word bewafaa is not used in the whole song and yet it hurts where it matters! Even till today, this song is perhaps the gold standard for all wafaa and bewafaai songs.

Wafaa ka naam leke jo dhadak rahe the har ghadi
woh mere nek nek dil tumhi to ho
jo muskura ke reh gaye, zehar ki jab sui gadi
woh mere nek nek dil tumhi to ho
ab kisika mere dil intezaar na raha
zindagi hume tera aitbaar na raha, aitbaar na raha
dost dost naa raha, pyaar pyaar naa raha

10) Watan Pe Jo Fida Hoga (Phool Baney Angaarey, 1963). Lyricist: Anand Bakshi; Music Directors : Kalyanji Anandji; Playback Singer: Md.Rafi. Like I said, at the beginning of the post, in the context of a nation, another nation, which is a foe in the garb of a friend, can also be the betrayer. India in particular has to deal with several such countries in her neighbourhood. This movie released against the background of the Chinese aggression of 1962; the Hindi Chini Bhai Bhai sentiment had vanished completely. India was betrayed by China. The lyrics of the second antara of the song powerfully echo the sentiment of being led up the garden path. Rafi has sung this song – dripping with patriotism and a feeling of hurt – with a lot of emotion. The song gives you goose bumps.

Humare ek padosi ne humare ghar ko luta hain
bharam ek dost ki bas dosti ka aise tuta hain
ki ab har dost pe duniya ko dushman ka guman hoga

That ends my list of ten songs on betrayal. I know that some iconic and popular songs such as Ja Ja Ja Ja Bewafa (Aar Paar, 1954), Ek Bewafa Se Pyaar Kiya (Aawara, 1951) have been given a skip in this post. The only reason for doing this was to accommodate some lesser heard melodies which are equally good. Further, it was also because I wanted to showcase the various dimensions of betrayal – both from the standpoint of the betrayer and the one who feels betrayed.

Betrayal (or bewafaai) is a very common theme in songs of the golden era. Mistaken identity, amnesia, love triangles, family honour, the male lead going abroad at the critical moment – all these tropes only help to churn songs echoing this feeling, which then could lead to more serious consequences. Since betrayal is a very strong emotion associated with pain and loss, the songs of this post, barring one, are rather serious and lugubrious. That also explains why the songs of Mukesh find a prominent place in this post. There are several other songs which could have been included but were left out in the interest of brevity. If you happen to know any, please do add them.

Disclaimer

anitamultitasker.wordpress.com, claims no credit for any image, screenshots or songs posted on this site. The images and screenshots are the copyright of their original owners. The song links are shared from YouTube/ other platforms only to make the post audiovisual. The copyright of these songs rests with the respective owners, producers and music companies.

11 thoughts on “Songs of Betrayal

  1. I like the way you bring out the different forms of wafa and bewafai – very interesting! And yes, I too had thought about ‘Jaa jaa jaa jaa bewafaa’ so disclaimer noted. 😉

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  2. Definitely a memorable post. Being a lover of Bollywood movies as well as old Hindi movie songs, I should have visited this site much earlier. However, better late than never. I have heard 50% of the songs included in the list. Will listen to the rest soon. Being a diehard fan of Talat Mahmood, I am a bit disappointed not to find a single Talat song in this list. Anyway, I myself must do a little bit of research in this context to find out whether Talat Mahmood have sung any song with the theme of Bewafaai.

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  3. Anita,
    Nice theme and a very good post. Since there had to be a heartbreak in our films, I think most ‘Bollywood’ films would have a ‘bewafa’ song. One qawwali that immediately strikes me is ‘Bewafa ye tera muskurana, bhool jaane ke qabil nahin hai’. I find many non-film links of this qawwali, but hardly any from a film. I clearly remember it figured in some film also, and became quite popular. I believe all ‘Toote Dil’ songs would fit in your category? Then you have ‘Tttote na dil doote na’, ‘Mera dil todnewaale mere dil ki dua lena’, ‘Mere toote huye dil se koi to aaj ye poochhe’ and so on.
    AK

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    1. AKji, thanks for reading! I did look up the Qawwali that you mentioned but like you said all the links are from private albums.
      As regards Toote Dil songs, I believe not all heartbreaks are because of betrayal. There could be other reasons like unrequited love. Thus, it would depend on the lyrics of the song and its context vis-à-vis the movie. Toote Na Dil Toote Na is more the voice of an insecure lover. Mera dil todnewaale mere dil ki dua lena is a very interesting song where the dialogue is between two lovers – one feeling betrayed and the other who sounds pragmatic (agar dil ko na chain aaye to kuch ro-ro ke ga lena!!). Mere toote huye dil se koi to aaj ye poochhe sounds like a song lamenting separation (Judai) and blaming the world for all that has gone wrong.

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    1. Thanks for reading the post, Anupji! I feel the first song is more to do with unrequited love but the other two definitely qualify. The song from Adalat combines two different moods but with the same lyrics so well! Thanks for the addition!

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