Posted On Trivia -The Spice of Life on 07/11/2021
The physical exertion involved in singing – filling of our lungs, the calibrated control of our vocal chords, the movements of our mouth and body – is among the reasons why it can lift our mood. Singing is an aerobic exercise (aerobic means in the presence of, or with, oxygen) which sees the release of endorphins, the brain’s ‘feel-good’ chemicals. It also engages what is potentially the body’s greatest stress-reliever – breathing. In a recent study, researchers found that focusing on controlling your rate of breathing – a key skill in singing – activates parts of the brain that are linked to emotion, attention and body awareness. Couple singing with another aerobic exercise – laughing and what you arrive at is today’s post!!
Have you ever tried to sing and laugh at the same time? It is quite challenging as two aerobic exercises have to be performed at the same time. A person always inhales after laughing, as he had exhaled earlier. The art of breathing while laughing in a song is tough to master. In Hindi film music it was perhaps S.D. Burman who experimented a great deal in laughing while singing.
In this post, I shall list ten songs largely of the golden era, where the playback singer laughs and sings. Thus, the laughter is not in the background. Sometimes the laughter is in the mukhda or antara. In some others, it is in the interlude. In a few songs the there is just a trace of laughter and in others there is whole hearted laughter. The songs are not arranged in any particular order.
1) Accha Ji Main Haari (Kala Pani, 1958) Lyricist : Majrooh Sultanpuri; Music Director: S.D.Burman; Playback Singers: Asha Bhosle & Md. Rafi. Featuring Madhubala and Dev Anand – an adorable on-screen pair – this song has so many voice variations. Rafi and Asha both change their voices according to the mood that the lyrics denote. What also adds to the charm of the song is the gentle laughter in the antara – chhod diyaa to haath maloge samjhe? The laughter is suppressed in the other two antaras. It is only Asha who laughs because the actor is rather angry. The song, of course, as expected ends on a reconciliatory note.
2) Jaanu Jaanu Ri (Insaan Jaag Utha, 1959) Lyricist : Shailendra; Music Director : S.D.Burman; Playback Singers : Asha Bhosle & Geeta Dutt. This fun female duet sung by Asha and Geeta is a lilting melody. The way the the two actresses – Madhubala and Minu Mumtaz – pull each other’s leg is a delight to hear and watch. Towards the end, they both reach an agreement that they will keep each other’s secret (tu naa kah kisi se, main bhi naa kahoongi). The song is special for the laughter that is introduced in the antaras. The laughter is heard as the line – sakhee janu ree, jhume hai kahe tora jhumka is sung by Asha for Madhubala and gori jaanun main, kahaan pe giri hai tori bindiyaa by Geeta for Minu. The way the laughter is woven into the singing is amazing and the genius of S.D.Burman is writ large on this song.
3) Jaane Kaisa Hain Mera Diwana (Ansoo Ban Gaye Phool, 1969) Lyricist : Govind Munees; Music Directors : Laxmikant Pyarelal; Playback Singers : Asha Bhosle & Kishore Kumar. The song features Alka and Deb Mukherjee. Alka is a forgotten actress whose real name was Firdaus. She was discovered by Satyen Bose, who cast her as the female lead in Wapas (1969) and Aansoo Ban Gaye Phool (1969). She however did not shine for long on the silver screen.
This is one of my favoutire Kishore-Asha duets. The song is shot in a garden. In this song, there is laughter that is used in the interlude. It is Asha who laughs away, coinciding with the hero carrying the heroine in his arms and whirling as she laughs. Wonder how our heroes achieved this feat time and again without having to visit the orthopaedist!
4) Tum Jiyo Hazaaron Saal (Sujata, 1959) Lyricist : Majrooh Sultanpuri; Music Director : S.D.Burman; Playback Singer : Asha Bhosle/Geeta Dutt(??) & chorus. This is a birthday song which is full of energy. What is special about this song is that it begins with laughter – aa haa haa haa haa haa. The laughter then continues in the interludes. There is Shashikala on the piano and all her friends crowding around her, having a gala time singing. Nutan, the heroine of the movie, however is seen all alone sitting outside feeling quite dejected. Asha’s voice conveys the exuberant mood of the song very well. While this song is said to have been sung by Asha Bhosle, I somehow feel some parts sound more like Geeta Dutt.
5) Yeh Hain Reshmi Zulfon Ka Andhera (Mere Sanam, 1965) Lyricist : Majrooh Sultanpuri; Music Director : O.P.Nayyar ; Playback Singer : Asha Bhosle. This is perhaps one of the most intoxicating songs that Asha sang for O.P.Nayyar. Featuring a tipsy Mumtaz on screen, Asha’s voice is perfect for this sensuous song. Despite all her efforts to seduce him, Biswajeet is unfazed. There is laughter at the end of both the antaras – jee tabassum to faramaaiye and aramaan ban ke rah jaaiye .
6) Koi Sapnon Mein Aake (Anubhav, 1971) Lyricist : Kapil Kumar; Music Director : Kanu Roy ; Playback Singer : Geeta Dutt. This song is one of my favorites especially because it was perhaps one of the last songs Geeta Dutt sang. The song has so many rhetorical questions. At places it is also conversational. The lyricist Kapil Kumar is an unsung talent. So is the music director Kanu Roy who worked almost exclusively in Basu Bhattacharya’s films, which were made on shoe string budgets. There is Geeta Dutt laughing after a particular line in the second antara – itni raat gaye kaise gaaun?
[The other Geeta Dutt melody of this movie – Mujhe Jaan Na Kaho also has Geeta Dutt laughing in the end.]
7) Ek Baat Kahun Gar Maano Tum (Golmaal, 1979) Lyricist : Gulzar ; Music Director : R.D.Burman ; Playback Singer : Lata Mangeshkar. This is a song from a blockbuster comedy directed by Hrishikesh Mukherjee. This is a song where Lata (and not Asha) is laughing while singing. Asha far surpasses Lata in the act of laughing and singing. This goes to show how difficult it is to do both simultaneously. This song features Bindiya Goswami and Amol Palekar. There is Lata laughing at full throttle in the first two antaras and once in the mukhda–
sofe se gir padi ha ha ha ha.... paayaa palang kaa thaa ha ha ha ha.... ek baat kahoon gar maano tum sapnon mein na aanaa jaano tum...
8) Pal Bhar Ke Liye Koi Hume Pyaar (Johny Mera Naam, 1970) Lyricist : Indeevar ; Music Directors : Kalyanji Anandji ; Playback Singers : Kishore Kumar & Usha Khanna. This adorable song is the perfect example of how powers of persuasion can never fail if the hero is Dev Anand! The song is very innovatively picturised with umpteen windows and doors being shut. As for laughing, at the beginning of the first stanza there is Kishore trying to laugh and then sing – haa haa haa haa hamne bahut tujhko chhup chhup ke dekhaa.
9) Aapki Aankhon Mein Kuch (Ghar, 1978) Lyricist : Gulzar ; Music Director : R.D.Burman ; Playback Singers : Lata Mangeshkar and Kishore Kumar. This song is from a movie which has fabulous music. This is a duet where the first antara is sung by Kishore and the second by Lata. In the midst of the antara sung by her, Lata laughs for a fleeting moment and sings – aap ki badamashiyon ke ye naye andaaz hain, which of course, is in sync with the on screen action.
10) Ek Hi Khaab Kai Baar Dekha Hain Maine (Kinara, 1977) Lyricist : Gulzar ; Music Director : R.D.Burman ; Playback Singer: Bhupinder Singh (& Hema Malini singing for herself). This unique song could have been conceptualised and penned by Gulzar alone. The visual imagery created by the lyrics is so vivid. It is like penning the daily experiences of a couple in love. The slow pace of the song which the lyrics also hint at – kyun? chitthi hain yaa kavita? abhi tak to kavitaa hain make the song very different. As the song ends, Bhupinder hums the mukhda, as he laughs.
With this ends my list of songs where there is a sprinkle of laughter. Since the songs have laughter, they are mostly light hearted. I find Asha Bhosle the best when it comes to laughing and singing. Lata somehow fails to impress in this skill. One song of S.D.Burman – Dekhne Mein Bhola Hain from Bambai Ka Babu (1960) – which Asha sings needs special mention here. It has no laughter but it seems as though the singer would burst out laughing any moment. I tried to find more songs where male playback singers (especially Rafi, Mukesh and Manna Dey ) have laughed while singing. However, I was unable to find any. I am sure there must be songs which I have missed. I would be thrilled if more songs with laughter are added.
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