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Canorous Eyesores

Posted on Trivia – The Spice of Life on 21/08/2022

Biswajeet in a song from Kismat
Image Courtesy : YouTube

There are many songs which are a pleasure to not just hear but also see because they are delightfully picturized. So much so that the video plays in your mind when you hear some songs. There were some specialist directors who could work magic with their song picturization, by almost integrating the song with the plot. The song thus was not an intrusion but an inseparable part of the movie. The location, casting, costumes, choreography and the camera work – all of them would be perfect. Elaborate sets were not used but the song still made a lasting impact on the viewer. The names that I have in mind are Guru Dutt, Raj Khosla and Vijay Anand. They invested a lot of time and effort in the song picturization. No wonder songs of Pyaasa, Tere Ghar Ke Saamne or Woh Kaun Thi are so beautifully filmed. Though some feel that Raj Kapoor also had a knack of directing song sequences tastefully, I somehow do not agree with that. Watch Satyam Shivam Sundaram and you will cringe. Unlike his brother Vijay Anand, Dev Anand who tried his hand at song direction did not do a great job.

Sasadhar Mukherjee, a distinguished filmmaker from 1940s and 1950s, used to have an unusual demand from his screenplay writers. As per film historians, he would instruct screenwriters to make the scenes unnatural so that the viewers would grow impatient for a song sequence. Mukherjee thought that if audiences were too engrossed in the story they would regard the song and dance as an intrusion which, in his opinion, was the most important element in a film. That was the importance attached to songs in the larger scheme of things.

As you would have guessed by now, this is a post about songs which are easy on the ears but by no means on the eyes; and mind you, these are all fairly popular songs. There are some actors who are difficult to tolerate no matter which song or movie it is. They are the object of universal criticism. But even the more affable and accomplished ones can falter at times. I actually came across an interesting google groups discussion on bad song picturization.

I must also say that this post may be quite subjective for what appeals to one may not to another. I shall mention the reason for loathing the video of each song. These songs according to me lack something in them that make them canorous eyesores. The songs of my playlist are of the golden era. I do not listen to the more recent songs; seeing them is out of question. And most of them are hard on the ears and the eyes.

1) Mood-Acting MismatchTera kaam hain jalna parwaane (Paapi, 1953) Lyricist Rajinder Krishan; Music Director : S.Mohinder; Playback Singer : Md.Rafi. This beautiful and rather profound song is sung on screen by Raj Kapoor – one of those few songs which Rafi has sung for Raj Kapoor. However, Raj Kapoor’s acting is somehow not in sync with the lyrics and mood of the song; in fact, he comes across as churlish, at some level. The song is not a comic one but Raj Kapoor makes it look like one. While Rafi, Rajinder Krishan and S.Mohinder have done a great job, Raj Kapoor is a big let down.

2) Jaded actors with terrible make upAi Ri Jaane Na Dungi (Chitalekha, 1964) Lyricist Sahir Ludhianvi; Music Director Roshan ; Playback Singer : Lata Mangeshkar. This is a song that is so melodiously sung by Lata Mangeshkar. It has a long drawn, slow, vocal prelude which is followed by a more fast paced mukhda and antaras as the royal dancers take over. Set to raag Kamod, the song is in chaste Sanskritized Hindi. The actors of Chitralekha look weary and are too old for their roles. They are avuncular and auntly. The jaded actors – Pradeep Kumar and Meena Kumari – with their horrendous makeup and wigs compound the viewer’s misery. The fact that the song is in colour perhaps makes it more difficult to tolerate.

One cannot help remembering the movie Aarti (1962) which was a black and white movie that was released just two years before Chitralekha, where the same actors – Ashok Kumar, Pradeep Kumar and Meena Kumari – had given such powerful performances. Incidentally, the music director of Aarti was Roshan! Even though Chitralekha flopped, Roshan’s music in the movie was par excellence. Based on classical raagas, each song is exquisite.

3) Terrible costumes and actingMaana Mere Haseen Sanam (Adventures of Robinhood and Bandits ,1965) Lyricist Anjaan/Yogesh(?), Music Director : G.S.Kohli; Playback Singer Md.Rafi. This song is a masterpiece hidden in a nondescript movie. The actors – Prashant and Parveen Choudhary – are not very well known. Their acting skills too are not very exemplary. Added to that are the outlandish costumes that they wear. The hero almost looks like an elf. All these factors combined make it an awful song to watch. However, it is one of the songs I love to hear. 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/Yogesh (?).

4) Butchers of badminton and danceDhal Gaya Din (Humjoli, 1970) Lyricist : Anand Bakshi; Music Directors : Laxmikant Pyarelal ; Playback Singers : Md.Rafi and Asha Bhosle. This song from the movie Humjoli is a perfect example of how not to play badminton(sigh!!). Both Jeetendra and Leena Chandawarkar are rather pathetic. There is no finesse and the focus is on romancing. They are not appropriately dressed to play either. Some of the dance steps are pretty raunchy. Yet, there is a fun element in this song, especially because the sound of the shuttlecock hitting the racquet is made an integral part of the song’s rhythm, very innovatively, by the music directors. That is perhaps the only role badminton has to play in the song. It is a typical Laxmikant Pyarelal song which can be heard but whose video is difficult to tolerate. Interestingly, Rafi who was the male playback singer of this song was himself an avid badminton player. I am sure he must have winced at the manner in which the on-screen pair butchered the game.

5) A deadpan face singing a romantic songZindagi Bhar Nahin Bhulegi  (Barsaat Ki Raat1960) Lyricist: Sahir Ludhianvi; Music Director: Roshan; Playback Singer : Md. Rafi.  This is such a beautifully penned romantic song composed by Roshan and sung delightfully by Rafi but the moment you watch the song, you feel like shaking up Bharat Bhushan. He sings it with such a deadpan face. This hits you all the more because Madhubala who is hearing the song on radio is so bubbly and expressive. The contrast is really telling. If only Bharat Bhushan could have smiled and emoted more!!

6) Mood-lyrics-picturization disconnectPhoolon Ke Rang Se (Prem Pujari, 1970) Lyricist: Neeraj Music Director: S.D.Burman; Playback Singer : Kishore Kumar. This wonderful romantic song sung with such ease by Kishore Kumar is a lasting melody. The lyrics of Neeraj only raise the level of the song. However, the picturization lets you down. This movie marked the directorial debut of Dev Anand. While his brother Vijay Anand was an expert at filming song sequences, the same cannot be said of Dev Anand. Somehow, the mood and lyrics of the song are completely out of sync with the locales chosen for its filming. Dev Anand chose Switzerland instead of India for this song and shot it in the most unappealing manner. It is said that S.D.Burman who took a lot of interest in the way his songs were filmed was rather sad and angry with Dev Anand after seeing this song.

7) Substandard aping Laakhon Hain Yahaan Dilwale (Kismat, 1968) Lyricist: S.H.Bihari; Music Director: O.P.Nayyar; Playback Singer : Mahendra Kapoor. This is such a soulful romantic melody marred completely by the ineptitude of Biswajeet. He is so ungainly; he can be seen monkeying all over the place with his guitar without any grace or poise. He aims the guitar in the air as though it were an AK-47! It seems to be a pretty bad attempt at emulating Shammi Kapoor. This song is thus best heard and not seen.

8) Not a jear jerkerAaj Socha To Ansoo Bhar Aaye (Hanste Zakhm, 1973) Lyricist: Kaifi Azmi; Music Director: O.P.Nayyar; Playback Singer : Lata Mangeshkar. This song brings tears to your eyes when you see it because of the way it has been shot. Madan Mohan’s ghazal is so much out of place in a club set up. Add to that the fact that Priya Rajvansh is so inelegant. All in all it is a melody that goes down the abyss because of the way it is filmed. If you want tears in your eyes for the right reasons, it is best to only hear and not see the song.

9) Spiritual-Physical dichotomy Satyam Shivam Sundaram (Satyam Shivam Sundaram, 1978) Lyricist: Pt. Narendra Sharma; Music Directors: Laxmikant Pyarelal; Playback Singer : Lata Mangeshkar. This is a bhajan which has been picturized in the most carnal and insensitive manner. The picturization of the song compels the viewer to focus on Zeenat Aman rather than the essence of the song. Raj Kapoor under whose banner this movie was made could have done much better than this. After seeing the song, one does not feel like even listening to song.

10) Glorifying Tobacco AddictionAapki Aankhon Mein Kuchh (Ghar, 1978) Lyricist: Gulzar; Music Director: R.D.Burman; Playback Singers : Lata Mangeshkar & Kishore Kumar. This is one song that epitomizes the magic that the R.D.Burman and Gulzar spun when they collaborated. Lata and Kishore have sung it very soulfully. Rekha and Vinod Mehra make a good couple. Then where lies the problem? There is one scene in the song that puts me off each time I watch it. Vinod Mehra blows cigarette smoke on Rekha’s face and she actually enjoys it. I somehow find this repulsive. I therefore prefer to hear the song than watch it.

Screen Grab : Courtesy YouTube

This ends my list of canorous eyesores. As you can see there can be umpteen reasons why you would only want to hear and not see a song. Thankfully, a majority of film songs can be seen and heard. The canorous eyesores are in minority. I am sure based on one’s own personal likes and dislikes, each reader could add to this playlist. So, as you stop by to read, please feel free to add more songs accompanied with the reason for including them here.

Disclaimer 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, daily motion and other platforms only to make the post audio visual. The copyright of these songs rests with the respective owners, producers and music companies

9 thoughts on “Canorous Eyesores

  1. Good list and good title.
    There would be many songs I guess that would fit in here. But as you say, it’s quite subjective.

    I would add,

    Yeh Raat Yeh Fizayen – Batwara

    bad sets, actors with blank faces, but a melodious romantic song.

    I don’t know if you would agree, but I don’t at all like, Rimjhim ke tarane leke aayi barsaat. Very bad picturisation.

    Let me think for adding more songs.

    Congratulations for taking up this topic.




    1. Thanks for the appreciation, Anupji! I agree with you on the song from Batwara. A beautiful song is massacred with unappetizing picturization. However, the Kala Bazaar song I feel is more a song of reminiscence and so is shot almost like a background song with flashback sequences.


  2. Laakhon hain yahaan dilwaale is one that’s always been on my list (a mental list so far, I’ve never got around to actually compiling it). Biswajeet is so irritating here – my sister always says he struts around like a rooster!

    Thank you for this list; there are several songs here that I completely agree are awful to look at, but lovely to hear.


    1. Thanks a lot liking this list! I am glad you agree with my opinion about many a song featuring in the list!
      my sister always says he struts around like a rooster That’s such a rib tickling comparison! The poor guitar’s soul is tortured. He has no idea about how to appear to be playing it on screen.


  3. The beautiful Waheeda looks horrible in Khuda bhi asman se.. from DHARTI, 1971.

    2 other songs.. Shoo Shoo and Ishq ki main beemaar.. ditto. But, the CHAUDHAVIN KA CHAND is a far cry from the wordings of Khuda bhi!


  4. Anita,
    ‘Canorous Eyesores’ is an excellent expression. Your song selections are on the spot. Many songs of Biswajeet, Joy Mukherjee and Jeetendra trying to imitate may figure in this category. My very special favourite of a Canorous Eyesore is ‘Pankh hoi to ud aati re, rasiya O saajna’ from the film ‘Sehra’, music Ramlal.


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