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Melodies with partly sung mukhda

Posted on 05/02/2023 on Trivia- The Spice of Life

Do you remember the adorable nursery rhyme BINGO? In an attempt to teach the kindergarteners the English alphabet, each time B-I-N-G-O is sung, clapping/music replaces the alphabets one by one till only O is sung. I am not sure whether there is technical term for this. Here is the nursery rhyme.

In Hindi film songs too, I feel the BINGO style of songs exists. To elucidate, these are not songs where humming precedes the mukhda. There are songs where, when the song begins, a part of the mukhda is not sung. The part is either hummed or instrumental music is used for it. The BINGO effect (as I call it) adds a new dimension to the song. When you watch some of the BINGO style songs, they appear a little more realistic, as though the singer on screen is still searching for words to sing and is making up the song on the fly.

The same technique has been used in some songs where in the antaras or towards the end, a part is not sung but is covered by instrumental music or humming. An example of this kind of song is Khilona Jaankar Tum To (2:50 to 3:00 in the link below) where the sarod (played by Zarine Daruwala Sharma) is used for a part of the mukhda after the second antara. It produces a completely different effect and a certain pathos is created which would not have been achieved by the usual singing. The hero is so overwhelmed by grief that he cannot sing and so the sarod takes over.

So here is my list of ten songs where I noticed the BINGO style in the mukhdas. I have not included songs where the style is used in between the song. I would be happy though if the readers can suggest examples of this.

1) Thandi Hawaein (Naujawan, 1951) Lyricist: Sahir Ludhianvi; Music Director : S.D.Burman; Playback Singer : Lata Mangeshkar. This is a lilting melody which has inspired many others in the latter years. Have you noticed how the song begins? Of the mukhda only the words kaise bulaayen are sung with the preceding lyrics being hummed. The same trend continues in the rest of the song between the antaras. This humming also takes care of some flashback sequences where Nalini Jaiwant is lost in pleasant memories. This is a rather unique experiment that S.D.Burman tried and the effect is magical.

aaa haa haa haa
aa haa haa haa aaa
hmm hmm hmm
kaise bulaaein

2) Na Tum Hume Jaano (Male Version) (Baat Ek Raat Ki, 1962) Lyricist: Majrooh Sultanpuri; Music Director : Hemant Kumar; Playback Singer : Hemant Kumar. Here again the mukhda is partly hummed; the reason perhaps is that Dev Anand is trying to wake Waheeda Rehmaan up and is humming in her ears. Humming would thus be more apt than full throated singing to gently wake up someone who is asleep.

magar lagataa hai kuchh aisaa, hmm mil gayaa

3) Hum Bekhudi Mein Tumko Pukaare (Kala Pani, 1958) Lyricist: Majrooh Sultanpuri; Music Director : S.D.Burman; Playback Singer : Md. Rafi. Set to Raag Chayanat, this beautiful song, sung on screen by Dev Anand in an inebriated condition explains the humming and the unfinished line hum….. which continues throughout the song. The hum.. is followed by instrumental music which takes care of the rest of the line. Interestingly, there is a Bengali song of S.D.Burman – Ghum Bhulecchi Nijhum – set to the same tune. There, the song is sung in a somewhat different fashion. The line is completed with humming and not instrumental music.

Ham hmmm aaaa
chale gaye
ham bekhudi me tumko pukaare chale gaye
ham (instrumental music to complete the line)

ham bekhudi me tumko pukaare chale gaye
saagar me zindagi ko utaare chale gaye
ham(instrumental music to complete the line)

4) Hain Apna Dil To Aawaara ( Happy Version) (Solvaan Saal, 1958) Lyricist: Majrooh Sultanpuri; Music Director : S.D.Burman; Playback Singer : Hemant Kumar. In this quintessential Dev Anand song, in the happy version, Dev Anand begins to sing the song and after the first line hums the second as though he is looking for something topical and cheeky to sing and complete the metre, even as an uncomfortable Waheeda looks on.

Hai apnaa dil to aawaaraa
hmm hmm hmm hmm

5) Zulfon Ko Hatale Chehre Se (Sawan Ki Ghata, 1966) Lyricist : S.H.Bihari; Music Director : O.P.Nayyar ; Playback Singer : Md.Rafi. This song which is perhaps the best that could be dedicated to the zulf of the leading lady has the hero searching for words initially, as he hums a part of the mukhda. And once he begins, there is no stopping him. Manoj Kumar is not the hero that one would generally associate with this genre of songs. S.H.Bihari’s lyrics describe the lady’s zulf and appearance rather beautifully.

Zulfon ko hataa le chehre se
ho ho ho
aa ha ha
 hone de

6) Deewaana Hua Badal (Kashmir Ki Kali, 1964) Lyricist : S.H.Bihari; Music Director : O.P.Nayyar ; Playback Singers : Md.Rafi & Asha Bhosle. S.H.Bihari perhaps reserved his best love lyrics for O.P.Nayyar. Who would not fall in love with such lyrics and ethereal music? The wonderful instrumental music which plays the entire tune of the mukhda is followed by some humming of the first two lines before Rafi sings yeh dekh ke dil jhooma. This partial masking of the lyrics with humming also creates some suspense. The song is shot in idyllic surroundings amidst the shikaras of the Dal Lake and the lovely gardens.

o ho ho , o ho ho o, aa haa haa
hmm hmm aa haa haa
ye dekhke dil jhoomaa, li pyaar ne angdaayi
deewaana huaa baadal
saawan ki ghataa chhaayi
ye dekh ke dil jhoomaa, li pyaar ne angdaayi
deewaana huaa baadal

7) Rajnigandha Phool Tumhaare ( Rajnigandha, 1974) Lyricist : Yogesh ; Music Director : Salil Chowdhury ; Playback Singer: Lata Mangeshkar. With a few fragrant Rajnigandha (tuberose) flowers tucked in her hair, Vidya Sinha cannot stop adoring the Rajnigandha flowers that Amol Palekar has just given her as a token of love. As she remembers him right after he has left, begins the humming of the first two lines before the rest of the mukhda is heard. Interestingly, this is a background song and to have someone humming in a background song which expresses the feelings of the lady is so innovative. There is a certain relatable simplicity of the seventies in this song.

haa yoon hee mehke preet piya ki 
mere anuraagee man mein
rajnigandha phool tumhaare, 
mehke yoon hee jeevan mein

8) Jeevan Ke Din Chhote Sahi (Version 2) (Bade Dilwaale, 1983) Lyricist : Majrooh Sultanpuri ; Music Director : R.D.Burman; Playback Singers: Udit Narayan and Lata Mangeshkar. This song has multiple versions; but the version I have chosen for this post is where Udit Narayan sings for Pran and Lata for Sarika and Tina Munim. The humming of the latter part of the mukhda is by Sarika, who it appears has suddenly regained her memory. That the voice of Udit Narayan was used for an elderly Pran was quite a revelation. Also there is voice cascading as Lata sings for both Sarika and Tina Munim, almost simultaneously in some parts, towards the end of the song.

Jeevan ke din chhote sahi
ham bhi bade dilwaale
la la la la la
la la la la la
jeevan ke din chhote sahi
ham bhi bade dilwaale
kal ki humein fursat kahaan
sochen jo hum matwaale

9) Neela Aasmaan So Gaya (Male) (Silsila, 1981) Lyricist : Javed Akhtar; Music Directors : Shiv Hari ; Singer : Amitabh Bachchan. In the male version of this song, which is also the happier version sung by Amitabh himself, the mukhda is sung and hummed and sung again. Though Amitabh has not sung too many songs, this by far is one of his popular and well written songs, which he does justice to. The female version sung by Lata does not have any humming. The flute and the santoor have been used very beautifully by the music directors Shiv-Hari.

Neela aasmaan so gaya
Neela aasmaan so gaya
La ra la ra la la la la la
La ra la ra la la la ra la ho
Neela aasmaan so gaya

10) Main Zindagi Ka Saath Nibhaata Chala Gaya (Hum Dono, 1961) Lyricist : Sahir Ludhianvi ; Music Director : Jaidev ; Playback Singer: Md.Rafi. This is a song I love to hate and yet it was apt for this post. While some believe it is philosophical, I would reserve my judgement.

I am sure there would have been quite a few problems synchronizing the playback singing with the on screen action. Especially because the lighter music keeps appearing in the song right from the beginning. Thus, smoking would have to be shown at least intermittently. But then, how would one sing and smoke? The song seems to suggest that one can perfect anything with practise. The line of the mukhdahar fikr ko dhuyen me udaata chala gaya is never sung completely the second time. It always stops at udaa… and the instrumental music is used to complete the rest of the line. The first time this happens is when the cigarette goes into his mouth. Since he is still a novice, Dev Anand obviously cannot sing with it in his mouth. By the end of the first antara, we see that he has mastered the art of singing with the cigarette in his mouth. Then, he disdainfully junks the butt only to light up another one before the final antara. Thus, the hero has perfected the art of singing with the cigarette in his mouth by the end of the song but the udaa…. is still not completed using the vocal cords.

Main zindagi ka saath nibhaata chala gaya
har fikr ko dhuyen me udaata chala gaya
har fikr ko dhuyen mein udaa.....

This brings me to the end of my list. I am sure there would be more BINGO style songs. I figured out that the humming could be purely incidental in some cases whereas in others there could be practical problems of on screen action like a flashback sequence or learning to sing with a cigarette in the mouth or having to sing in someone’s ear. Which BINGO style song do you have to add?

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

14 thoughts on “Melodies with partly sung mukhda

  1. Very innovative! Nice out of the box thinking. Love all the songs including the one you love to hate!


    La la la lalla..
    Tera mujhse hai pehle ka
    Naata koi…

    Sushma Shreshta, Kishore Kumar version.


  2. Very interesting concept!
    Hard to think of songs.
    I could remember just one song,
    Kya Ghazab karte ho jee,
    Asha sings the mukhda with la la la lalala and then continues with Mukhda again.



  3. This is such an unusual theme! I couldn’t think of a single song offhand that would fit, but when I began reading your list, I kept thinking “Why didn’t I remember that one!” – because all the songs are among my favourites. Really well done, this was so enjoyable.


  4. Anita,
    Very nice concept. All the songs that have applied this technique have become milestones. I don’t know if a general theory can be developed when such songs are used. I think ‘Kabhi to milegi, kahin to milegi’ has this effect. A related category of such songs is where Antara is sung first, followed by ‘mukhada’. One can think of ‘Ae ri main to prem diwani’ (Naubahar) or ‘Khushiyon ke din manaaye ja..Abhi to main jawan hun’ (Afsana, H-B), or ‘Humdum mere pyar na jaano’ (OP Nayyar).


  5. Your detailed description of Dev Anand’s gradual mastery of cigarette-in-mouth singing had me in stitches XD

    This is a difficult topic. I can think of two possible examples, neither of which I’m entirely confident ought to “count.” The first is “Yeh Nayan Dare Dare” from “Kohra,” in which the humming is right at the end of the mukhda. The second is “Tum Pukar Lo Tumhara Intezaar Hai” from “Khamoshi.” In that song, there is humming at the opening, but also in the phrase “Tum pukar.” The humming is kind of an extension of the word, so that it is sung as “tummm” instead of the more typical “tuuum.” For this reason, it could be considered a lyric, just sung with an extension of the consonant instead of the vowel like usual.


    1. Your detailed description of Dev Anand’s gradual mastery of cigarette-in-mouth singing had me in stitches XD
      Shelomit, both the songs are apt. While the first one from Kohra is the kind that I have listed in my post, the second is an example of the kind of songs Dr.Shetty, Anupji and AKji have mentioned. Seeing the large number of songs that are composed by Hemant Kumar being listed out here, one begins to feel that he used this effect quite frequently and effectively.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Quite an unusual post, an interesting challenge to the grey cells!
    Some quite nice songs here ( well, I have always liked Main zindagi ka saath nibhata)
    How about this song?
    Tu tu hai wahi dil ne jise – Ye Wada Raha
    It begins with la lala lala la and the last mukhda is partly covered by lal lal la la


    1. Thanks for reading the post and commenting, Dr.Deshpande! Well, for seasoned campaigners like you, nothing is tough!!
      well, I have always liked Main zindagi ka saath nibhata
      Like I said, I don’t like the song in its entirety because of the manner in which tobacco addiction is eulogized. In bits and pieces there is no doubt it’s brilliant. It talks of being stoical – gam aur khushi mein farq na mehsoos ho jahaan…
      All the doctors commenting have added a completely different dimension to the BINGO effect songs and thereby enriching and developing the concept itself!!
      The song you mention is perfect for the category of songs where the mukhda is hummed before it is sung.


  7. Here are two songs that come to my mind…

    Chale Hum KahaN – Police (1957) – Hemant Kumar , Geeta Dutt – Music: Hemant Kumar
    Song starts with tinkling of bells, followed by humming in choir style and whistling with Hemant Kumar joining the humming

    Earlier, in Inspector (1956), Hemant Kumar’s prolonged humming is followed by a prelude to Mera Akele Jita Kaise Laage Re.


    1. Thanks Ashok ji for the lovely songs you added! Hemant Kumar had this magical touch. He pulled off an entire song merely by humming in the prelude and interludes.
      Another song composed by Hemant Kumar from Sahib Biwi aur Ghulam – Bhawra Bada Naadaan Hai- has Waheeda searching for lyrics to fit the metre and so she hums :-
      bhanwraa badaa naadaan hai
      bagiyan kaa
      hmm hmm hmm
      bagiyan kaa mehmaan hai

      Another of S.D.Burman’s songs which should have actually found a place in my ten is Nanhi Kali
      hawaa dheere aanaa
      neend bhare pankh liye jhoolaa jhulaa jaanaa


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