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The Gaali Songs

Posted on Trivia- The Spice of Life on 20/02/2023

Hindi film songs of the golden era are known for their meaningful lyrics. The acclaimed lyricists who penned these songs chose their words very carefully. Even in songs which required the use of expletives, the words used were not abusive or obscene. There are songs where invectives are used but they do not sound offensive. They in fact go well with the mood of the song.

To add to this, there are many movies whose names are also cuss words – Badtameez, Bluffmaster, Junglee, Jaanwar, Loafer and so on. I wonder why such names were chosen. These are not very flattering. And it is a strange coincidence that many of them feature Shammi Kapoor as the male lead.

In this post, I have tried to make a list of songs that refer to gaalis but are not obscene. The songs are all light hearted. They do not cross the limits of decency. Most of them are popular songs.

1) Holi Main Khelungi Un Sang Dat Ke (Gaali, 1944) Lyricist : Sugun Piya ; Music Director : Pt. Hanuman Prasad ; Singer : Manju. I find it very strange that there is a movie by the name Gaali – that too in 1944! Those who have watched the film find it hopeless and senseless; there is no explanation as to why the movie was named so. This song was sung and (perhaps) picturized on Manju. Holi seems to be a time when women would either lose their cool or become more daring. Here the woman wants her man to be a sport and not make excuses while playing Holi.

Babu jo mohse ra ra karenge 
to gaali main doongi ghoonghatva palat ke 
Holi main kheloongi un sang dat ke

2)Ye Lo Main Haari Piya (Aar Paar, 1954) Lyricist : Majrooh Sultanpuri ; Music Director : O.P.Nayyar ; Playback Singer : Geeta Dutt. The whole song is very tastefully picturized in a taxi with the heroine trying to make amends and wooing the hero; in our movies, it is usually the hero who is assigned this role. Guru Dutt who is at the wheel is rather cross and Shyama is trying her best to get him to be genial. She even concedes defeat to assuage him. But, towards the end when he just does not relent, she threatens that she will hurl an abuse at him as he has tested her patience enough. A woman hurling abuses is generally not viewed very kindly. Geeta Dutt’s voice is just right for this kind of song.

...dekho main gaali doongi
chhod do yeh reet re...

3) Are Jaa Re Hat Natkhat (Navrang, 1959) Lyricist : Bharat Vyas ; Music Director : C.Ramchandra ; Playback Singers : Asha Bhosle, Mahendra Kapoor and Chitalkar. This is one of the best Holi songs that one can think of with so many improvisations – Sandhya’s spirited dancing that too in a dual role as a woman and man is simply amazing. A well-adorned elephant also joins the dance by gently dancing and using its trunk as a pichkaari. Sandhya matches her steps with the elephant with great aplomb. Holi is a festival where there is a tendency of men taking undue advantage and harassing women. So here is Sandhya making it clear that she is not someone who is going to take nonsense but will surely come back with a fitting reply – even if it means hurling abuses. The man cheekily responds that even her abuses sound sweet.

are jaa re hat natkhat
naa chhoo re meraa ghoonghat
palat ke doongi aaj tujhe gaali re
mujhe samjho na tum bholi bhaali re

aayaa holi kaa tyohaar
ude rang ki bauchhaar
tu hai naar nakhredaar matwaali re
aaj meethi lage hai teri gaali re

4) Ek Chatur Naar (Padosan, 1968) Lyricist : Rajinder Krishan ; Music Director : R.D.Burman ; Singer/Playback Singer : Kishore Kumar & Manna Dey. This laugh riot has a lot of funny lyrics, some of which could be considered offensive. The lines kaalaa re jaa re jaa re khaare naale mein jaake tu munh dhoke aa sound like a racist slur that the lyricist got away with!! Then comes the part where he actually calls him – tedhe, kede, nigode which actually offends Mehmood. He exclaims – ye gaali diyaa.

o Tedhe!
o kede!
o ya
are seedhe ho jaa re
waah ri chandaniyaa, waah re chakore
Raam banayi ye kaisi jodi
kare nachaiyya taa taa thaiyya
taal pe naache langdi ghodi
are dekhi teri chaturaayi
ye phir gadbad
are dekhi teri chaturaayi
phir bhatkaaya
tujhe sur ki samajh nahin aayi
toone kori ghaas hi khaayi
are ghode!
ye ghoda bola
o nigode!
ye gaali diyaa

5) Chaahe Koi Mujhe Junglee Kahe (Junglee, 1961) Lyricist : Shailendra ; Music Directors : Shankar Jaikishan ; Playback Singer : Md.Rafi. This iconic title song of Rafi’s sung for Shammi Kapoor has the world junglee used. After the Yahoo – one can see Saira calling Shammi junglee. Junglee would loosely translate as uncivilized or savage. Again, this is rather derogatory.

Contrary to popular perception, the iconic yell “Yahoo!!” in the famous song from this movie was not rendered by Mohammad Rafi. Shammi Kapoor revealed in an interview that it was writer Prayag Raj who happened to be in the studio and gave that memorable exclamation.

6) Koi Haseena Jab Rooth Jaati Hai To (Sholay, 1975) Lyricist : Anand Bakshi ; Music Director : R.D.Burman ; Playback Singer : Kishore Kumar. This is a song where the leading lady playing a taangewaali is in full form. She is really irritated with the antics of Dharmendra; cuss words come very naturally to her.

Koi haseena jab rooth jaati hai toh
aur bhi haseen ho jaati hai
tesan se gaadi jab chhoot jaati hai toh
ek do teen ho jaati hai
chal hat saale
hathon mein chaabuk,
honthon pe gaaliyan
badi nakhre waaliyaan 
hoti hain taange waaliyaan

7) Badtameez Kaho Ya Kaho Jaanwar (Badtameez, 1966) Lyricist : Hasrat Jaipuri ; Music Directors : Shankar Jaikishan ; Playback Singer : Md.Rafi. Here is another movie where the hero is considered badtameez (or insolent). Sadhana decorates Shammi Kapoor with these two sobriquets – badtameez and jaanwar. He then starts off from there and there is no stopping him. This is the usual chhed chhaad song with the hero wooing the lady, fighting against all odds.

badtameez kaho yaa kaho jaanwar
meraa dil tere dil pe fidaa ho gayaa
bachaao koi sambhaalo koi
o meri jaan-e-jaan main tabaah ho gayaa

8) Angrezi Mein Kehte Hai Ki I Love You (Khuddar, 1982) Lyricist : Majrooh Sultanpuri ; Music Director : Rajesh Roshan; Playback Singers : Lata Mangeshkar & Kishore Kumar. This song by Majrooh Sultanpuri shows how he had slowly started moulding himself to the changed times. These lyrics would be difficult to think of in say the 1950s or 1960s. Here is an attempt at declaring love for the lady in multiple languages and expecting reciprocity. The lady initially refuses and even calls the hero an idiot. Soon there is emotional blackmail and the lady is compelled to fall in line.

itnaa kare kyun dhaandhal
duniyaa kyaa kahegi humko
ham samjhaa akkal waalaa
bilkul idiot hai tum to

9) Ek Anari Junglee Jaanwar Badtameez Diwaana (Man Ka Meet, 1969) Lyricist : Rajinder Krishan ; Music Director : Ravi ; Playback Singers: Asha Bhosle/Mahendra Kapoor. This song has both a female and a male version. From the story line it appears that the female version precedes the male one. In the female version, Som Dutt (Sunil Dutt’s younger brother) a simpleton who enters the railway compartment of the heroine and her friends by mistake is ragged badly. Som Dutt closely resembles Bhola of Padosan!! In the male version, it is payback time. Som Dutt gets back at Leena and her friend with the same song.

10) The Woh Saat Din (1983) SongUllu Ka Pattha Hun – Shabbir Kumar- Laxmikant Pyarelal. This is not a song in the conventional sense. These are lyrics which Anil Kapoor – an aspiring music director in the movie – sings leaving you in splits. Anil Kapoor is a simpleton and Padmini Kolhapure gives him some lyrics to sing. The so called lyrics are only a string of cuss words (03:15 to 4:00 in the link below) which he sings with great flourish not realising that the joke is on him.

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.

10 thoughts on “The Gaali Songs

  1. Anita,
    Very interesting post. Takes us to an era when the most abusive terms were ‘junglee’, ‘jaanwar’, ‘badtameez’. If they had to use a four-letter word, they used ‘sala’. Another favourite ‘gaali’ of Dilip Kumar was ‘makkar’, though it is difficult to find a song on this word. I thought this word meant नाकारा, a waster, but Dilip Kumar used it in the sense of a ‘vile’ person.

    This was the era when Pran didn’t rape girls. He was at most a lech. But mostly he was after the Daddy’s money or was an obsessed lover who would abduct her and get a pandit and ask him at gun point to finish the ceremony fast.

    Much later rapes started but that was the domain of the likes of Gulshan Grover, Ranjeet and Shakti Kapoor. For the real big Daddies like Mogambo, it was small change. They were into destroying India by missiles, wreaking havoc by chemical, biological weapons and maiming people by drugs. But gaalis didn’t keep pace. They remained fixed in olden times, they were hardly gaalis.

    The real revolution happened in the OTT era. The real mother-sister stuff, other private parts of body, which was the preserve of Punjabi males entered the lexicon cutting across gender divide. It is no longer a shock to hear mainstream actors like Shahid Kapoor and Radhika Apte mouth expletives without flinching. The earlier gaalis would be Pravachan, the OTT gaalis are normal language of conversation. The gaalis have really disappeared.

    Sorry for my rambling social anthropology. I should compliment you on your song selection. The first one is one of the best renderings of this traditional light classical song. A song on this tune has been done beautifully by Asha Bhosle/Arti Ankalikar. Between the two I prefer Arti’s rendering: ‘More Kanha jo aye palat ke’.

    The last song has narcissistic referencing to Laxmikant-Pyarelal. With so much success they have a right to feel egotistic.


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the long and lovely comment, AKji! I was actually sceptical about how the post would be received, considering the fact that the subject was a little delicate to handle. I completely agree with you about the way the usage of expletives has evolved over the years. For the old school, to sit through a show on an OTT without cringing is difficult. Using obscene language and cuss words makes the character appear ‘cool’ and acceptable.
      I have also observed gaalis being used very generously even in the work space. Unfortunately, even the school kids are not above board. They believe that it is the in-thing.
      Thanks for liking the song selection! Woh Saat Din is a really good movie.


  2. What an interesting theme! Here’s the song that came to my mind as soon as I began reading:

    Na na na re na na
    Haath na lagaana
    Tose baar-baar kahoon
    Mohe na sataana
    Doongi gaariyaan

    From Taj Mahal:


  3. Since I first saw “Hatyara” (1977) late last year, I have often been relistening to a bhangra song from it that fits this bill nicely:

    This couple are dancing to celebrate their friend/sister’s engagement party and putting on a show of talking one another down. They trade little insults at each another and the gentleman, although he has given as good as he has gotten, still complains, “Joban zor umariya baali, upar se deti hai gaali!”


  4. An unusual theme, Anitaji! As I had mentioned before, you do come up with different topics, challenging the grey cells.

    Here’s the Holi song from Sholay – holi ke din dil khil jaate hain – Sholay
    It has the line – o nakhrewali doongi main gaali

    Chupke chupke ghoor na mujhko doonga main gaali – Gambler 1995

    Ja ja re mawaali doongi bharke main wo gaali – Shiva ka Insaaf 1985


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