Famous tonga-beat songs

tonga1This post is dedicated to some music directors who have skilfully used ‘tonga beats’ in their compositions and brought in a melodious style. While riding horse, rhythm is the rider’s ability to feel the movement of the horse, and that comes from the horse’s feet. Each gait of the animal has its own rhythm. This is excellently captured by some music directors like O.P.Nayyar, Naushad, Shankar Jaikishan; these music directors used the ‘tonga beats’ and created some great gems which are still loved by listeners decades of their creation. They pep up the listener’s mood.

These and many great composers like S.D.Burman, R.D.Burman, LP, Chitragupta, Salilda drew their inspiration from everyday life; they found music in flowing water, lightening, air, flying of birds, running, walking in many chores of our daily lives. They had a vision. Even we see things, but we don’t imagine music out of it. Composers like O.P.Nayyar or R.D.Burman could feel profoundness in each beat.

We are all aware that music and atmosphere are interwoven – they go together. When we listen to relaxing music for a quiet dinner, we digest food easily. And, when we listen to something livelier while doing some physical work or exercise or when out socialising in larger groups, our moods pep up. It’s been observed that when music is played on farm lands, the production or yield increases. Yes, these are few evidences of what music can do to us.

In 40s, 50s and 60s Victoria which was also called a Tonga or Baggi which was pulled by or trotted by one or two horses – it was common scene. You would see tongas, cycles and few cars on the roads. The Tongawala (baggi driver) would hold the reigns and 3 to 4 travellers would be accommodated in the baggi. As a child, I remember enjoying tonga rides in Kalyan, Thane District where my maternal grandfather lived in a wada (big chawl-like mansion) and we kids would visit him in vacations. Those childhood memories and the musical notes of a horse’s galloping have remained etched in my memories even today.

Horse beats or Tonga beats are synonymous with speed, happiness and joy. You will rarely find a sad song composed in horse beat background. These songs simply lift your mood. The horse’s hooves make a musical note as they plod along the cobbled/paved roads. “Tic toc,tic toc,tic toc or tabdik, tabdik,tabdik.”

I am listing herewith some very nostalgic golden numbers which I am sure even you will enjoy:

    • Piya, piya, piya mera jiya pukare Film Baap Re Baap (1955) Music Director O.P.Nayyar

    • Maang ke saath tumhara Film Naya Daur (1957) Music Director – O.P.Nayyar

    • Yeh kya kar dala tune – Film: Howrah Bridge (1958) Music Director – O.P. Nayyar

    • Mein Rangeela pyar ka rahi – Film: Choti Bahen (1959) Music Director: Shankar Jaikishen

    • Banda parwar thamalo jigar Film: Phir wohi dil laya hoon (1963) Music Director O.P.Nayyar

  • Chand ko kya maloom, chahta hai use koi chakor Film: Lal Bangla (1966) Music Director – Usha Khanna



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  1. I absolutely agree with you.Watching such songs lighten up the mood and identify the mood of the song. I will like to add one more song from the movie “Andaz Apna Apna ” where Aamir Khan pulls the tonga and Raveena Tandon in the pillion seat , how beautiful & lively the song is still and will be .