The unforgettable golden era of Hindi songs


Old Hindi Songs make the listeners ecstatic. The songs are so expressive and passionate that they refresh the mood and tired senses. Some of the songs are heart touching, some of them are witty, some are amusing you name the mood and you will find a good old song. What is astonishing about the old songs is the musical variety to relish on and each of old song has its own magical impact on listeners. The time is called golden era where style and subtleness ruled, and when the renowned music directors legends like S.D Burman, Salil Chowdhary, Shankar-Jaikishan, Laxmikant-Pyarelal, Madan Mohan, O.P.Nayyar, Chitragupt, R D Burman composed magical numbers. Singersuch as Saigal, Mohammad Rafi, Geeta Dutt, Shamshad Begum, Suraiya, Kishore Kumar, Lata Mangeshkar, Asha Bhosle, Suman Kalyanpur, Manna Dey, Talat Mehmood and many more ruled. The fact is that listening to old Hindi songs in which the lyrics are so wonderful, they are the best medicine for the listeners. I think in true sense it was an era of timeless music. They can take you back in time when romance and emotions were oozed deep into the lyrics of songs, when innocence ruled the vulgarity.

Then, the lyrics were penned with simplicity of words and expression, speaking about the deep spiritual truths about our existence and surroundings. There was pleasure in songs – whether a patriotic song, romantic song or a devotional songs, they all celebrated life. Solos expressed the transience of love and life. Lyricists such as Shailendra, Hasrat Jaipuri, Majrooh Sultanpuri, Neeraj, Anand Bakshi, Sahir Ludhiyanvi, Shakeel Badayuni, Pradeep, Kaifi Azami and Gulzar penned remarkable, soul-stirring poetries some of which were replete with clichés and metaphors contributing to the golden era.

The fact that technology then was not as advanced as today, but still the best numbers were produced then. How is that? The answer lies in the fact that at times the composure used up to 100-piece orchestra, and do you know that till 1952, there was no tape recording and songs were directly recorded on the sound-track of the celluloid film.  A lot of emphasis was obviously laid on the rehearsals because if any mistake were made, both the song and the acting would have to be re-recorded.  This naturally enforced some strict rules of disciplines on the singers, music directors and orchestra to rehearse and to avoid any lacunas before recording. After 1952, the music recording process became easier with the advent of magnetic tape recording, but by this time the lyricists, music directors, singers and musicians had become so familiar with each other that they knew the work habits and professionalism of each other hence they performed as a well-tuned team. Another fact is, though the familiarity was superb among the team members rehearsals were still very important prior to recording.

Recording studios were huge places built to accommodate large numbers of musicians with the singer placed in a separate cabin to minimize any audio overspill. Then each song was recorded live. Each song was recorded in one single go. There was no dubbing. The singer had to work with the orchestra and if anyone made a mistake, the recording would start all over again. That’s how each song took long hours of recording. Also, most of the music directors, directors and producers then gave a lot importance to lyrics and not just the composition of the song. In contrast what we see today is that lyrics are ‘fit’ into the music.

In the olden days, for almost everybody, listening to the radio was a one of the main pastime. There were few radio stations to choose from; Radio Ceylon, Vividh Bharti and another station called All India Radio, Urdu Service and local stations. People would switch on their radios or transistors from morning and continue listening to radio programs all day long. ‘Binaca Geetmala’ was the trendiest program.  There is no Radio Jockey as good as Ameen Sayani and his unique attribute ‘Behano aur Bhaiyo’. Those days when the only medium of entertainment was the radio which brought a judicious mix of news, music, plays (both one act and serials), discussions, and quizzes, sound track of films, cricket commentaries, and some devotional programs.

I present here below some rare gems with terrific lyrics, soothing music and superb singing. On screen these songs added great value to the respective movies of the golden era:

Yeh nayi nayi preet hai:

Film Pocket-maar 1956: Lyricist: Rajendar Krishan: Singers: Lata Mangeshkar, Talat Mehmood: Music Director: Madan Mohan

Tum jo hue mere humsafar:

Film 12’O clock 1958: Lyricists: Majrooh Sultanpuri: Singers: Geeta Dutt, Mohammed Rafi: Music Director: O.P.Nayyar

Koi sone ke dilwala, koi chandi ke dilwala:

Film Maya 1961: Lyricist: Majrooh Sultanpuri: Singer: Mohammad Rafi: Music Director: Saleel Chowdhury

Muzko apane gale laga lo:

Film Humarahi 1963: Lyricist: Hasrat Jaipuri: Singers: Shashad Bugum, Mohammed Rafi: Music Director: Shankar-Jaikishan

Rut Jawan Jawan, raat meherban:

Film: Akahari Khat 1966: Lyricist: Kaifi Azami: Singer: Bhupinder Singh: Music Director: Khayyam

Mera man tera pyasa:

Film: Gambler 1971: Lyricist: Neeraj:  Singer: Mohammed Rafi: Music Director: S.D.Burman

Muze ja na kaho meri jan:

Film: Anubhav 1971: Lyricist: Gulzar: Singer: Geeta Dutt: Music Director: Kanu Roy

Thoda ruk jayegi to tera kya jayega:

Film: Patanga 1971: Lyricist: Neeraj: Singer: Mohammed Rafi: Music Director: Shankar-Jaikishan

Tu jahan mile muze:

Film: Doosari Sita 1974: Lyricist: Gulzar: Singer: Asha Bhosale: Music Director: R.D.Burman

Kai baar yuhi dekha hai:

Film: Rajanigandha 1974: Lyricist: Yogesh: Singer: Mukesh: Music Director: Salil Chowdhury



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