Helen, Aruna Irani, Bindu, Padma Khanna, Jayashri.T, Prema Narayan and Asha Sachdev are few actresses who have danced to some of the most sizzling cabaret songs in Bollywood. Cabarets became most famous in 60s and 70s. These heroines and even some of the lead heroines have grooved on some of the most famous song numbers.  The ladies lent a level of artfulness and sensuality and made the cabaret songs very famous.

Cabaret is a form of theatrical entertainment which features music, song, dance, recitation and even drama. The form of the cabaret depends on the venue; usually a pub, a restaurant, night club, at times even on stage performance. The audience is often dining or drinking; they do not typically dance but usually sits at tables. Performances are usually introduced by a master of ceremonies. The cabaret is accompanied by a band and the numbers are very and catchy and haunting because of their stunning rhythm. The typical cabarets styles are striptease, jazz sung by solo or duo vocalists with a pianist. The venue is usually romantically set.

The cabaret numbers can be characterized as excitingly paced, youthful exuberance and upbeat rhythms. The cabaret songs are composed with wide range of influences from several genres. O.P. Nayyar and R.D.Burman gave most of the cabaret songs to Hindi film industry followed by Shankar-Jaikishan and Laxmikant-Pyarelal. Cabaret songs tunes were often lifted, either openly or partially, from Western compositions. These songs were influenced by Western, Latin, Oriental and Arabic music.

Asha Bhosale’s smooth, velvet vocals are a milestone in the evolution of some of the best cabaret songs in Hindi films. She sang some solos with great zest and sometimes she was accompanied by the incomparable Mohammad Rafi and Kishore Kumar. Geeta Dutt sang few cabaret songs which are energetic with great music to which even today’s generation take to dance floor. Lata Mangeshkar has few numbers to her credit, though she liked singing songs of other genre. Lata symbolizes the serious, pristine, and classic flavours of Indian music while Asha and Geeta represent the western, naughty, and seducing flavours. How can we forget Rafi saab and Kishore Kumar? Both of these versatile singers could portray all of these flavours and much more.

Few of my favourite cabaret songs are listed below:

Jaata Kahan Hai Deewane…

Movie: C.I.D (1956) Music Director: O.P.Nayyar, Singer: Geeta Dutt

Aaiye Meheraban…

Movie: Howrah Beidge (1958) Singer: Asha Bhosale Music Director: O.P.Nayyar

Tumko piya, dil diya..

Movie: Shikari (1963). Music Director: G.S.Kohli, Singers: Lata Mangeshkar & Usha Mangeshkar

Huzurewalla jo ho izazat…

Movie: Yeh Raat Phir Na Aayegi (1966) Music Director: O P Nayyar Singers: Asha Bhosle & Minoo Purushottam

Kalrle pyar karle ke din hai ….

Movie: Talash (1969) Music Director: S.D.Burman Singer: Asha Bhosale

Aa janeja….

Movie: Intequam (1969), Music Director: Laxmikant-Pyarelal Singer: Lata Mangeshkar

Tune, tune oh sanam….

Movie: Humjoli (1970) Music Director: Laxmikant Pyarelala, Singers: Lata Mangeshkar & Mohammad Rafi

Watch this space next week for few more cabaret songs!

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