Free Press Journal looks at drizzling ditties down the ages!
From the days of Tansen and Kalidas, rain has been synonymous with renewal and romance. Innumerable thumris talk of how, when grey clouds gather, the mind becomes restless and the pain of separation or ‘biraha’ becomes unbearable.
Nature renews itself and hope blossoms. And for a country dependent on the rains for its crops, the monsoons define the fate of millions. These then are the sentiments echoed in the rain songs of our Hindi films. In fact the importance of rain is seen vividly in Guide (1965) where a parched earth waits for the relief of rain and, when it comes, it makes a god-man of the simple Raju, who dies fasting for the rain.
In quite a different cityscape, romance blooms as it rains and Tanuja and Sanjeev Kumar watch the rain framed in the windows of their apartment while the song Tanuja sings ‘Merijaanmujhejaannakaho…’ (Anubhav, 1971) has the titillation of the rain.
Here’s looking at the rain through the monsoon melodies down the ages…
‘Hariyala sawan dhol bajata aaya…’: Do Bigha Zamin (1953)
Director: Bimal Roy
Music Director: Salil Chowdhury
Singers: Lata Mangeshkar and Manna Dey
Featured: Balraj Sahni and Nirupa Roy
This song celebrates the coming of the rains, signified by the overcast skies and the villagers regaling at the thought of the monsoon washing away their woes. A farmer invokes the rains singing its rhythms while women and men dance to the dhol. However, it does not rain and only the grey skies augur the coming of the monsoon.
‘Pyar hua ikrar hua…’: Shree 420 (1955)
Director: Raj Kapoor
Music: Shankar Jaikishen
Singers: Lata Mangeshkar and Manna Dey
Featured: Raj Kapoor and Nargis
The first true romantic rain song. As the thunderclap sounds the two lovers look into each other’s eyes and melt in love while it pours. The incessant rain doesn’t stop Raj Kapoor from pulling out a flute and playing which looked kind of ludicrous but Nargis’s beautiful face and her eyes emanating love truly made the song a soulful one.
‘O sajna barkha bahar aaye…’: Parakh (1960)
Director: Bimal Roy
Music: Salil Chowdhury
Singers: Lata Mangeshkar
The most beautiful song on rain invoking the beloved to be a part of the beatific experience of the rain that brings a gush of love that shines in the eyes. Sadhana looks luminous as she sings and the rain falls over the ewes into her hands and she describes her feelings as the skies become overcast and her longing for her beloved is spurred.
‘Aha rimjhim ke taraane leke aye barsaat…’: Kala Bazar (1960)
Director: Vijay Anand
Music: S.D. Burman
Singers: Geeta Dutt and Mohammed Rafi
Featured: Waheeda Rehman and Dev Anand
The picturisation of the song dwells more on the romance than the rain but one gets a beautiful glimpse of rain-swept Bombay and of course Waheeda’s nubile figure drenched in the rain and an equally handsome Dev Anand walking under a single umbrella in the rain
‘Sawan ka mahina…’: Milan (1967)
Director: Adurthi Subba Rao
Music: Laxmikant Pyarelal
Singers: Lata Mangeshkar and Mukesh
Featured: Sunil Dutt and Nutan
Another song which is about the monsoon but not quite a song in the rain, it has Sunil Dutt teaching a sureeli Nutan the rustic way to pronounce shor while the latter half of the song is picturised on a boat with Sunil Dutt at the oars and under a bright blue sky till twilight sets in and the boat drifts to shore in the soft moonlight. But yes, it is a song on the monsoon.
These three decades saw a plentitude of songs picturised in the rain…
‘Rim jhimgiresawan…’: Manzil (1979)
Director: Nasir Hussain
Music: R.D. Burman
Singers: LataMangeshkar and Kishore Kumar
Featured: MoushumiChatterjee and Amitabh Bachchan
A beautiful song that captures glimpses of an old uncluttered Bombay while Amitabh and Moushumi traipse through the streets, even wallowing in water puddles in the Oval Maidan and the rain spells romance.
‘Bheegi bheegi raton mein…’: Ajnabee (1974)
Director: Shakti Samanta
Music: R. D. Burman
Singers: Lata Mangeshkar and Kishore
Featured: Rajesh Khanna and Zeenat Aman
Romance to the rhythm of the rain and the sensual comes to the fore especially in the lyrics “aisa lagta hai tum banke badal mere badan ko bhigo ke mujhe ched rahe ho” and that just describes what Rajesh Khanna is doing as he snuggles against Zeenat’s bare calf while it rains incessantly. The rhythm of the song and R. D. Burman’s amazing melody make this song immortal.
Songs like SD Burman’s ‘Abke sajan sawan mein…’ from Chupke Chupke (1975) and ‘Sawan ke jhoole pade…’ from JURMANA (1979) merely use sawan as romantic inspiration but the songs have no rain to talk of.
The song that does make rain sizzle is ‘Aaj rapat jaye…’ from Namak Halal (1982). The umbrella unites as in ‘Pyar hua ikrar hua…’ and then flies away and the two dance to the rhythm of the rain. Smita is sensuously graceful and Amitabh matches every step with her. But the scene on the thela is what makes this rain dance so special and it is truly rapture rapat and rain that sweeps one away.
A similar sensuous rain song is ‘Tip tip barsa paani…’ from Mohra (1994) but the rain is put to shame by Raveena’s aggressive sensual moves and the song evokes neither romance nor titillation. The quintessential singing in the rain is of course ‘Tip tip bearish shuru ho gayi…’ from Afsana Pyar Ka (1991) with a suited booted Aamir dancing and wooing his ladylove Neelam.
The song that brings alive romance is R.D. Burman’s composition ‘Rim jhim rim jhim…’ from 1942 A LOVE STORY (1994) where the lovers enjoy the rain in a glass greenhouse. And then comes Shah Rukh in a fluorescent green shirt dancing with Madhuri as they boogie with a group of kids in ‘Koi ladki hai…’ from DIL TOH PAGAL HAI (1997). It is a well-choreographed rain dance with a set of moves that Shah Rukh uses even today.
And Shah Rukh again playing football in the rain while Kajol sings ‘Mere khwabon mein jo aye…’ from Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge (1995) and frolics in the rain. Aamir too enjoys a rain dance as seen in ‘Jo haal dil ka…’ from Sarfarosh (1999) and I guess he knows that he does look good whether the dripping shirt is red yellow or blue!