And all of us, suckers for any Bollywood trivia, especially if it is related to what is generally described as "Golden Age" of the Hindi film music (1950-1975), lap it up. Little wonder than that the Hindustan Times' weekend supplement Brunch has come up with "The Greatest Bollywood Playlist Ever," (http://www.hindustantimes.com/Brunch/Brunch-Stories/The-32-most-loved-songs-of-all-time/Article1-1115529.aspx) listing 32 top tracks this Sunday.
Why 32? There is no explanation for arriving at this particular number. It could have been top 50 or even 100 but that's theadvantage of coming up with issues like this. Completely subjective.
Like naming India's Dream Test Team or India's Best One-day Cricket team. Depending on who is compiling the list it could vary wildly. News Channels in India would testify that some of their most viewed programmes are based on Hindi film music.
Reading the cover story in Brunch this morning set me thinking about my own choice--if I was to make one--of the best 50 songs in Hindi films.
What criteria would I apply?
Melody certainly. Hummabality? For sure. Picturisation of the song? Most definitely. On which stars the song was picturised? May be. But most importantly perhaps it is the context and circumstances under which one has heard or seen the song. In the 1980s, when MP3 wasn't available or the I-pod was still on the drawing board, some of us music aficionados used to frequent music shops that sold cassettes of various compilations. So, we would go with our own listing and get it recorded to create 'exclusive' albums. I still have those 'albums' which need to be converted into CDs but my laziness has so far ensured they still remain boxed in in old steel trunks!
So what is my list? In no particular order here it is.
1. Dil Lagakar hum yeh samjhe--Zindagi aur Maut (1965)
2. Tujhe kya sunao mein dilruba--Aakhri Dao (1953)
3. Paas baitho tabiyat bahal jayegi--Punar Milan(1964)
4. Mein Apne aap se ghabara gaya hoon--Bindiya (1960)
5. Jaag dile diwana, rut jaagi--Oonche Log (1965)
6. Dil beqarar sa hai--Ishaara (1964)
7. Mein nigahen tere chehre se--Aap ki Parchayian (1964)
8. Tere paas aake mera waqt gujar jaat hein--Neela Aakash (1965)
9. Aaye bahar banke lubha kar chale gaye -Rajhath(1958)
10. Yun Hasraton ke daag--Adalat(1958)
Unko yeh Shikayat hai--Adalat (1958)
11. Rehte te kabhi jinke dil mein--Mamta(1966)
12. Rim jhim gire Saawan--Manzil(1979)
13. Diye Jalte hain phool khilte hai--Namak Haram(1973)
14. Raat kali ek khawb mein aaye--Buddha Mil gaya(1971)
15. Simti si, sharmayee si--Parwaana(1971)
16. Ek Hassen Shaam ko dil mera kho gaya--Dulhan Ek raat ki(1971)
17. Aaj ki Raat mere dil ki salami le le--Ram aur Shyam(1967)
18. Paon choo lene do phoolon ko inayat hogi--Taj Mahal(1963)
19. Aaj koi pyaar se dil ki baate--Sawan ki Ghata (1966)
20. Tum ne mujhe dekha--Teesri Manzil (1966)
Now, most of these songs may have figured in the Brunch cover story. Or may not even figure among the favorites of other music buffs but there they are as MY bunch of selection. Can there be dispute on them? You may not like my selection but like these songs playing on my juke box. And thousands of others.
Why do I like them? For a variety of reasons. Take the 1st song on this list. It has Pradeep Kumar and Fariyal (yes the same Fariyal, who later specialised in enacting a vamp) in the lead role. The movie was no great shakes but the song stuck in my sub-conscious musical mind and remained there after I first heard it years ago! Or take the song Paas baitho ( No. 3 on this list). Jagdeep (Surma Bhopali of Sholay fame) is singing it for Ameeta, arguably never a front line leading lady but I love the song. Or to take the example of Tujhe kya sunao mein dilruba (No. 2 here from Aakhri Dao). It has a non-entity called Shekhar singing the song on screen for a young Nutan. Shekhar vanished into oblivion but Nutan went on to become a star and an actress, one of our finest.
We normally associate Feroz Khan with macho roles (Kala Sona, Dharmatma, Quarbani, Apradh etc). But much before that he got a chance to lip-sync Jaag Dil e diwana, rut jagi (in Oonche Log), one of the most romantic songs in my book. Navin Nischol, who rose to be star very briefly in the early 1970s got two of the best songs to perform on screen--Raat Kali Ek khwab mein aaye (Budhha Mil Gaya) and Simti Si, sharmaee si (Parwana). Incidentally in Parwana Amitabh Bachchan had a minor, negative role!
One can go on and on about which songs are the best and which music composer or singer were the most popular. The fact is, like beauty lies in the eye of the beholder, appreciation of a piece of music, song or composition, is entirely an individual choice. I can for instance tell you that I never tire of listening to all songs of Guide, Anand, Amar Prem, Tere Mere Sapne, Jewel Thief, Mere Jeevan Saathi, Phir Wahi Dil Laya Hoon, Kashmir Ki Kali, An Evening in Paris, Half Ticket, Chalti ka Naam Gadi, Anand, Mili, Prem Pujari, Gambler...or for that matter Bhimsen Joshi's abhangs, Bismillah Khan's shenai and Sanjeev Abhyankar's classical renditions.
At some point, I like to listen only to Sudhir Phadke's Geet Ramayan or Marathi bhaav geets. Some other time, RD Burman's Bengali compositions for Durga Puja festivities are my preferred choice. Music has no barriers. That's the truth.
I enjoyed the list put out by Brunch. And I will continue to enjoy any such list put out by any body else. Ultimately however, I will listen to what my mood dictates. That's the beauty of music.