Pyaasa (SD Burman – Sahir Ludhianvi) – Music Remembrance

1957 was the lucky year for Hindi Cinema as Pyaasa, the cult classic movie was released that year. Directed by Guru Dutt, who was also the lead protagonist in the film, Pyaasa regarded as one of the best films in India ever made. Pyaasa was ranked at #160 on the Sight & Sound critics’ and directors’ poll of all-time greatest films. In 2005, Pyaasa was rated as one of the 100 best films of all time by Time Magazine, which called it “the soulfully romantic of the lot.” Indiatimes Movies ranks the movie amongst the Top 25 Must See Bollywood Films. On the occasion of Valentine’s Day 2011 Time magazine has declared it as one of the top 10 romantic movies of all time. This film was remade in Tamil, Telugu, Malyalam and Kannada. It’s music became highly popular and it is called one of the best collaborations of a composer and a lyricist.



Music: SD Burman;  Lyrics: Sahir Ludhianvi;  Music Label: Saregama


1. Jaane Kya Tune Kahi – Singer: Geeta Dutt

It’s a romantic track with a tinge of comedy in it and the comedy is depicted in its lyrics. If lyrics get the praise, music is no less. It has a funny sound attached to it. A sound by an instrument which is played after every line to give the song a happy mood. Geeta Dutt’s voice also sounds marvelous.The recording has been done with sheer carelessness. It’s even hard to notice the percussion used in it. You can call it a Romantic-Comedy song of that time.


2. Sar Jo Tera Chakraye – Singer: Mohammed Rafi

It’s an immortal song. A song which is heard by every child, every grown-up in the streets and enjoyed equally. It’s based on hair massage. The lyrics have been written with care, depicting the reality that no matter how great a person becomes, he has to bend down his head in front of a massage man. And that is actually true. Either a person is a beggar or a CEO of a Multi-National company, he wants to be massaged for relaxation. No matter what’s the reason of sadness, a massage in the hairs, makes people feel happy and relieved from numerous tensions which they are tackling with. The line Laakh dukhon ki ek dawa hai, kyun na aazmaaye is lyrically and musically strong and effective. The way it acts as the bridge to come down to the mukhda, is phenomenal. This line became one of the most famous Hindi phrases of all time. It is based on a tune from British Movie ‘Harry Black’, which was later released in India as ‘Harry Black and The Tiger’. S. D. Burman was initially not happy in copying a western tune but later changed it so well that when the producer of the ‘Harry Black and the Tiger’ visited India, he heard the song and not only failed to recognize the tune, but commended him on it.  You should listen to each and every line of this to understand the simplicity of its lyrics and what a great thought it provides.


3. Hum Aapki Aankhon Mein – Singers: Mohammed Rafi, Geeta Dutt

It was added to the movie on behest of distributors to bring some relief in rather pessimist film. It was never planned in original cut. This three antara track has sweet, breezy, simple and catchy tone which sounds damn cute and innocent. A perfect coordination is there between Rafi and Geeta Dutt. It has a conversational lyrics which gives a slight comic touch to the song. The rhythm is amazing according to the time it was made. The antara goes high and Rafi has managed that part very well. The mukhda and antara are so beautifully merged in each other that there doesn’t seem to be any bridge made to connect the two. Breezy romantic track, would be loved by all.


4. Jaane Woh Kaise Log They – Singer: Hemant Kumar

Jaane woh kaise log they, jinke pyaar ko pyaar mila, humne toh jab kaliyaan maangi, kaanto ka haar mila. This is absolutely my favorite song from this album. It is one of the best sad songs ever made in Bollywood. It has been composed and written straight from the heart. There doesn’t seem to be any moment in the song which would be consciously made. Everything is so smoothly done that one can think if the lyricist and the composer had created the whole song in the first attempt. That ting ting ting sound, I don’t know how they had done that. It brings a smile on our face. I am unable to understand what instrument has been used but the sound is so melodious that you won’t be able to leave it in the middle. I also applaud Hemant Kumar for his flawless singing. His voice has a sweet melancholy which justifies the mood of the song.


5. Aaj Sajan Mohe Ang Laga Do – Singer: Geeta Dutt

This one has a bit complex tune, unlike others which were catchy enough to grow in the very first listening. Flute and Violin has been coordinated well. Unlike other tracks, which didn’t focus on percussion, this one has a unique combo of Tabla and Matka. Though Matka can be heard quite easily, for Tabla, more concentration is needed as it is mashed up with the sound of Matka so well that Tabla is sounding as Matka at times. Geeta Dutt’s singing is adorable. It’s quite difficult to sing and she did it effortlessly. Song’s less popularity is because of a complex tune. 


6. Jinhe Naaz Hai Hind Par – Singer: Mohammed Rafi

It’s quite a strange song where the instruments had been used in a minimal way. Just the Violin is played at subsequent times. Mohammed Rafi rules it as the singer is the prime instrument here. The same tune has been repeated constantly throughout the song. It can be said that there is no antara, instead, there are many mukhda so the lyrics played the most important role. The description of each and everything thing related to those who are proud of their nation and nowhere to be found, is fabulous. What level of thinking must have been done, we can imagine! Well, we cannot. It is to be listened in complete silence to understand the depth.


7. Yeh Duniya Agar Mil Bhi Jaaye Toh – Singer: Mohammed Rafi

I have to applaud the writing more than the music. What an exceptional writing has been done! The lead protagonist is disheartened with this materialistic world which is full of betrayals and backstabbing. I salute the lyrics and regard it one of the best lyrics ever. Rafi has justified the sadness in it and sung it giving the appropriate expressions and emotions. After each antara, a loud Violin is played which sounds strange and also causes disturbance in the sad mood. The loud Violin after the last antara is justifying as the song gets louder and it suits that situation. A song which has got something to learn about the real world.


8. Yeh Haste Hue Phool – Singer: Mohammed Rafi

Starts with a beautiful Violin, It’s not actually a song. It’s a kind of short poetry. Though it has a definite tune, but seems to sound slightly similar to yeh duniya and jinhe naaz hai.Sitar and Accordion are the additional instruments here. The lyrics have been written in the shayari way. It’s all about praise of the beloved. It should have been made into a full length track instead of creating just some lines. The length is, I guess, is the reason for it’s unpopularity. Short but beautiful. Shayari lovers would love it.


9. Rut Phire Par Din Humare Phire Na Phire – Singer: Geeta Dutt

After few male tracks, here’s again Geeta Dutt rendering a solo melody. The percussion has been used impressively well that makes the rhythm foot tapping. Along with Violin, which shows its strong presence, a mild Flute has been played in the background that helps in getting more beauty. Lyrics seems to be quite forceful here, as there doesn’t seem to be any firm thought evolved from it. I loved its arrangements compared to other songs. Percussion is the highlight of this track.


10. Tang Aa Chuke Hain – Singer: Mohammed Rafi

                 I was waiting for the song to start but it didn’t. It’s a short song in which Rafi croons some lines from Sahir Ludhianvi’s Shayari and you would be just wondering and hoping for the moment when Tabla would finally starts but it doesn’t. This ghazal by Sahir Ludhianvi was also used in the film “Light House” (1958). In “Light House”, the ghazal was composed by Datta Naik and sung by Asha Bhosle. The tune is so beautifully made that it feels sad after knowing that there’s nothing more after that. It also sounds incomplete. It might be according to the situation in the movie but they could have made a full song and included that only in the soundtrack. But then I remember, that there used to happen nothing like that. The recording for the film and the cassette used to be same. Beautiful tune, but the incompleteness disappoints. 


Pyaasa is still considered one of the best soundtracks of all time. Anyone, after listening to it, would say this. It has one of the best romantic melodies which are not inclined to typical Bollywood romance but presents a different approach towards romance. Jaane Woh Kaise was surely the best song from the album because its melody was the most beautiful among all. Besides, Hum Aapki Aankhon Mein, which was added later on the behest of distributors, none of the song spreads optimism. Every song has its own melancholy because the movie had a really pessimistic story line. This was the last film in which S.D. Burman and Sahir Ludhianvi worked together. Their estrangement was a result of Sahir claiming that the film’s success was more due to his lyrics than due to Burman’s music. In 2004, the soundtrack for Pyaasa was chosen as one of “The Best Music in Film” by Sight & Sound, the British Film Institute magazine. Yes, it really is one of the best film soundtracks ever!


Next:  BLAST FROM PAST – Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak (1988)



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