As I stare each day at the pitiless pale blue sky wondering when the Rain Gods will have mercy and give us something of a break from the relentless heat, the humidity and the torpor that seems to have settled on the earth itself, I listen to my folder of rain songs on my iPod which brings me a fleeting solace. And I once again reiterate to myself the fact that Hindi film music has to be the richest, most diverse, most accessible and yet most incredibly melodic body of music anywhere in the world. Bar none.
We have had our share of senselessness songs but when it comes of rain songs, any number of haunting, intoxicating and unforgettable songs come to mind. This is a subjective list and I am sure many will have divergent views, but here is my list of the best Hindi rain songs ever made (not in order of awesomeness; just roughly chronologically arranged) :
- Pyar hua iqrar hua (Shri 420) – while not a song about rain, it is the iconic rain song, the lashing rain, the ineffectual umbrella and the couple conveniently snuggling under it.
- Zindagi Bhar nahi bhoolegi woh barsaat ke raat (Barsaat ki raat)- Featuring the matchless Madhubala and alas someone I think of Bollywood’s Mr. Rondu, Bharat Bhushan, this is nevertheless a beautiful melody with an innocent eroticism evoked by the rain
- Ek Ladki Bheegi Bhaagi is (Chalti ka naam gaadi) Quintessential Kishore Kumar! Need I say more?
- Hay Hay Yeh Majboori (Roti Kapda aur Makan) Zeenta Aman in a wet sari rather incongruously singing seductively to a rather retarded looking Manoj Kumar is nevertheless a song that is a leitmotif of my life
- Kya Mausam Hai (Doosra Aadmi) OK I confess this is not a rain song but this is the song my very heart signs, come the rolling dark clouds, the pitter patter of the first rains; that evocative smell of the newly wet earth.
- Rimzhim Gire Sawan (Manzil) – Both the Kishore Kumar version as well as the Lata Mangeshkar versions are simply beautiful, and anyone who has walked down Mumbai’s Marine Drive in the driving rain amidst hundreds of happy souls doing the same, will understand why.
- Jalta hai jiya mora bheegi bheegi raton mein (Zakhmee) with Reena Roy and wigman Rakesh Roshan, is revelation of what would have happened if Hrithik Roshan had been acting during the fashion disaster 1970’s.
- Aaj Rapat Jayen to Hamein na uthaiyo (Namak Halal) Not chosen for its lyrical or melodic merit; and there is a lot of writhing in rain puddles that looks distinctly uncomfortable and not altogether romantic. Chosen however because of Smita Patil looking every inch the sexy Indian woman wrapped in 6 yards that most sexy of garments – the sari, particularly when wet.
- Ghanan Ghanan Ghir Ghir aye Badara (Lagaan) This song signifies what the rains mean to every Indian, how they are awaited, looked forward to, beseeched and welcomed each year. The fact that it is a rousing, energetic and top notch composition from A R Rahman is just a plus
- Bheegi Bheegi Jadoo Bhari (Thakshak) This is one of the lesser known rain songs which is superb both in terms of composition and melody, as well as the picturisation of unalloyed joy in the drops of rain
10 (B) Abke Sawan aise barse (by Shubha Mudgal) Yes not a film song, but needs a mention here (as song 10 B) for her rich, earthy baritone, and the sheer joy of the rains and boundless energy that she brings to this rousing folkish sounding ditty.
Here's to a bountiful, timely monsoon for all of us!