Saturday, November 10, 2012

Six favorite songs from Yash Chopra films

Yash Chopra, 1932-2012 (Carl Court/AFP/Getty Images)

I was greatly saddened to hear of the death of Yash Chopra on October 21. Although I'm not an uncritical fan of every Yash Chopra film—see my posts The "Arrgh!" factor: Chandni and Forbidden Love: Silsila and Lamhe—his films are justly renowned for their great music. In memory of this legendary figure, I've selected six favorite songs from Yash Chopra films spanning five decades.

 Aye Meri Zohra Jabeen from Waqt (Time, 1965):

Music: Ravi
Lyrics: Sahir Ludhianvi
Playback singer: Manna Dey

You may recognize this as the song interpolated into Mehndi Laga Ke Rakhna from Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (The Brave Heart Will Win The Bride, 1995), written and directed by Yash Chopra's son Aditya.

Kabhi Kabhie Mere Dil Mein from Kabhi Kabhie (Sometimes..., 1976):

Music: Khayyam
Lyrics: Sahir Ludhianvi
Playback singer: Mukesh

Khayyam won the Filmfare Award for Best Music, while Sahir Ludhianvi won Best Lyrics and Mukesh won Best Male Playback Singer for this song.

Pehli Pehli Bar. . .Ladki Hai Ya Shola from Silsila (The Affair, 1981):

Music: Shiv-Hari
Lyrics: Javed Akhtar
Playback singers: Kishor Kumar, Lata Mangeshkar

Rekha warns Amitabh not to get burned by her flame...

Lagi Aaj Sawan Ki from Chandni (Moonlight, 1989):

Music: Shiv-Hari
Lyrics: Anand Bakshi
Playback singer: Suresh Wadkar

A monsoon song, of which there are many examples in Yash Chopra films. This one is unusual for its melancholy mood.

Bholi Si Surat from Dil To Pagal Hai (The Heart is Crazy, 1997):

Music: Uttam Singh
Lyrics: Anand Bakshi
Playback singers: Udit Narayan, Lata Mangeshkar

Shah Rukh teases Karisma, but she's hurt because she recognizes (sooner than he does) that his feelings aren't really in earnest. Click on the CC button for English subtitles.

Main Yahaan Hoon from Veer-Zaara (2004):

Music: Madan Mohan
Lyrics: Javed Akhtar
Playback singer: Udit Narayan

One of the best soundtracks of the past decade, at the very least.

Yash Chopra is no more, but the music of his films is timeless.

Update 16 July 2013: Since this post was published a few days before Yash Chopra's last film was released, I thought I would include something from it as a bonus 7th song, from a sixth decade:

Ishq Shava from Jab Tak Hai Jaan (As Long As I Live, 2012):

Music: AR Rahman
Lyrics: Gulzar
Playback singers: Raghav Mathur, Shilpa Rao

What makes this song work for me is Shilpa Rao's passionate vocal performance.


  1. I was sad too. I love his films, esp. Veer-Zaara. And I don't know some of these older ones, they'll have to go on my list! Thanks for your great posts.

  2. Jean, Veer-Zaara is my favorite of Yash Chopra's films, too, although we haven't yet seen Jab Tak Hai Jaan or Waqt (which Beth and Memsaab have both reviewed). For some of his other movies, the soundtrack is actually better than the film as a whole, but even in his weaker films there are usually key scenes or moments that stay with you.

    Thanks for your kind words!



  3. Yash Chopra's earlier movies were better. I presume you know that he directed the very famous Amitabh movie Deewar. He also directed "Itefag" a song less Rajesh Khanna and Nanda movie - enjoyable. I believe some of his other movies made in late 50s and 60s are good too based on social themes- have read about them though haven't seen many - i believe these were produced by his brother BR Chopra. Yash chopra's own productions were more grand. I some how dislike that kabhi kabhi title song - it sounds like a kid is reciting his "tables"

  4. Filmbuff, I haven't yet seen any of Yash Chopra's pre-Deewaar (1975) films, so clearly I've got some catching up to do. And as for B. R., the lovely Sadhna (1958) and its powerful indictment of the exploitation and oppression of women made me eager to see more of his work. I'll have to seek out the two brothers' "social theme" films.

  5. Please do. I have seen "Sadhna" - thanks to Greta. BR Chopra was known for his social themes and i have read that Yash Chopra has directed some really serious stuff for his brother before he moved on to his grand romantic stories which is a pity. Waqt was also directed by Yash Chopra - you can say that was the precursor for the "lost and found" formula to dominate hindi movies in the 70s. In fact you can see a satirical reference to this formula in the movies of 2010s where the characters say " I am not your brother lost in the local village fair"! Please do see Itefaq and also Kala Pathar which has been reviewed both by Beth and Carla

  6. Many thanks for your recommendations, Filmbuff!