Dilip Kumar turns 92 years old today. Also comes the good news that he has been discharged from the hospital today, which is where he has been the past few days, due to an infection.
I admit, I have not been a fan of Dilip Kumar – maybe because he was too much of the tragedy king in most of his roles. Or perhaps, I was so smitten by Shammi Kapoor and Dev Anand (in his pre-1965 Guide years) that I did not notice any one else (and this was in the late 80s when all these gentlemen were past their prime)! But yes as an actor, Dilip Kumar did not irritate me (the way Raj Kapoor did!)…. and so I would pick a Dilip Kumar movie any day over a Raj Kapoor one (and it turns out, I have watched quite a few of them!) And of course his movies had lovely songs.
On his 92nd birthday, here are some of my favourite Dilip Kumar songs…
1) Saathi Haath Badhana (Naya Daur, 1957, Asha-Rafi, OPN): This B.R Chopra movie was in the news from the time of its making. Perhaps it was the drama associated with it, or perhaps the story (man vs machine) struck a deep chord in movie-goers of those days, it was one of the biggest hits of 1957 and also Dilip Kumar’s career. Paired opposite a pretty Vyjayanthimala (His co-star of many movies), this film boasted of excellent music. O.P. Nayyar won his only Filmfare award for this score. This film established Asha Bhosle as a leading singer. Sahir wrote the lyrics of this unforgettable score. The songs range from a romantic, joyous Maang Ke Saath Tumhara (a typical OPN Tanga song) to the patriotic Bhangra Yeh Desh Hai Veer Jawanon Ka to the Punjabi folk inspired Reshmi Salwar Kurta Jaali Ka and Udein Jab Jab Zulfein Teri to the devotional bhajan Aana Hai toh Aa Raah Mein. The song I list here is this inspiring song (very unlike a typical OPN number right from the starting notes to the antara) that was taught in Hindi textbooks at one point in time.
2) Dil Mein Chhupa Ke Pyar Ka Toofan Le Chale (Aan, 1952, Rafi, Naushad): One of my earliest favourite songs that I can remember; I have not watched the movie though – only in bits and snatches. My father used to love this song and so do I. This movie marked the debut a gorgeous and oh-so-haughty Nadira as a princess and starred Premnath and Nimmi. It was the first Indian film in technicolour and one of the biggest hits of that year. In this, Dilip Kumar, who plays a local village leader kidnaps the woman he loves in a taanga… Lovely music, rhythm, singing and he looks nice too.
3) Toote Hue Khwabon Mein (Madhumati, 1958, Rafi, Salil Choudhary): Madhumati is probably the earliest Hindi movie made on reincarnation. And that too by Bimal Roy, who is known for his realistic social films like Do Bigha Zameen, Sujata and Parakh to name a few. A commercial blockbuster, it won nine Filmfare awards that year, a feat that was to be broken by Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge in 1995!
Madhumati is one of the earliest movies I remember watching – a typical formula movie bordering on the supernatural and tragic. It had fantastic performances by Dilip Kumar and Vyjayanthimala in the lead roles. Pran was amazingly menacing as the baddie and dear old Johnny Walker excelled, as always, in a brief comic role. The music by Salil Choudhury is timeless – remembered to this day. It has gems such as Zulmi Sang Aankh Ladi, Ghadi Ghadi Mora Dil Dhadke, Suhana Safar to name a few. My favourite song is the drunk Jungal Mein Mor Nacha, sung brilliantly by Mohd Rafi, however since that was not picturised on Dilip Kumar, it is not on this list. Instead, listen to the other Rafi number – filled with so much pain and pathos (comes out both in the singing and picturisation.) Dilip Kumar manages to convey the loss without being melodramatic.
4) Yeh Mera Deewanapan Hai (Yahudi, 1958, Mukesh, Shankar-Jaikishen): This is one of my favourite Mukesh numbers; picturised on Dilip Kumar, who plays a Roman prince, as he waits for his loved one (Meena Kumari as a Jewish girl) to come. It is an emotional number, sung and enacted superbly, as he waits for her – irrespective of whether she comes or not. Brilliant.
5) Aaj Purani Raahon Se Koi Mujhe Aawaz Na De (Aadmi, 1968, Rafi, Naushad): Another number I got to listen to and love, only because it happens to be one of my father’s favourite songs (and movie, I suspect, as it starred both his favourites – Dilip Kumar and Manoj Kumar.) I did not like the movie one bit, however the song still remains a favourite. It is a cynical number, as the character is bitter and all alone. But he finally realises his own selfishness and has emerged a better person after the trials (all self-inflicted by the way!)
6) Madhuban Mein Radhika Naache Re (Kohinoor, 1960, Rafi, Naushad): What can one say about this masterpiece of a song? This is simply perfect – be it the dance by Kumkum, or the way Dilip Kumar acts (as a classical singer and playing the sitar; he looks good too) and of course the singing (Rafi excels, but when does he not?) and music. Scintillating!
7) Aaj Ki Raat Mere Dil Ki (Ram Shyam, 1967, Mohd Rafi, Naushad): This Dilip Kumar list is turning out to be more and more a list of my father’s favourite songs. It is interesting how one gets influenced by one’s parents. My love for hindi songs is largely due to my father. And Dilip Kumar was one of his favourites – so I remember getting to see and listen to all the songs he liked particularly. And somewhere down the line, these songs are present in my consciousness as warm, fuzzy, comforting memories. This is one such number!
8) Koi Sagar Dil Ko Behlata Nahin (Dil Diya Dard Liya, 1966, Rafi, Naushad): This was the Bollywood interpretation of Wuthering Heights, with Dilip Kumar playing Heathcliff. In this wonderful number filled with pathos and melancholy, the hero is drowning his sorrows and old memories in alcohol. While I did not like the movie much, the songs are mesmerizing – Guzre Hain Aaj Is Makaam Se, Saawan Aye Na Aaye to name a few.
9) Aye Mere Dil Kahin Aur Chal (Daag, 1952, Talat Mahmood, Shankar-Jaikishen): This is a lovely Talat number that speaks of the loneliness, despair and the desertion that the character has faced and wants to get away. Simply beautiful.
10) Aaj Kal Shauq-e-deedar Hai (Leader, 1964, Rafi-Asha, Naushad): Ending my list with a nice Rafi-Asha duet, that sounds like a qawwali but is not picturised as one! It is a telephonic conversation, instead! Picturised on Dilip Kumar and Vyjayanthimala, this 1964 film had some other lovely songs.
Happy Birthday, Dilip Saab! Wishing you good health and many more…