Some years back, the vibrant city of Amsterdam with winding canals and narrow houses and steep staircases was the place I used to call home. A singular aspect of life in Amsterdam is cycling. The entire city has a cycling path of nearly 400 kms. It is the preferred mode of travel for most residents. You aren’t an Amsterdammer if you do not cycle or have tales about stolen, lost bicycles. My brother, who lives in Amsterdam, had come visiting a couple of weeks back. As we conversed, the topic veered towards cycles. He had lost his bike the day before he came to India and he was cribbing about having to go back and get another one – making this his third in the last year. I was reminded then of my own dear bicycle, much loved once, and now lying abandoned and neglected in a store room. The topic of this post came to my mind as I was cleaning and checking it.
Today cars may have flooded the streets of our country but at one point in time, in the forties and fifties, cycle was the most affordable and common mode of transportation for most Indians. Hence not that much of a surprise that cycles featured prominently in the movies till about the 70s or 80s.
There are so many songs picturised with the hero / heroine/ other actors on a bicycle. This is a compilation of 10 of my favourite cycle songs – with one restriction. The person who lip synchs the song has to be riding the bicycle for either the whole song or at least 80% of the time in the song. This automatically rules out Pukarta chala hoon main – one of my all-time favourites that has Asha Parekh perched prettily on a cycle. I have also not included the lovely Mana Janab ne pukara nahin, as Dev Anand prances, for most of the song, with a cycle and not on it.
So here goes:
1) Main Chali main chali dekho pyar ki gali (Padosan, 1968, Lata Mangeshkar and Asha Bhosle, R.D. Burman): This for me is the bicycle song. The heroine out on a picnic with her saheliyon ki toli, eager to fall in love is a standard trope in Hindi cinema and the cycle does play an important role. For one, thats how they get to the picnic spot and invariably the heroine bumps into (sometimes literally too) the hero and the love story is kicked off.
Here, her sahelis are advising her caution and warning her of the pitfalls of love. Yes towards the end, they also start extolling the virtues of love! This is a lovely, chirpy, lilting song picturised on Saira Banu and her sahelis, out for a picnic on the clean, broad streets of picturesque Mysore. A wonderful song from a memorable movie.
2) Ban ke panchchi gaye pyar ka tarana (Anari, 1959, Lata Mangeshkar, Shankar-Jaikishen): Same situation, but from a film from the fifties. Again, scenic locales, melodious music and pretty girls! Nutan, Shubha Khote and their friends are all out, happy and chirpy, and waiting to fall in love! Oh yes, the hero is also seen on a cycle. The hero and heroine do meet – after a collision. No, its not love at first sight, thankfully!
3) Akela hoon main is duniya main (Baat ek raat ki, 1962, Mohd Rafi, S.D.Burman): Here we have the hero singing about his woes – he is all alone and lonely with not a companion but his shadow. This melodious number is sung by Rafi and is picturised on Dev Anand, who spends a little more than half of this song on a cycle and then moves on to a boat.
4) Dil mera ek aas ka panchchi (Aas ka panchchi, 1961, Subir Sen, Shankar-Jaikishen): This is a hopeful, happy song brimming with idealism and optimism. It is filmed on Rajendra Kumar, as an NCC cadet along with his fellow cadets. All of them are on cycles through out the song. I had read somewhere that Subir Sen had packed his bags and gone back to Calcutta. But this song was released and became a big hit and he had to come back.
5) Saanwle Salone aaye din bahaar ke (Ek hi raasta, 1956, Lata Mangeshkar and Hemant Kumar, Hemant Kumar): This is a song I heard only recently, when Madhu did a post on her favourite spring songs. But what a sweet number it is. Again a picnic number. A family is off for a picnic on their cycles through an idyllic countryside. Sunil Dutt looks good and so does Meena Kumari (0ne of her happier songs).
6) Michael hai to cycle hai (Bewaqoof, 1960, Kishore Kumar and Asha Bhosle, S.D.Burman): A goofy number picturised on Kishore Kumar and Mala Sinha about a Michael and his cycle. A typical Kishore-Asha duet, chirpy, full of repartee, and very well sung.
7) Hey maine kasam li (Tere Mere Sapne, 1971, Lata Mangeshkar and Kishore Kumar, S.D.Burman): Dev Anand was past his prime when he did Tere mere Sapne, but the film had memorable music and a lovely Mumtaz in it. This sweet duet is picturised on both of them on a cycle, singing about their immortal love as they pass through yellow mustard fields.
8) Aanchal ko udne do (Picnic, 1966, Asha Bhosle, S. Mohinder): A peppy number picturised on a pretty young girl with her toli of friends, celebrating their youth, the weather and life in general. The actress in question is Azra, the lady who featured in that classic Suku Suku song from Junglee (which reminds me that its been a real while since I watched that movie!)
9) Chal Mere dil lehra ke chal (Ishaara, 1964, Mukesh, Kalyanji Anandji): Joy Mukherjee is cycling through the streets of Delhi, singing this song, happily. I used to cycle a lot during my school days and no, by then unfortunately, Delhi roads were not as empty as they were here. I had watched this movie ages back and all I remember now is wanting to whack both Joy Mukherjee and Vyjayantimala on their heads. One of the few Mukesh songs I like, this song is composed by Kalyanji Anandji.
10) Guzar jaye din din (Annadata, 1972, Kishore Kumar, Salil Chowdhury): Ending this list with a beautiful Salilda composition. Sung by Kishore Kumar and picturised on Anil Dhawan, this intricate composition, while easy to listen to, is not at all easy to sing. (like most of Salilda’s compositions!) Apparently Kishore Kumar needed several takes to get this melodious number right and he even had nightmares about this.
I’ve been meaning – for a long time now – to do a cycle songs list someday, but have never been able to think up 10 songs that would qualify. My still-in-my-mind list would certainly have had some of the first few songs you’ve listed (Aye maine kasam li, though a gorgeous song, wouldn’t have made it, because it’s firmly in the 70s). But the other songs – song#6 onwards, were almost all new to me. I think I’ve heard the last one before, but can’t be sure.
By the way, I noticed something in that song from Picnic (which I loved, by the way): there is music in the interludes which resembles, to quite an extent, the music in the ‘club scene interludes’ from Dil thhaam chale hum, from Love in Simla. Coincidentally, of course, also with Azra!
Here’s another song which occurred to me. Not a great film, though it’s not terrible – and I did love the chemistry between the Vijay Anand and Shakila characters: they were delightful. Here, in Unse rippi-tippi ho gayi, the singing is divided equally between the people in the car and the people on the cycles.
Oh yes, I love that Picnic song. Is the Dil thaam chale song the one Joy Mukherjee sings in the train? I have completely forgotten Love In Simla – yet another movie to rewatch!
Guzar jaye din is one of my favourites. The soundtrack of Annadata was lovely.
Unse rippi-tippi ho gayi was on my shortlist; but dropped it cos the singing was divided equally between the people in the car and the people on the cycles. Vijay Anand was charming, was he not? He did not have the swagger of Dev; instead was slightly vulnerable which was attractive. Which reminds me that I should re-watch and review Kala Bazaar.
Yes, Dil thhaam chale was the one with Joy Mukherji on the train. The interludes of the song switch the picturisation to the club in Simla where Azra and her friends are dancing. It’s been a while since I watched that film too, but I remember that song pretty well. 🙂
Oh, and I agree about Vijay Anand: there was a charm about him, especially in Agra Road, which I found very endearing. He wasn’t as handsome as Dev Anand (I’m talking about films like CID), but I still find him very attractive. And no mean actor, either.
I was away for most of today, and this is the first chance I’ve had of reading your post, Harini. I had thought of writing a post on ‘cycle songs’ but I knew someone in blogland had already posted a ‘cycle songs’ list – I thought it was Madhu, since she’s the one who’s done the most of ‘transport/transit’ songs, but obviously (from her comment above), it is not her… 🙂
Lovely list, and I particularly like Banke panchchi, Saanwle salone, and Guzar jaaye din. My additions:
Ye zindagi ka mausam from Ghoonghat
It’s a faster version of Insaaf ke dagar pe…
(And it has your Asha Parekh as well – one cannot mistake that backside! *grin)
Zara ruk jaa from Sitaaron se Aagey
Suno suno re bhaiyya from Paigham
Mere peeche ek deewana from Nazrana
and this one, from a later vintage:
Dakiya daak laaya from Palkon ki Chaaon Mein
🙂 Thanks! I had considered four of the five songs you listed for this post.
Suno Suno re bhaiyya is the ultimate cycle song, no? They never get off their cycles and the situation is also unique. But I did not list it as I am not that fond of the song.
I like Yeh zindagi ka mausam quite a bit – LOL yes, my Asha and her backside cannot be missed. (Btw, while I like Asha Parekh, am more a Nutan fan :-))
How many bikes have you had stolen? 🙂
Interesting blog H, like you I have a list of “bus” songs that I listen to in loop.
Actually, only 1 in 5 years. Not bad, na? 🙂
Thanks, Pri for commenting.
All my favorite cycle songs as well. I never mastered the art of cycling, but love the songs where the heroine (more likely to be her than the hero) riding away singing songs, dressed to the nines!
Thanks, Ava! I love the songs and also love to cycle. I had a small basket just like the one that Shubha Khote has in that Anari song. I remembered the song as I bought that basket for my cycle 🙂
Loved your cycle song list Harini! 🙂
Thanks, Deepa 🙂
Pingback: Carnival of Blogs on Golden Era of Hindi Film Music – June 2015 | The world is too small? or Is it?