My favourite Hemant Kumar Songs

hemant-kumar-1 HKGDRDB HK_MD_MK

I must have been around 12 years old when I got hooked to old Hindi songs. I had begun to recognise different voices and started forming distinct preferences during this discovery phase. Asha Bhosle was and is my favourite female playback singer. Among the male voices, while Rafi was and is my favourite, I was also fond of Manna Dey and Hemant Kumar. It was rather a shock when Hemant Kumar died in September that very year.

Had he been alive, Hemant Kumar Mukherjee would have turned 95 today (June 16, 2015). So as a birthday anniversary tribute to him, here is a list of my favourite 10 Hemantda solos.

1) Tum Pukar lo, tumhara intezaar hai (Khamoshi, 1969, MD: Hemant Kumar): This haunting number from Khamoshi is one of my all-time favourites. Khamoshi was a masterpiece, be it Waheeda Rehman’s acting, Ashutosh Mukherjee’s story or Asit Sen’s direction. Gulzar’s emotional lyrics and Hemant Kumar’s mesmerising music also contributed heavily. This song is wonderfully picturised with the focus on Waheeda’s anguished face and Dharmendra’s restless pacing. What gives this song its ethereal quality is Hemant Kumar’s voice – anguished, throbbing with passion as it conveys the longing, loneliness and bechaini associated with unrequited love. Simply splendid!

2) Jaane woh kaise log the jinke (Pyaasa, 1957, MD – S.D. Burman): A deeply bitter, poignant song from a poignant movie. This is a party song, sung in the middle of many revellers, but is hauntingly bitter. Hemantda’s sweet rendition aptly conveys the heartbreak and bitterness of the disillusioned poet. Sahir’s lyrics are outstanding!

3) Na tum humein jano (Baat ek raat ki, 1962, S.D.Burman): This is a favourite from those Chitrahaar and Rangoli days. This song begins with a gentle humming and then moves off into an equally gentle set of vocals. It sounds gentle, melodious and is very romantic. The brief bit, that Suman Kalyanpur sings, blends in so well making this Burmanda composition an instant classic.

4) Teri duniya mein jeene se toh behtar hai (House no 44, 1955, S.D. Burman): Another song picturised on Dev Anand. Hemant Kumar sang a lot for Dev Anand. This is an interesting song. The tune is frothy and easy on the ears. (R.D. Burman is said to have played the harmonica.) However, Sahir’s lyrics are far from that – the words are poignant and pained as the protagonist prays for some happiness. The song starts off with Asha humming this song, and Hemant continues the humming. However, the end result is hardly discordant as Hemant Kumar’s gentle voice takes centrestage. Lovely!

5) Yeh raat yeh chandni phir kahan (Jaal, 1953, S.D. Burman): My introduction to this song was on the day Hemant da died when Doordarshan played it as a part of a compilation. Hemant Kumar’s gentle and swaying vocals, along with the Dev Anand and Geeta Bali’s expressions make this a romantic and seductive number.

6) Ya dil ki suno duniyawalon (Anupama, 1966, Hemant Kumar): A favourite from a sensitive film of the sixties starring Dharmendra and Sharmila Tagore. Reminiscent of Jaane woh kaise log thhe in its picturisation, this song has touching, sensitive lyrics by Kaifi Azmi. Hemant Kumar renders these sensitive words faithfully, fully capturing the pain and sympathy underlying them. There is a story about this tune that it had been composed for Guru Dutt’s Saheb Bibi aur Ghulam but did not get used there.

7) Raah bani khud manzil (Kohra, 1964, Hemant Kumar): This Biren Nag directed 1964 remake of Rebecca was nothing to write home about. Its pluses however included a charming Waheeda who acted well and  superb music by Hemant Kumar. I was torn between this song and that gentle and very romantic Yeh nayan dare dare; but decided to go with the less popular number of the two!

8) Hai apna dil toh awara (Solva Saal, 1958, S.D. Burman): Now for a number thats very different from all the other songs listed above. A complete chhed-chhad song, this one is flirtatious and light. Hemant Kumar, playback for an attractive Dev Anand, has sung it so well – very smooth!

9) Lahron pe laher (Chhabili, 1960, Snehal Bhatkar): This melodious, romantic number is from Tanuja’s debut film. While the video is not available, do listen to Hemant da’s gentle rendition.

10) Na yeh chaand hoga na taare rahenge (Shart, 1954, Hemant Kumar): Ending this list with one of Hemantda’s immortal compositions. This haunting song about immortal and undying love has a Geeta Dutt version (I prefer that one more) but this one is very good too. There is a haunting, aching quality to Hemant da’s voice – singing a song in his second Hindi film as a composer.  Memorable!

Happy Birthday and thank you, Hemant Kumar!

9 thoughts on “My favourite Hemant Kumar Songs

  1. Wow, post after post after post! You’re very prolific! 🙂

    Such lovely songs, Harini. Really wonderful ones. My favourites from your list are songs 1, 3, 5, 6, 8 and 10. Especially Ye raat ye chaandni phir kahan. *Shhhhhiiiiiverrrr*

    Other favourites?

    From Bees Saal Baad

    From House no.44

    From Manzil

    and this version of Vande Mataram from Anand Math

    Thank you. 🙂 (Though why I should thank you for keeping me from my sleep, listening to all the songs you have listed is beyond me! *grin)

    1. Thanks, Anu 🙂 LOL, sheer coincidence that there was such a short gap between my last two posts. This Hemant Kumar post had been scheduled a while a back.

      Yeh raat yeh chandni phir kahan gives me gooseflesh each time I listen to it. it is soo lovely!

      The Manzil song was on my shortlist – replaced it with the Chhabili song at the end. I love the Vande Mataram song, yes, but in my mind, it shall always remain a Lata Mangeshkar song :-/

      LOL, I am not responsible, if you stayed awake and listened to all the songs I listed =)

      P.S- have corrected the links in your comment.

  2. Sorry, the links seem to have been messed up. Would you be a dear and correct them for me?

    This is the House No.44 song:

    and this is the song from Manzil

    Sorry. 😦

  3. What a great list, Harini! (And I suppose I would agree, considering my Hemant list had several of these songs in it – right up at the top was Tum pukaar lo, too – just the thought of that song gives me gooseflesh!) You have a wonderful selection here, including some unusual ones (Raah bani khud manzil does get usually overlooked, even though it’s a nice song). By the way, the tune for Yeh nayan dare-dare was used for Ei raat tomaar aamaar, the song equivalent of Tum pukaar lo in Deep Jwele Jaai, the original of Khamoshi:

    Since Anu has already plugged in one of the two Hemant songs from Bees Saal Baad that I love, let me add the other. Zara nazron se keh do ji:

    And, one actor for whom I’ve only heard Hemant sing this once. I never thought I’d find the Shammi Kapoor-Hemant pairing believable, but I think it does work here. This is Ae dil ab kahin le jaa from Bluffmaster:

    1. Thanks, Madhu! 🙂 Not at all surprised that several of these songs featured in your list too. Yes, Raah bani khud manzil does get overlooked often, despite being a lovely song, which is why I made it a point to list it here.

      Aah, the Bluffmaster song – had completely forgotten about that one. One of those rare movies where Shammi Kapoor had so many different playback singers singing for him – Mukesh, Hemant, Rafi and even Shamshad! 🙂

  4. Here are some more songs of Hemant Kumar under other music directors:

    C Ramchandra:
    Aye baad-e-shaba jara ahista chal, tahan so hui hai Anarkali – Anarkali 1953

    Jindagi Pyar Ki DO Char Ghadi Hoti Hai – Anarkali 1953 –

    Zameen Chal Rahi, Aasman Chal Raha Hai – Pheli Jhalak (1954)

    Ital Ke Ghar Tital – Bahurani (1963) –

    Madan Mohan

    Kho Jaane Kahan Arzoon Ka Jahan – Mohar –

    Shankar Jaikishan

    Ham Kathputle Hai Kath Ke – Shikast 1953 –

    Rula Kar Chal Diye Ek Din Hasin Ban Kar Jo Aaye The – Badshah 1954 –

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