Article Hindi

10 top-notch songs from lyricist Rajinder Krishan


Rajinder Krishan was a popular lyricist in Hindi cinema for nearly five decades. On his 98th birth anniversary, we revisit 10 of his memorable numbers.

Sonal Pandya

Rajinder Krishan, the man behind such early hit numbers as ‘Mere Piya Gaye Rangoon’ from Patanga (1949), ‘Eena Meena Deeka’ from Aasha (1952), and ‘Ye Zindagi Usiki Hai’ from Anarkali (1953), was a skilled dialogue writer and lyricist associated with the Hindi film industry for nearly five decades.

On Rajinder Krishan's 98th birth anniversary, we revisit 10 of his more memorable tunes:

1. ‘Chup Chup Khade Ho’ – Bari Bahen (1949)

The up-tempo number ‘Chup Chup Khade Ho’ was among writer-lyricist Rajinder Krishan’s early hits in his prolific career. Sung by Lata Mangeshkar and Premlata, the song was composed by the duo Husnlal-Bhagatram. Bari Bahen (1949), starring Suraiya, Rehman and Geeta Bali, was about the bond between two sisters. Suraiya played the self-sacrificing older sister Shama who will go to any lengths to protect her younger sister Kiran (Bali), even letting go of the man she loves, the good doctor Shyam (Rehman).

2. ‘Shaam Dhale Khirki Tale’ – Albela (1951)

The musical hit Albela (1951) was a triumph largely due to its successful partnership between composer C Ramchandra and lyricist Rajinder Krishan. Together, they created 12 songs that boosted the comedy starring Bhagwan Dada and Geeta Bali. While ‘Shola Jo Bhadke’ is an unmistakable standout, ‘Shaam Dhale Khirki Tale’ is a delightful and flirtatious love duet, sung by Lata Mangeshkar and Chitalkar (C Ramchandra’s alias as a singer). Both Bhagwan and Geeta Bali added to the charm of the song with spot-on mannerisms.

3. ‘Man Dole Mera Tan Dole’ – Nagin (1954)

An age-old story of ill-fated love, Nagin, directed by Nandlal Jaswantlal, boasted of a hit album with 13 songs composed by Hemanta Mukherjee (aka the singer Hemant Kumar). The lyrics of the soundtrack were all penned by Rajinder Krishan and the main track to gain popularity was ‘Man Dole Mera Tan Dole’ sung by Lata Mangeshkar. The ‘been’ music, which was the backbone of the song, was actually played by two musicians who went on to become composers in their own right, Kalyanji Virji Shah on the clavioline and Ravi on the harmonium.

4. ‘Aye Dil Mujhe Bata De’ – Bhai Bhai (1956)

Real-life brothers Ashok Kumar and Kishore Kumar played on-screen brothers in this feature directed by MV Raman. Ashok Kumar was the dutiful, married older brother who goes astray when he falls for a pretty young woman, Sangeeta (Shyama), and decides to upend his whole life for her. Kishore Kumar played the black sheep who has run away from home and reunites the family in the end. In this upbeat song ‘Ae Dil Mujhe Bata De’, sung by Geeta Dutt, Rajinder Krishan expertly wrote a joyful love song picturized on the actress Shyama. The song was one of music composer Madan Mohan’s early hit tunes.

5. ‘Tum Hi Ho Mata Pita Tum Hi Ho’ – Main Chup Rahungi (1962)

The year 1962 was a landmark for actress Meena Kumari. Besides Main Chup Rahungi, she had fine performances in Aarti and Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam. In this drama by A Bhimsingh, Meena Kumari takes centrestage as Gayetri, a young woman who has to give up her child to an orphanage. The child artiste Babloo played her son Shyam on whom the song ‘Tum Hi Ho Mata Pita Tum Hi Ho’ was picturized. The prayer anthem composed by Chitragupt became necessary listening in schools across the country after its release. The poignant verse by Rajinder Krishan remains significant as ever.

6. ‘Govinda Aala Re Aala’ – Bluff Master (1963)

The song ‘Govinda Aala Re Aala’ from Manmohan Desai’s Bluff Master (1963) showed off the filmmaker’s vibrant connection to the city of Mumbai. Shammi Kapoor’s character Ashok is shown to be living in a chawl, not unlike the humble beginnings of the filmmaker himself, and Kapoor mingles amongst the ordinary people to celebrate the occasion of Dahi Handi. The festival tune ‘Govinda Aala Re Aala’, written by Rajinder Krishan and composed by Kalyanji-Anandji, in the vocals of Mohammed Rafi, is heard every year on this occasion.

7. ‘Tumhi Mere Mandir’ – Khandan (1965)

A remake of the Tamil film, Bhagapirivinai (1959), Khandan was a box-office hit for director A Bhimsingh. The song ‘Tumhi Mere Mandir’ proved to be a boon to all those involved. Music composer Ravi won his second Filmfare award for Best Director while singer Lata Mangeshkar won her third for Best Female Playback Singer. Surprisingly, this number was Rajinder Krishan’s only win for Best Lyricist in his career. ‘Tumhi Mere Mandir’ was number five on the annual Binaca Geetmala list for that year.

8. ‘Kehna Hai’ – Padosan (1968)

Rajinder Krishan, also a successful screenwriter, wrote the dialogues and lyrics for Jyoti Swaroop’s laugh-riot Padosan (1968) which had music composed by RD Burman. The cult comedy, produced by the comedian Mehmood, has gone down as a standout in the careers of Sunil Dutt and Saira Banu. The numbers ‘Ek Chatur Naar’ and ‘Mere Samne Wali Khidki Mein’ are more well-known, but the love song ‘Kehna Hai’ sung by Kishore Kumar deserves to be highlighted. Picturized on Sunil Dutt (Bhola) as he woos his pretty neighbour Saira Banu (Bindu), the song sequence shows the turning point for the two in their budding romance as a big secret is finally revealed.

9. ‘Dekha Na Haye Re’ – Bombay To Goa (1972)

Working again in a Mehmood production, Rajinder Krishan wrote the dialogues and lyrics for the road comedy caper Bombay to Goa (1972). The fun number, ‘Dekha Na Haye Re’, sung with gusto by Kishore Kumar, featured a large portion of the ensemble cast of Aruna Irani, Shatrughan Sinha, Nazir Hussain, Mehmood and others. The film was Amitabh Bachchan’s first hit as a leading man. The music was composed by RD Burman and the soundtrack has remained popular ever since.

10. ‘Pal Pal Dil Ke Pass’ – Blackmail (1973)

Vijay Anand’s Blackmail had Dharmendra, Rakhee and Shatrughan Sinha in a love triangle. By this time, Rajinder Krishan had lessened his workload but he still produced the ultimate love song in his fourth decade in the film industry. With music composed by Kalyanji-Anandji, ‘Pal Pal Dil Ke Pass’ was picturized on Rakhee imagining the love letters sent to her by Dharmendra, who was in fine romantic mode here. Recently, the song was rebooted for the film Wajah Tum Ho (2016) and has been covered by the popular YouTube band Sanam.