The actor, nicknamed Jubilee Kumar, was part of several hit films of the 1950s and 1960s. On his 90th birth anniversary, we look at some of his popular romantic numbers that have withstood the test of time.
10 enduring romantic numbers of Rajendra Kumar: Birth anniversary special
Mumbai - 20 Jul 2019 15:00 IST
Beginning with Vachan (1955), Rajendra Kumar became a star from a small-time actor. The man who began his career as an assistant to Harnam Singh Rawail was now a leading man.
He was born RK Tulli in Sialkot, now in Pakistan, on 20 July 1929, but became Rajendra Kumar in Mumbai (then Bombay). After Partition, his days of struggle eventually faded away. The reticent star delivered back-to-back hits from 1959 to 1966, earning the nickname 'Jubilee Kumar'.
Of course, these films all had memorable numbers, most of them romantic. The actor had his own signature, albeit more reserved, style of wooing his heroines.
Here then are 10 of Rajendra Kumar's evergreen romantic hits that we can still listen to and watch today.
1. ‘Tere Sur Aur Mere Geet’ — Goonj Uthi Shehnai (1959)
As a romantic hero, Rajendra Kumar took centrestage as the talented shehnai player Kishan in this tragic romance where he was paired with Ameeta. Their characters are childhood sweethearts forced to separate due to the opinions of others.
'Tere Sur Aur Mere Geet' defines the romance between Kishan and Gopi. The music of Vasant Desai and lyrics by Bharat Vyas elevated this Vijay Bhatt film, but it was the shehnai played by Ustad Bismillah Khan that gives it classic status.
2. ‘Tere Pyaar Ka Aasra Chaahta Hoon’ — Dhool Ka Phool (1959)
The N Dutta composition, ‘Tere Pyaar Ka Aasra Chaahta Hoon’, written by Sahir Ludhianvi, has a playful jugalbandi between Rajendra Kumar and Mala Sinha. Mahendra Kapoor is Rajendra Kumar's voice while Lata Mangeshkar sings for Sinha.
The actor’s character Mahesh is a rigid man who initially thinks of the world as black and white. This flirtatious number takes place at a different stage of the character’s life in the drama directed by Yash Chopra.
3. ‘Teri Pyari Pyari Surat Ko’ — Sasural (1961)
The LV Prasad film Sasural (1961) featured Rajendra Kumar as a ghar jamai. However, his mother-in-law doesn’t fully accept him and plots to get rid of him. In this evergreen song ‘Teri Pyari Pyari Surat Ko’, from composers Shankar-Jaikishan and lyricist Hasrat Jaipuri, the actor pursues his classmate and wife-to-be Bela (Saroja Devi). Like most films of that era, it dealt with a poor boy-rich girl storyline.
4. ‘Mujhko Apne Gale Laga Lo’ — Hamrahi (1963)
In T Prakash Rao's Hamrahi (1963), the actor played against type as a philanderer who later reforms himself. This duet featured the lesser-known singer Mubarak Begum with Mohammed Rafi by Shankar-Jaikishan. The lovely romantic number written by Hasrat Jaipuri is completely reminiscent of the chaste romances of the 1960s. Rajendra Kumar was paired opposite Jamuna in the drama.
5. ‘Mere Mehboob’ — Mere Mehboob (1963)
HS Rawail's Muslim social Mere Mehboob was the big hit of the year. Its music by Naushad and lyrics by Shakeel Badayuni also stayed at the top of the charts. Set in the city of Lucknow, the film saw Rajendra Kumar play Anwar Hussain who falls in love with Sadhana’s Husna Bano and woos her with poetry.
In the title song, sung by Mohammed Rafi, Anwar declares his intentions to the entire crowd which includes his beloved. The performance number was actually filmed in the hall of Aligarh Muslim University.
6. 'Yeh Mera Prem Patra' — Sangam (1964)
In the classic love triangle Sangam (1964), filmmaker Raj Kapoor plays the obsessed Sundar whose love for Radha (Vyjayathimala) causes her and his best friend Gopal (Rajendra Kumar) to give up their own love for each other. When Sundar is presumed dead when the aircraft he is flying is shot down, Radha and Gopal tentatively find their way back to one other.
Here, Gopal writes her a love letter (not knowing it will cause much grief later) in this Hasrat Jaipuri song composed by Shankar-Jaikishan. The duet was sung by Mohammed Rafi and Lata Mangeshkar.
7. 'Aye Nargise Mastana' — Arzoo (1965)
Rajendra Kumar won his third consecutive Filmfare nomination for Best Actor for his performance as Gopal aka Sarju in Arzoo (1965). The melodramatic film, directed by Ramanand Sagar, featured the actor as a proud athlete who stays away from his love Usha (Sadhana) after he is disabled in a car accident.
While the film's subject and attitudes are worrisome now, the music has remained timeless, including this delightful romantic number, 'Ae Nargise Mastana', from the team of lyricist Hasrat Jaipuri and Shankar-Jaikishan. The actor’s singing voice was provided by Mohammed Rafi.
8. ‘Kaun Hai Jo Sapnon Mein Aaya’ — Jhuk Gaya Aasman (1968)
In this road song, Rajendra Kumar joyfully sings of his love, Priya (Saira Banu), with whom he has plans of marriage. As a simple tourist guide Sanjay, he has his life set out in front of him until an angel decides to intervene and turn it upside down.
‘Kaun Hai Jo Sapnon Mein Aaya’, wonderfully rendered by Mohammed Rafi, was written by Hasrat Jaipuri and the Shankar-Jaikishan tune borrowed heavily from the Elvis Presley song 'Marguerita'.
9. 'Rimjhim Ke Geet Saawan Gaaye' — Anjaana (1969)
Rajendra Kumar was paired opposite Babita in this Mohan Kumar film. The story focused on the class divide between the characters, Raju and Rachna. They fall in love despite their differences. In this Laxmikant-Pyarelal song, written by Anand Bakshi, the pair romance each other, seeking shelter from the rains. The duet was another winner by Mohammed Rafi and Lata Mangeshkar.
10. ‘Aap Aye Bahaar Ayee’ — Aap Aye Bahaar Ayee (1971)
For the title song of the film, Rajendra Kumar and Sadhana were once again cast opposite each other, thanks to filmmaker Mohan Kumar. Rohit (Rajendra Kumar) and Neena (Sadhana) meet while the former is visiting her father’s estates. Naturally, they fall in love. Mohammed Rafi sings an effusive number, penned by Anand Bakshi, about how his life has been enriched by her love. The romantic track is composed by Laxmikant-Pyarelal.