Ten of my favourite Asha Parekh Songs

Today is the 68th birthday of one of my favourite actresses: Asha Parekh, beautiful, expressive, a fine actress and an excellent dancer.

Although she had worked in a handful of films as a child actress, Asha’s first onscreen appearance as an adult was an uncredited role in the Vyjyantimala-Kishore Kumar starrer Asha (1957). A year later, in 1958, she was billed in Dil Deke Dekho as ‘a Filmistan discovery’. And what a discovery! All through the 60’s, and into the first couple of years in the 70’s, Asha Parekh appeared in many of Bollywood’s biggest, most colourful, most entertaining films: Dil Deke Dekho, Jab Pyaar Kisi Se Hota Hai, Phir Wohi Dil Laaya Hoon, Love in Tokyo, Mere Sanam, Teesri Manzil
So, in commemoration: a list of ten of my favourite Asha Parekh songs, all from films that I’ve seen. And, to prevent myself listing all the songs of films like Love in Tokyo, I’m restricting myself to only one song per film.

Happy birthday, Ashaji!

O mere sona re sona re sona (Teesri Manzil, 1966): Teesri Manzil has several terrific songs, but I must admit to a soft spot for this one. Asha Parekh dazzles as the girl trying to cajole a huffy sweetheart whom she’s been guilty of thinking a lecher. And though she’s doing her best to woo him back, she isn’t above teasing him, manhandling (womanhandling?) him and his bag, and generally driving him up the wall—yet captivating him too, all the while. Lovely tune, great lyrics, superb picturisation, Shammi Kapoor. And Asha at her best.

Jab chali thandi hawa jab uthi kaali ghata (Do Badan, 1966): A tragic film, but with this wonderful song that I simply love. Asha Parekh plays a woman separated from the man she loves. What I especially like about this song is the subtle way in which Asha Parekh brings to life the nuances of what her character feels for the man she loves: amid the beauty and liveliness of her surroundings, she retreats into herself, missing her man so desperately that all is seemingly sorrow… but no, the thought of him brings a smile to her face and lightens her heart all over again.

Aankhon se jo utri hai dil mein (Phir Wohi Dil Laaya Hoon, 1963): Asha Parekh’s three films with Joy Mukherji—Phir Wohi Dil Laaya Hoon, Ziddi, and Love in Tokyo—had fabulous scores. Of all the songs in the three films, this is one of my favourites, with Asha playing a girl inadvertently intoxicated by some wild berries she’s eaten. I love the expression on her face: that slightly glazed look in the eyes, and that silly grin as she sings of a (as she supposes) long-lost lover, who is in fact just round the next haystack. Wonderful music, a very pretty heroine, lovely landscape—and a humorous bit of picturisation of “Andaaz woh uske aane ka” (“the style in which he arrives…”): a haystack wobbling along, trying to be discreet but failing terribly.

Daiyya yeh main kahaan aa phansi (Caravan, 1971): Pandemonium reigns in this completely lunatic stage show, where a really seedy audience watches Asha Parekh, Jeetendra, Junior Mehmood and their entourage—including a brood of hens—strut their stuff. Everybody’s funny, but Asha Parekh is the undisputed star as she pulls off impromptu magic tricks with an egg; dodges hens cackling and racing about onstage; climbs onto a pillow slung from a rope and goes swinging high over the crowd—and even wears, briefly, a tasseled lampshade in lieu of a hat. She’s a madcap: exuberant, vivacious, and so very comic. This, by the way, has been cited by Asha Bhonsle as the most difficult song she’s sung in her career.

Mujhe tum mil gaye humdum (Love in Tokyo, 1966): One of my favourite songs from a film that has several excellent songs. Asha Parekh looks exquisite and acts beautifully in this, a song that begins as a love song addressed to the man her character loves. In the course of the song, however, she is blackmailed into pretending a love for the villain—which changes the focus of her smiles and her coquetry. But her eyes, brimming with sorrow and regret, tell the truth.

Suno sajna papihe ne (Aaye Din Bahaar Ke, 1966): I hadn’t realised it earlier, but it looks like 1966 was a big year for Asha Parekh, what with films like Teesri Manzil, Do Badan, Love in Tokyo—and Aaye Din Bahaar Ke. This song from the film is one I especially like, a Lata solo serenading the halcyon days of spring, flower-filled and joyful, and with the added attraction of the singer being in love. And Dharmendra and Asha Parekh look so wonderful together!

Yeh meri zindagi ek paagal hawa (Ziddi, 1964): This song resembles the latter half of Mujhe tum mil gaye humdum, in that here too Asha Parekh’s character is putting on an act at a party. Here, though, the act is less obviously an act. She pirouettes around, flings herself at the men, plays the drums on a bald man’s pate, hauls herself up by her own plait—and shows the pain in her tear-filled eyes only in one darkened, secluded corner of the room where nobody can see her. Melodramatic, but still poignant.

Main na miloongi nazar hata lo (Pyaar ka Mausam, 1969): Asha Parekh in her element, clowning around for all she’s worth! I love her in this, all dolled up as she does a little dance on the highway (interspersing those lovely kathak steps with the twist!) and follows it up with hopscotch, some unrelenting pulling of a fed up Shashi Kapoor’s leg (not to mention his hair), and plenty of entertainment for everybody who’s passing by. A very catchy tune, and so much fun to both watch and listen to.

Chori chori tori aayi hai Radha (Hum Hindustani, 1960): What’s a collection of Asha Parekh songs without an Asha Parekh dance? There were plenty to choose from—Khat likh de saanwariya ke naam, Koi matwaala aaya mere dwaare, Chhedo na mohe Kanha, etc—but I prefer this one. Yes, the psychedelic designs of the background are jarring, and the attempt to recreate a Manipuri raas lila doesn’t quite succeed; the dancers’ skirts are all wrong, to start with. Despite all of that, this is a song I like a lot. The music is soothingly sweet, and with just a hint of Manipur in it. Asha Parekh is graceful, and there’s something almost fragile in her porcelain doll beauty. Refreshingly different from the more vigorous dances she performed in a lot of later films.

Jaaiye aap kahaan jaayenge (Mere Sanam, 1965): One of Asha Bhonsle’s best songs, from a film packed with great songs. Very romantic and very emphatic about the fact that the lover won’t be able to go a step away, even if he wants to. Even better, this song is packed with prettiness. The green hills are pretty, the pine trees are pretty, the white-blossoming tree is pretty. Asha Parekh is, of course, pretty. Even Biswajeet is pretty.

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65 thoughts on “Ten of my favourite Asha Parekh Songs

  1. I know so many people who don’t like Asha Parekh. Teja, for one. :) But I always love watching her on screen, there’s something so solid about her, for all her prettiness, like someone you know, and could chat away the afternoon with. The first and last on your list, are my absolute favourites. Now I feel like spending today watching an Asha Parekh film.

    • “like someone you know, and could chat away the afternoon with.” That’s such a good way of describing her! Very true. :-)

      And watching an Asha Parekh film would be a great way to spend an afternoon at home!

  2. Happy Birthday, Asha!
    Had great fun reading the post.
    There are so many good songs picturised on Asha. And when I started reading the list, I hoped ‘Mujhe tum mil gaye humdum’ would be there and was sure that ‘Parde me rehne do’ would be somewhere as well.
    I love all the songs in the list. Some of my favs which have not made to your list (a hard task) are
    Aaja piya tohe pyaar du and kya jaano sajan from Bharaon ke Sapne
    Kaanta laga from Samadhi (okay it is 1972, so cannot be included in your list!)
    Bade hai dil ke kaale from Dil Deke Dekho
    Itna na mujhse tu pyaar badha from Chaaya
    Chhayi Barakha Bahar from Chirag
    Lage na Mora Jiya from Ghunghat (a very un-Asha Parekh song)
    and one of my very fav song
    aao tumhe chand pe le jaye from zakhmee, but it is from 1975

    Enjoyed this one!

    • Parde mein rehne do was on this list too, but it got junked somewhere along the way in favour of Chori chori tori aayi hai Radha. Though, I guess if one were to compile Asha Parekh’s best ‘dance numbers’, I’d definitely put both Parde mein rehne do as well as Haaji baba (from Mere Sanam) on it.

      I was just priding myself on having seen most of Asha Parekh’s films, but you’ve just listed three that I haven’t seen: Baharon ke Sapne (well, that’s been on my list a long time now), Samadhi and Zakhmi. And will you believe it? I’ve never seen Kaanta laga, though I’ve heard it so often – and I had no idea it was picturised on Asha Parekh! I need to see this film fast.

      • It is a hard choice between Parde mein rehne do and Chori chori tori aayi hai radha. One is so sublime and the other so extroverted and jubilant. I think you will jsut have to make a dance number list for Asha Parekh’s next birthday! ;-)

        Baharon ke Sapne is a bit depressing, well, more than just a bit. But the songs are great! Samadhi is a bit hard to chew but quite entertaining. As for Zakhmee, I haven’t seen it.
        BTW, I would have sworn that Hum Hindustani is B/W
        Thanks for bringing up “Chori chori tori aayi hai Radha”, I’d nearly forgotten it!

        • Yes, that’s the reason why I haven’t seen Baharon ke Sapne yet. I remember my father telling me that it’s a tragic sort of film, and that’s made me steer clear of it, despite the great songs (I also like Chunri sambhaal gori – and wasn’t Do pal jo teri aankhon se from this film too?

  3. Yaayyyy…the bestest post my probably my most favourite actress. She danced like a dream, was super stylish, very very spontaneous and emoted so well. And, in her hey days she looks so pretty. I also like “Parde mein rehne do”, “Raat ka samaa”, “Aaja aaja main hoon pyar tera” and so many more of her lovely songs. She even looked good with all the actors she was paired with. And made all her films worth the watch with her fine performance. Thank you so so so so much Madhulika for this one :) Oh, and she is my mum’s favourite, too. :)

    • I have no idea why it happened, but your comments had gone into spam! ;-) Have just retrieved them.

      Thank you so much, Sharmi; I’m glad you liked the post! And I love the songs you recommended too – Aaja aaja main hoon pyaar tera lost out to O mere sona re mainly because I thought the former is equally a Shammi Kapoor song, whereas in the latter Asha Parekh dominates most of the song. Whatever! I think both songs are fabulous!

  4. A great actress in a great era. Her movies (during the 60s) were so fun filled. I love Love in Tokyo, Aaye Din Bahar Ke, Aaya Sawan Jhoom Ke, Mere Sanam, Teesri Manzil, Sajan…. All filled with lovely songs. Lovely collection.

    • I like her so much that I invariably start watching an Asha Parekh film expecting that it’ll be good entertainment, if not more! I think of her as the female equivalent of Shammi Kapoor: you couldn’t not expect fun. :-)

  5. Great choice!!! My favourite would be “Kahan a fansi”, and “O merey sona re”, you could see she was really enjoying herself in both these songs. Same with Bade hain dil ke kaale, such songs brought the best in her. Jayeye aap kahan was as enchanting as her eyes :)

    Although if I was to relax the qualification of songs only featuring Asha Parekh, then O Mere Shahe khuba from Love in Tokyo would definitely be up there. (there was a sad Asha version too I think).

    • Yes, you’re right, Ankit – there is a female version of O meri shahe khubaan later in the film. It begins with Mohammad Rafi’s voice singing the refrain, then switches to Lata (or is it Asha Bhonsle? I can’t tell). Lovely song. I’d have put it in this list if I didn’t already have Mujhe tum mil gaye humdum on it – that was one reason why I imposed that rule on myself of only one song per film! Otherwise I’d have had Sayonara sayonara on the list too. :-)

  6. Well you know she is one of my very very very favorites: she does seem like someone who would just be fun to hang out with. Down to earth, feisty, funny. LOVE her, and a very happy birthday to her!

  7. Lovely person, wonderful songs & great post. Most of the songs I could think of have been added by you, or suggested in the ensuing comments. Just a couple more suggestions :-
    1) Parayi Hoon Parayi from Kanyadaan

    2) Sona Le Ja Re from Mera Goan Mera Desh

    • Thank you for those, Samir! I’d toyed with putting Parayi hoon parayi on the list, then decided the better Asha Parekh-Shashi Kapoor song would be Main na Miloongi. Though I must admit to liking the Asha Parekh dance around the rim of that ashtray very much! :-)

      I like Sona lei jaa re too; nice song.

  8. Yes, without any doubt Asha Parkeh movies were mostly entertaining. She was never a disappointment and you have picked the right songs that describe her and what she seemed to love doing and enjoying it.

    There is, however, one song that was different, whenever I hear that solo song of Lata in the movie `Chirag’. (Same song is in duet too), but it is the solo song in which you feel for her, as she shows all the pathos and with Madan Mohan’s music and Sunil Dutt at her side leaves a great impression. Check it out. The song is `Teri Ankho Ke Siya, Duniya Me Rakha Kiya Hai………Asha Parkeh very simple and at her best.

    Thank you

    • You’re welcome, and thank you for your appreciation!

      Yes, Teri aankhon ke siva duniya mein is one of those very poignant and beautiful songs… lovely. Again, like a lot of other songs people have suggested, this one too was on my list initially; it was dropped finally because I get very distressed when I see it: a blind Asha Parekh is not acceptable! (Okay, I’m being silly, but there it is). Now if it were a question of the male version of the song, in praise of a beautiful Asha… :-)

  9. Most people I know don’t like Asha P., but I admit to having a soft spot for her – squeaky voice and all.:-) She’s such a nice combination of wholesome and impish, and whatta smile!

    Love all your picks, but can’t resist mentioning “Meri Surat Teri Aankhen.” I love all the songs in this fabulous soundtrack, but the gentle, sweetly romantic “yeh kisne geet chheda” has a special place in the heart.

    • I love the songs of Meri Surat Teri Aankhen too, but for some odd reason, the only songs I remember are the ones picturised on Ashok Kumar – Poochho na kaise main rain bitaayi, the title song, etc. But this one is lovely, too. How’d we forget this for the Mukesh post?! ;-)

  10. Enjoyed reading this post and discovering some new Asha Parekh songs/dances. I was so happy to see the “Chori Chori Tori…” song in all its Manipurish glory. :)

    I recently discovered this nice black and white Asha dance in Chayya (and it has a cute little girl too!) starting about 1:25: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IRSDgeX-1OI
    She’s sort of going for a South Indian vibe with her dancing.

    Toodles! ~Minai

  11. Thank you, Minai! I’m glad you liked the post. Yes, that Asha Parekh/Baby Farida (she’s the little girl in the first part) dance from Chhaaya is nice, isn’t it? Lovely song too.

    • I’ve recently been quite obsessed with Asha Parekh though I’ve liked her always.
      Happened to be watching Upkar one fine day last week n Asha’s beauty struck me so much that I reviewed all her existing collection with me. One of them had your dad, Mr. Tarun Bose, playing her father in “Aan milo sajna”.
      My obsession drove me to read up all the google info on her and then I was directed to DO’s blog. I’d read it before but not commented. This time felt like dropping a few lines.
      Asha Parekh is so beautiful that despite being a woman myself, I can’t help praising her beauty and finding her so attractive! There is something utterly comforting in her beauty and her personality.

      • Thank you for commenting, Simplegal! You know, one reason why I particularly like actresses like Asha Parekh or Sadhana is the fact that despite being very beautiful, there’s a sort of warm charm to them too – they don’t have a distant, cold beauty that puts you off. Both of them seem to me to be people who are friendly, whom one would like to get to know better. :-)

    • Shilpi, thank you for those songs! You know, one very major component of old films that I miss in newer films (especially films after the 70′s) is the often sheer brilliance of the songs. We had some extremely talented music directors then, and it wasn’t unusual to find films in which each song was fabulous. Both Meri Surat Teri Aankhen and Ziddi are examples… such terrific music!

  12. Great post Dusted off Asha Parekh is one of my favourite heroine’s, she’s always so chirpy and i simply adore her energy and style. A song that comes to mind when i think of her is ‘o mere sona’ which also happened to be your first choice and ‘parda mein rene do’ i listened to that song back to back about 15 times when i first heard it, i love the whole Arabian night style picturisation and feel to the song and Asha B. just sounds super. I’m also very fond of sau saal pehle from jab pyar kissise hota hai

    • Yes, Sau saal pehle is another lovely song! And Jab pyaar kisi se hota hai and Tum jaise bigde babu se main, both from the same film, and focussing more completely on Asha Parekh. I like that woman so much, she’s so watchable and relatable, as Banno says.

  13. Love these posts about 10 favourites, and this one is equally great with all those lovely songs. :-)

    Once again its very commendable that you have managed to somehow make a compact list of one from a particular film.

    Asha Parekh looks lovely in her films with that charming smile.
    Here’s an ode to her beauty by Rajender Kumar from Gharana 1961.

  14. Awwww… how did I forget that one? I have seen Gharana, and I like the song a lot. But then, I was concentrating on songs that are picturised with her ‘singing’, so this wouldn’t have fit that criterion (as you mention, it’s an ode to her beauty). But, lovely song! Thank you. :-)

  15. I don’t know how I missed this post, thanks dustedoff! I’ve been a fan of Asha’s since I first saw Jab Pyaar Kisi Se Hota Hota hai, and thought she was one of the best things about the otherwise underwhelming Teesri Manzil, so I am really looking forward to working my way through these. I must say, though, that her outfit in Chori chori tori aayi hai Radha makes it look like she’s protuding from a wedding cake! At lest now I have something to help fill in the time while waiting for The Englishman’s Cameo to arrive early next year. :)

  16. This must be karmic punishment for dissing the sacrosanct “Teesri Manzil” – When I read these words: “One of Asha Bhonsle’s best songs”, of Jaaiye aap kahaan jaayenge, of course I had to see and hear it, but youtube had other ideas:
    ———————————
    This video contains content from Eros Entertainment, who has blocked it in your country on copyright grounds.
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  17. Stuart, good to know you like Asha too – weird ‘Manipuri’ outfit notwithstanding! I hope you enjoy discovering these songs; some of the ones suggested by readers are also lovely.

    Though I like Teesri Manzil a lot, I don’t think of any film, any actor, and any singer (or director/music director/etc) as sacrosanct, so if that’s karmic punishment, it’s visited on you without my approval!! ;-) I must admit, though, that one of the best things about Teesri Manzil, in my opinion, is its music – fabulous songs, there.

  18. You may have a point on the hyping thing – I came to Teestri Kasam without knowing anything about it, and was blown away first by what I still think is the most awesome opening of any Hindi film I’ve seen – literally opening with saajan re jhooth mat bolo, then being astonished at such a ‘feminist’ storyline and character development from the mid-60s. Waheeda was sublime, and I really look forward to reading your thoughts if you manage to find time for it one day.

    • It is on my to-watch list, so I should hopefully be able to get hold of it some day soon! Waheeda is one of my all-time favourite actresses, so her presence in the film means half the battle won as far as I’m concerned!

  19. What about Sajan 1969 movie.? The title song” sajan sajan pukaaroon galiyon mein” is a popular Lata Number even today.
    Heard the film ” Sajan” starring her with Manoj was a gripping murder mystery on the lines of Teesri Manzil too..
    Anyone seen this film?

    Nagesh

    • Yes, Nagesh: I’ve seen Saajan, and it’s a very good murder mystery – about a man who’s murdered, and three people come forward claiming to have committed the crime. Worth a watch!

  20. Hi, Couldn’t resist adding on.

    My favourites are:

    and

    both from Dil Deke Dekho.

    And

    from Chirag.

    Others:

    Jiya ho, jiya ho, jiya kuch bol do from Jab Pyar Kisise Hota Hai
    Chhayi Barkha Bahar from Chirag
    Jab Chali Thandi Hawa from Do Badan
    Roka Kayi baar maine from Mere Sanam

    Though I must confess that by the time it came to Teesri Manzil, her makeup and hairdos began to turn me off. :) Blasphemy on this post, no doubt, but the tights and pink sequinned short top from Aaja aaja was the outside of enough – though the song’s orchestration is out of this world. And I could watch Shammi Kapoor *any*time.

    • “And I could watch Shammi Kapoor *any*time.”

      I will forgive you any blasphemy just for that!

      Frankly, even though Usha Khanna plagiarised four different tunes for the score of Dil Deke Dekho, I still love all the songs from that film. I’ve forgotten how many times I’ve seen Dil Deke Dekho, but still love every single moment of it. :-)

      Love the other songs you’ve mentioned, too – though I personally hate Chirag, it was just too depressing for words.

  21. I agree with you about Chirag. By the way, have you seen Chhaya? It has Asha Parekh at her prettiest best (long before she reached her ‘Yoooouuuu Shtupid!” screechy stage :) ) and Sunil Dutt. If you haven’t seen it, please do. It has some really, really lovely numbers – Itna na mujhse tu pyar badha, Aansoo samajhke kyun mujhe, Dil se dil ki dor baandhey…

    And the movie is good too; you know you can’t go too far wrong with Hrishikesh Mukherjee.

  22. Most of Asha Parekh’s songs are my favourite. “Kya jaanu sajan” and “Aaja piya tohe pyar doon” from ‘Baharon ke Sapne’ are coming to my mind right now. Then I love her dance steps in “Balamwa mua” part of the “Ni Sultana Re” song from ‘Pyar ka Mausam’. However, her twist-style dance in “Main na milungi” always makes me laugh. Then there are the songs from ‘Aan Milo Sajna’. “Jaag ke phir so gayi”. Very favourite.

    • Aaja piya tohe pyaar doon is a favourite of mine too, though I’ve never watched Baharon ke Sapne – I’ve seen the song often enough. So is Jaagke phir so gayi. She’s really a lovely dancer. Another blog reader, Shilpi Bose (the actor Tarun Bose’s daughter), commenting upon my review of Dil Deke Dekho said that one reason she was disappointed with the film was that it starred Asha Parekh but had her sitting sedately by the side in some of the peppiest songs in the film!

  23. Exactly! That “Chunari sambhal gori” song had Asha Parekh (and Rajesh Khanna too) sitting in a corner. ‘Baharon Ke Sapne’ was one of the first VHS tapes my father bought. In 1995. I loved that movie. I’m looking for its DVD now. The entire film was in black & white, only the “Kya jaanu sajan” song was in colour.

    • If you’re looking for DVDs (or VCDs, for that matter) of old films – even fairly obscure ones – I’d suggest you try http://www.induna.com. They have a vast collection, and they’re very prompt and efficient. Ever since I discovered them, I’ve stopped going to other online retailers – or even bricks and mortar ones, for that matter.

  24. Thanks for compiling this wonderful list!
    Asha Parekh has that magnetic pull that makes everything she is in, worth a watch.
    Some of her other songs which I love are :
    Ni sultana Re and aap chahe mujko
    Aja piya.
    Kaanta laga
    parayi hoon
    I loved ‘Likhe jo khat tujhe’ even if it’s Shashi’s song more than Asha’s. Both looked divine!

    • Thank you for your comment! I love the songs you’ve listed, though Ni sultana re is a duet, not a solo. Aaja piya is an absolute favourite of mine and would have made this list if I’d seen the film. :-) And yes, Likhe jo khat tujhe is lovely (though I don’t care for the film – it’s too melodramatic for me. I prefer Asha in rather more peppy films).

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