Ten of my favourite train songs

Continuing with my plan to link every post to the previous one… well, what next? (Harvey: you were close when it came to guessing!)
My last post, North-West Frontier, was set mostly in a train – and that too a train in the Indian subcontinent. So it seemed appropriate to do a list of my favourite songs set in what seems to have been one of Hindi cinema’s much-loved settings. From this lovely old song by Pankaj Mullick (thank you, AK, for introducing me to that), to newer songs – from Teri hai zameen teri aasmaan, to the much later Chhaiya chhaiya.

But: I’m restricting myself to pre-70s songs, and those too from films I’ve seen. What’s more, these are songs where the person on whom the song is picturised is on the train throughout the song. That’s why, no Mere sapnon ki raani kab aayegi tu (for me, that’s a jeep song; I’ll do it in another post) and no Jab pyaar kisi se hota hai.

Here we go:

1. Hai apna dil toh awara (Solvaan Saal, 1958): One of my favourite songs – and one of the few that’s picturised on a ‘local’ train, not a long distance one. I love everything about this song: Dev Anand as the footloose and fancy-free journalist who smells a rat when he sees a couple eloping; Sunder as his harmonica-playing sidekick (the harmonica was supposedly actually played by an 11-year old R D Burman), Waheeda Rehman – and the extras, the ones playing cards, plus the ones who look as if they’re ready to get up and join Dev Anand in his antics. Hemant’s singing. S D Burman’s music. The Bombay skyline at night. Everything is perfect.

2. Apni toh har aah ek toofaan hai (Kala Bazaar, 1960): Dev Anand again – and Waheeda Rehman again. This time, though, she’s more adequately chaperoned, by parents who can’t quite figure out whether the handsome young man sharing their compartment is referring to their lovely daughter in the berth above, or to the Almighty. He could mean anyone.
Fabulous lyrics (by Shailendra), S D Burman’s beautifully melodious music, and a delightfully tongue-in-cheek picturisation.

3. Dekhoji ek baala jogi (China Town, 1962): Another hero-woos-girlfriend-while-hoodwinking-parent song. This time, it’s Shammi Kapoor. And because S N Bannerjee – who plays the father of the girl knows and disapproves of his daughter’s choice, our hero has to resort to subterfuge. Disguised as a sadhu, complete with beard and moustache, robes and iktaara, he gets into the same compartment as them and uses the same trick as Dev Anand did in Kala Bazaar: pretending religious fervor where it’s actually all romantic fervor. This one’s a much peppier song than the previous one (well, what would one expect, with Shammi Kapoor onscreen?!).

4. Rukh se zara naqaab utha do (Mere Huzoor, 1968): Trains seem to be a favoured place to sing love songs, don’t they? Here, it’s an overlipsticked Jeetendra begging Mala Sinha to lift her veil – only to have her finally fling down the veil in disgust. He pretends throughout that it’s their fellow passenger – played by Majnun – whom he’s addressing, but it’s clear to all concerned whom he means. Lovely song, wonderfully sung by Rafi, and with Mala Sinha looking very pretty (though my sister, a teenager when she first saw this song, said “Mala Sinha looks like an indignant powder puff!”)

5. Dil thhaam chale hum aaj kidhar (Love in Simla, 1960): Obviously, one needn’t be in the presence of a pretty girl in order to carry on an aboard-train courtship. In this delightful song, Joy Mukherji manages pretty well, in sheer anticipation of meeting his girl. What I love about this song is the fact that it’s very real.  As anybody who’s travelled in the Indian Railways knows, our trains lurch about like nobody’s business. You cannot stand still, or dance about, like most train songs would have one believe. And the choreography in Dil thhaam chale hum aaj kidhar (if you can call it choreography) is great: Joy Mukherji staggers around the coach, now falling here, now bumping his head there, now dancing with his pillow… and oh, the atmosphere is so charming: the train chugging up to Simla, the train’s whistle and the sound of its wheels as part of the music. Fantastic.

6. Badal jaaye agar maali (Bahaarein Phir Bhi Aayengi, 1966): For a change, not a love song, but a philosophical one, about how – even if the gardener changes – spring will always come and the flowers will always bloom. The picturisation does seem a little too goody-goody at times: wiping a burdened labourer’s brow and telling him not to feel tired isn’t my idea of being encouraging – but Dharmendra is good eye candy at any time.

7. Cheel-cheel chillaake kajri sunaaye (Half Ticket, 1962): Another offbeat train song. This one isn’t a love song or a philosophical song; it’s just a nonsense song (though, if you listen carefully, there’s a sarcastic philosophy to this one too). Kishore Kumar – as singer and actor – is at his lunatic best here, leading a group of passengers on a mad dance through the coach. The children clap merrily, while the adults either join in his antics or (and Pran excels here) glare balefully at him. Not a film I particularly like, but this song is fun.

8. Auraton ke dabbe mein mard aa gaya (Mud-mud Ke Na Dekh, 1960): A sort of ‘battle of the sexes’ song, except that the opposing sides are very unevenly matched. Bharat Bhushan – an unlikely comic hero – strays into the women’s compartment, and finds himself being tormented by a band of women led by the feisty Anita Guha. They don’t just stop at telling him what his fault is (that he isn’t a naari – a woman; and that he isn’t wearing a jumper or a saari!) – they even go so far as to grab him and hurl him onto a platform where the train stops.

9. Humko samajh na lijiye (Kalpana, 1960): I didn’t know about this song until Richard posted it on his list of favourite Ragini songs. Since then, I’ve watched the film, liked the songs, and liked Ragini’s extremely competent dancing in a moving train. Even though she’s on her own (unlike Anita Guha & Co., above), this lady holds her own against a man with whom she gets into a somewhat pointless quarrel. She doesn’t actually succeed in intimidating him – all she manages is to impress him a lot with her dancing!

10. Dekh tere sansaar ki haalat (Nastik, 1954): I’d initially thought I’d list songs only in which the singer’s sitting in the train. This one doesn’t quite fit the bill – the song is played in the background – but it’s a memorable song, sometimes distressingly touching, sometimes laughable (that “naach raha nar hokar nangaa” [“man dances in the nude”, literally]) always cracks me up.
Incidentally, Dekh tere sansaar ki haalat was sung by its lyricist, Kavi Pradeep – the man who also wrote and sang the infectiously peppy train song Aao bachchon tumhe dikhaayein jhaanki Hindustan ki. I love that song; it would certainly have been on this list if I’d seen Jaagriti.

Do you have any favourite train songs?

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139 thoughts on “Ten of my favourite train songs

  1. You’ve got a fabulous list as usual. And I like your idea of linking each post to the previous one. ‘Chaiya Chaiya’ is certainly a big hit with me.

  2. One of my favorite Train songs is Talat-Suraiya duet from Waris (1954), picturized on Talat-Suraiya themselves. Music by Anil Biswas.

  3. I also love Kanan Devi’s “Toofan Mail” which could be considered as the mother of all train songs. But it doesn’t fit your criteria of “where the person on whom the song is picturised is on the train throughout the song.”

    • Hadn’t heard that one before – thank you for introducing me to it. For other readers who’d like to watch, here goes:

      Incidentally, another ‘train song’ – which actually doesn’t happen on a train – is this one: Chhuk-chhuk rail chali, with Nutan and a bunch of kids. I remembered the song but had totally forgotten the picturisation, so was disappointed to realise that it wasn’t on a train after all.

      (I must admit that isn’t one of my favourite songs from Sone ki Chidiya, though – I much prefer Pyaar par bas toh nahin. That one is brilliant).

  4. I am partial towards the music of 40s and 50s and here is one more which I like. The strange thing about this song is that they are tearing down the train compartments and using it as fuel. :P Sung by Asha and Rafi, and picturized on Meena Shorey, Kaushalya and ? Music by Vinod from Ek Do Teen (1953)

    • Thank you for that link! It’s so delightful – and anyway, I am very partial to Meena Shorey, so just about anything with her in it appeals to me. :-)

      The actor in the song seems to be Majnun – he appeared in a number of Roop Shorey films, as far as I recollect. Coincidentally, he also appears as Jeetendra and Mala Sinha’s fellow passenger in Rukh se zara naqaab utha do. A lot less actively involved there!

      • Love this! It must be from a Punjabi film. Rafi was a Punjabi of course, and Asha Bhosle sounds like a native speaker too

        • No, it is not from a Punjabi film but Hindi film Eik Do Teen(1953). However, majority of the film crew is Punjabi i.e. Director, Music Director, one of the singers and the leading lady. Perhaps that is why you see Punjabi influence in this song.

          Nice movie too. Almost all films produced by Meena-Roop Shorey team were light hearted comedies including Ek Thi Ladki, Dholak, Eik Do Teen, Shri Naqad Narayan etc

          • Have you seen Ek Do Teen? The only Meena Shorey-Roop Shorey films I’ve seen are Ek Thi Ladki and Dholak, both of which I loved (and reviewed on this blog too). Since I saw them, I’ve been trying to get hold of other Roop Shorey films, but with no luck at all.

            • I saw Ek Do Teen on Induna.com the other day and meant to tell you. It’s on Friends, so expect the worst.:-( It’s been a while since I saw the movie, but I remember it as being quite enjoyable.

              LOVE the trains theme and all the songs mentioned. Here’s one more:

              Yeh rang bhare badal – Tu nahi aur sahi

              • What a lovely song that is, from Tu nahin aur sahi. I’d never heard it before, but it’s beautiful (and I like Nishi Kohli a lot).

                Thanks for letting me know about Ek Do Teen being available on Induna – I’ll order it soon!

    • @Mr Jinx
      >The strange thing about this song is that they are tearing down the train compartments and using it as fuel. :P

      She’s singing ‘koyla gaya muk muk muk’

      ‘muk’ in punjabi means ‘finished’ :-D

  5. I love Apni toh har aah ek toofaan hai despite my antipathy toward Dev because it’s so well done. The picturisation is perfect, it’s a wonderful comic moment in the film, and I’m sure it helped that when I first saw it (on one of several abortive attempts to get through the whole film before finally succeeding), my Hindi had just got to point where I could get the clever ambiguity of the lyrics. I may want to throw stuff at Dev after watching whole film of his, but he sure had some great song picturisations.

    • I watched Kala Bazaar so long back that I don’t really remember very much of it, except possibly the rudiments of the story – and the songs. When I happened to mention to my sister that I was planning to do a train songs list, she suggested this one, because she likes it so much – and I had to agree: it’s a wonderful song, beautifully sung and very well picturised.

      There are certainly some films of Dev Anand’s where I want to throw things at him – mostly, as far as I’m concerned, films from the 60s, when he developed those frightful mannerisms or that ghastly puff. But he did have some great song picturisations – and some great songs, period.

    • ‘Kala Bazar’ is a great film! One of Dev Anand’s best.. He may have done some stinkers (*cough* Hare Ram Hare Krishna *cough*) but it’s silly to criticize him for those when he’s given us such greats as Guide, Kala Bazar, Taxi Driver, Jewel Thief, etc. etc.

      • I actually don’t much care for Guide (barring the songs, which are awesome), and Jewel Thief is one which I personally think is good for one watch, not more. But there are a number of the 50s Dev Anand films that I like a lot: CID, Kala Paani, Solvaan Saal, Hum Dono… But yes, never those frightful ones he did in the 70s!

      • Sorry, Upendra, the only film of Dev’s I dislike more than the awful Kala Bazar is the unforgivable Guide. Both are characterised by his egomaniacal preachiness, his weird conviction that he really IS a Dev.In Guide, despite the great songs and the stellar performance from Waheeda, he steals and ruins the story, especially with that ghastly ending, totally devoid of the ambiguity and subtlety (NEVER things Dev was any good at) Narayan intended. I blame his brother for indulging his messiah complex. I did like Jewel Thief and CID though

        • Ah, now I’m thinking I should see Kala Bazaar again, just to make my own assessment. It’s been so long since I watched it, I have no recollection of it except the very basics. But I agree with you completely, Stuart, regarding his egomanical preachiness in Guide. Of course, as you say, Dev Anand wasn’t the only one responsible – he was indulged. And the fact that Guide seems to have acquired iconic status means that many people overlook its flaws.

          In my final year of school (or penultimate, I’ve forgotten which), we had to study R K Narayan’s novel, and I was excited about reading it, because I’d already seen the film. It came as quite a surprise to find that the film was actually quite different from the book. Narayan disowned it too.

          • I liked Guide! Really!
            Particularly the ending!
            When I saw it in India, so many years back, I couldn’t really understand the ending. I saw it again two years back and the ending was a revelation! It is somewhat similar to Pyaasa.

        • I didn’t mind ‘Guide’, though I’m not in awe of it.
          As for Dev Anand’s complex, I have yet to see a star without it ;-)

          • Well said, pacifist! :-)

            That ‘I am great enough to be a god’ complex seems to govern some stars to such a huge extent that it even begins to overshadow their work, I think… you can see it in every role they do, that urge to self-glorify – look at people like Manoj Kumar, who made himself some out to be a sort of patriotic deity; or Rekha, who seems to be a cosmetic surgeon’s dream come true!

            However, I don’t feel that’s true of some people – Waheeda Rehman, for example, who’s always struck me as unassuming and a very nice person. Or perhaps Sadhana…

      • :-D

        It’s true, sweetie. Take off those rose-tinted glasses, and you’ll see better. That is one major reason why I like his early films so much more than his later (generally, beginning early 60s) films – his ego had grown so huge that it overshadowed him as an actor. What you saw onscreen was not a character you could easily identify with (like he’d played in Kaala Bazaar, Solva Saal, Patita, CID, Nau Do Gyarah etc), but one who was Dev Anand. Whether he was acting in Guide, Jewel Thief or Teen Deviyaan was immaterial – what you saw was Dev Anand himself. Hum Dono was a bit of an exception, which is why it’s one of his few films from this period that I actually like.

        • My rule is 1950-1967, nothing after that. (I remember banging my head on the wall because of that movie Joshila.) I’m generally okay with his films until he flattened his puff. No Dev, that was not a smart choice. >:( My favorite is Tere Ghar Ke Samne, definitely. But even with all the 70’s stuff, HE DOES NOT DESERVE THOSE THINGS THROWN AT HIM. -glares at Stuart- And what’s with those rose-tinted glasses? XD

          And I saw your comment about “badle duniya saari, tum na badalna”! I was rolling around in my bed, laughing and I needed a glass of water to calm down! :D

  6. R.D.Burman`s “Dhanno ki aankhon mein raat ka soorma, aur chaand ka choomma” (picturised on Character Artiste “Ram Mohan”)from Gulzar`s KITAB(starring Uttam kumar, vidya sinha, Master raju shrestha)-my nomination for Train songs.

    Aha, I rememered another song from Vidhaata(picturised on shammi kapooor and Dilip kumar)-Haathon ke chand lakeeron ka, Ye khel hai bas taqdeeron ka”

  7. I had never heard Dhanno ki aankhon mein chaand ka soorma – an unusual song. For those who don’t know it:

    Haathon ki chand lakeeron ka I’ve heard before; good one. I must admit I like this one better than Dhanno ki aankhon…; a little more my type, though I’m still much more biased towards the music of the 50s and 60s!

  8. Very nice list, and I love train songs! :) On YouTube, you can even find me listed as “LifeIsaTrain.” :)

    The story behind that is… When I opened up the account, I couldn’t think of a good user name, but I had two songs running through my mind, both of them pretty much saying that life – or the world – is a train. And here are the videos (which, like all of my other YouTube film clip uploads, were originally prepared by Tom Daniel. :) )…

    I love this first song; it’s the song that made me a Rehana fan (as well as increasing my fondness for Geeta Dutt). It’s from Dilruba (1950):

    And Dustedoff, I think we’ve talked about this one before… It’s Rafi on Agha in Payal (1957):

    BTW, I also had a lot of fun finding and posting various versions of “Toofan Mail” last September:

    http://roughinhere.wordpress.com/2010/09/18/toofan-mail-different-mixes-and-versions/

    • I remembered Agha’s song once I started playing the video! Thank you for that – it was very nice. And I can understand why, with those two songs going through your head, you’d call yourself LifeIsATrain. :-)

      As a kid, I remember some really long train journeys – we used to live in Srinagar, and would go every Christmas to Calcutta, to spend it with my grandparents. Since the nearest railhead was Jammu, we had to drive down – a day’s journey – from Srinagar to Jammu, and then take the train to Calcutta. It was a two-day journey, and one invariably met some very interesting people on board the train. I have spent hours on trains singing songs, sharing food with strangers, or just getting to know people… one of the few things that Hindi cinema seems to have managed to replicate pretty well!

      Am off to look at your Toofan Mail post! Thank you for that – when I searched for it (after Mister Jinx) told me about it, all I found was a Hindi and a Bengali version, both by Kanan Devi. I had no idea there were multiple versions.

      • I have a lot of train experience, though mostly not the same kind of train… I spent most of my life riding the New York City subways. When I was a kid in the ’70s, they were kind of like my playground. (Yes, my parents let me roam around the city much more, starting at the age of 10 or so, than many people would consider appropriate.) One nice thing about the NYC subways is that there are a lot of elevated sections, so you can look out and see all the urban scenery, and some not-so-urban in Brooklyn and Queens. It’s not the kind of train riding experience in which one usually ends up sharing life stories or finding future spouses. But these trains have always had roaming musicians, pickpockets, “dacoits,” beggars…much like what you see in many Indian movies. :) And a train is still a train – they have that special rhythm.

        • That’s interesting, Richard – though I find it a little difficult to relate to, since, until Delhi acquired the Metro, I’d travelled mainly on long-distance trains on trips here and there. Oddly, perhaps, my previous experiences on ‘local’ trains – subways, MRTs and so on – were all in cities outside of India: London, Paris, Vienna, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Beijing, Chicago, Rome… and many are very reminiscent of the “roaming musicians, pickpockets, “dacoits,” beggars…” you describe. I’ve actually been witness – right in front of my very eyes, though I was too naive to realise it then – a Japanese tourist’s pocket being picked very skilfully by a pre-teen in the Rome underground.

          But yes, a train’s special rhythm is what really sets it apart. Love them, no matter what. :-)

      • That reminds me of the train journey of my childhood, where we needed three and half days to reach Mangalore, where we used to spend our summer vacation. Nowadays I would groan at the very thought of it. But as a child it was all okay. Singing songs, playing cards, eating chiwda and all sorts of food (good and bad) or just looking out of the window!

        • You know, Harvey, I also think that back then – when we were kids – since other sources of entertainment (TV, the net, video games, etc) were so limited or even totally unknown, children found more homely ways to entertain themselves. In our family, we were reminiscing the other day about how we’d organise little plays, all scripted and acted, with costumes and props and all – just for fun! So spending a couple of days stuck in a train with nothing much to do other than talk or read or eat or look out of the window at the world passing by – that was not much different from being at home, really! (and one was on holiday, away from school! Yay!)

  9. The. songs are all so good! A great list!
    My all time favourites are the first two ones!
    There is one more local train song with Dev, which on the basis of its period doesn’t fit in your list and that is: Kuch mitha mitha bolo from Man Pasand

    It is not my favourite but having lived in Bombay for 22 years, i have a certian weakness for the local trains from Bombay!

    • Thank you, Harvey!

      And thank you for that song – I do remember it, now that you mention it. Somehow, if you only watch Tina Munim (before she opens her mouth and shrieks about the daatoon), she looks too upmarket to be a desi Eliza Doolittle! Then… !!

      I must admit to being pretty intimidated by the locals! Not being a Mumbaiwaali, of course – I remember literally shrinking back in horror when I saw the rush at the Andheri station. I guess it’s a question of growing up with it and being used to it. (Though that’s not true for me, really – I spent years travelling in the Delhi Transport Corporation’s buses, and still hate them! Give me the Metro any day).

      • Well, Tina and acting are two different topics altogether. Zeenat had good screen presence, Tina was… let us say, she had/has virtues, which we maybe don’t appreciate.
        Bombay local trains! *sigh*
        I don’t think I would manage to get in a second class train compartment at the rush hour now. But 17 years of local train travel do leave their impressions!

        • Second Harvey’s observations & experiences re: Bombay local trains. Also second Richard’s experiences re: NYC subways, although he obviously has a much deeper & longer experience.
          Since both metro areas happen to be my home cities, I am always comparing them on many fronts such as public transport. Please forgive me for introducing a discordant note in these otherwise pleasant post/comments, but unfortunately terrorism is now a dominant concern. Both cities (as other cities as well) have suffered in the past 20 years, and nowadays NYC public transport also contains automatic weapons armed security personnel, bomb-sniffing dogs, radiation & biological detectors etc.
          And my everlasting train ride memory (unfortunately) is of taking the NJ Transit commuter train, followed by NYC subway, to work in NYC on Sep 11 2001.

          • Yes, I do remember Bombay’s trains having been a target of terrorist attacks – and I can well imagine that a terrorist attack on the public transport system of any large metropolis would be a major concern. Sad, but so true of the times we now live in.

            Delhi’s Metro doesn’t have sniffer dogs (or none that I’ve seen), but there are security personnel at each station, and every passenger has to go through body searches, plus everything you carry on board goes through a scanner.

            • “and every passenger has to go through body searches, plus everything you carry on board goes through a scanner.”

              Really! Wow, that is lot of trouble to travel in the metro. If they introduce that for the Bombay local trains, then they will need thousand of those things and a separate batallion of personnel!

              • Yes, well, I suppose it is a lot of trouble to go through. But the Metro is a million times cleaner, faster, and more efficient than the DTC buses – I would any day go through the security at a Metro station (it only takes a couple of minutes, any way) than get into a DTC bus.

  10. The iconic song from Jab pyaar kisi se hots hai.
    I know the song is sung outside the train, but the train itself is shown so often snaking through the mountains that it feels more like a train song (yes, I’m looking for reasons to pass it off as a train song :-D

  11. Hi,
    I like your themed favorites posts. Richard already mentioned the two I’d add to a list, and this one probably doesn’t quality under the rules you set:

    • Tom, thank you so much! Now I’m hitting myself for having forgotten about Main hoon jhum-jhum-jhum-jhumroo! Even though it wouldn’t have qualified, I should probably have remembered that it had something to do with trains, and I should’ve gone and had another look at it… I did that with loads of songs that don’t appear in this list, just because I’d recalled some connection with trains.

      Thank you. :-) I’ve just finished watching the video, and am now off to listen to my collection of Jhumroo songs – some lovely music there, even though Kishore Kumar did filch a lot of it from here and there.

  12. The scene right after the Bahren Phir Bhi Aayengi song is just great too. Tanuja at her feisty comic greatness.

    • Yes! And that entire mix-up. I really liked the first part of Bahaarein Phir Bhi Aayengi – it got depressing and melodramatic in the second half, but the first half was fun.

  13. Very nice list.

    To add two of my favorites:
    1. Ek musafir ko duniya mein kya chahiye – Door ki awaz
    2. Gaadi bula rahi hai – Dost

    • Thank you, Simplegal!

      I don’t know how Door ki Awaaz skipped my mind – I’d remembered an important part of the film takes place on the train, so thought I should look through its songs to see if any were filmed on a train! But forgot completely about it. :-( The song is good – Johnny Walker is always so much fun to watch, isn’t he? There is a certain atmosphere to this song that is reminiscent (though not in that absolutely crazy way!) of Cheel-cheel chillaake.

      Gaadi bula rahi hai was on the list of train songs I watched to make this list. Since Dost is 1974, it’s too late for the period I specialise in, but you’re right – that is the quintessential train song.

  14. It goes without saying that Dev-Shammi-Dharam-Kishore songs are always my favorites, but that last Ajit song is great as well. I see the “Jhumroo” song has already been suggested, so how about :-
    1) Hum Dono Do Premee (Ajnabi, 70’s)

    2) Hoga Tumse Pyara Kaun (Zamane Ko Dikhana Hai, 80’s)

    Neither are pre 70’s of couse, but they are decent songs.
    Loved the train songs post.!!!

    • I really like this Rishi Kapoor song ‘Hey Kanchi’.

      Also the two mentioned by PRAKASHCHANDER. Lovely to see Shammi and Dilip together, and that ‘dhanno song is very good too.

    • I had remembered Hoga tumse pyaara kaun – lovely song (I do like a lot of the songs picturised on Rishi Kapoor, actually!), though of course I couldn’t include it in this post. But had completely forgotten about Hum dono do premi! Thank you for reminding me of it. :-)

      This, by the way, is a somewhat unorthodox ‘train song’ (after all, does a train really need to be moving for one to sing a song in it…?), which I like:

  15. It seems that the beautiful ghoda gaadi songs of pre 7os gave way to the ‘rail gaadi’ songs :)
    It’s hard to come by rail gaadi songs in pre 70s just as it’s rare to find ghoda gaadi songs post 60s.

    • “It’s hard to come by rail gaadi songs in pre 70s just as it’s rare to find ghoda gaadi songs post 60s.”

      I think you meant post 70s, pacifist! ;-)

      But they haven’t died out completely, as you can see – the Mashaal and Manpasand ones, for example. Or Chhaiya chhaiya.

      • Seeing how I found it difficult to find 50s and 60s train songs. Most songs in the comments are from 70s +, so I just concluded that there weren’t many earlier. :-D
        Therefore I did mean post 70s – train songs getting popular and ghoda gaadi songs dwindling.
        I’m all confused with post/pre etc. LOL!!

        • Pacifist, there’s an interesting link given in this comment below by AK, to a blog that’s all about the Indian Railways. AK’s link goes to a page on Indian film songs (mainly Hindi, though not all) that are filmed wholly or partly on trains. I was surprised to find how many even fairly new films have songs filmed on trains. For example, I’d forgotten that Parineeta (the newer version with Saif and Vidya Balan) had a song on a train – a song I like very much, too!

          • Yes; I did check it out, and realised there were quite a few songs pre 70s.

            It seems that I just knew too many ghoda gaadi songs instead. :)

  16. how about doing a series of songs on a ghoda gaadi? I am dead sure there are several of those! for instance, zara haule haule chalo mere saajna, maang ke saath tumhara etc etc.. it will be FUN. :D
    I thought about writing it myself, but you are an ace, so let’s just leave it to the experts :P

    Do do do!! A request! :D

    • Yes! That’s a beautiful song – I really like it, lyrics and music included.
      Would certainly have included it in this list if only all of the song had been filmed on the train (that was one of my criteria for this list).

    • Thank you! That’s a fabulous resource – I wish I’d known of it when I was racking my brains for songs for this post.

      I can see a lot of songs there that are either in this post, or I’d considered (Basti-basti parbat-parbat, for instance), or that other readers have suggested…

  17. I remembered anohter song from Honemoon starring Anil Dhawan,Leenachandavarkar,Nazima,Suresh Chatwal, Anand Blaraj vij(music by usha khanna)which is picturised on train:
    “Jeevan hai ek sapna, madhur suhana sapna, jab tak hai ye mausam,aao rang le humtum…tanman ismein apna”

    I Don`t remember exactly, but “Aao bachcho tumhen dikhaaoon jhaakee hindustaan ki” from famous film “Jagruthi”partially picturised on train(film starring abhi bhattacharya,Master Ratan Kumar, Pranothi music by Hemant kumar.

    • Yes. If you read my list, my description of Song # 10 (Dekh tere sansaar ki haalat) includes a mention of – and a link to – Aao bachchon tumhe dikhaayein.

      I remember having heard jeevan hai ek sapna, but had never seen the picturisation of the song. Here it is, for anybody who doesn’t want to bother looking for it:

      Since nobody has mentioned it (and I wouldn’t have included it in my list, seeing it’s later than the 50s or 60s), here’s another quintessential train song, from Rafoo Chakkar. Lots of very ‘train’ sounds and sights scattered all through that song, plus the ‘Bombay se Baroda tak‘ words themselves are so obviously journey.

  18. An excellent blog as always. You mentioned a PJ in your response to the first comment. Following your style, I have a PJ which is linked to yours with pao. Here it goes:

    There was a guy who used to earn his living by selling vada pao on his bicycle. No matter how securely he tied it, at the end of his beat he would find most of his pao would have fallen out on the road. He was greatly worried. One day his friend advised him a good solution – get a covered basket fixed to the front handlebar or the carrier at the back of his bike. Now his pao would not fall on the ground. Thrilled, he would now be singing a song while selling the pao. Tell me which song he sang? Can’t think? Think harder you dumbo (Sorry, not my word. This is how the joke went.). Scroll down for answer. Scroll further down. The song was:

    Aaj kal pao zameen par nahi padte mere

    (Question: What is the best PJ – is it the most bad PJ or the most good PJ?)

    Seriously, coming back to your theme, most of good rail songs have been mentioned some way or the other in your blog or comments or the wonderful Rail-Bollywood link. But surprisingly, a fairly well known Talat Mahmood song Gaya andhera hua ujala from Subah Ka Tara, music C Ramchandra, seems to have been missed.

    Another outstanding train song missed out, which may not be so well-known is Jawani ki rail chali jaye re from Shehnai, music coincidentally again by C Ramchandra.

    • Ah, yes! I noticed Gaya andhera hua ujaala on that link (http://gcirc.wordpress.com/photos/bollyrail-%E2%80%93-indian-movie-songs-on-trains/) too. Of course I’ve heard it before, but had never seen the video of the song before – so didn’t know it was a train song. A lovely song. I also liked Jawaani ki rail chali jaaye re – though it had a lot of train imagery built into the words etc, it wasn’t really a train song, though – just on stage. But cute!

      Arrrgghh! for that PJ too. Now what should I say, good PJ or bad PJ?! I really don’t know myself!

      One should compile these filmsong-related PJs and do a post on them someday! ;-)

  19. Am late to the party but as usual it’s all wonderful!

    I don’t know if this qualifies as it’s obviously a set purporting to be a train compartment :-) But this is a nice late era Naushad number by Rafi and Asha B on Rajesh Khanna and Reena Roy from Dharam Kanta (1982).

    • My goodness, this song used to be so popular at one time! As far as I can recall, though, this is the first time I’ve actually seen it. Good fun! :-) And – of course it qualifies; even if it’s a set masquerading as a compartment, that’s okay – I’m sure a lot of the so-called ‘train’ songs of the early days were not in actual trains.

      By the way, Suhan: I was remembering you right now because I’m about to start watching a film for my next post. Stay tuned in!

      • Since you were thinking of Suhan in connection with your next post…it has to be a Rajesh Khanna film :)

        There!! I’ve guessed the next post topic!!! LOL!
        Though I can’t find a ‘link’ between RK and this post, unless it *is* this *train song* :-D

        • Aww! It’s finally got to that stage where Kaka and I are being talked/thought of TOGETHER :-D Happy day – thanks both of you!

          And Madhu, I can hardly wait!

          • And in the film I’m watching, he’s looking so drop-dead gorgeous, too! ;-) Even though I’ve never been that crazy about Rajesh Khanna, in this film I’d give anything to have kicked out the leading lady and taken her place!

        • You’re one smart cookie, pacifist! Yep, absolutely right – but no, it isn’t this song, because after all that song is from sometime in the 70s (or 80s, I don’t know) – too late for me!

          Wait and see. ;-)

  20. Thanks to my internet service provider I have been compelled to come in late. It must have been tough for you to select just ten songs from the mind boggling number of train songs. Frankly if you ask me to select just one song I will have no difficulty for my all time favourite is ‘Apni Toh Har Aah Ek Toofan Hai.’ I love the lyrics, the picturization and the naughty look on Devanand’s face. There is another which made an impression on me, it is the song from Oonche Log, ‘Kaisee Tune Reet Rachi Bhagwan, Paap Kare Paapi Bhare Punyavan.’I love the lyrics particularly the line Paap Kare Paapi Bhare Punyavaan and its relevance to the film’s story.Music Director Chitragupt was at his best in this film.

    • I agree, Shilpi – Apni toh har aah ek toofaan hai is wonderful. Every element of the song is superb!

      I’d never heard Kaise tune reet rachi before, but it’s very good. Thank you for introducing me to this song! Must try and get hold of this film sometime – your comment about the song’s relevance to the story has now got me curious!

      • Oonche Log is there on you tube and I just posted a scene from it on facebook, this scene follows the song and maybe I am prejudiced but I feel dad was superb in this scene.

        • I will certainly check it out on youtube, then. Your dad is one of my favourite character actors, and if you say he’s superb in a scene, then I definitely do want to see it! Thank you for telling me about this film.

  21. What about “Pal do pal ka saath hamara, pal do pal ke yaraane hain” from “The Burning Train” picturised on train?

  22. Fabulous list, as always! The first five are among my top favourites. I totally love that song from Love in Shimla. It’s really very natural.
    Few more train songs:
    Pyaar baant te chalo : This number from Hum Sab Ustaad Hai, reminds me of Tu hindu banega na musalmaan banega. It wouldn’t qualify for your list as the whole song is not picturised in a train, but a song that I had always remembered as a train song.

    Humne tujhko pyaar kiya hai from Dulha Dulhan. I know you dont care much for Raj Kapoor. But it’s a lovely song and Sadhna looks gorgeous. Though it looks like it’s shot in a train, there’s too much of close-ups on the lead pair to actually give you the train-wala feel.

    Again, this song doesn’t meet your criteria, for me, anything with Shammi Kapoor in it qualifies for every list ;-)

    There’s a new song picturised in a train, song in Ek Vivah Aisa Bhi which I really like :

    Trains make me feel very nostalgic. Reminds me of my college days when I used to travel 2-3 days by train from New Jalpaiguri to Vijayawada/Ernakulum/Secunderabad. Used to meet so many people, make friends with them, sit by the door singing songs, play antakshari, eat almost everything at each and every station, read a lot….it used to be so much fun. I still prefer travelling by train the most, but alas, dont get so much time.
    The first thing that comes to my mind when I think of trains is the poori-sabji at Kharagpur station. I have never eaten poori that’s so tasty anywhere. Even now, when I occasionally find time to travel by train through that route, I set my alarm before going to sleep so that I can get up when the train reaches Kharagpur and have poori-sabji at the platform.

    Once I got stuck in Orissa in a cyclone and it took me 5 days to reach home! The best part is that it was the first time I was travelling alone. I was scared that my parents would be worried, so I had not even informed them that I was coming home. I had asked my friends to call them and tell them that I had left once I boarded the train. I was so sad the whole way thinking my family must be worried that I hadn’t reached home in 5 days. When I finally reached Siliguri, I was so relieved that I was almost home. I crossed the border, entered Nepal and discovered there was some bandh that day. Everything was closed and there were no vehicles running as well. I got stuck again!!! I couldn’t even find a telephone booth that was open! I had to come back to India (just cross the border) and make an ISD call home.
    I was all prepared to hear the scoldings and a lecture on why I chose to travel alone, how worried everybody was at home and blah blah….It was only after I called that I found out my friends couldn’t get in touch with my family and they had no clue that I was on my home.

    As there was no means of transport available due to the bandh, all I could do was wait for somebody to come and pick me up on a bi-cycle or cycle-rickshaw, as these were the only things allowed on road that day. Finally, I saw my (almost) entire clan (my dad and cousins) coming on bi-cycles (I dont remember exactly, but there were around 12 of them who had raced down on their bi-cycles). So, after 5 days in train, I travelled the last 18 kms sitting behind on a cycle! It was one of the most memorable journeys!

    P.S : Tried commenting earlier but it was not showing up. Hope this one does.

    • My goodness, what an adventure that story of yours is! I’ve never had anything even remotely as adventurous happen to me.

      Love the songs you’ve listed. And am wanting to kick myself for having forgotten Humne tujhko pyaar kiya hai!! I like that song a lot, but somehow only remember the version where he’s standing, dressed in a suit, and singing it for an audience that includes Sadhana – I love that song, and even (yes, you got it right) though I don’t like Raj Kapoor, the tenderness in his expression throughout that song is wonderful.

      If anything with Shammi Kapoor and a train, no matter for how long, would qualify in your list, how about this one? ;-)

      He looks awesome in this film too. Dee-lish-us.

      • Even this would qualify for me ;-)
        He looks amazing in this movie!
        I used to have quite adventurous trips, once upon a time! :-) And now, it’s been over 2 years since I went home, and quite some time since I got out of Hyderabad as well :-( *sniff sniff*

        • Oh, poor you! :-( Going home – or even getting out of the work-and-home rut – at least once every six months is absolutely essential, even if it’s only for a couple of days.

          And yes, Shammi Kapoor looks gorgeous in Professor, In Junglee too, for that matter. :-)

          • Never knew cribbing here would be fruitful but guess what, my vacation got approved and I am going home!!! :-) Yipppeeeeee!!!!
            Here’s one more train song –
            ww.youtube.com/watch?v=3zHz6__btaU

            • Yay! Congratulations on your vacation getting approved! Have a wonderful time back home! :-)

              Absolutely loved that song – it was so good. This was the first time I’d heard it. I wonder if that shiny great necklace she was dangling gets snatched by the man in the white shoes – somehow white shoes and a cane in old Hindi films (pre-Jeetendra!) always seem to indicate baddies, don’t they?!

              • Thanks so much! :-)
                Even I came across that song randomly last night and fell in love with it. I was thinking exactly the same – that the guy in white shoes would snatch the necklace.
                May be back then the trains didn’t have the word of caution painted in the compartments – “Aparichit logon ka diya hua kuch mat khaiye”. or the constant announcements at the platforms about keeping your jewelleries and money safe ;-)
                She was flaunting that necklace…i hope it only resulted in a theft and not a murder.

                p.s. : Shammi Kapoor looks gorgeous everywhere! Well, almost :-)

  23. I enjoyed the song featuring Joy Mukherjee, and I agree with you about the realistic jerky train movement.

    Why don’t you do a “Ten of my favourite songs sung in a boat/out on the sea”?

    • That is on my ‘to do lists’ list as well, Mudita! I already have quite a few in mind, will do them one of these days. Also a bicycle songs list, no? There were some lovely songs sung on bicycles in the good old days…

  24. Ah great list as usual and i just simply adore your commentary as well, your sister is quite fierce ain’t she saying Mala looks like an Indfignanat powder puff, i admit I lol at that one ha ha!

    here are some of mine, you’re already selected on from Mashaal with Anil and Rati whom i love, but here’s another one of her in pasand Apni Apni, i guess it counts as it starts on a train plus Asha’s vocals are beautiful on this

    the second is one with Sadhana doing a Village belle style dance in Geeta MERA Naam

    • Thank you for those songs, Bollywooddeewana! I also have a soft spot for Rati Agnihotri – there’s a certain something about her that’s very appealing. I hadn’t heard, before, either of these two songs, but they’re both nice, in very different ways! Sadhana’s outfit and general demeanour in the song from Geeta Mera Naam reminds me of Jhumka gira re Bareilly ke bazaar mein from Mera Saaya.

  25. Pingback: Ten of my favourite Shyama songs « Bhooli Bisri Sunheri Yaadein

  26. Coming late to the party. Like your list a lot, Madhu. Would pretty much be my list too. Happy to see that Ragini dance song from Kalpana.

    A lot of songs have been added in the comments too. Here’s one that’s not yet been mentioned. From Anokhi Ada (1948). I think the movie was a big hit. Naseem Bano does look so very pretty IMO. The song, I think, is just about ok – I think it was the time when Mukesh was trying to channel Saigal saab.
    Anyway, FWIW, here it is – to add to this list.

    And then, since I noticed a couple of comments about Shammi Kapoor songs which had ANYTHING to do wtih a train, I remembered also the song from Boyfriend.

  27. :-) That song from Boyfriend – how could I forget it? Someone should do a complete inventory of songs filmed with Shammi Kapoor on some mode of transportation or the other – they’d probably go into the hundreds!

    The Anokhi Ada song is new to me, but I thought Naseem Bano looked sweet, too. From some angles, you can see how much Saira resembles her in her later years…

  28. One very important train song is missed. It is again a dev anand song in prem pujari ” phoolonki rang se dil ki kalam say

    • I couldn’t have included that one in my list anyway, because one of my self-imposed rules was that the entire song should have been picturised on the train. But yes, thank you for that recommendation (by the way, another reader – ak – also pointed out Phoolon ke rang se, so it wasn’t actually missed).

  29. Saw Jagriti 1954. I was surprised to see that it had a ‘To Sir With Love’ story OR should I say the story of To Sir With Love is like Jagriti :-) as it was made 10 years earlier.

    But coming to the point, there’s a Train song in the film. Even though I’ve heard it before, I would never have imagined that this would be sung on a train.

    • Yes, I knew about this song being sung on a train (I’ve mentioned it in my post, though didn’t list it because I haven’t seen Jaagriti). I like To Sir With Love, so I think it’s probably high time I watched Jaagriti too!

  30. Coming late to a blog has a major disadvantage – it is hard to check if someone else has already said what one wants to say. Let me take the risk anyway. I didn’t notice this song mentioned in the comments: Ayi bahaar aaj by Punkaj Mullick http://youtu.be/8NX6S3aw6bc

    • This is a real find, Chris! I have seen Raj Khosla on screen before – in Solvaan Saal – but never singing. I thought Rail mein jiya mora dhak-dhak bole was kinda cute, and very much about train travel.

      And, what a coincidence: just the other day, I was looking at Madan Mohan’s filmography, and saw a 1950 film named ‘The Eyes‘ listed on it. I thought: “Oh, so they made an Aankhen back then, too?” And here I see you’ve posted a song from Aankhen.

    • Haven’t been able to find it on Youtube, and unfortunately don’t remember it at all, even though I have seen Reshmi Roomaal, years ago. If you know where I can watch it, please help!

  31. I loved all the songs specially “Upar wala Jaan ke anjaan hai”.. too goood and too simple… I would like to add one more from my favorite list.. It’s from 1974 movie DOST (Shatrughn Sinha and Dharmendra)… Lyrics are very meaning full, Music will give you feel that you are sitting in train.. Even with your eyes closed you can imagine or create your own scenes… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CYkADd5RNXU

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