This year in the month of March, I had a song list, the ‘Songs picturised in a recording studio’. Some of the songs on the list were radio songs. By that I mean, the songs are shown to get aired on the radio. But as I wanted to highlight the interesting history of song recording in Hindi films, I chose to go for the songs in recording studio. But still the ‘Radio songs’ stuck somewhere in my mind and I wanted to have a separate list of those songs. I searched for those songs, and here I’m!
Before I begin the song list, let us have a look at the history of radio. The world’s first radio station was British Broadcasting Company in 1922, later known as British Broadcasting Corporation in 1927 with its headquarters at London.
The first radio station in Asia is Radio Ceylon. It was launched as Colombo Radio on 16th December 1925, just three years after BBC. India & Ceylon were still under British rule and the station started working under strict British laws. In 1948, Ceylon got freedom and in early 1950s, the radio started its Hindi services. Radio Ceylon changed to Sri Lanka Broadcasting corporation in 1972.
In India, The Golden Era of Hindi Film Music was at its peak in 1950s. The upcoming voices and the slowly fading voices from 40s all were still singing for Hindi Cinema. But the new Indian government banned film music altogether on radio. Mr B V Keskar, the minister of information & broadcasting, banned airing film songs in 1952. It is said that, he found them too westernized for a newly independent country. He thought the film songs were drifting from their responsibility of encouraging national pride in people. He thought that the Hindi film songs would spoil the new generations of independent India. He himself was a admirer of classical music and was finding it difficult to get true Indian classical music lovers. He wanted to make the country aware of its rich musical culture. So he completely banned the Hindi film songs on AIR. But the people were mad for film music and though Indian classical music is really rich, it’s difficult for common man to appreciate its beauty. Not everyone can listen to it the whole day. At least I know I can’t! The film industry found this issue very frustrating and the producers repeal the broadcast licenses given to AIR. The radio now was devoid of film songs and the Indian classical music was aired all the time.
At this point, The Radio Ceylon grabbed the golden opportunity of airing Hindi film songs and very soon became the most popular radio station. Radio Ceylon started Binaca Geetmala, offering a song countdown show, that appealed to one & all. Now, the entire country was tuning Radio Ceylon and very soon, Ameen Sayani achieved an iconic status as its host. The show used to air every wednesday from 8 to 9 pm and everyone now adjusted their routine to suit the timing. It is said that the streets used to be deserted on those days between 8 to 9 pm. The show became a rage. The hit parade, Binaca Geetmala was followed by everyone and there used to be a bunch of letters, posted to get delivered there.
Finally, the government lifted the ban in 1957 & a service dedicated to non stop film music was started, Vividh Bharati with a tag line ‘ये आकाशवाणी का पंचरंगी कार्यक्रम हैं’
The service still offers a very good coverage of old Hindi film songs throughout the day.
The radio was an integral part of Hindi cinema, on screen & off screen too! In olden days, when people had to visit the cinema hall to enjoy the songs once more, the radio was a costly affair too. A sign of status symbol. Very few affluent people had radios in their homes. The other places to listen to the songs were Hotels & Salons, which used to have big radios and proved an attraction for the customers. For a few decades, radio was an essential part of the household, if you wanted to listen to the Hindi film songs.
There used to be a bunch of Hindi film related programs on the Radio Ceylon. A typical Radio Ceylon day would start at 7 am, with programs like ‘एक ही फिल्म के गीत’ and one of the most famous, ‘पुरानी फिल्मो के गीत’ that started at 07.30 am. It’s still a customary to end the program with a song by K L Saigal. It would be followed by ‘Aap Hi Ke geet’, and the entire afternoon would also be full of Hindi film songs. The evenings would have a different set of programs to offer!
The hit parade, ‘बिनाका गीतमाला’ would top the list. The other sponsored programs, included, ओव्हलटिन फुलवारी, कोलगेट के सितारे, पॉलिडोर संगीत धारा, etc.
There were some interesting programs like ‘अनोखे बोलवाले गीत’, that used to have songs with meaningless words, ‘ये भी सुनिए’, that would highlight a neglected, but good song recorded on the reverse side of a popular song on the record. The song would be overshadowed by the popular song.
‘एक ही कलाकार के गीत’, which would feature the duets of a particular singer with various artists.
The signature tunes of the title music of a program were also a rage, so were the announcers or hosts. They were celebrities those days, like Gopal Sharma, Ameen Sayani, Vimal Kashyap, Vijayalaxmi etc.
People would crazily send letters for Aap ki farmaish and some never heard places became highly popular. A perfect example is of course, ‘झुमरी तलैया’. I thought of it at first, as an imaginary place, but of course it exists in North India.
The radio has played a supporting and at times major role in old Hindi films, if one of the leading characters is a singer. Such films always had at least a song picturised in the radio recording studio & getting aired live on the radio. The radio was the only easily available way of broadcasting songs, so such songs were more in number.
It’s obvious to remember few of the contemporary films like, ‘Tumhari Sulu’, or ‘Lage Raho Munna Bhai’, where one of the lead character is radio jockey and the story revolves around it. I also remember the most famous song from, Tiger Zinda Hai, ‘Dil Diya Gallan’, that is shown as a radio song in the beginning.
For the post, I’ve selected some of the radio songs. I have tried to include songs that have radio to a major extent. Some songs are partially shown as radio, partially on TV or record player etc. I’ve tried to avoid those songs. This time, I’ve freed myself from any timeline restrictions and some post 70s songs are also on the list. I think, the cassette players became popular and affordable in mid 70s and the radio very slowly cast aside cause you didn’t have to stick to the schedule. But till 90s, Radio was still a popular medium for Hindi songs. I still remember listening to Geetmala in 1991, when the songs from Patthar Ke Phool used to be on the top. Later cassettes were much cheaper and I had a whole collection of them from the 90s films (someday I’m planning a 90s songs post, as it was the period, when I started liking the Hindi film songs in general and also started collecting the songs from 50s & 60s)
At my home, we had a medium sized radio which we used to listen to Vividh Bharati programs. Later it was replaced by a small transistor with a long antenna and we used to fit the cable from TV antenna to it to get a good signal for Radio Ceylon. Those were the days eh!! Simple pleasures. Good old days!
Let’s start the radio songs from Hindi films, as usual in no particular order.
1. Haye Re Tere Chanchal Nainwa – Oonche Log (1965) Lata Mangeshkar / Chitragupt – Majrooh
This is of course one of my most favourite tracks on the list. It had featured on one of my earlier list as well. Rajkumar gifts a transistor radio to Firoz Khan, who is much impressed by it. He immediately puts it on and the song starts immediately. He carries it adorably and even dances a few steps with it. A perfect song to open the list. Also it was the song, that inspired me to collect such songs. So it obviously tops the list.
2. Pyar Ki Dastan Tum Suno – Faraar (1965) Lata Mangeshkar / Hemant Kumar – Kaifi Azmi
A song again being played on a transistor radio. It’s getting performed live in a radio recording studio, we can clearly see the AIR logo on the microphone. It’s like a conversational song, as if she is communicating with him face to face. Written excellently , composed and sung well, the song should be amongst top solos by Lata Mangeshkar for Hemant Kumar. And of course, the transistor is there, first he carries it and later in the car as well.
3. Piya Bina Piya Bina – Abhimaan (1973) Lata Mangeshkar / S D Burman – Majrooh
The film has few songs that fit the theme, but I chose it as this has radio, right from the beginning. Jaya Bhaduri is in a stage performance, while the songs gets aired. We can clearly see the microphones of AIR and Chicago radio. One of the precious gems from Abhiman, a story of a singer couple. So it had many opportunities to feature a recording studio and a radio song too!
4. Aaj Ki Raat Badi Natkhat – Nai Umar Ki Nai Fasal (1965) Asha Bhosle & Rafi / Roshan – Neeraj
This is the sad version of the song. The hero is very ambitious, idealistic and wants to achieve the aim before he commits to her. He conveys the feelings to the audience, while he listens her plea on the radio. The lyrics by Neeraj are worth listening to and Roshan has woven it in a soulful melody.
5. Sanware Sanware – Anuradha (1960) Lata Mangeshkar / Pandit Ravi Shankar – Shailendra
This is again a story of a singer, who dedicates herself as a housewife after marriage. The film opens with a radio announcement of a song, sung by Anuradha Rai ten years ago, a famous singer of her era. The titles and the song start simultaneously. This song was must for the list. The link below is a full movie link, as I couldn’t get a separate video of this song. One of the best classical based songs by Lata Mangeshkar.
6. Maine Dekhi Jag Ki Reet – Sunehre Din (1949) Mukesh & Shamshad Begum / Gyandatt – D N Madhok
It’s an interesting song. Two friends are listening to the song, being played on the radio. But one of them sings it at her home, while the song still continues on the radio. It might be taken as a amazingly popular song being played on the radio and fans sing along. As usual for me Shamshad Begum steals the show. Enjoy the song!
7. Woh Hum Na The – Cha Cha Cha (1964) Rafi / Iqbal Qureshi – Neeraj
The song also opens with radio announcement and the singer’s name is mentioned. Helen at once becomes alert and listens to it with moist eyes. He remembers his meetings with her and his fervent voice makes her wretched. Again the radio acts as a character, at least for this song.
8. Dil Ka Dard Nirala – Kaise Kahoon (1964) Rafi / S D Burman – Shakeel Badayuni
The movie, is again a story of an established singer, who suddenly finds himself deaf one day. Biswajit plays the singer, while Nanda plays his admirer and silent lover. His engagement with Naaz breaks up and he realizes finally Nanda’s true love for him. But now, she is away from him and refuses to meet. The song conveys his deep anguish and wretched mood to her. The song appears in the last 15 minutes of the movie and the radio plays an important part to reunite the departed souls. Enjoy the soulful rendition by Rafi.
9. Aate Jate Khubsurat – Anurodh (1977) Kishore Kumar /Laxmikant Pyarelal – Anand Bakshi
No points for guessing, the hero is a singer in the movie. I’m not very much fond of the song (or Rajesh Khanna) The song describes an accidental meeting of a beautiful lady and the effects that has left on his mind. She is certainly a memorable person for her.
The film was a big super hit, though the songs by Kishore Kumar were the main attraction. Enjoy it.
10. Gham Uthane Ke Liye – Mere Huzoor (1968) Rafi / Shankar Jaikishan – Hasrat Jaipuri
I wasn’t aware of this song, till I found it for this list. I didn’t particularly like it. But it fits the bill. The beginning of the song itself puts me off. Rafi screaming in a high pitched voice surprisingly irritated me. Nevertheless the later part is comparatively better for me.
Would you add a song?
Mehfil Mein Meri, claims no credit for any image posted on this site. Images on this blog are posted to make the text interesting. The images and screenshots are the copyright of their original owners. The song links are from YouTube and have been used here only for the music lovers. The copyright of these songs rests with the respective owners.