Maharashtra state is experiencing the second wave of covid. Tension is building up and once again we find ourselves in need of a stress buster. While I had tribute posts for a few weeks, I was not in a mood for another.
While I was churning these thoughts in mind, I absentmindedly opened the music player on my phone. It randomly played a song that started a chain of thoughts. I’ll of course talk about the song, it has occupied the number one position on the list.
Though it’s a commonplace theme, I thought to give it a try and have my own list of songs with the Tonga rhythm. O P Nayyar would have topped the list, if I would have allowed two songs by the same composer. So the primary criteria for the post is that the song must have a tonga rhythm, whether it’s picturised on a tonga or not. Even if the video of the song is not available, the song still qualifies for the post.
The Tonga rhythm makes the song playful, energetic and extremely rhythmic. You instantly start tapping your feet. Some of the songs have ghungroo to make it more catchy. I guess the tonga has ghungroos attached to the wheels or even around the neck of the horses. The composers also add the sounds resembling tapping of the horseshoe. It is said the composers used the coconut shells to strike on a tile to imitate the horseshoe sound. Unfortunately I have no knowledge of the musical instruments to identify them in the song. But I guess, Dholak is also added to enhance the sound.
I decided to include only one song per composer. So let’s see how many composers appear on the list? Let your brain wheels start churning the topic.
I included some of the obvious songs, whereas I tried searching for songs for a few composers. O P Nayyar was obviously in the first position to compose the maximum number of songs with Tonga rhythm, followed by Naushad, Salil Chowdhury and Roshan. For S D Burman, I couldn’t find a song that fitted my idea of tonga rhythm. Also I tried to avoid the songs which had already appeared on the blog in other posts and in the process, I skipped songs composed by Ghulam Mohammad, Dhaniram and Sardul Kwatra. But I retained the popular songs, even though the songs might have appeared earlier on the blog. I couldn’t avoid repeating them, nor was it fair to skip the songs.
So here we go.
1. This song’s the first Hindi film song with the Tonga rhythm.
Chale Pawan Ki Chaal – Doctor (1941) Pankaj Malik / Pankaj Malik – A H Shore
Though the video is of average quality, we can clearly appreciate the Tonga rhythm. It’s really so wonderful. So composer, Pankaj Malik should be given the credit of introducing it to the Hindi films.
2. It was introduced in the early 40s, and it took a long time to get popularized. A few songs with Tonga rhythm were composed in the 40s, though the songs couldn’t achieve popularity. The composers to employ the rhythm were Ghulam Mohammad, Vasant Desai etc. A few composers did understand the magical aura of the rhythm and composed a few songs with it. I think Naushad was one of the composers to use it in the early 50s. In fact he has a few songs in the rhythm and let me present one of those songs.
Dil Mein Chhupa Ke Pyar Ka – Aan (1952) Rafi / Naushad – Shakeel Badayuni
A delightful song, where Dilip Kumar abducts Nadira and carries with him. Both of them look young. Nadira had a different charm of her own, and Dilip Kumar looks handsome. The tonga beats sound too cute. I just love the rhythm.
3. Before I mention any other composer, it’s quite fair to talk about the composer, who popularized the tonga rhythm so much so that thinking of it, makes us remember his energetic, melodious songs. I’m sure you got who he is! Of course, I’m talking about O P Nayyar. He composed a number of songs with Tonga rhythm throughout his career in the 50s and the 60s. There are many songs to consider, but I’ll add the song, which is extremely popular and for me one of his bests.
Maang Ke Saath Tumhara – Naya Daur (1957) Rafi & Asha Bhosle / O P Nayyar – Sahir
Naya Daur is considered one of the bests by O P Nayyar. He did get his only Filmfare Award for this one and surely he deserved. The song still maintains popularity. The tonga beats make it very rhythmic, foot tapping. The onscreen couple looks good and their chemistry is amazing. Enjoy the song.
4. While it’s quite interesting that Madan Mohan composed a few songs in O P Nayyar’s style, he made use of the Tonga rhythm in just a few songs. In fact offhand I could recollect just a couple of songs fitting the theme. There could be a few more, but I’m presenting my most favourite.
Bach Gaye Hum Dono Phansate Phansate – Chacha Zindabad (1959) Lata Mangeshkar & Kishore Kumar / Madan Mohan – Rajendra Krishan
I don’t know why the tonga beats were incorporated in the song? I mean the couple never travels on a ghoda gadi in the song! But it does sound good. I’m very curious about this film, which sounds like a fun filled venture. Anita Guha and Kishore Kumar perhaps enacting a couple against their will. And finally they are done with it and now separating happily. Their personalities appear completely opposite, one likes Indian classical music, the other is attracted to the western music. One believes in Indian values, the other is a bit westernised. They celebrate their separation by singing the wonderful song. I completely adore Lata’s voice quality in this song. Just incomparable!
5. Shankar Jaikishan was one of the most popular composer duo of the golden era. They experimented with various instruments, various styles, even Indian classical ragas. They were very creative and innovative. Let’s listen to one of their songs with the Tonga rhythm.
Main Rangeela Pyar Ka Rahi – Chhoti Behen (1959) Lata Mangeshkar & Subir Sen / Shankar Jaikishan – Hasrat Jaipuri
S J created their own type of the tonga beats. Ghungaru and Dholak appear to have created the rhythm, sounds a bit different from the other songs. The picturisation and the chemistry between Mehmood and Shubha Khote is watchable too. Enjoy the song.
6. Salil Chowdhury also had a handful of songs with Tonga rhythm to his credit. While the film, Ek Gaon Ki Kahani, itself has a couple of songs with Tonga rhythm, I was inclined to choose the one with a sad mood, as perhaps it’s the only sad song incorporating tonga beats. But later I dropped both the songs. The tonga beats are not very prominent and aren’t audible throughout the songs, nearly disappearing during the verses. So I chose finally,
Halke Halke Chalo Sanware – Tangewali (1955) Lata Mangeshkar & Hemant Kumar / Salil Chowdhury – Prem Dhawan
The Tonga beats never stop throughout the song. Salil Da doesn’t imitate anyone and maintains his own style along with the tonga rhythm. I like this one, even though the film isn’t popular at all.
7. Roshan has also used the Tonga rhythm in some of his songs. While I could recollect a few of his songs, the one from Dadi Ma is perhaps the most popular. I also skipped the song from Warrant, a 1961 movie that is not much talked about. Finally I chose a charming song featuring an equally charming couple.
Ek To Surat Pyari – Wallah Kya Baat Hai (1962) Asha Bhosle & Rafi / Roshan – Prem Dhawan
Roshan has composed the majority of the songs in O P Nayyar’s style for this movie. And offering all the songs to Asha Bhosle further adds to the confusion. What an absolute delight the song is! Extremely cheerful, and energetic. To top it all, the couple, Shammi Kapoor and Bina Rai, looks absolutely gorgeous. I’m not a fan of either of them, but I must confess, their presence made the song more enjoyable. And of course, the Tonga beats never stop throughout the song. Absolutely lovable!
8. Perhaps it’s the only song composed by Hemant Kumar, fitting today’s theme. At least offhand I find it difficult to recollect other ones, if any.
Phoolon Se Dosti Hai Kanton Se Yari – Duniya Jhukati Hai (1960) Rafi / Hemant Kumar – Rajendra Krishan
What a wonderful song it is! Rafi sang for Hemant Kumar only once in a while, but whenever he did was very good. See how Rafi carries the song on his shoulders, with the tonga beats accompanying him throughout. For a change, we can see the horse for most of the song. It seems Agha himself has carried the tonga. And the tonga beats perfectly match with the hoofbeats. In fact this holds true for the majority of the songs on the list.
9. Hansraj Behl was certainly one of the talented but underrated composers of the golden era. His most popular songs belong to the late 50s and the early 60s. Unfortunately he could not achieve the status of the first rung composer. He also produced a number of movies and composed for the same. He perhaps reserved his best work for his own films. In the late 50s, he experimented with various playback singers. Notably he didn’t always choose Lata Mangeshkar. Let’s listen to the song now.
Bheega Bheega Pyar Ka Sama – Sawan (1959) Rafi & Shamshad Begum / Hansraj Behl – Prem Dhawan
Sawan was also Behl’s home production and a number of songs from the movie are popular. While he chose Lata Mangeshkar for other songs, his choice for this one was Shamshad Begum. Her stern and raw voice suits it. Both the singers are made to sing on high pitch and still it sounds effortless. And Tonga beats capture your mind, so does Ameeta.
10. Composer G S Kohli was O P Nayyar’s assistant and arranger for a long period. It’s very obvious that he used the Tonga rhythm in his own songs too. Unfortunately he never composed for A grade films, and remained restricted to stunt action films. He composed for a few Dara Singh movies too. And I’m adding a song that I absolutely love.
O Matware Sajna – Faulad (196) Asha Bhosle / G S Kohli – Faruq Kaiser
The couple looks cute together. Its tune, the tonga beats, lyrics, and above all Asha’s flawless rendition are top class. The song is strikingly similar to O P Nayyar’s song. Such a prominent tonga beats, such a pleasure.
11. Usha Khanna started with a A grade movie, but somehow later also composed for B grade movies too. Even though her debut with Dil Deke Dekho sounded much akin to O P Nayyar’s style, there was no song with the Tonga rhythm. Later she did compose a song with the tonga beats.
Chand Ko Kya Maloom – Lal Bangla (1966) Mukesh / Usha Khanna – Indeevar
The song very recently appeared on the blog. But it’s a favourite, so I repeated it. Rendered excellently by Mukesh, the song is adorably cute to listen to. What an impressive use of guitar and violin in the interludes.
12. Ravi was Hemant Kumar’s assistant, and started his separate career with the film Vachan. In his debut film itself, he composed a tonga rhythm song. It was a romantic duet sung by Asha Bhosle and Rafi. Later he developed his own style and delivered hits. Then he stayed away from tonga beats. But when opportunity struck, he rose to it.
Ghoda Pishori Mera – Pyar Ka Bandhan (1963) Rafi / Ravi – Sahir
Ravi adorned the song with beautiful tonga beats. Rafi excelled in expressions. But it’s difficult to imagine energetic, almost bubbly Rajkumar. Next to impossible for me to watch it.
13. I was expecting to find a few songs with Tonga rhythm by C Ramchandra. But I could get only one song. I could recollect it only after I went through my notes I took last January for posts on Chitalkar’s career. Chitalkar sang a number of songs during the early years of his career, and most of the songs were playful, light hearted. You can expect fun and complete entertainment from the song I’ve listed.
Mera Dil Hai Nikhattu – Nirala (1950) Chitalkar / C Ramchandra – P L Santoshi
Before Chitalkar formed a successful association with Rajendra Krishan, P L Santoshi wrote for him and the songs have a different charisma. C Ramchandra has his own way of the tonga beats, at a slightly slower pace than the other songs. And he adds tabla to enhance the beats. The song has tonga beats continuously till the end and no need to say Chitalkar’s voice captures the mind. Such kinds of songs suit best to his voice.
14. The duo Bipin Babul is a lesser known pair of composer, who compose mainly for B grade films. Though their name is not popular, some of their songs are still popular. Let’s listen to one of the song, that is credited to Babul alone by some of the sites.
Main Deewana Mastana – 40 Days (1959) Mukesh / Babul – Kaifi Azmi
The song was mentioned by Neeru in the comments on one of the earlier posts. I remembered it for today’s theme. A perfect song for today’s list.
15. And let me end the list with none other than, Pancham da, composing for Sholay.
Koi Haseena Jab Rooth Jati Hai – Sholay (1975) Kishore Kumar / R D Burman – Anand Bakshi
Though I won’t call it a great song, it’s still very popular. And it is catchy for sure. Here the beats sound more jazzy, with tabla added. Picturised on the popular couple, Dharmendra and Hema Malini, it’s a good song to end my list.
I hope you all enjoyed the songs. And, I did repeat the word tonga too many times. But had no option! Please add your favourite song with the Tonga rhythm. You can of course repeat the composer from the list, or add a new composer. So go ahead.
Mehfil Mein Meri, claims no credit for any image, screenshots or songs 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 shared from YouTube, only for the listening convenience of music lovers. The copyright of these songs rests with the respective owners, producers and music companies.