One Lady Sings, The Other Dances

Hindi films are full of song and dance. Many people wonder why Hindi films or Indian films in general have songs? But for us it’s a routine, almost an essential part! Isn’t it? At the drop of hat, the hero and heroine break into a song. It’s not mandatory to have a situation. We have been watching excellent dance performances in Hindi films, where the character is singing and dancing at the same time. Though it’s practically not possible at all, we do adore such songs. But on a few occasions it’s more realistic .
One of the characters sings while the other dances to its tune. Many songs have a male character singing and a female character dances. And even if I can’t call it very common, I can easily recall many.

But when we look for the songs, where one female character sings and the other female character dances, it’s relatively difficult to recall. At least it was difficult for me to recall such songs.
And today’s post is just about such songs.


It took me a few months to recollect or search for such songs. And I did include a few variations as well in the post. As you can guess, the majority of the songs are stage performances or dancer’s performances at a royal court or at home etc. I have excluded club songs like, Neele Aasmani, where a club singer performs without a dance and the audience dances. Similarly a party performance like, Aage Bhi Jane Na Tu is excluded.

You must have started thinking about the songs now,
Come on then, let’s see if our choices match!

1. Kajrari Matwari Madbhari Do Ankhiyan – Naubahar (1952) Rajkumari / Roshan – Shailendra
It was actually the first song that I could remember for the list. Though the film is remembered for solos by Lata Mangeshkar, this beautiful song by Rajkumari holds its place. Kuldeep Kaur is the one who sings it, while popular dancer, Roshan Wajifdar dances. No wonder it’s a splendid dance performance. It’s a semi classical song in its essence with a wonderful dance. Not a surprise it is on the first position on the list.

2. Man Mein Naache – Beqasoor (1950) Lata Mangeshkar / Anil Biswas – Ehsan Rizvi
A few years back I reviewed Beqasoor, but couldn’t complete the review. It wasn’t a great movie, though not outrightly awful. I’m a huge fan of Madhubala, who lip syncs to four solos by Lata Mangeshkar. And I love all those songs. This song is a dance performance by a lady (? Mangala) while Madhubala sings the wonderful semi classical song. Madhubala happens to visit her brother-in -law’s home, but she’s unaware of his and his wife’s (played by Pramila, whom we can see in the audience) evil intentions. When the latter asks her to sing, she readily agrees. The dance performance is not as great as Lata’s rendition, but still the song does leave an impact.

3. Balamwa Bolo Na Bolo Na – Picnic (1966) Lata Mangeshkar / S Mohinder – Majrooh
The song is a stage performance by Kalpana, who was actually a trained dancer, or so I gather. Again an impressive semi classical song, rendered perfectly by Lata Mangeshkar. Gorgeous Shubha Khote lip syncs to the song while playing sitar. S Mohinder has composed a really beautiful song. Though he couldn’t create a mark on Hindi films, he did compose wonderful songs, unfortunately never achieving the status of first rung composer. Please Click here for the video.

4. Kase Kahoon Man Ki Baat – Dhool Ka Phool (1959) Sudha Malhotra / N Datta – Sahir
I came across this song when I was researching for Sudha Malhotra post. A semi classical song, sung wonderfully by Sudha Malhotra. It’s a stage dance performance by Baby Naaz, while Poornima sings it on screen. The dancer and the singer both have done a good job. Mala Sinha and Ashok Kumar sit in the audience, while the adjacent box is occupied by Nanda and Rajendra Kumar. If you’re aware of the story, you can imagine the scenario that may follow given both the couples confront each other after the song. I haven’t watched the movie, so I’m not aware of the consequential drama.

5. Jhan Jhan Jhanjhana Payal Baje – Buzdil (1951) / S D Burman – Shailendra
It’s again a semi classical song by Lata Mangeshkar and if I’m correct it’s based on a traditional bandish, which Burman da used for a Bangla song. I had thought of the song for my yearly review of Lata Mangeshkar songs series, for the year 1951. But when I watched the video I immediately added it to this list. Nimmi sings the song while Cuckoo dances to it. I think it’s one of the very few songs that Cuckoo didn’t lip sync to but danced to the tune.

6. Dance performance by Kumari Kamala – Chori Chori (1956)
Though it’s not a song per se, it fits the theme perfectly. Kumari Kamla was R K Laxman’s wife (they separated in 1960) and has performed in a few Hindi films as a dancer. The other song that I know is of course from Kathputli. She was a child artist as well and has appeared in a dance performance in Kismet. She is a renowned Kathak and Bharatnatyam dancer and has appeared in a number of South Indian films, the majority of her performances were bharatnatyam. (Please read comments by Richard and Anu Warrior)

So far the list had songs with only one singer and one dancer. A couple of songs have more than one singer and more than one dancer. I’m presenting the songs as the first variation of the theme.

7. Kahe Tarsaye Jiyra – Chitralekha (1964) Asha Bhosle & Usha Mangeshkar / Roshan – Sahir
One of my favourites from the movie. An excellent semi classical song. A perfect audiovisual treat! A dance performance at a royal court. The audience is supposed to guess who among the three masked dancers is Chitralekha? The dancers are focused mainly in the prelude and interludes, whereas the singers get footage during the verses. There are three singers, though only two playback singers sing it. I’m sure about one of the singers being Bela Bose, she herself was a good dancer. I couldn’t recognise the other two! I’m not sure but one of them could be Parveen Chaudhary.

8. Dekho Bijli Dole Bin Badal Ki – Phir Wohi Dil Laya Hoon (1963) – Asha Bhosle & Usha Mangeshkar / O P Nayyar – Majrooh
A dance faceoff between Asha Parekh and Rani. Both perform good dances. And it’s clearly noted that one can’t sing while dancing so energetically. Tabassum and company offer to sing. Again there are only two playback singers, while it’s picturised on three singers. Usha Mangeshkar has no separate lines, she’s more or less like a chorus. We do come across a similar scenario in the 60s whenever he has composed such dance numbers. Huzur e Walla is a prominent example.

Let me now present the second variation of today’s theme. Again I’m presenting a couple of songs. Both the songs are duets, where one actress only sings while the other dances as well as sings. The dancer dances throughout. I think it’s easy to guess one of the songs.

9. Yeh Raat Phir Na Aayegi – Mahal (1949) Zohrabai Ambalewali & Rajkumari / Khemchand Prakash – Nakshab Jarchavi
An enchanting song. It’s completely overshadowed by the other songs of the movie. It’s picturised on supporting characters of the movie. The woman playing the string instrument is perhaps Leela Pandey (Zohrabai sings for her), and the dancer is Sheila Naik (Rajkumari sings for her). I’m totally in love with this gem. It’s quite notable that Sheila Naik has subtle dance moves while she herself sings, while she dances with full vigour when the other lady sings.

10. Kar Gaya Re Mujhpe Jaadu – Basant Bahar (1956) Asha Bhosle & Lata Mangeshkar / Shankar Jaikishan – Shailendra
This is a similar scenario, one of the girls only sings, while the other does both. Lata Mangeshkar sings for a tearful Nimmi, who soulfully sings about her heartless beloved, while Asha Bhosle sings for Kumkum, who dances and sings playfully. I think they are apparently talking about the same man. However, when Nimmi sings her part, we don’t get to watch Kumkum dancing to it.

Would you add a song to the list?

Disclaimer –
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.

27 Replies to “One Lady Sings, The Other Dances”

  1. So this was the list you meant, Anupji, when you commented on my ‘Not-Naachnewaali Gaanewaali’ songs post? Very nice! I too have a list like this, though not written up into a post yet, so I don’t know when and if I will get around to publishing it.

    Here’s one of the songs from my list; Meena Kumari’s character sings while Padmini dances in Chhan chham ghungroo from Kaajal:

    Liked by 2 people

  2. A very nice list, Anup, and I’m sure you know that “Kajrari Matwari Madbhari Do Ankhiyan” would be at the very top of my list too. (By the way, I almost always see the dancer’s name spelled as “Vajifdar” (likewise with her two famous sisters). But I suppose that the “V” and the “W” can pretty much be interchangeable?)

    Regarding Kamala Lakshman, although she learned kathak, too, she has mostly been a renowned bharatanatyam dancer, and the vast majority of her film performances were bharatanatyam (as is this dance in Chori Chori). Like Padmini, she moved to the U.S. and taught dance in the general area (mostly suburbs) of New York City. As of eight years ago, at least (when two blogging friends of mine interviewed her and I almost went along), she was still teaching bharatanatyam. (You can look up that interview at Minai/Cassidy’s Cinema Nritya blog.)

    When I read the subject of your list and I started scrolling down, I was not seeing the very second song/dance that sprang into my mind, but Madhu took care of that in comments. 🙂

    There is a borderline example that I thought of, but you probably will tell me, no, that’s going to be in another list. 🙂 This is the case where one woman is singing (and playing harmonium) but is not dancing while another woman sometimes dances to the first woman’s singing and music playing silently but at other times does a little singing, herself. I was thinking of “Tumhare Hogaye” from Sunehre Din.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much Richard for your appreciation.
      I know it should actually be ‘W’, but in India we tend to use V more frequently.
      Thank you for sharing the link to the article on Kamla Laxman (here again, it should always be Lakshman, though popularly it’s spelt using ‘X’). I couldn’t get much about her on the net. Perhaps I didn’t check meticulously.
      I wasn’t aware of the song from Kaajal.
      I think, the song from Sunehre Din can be taken as a variation of the theme, though strictly not falling in the category. I’ve changed the link to the song. The videos by Ultra are disabled on the sites other than YouTube in India. So I changed it to the one that opens on all sites.

      P S – I was expecting your comments on Umadevi post.


      1. Anup,

        Now you have left me more confused. 🙂 Regarding that spelling question, I thought the answer should be, “I know it should actually be ‘V,’ but in India we tend to use ‘W’ more frequently.”

        I wonder if the preferred “V” spelling in “Vajifdar” has anything to do with the fact that Roshan and her sisters were Parsi. (I have no idea if there would be any connection – just a thought.) I have been very interested in the Vajifdar sisters for several years. I have a picture of them in the upper right section of my blog right now, which I took from the cover of a magazine about Parsi culture that I found online within the past few months. Also, one or two of their relatives have written comments on my blog over the years. Kamala Lakshman has also been a high point of interest for me, though not quite as much lately.

        I am sure that you are much more knowledgeable than I am regarding 99 percent of subjects related to Hindi films. You just happened to touch upon a couple of my obsessions.

        I did two posts for Uma Devi’s birthday a long time ago, in July of 2011, listing lots of songs. But I don’t think I have posted about her since then.

        Anyway, I am sorry but, yes, I missed your Uma Devi post and I will have to look at it soon. I have been burdened lately by a job that has cut into my time too much and have not had that much chance to keep up with things. (I work as a proofreader; I have for over 30 years. I guess that explains why I can be so nit-picky with posts by you and other people.) I guess I also will get e-mail notices of your post if I officially “follow” your blog? (I’ll do that now.) I admit, I never click the “follow” buttons for blogs. I always know when Madhu has posted because she sends a notice over Facebook. If you are on Facebook, I haven’t found you (you don’t have a blog page listed there). (I can understand a reluctance to get into that. I was reluctant, myself a while back, but then in 2012, someone set my account up for me, so I got into it anyway and now that is consuming far too much of my time too. )

        P.S. I’m glad that you were able to find a copy of the Sunehre Din song that could play on your blog. The one that I sent is the only copy that I found on YouTube, but that may be because the one that you posted is listed under a different title.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Richard,
          I have no idea if the spelling has anything to do with Parsi culture. In general for ‘व’ we should write W. I know you won’t be aware of Devnagari script. So it’s difficult to explain.
          Thank you following the blog.
          I had a facebook account of the blog once upon a time. But it couldn’t get much attention and I’m not a social media freak at all. So I deleted it ultimately in a couple of months.
          These social media sites do consume a lot of time if we happen to get addicted to it.
          Take your time before you comment on Umadevi post. No problem!


          1. Anup, I certainly am aware of Devanagari script. I even made an earnest effort to learn it about ten years ago. But I didn’t get very far with it, and I pretty much have forgotten what little I learned. But I certainly do recognize it when I see it!

            Though most of my efforts were through a book, I did enlist the help of a Hindi-speaking friend for a short time. And I specifically recall a discussion with him about whether something should be transliterated with a “v” or a “w,” and he said to me, “It’s the same letter.” And I said, “What do you mean it’s the same letter? V and W are very different!” 🙂

            But this doesn’t really tell me how certain names are traditionally transliterated. It seems that sometimes the transliteration of names does not follow the most common transliteration of Devanagari letters. And what about people from Muslim families who would be more likely to write things in Urdu script? (You know, the first time I became well acquainted with the sound of Hindi, a quarter of a century ago, was not through Hindi, but through Urdu being spoken by a Pakistani-American woman who was my girlfriend at the time. 🙂 I did not really get into Hindi films until ten years later. )

            The heritage of Parsis is Persian and Zoroastrian (though I think most converted to Islam, right?). That’s why I wondered if the common transliteration “Vajifdar” (as I have usually seen the name spelled) had anything to do with their being Parsis. 🙂

            Liked by 1 person

          2. Richard,
            It’s really amazing to know you are aware of देवनागरी लिपी.
            V and W are certainly different. But in India, many times, V and W are used interchangeably. As we don’t have ‘व्ह’ in Devnagari, all should be W.
            Intersting exchange of thoughts I must say

            Liked by 1 person

  3. Anupji, this is another difficult category. I am not sure about how apt this song from Adalat is. It is a little different in that the same song is sung by one actress without dancing and by the other actress dancing. The lyrics are the same but the tune is different. I am talking about Ja Ja Re Ja Saajna.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. An entertaining theme you have brought here on dance which is always liked by all. You have prescribed a tough qualification and at least for me songs are not easily come by. I enjoyed all the songs and have heard them earlier too. Another memorable post I think of this.
    Song No. 6 from Chori chori is sung by the great carnatic music vidushi M. L. Vasanthakumari. It is a traditional thillana, usually sung towards the end of the concert. It is also a part of bharatnatyam. The main raag is Hindolam (carnatic) and its equivalent in Hindustani is Malkauns, There are two more raags.
    I checked on Umraojaan. All songs of dance are sung by the dancer herself and hence would not qualify.
    There is one song from AZAD 1955 – aplam chaplam. Dancing sisters Saayi Subbalakshmi dance and sing. It is a female duet and I do not know whether it would qualify. I give the link below:

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Rangan ji,
      Thank you for your appreciation of the post. Glad you liked it.
      Thank you for adding the information about the singer of the Thillana.
      The song Azad however doesn’t qualify, as the dancers sing on their own while dancing.


  5. Anupji, interesting post and complements Madhu’s non-nachnewali posts very well. As Richard mentioned in the comments, while Kumari Kamala (RK Laxman’s second wife is also Kamala, and is well-known as Kamala Laxman, so I will stick with the screen name for the first Kamala) did study Kathak when she was a child, it is as a bharatanatyam dancer that she earned acclaim. All her dances in films are mostly bharatanatyam-based as well.

    I think this one will fit your theme: Meena Kumari sings, Jamuna dances, in Miss Mary
    Ye mard bade sar dard bade

    Between Madhu and you, you have given me an idea for a complementary post. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Anu ji for the appreciation.
      I didn’t know about the second wife of Mr Laxman. I should also be changing the name to Kumari Kamla. Thanks for sharing the information. I’ll update the post.
      I’m happy you got an idea of a complementary post. And I’m very much eager to know what it is! I am unable to guess what it could be.
      Waiting for your post.
      I’ve changed to link of the song from Miss Mary. The video by Ultra is disabled on other sites. So I changed it.


  6. Dear Anup ji,

    That was a tough one! I gave up and then turned to other territories. Here is one from the Bangla Mystery Thriller “HAR HAR BYOMKESH” (2015). Hope you like it

    (सावन आयो री…..)

    [ as one viewer has pointed out, the Lady who is dancing is Shinjini Kulkarni, granddaughter of Pandit Birju Maharaj ]

    With warm regards


    Liked by 1 person

      1. Dear Anup ji,

        Why do you say the song is in Bangla? The story is set in Varanasi and the Lady is singing in perhaps the Purvi dialect. There is one other Purvi (Bhojpuri ?) song in the film, sung by renowned Assamese Singer KALPANA PATOWARY, which I am placing only for the Musical Content. I am sure you will like it.


        Liked by 1 person

  7. Anup,
    What I found most impressive was that all the songs were my top favourites and there was none which was less than absolutely melodious. And all were real old songs!

    As to Richard’s query about ‘W’ and ‘V’, I don’t think there is any theory when to use one or the other in transliteration. I am sure a phonetician would be able to explain the technical difference between the two sounds. In usage some unexplained convention has come into vogue.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. AKji,
      Yes, that was an important aspect of the post. All were well known songs, and I happened to present it by a common thread.
      I agree with you on the transliteration. A phonetic expert would explain it.


  8. An interesting post, Dr, Anup, and challenging too!
    I tried to recollect some more fitting songs from the golden era but couldn’t.
    Here are some from the later period. Possibly, not very familiar to you. Hope they fit.

    1. Humne sanam ko khat likha – Shakti 1982
    Here Smita Patil sings. The dancer is not a known face, though I have seen her in other films. The focus is on Smita, she does move and make gestures, but continues to keep sitting.

    2. Dekho idhar bhi jaane tamanna – Imtihan 1974
    Tanuja only sings while Bindu sings as well as dances.

    3. Zindagi ek naatak hai (second version) – Naatak 1975
    Moushumi sings while Jayshree T dances.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Dear Anup ji,

    Here is one from across the Western Border, a Song still popular and played over Radio Ceylon

    (बड़े बे-मुरव्वत हैं येह हुस्न वाले , कहीं दिल लगाने की कोशिश न करना …)

    (SURAIYYA MULTANIKAR sings for ZUMURRUD, from “BADNAAM”, 1966)

    [ It is said that this Mujra Song alone drew audiences and the Film made a successful Silver Jubilee run in Lahore. The song was composed by Music Director DEBABRATA BHATTACHARYA, a.k.a Deboo, from the then East Pakistan ]

    With warm regards


    Liked by 1 person

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