'If Music Be the Food of Love, Play On’: Valentine’s Day Gems for the Charmed

Commercial success may be the name of the game, yet I am not listing popular romantic numbers.

5 min read
Hindi Female

Love and music are for all seasons. That is why it is amusing to see romance 'sold' as an item around Valentine’s Day, even though our need to overcome loneliness is an everyday affair.

Remember, death is always a breath away, hence, any day spent without a song, a smile, or a hug is a waste of life especially since love and music are the best elixirs for happiness in this imperfect world. And in that spirit, Valentine's Day seems a good occasion to share some ethereal yet rarely heard love songs of the Golden Era; songs that are not only pleasing to the ears but which shower bliss at all times. 

Commercial success may be the name of the game, yet I am not listing popular romantic numbers like “Aap Ke Haseen Rukh Pe Aaj Naya Noor Hai” (Baharein Phir Bhi Aayengi), “Tu Kahan Ye Bataa Is Nasheeli Raat Main” (Tere Ghar Ke Saamne), “Chalo Dildar Chalo” (Pakeezah), “Abhi Na Jaao Chhod Kar” (Hum Dono), “Tera Mera Pyaar Amar” (Asli Naqli), “Tere Mere Sapne” (Guide), “Agar Mujhse Mohabbat Hai” (Aap Ki Parchaayeen)  and many others with which are familiar to most since a long time.

Instead, I rewind to a select few equally charming and romantic numbers that may be in oblivion but are no less endearing than their famous counterparts.


Listen to the soothing “Aaj Ki Raat Badi Shokh Badi Natkhat Hai” (Nayi Umar Ki Nayi Fasal) and you will be catapulted to pinnacles of ecstasy. Neeraj’s petal-soft lyrics, tuned to perfection by Roshan, have been so poignantly rendered by Mohammed Rafi that it makes the heart sing. Equally overwhelming is the other evocative Rafi Sahab number “Akela Hun Main Humsafar Dhoondhta Hun” (Jaal) which makes you empathise with a lover’s loneliness.

Raja Mehdi Ali Khan’s delectable poetry in consonance with the Laxmikant-Pyarelal tune seeps gently to reside deep inside the heart, almost akin to moonlight filtering through trees to reside upon the landscape.

The famous telephone scene from Sujata is a salute to Bimal Roy’s genius but its magnetic charm lies in the dulcet singing of Talat Mehmood. “Jalte Hain Jiske Liye” is an eye-moistening song by Majrooh Sultanpuri wherein Talat’s vocals take wings in Sachin Dev Burman’s melodic company. In a similar vein are the two magnificent Amrapali numbers “Tumhein Yaad Karte Karte” and “Tadap Ye Din Raat Ki” by Lata Mangeshkar that make time and heartbeats swoon in unison. The triumvirate of Lata-Shankar Jaikishan-Shailendra creates an aura of eternal romance to make you listen to the song, again and again.   

Also, lend ears to Rafi’s feather-soft “Mujhe Tumse Mohabbat Hai” (Bachpan) to float in an ocean of love created by Hasrat Jaipuri in the company of Sardar Malik; a song that decimates the entire repertoire of his son Anu Malik to pulp. “Tumse Kahun Ek Baat" from Dastak has few parallels anywhere in terms of mesmeric singing, sublime metaphor, and refined musical patterns. If it haunts you long after the song is over, you have to thank the Kaifi Azmi-Madan Mohan duo for clasping Rafi’s vocal timbre for this immaculately moving and tantalising song of rare class and dignity. 


Since tenderness is the foundation of eternal love and duets are synonyms for togetherness, the hypnotic Rafi Sahab–Lata Mangeshkar numbers are worth going miles to listen. Savour the silken “Sun Mere Saajna” (Ansoo) and the cherubic “Tum To Pyaar Ho Sajnaa” (Sehra) to realise why music soothes as well as enchants frayed nerves at all times. The lyrical phrases of Qamar Jalalabadi and Hasrat Jaipuri, woven by prodigies Husnlal Bhagatram and Ramlal respectively, make you understand why the world stops spinning whenever love blesses our souls. Evoking the finest virtues of an affectionate bond is another alluring Rafi-Lata number “Meri Duniya Mein Tum Aayee” from Heer Raanjha.

Madan Mohan’s magical composition is the most sacred poem of sensuality you could ever hear anywhere and hats off to Kaifi Azmi for verbalizing the smouldering tempest of the human heart in such refined poetical phrases. In fact, the love exchange between the two singers is not just a revelation of the brilliance of two giant artists but also how erotic too can be verbalised in refined metaphors to inspire divine ecstasy.

Like her sister, Asha Bhosle too sparkled in Rafi Sahab’s company, and “Ye Haseen Raat Ye Bahaar Ka Samaa” (Girls Hostel) is delectably enriching as every word of S H Behari transports you to a dream world on the wings of Ravi’s endearing composition. “Dhalti Jaaye Raat” from Razia Sultan is another duet by Rafi-Asha combine that is immensely fulfilling and wherein Lachchiram’s orchestral perfection catapults Anand Bakshi’s lyrics to sublime perfection. Asha’s solo numbers like “Shokh Nazar Ki Bijaliyaan” (Who Kaun Thi) and “Saba Se Ye Kah Do” (Bank Manager) leave you in no doubt that she was always an artiste of rare calibre and repertoire with her meticulous articulation and voice control.  

All these songs are certain to make you swoon in delight. In fact, they could even wreak havoc if heard on a moonlit night or a breezy, rainy afternoon. If you have doubts, please hear Qamar Jalalabadi’s poetics of “Kitni Haseen Ho tum” (Ye Dil Kisko Dun) by Rafi-Asha in Iqbal Querishi’s tingling notes. The passionate romance in Rafi's voice also comes alive in the intoxicating company of Suman Kalyanpur in “Aapne Huzoor Mujhe Kya Se Kya Bana Diya” (Fariyad).

The Kedar Sharma poetry fused in Snehal Bhatkar’s musical bouquet will make you tap your foot and sing aloud despite it being a 60-year-old mono recording.


These poignant melodies are worth listening to since their lyrics are meaningful, sensitive, and stimulating. Since the vivid musical patterns too are in sync with the feelings, these melodies linger long after the music has faded away from the ears. A little-known nugget to savour is the fragrant Yogesh song “Din Hain Ye Bahaar Ke” (Honeymoon) composed by Usha Khanna in twinkling musical beats to Rafi Sahab’s dew-coated vocals. Similarly, the mesmerising Hemant Kumar enthralls with his sonorous numbers “Ye Nayan Dare Dare” (Kohra) and “Tum Pukar Lo” (Khamoshi) that he not just sang but also wove to perfection with the lyrical motifs of Kaifi Azmi and Gulzar.

On this Valentine's Day, rather than getting entrapped in the boisterous pull of marketeers or the noisy sounds of discotheque, sit alongside your beloved and undertake a nostalgic journey with these romantic numbers.

Apart from enriching your lives with bliss and ecstasy, the genius of our composers-lyricists and singers will take your breath with their profound creations.

(Deepak Mahaan is a documentary filmmaker and an eminent author. A specialist on Cinema and Sports, he has published numerous pieces in prestigious publications in India and abroad. He tweets at @mahaanmahan. This is an opinion piece and the views expressed above are the author’s own. The Quint neither endorses nor is responsible for the same.)

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Topics:  Valentine's Day 

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