V Kumar has been writing on Bollywood movies and music for several years, highlighting perspectives that are often missed out or ignored.
Bollywood Songs with Best Acting
Greatest Acting in Bollywood Songs
As a staple diet of entertainment in India, Bollywood songs are heard far more often than they are viewed. Naturally, it is mostly the audio part or the musical aspect of these songs that gets reviewed and remembered with respect to these numbers. However, every song also has a visual aspect, the on-screen drama that plays itself along with the musical melody. Forming part of the movie plot, it often has an important role in taking the story forward, or describing certain characteristics of the on-screen characters or their relationships.
The best enacted songs are those that successfully depict these characteristics in a way that would have been difficult to describe otherwise. The presence of music and even dance, then becomes an important tool....in fact, a tool of abstraction, that aids the depiction and description of the story. Great actors often stand out in these numbers even more than they do usually on the screen, and in the process, make these numbers eternal !
Here are the ten best enacted songs in the history of Bollywood ....
movie: KHILONA (1970)
Khilona jaan kar tum to ...
This seventies movie, directed by Chandar Bohra, will always be remembered for the acting of Sanjeev Kumar as a mentally disturbed poet, and as an illustration of his acting genius. The context is that of a girl, a well educated daughter of a prostitute, who is finding it difficult to get accepted by the traditional Indian society. She is hired by the family of the poet to behave as his wife, in a desperate bid to help him recover. However, ostracised by some of the family members, the girl (played by Mumtaz - one of her best acting performances) decides to leave, and the poet (played by Sanjeev Kumar) sings to express his pain and desperation to stop her from leaving. This great number was sung by Mohammad Rafi, its music composed by Laxmikant Pyarelal and its lyrics were written by Anand Bakhshi.
movie: SAHIB, BIBI AUR GHULAM (1962)
Na jao saiyan, chhuda ke baiyan ...
No Bollywood actor, male or female, has till date been able to depict passion on screen like Meena Kumari. Her acting prowess reached its zenith in this movie made by Guru Dutt, even though formally, Abrar Alvi is credited with its Direction. The context is that of a lady (played by Meena Kumari) married to a Nineteenth century landlord (played by Rahman), who is desperate to win her husband's love, something not very likely, given the addiction of the landlords of that day and time with prostitutes and courtesans. Unlike other ladies, who spend their time obsessing about jewellery, clothes, make-up and the usual politicking within joint families, this lady tries everything to win her husband, including joining him in drinks and wooing him like a courtesan would, as in this song, but unfortunately, without much success. This melodius number was sung by Geeta Dutt, its music composed by Hemant Kumar and lyrics written by Shakeel Badayuni.
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movie: AMAR PREM (1971)
Kuchh to log kahenge ....
This movie, directed by Shakti Samanta, is one of the best ever movies of Bollywood. The context is that of a childless village woman (played by Sharmila Tagore) who is thrown out of her house by her alcoholic husband after he marries another woman. The women ends up in the red light area, but her singing attracts a wealthy man (played by Rajesh Khanna), whose wife is too busy in partying and enjoying to bother about him. Their bond of platonic love is tested when people pass derogatory comments about the woman, and the man sings this number that says, "People have to say things; It is in their nature; Leave such gossip aside, otherwise the eveining will be lost !" The mesmerizing number is sung by Kishore Kumar, with music composed by R D Burman and lyrics written by Anand Bakhshi.
movie: DUSHMAN (1998)
Chitthi na koi sandes ....
One of the most difficult times in life is when you lose one of the young family members, unexpectedly ... all of a sudden! It is even more disturbing when it is a case of rape and murder. This song is a depiction of such a case, where the more flamboyant of the two twin sisters living with their mother, becomes a victim of an unknown killer, leaving the family stunned and traumatized. Their emotions are brought out by the great acting of Kajol (who plays both the twin sisters) and Tanvi Azmi (who plays the mother). This movie was one of the intial ventures of director Tanuja Chandra. Kajol's acting in this number is one of the best pieces of acting ever seen in a Bollywood number. The on screen effects are fully complemented by the great song, sung by Jagjit Singh, with music composed by Uttam Singh and lyrics written by Anand Bakhshi.
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movie: BAZAAR (1981)
Dikhayi diye yun....
If you have ever wondered why we bother so much about the face of a person, this number can give you an explanation. This melodious ghazal is being sung with a group of people sitting around, and nobody even gets up or moves a limb to do something of significance, yet this number is one of the best peaces of acting seen, thanks to the great work done by the actors with their eyes that keep talking a lot throughout the song. The faces join too, and it becomes a case, whether significant cross conversation is happening, existing relationship gets substituted with new one, affirmations are sought and given and conspiracies are hatched - all without a single word being spoken other than the song. The direction is by Sagar Sarhadi and the actors include Supriya Pathak (seen singing), Naseeruddin Shah, Farooq Sheikh, Smita Patil and Bharat Kapoor. The melodious ghazal is sung by Lata Mangeshkar, its music composed by Khayyam and the ghazal was written by Mir Taqi Mir.
movie: SADMA (1983)
Aye zindagi gale laga le ....
Kamla Hassan is one of the greatest legnds in South Indian Cinema, and though he has done only a few movies in Bollywood, he is acknowledged as one of the best actors in its history. This number tells it all. The story is that of a grown up girl (played by Sridevi), who suffers a head injury leading to loss of memory and begins to behave like a six year old. She is found in a remote area by a young man (played by Kamal Hassan), who, on finding that nothing is known about her, decides to take care of her like a family member. Their adorable relationship is depicted in this beautifully enacted number. This movie was directed by Balu Mahendra. The melodious number is sung by Suresh Wadkar, its music composed by Ilaiyaraja and its lyrics written by Gulzar.
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movie: DIL EK MANDIR (1963)
Ruk ja raat thahar ja re chanda ...
This number again brings out the passion called Meena Kumari, who is playing the role of a wife whose ailing husband (played by Rajkumar) is on deathbed, and counting his days. On his request, she dresses up as she did on their wedding, and comes to meet him in the Hospital. As they recall their past and dreadfully look into the threatening future, she reassures him with the words, " Fearing tomorrow, worried about the end ... we are two bodies with one soul ... beyond the line that differentiates life and death, I will still be there to accompany you.." This great number, which depicts the husband wife relationship that has been the backbone of Indian civilization, is tragic and romantic at the same time. It was sung by Lata Mangeshkar, its music composed by Shankar Jaikishan and lyrics written by Shailendra. This movie was directed by Sridhar.
movie: DO RAASTE (1969)
Bindiya chamkegi, choodi khankegi ...
Bollywood can boast of a few thousand nice romantic numbers, but this one stands out, thanks to one of the best on screen pairs in Bollywood's history. It is as much a tribute to the beauty of Mumtaz, as it is a tribute to her spontaneous, almost effortless acting, something that has probably escaped the attention of the reviewers, blinded as they might have been by the aura of her charming persona. Almost mesmerized, and yet making his present felt in the number, is Rajesh Khanna, who complements her spontaneous theatricals and dancing with great effect. This melodious number was sung by Lata Mangeshkar, its music composed by Laxmikant Pyarelal and lyrics written by Anand Bakhshi. This movie was directed by Raj Khosla.
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movie: GHULAM (1998)
Aati kya Khandala....
Another romantic number, but with a difference. In fact, one can argue that it is a dialogue and not a song, while the connoisseurs may agree that it is a musical number of the kind that became extinct in Hollywood around seven decades ago. What makes it unique ... and even better ... is the fact that it is as theatrical as it can get, and yet more real than anything easily seen in Bollywood. It is so unreal that it makes you recall that truth is stranger than fiction! The two lead actors, Aamir Khan, one of the best actors in Bollywood's history and Rani Mukherjee, who was just entering the big league with this film, carry this number on their shoulders. The direction is by Vikram Bhatt. The number is sung by Aamir Khan and Alka Yagnik, with music composed by Jatin Lalit and lyrics, or dialogue, written by Nitin Raikwar.
movie: ANUBHAV (1971)
Phir kahin koi phool khila ...
And finally, we must come back to the school of acting, Sanjeev Kumar, this time with Tanuja in a lesser known black and white movie of the seventies. There acting can and should pass off as a documentary on the life within a household. It is not. It is a movie enacted by two great actors, with Dinesh Thakur joining them as the third character in this number. With the song played as playback, their acting is undistracted and a lesson for those who wish to learn the art. One cannot but give credit to Basu Bhattacharya, for his great direction. This number was sung by Manna Dey, its music was composed by Kanu Roy and the lyrics written by Kapil Kumar.
BEST ACTED SONG OF BOLLYWOOD
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© 2013 V Kumar