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The queen I loved: Abhay's tribute to Begum Akhtar

'Nostalgic memories of childhood - well-phrased, well-tuned, well-sung. Part of a lovely soundtrack, this duet is always listed as a solo...'


And here are the questions...

Here are 30 questions that test your memory and knowledge of Hindi film songs. Enjoy the quiz and send in your answers before March 3




[Errors pointed out by Satish Kalra, Balaji Murthy, and Sudhir have been duly corrected.]

Part II: The Clues

[Please refer to Part I for Introduction and Rules]


Remember the Golden Rule of the Quiz:


Send them to us by email

Last date for entries: Sunday 03 March 2002


The clues

[Key: Throughout the quiz, "OS" stands for "Other Singer"]


muhabbat ke mo.D pe ham, mile sabako chho.D ke ham
dha.Dakate dilo.n kaa leke ye kaaravaa.n
chale aaj dono, jaane kahaa.N

A sitter to kick off the quiz, and one that should need no sub-clue. The OS (other singer!) is hardly heard here, but a tandem version (which both of us prefer) is surely compensation enough. To be sure you get this one, do it at night!


ko_ii dekhe nashiilii aa.Nkhe.n mal mal ke
dil kaise bane na diivaanaa
shammaa kare hai ishaare jab jal jal ke
kaho kyaa kare paravaanaa

Another sitting duck. If you DO need more help, be our guest - but pay for it! :-)


ye madahoshiyaa.N ye tanahaa_iiyaa.N
tasavvur me.n hai.n kisakii parachhaa_iiyaa.N
ye bhiigaa samaa uma.nge.n jawaa.N
mujhe ishq le jaa rahaa hai kahaa.N
kyu.N gum hai har dishaa
kyu.N hotaa hai nashaa
kyu.N aataa hai mazaa...

A question paper of a song - and no one, it appears, knows the answers! Well, that's life for you. The song is reminiscent of a similar list-of-questions song from "Daag". The OS is hardly heard but is listed in the credits.


wahaa.N phirate the ham phulo.n me.n paDe
yahaa.N Dhuu.NDhate sab hame.n chhoTe baDe
ha.ns jaate the ham kaliyaa.N chunate

Nostalgic memories of childhood - well-phrased, well-tuned, well-sung. Part of a lovely soundtrack, this duet is always listed as a solo. But there ARE two singers here, with the on-screen characters sharing the song as they shared in the remembered childhood - one of them in the drawing room, the other hanging out the washing.


ko_ii aayaa thaa kuchh der pahale yahaa.N
leke miTTii se lepaa hu_aa aasamaa.N
kabr par Daal kar vo gayaa, kab gayaa

An import from the world of Hindustani classical music, the OS's contribution is as brief as his presence in film music. The tandem goes to a different singer. Unusual lyrics, by a poet who specialises in complex images. Though we quite like some of his work, there are many on RMIM who would gladly make a bonfire of his poems - all they need is a matchbox!


mere Kvaabo.n ke jharokho.n ko sajaane vaalii
tere Kvaabo.n me.n kahii.n meraa guzar hai ke nahii.n
puuchh kar apanii nigaaho.n se bataa de mujhako
merii raato.n ke muqaddar me.n sahar hai ke nahii.n

Talk of "skewed" - we are just 6 songs into the quiz, and the same OS is featuring for the third time! Though, this time around, there is the compensation of a tandem version. The movie has a golden bird in its title, but laid a tin egg at the box office!


dekho na baabuujii daaye.n baaye.n (oho ho)
paa.Nv kahii.n ulajh na jaae.n (aa haa haa)
chaahat ke raste me.n pher ba.De hai.n
giroge fisal ke chaalnaa sambhal ke...

A lively, lovely, agile rendition by the lead singer. So well sung that the OS seems to take her exhortations very seriously - he keeps playing hide-and-seek through the song! A film with some wonderful songs - but did it have the right address?


duniyaa ne hamako diyaa kyaa
duniyaa se hamane liya kyaa
ham sab kii paravaah kare.n kyu.N
sabane hamaraa kiyaa kyaa

Can one think of these lines without the OS's distinctive deep voice going "aa...aa...aa...aa"? We think not. A song that captures the angst of a rebellious, disenchanted generation that gave birth to hippiedom. A film that tries to do the same but loses its way somewhere. ISKCON devotees will identify with the title!


aise meraa jvaalaa saa tan laharaay
laT kahii.n jaae ghuu.NghaT kahii.n jaay
are ab jhumakaa TuuTe
ke merii bi.ndiyaa chhuuTe
ab to banake qayaamat letii huu.N a.nga.Daaii

A song that surely needs to sub-clue. One of the best-made crime movies in Hindi cinema, the film had several good songs including two other duets - both equal, but neither featuring the OS here.


pyaase pyaase in mere labo.n ke liye
tere hoTho.n ne hazaar vaade kiye
bhUlane vaale koii jiye to kaise jiye
are haa.n are haa.n are haa.n haa
laa laa la laa laa la laa laa la laa laa la laa aa aa

The interjection by the OS is perhaps more famous known than the words of the song itself! In this case, the MD is the OS - or should that be the other way around?


kab aaye the wo kab gaye kuchh yaad nahii.n hai
aa.Nkhon me.n basaa hai wahii diidaar kaa aalam

Though the OS's presence is minimal, it is difficult to think of this song without her voice chiming in with an echo every now and then. She is an MD in her own right but, if there were a separate category for "Other Singers", she would perhaps be a contender for the top slot!


tum kyaa jaano tum kyaa ho, ek suriilaa naGmaa ho bhiigii raato.n me.n mastii, tapate din me.n saayaa ho ab jo aa gae ho, jaane na duu.ngaa ki mujhe ik hasii.n meharabaa.N nil gayaa

A duet in the film, this song has the OS's interlude cut out in most commercially available versions. A pity, for - in our opinion - the brief interlude is the sanest part of a song where the main singer AND the orchestra seem to be on their own trip! Crashing waves add to the overall noise. Why wounds should be laughing is a mystery to us!


kis liye mil mil ke dil chhuTate hai.n
kis liye ban ban mahal TuuTate hai.n
kis liye dil TuuTate hai.n
patthar se puuchhaa shiishe se puuchhaa
Kaamosh hai sab ki zabaa.N

No, not an _illusion_ - this in indeed a duet. A case of a star OS with a lead singer who is practically unknown in Hindi films. The OS provides great backing for the song, besides having a solo tandem version.


kirano.n ne chunariyaa taanii
bahaare.n kis pe aaj hai diwaanii
cha.ndaa kii chaal mastaanii
hai paagal jis pe raat kii raanii
taaro.n kaa jaal le le dil nikaal
puuchho na haal mere dil kaa

Surely one of the best-known skewed duets. The movie was unusual in having two clearly identifiable title songs, the other one being a solo by the OS here. If you can't get this one, you are naive indeed!


bhalaa kaise TuuTe.nge ba.ndhan ye dil ke
bichhaDatii nahii.n mauj se mauj milake
chhupoge bha.Nwar me.n to chhupane na de.nge
Dubo de.nge naiyaa tumhe.n Dhuu.NDh le.nge ham, banaa_e.nge ham
banaa_e.nge tuufaa.N ko ik din kinaaraa...

Again, a very well-known skewed duet. And one that is always announced as a duet on the radio, but rarely has the other singer's part show up! The film was one of the musical milestones of Hindi cinema. The MD got the first ever Filmfare award for music - his only one, as it turned out!


paapii hai papiihaa dekho shor kare ban me.n
huuk sii uThe siine me.n aag lage man me.n
pagalii puravaa_ii gaaye...
bhiige aur naache jaaye...

Perhaps the only song in this quiz that was specifically designed as a skewed duet. The film, which was supposed to mirror real-life rivalry between two celebrity siblings, had four MDs (is this a record?). However, neither the film nor its music really registered. Use a better instrument next time, ma'am!


tumhii.n saamane ho mere, mai.n jidhar nazar uThaauu.N
tumhe.n bhuulanaa bhii chaahuu.N, to kabhii na bhuul paa_uu.N
mere dil pe haa_e itanaa tumhe iKtiyaar kyu.N hai

Does one ever know the "why" of love? We wonder. This is the song that sparked this quiz: we had never consciously thought of it as a duet, but there was the "other" singer very much in evidence! Marvellous song from a film apparently made for superstitious souls.


...suhaag raat hai ghuu.NghaT uthaa rahaa huu.N mai.n


bholii bhaalii jaapaanii guDiyaa jaisii tuu
pyaarii pyaarii jaaduu kii puDiyaa jaisii tuu
#daddy# kaa #mummy# kaa sab kaa kahanaa hai...

There is also a tandem solo, but not by the OS (also MD) here. A rare Hindi film where the hero's sister has a larger role than the putative heroine of the film. Incidentally, why do brother-sister songs have to sound so awfully syrupy?


jagatii hai.n a.Nkhiyaa.N rotii hai qismat
dushman gariibo.n kii hotii hai qismat
dam bhar garibo.n kii kuTiyan me.n...

Can't end the line without giving away the song! The song has two versions: the happy solo (which has better lyrics) and a sad duet. The movie and its musical score were hugely successful. The hero, who died recently, launched a new style of dancing that is still aped by Bollywood heroes!


aatii hai sadaa terii TuuTe hu_e taaro.n se...

No more is needed, surely! The OS's lines recur in a tandem version. A marvellous song that weaves a net of magic around the listener.


aa.Nkh me.n tairatii hai tasviire.n
teraa cheharaa teraa khayaal liye
aa_iinaa dekhataa hai tab mujhako
ek maasuum saa savaal liye

A fairly good song, but the older film of the same name, and with the same MDs, had much better music. The OS here is reputed to be the cause of a rift between the MDs and their one-time favourite star singer.


barfiilii sardiyo.n me.n kisii bhii pahaaD par
vaadii me.n guu.Njatii hu_ii khaamoshiyaa.N sune
aa.Nkhon me.n bhiige bhiige se lamhe liye hu_e

Our expert in complex images in back! Building on a Ghalib couplet, he weaves a series of seasonal images that are magical. The OS has a solo tandem.


merii chhoTii bahanaa naazo.n kii paalii shahazaadii
jitanii bhii jaldi ho mai.n kar duu.Ngaa usakii shaadii
achchhaa hai ye balaa hamaarii jaa_e duuje gaa.Nv me.n

A house in the clouds, mom on a throne of gold, and sis banished to distant lands - this is the stuff dreams are made of? No wonder he can hear something buzzing in his head!


...insaano.n kii izzat jab jhuuThe sikko.n me.n na tolii jaayegii

Our much-featured OS (ref. clue 6) makes an appearance yet again. One of the best-known leftist anthems in Hindi cinema, this song seems to draw on the Psalms (or maybe Wodehouse!) - "weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning". The question is: will morning come? Yes, says the title of the film.


chunarii ke kiye Tok oDh le_ii lo_ii
motii muu.nge utaar banamaalaa po_ii

A legendary court singer brings his royal patron to hear a mystic sing her love for God...and can't resist joining in. Our complex imager, who was responsible for "adapting" the lyrics, is into mix-and-match in this film - the solo version of this song uses verses from a totally different song of the famed mystic. Any idea what "po_ii" means, anyone?


Dhuu.NDhe merii priit re, tuu hai kahaa.N miit re
aa.Nsuu bane giit re, aahe.n sa.ngiit re

The feverish romantic imagery of this song - and the other two from the film - is at odds with both the graphic brutality of the film and the harsh reality that inspired it. One of the two (AFAWK) films MD-ed by a musical icon from across the border who is also the lead singer here.


mantar pheruu.N
komal kaayaa chhoD ke jaa re

Almost all that the OS gets to sing in this song! But his 'jantar-mantar' doesn't work - only the arrival of the lover does! The strong folk music influence in this song is a hallmark of the MD. A musical feast of a film; the lead singer won her first Filmfare award for another song from the same film.


mahaaraanii miiraa ne jogan ban mahalo.n kaa tyaag kiyaa
le ikataaraa chalii Dhuu.NDhane manamohan kaa kahaa.N pataa

The same OS as above, with a few more lines this time. The declamatory tone of these lines seems to match the singer perfectly! References to Meera pop up twice in the film: here, and in a Meera bhajan sung by the heroine in a Meera get-up. How and why she is being compared to Meera is never made clear! The film, which supposedly dealt with "classical dance", also had an impeccably "equal" duet (with a different male singer) that ranks on our top-ten list of duets.


maut merii taraf aane lagii
jaan terii taraf jaane lagii
bol shaam\-e\-judaa_ii kyaa kare.n
aas milane kii ta.Dapaane lagii

Substantial - but still quite unequal - presence of the OS: the "proper verses" in the song go to the lead singer. The two singers have any number of duets together - some unequal, most equal. The film - when a film is crammed with lovely songs, one can but heave a satisfied sigh.

That's it, folks! Enjoy the quiz, and send in your entries and your comments to us at by Sunday 03 March 2002. Looking forward to tons of entries!!

Warm regards,

Radha and Abhay

Remember: the last date for entries is Sunday 03 March 2002.

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Published on 20  February 2002

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