Hindi film music has always drawn inspiration from traditional folk music. There are countless examples of film songs based on popular folk tunes. In this post I’m focussing on one Punjabi folk tune that has given birth to multiple songs through the years.
The first time I came across this tune when I was just around 8 years old. The song was extremely popular and could be heard on radios blaring from paan shops everywhere. Those were the days when the team of Manmohan Desai, Amitabh Bachchan and Laxmikant Pyarelal was at its peak, and anything they touched was destined to be popular. The film was Suhaag (1979) and the song - teri rab ne bana di jodi.
It was decades later that I came across other songs based on the same folk tune. Interestingly, I discovered these songs in the reverse order of their vintage.
First was this Mohd. Rafi - Shamshad Begum duet from Sawan (1959). Like the Suhaag songs where the characters are disguised as Punjabis, this song was also in a Punjabi setting. Helen’s presence in the songs adds an extra charm to this rambunctious song.
The next song is from Afsar (1950). The video of the song is not available, but the composition is not as ‘Punjabi’ sounding as the earlier songs, although the tune is exactly the same. Sung by Manmohan Krishna (possibly filmed on him as well), this songs seems to be in a comic situation.
I finally come to a song that I discovered quite recently thanks to some rare songs shared by Shri Girdharilal Vishwakarma. This song is composed by A. R Qureishi as an exchange between two females with contrasting philosophies of life in general.
I am quite sure there will be more songs based on this tune. The search continues …