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Ten quintessential Rishi Kapoor songs

Rishi Kapoor immortalised some of the finest songs on the silver screen.

Written by Suanshu Khurana |
Updated: May 1, 2020 5:24:33 pm
rishi kapoor songs Here is a list of nine quintessential Rishi Kapoor songs that will always be synonymous with the actor

Actor Rishi Kapoor immortalised some of the finest songs on the silver screen. Here is a list of 10 quintessential Rishi Kapoor numbers that will always be synonymous with the actor.

Hum Tum Ek Kamre Mein Band Ho (Bobby, 1973)

When producer and director Raj Kapoor released Bobby, a romantic drama that he made to recover the money he lost in his magnum opus Mera Naam Joker, he could not afford reigning superstar Rajesh Khanna. So he put his own son in it. And this song is what made a young Rishi Kapoor an overnight sensation. This was a song that gave flutters to the young and old alike. A song that personified teenage romance between protagonists Raj Nath (Rishi Kapoor) and Bobby Braganza (Dimple Kapadia), it came with Anand Bakshi’s trademark and, in this case, extremely elementary lyrics such as ‘Bahar se koi andar na aa sake, Andar se koi bahar na ja sake’ and ‘Hum tum ek jangal se guzre, aur sher aa jaaye’. It surprisingly struck a chord with many. The only mature bit about the song composed by Lakshmikant-Pyarelal were the voices of Lata Mangeshkar and Shailendra, who managed to put in some fun in the fundamentals and delivered this earworm of a song.

Main Shayar Toh Nahi (Bobby, 1973)

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In this lilting Lakshmikant Pyarelal melody, full of guitar riffs, swelling violins and a basic congo beat, Bakshi tried more cultivated lyrics. The protagonist (Kapoor) is in love and this is not a story of some fleeting flame anymore. So the writer turns poetic. The verse — ‘Jab se dekha maine tujhko, mujhko, shayari aa gayi’, is reinforced often, cascading those watching/listening into a relatively sophisticated soundscape. And then there is the clincher — ‘Main kaafir toh nahi, jab se dekha maine tujhko, mujhko, bandagi aa gayi’. It was a grown-up song from a wealthy teenage boy — the song transformed puppy love and its fetish into adulthood, and Kapoor’s charm just stuck, and did not leave, for many years to come.

Bachna Aye Hasino (Hum Kisi Se Kam Nahin, 1977)

That opening on the trumpet, the red heart necklace, the white jumpsuit and the beginning of the trend of disco-style stage performances by the lead actor, this is from a film that came from the world of director Nasir Hussain, one that was glistening with some absolute Bollywood masala. Pancham’s tune and Kishore Kumar’s voice, which fit Kapoor’s persona like a glove, went on to find much success. It was happy, it was bold, and extremely smug, as Rajesh (Kapoor) announced his overconfident arrival. Kapoor smiles, with those deep clefts in his cheek, and that’s the end of all logic. The song’s inimitable melody and picturisation is still etched in India’s memory.

Om Shanti Om (Karz, 1980)

The moment a bunch of horns open this dazzling Lakshmikant Pyarelal (LP) ditty and Rishi Kapoor, dressed in a sparkly silver jumpsuit with Monty written at the back, gets onto a revolving vinyl set on the stage, hearts begin to race. The song became synonymous with Kapoor and hit the ceiling right when it came out. It is loved as much even today. The kind of electronic arrangement it had — with guitars and synth turning up the ante — belonged to RD Burman’s oeuvre. But, surprisingly, had LP at the helm. But what many didn’t know and still don’t, is that in 1978, Lord Shorty, a Trinidad-based musician created an album called Soca Explosion, in which one of the leading songs from the album was “Om Shanti Om”. A couple of years later, his tune, with lyrics in Hindi, many more beats, but the same hook, Om Shanti Om, released in Subhash Ghai’s Karz and became a smash of a song.

Ek Haseena Thi (Karz, 1980)

Another iconic song from LP, this 1980 piece was the definition of what a haunting melody could be. Its principal guitar riff, which is still played by so many guitarists, is identified very strongly with Kapoor holding onto the guitar and glaring at Simi Garewal in the audience and playing that famed piece, which seems to be loosely based on Raag Nat Bhairav. It was actually picked from musician George Benson’s song We As Love.

Khullam Khulla Pyar Karenge (Khel Khel Mein, 1975)

Kishore Kumar and Asha Bhosle sing for Rishi Kapoor and Neetu Singh. The onscreen chemistry of the couple is amazing to watch, as the two characters roam drunk on the streets and talk about free love. This is the ’70s, the flower children effect had travelled to India too — the dressing and lyrics are exemplary of that.

Parda Hai Parda (Amar Akbar Anthony, 1977)


One of the most famous on-screen qawwalis of all times also had Rishi Kapoor playing Akbar Allahabadi on screen. The parda he is referring to is that of Neetu Singh, who sits with a rose in the front row. While Mohammad Rafi put his heart and soul into doing a stellar playback for this, Kapoor left no stone unturned to do justice to the legendary voice on the reel. A banjo and dholak — the mainstays of street qawwali on stage — open the piece. It’s boisterous, charming and can just melt those hearts with the tune’s crests and troughs. A huge credit to the rhythm section here, which delivers the piece with a swing in its step and thekas on the tabla that hit it out of the park.

Tere Mere Hothon Pe (Chandni, 1989)

The title song of the film Chandni may have become extremely popular, but it is this gentle ditty based on Raag Pahadi that has a depth that few songs of the late ’80s do. A Shiv-Hari composition, it takes you to the mountains instantly and has been picturised on Sridevi and Kapoor.

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Sochenge Tumhe Pyar and Teri Umeed (Deewana, 1990)


This was again shot on stage, and was the last song Rishi Kapoor shot as the main musician on stage, this time, yet again, in white. Sung by Kumar Sanu, it had an easy and beautiful melody and got much airtime on the radio in the ’90s.

Another song from the film, “Teri Umeed”, picturised on Kapoor and Divya Bharti, and based on Raag Charukeshi, found a lot of success. The arrangement was that of basic dholak and synth, the way Nadeem Shravan composed most of their songs. It worked due to the basic instrumentation merging with extremely delicate arrangements of flute and sitar. It’s a romantic song with a tune that has pathos at the bottom of it. The result is one of the finest melodies that Nadeem Shravan ever managed to give us. It’s also difficult to let go of the image of a chubby Kapoor in it, in his colourful sweaters, singing around the trees, and making our hearts wobble with affection.

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First published on: 01-05-2020 at 12:14:22 pm

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