19 comments on “…And the chorus is a bunch of guys singing in a boat

  1. I probably missed the point. You may want the bunch of guys mainly for chorus.

  2. Thanks, Swarup. That is a nice one. I had forgotten about this song in Awara. (The only boat song I remembered was the one with Raj and Nargis and the voyeuristic moon.) And I think it’s fine if guys in the boat are doing lead as well as chorus – especially if they are singing “Haya ho!”

    Here’s the video straight from YouTube (when we put a YouTube link into comments, WordPress usually embeds it automatically):

  3. Gatteswarup beat me to it – this song from Awara was the one that first came to my mind when I saw your list.

    Great list, Richard – some lovely old favourites there, plus one ‘new’ one (the first song) that I don’t remember hearing before. And there’s a coincidence here, too. One of the songs you’ve chosen (Hum chalein door, from Ek Thi Ladki) has been on my mind lately, for inclusion in another list. :-)

    Anyway, here’s another ‘chorus of guys in a boat’. Nadiya chale chale re dhara from Safar. Was very popular at one time in this part of the world, though I must admit there are other songs from Safar that I prefer to this one.

  4. I wonder whether boatmen really sang. I travelled several times by boat as a kid. My mother’s village is on a small island in the river Krishna and my father’s village on one of the banks; the two villages bout six miles apart and every Friday there was a boat taking vegetables to the fair. We made this trip during holidays and other times from where my father was working to his village. It involved crossing by boat the branches of the river two to three times depending on the season. But I do not remember the boatmen singing any time. May be it is more in the North and may be even popular in Bengal. But I do not remember anybody singing when I crossed the Hoogly river near Kolkata.

  5. Madhu, thank you for the good words and the song clip. (And by the way, yes, I have decided to call you Madhu on the blogs from now on, because everyone else does, except for Pacifist.) I have to admit that I don’t like this one quite as much as the others. (Is it because it’s too modern, relatively speaking? Or because it isn’t even one of the best songs in Safar (which I will have to look into)?) But it certainly fits, and it’s not a bad one, either.

    And I am very curious to see the list that will contain “Hum Chale Door.” If it’s not a song about people singing in boats, then I can’t imagine what the theme will be!

    Swarup, thank you for sharing those personal memories. Though this is disappointing… If you do not remember anyone singing when you crossed the Hoogly River, I guess that means, also, that there weren’t any women singing while they gathered water along the banks. :-(

  6. Gatteswarup beat me to the Awara song – that’s the first one that came into my mind when I saw the title of your post on my blogroll (and I see that as usual, Madhu had the same idea. :)

    I guess that means, also, that there weren’t any women singing while they gathered water along the banks.

    Lol. :) I can vouch for the fact that I did come across village women singing while they harvested grain in Kerala, though. Does that ease your disappointment ?

    And here, just for you, a boat song from Kerala though unfortunately there doesn’t seem to be any video:

  7. What an idea, Richard! And you found so many songs to fit too.
    Will a bunch of women do?

    From Nausherwan e adil

    LOL at;
    > I guess that means, also, that there weren’t any women singing while they gathered water along the banks.

  8. Another bunch of women in a boat singing the chorus.

    …and before you ban me for coming up with my own private version of your intentions, I’m disappearing :-D

  9. I ‘feel’ boatmen particularly in Bengal must have sung and may be still singing at different times. I missed it in one place on Hoogly that I saw near Belur Math where I stayed off and on for two months and used to walk to the river.
    There was singing by women and laborers on occasions like festivals at home or in the field or when village goddesses (differenent from the Hidu pantheon, but some were absorbed. There ia wonderful book by Amitav Ghosh ” In an Antique Lamd” where he describes one of these transformations). Uday Shankar’s fascination for dance started when he saw untouchables dancing during festivals and he started imitating one of them by name Mata Din. I once heard Telugu songs from the apartment I was living in Bombay around 1970. It turned out they were Andhra construction workers who camped near our building and were singing in the night after the day’s work. It was somewhat reminiscent of ‘Ramayya Vastavayya’ fro Shree 420. I am sure that various groups sing on various occasions. I was just wondering on what occasions or when the boatmen sang; whether it was after work or during lonely days and nights on water. Or itt could be poet’s imagination which transferred some of these to different occasions.

  10. Glad I caused some laughing aloud with my comment about the water gatherers. If you like old Indian films, then of course you know about the singing (and often dancing) water gatherers.

    Anu, it does ease my disappointment to read about the women singing while harvesting grain. Did they also dance while waving their sickles?

    And thank you for the boat song from Kerala. How could there not be boat songs from Kerala? I am going to look around at some point, myself, to see if I can find a film clip.

    Pacifist, the first scene you posted actually does include a few men in the chorus, and the men are rowing. So, I would have no problem including it.

    And when I first put this post up, I actually considered extending the category a little to include “Ajeeb Dastan Hai Yeh,” but the five that I put up go so well together, and this one is a bit different, not just because the chorus is female. But I am perfectly happy to see it here in the comments…

  11. I made a boatman song list one year back. It was in fact my first list.
    There are few songs there, which would make to your list.

    Naav badha le maanjhi jor laga le – Ferry (1954)
    MD: Hemant Kumar; Singer: Hemant Kumar; Lyrics: Rajinder Krishan

    Maanjhi naiya dhoondhe kinara – Upahaar (1971)
    MD: Laxmikant-Pyarelal; Singer: Mukesh; Lyrics: Anand Bakshi

    In the following song the chorus is mixed:
    Us paar sajan is paar dhare – Chori Chori (1956)
    MD: Shankar Jaikishan. Singer: Lata Mangeshkar

    Again with a mixed chorus. I wonder if you would like it, it is one of my favs
    Purwaiya leke chali meri naiyya – Do Jasoos (1975)
    MD: Ravindra Jain; Singer Lata Mangeshkar & Shailendra Singh

    Adding my two pence to the discussion of ever hearing people sing while working: No, I haven’t! Except for the occasional haiya ho, like heave ho while pulling on something!

  12. Thanks, Harvey. Yes, you had a boatman list, and it was a good one, based much more on the idea of the boatman and his function, etc. You said:

    To say that I love the maanjhi songs would be an understatement. Particularly “O re maanjhi” from Bandini takes me to a different dimension. Maanjhi (also pronounced as maajhi) is a boatman. In songs and poems they are often pleaded to by lovers (mostly women) to take them across the river to meet their beloved. In devotional songs he is the spiritual master who is being begged by the seeker to give him/her that shift in consciousness, which will take him/her from the body consciousness to brahman.

    But my list here isn’t concerned with people pleading with the boatman or the boatman’s function. It’s just a much more superficial :) take on several songs I found in which guys in the boat were singing the chorus… And there were certain other things repeated in most of my videos – such as the “Heya Ho,” etc. And, in three out of five, Dilip Kumar, being eyed intensely by the heroine.

    So, there will be overlap, but there will be differences. Obviously, I was able to fit that Nadiya Ke Paar song into this list and your list equally well. But there’s also “Bigdi Bananewale” from Bari Behen – which, as you confirmed (against my initial uncertainty), fit perfectly into your list, but would not at all fit into this one.

    It’s kind of fun to be able to come up with lists that are similar, but different in some way, don’ t you think?

    By the way, I will comment on all these videos that you sent sometime soon – and I also need to get back to Gaddeswarup. It looks as though I completely ignored him in my last comment, when I answered other comments that had preceded his – but that is because he had sent his while I was already writing mine!)


    P.S. Harvey, looking at all the conversation below that old list of yours, I see a nice coincidence: That comments sections contains the discussion between Anu and me that we we referred to in the last post here, i.e., re. whether Awara had the “first Hindi film (song) dream sequence,” and that is where I posted the Meera song containing a dream sequence that came four years before Awara! :)

  13. Richard,
    No need to take my comments seriously and reply. As befits an old man, I am seventy now, I am in to my own world and often think aloud in these comments wondering about the people behind. I have seen very few Indian films after the early fifties, I have not seen a single film of Bachan or Shah Rukh Khan. I remember a few films before the fifties and started watching more videos after coming across your blog and Minais. But the main interest is in the common people and people’s movements. I am currently reading a book on Pachakutik by Marc Becker and indigenous people’s movements in Latin America give me some hope.

  14. But Swarup, I must take you seriously, because, despite our different locations, origins, vocational histories, etc., in some ways, it has become clear to me that you and I have some very similar tastes and tendencies. :)

    I saw a few films with Shah Rukh Kahn, but I got very tired of him. And Bachchan was amusing to me at first, but he doesn’t interest me nearly as much as any of the well known actors who came up in the ’40s and ’50s.

    My interest in heroines starts to wane after 1960, too. I like a few who are within a decade of my age, such as Madhuri, Shobana, and Sridevi (sometimes), but the interest doesn’t approach how I feel about the stars of the ’40s and ’50s. My favorite female Indian celebrity of the present day is Arundhati Roy. :)

    People’s movements is a great subject to be interested in. Indigenous people’s movements in Latin America? Certainly. I was very inspired by the Zapatistas in the mid 1990s; they contributed to my own political perspectives at the time. (And then in the late 1990s, I started to get very interested in the history of the people’s movements in Kerala.)

    And your prior comments were quite interesting to me, too. It is fascinating to me to hear stories about singing among real laborers in India, and to know that it isn’t all made up by Bollywood. :)

    Are you talking to yourself? That’s OK, I do that all the time – and I still have a couple of decades to get through before I reach your age. :)

  15. @ Gaddeswarup:
    You comments are always very informative, please do continue with them, even if I don’t comment on it.

    @ Richard
    Of course your list is different as the title itself says it all. This belongs to the category of group of people singing on a bus/car/truck!
    What I meant was that since I had already madea list of the boatman (not boatmen) song, it helped me to check it and recommend some, which overlap. Lists are good. It helps the brain to compartmentalise things (which can also be bad).
    BTW my fav from your list is more saiyyanji utarenge paar ho nadiya dhere bhao

  16. Richard,
    I have been watching a a YouTube video of a song of Shah Rukh Khan everyday this month. I was away in India for forty days. During my absence, my granddaughter Ava whi is three found the song all by herself; nobody else in the family listens to Hindi songs. Now I am forced to listen to it at least twice a day. A few days she told her mom ” I want him” . This was soon after attending a wedding and my daughter was worried. But soon the clarification came ” I want him to be my friend”. If a child found the song by herself and wants Khan’ s company, mat be he has charisma. Ava also found “awkward Ab mera dil pulses” during my absence but she is not listening to it any more though I like it.

  17. Harvey, I have watched and enjoyed all of your clips here (though you are right that the last one isn’t quite as much to my taste as the earlier ones – but it might grow on me). My favorite of the ones you’ve sent is the song from Chori Chori, especially because of Rajasulochana. (I have realized that Chori Chori was quite a showcase for southern dancers – with Rajasulochana, Sai Subbulakshmi and Kamala Lakshman all making appearances! But it well preceded the inclusion of Padmini and Vyjayanthimala in RK films.)

    Swarup, it is interesting that you told me about your three-year-old granddaughter’s fondness for songs picturized on Shah Rukh Khan just within a day or two of Sanket’s information under the most recent Noor Jehan post that his 3 1/2-year-old son had become very fond of Noor Jehan singing Jawan Hai Mohabbat.

    It is interesting to hear about the Hindi music tastes of people’s toddler children and grandchildren. Could that be the source of a future post?

  18. thank you all so very much. what a wonderful posting and conversation. i learn so very much. quickly writing down names of films and hoping netflix has them. thank you.

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