From memories of Barsaat mein tak dhina dhin to the contemporary On the roof in the rain, Hindi cinema's rain songs are part of our collective consciousness. So fond is Bollywood of rain numbers that songs like Jeeya dhadak dhadak jaaye or Mere khwabon mein jo aaye are filmed in the rain even when the lyrics don't talk about the monsoons.
Dinesh Raheja picks the melodies that make him go singing in the rain.
Pyar hua iqrar hua (Shri 420)
Possibly the most iconic image that springs from Bollywood's sepia-toned past is that of Raj Kapoor and Nargis under an umbrella.
In Shri 420, director Raj Kapoor positioned the monsoons as a natural backdrop for the romance between a shy schoolteacher (Nargis) and a good-hearted tramp (Raj Kapoor). Romance underlined the scene in which they go from sharing a saucer of chai to sharing an umbrella while singing to Shailendra's simple lines.
Kapoor's rain-lashed scene further added to the depth of feeling. This Lata-Manna Dey song captured the Cupid-like role played by the monsoons. The aspirations of an educated, urban working class of the 1950s found voice in the climactic verse: "Main na rahoongi, tum na rahoge, phir bhi rahengi nishaniyan." which cut away from the couple to show a trio of schoolchildren strolling in the rain.
Interestingly, Kapoor asked his own children (now celebs in their own right) to play the roles of the schoolchildren, making this a moving scene.