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The Top 25 Rain Songs In Bollywood

Last updated on: June 14, 2012 11:17 IST

Image: Raj Kapoor and Nargis in Shree 420
Sukanya Verma in Mumbai

Monsoon in movies spells magic, romance, intensity, drama or poetry. Its interpretation varies from context to context resulting in assorted vistas and multiple dimensions of the same. This incredible variety makes it one of the most breathtaking props of storytelling or to showcase the larger-than-life component of cinema.

In Hindi films, soundtrack conveys a significant chunk of the script and that's why rain songs capturing the essence of downpour-triggered delight or distress is its most recognised form. Fortunately the marvels of monsoon aren't limited to celluloid and with every passing season, movie buffs rejoice in connecting to their favourite songs of this particular genre.

But since music is all about preference and perception, here's a list of my 25 most favourite rain songs of Bollywood. Go ahead and post yours.

Pyaar hua iqraar hua, Shree 420 (1955)

Music: Shankar-Jaikishen

Lyrics: Shailendra

An unforgettable imagery of Raj Kapoor and Nargis in pouring rain, sharing an umbrella and a promise of eternal togetherness, ensures not a single monsoon passes without summoning this classic melody.

Ek ladki bheegi bhaagi si, Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi (1958)

Image: Kishore Kumar and Madhubala in Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi

Music: Sachin Dev Burman

Lyrics: Majrooh Sultanpuri

Torrential rains. Car breaks down. Pretty driver steps out. Flirtatious mechanic breaks into a song. There's much to enjoy, on screen and off it, courtesy Madhubala's damp diva and Kishore Kumar's animated bantering in this playful track from Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi.

Garjat barsat sawaan aayo re, Barsaat Ki Raat (1960)

Image: Madhubala and Bharat Bhushan in Barsaat Ki Raat

Music: Roshan

Lyrics: Sahir Ludhianvi

The classical verve of Garjat barsat embellishes the opening credits of the exceptionally mellifluous Madhuabala-Bharat Bhushan-Shyama love triangle. Sahir's poetry and Roshan's tune blend in effortless rhythm to express the exhilaration accompanying rains.

O sajna barkha bahar aayi, Parakh (1960)

Image: Sadhana in Parakh

Music: Salil Chaudhary

Lyrics: Shailendra

Responding to the enticing cloudbursts, a beatific Sadhana lip-syncs the syrupy texture of Lata Mangeshkar's rendition while conjuring up dreamy thoughts about her beloved in Bimal Roy's endearing fable.

O ghata sanwari, Abhinetri (1970)

Image: Hema Malini in Abhinetri

Music: Laxmikant-Pyarelal

Lyrics: Majrooh Sultanpuri

Singing songs in a rainy backdrop are a Bollywood heroine's favourite pastime. And Hema Malini picks up her cue rather fabulously – she tiptoes in a pastel sequinned sari, strikes a few yoga poses only to dive into a heavenly bubble bath, against such heavy pitter-patter

Bole re papihara, Guddi (1971)

Image: Samit Bhanja and Jaya Baduri in Guddi

Music: Vasant Desai

Lyrics: Gulzar

Gulzar draws poetic parallels between an eager cuckoo's longing for monsoon and a sari-clad Jaya Bhaduri's desirous child-woman Guddi through Vani Jairam's soulful rendition of Bole re papihara

The delicacy of her inevitable transition as well that undeclared chemistry between the lady and her potential groom (played by Samit Bhanja) is beautifully captured by Hrishikesh Mukerjee in this song.

Bheegi bheegi raaton mein, Ajnabee (1974)

Image: Rajesh Khanna and Zeenat Aman in Ajnabee

Music: Rahul Dev Burman

Lyrics: Anand Bakshi

Evocative metaphors and unabashed canoodling pretty much describe Rajesh Khanna and Zeenat Aman's wet rendezvous on the terrace in this supremely breezy and lilting RD composition.

Much prefer this to Zee's in-your-face seduction in Roti Kapda Aur Makaan's Hai hai yeh majboori.

Rimjhim gire saawan, Manzil (1979)

Image: Amitabh Bachchan and Moushumi Chatterjee in Manzil

Music: Rahul Dev Burman

Lyrics: Yogesh

If there's a monsoon melody that is quintessential 'Bombay' before it became 'Mumbai', it's got to be Amitabh Bachchan and Moushumi Chatterjee's utterly drenched stroll to the beats of Rimjhim gire saawan around Marine Drive and other town side landmarks in all its freshly-scrubbed, water-logged glory.

Saawan ke jhoole, Jurmana (1979)

Image: Rakhee in Jurmana

Music: Rahul Dev Burman

Lyrics: Anand Bakshi

There are many a moods and melancholy associated with rain. At times a harbinger of happiness, on others a reminder of loneliness, the latter sentiment is sublimely conveyed in Lata Mangeshkar's earnest chant to be united with her dearest in Saawan ke jhoole.

Aaj rapat jaayen, Namak Halal (1982)

Image: Amitabh Bachchan and Smita Pail in Namak Halal

Music: Bappi Lahiri

Lyrics: Anjaan

No amount of downpour can dampen the spirit of an exuberant Amitabh Bachchan, rubbing off some of his zeal on the sober Smita Patil, even as the twain partake in the madcap moves of Aaj rapat jaayen with infectious abandon. 

Badal yun garajta, Betaab (1983)

Image: Amrita Singh and Sunny Deol in Beetab

Music: RD Burman

Lyrics: Anand Bakshi

Young passion, namely newcomers Sunny Deol and Amrita Singh, find an excuse to rouse in a stunning glass house amidst tempting thunder, lightning and torrential rains in Rahul Rawail's Betaab

The duo's robust chemistry and RD's refreshing sound makes this one an enduring winner.

Chhoti si kahani, Ijaazat (1987)

Image: Naseeruddin Shah and Rekha in Ijaazat

Music: RD Burman

Lyrics: Gulzar

'Chhoti si kahani se, baarishon ke paani se, saare vaade bhar gaye,' opens the credits line-up of Gulzar's lyrical take on relationships. 

While this gorgeous Asha Bhosle rendition is choreographed against the tantalising scenes of nature waltzing to the march of raindrops, rains form a crucial backdrop of Ijaazat's narrative featuring Naseeruddin Shah, Rekha and Anuradha Patel.

Lagi aaj saawan, Chandni (1989)

Image: Sridevi in Chandni

Music: Shiv-Hari

Lyrics: Anand Bakshi

Nostalgia and wishful thinking collide around the cascading santoor and Suresh Wadkar's gloomy cry in Shiv-Hari's popular creation, Lagi aaj saawan.

The sight of Sridevi soaked in a sari touch a painful chord within Vinod Khanna, bringing back memories of his dead girlfriend (Juhi Chawla), and their common love for dancing in the rain.

Tip tip barsa, Mohra (1994)

Image: Akshay Kumar and Raveena Tandon in Mohra

Music: Viju Shah

Lyrics: Anand Bakshi

Raveena Tandon may have gotten over her 'mast mast' days but Mohra fans continue to revere the ravishing beauty at her irresistible best whilst romancing Akshay Kumar to Viju Shah's seriously addictive and groovy rain ditty.

Chemistry lessons were never this entertaining.

Rimjhim rimjhim, 1942-A Love Story (1994)

Image: Manisha Koirala in 1942-A Love Story

Music: RD Burman

Lyrics: Javed Akhtar

Be it 40s or 2000s, rains and romance are synonymous with each other. Vidhu Vinod Chopra uses this splendid ploy to capture the prim romance between his leads Anil Kapoor and Manisha Koirala in the RD-Javed Akhtar concocted rhapsody, Rimjhim rimjhim.

Koi ladki hai, Dil To Pagal Hai (1997)

Image: Shah Rukh Khan and Madhuri Dixit in Dil To Pagal Hai

Music: Uttam Singh

Lyrics: Anand Bakshi

'Ghode jaisi chaal, haathi jaisi dum. O saawan raja, kahan se aaye tum?' Innocence and merriment marks the rhythmic design of Uttam Singh's zingy beats and Shiamak Davar's clear-cut steps livened by the combined charisma and vivacity of Madhuri Dixit and Shah Rukh Khan.

Geela geela pani, Satya (1998)

Image: Urmila Matondakar in Satya

Music: Vishal Bhardwaj

Lyrics: Gulzar

Vishal's minimalistic treatment, interspersed with authentic sounds of rain, provides just the right ambiance to resonate Gulzar's vivid but serene description of the same. 

While on screen, Urmila Matondkar instructs her nimble body language to go with the flow.

Saawan barse tarse dil, Dahek (1999)

Image: Akshaye Khanna and Sonali Bendre in Dahek

Music: Anand Milind

Lyrics: Majrooh Sultanpuri

Dahek, a Hindu-Muslim romance, starring Akshaye Khanna and Sonali Bendre was a non-starter but its song, Saawan barse tarse about a newly-dating couple anxious to see each other through rain or storm is credibly conveyed in this sugary Anand-Milind blend performed by Hariharan and Sadhana Sargam.

Nahi saamne, Taal (1999)

Image: Aishwarya Rai Bachchan in Taal

Music: A R Rahman

Lyrics: Anand Bakshi

I favour the delicate, divine atmosphere and imagery constructed by Rahman and Hariharan in the awe-inspiring Nahin saamne tu over the shower-filled frames of Taal se taal. 

It's as though the first flush of the cool, comforting cloudburst has stepped down to wash away Akshaye Khanna's sorrows and instil in him a hope of reuniting with his estranged love.

Ghanan ghanan, Lagaan (2001)

Image: A scene from Lagaan

Music: A R Rahman

Lyrics: Javed Akhtar

Rainfall is sacred to farmers. And so it's only understandable that the drought-stricken villagers of Ashutosh Gowarikar's period drama Lagaan break into an impromptu song in a bid to appease the rain gods with substantial downpour instead of teasing clouds. 

Trust Rahman to make their plea so easy on the ears of both –the almighty and his listeners.

Behta hai mann kahin, Chameli (2004)

Image: Kareena Kapoor in Chameli

Music: Sandesh Shandilya

Lyrics: Irshad Kamil

The talent behind Rockstar's imaginative verse Irshad Kamil and Sandesh Shandilya's mellow strains along with Sunidhi Chauhan's carefree delivery and Kareena Kapoor's rapturous radiance combine effectively in lending Bhaage re mann's its charming reputation.

Hum Tum, Hum Tum (2004)

Image: Rani Mukerji and Saif Ali Khan in Hum Tum

Music: Jatin Lalit

Lyrics: Prasoon Joshi

Kunal Kohli employs rain for the same purpose as many filmmakers before him, acknowledgement of ardour with some help from Jatin-Lalit's dulcet title track of Hum Tum. Needless to say, Saif Ali Khan and Rani Mukerji have no problems slipping into the lovey-dovey, dripping skins of their previously sparring characters.

Woh lamhe, Zeher (2005)

Image: Shamita Shetty in Zeher

Music: Anu Malik/Jal

Lyrics: Sayeed Quadri

Rocking soundtracks are a given in Emraan Hashmi starrers. And so you have him recalling rain-themed memories of serenading co-star Shamity Shetty to the snazzy Woh lamhe in Zeher. 

Performed by Pakistani band's vocalist Jal's Atif Aslam, the song turned into a huge rage, both in its unplugged and remix avatar.

Yeh saazish hai boondon ki, Fanaa (2006)

Image: Aamir Khan and Kajol in Fanna

Music: Jatin-Lalit

Lyrics: Prasoon Joshi

Kohli's fascination for rain songs continues in the ambitious romance drama, Fanaa

This time it's the other Khan, Aamir and Rani's cousin, Kajol's turn to get all steamy and sensual consuming their love against the gentle J-L ditty, Yeh saazish hai boondon ki.

Barso re, Guru (2007)

Image: Aishwarya Rai Bachchan in Guru

Music: A R Rahman

Lyrics: Gulzar

The sheer dynamism and foot-tapping nature of this superb rain number from Guru, whether it's playing out of an earphone or television screen, is much too delightful to not give into.

Perhaps that explains Aishwarya Rai's admirable gusto in bringing its magic to big screen.