The musical instrument ‘Guitar’ has always been associated with love, romance and a youthful vigour in Hindi cinema. From the Black & White era to the present scenario we have had various actors and actresses lip-syncing to some fabulous songs in different situations in our films.
Many songs were picturized in clubs and party settings while others were solo numbers sung by the hero to the heroine and in rare instances vice versa. Still others became part of the film’s story when the actor concerned was playing the role of a singer in a band in the film. Some directors imaginatively picturized guitar songs as part of the background in a situation.
Ironically many of our popular stars like Dilip Kumar, Raj Kapoor, Dharmendra, Salman Khan, etc., never got the opportunity to have a full-fledged guitar song picturized on them. On the other hand some of the supporting artistes like Jalal Agha and newcomers like Kunal Goswami and Tariq were extremely lucky to have memorable guitar songs associated with them.
Then again if a song did start with the actor strumming the guitar hardly did the strumming continue throughout the song. Many an actor/actress just threw the guitar and started dancing for the rest of the song. In some songs, the actor in question played the guitar somewhere in the middle of the song or just in between some stanzas for a very short while. In some funny instances, the guitar was just hung on the shoulder or held in the hand but never used in the song!
Another noteworthy point is that while there are numerous songs picturized on male actors, only a handful can be found on female actors. Probably the stories never really centred around such a female character or is it that the popular mind-set gets a thrill only when a male figure is playing the guitar? Hindi cinema has always had more piano songs as compared to any other instrument hence not many guitar songs could be found in the early films.
Interestingly, the earliest guitar song I came across while researching for the blog belongs to a female actor- Geeta Bali and the song composed by S D Burman is from the film Baazi which released in 1951.
In the film Geeta Bali is not playing Dev Anand’s love interest but is a dancer in the club where Dev Anand ultimately ends up working. She becomes his friend and in the song she is just asking him to make the most of life’s opportunities and not think too much.
GEETA BALI- Baazi (1951)
‘Tadbeer se bigdi hui taqdeer bana le…’
The songs of the ‘Black & White’ era had a unique charm- the lyrics, the music and the picturization, the setting etc., captured something so magical that it remains entrenched in our minds even today. They sure set the trend for the future songs to follow and of course! Subsequently every era added its character to the guitar songs.
The earliest male guitar song is again picturized on the same pair but here the roles are different. Here Geeta Bali is the heroine of this film and is attracted to Dev Anand even though he is a character with slight negative shades.
DEV ANAND– Jaal (1952)
‘Yeh raat yeh chaandni phir kahaan, sun ja dil ki dastaan…’
This song picturized on Dev Anand from the film Jaal is the best example of a perfect guitar song clubbed with the perfect romantic setting for conveying the feelings of a lover. One can see how the heroine Geeta Bali is drawn towards our hero and the feelings are imparted so effortlessly and beautifully! Sahir Ludhianvi’s lyrics set to tune by S D Burman and sung in the husky voice of Hemant Kumar make it one of the best guitar songs of Bollywood.
DEV ANAND –Munimji (1955)
‘Dil ki umange hain jawan…’
Here Dev Anand and Nalini Jaywant are taking the villain Pran for a ride and making a fool out of him and the guitar song adds to the zest and fun.
SHAMMI KAPOOR-China Town (1962)
‘Baar baar dekho hazar baar dekho…’
This song sung in a club to his girlfriend still remains a rage and continues to be the only one of its kind found in Bollywood. Shammi Kapoor’s charisma adds magic to Rafi’s vocals and lyricist Majrooh Sultanpuri’s lyrics are set to a very catchy tune by music director Ravi.
‘Aao twist karein…’
Although Mehmood is not playing the guitar in this song the music is heavily guitar based and there are enough supporting artistes on the guitar to figure in this blog.
BHUPINDER SINGH -Aakhri Khat (1967)
‘Rut jawan jawan jawan,raat meherbaan…’
This was Rajesh Khanna’s first film. Singer Bhupinder who had debuted in Haqeeqat in 1964 gets to appear on the big screen again. Being a singer as well as a guitar player in real life he featured only in this song as a club singer and had this soft number picturized on him. Music director was Khayyam.
BISWAJIT- Kismat (1968)
‘Laakhon hain yahan dilwale…’
In this musical thriller Biswajit’s guitar plays an important role. Unknown to him the owner of the guitar shop who happened to be a police informant hides an important microdot inside his guitar before the goons catch him. The rest of the movie is all about the gang members following him to get their hands on the guitar.
Here is another song from the film and is a duet sung by Mahendra Kapoor and Asha Bhonsle. She is a dancer in the same club where he is a singer.
‘One two three baby ya ya ya…’
JOY MUKHERJEE- Phir Wohi Dil Laya Hoon (1962)
‘Laakhon hain nigah mein zindagi ki raah mein…’
In the film the hero Joy Mukherjee’s entry is only after about 20 minutes after the film starts. Here the song is used as an introductory sequence for the hero and leaves quite an impact though one wonders why the hero never plays the guitar even for one second and only holds it in his hand throughout the song!!!
RAJESH KHANNA- Mehbooba (1976)
‘Mere naina saawan bhaadon…’
The resonating vocals of Kishore Kumar in this song set to raga Shivaranjani by music director R D Burman and picturized on romantic hero Rajesh Khanna make it a haunting song and make it one of the strong contenders for the best guitar song of Bollywood. The story which deals with rebirth and reincarnation is heavily dependent on this song which serves as the main lifeline for the lovers to remind each other of their previous birth.
Surprisingly for an actor associated with the ‘angry young man’ image Amitabh Bachchan has not one or two but four guitar songs of different kind picturized on him.
Film- Zameer (1975)
‘Phoolon ke dere hain saaye ghanere hain…’
This story of this film is based on the old B&W Dev Anand film Bambai ka Babu where the hero impersonates as the long-lost son of a wealthy businessman only to shockingly find out that the girl he falls in love with happens to be his ‘sister’ and now he is caught in a strange position.
Here is another song from the same film a sad song sung when he realizes the situation he has landed himself in
Zameer- ‘Tum bhi chalo hum bhi chalein…;
AMITABH BACHCHAN- Yaaarana (1974)
‘Saara zamaana haseenon ka deewana…’
This song is a stage performance and has only a small portion showing Amitabh with the guitar but he carries it in a strange way like a gun and the choreography is quite funny.
AMITABH BACHCHAN- Jhoom Barabar Jhoom
‘Aaj aaja aaja ishq di khol gutiyaan…’
Amitabh sports a unique get-up to suit his character of a street singer in London stations. He has a small supporting role and a superb catchy song sung by Shankar Mahadevan picturized on him. Even his guitar looks different but he plays the guitar only in the first part of the song.
AAMIR KHAN- Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak (1988)
‘Papa kehte hain bada naam karega…’
Aamir Khan could not have asked for a better song in his debut film. The scene is the college farewell party and Aamir playing the guitar and singing formed a perfect setting for such a catchy number. Sung by Udit Narayan and set to tune by music directors Jatin-Lalit, the song was a major hit.
JALAL AGHA- Ghar Ghar Ki Kahani (1970)
‘Sama hai suhana suhana…’
Yet another contender for the best guitar song of Bollywood, this mesmerizing Kishore Kumar number sounds fresh, romantic and soothing whenever one listens to this and is a perfect guitar song even today during any get-together. Actor Jalal Agha is indeed fortunate to have such an evergreen song associated with him. Music directors Kalyanji-Anandji have excelled themselves in this song.
RAKESH ROSHAN- Priyatama (1977)
‘Koi roko na deewane ko man machal raha kuch gaane ko…’
While Rakesh Roshan was a silent lover in the previous song, this one has him playing the guitar as part of the background to Jeetendra-Neetu Singh love-story. The soft song is a typical composition of music director Rajesh Roshan.
KUNAL GOSWAMI- Kalakaar (1981)
‘Neele neele ambar par…’
While Manoj Kumar became very popular in Bollywood his son Kunal Goswami could not get even a small footing in the industry and he crashed out after his debut film flopped. However he was lucky to have this lovely Kishore Kumar guitar song picturized on him. He played a struggling singer in the film and music was by Kalyanji-Anandji.
Shahrukh Khan had the opportunity to be part of guitar songs at least 3 times in his career. But none really did justice to his romantic image
Pardes (1997) – ‘Do dil mil rahe hain magar chupke chupke…
He plays guitar and sings this in the background for the heroine Mahima Choudhary who is getting married to Apoorva Agnihotri.
Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (1997) – ‘Mujhko kya hua hai kyun main kho gaya hoon…’
A typical fun-filled college dance number which had Rani Mukherjee opening the song with her strumming the guitar and then Shahrukh Khan strums it a couple of times in between the stanzas. This could have been a great guitar number had the choreographers made him the guitarist instead of just the dancer.
Jab tak hai jaan (2012) -‘Challa…’
Years later SRK tried to play an ebullient youngster singing on the London streets with the guitar by his side but somehow the look did not gel and the song was a very average number which did not suit him either.
Here is an actor who was the quintessential chocolate boy hero of Bollywood and had some great songs picturized on him. He looked perfect playing the guitar-strumming hero and the get-up suited him a lot.
Khel Khel Mein (1975) – ‘Humne tumko dekha…’
Another college number and Shailendra Singh who became he voice of Rishi Kapoor for a while did a superb job of this R D Burman composition.
Sagar (1985) – ‘Chehra hai ya chaand khila hai…’
Rishi Kapoor re-unites with his first heroine Dimple Kapadia after a gap of 15 years to give us this romantic guitar song written by Javed Akhtar and composed by R D Burman.
Here is a rare instance when there were two senior heroes in the film-Dharmendra and Vijay Arora and yet it was newcomer Tariq who had so many lovely guitar songs picturized on him. Composed by R D Burman and sung by Kishore Kumar this actor who never really made a mark in Bollywood ensured his place amongst actors who had superb guitar songs picturized on them.
Yaadon ki Baaraat (1973)-‘Lekar hum diwana dil…’
This clip has two songs- ‘Yaadon ki baraat…’ and ‘Aapke kamre mein koi rehta hai…’
Tariq was also part of another successful musical blockbuster Hum Kisise Kum Nahin and this time he had the great Mohammed Rafi sing for him.
‘Kya hua tera vada…’
‘Chaand mera dil…’
He was also part of the medley competition between himself and Rishi Kapoor whre he gets to sing two small guitar songs.
RAJ KIRAN- Arth (1982)
A triangular love story dealing with extra-marital affair may not have been the kind of film to find a guitar song but this film had some great songs by ghazal maestro Jagjit Singh. This particular song is a soft number sung at a party by Raj Kiran playing the guitar when the Shabana discovers her husband’s affair with Smita Patil.
‘Koi yeh kaise bata de ke hum tanha kyun hain…’
RAHUL ROY-Aashiqui (1990)
This film directed by Mahesh Bhatt with newcomers Rahul Roy and Anu Agrawal was a blockbuster at the box-office thanks to its mind-blowing music by composers Nadeem-Shravan who later dominated the music scene for a few years. All songs were super-hits. This song sung at a club has Rahul playing the guitar and lip-syncing to Kumar Sanu’s superb song.
‘Saanson ki zaroorat hai jaise, zindagi ke liye bas ek sanam chahiye aashiqui ke liye…’
HRITHIK ROSHAN- Kaho Na Pyar Hai (2000)
‘Chaand sitare phool aur khushboo…’
When Hrithik Roshan made his debut he got to play double role in his first film itself and his uncle Rajesh Roshan scored the music. Here is a song where Hrithik sings a song for his girlfriend at her birthday get-together. Sadly after the initial one minute he abandons the guitar and starts dancing.
RANBIR KAPOOR- Rockstar (2011)
Ranbir Kapoor plays a singer and this guitar song composed by A R Rehman became a hit.
MITHUN CHAKRAVORTHY-Disco Dancer (1982)
‘Yaad aa raha hai tera pyar…’
Though Mithun plays a dancer there is one song where he gets to play the guitar as well.
The actor-director is also a singer in real life and he sang his own songs in the film Rock On!! where he debuted as an actor. He plays the lead singer in a band and walked away with many awards for his performance and his song as well.
Rock On!! (2008)
‘Socha hai kya…’
The sequel to this film Rock On 2 relesed in 2016 but the songs did not live up to expectations. Farhan again got to strum the guitar in the film- Lucknow Central. He is in prison and as part of hi escape plan forms a music group.
Lucknow Central- (2017)
‘Meere karwaan, tu le chale jahan…’
AYUSHMANN KHURRANNA- Vicky Donor (2012)
‘Paani da rang dekh ke…’
Youngster Ayushmann Khurrana made his debut both as an actor and a singer in 2012 with this film. He got crtical acclaim and also walked away with several awards for singing and acting. His award-winning song Pani da…had him playing guitar.
After the Geeta Bali number in 1951, there was a gap before another actress made her mark strumming the guitar on screen. The year was 1973 and the film was Yaadon Ki Baraat. This Rafi-Asha duet remains an iconic song till date.
ZEENAT AMAN- Yaadon ki Baraat
‘Chura liya hai tumne jo dil ko…’
RANI MUKHERJEE-Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (1998)
‘Mujhko kya hua hai kyun main kho gaya hoon…’
KATRINA KAIF- Mere Brother ki Dulhan (2011)
It was good to see Katrina Kaif doing a different kind of role and the character of a singer suited her.
SHRADDHA KAPOOR – Half Girlfriend (2017)
‘Tu thodi der aur thehr ja soniya…’
This film based on Chetan Bhagat’s book by the same name had young Shraddha Kapoor playing a singer but the song she got was sadly was a very ordinary one and the film did not do too well. However it was good to see an actress play a singer in the film.
The following four actors can be seen strumming a guitar for a very short time during the particular song mentioned.
Dharmendra in the song ‘Tu mera , main teri, duniya jale toh jale…’ from the film Pyar Hi Pyar…
Shashi Kapoor in the song ‘Dilbar dilbar kaehte kehte…’ from the film Haseena Maan Jayegi…
Salman Khan in the song ‘O o jaanejaana, dhoonde tujhe diwana…’ from the film Pyar Kiya Toh Darna Kya
Saif Ali Khan in the song ‘Piyu bole, piya bole…’ from the film Parineeta