Atul’s Song A Day- A choice collection of Hindi Film & Non-Film Songs

Mere sapnon ki raani kab aayegi tu

Posted on: October 31, 2010

This post is written by Raja, a regular contributor of posts to this blog and a fellow enthusiast of Hindi movies and its music

In the history of Hindi film songs – and we are talking then about several thousand songs – there have been a few really, really, REALLY popular ones. There have been many very good ones but as we know, not all good songs end up being popular with the masses. One need look no further than many of Manna Dey’s songs which were of extremely high quality but whose popularity was largely limited to the classes, not the masses.

Anyway, how to measure popularity can itself be debated. You have hit parades and award functions which confer official popularity chest-thumping rights to songs. In today’s era, maybe you even have a Facebook “Like” button to click as a sign of popularity. 😀

In the past, Binaca Geet Mala was a reasonably good indicator of popularity. It was based on public opinion, after all.

Then, another way of assessing popularity is to look at the spread of a song. The movie Shree420 became hugely popular not just in India but also in Russia. As a result, its song “mera joota hai jaapaani” became very popular in Russia too.

Well, that song was before my time so I cannot vouch for it. I only have take other people’s word for it.

But there is one song that was very much in my time (ok, in my early years then) that I need no backup source to confidently be able to state as being one of the really, really, REALLY popular songs of ALLTIME of Hindi cinema.

I am talking about “mere sapnon ki rani” from Aradhana (1969).

I don’t need validation from Binaca Geet Mala. Or look at awards that this song may or may not have won.

My best validation comes from my own personal experience.

I grew up in Eastern India but my native village is deep in Thanjavur district in Tamil Nadu, South India. Real interior Tamil Nadu . A district that prides itself on being the cradle of Tamil culture. Things may have changed in recent years but, when I was growing up, if you spoke Hindi in this area, you were likely to be considered from another country. 😉

I do not remember the exact year but it was the early 70s. For our summer vacation, my parents took me to this native place to spend some time with my cousins there.

I had a lot of fun, playing cricket with them in the streets and, in general, doing stuff I would not be able to do back home.

Communication was a bit of an issue though. They knew English, so that was fine, but my limited knowledge of Tamil (and their zero knowledge of Hindi) meant there was a bit of a barrier.

On one blazing hot afternoon, one of my cousins suggested we stay indoors and play a song-game (which we know as Antakshari).

I was all excited. For one, I loved Antakshari in those days. And secondly, I finally would be able to enjoy Hindi songs.
With traditional gusto and with the Tamil equivalent of “samay bitaane ke liye”, one of my cousins delivered the opening song – in Tamil.

My heart sank. Everybody around me was enjoying it and singing along. But I had no clue about even a single word in the song, let alone the song itself.

This went on for a while. I could just not participate. They were all enjoying themselves. I might just as well not have existed.

Then one of my cousins noticed me and felt bad for me.

Seri, seri, Hindi paatu” he said. (ok, ok, Hindi song).

“Aradana, Aradana” everybody began saying.

“Mere sapno ki raani…” he started. Somewhat hesitatingly.

Everybody joined him.

All of them were looking at me.

I must say their Hindi pronunciation was atrocious. And they knew just two lines (that too with wrong words thrown in).

But they were singing it with full spirit. One of the guys even tried to put on a Rajesh act.

There were tears in my eyes as I joined in.

Sorry, ivalavu daan teriyum” my cousin said, after two lines. (I only know so much).

I continued and sang a few lines more (I knew the whole song at the time but it would not have been right to “show off”).

Inde oru Hindi padam daan paathirkom. Ide daan kezhva pattirrukkom”. My cousins said.
(This is the only Hindi movie we have seen. The only one we have heard of).

This one song was enough for me. It made my day.

The significance of this for me was that Aradhana had infiltrated that Tamil heartland. Rajesh Khanna existed even in a land which refused to look beyond Sivaji Ganesan, MGR and Gemini Ganesan.

That is enough validation for me for the popularity of this song. And this movie.

Like I said, I don´t need hit parade validation for this one at least.

Coming to the song itself, it is probably THE most popular song of Rajesh Khanna’s entire career. The movie Aradhana catapulted him into stardom overnight. All the songs of the movie became popular. But none more so than this song, although “roop tera mastana” was also probably at par with this.

The song is catchy, it has a sense of mischief about it. Kishore Kumar himself started a new lease of life with this song (and others) in this movie. And there is a pretty Sharmila Tagore reading an Alistair Maclean book (oh, what nostalgia THAT now brings me!).

All of this is just great – but for me this song will be indelibly linked with my experience all those years ago down south in Tamil Nadu.

Thanks for patiently reading this long post. I hope you like this song.

Song-Mere sapanon ki raani kab aayegi tu (Aradhana) (1969) Singer-Kishore Kumar, Lyrics-Anand Bakshi,MD-S D Burman


he he he
ha ha ha

mere sapnon ki raani kab aayegi tu
aayi rut mastaani kab aayegi tu
beeti jaaye zindagaani kab aayegi tu
chali aa tu chali aa
mere sapnon ki raani kab aayegi tu
aayi rut mastaani kab aayegi tu
beeti jaaye zindagaani kab aayegi tu
chali aa, aa tu chali aa

pyaar ki galiyaan
baagon ki kaliyaan
sab rang raliyaan
poochh rahin hain
pyaar ki galiyaan
baagon ki kaliyaan
sab rang raliyaan
poochh rahin hain
is panghat pe kis din gaayegi tu
mere sapnon ki raani kab aayegi tu
aayi rut mastaani kab aayegi tu
beeti jaaye zindagaani kab aayegi tu
chali aa tu chali aa

phool si khil ke
paas aa dil ke
door se mil ke
chain na aaye
phool si khil ke
paas aa dil ke
door se mil ke
chain na aaye
aur kab tak mujhe tadpaayegi tu
mere sapnon ki raani kab aayegi tu
aayi rut mastaani kab aayegi tu
beeti jaaye zindagaani kab aayegi tu
chali aa tu chali aa

kya hai bharosa
aashiq dil ka
aur kisi pe
ye aa jaaye
kya hai bharosa
aashiq dil ka
aur kisi pe
ye aa jaaye
aa gaya to bahut pachhtaayegi tu
mere sapnon ki raani kab aayegi tu
aayi rut mastaani kab aayegi tu
beeti jaaye zindagaani kab aayegi tu
chali aa,
aa tu chali aa
chali aa tu chali aa
chali aa,
aa tu chali aa


20 Responses to "Mere sapnon ki raani kab aayegi tu"

Great write up as usual by Raja, with a great song! Yes, this song and the movie were really popular in the South. I think it ran in Anand or Little Anand (and I think both theaters are gone now!) in Madras for close to two years, so much so that I saw it in my third year of B.Sc, and again after finishing my first year of M.Sc! Terrific movie with great songs, and one of my friends bought the records, and we used to listen to them daily in our lunch hour in the recreation room in the hostel, and that’s how I still remember the lyrics (or most of them, anyway!).

Like Raja, I grew up in Lucknow and I had cousins in Kanpur and we used to talk with each other in Hindi, driving the rest of the family, especially those in the South, crazy! Now that I think of it, it sounds pathetic! Raja, you were good, not wanting to embarrass your cousins, unlike me!

It is indeed a fantastic write up by Raja for a fantastic song. This was arguably the most influential song of its time, especially for those who were in the impressionable age, such as Raja and I. Even today, when I listen to this song and watch the picturisation, it gives me goose bumps. I feel privileged to have lived in that age and experienced the amazing popularity of this song which can only be experienced by those who lived in that era.

This write up by Raja was lying with me for quite some time and we had decided to post this write up at an appropriate occasion. Day before yesterday, I met with Raja and discussed many things. He wanted to see my methodology of posting the songs. I showed him that and I also showed him the list of drafts lying with me for future posting. This was one of the drafts lying with me.

That was an excellent write-up, Raja! Thanks a lot! It did justice to the great song! And how appropriate to mention antakshari, this was a staple for all antakshari sessions, in fact even now it is.

Lovely piece. It could easily be a “middle” in a national daily.

Very nice post Raja. This is THE ALLTIME best hindi song. Really, if its been a while, I’ll go off to youtube and get this instant mood lift. Pure RK/RD/Kishore magic (I believe it is RD even it is credited otherwise).
I guess we’re all Tamil here. My dads from Tinnevely (and we can argue about which is more hardcore Tamil). But in my case they have all thought me foreign and I have thought myself as foreign. The latest twist to this being this waiter in Pondicherry swearing I looked just like a Tamil girl–this after spending a lifetime being asked where I was from or even if I was foreign (I think they have too many non-Tamil actresses in Tamil cinema these days.)
And Lalita, nice story. I talked to some Tamil friends who’d be your age and their eyes lit up when I mentioned RK magic.

What a wonderful write-up by Raja! Lovely, informative comments too. Regarding the popularity of this film in Tamil Nadu, I saw a recent interview of Sharmila Tagore where she said the same thing.

To take up from Sophy on who really composed ‘Mere sapnon ki rani’, Rajiv Vijayakar has written that SD was very sick around the time of the ‘Aradhana’ recordings and that ‘Mere sapnon ki rani’ as well as ‘Roop tera mastana’ were RD’s creations. Perhaps also ‘Kora kagaz tha yeh mann mera’ but many have found SD’s signature style in that number so that’s debatable. In any event, as far as getting stuff from the horse’s mouth as it were, Rajesh Khanna himself said the following (link to the source is at the end):

“Not surprisingly, Khanna admits that Panchamda was ‘instrumental’ in his take-off to stardom. “With all due respect to his music maestro father Sachin Dev Burman, the legendary number Mere Sapnon Ki Rani in Aradhana was actually composed by his talented son. Because I witnessed the song being ‘born’ during the sittings and even at the recording. Since Panchamda himself loved to play the harmonica, he has incorporated peppy portions of signature harmonica melodies in the Sapnon Ki Rani song, besides the foot-tapping train-in-motion rhythm something which gave him a creative high,” reveals the seasoned actor.”

And sorry to flood your comments section Atul :-), but here is an interview of Rajesh Khanna’s on his first meeting with Kishore Kumar and ‘Mere sapnon ki rani’. This was Rajesh’s segment on the film on Kishore Kumar (made after he died so this was definitely post October 1987) with Amin Sayani doing the narration and interview.

wow! mere bachpan ka super favourite song. thank you atul. thank you raja. and my god i didn’t know that we r a bunch of true indians viz: south indians born and brought up in north india or east india or mumbai (west india). with no connection to tamil or malayalam films till late in our life.
and atul would you believe it if i say that last night i was looking for this song in this blog. now this is getting as repetitive as your line : such wonderful gems in forgotten movies (isn’t that what u say?) actually i was thinking of my paternal grandpa and how he used to love this song in particular. those days he was around 70 years of age. and how he will make my dad play the EP record (i think thats what the opposite of an LP used to be called) of this movie and i used to sit on my tricycle and sing along. and for quite some years i thought that the person sitting next to Rajesh Khanna was Kishore Kumar (god knows y i used to think that). another song from this movie that my grandpa liked was “Gun guna rahe bhawanre khil rahi hai kali kali” and he didn’t think too much of Amitabh Bachchan the actor. he also liked the song “Ram kare babua humaar phoolwa ko hamri umar lag jaye” from the Nutan-Vinod Mehra-Moushmi Chaterjee movie “Anuraag”.
and i was all of 3 when the movie came. and i had seen it only once (no TV those days so no repeat viewing facility). then post 1973 when doordarshan started telecast in mumbai i saw this movie with my dear Grandma and she was the one who tutored me on the various actors in the movie. (may their souls rest in peace). so i am a hindi movie song addict bcoz of my grandpa dad and grand mom in that order. and i can proudly say my 17 year old Peevesie (turning 18 in december) is my replica in this respect

You were on a tricycle when you heard that song, and I was in college! You are all children compared to me!

My children grew up on a diet of songs from Aradhana and Amar Prem and other movies from the 60’s and early 70’s, then they went to college and found that their friends did not know these songs at all, or only vaguely. They complained that I did not teach them the current songs, only old songs!

oh thats the case with my children’s friends too. coz my son and daughter are hindi song addicts no matter if the song belongs to 50s 60s 70s or 80s. they r out of touch with songs of early 90s (i.e of when they were 3 and 7 years old) but up to date with songs of all other decades. howzatt? and now my kids complain that they don’t know many songs frm their growing up years

One interesting bit of trivia on the song. Rajesh Khanna and Sharmila Tagore are not shown together in even one shot! Sharmila Tagore had to leave for shooting of a Satyajit Ray film (probably Aranyer Din Ratri). And since Ray shot continuously for his films, Sharmila could not come for the Aradhana song shoot. So this was shot in two separate periods by the director, one with the hero and the other with the heroine. Very cleverly done!

FYI, there was a program done on Kaka on IBN TV around October 2009 called “Rajesh Khanna: The Birth of a Superstar” which is essentially on ‘Aradhana’. They do spend some time on how ‘Mere sapnon ki rani’ was shot as mentioned by Santosh above. It has interviews with Kaka, Sharmila Tagore, Sachin Bhowmick (the writer), etc. There’s an ad in the beginning of the program–it’s about 20 mins or so. Enjoy 🙂 I was very happy to see a recent interview with Kaka which is rare.

kakaji is the best.. no competition

Thanks everybody for your kind appreciation of this post.
I enjoyed writing it – it took me back many years to my childhood days.

This song is indeed one of the most popular songs of alltime in Hindi cinema.

echo ur words whn u say……”The movie Aradhana catapulted him into stardom overnight” 🙂

an evergreen number even now whnever 1 hears it 😀

dont get tired hearing it again n again :)..has d same effect whn i heard it 4 d 1st time during my childhood days 😉

Raja, what a write up. Enjoyed every moment of the read. I could relate to it quite a bit, as we spent our childhood in Bombay and then later moved down South. I grew up listening to Old Hindi numbers, thanks to my father. Binaca Geetmala was one programme that we never wanted to miss. Oh I sometimes wish those days would come back. My father would have surely enjoyed this blog. Never realised there are so many South Indian’s in the blog :).

A fab song n a fab movie too. Must have watched it a 100 times or so. And my sincere thanks to the late director shakti da for creating a masterpiece which gave Hindi cinema the best actor-singer duo i.e rajesh khanna and kishore kumar. Truthfully this turned rajesh khanna into an overnight star. Pity I was not there to watch the superstardom received by Mr. Khanna after this movie. Well RIP to both Mr. Khanna and Mr. Kumar.

@ Beautiful post by Raja ji , thanks a lot!!
i grow up listening this song on Radio and it must be very frequent on radio, as it was popular those years, and hence got into our permanent memory forever.

S D Burman had made up his mind that Mohammed Rafi would be the main playback singer for Rajesh Khanna in ‘Aradhana’ (1969). He had already recorded two duets – gungunaa rahen hain bhawren’ (Rafi-Asha) and ‘baaghon mein bahaar hai’ (Rafi-Lata). Except for ‘roop tera mastaana’ which S D Burman had earmarked the song to be sung by Kishore Kumar, the remaining two songs were to be recorded in the voice of Rafi for Rajesh Khanna. Then how Kishore Kumar came into picture to sing ‘mere sapnon ki rani kab aayegi tu’ and ‘kora kaagaz thha ye mann mera’?

Many well-known writers on Hindi film music have mentioned that it was R D Burman (who was assisting his father) who roped in Kishore Kumar as after the recording of first two songs with Rafi, S D Burman fell ill. But the reality seems to be different as per the interviews of Shakti Samant and the musicians Kersi Lord, Manohari Singh and Homi Mullan who worked with S D Burman as well as with R D Burman. These interviews are available on YT.and were taken sometime during 2011-13.

Shakti Samant wanted one song urgently for the picturisation (Probably, the song under discussion is the one as it was to be shot outdoor in Darjeeling). S D Burman had already decided to get it recorded in Rafi’s voice. But Rafi was to go on a world tour and he would return to India only after two months. Shakti Samant went to S D Burman’s house and told about Rafi’s world tour. He, therefore, suggested Kishore Kumar’s name as an alternative because S D Burman had recorded hundreds of Kishore’s songs. Burman Dada agreed and was so happy with the recording of the first song ‘mere sapanon ki rani’, that he head and also recorded in his voice ‘kora kaagaz thha ye mann mera’ and ‘roop tera mastaana’ (the third song which he had originally decided to record in Kishore’s voice).

Kersi Lord, Manohari Singh and Homi Mullan in their separate interviews had confirmed that S D Burman was not sick during the making of ‘Aradhana’ (1969) and was fully involved with the compositions of the songs . Shakti Samant said that S D Burman fell ill only after the completion of ‘Aradhana’ (1969).

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