The harvests and promissory romances of spring being a winter away, it is again the time to be dreamy, dreary and nostalgic. Songs bear the capacity to transport us to times and spaces which may or may not even exist in our real experiences. Coldnoon brings you a list of ten Bollywood songs representing winter landscapes—those spaces where you might have left traces of an old lost love.



Kahin Deep Jale Kahin Dil


Kahin Deep Jale


Winter is probably indispensable to the Gothic. And so we have a fine of the essential vintage Baker Street settings, from overcoats to hats to boots, to horse carriages. The baron of the Thakur family, Biswajeet, comes to Chandangarh to take up his controversial—allegedly cursed—property of a haveli. At nights, the residents of the village hear the haunting song of a woman, “Kahin Deep Jale Kahin Dil” (“A candle burns somewhere, somewhere burns a heart”). From the clothes of the heroine, Waheeda Rehman, it appears winter is not probably the time of year. The men’s sartorial choices, however, are crying evidences of the chill that Lata Mangeshkar’s song sends down their spines. It is certainly a song designed for wintry ears, composed by one genius of musical enigma, Hemant Mukherjee.

Film: Bees Saal Baad (1962)
Director: Biren Nag
Music Director: Hemant Mukherjee
Lyricist: Shakeel Badayuni
Singer(s): Lata Mangeshkar
Starring: Waheeda Rehman, Biswajeet, et al.



Kaun Hai Jo Sapno Me Aya | Mere Sapno Ki Rani Kab Ayegi Tu


Kaun Hai jo Sapno me Aya


Mere Sapno ki Rani


Before Rajesh Khanna popularized the Darjeeling Himalayan Railways, Rajendra Kumar, in a nonetheless popular song, “Kaun hai Jo Sapno me Aya” (“Who is it that knocks in my dreams) can be seen driving past the straight narrow gauge tracks, near Sukna. Dreams of a winter faery, Saira Banu—no less—inspire Kumar’s serenading. The musical composition, however, was plagiarized from the Elvis Priestly classic of 1963, Marguerita. And yet it was one such act to which even the winter skies of Darjeeling would have bowed (“Lo Jhuk Gaya Aasmaan Bhi”), having the Bollywood superstar of the day in its midst. And, in the same breath, came Khanna’s unforgettable rendezvous with both the ‘Queen of Hills,’ Darjeeling, and the ‘Queen of his Dreams,’ Sharmila Tagore, who is seen reading a book aboard the Darjeeling Himalayan Express, while Khanna races with her train on a jeep, playfully cautioning her: “Kya Hai Bharosa, Aashiq Dil Ka, Aur Kisi Pe Ye Aa Jaye/ Aa Gaya to Bahut Pachhtayegi Tu” (“There’s no guarantee, my faith is absentee, what if it’s smitten by another’s charms/And if it is you’ll keep biting your tongue”).

Film: Jhuk Gaya Aasman (1968)
Director: Lek Tandon
Music Director: Shanker Jaikishen
Lyricist: Hasrat Jaipuri
Singer(s): Mohammad Rafi
Starring: Rajendra Kumar

Film: Aradhana (1969)
Director: Shakti Samanta
Music Director: Sachin Dev Burman
Lyricist: Anand bakshi
Singer(s): Kishore Kumar
Starring: Sharmila Tagore, Rajesh Khanna, et al.



Dil Dhoondta Hai Phir Wahi


Dil Dhoondta Hai Phir Wahi


The refrain from Ghalib—“Dil (‘ji’ in the original ghazal) dhoondta hai phir wahi fursat ke raat din/baithe rahe tassavur-e-janan kiye huye” (“My heart longs for those days and nights of leisure/when I could linger for hours at a stretch, in throes of her beauteous mien”)—and noontime Kanchenjunga, became craved for, like never before, after this song. Lata Mangeshkar’s voice haunts the woods of Siliguri, as Sharmila Tagore meets an ageing (and aged, now recollecting as if in a reverie) Sanjeev Kumar, clad in white shalwar kameez. Kumar having buried his old love in the foothills of Darjeeling yearns for an ounce of those afternoons which led to the conception of his daughter (also played by Tagore in the film). Before his eyes, the two lovers meet again, under the Kiplinguesque deodars and sunshine takes another karvat, lying upon the wintry landscape. Gulzar’s maiden first-class ton of the winter!

Film: Mausam (1975)
Director: Gulzar
Music Director: Madan Mohan
Lyricist: Gulzar
Singer(s): Lata Mangeshkar, Bhupinder.
Starring: Sharmila Tagore, Sanjeev Kumar.



Ye Safar Bahut Hai Kathin Magar


Ye Safar


As a paternal/big-brotherly Jackie Shroff wraps Manisha Koirala in his shawl and coaxes her to move on upon the road to revolution and the Indian Freedom Struggle, she remembers her lover—the Anglicized Anil Kapoor—and the rainy afternoons she spent with him (featured in another song from the film, “Rim jhim, Rim jhim”), while the singer, Shivaji Chattopadhyay, tries hard to reproduce the poignancy of Hemant Mukherjee’s voice. Both Shroff and Chattaopadhyay fail somewhat, but the song lasts in our memory of winter, both for it being part of R.D. Burman’s last film as music director, and the dense blue hills that fade with the dusk fading behind the deodars and the pines.

Film: 1942: A Love Story (1992)
Director: Vidhu Vinod Chopra
Music Director: Rahul Dev Burman
Lyricist: Javed Akhtar
Singer(s): Shivaji Chattopadhyay
Starring: Jackie Shroff, Manisha Koirala, Anupam Kher



Pani Pani Re, Khare Pani Re


Pani Pani re


In a landscape that arguably rivals the melancholia of Zhivago’s suburban Moscow, Tabu yearns for an unidentified messenger, asking him to visit her forgotten and deserted village. The remoteness of her own present town is felt palpably in Lata Mangeshkar’s lilting and spectral voice—a musical wailing, if you will, one that certainly defines the Indian version of S.T. Coleridge’s Abyssinian maid, crying for her monster lover. Indeed a monster lurks behind the façade of Tabu’s cottage—that of Operation Bluestar, and the 1984 anti-Sikh riots, escalating into the deaths of the two lovers (Tabu and Chandrachur Singh) by consuming poison, to escape police torture. Gulzar scores yet another milestone, and with his aide-in-arms, music-composer Vishal Bharadwaj, he definitely stirs up a wildfire in the snowy valleys, with Maachis.

Film: Maachis (1996)
Director: Gulzar
Music Director: Vishal Bharadwaj
Lyricist: Gulzar
Singer(s): Lata Mangeshkar
Starring: Tabu, Chandrachur Singh



Aye Ajnabi, Tu Bhi Kabhi, Awaaz De Kahin Se


Aye Ajnabi


A racy, seemingly silly, but eventually effective narration by Shahrukh Khan on the All India Radio, described in Dil Se as “bilkul hat ke” (“totally different”) tells the story of his experience of a rainy night, in a station near Darjeeling. He meets Manisha Koirala, who asks him for a cup of tea. Before Khan can reach her back with two cups of the beverage, she boards the Barak Valley Express, leaving with her comrades. The night at the platform opens into a fantasy-ride to the notes of Chhaiya Chhaiya. Later on, Khan uses the radio to narrate his platform story—a tale that functions as the interlude to the song “Aye Ajnabi, Tu Bhi Kabhi, Awaaz de Kahin se” (“O stranger, if only you too beckoned from your faraway land”). Winter is located not so much in the time of the year which the songs represent, but the landscapes, the shrill hooting of the Himalayan Railways, the numerous tunnels it traverses, and of course, the lilting melodies of A.R. Rehman.

Film: Dil Se (1998)
Director: Mani Ratnam
Music Director: A.R. Rehman
Lyricist: Gulzar
Singer(s): Udit Narayan
Starring: Manisha Koirala, Sharukh Khan.



Qismat Se Tum Humko Mile Ho


Qismat Se tum Humko Mile Ho


A haunting choir orchestrated by A.R. Rehman leads us into expansive fields of snow, floating icebergs, snowdunes, ushering in bleak but bold colours of white, black and turquoise. One can see the lovers—Anil Kapoor and Madhuri Dixit—turning pale white, their bodies nearly oozing the cold vapors they have suffered as a consequence of not having recognized their love for each other, hitherto. The ‘simti-simtayi’ (reticent-blushful) demeanor of Dixit lingers in blissful contrast to the masculine verticality of the snow-capped mountains, on the one hand, and Kapoor, on the other, as signs of a benevolent patriarchy organize the meeting of the discrete elements of earth, water and vapor, of which the masculine comfort the feminine.

Film: Pukar (2000)
Director: Rajkumar Santoshi
Music Director: A.R. Rehman
Lyricist: Javed Akhtar
Singer(s): Anuradha Paudwal, Sonu Nigam
Starring: Anil Kapoor, Madhuri Dixit



Zara Zara, Behakta Hai, Mehakta Hai


Zara Zara Behakta Hai


Parchments of the voice of Bombay Jayashri falls to a wintry ear (or perhaps even in some time of the year) as though a palate were blissfully singed, upon a clammy cold afternoon, by crushed corns of pepper toasted over charcoal. It is a voice worth microscopic investigation, certain to reveal in its structure cellular forms, each in the nature of a placidly groaning La maja desnuda (The Nude Maja). Like the burned carbon, it is a voice that is at once impenetrable, crispy, wistful and wispy, leaving its soot every time on the tympani. In lyrics that mostly do not rhyme, landscapes that do not remain at ease, and a musical composition that tingles the listener every time, just enough to heal the wounds of an oft-reminisced romantic rendezvous, of yore, two young lovers meet in an imagined future—of snow-bedewed orchards—and rewind their journey, back to momentary separation.

Film: Rehna Hai Tere Dil Me (2001)
Gautham Menon
Music Director(s): Aadesh Srivastav, Harris Jayaraj
Lyricist: Sameer
Singer(s): Bombay Jayashri
Starring: Dia Mirza, R. Madhavan



Lehrati Huyi Rahein, Kholein Huye Hain Bahein 


Lahrati Huyi Rahein


The Swiss Alps or the Bhyundar Valley (The Valley of Flowers)? It really does not matter, in the cinematography of what appears for most part a reprise of the unforgettable “Likha Hai ye In Hawayon Pe” (Darr; 1993). Bollywood has had its lasting tryst with the European snows, but here they are made wistful, as Shahrukh Khan, from a courtroom in Pakistan, is transported to a time two decades ago—a landscape which probably never was, except in his imagination, while he escorted Preity Zinta to the Atari Railway Station. To winter and the valley, the song adds the amorous combination of rain—“ye barsaat bhi kab thamein kaun jaane/tumhe mil gayein pyaar ke sau bahanein” (“Wonder when the rains will cease, why, you’ve found new reasons for your sleaze”—and as Khan reminisces, the past embedded in all us, shivers a little.

Film: Veer Zaara (2004)
Director: Yash Chopra
Music Director: Madan Mohan
Lyricist: Javed Akhtar
Singer(s): Lata Mangeshkar, Udit Narayan
Starring: Preity Zinta, Shahrukh Khan




Coldnoon (International Journal of Travel Writing & Travelling Cultures) is one of the largest online literary magazines published from Asia. It has published authors from all over the world, largely from India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Russia, United States, United Kingdom, Denmark, Brazil, Uruguay, Peru, among others.