From Bareilly ka Bazaar to Banaras ka Paan – How Bollywood Songs Capture the Magic of Indian Cities

Bollywood has given us some gems when it comes to music, leaving us with nostalgia and a sense of longing. Some songs have captured the essence of our cities and places beautifully – be it Delhi’s old world charms or Mumbai’s ability to allow our dreams to merge with reality.

Here’s a list of songs that have created quite a bit of magic, over the years –

1. Yeh Hai Bombay Meri Jaan

This one is an evergreen number from the 1956 film, C.I.D. The movie starred Dev Anand, Shakila, Waheeda Rehman and Johnny Walker. The song offers a colourful overview of Bombay – the ups and downs. Bombay is life, Bombay is a dream, Bombay is difficult city to call home.

Aye dil hai mushkil jina yaha..
Jara hat key jara bach key, yeh hai bombay meree jan…

2. Khaike Pan Banaras Vala

Don, 1996. Amitabh Bachchan is a vision in this song, and it’s popular even today after all this time. It mentions the delectable and special Banarasi Paan – the paanwalas in Benaras don’t mix their ingredients hours earlier, they do it on the spot. They’re highly creative and even serve paan in the nawaabi style.

“O khaike paan banaras wala
khuli jaaye band akal ka tala!”

3. Delhi 6

Delhi’s charm and the allure of its streets have been captured well in this song. It’s dreamy, young at heart and free-spirited. This song from the 2009 film Delhi-6 with Abhishek Bachchan and Sonam Kapoor put a smile on many faces. The number six refers to the PIN Code of Chandni Chowk, Old Delhi where director Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra grew up.

“Yeh Dilli Hai Mere Yaar
Bas Ishq Mohabbat Pyaar”

4. Yeh Lucknow Ki Sar Zamin

A gem from the blockbuster Chaudhvin Ka Chand, 1960, Lucknow ki Sar Zamin is a beautiful melody that many people are still partial to even today. Mohammed Rafi’s voice embodies the spirit of the city beautifully – images of Waheeda Rehman and Guru Dutt come to mind.

“Jawan jawan hasin hasin, ye Lucknow ki sarzamin”

5. Kitni Khubsoorat Yeh Tasveer Hai

From the film 1982 film Bemisal, this Kishore Kumar track explores the beauty and romantic serendipity of mysterious Kashmir. With its shikaras and unmatched tranquility, Kashmir remains one of the most sought after destinations even with its troubled history in recent times.

“Kitani Khuubasuurat Ye Tasvir Hai
Mausam Bemisaal Benazir Hai
Ye Kashmir Hai, Ye Kashmir Hai”

6. Jhumka Gira Re Bareilly ke Bazaar Mein

This song is from Raj Khosla’s 1967 thriller, Mera Saaya starring Sadhana and Sunil Dutt. Asha Bhosle lent her voice to this vibrant song. There is a reference to Bareilly in the chorus – a place that’s renowned for its markets with their delicate jhumkas, fabrics and carpets.

“Jhoomka gira re Bareilly ke bazaar mein
jhoomka gira jhoomka gira jhoomka gira
haai haai haai jhoomka gira re….”

7. Aami Shotti Bolchi

This one captures the heart and soul of Kolkata. From the 2012 Vidya Balan thriller Kahaani, it spins a lovely little tale around the city. It talks about never being able to leave the city behind; about the love-hate relationship that’s nurtured in the city’s streets.

“Dil ka bazaar hai, thoda bizzare hai
Kolkata khwaishon armaano ka achaar hai
Aami shotti bolchi…
Aami shotti bolchi…”

Featured Image Source: Directorate Of Film Festivals

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