Hindi cinema is big on romance. From the very beginning, love stories have interested film directors who drew from the epic and mythological romances initially and later made more contemporary stories. There are thousands of songs about love in Hindi films. But, for me, very few have been able to capture sensuousness or, to put it a bit more simplistically, sexiness. There are suggestive songs, true, but only some send that special frisson of sexuality in the listener’s mind, in the viewer’s eyes.
Here are five that do, for me:
- “Akhri Khat” was an unusual film made by Chetan Anand, a story told in black and white, at a time when colour was reigning supreme. Rajesh Khanna, young and callow but terribly charming, was the city slicker while Indrani was the simple village belle. There is a sense of consummated love in the air, as the young lover asks his lady love to stay back for some more time.
- Probably the best song about seduction ever written. The actor (Dev Anand, looking handsome as ever) sings from afar, drawing Geeta Bali towards him. She is torn, and the turmoil creates an emotional storm in her. We, as the audience, are gripped by the visible attraction, but also by the unstated thrill of danger, because we also know that the man is a criminal and a cad.
- There is an element of sauciness in this song. The two actors are pretending to be husband and wife and are thus forced to stay in one room, but Kalpana Kartik is not going to allow Dev Anand to take advantage of this. He appeals, she rejects, he urges, she laughs it off; she shows the game of seduction that is being played.
- Madhubala has just walked into a garage, dripping wet. Her car has stalled, her clothes are drenched and she is not in good temper. Kishore Kumar, the mechanic on duty notices this and tries to lighten the mood, with a bit of naughtiness. There is no direct sexual suggestion in the song, yet never has Madhubala seemed so sensual.
- Waheeda Rehman is a dancer, Sunil Dutt a dacoit. He walks in to see her singing and is immediately mesermised. She, on her part, sings just for him. Nothing suggestive is said or done, bar his one attempt to hold her hand, but the intimacy of their connection, makes this one of the most sensual songs in Hindi cinema.
Tune into the playlist of all of Sidharth’s Sexy songs here
Sidharth Bhatia is an journalist and author of several books on Indian popular culture including India Psychedelic: The Story of India’s Rocking Generation and Cinema Modern: The Navketan Story