Rain — reminiscent of the smell of wet mud, pakoras, samosas — is a time when people, especially in rain-starved cities like Karachi, decide that it is time to celebrate. Some call in sick, some go to their rooftops and some even start to dance and sing at the top of their lungs.
However, monsoon is also a time when images of Bollywood heroines — drenched in the rain to show off their curvaceous bodies to millions of eager-eyed viewers — comes to mind.
For centuries, the monsoon season and rain have been linked to romance. In rural India, for instance, there is still a pattern when husbands and lovers, who were away on business or travel during the dry months of the year, come home to sow the harvests just before the monsoon. Their women wait eagerly for this romantic reunion after months of separation. This theme has been used in many songs and folk dances in India.
The idea of romance in the cool waters of rain also invaded the world of Bollywood. Raj Kapoor, also known as the Show Man, was quintessentially the pioneer of the trend. His heroines — from Nargis to Mandakini, from Zeenat Aman to Dimple Kapadia — were all soaked in the rain or under a waterfall in every film he directed.
Since then, Bollywood has repeatedly used the theme of rain to signify romance. Some of the most popular Bollywood tracks in the monsoon include:
‘Pyar Hua Ikraar Hua’
This song, featuring Raj Kapoor with Nargis, is a legend. “Pyar Hua Ikraar Hua” from the 1955 film Shree 420 is of the songs that has inspired all the rain songs in Indian cinema. Kapoor and Nargis, with their scintillating chemistry, were shown madly in love in the song, and the chemistry that was present between this couple cannot be reproduced or copied.
‘Bheegi Bheegi Raaton Main’
“Bheegi Bheegi Raaton Main” from Ajnabee (1974) features Zeenat Aman — considered by many as the most beautiful woman of her time — along with actor Rajesh Khanna. The song, the tune of which is amazingly romantic, shows Aman drenched in the rain while dancing with Khanna, who is also referred to as the ‘first superstar’ of Indian cinema. Although, the song has been remixed over and over again, not one of them has come close to the original version.
‘Aaj Rapat Jaayen’
The super hit song from Namak Halaal (1982) had Bollywood actors Smita Patil and Amitabh Bachchan. “Aaj Rapat Jaayen”- sung by Kishore Kumar and Asha Bhosle — focuses on the chemistry between the ‘angry young man’ and Patel, one of the finest stage and film actors of her time.
‘Bhaage Re Mann’
“Bhaage Re Mann” from the 2003 film Chameli has been sung by Sunidhi Chauhan and features Kareena Kapoor and Rahul Bose. Kapoor plays the role of a prostitute and cemented herself as a versatile and charismatic actor in Bollywood. Unlike a typical B-town romantic rain number, Bose does not dance or sing with the heroine but just sits and enjoys the weather and Kapoor’s dance.
‘Tip Tip Barsa Paani’
Tip Tip Barsa Paani from Mohra had Bollywood actors Akshay Kumar and Raveena Tandon, who were reportedly together at the time this song was shot. That could be one of the reasons for the exceptional chemistry portrayed in the song. With Tandon’s wearing a yellow sari wrapped around, the song — sung by Udit Narayan and Alka Yagnik — exudes sex appeal.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 12th, 2011.