Most of us from India who were born, raised, or entered teen and adult age in the ’50s and ’60s belong to the era popularly called the Golden Age of Indian Cinema. Not only in this period, the Bombay film industry produced some of the most critically acclaimed films, but the lyrics and the songs composed are still popular and fresh in their listening pleasure.

One of the films that top my mind is 1954 Nagin.

The blockbuster starred Vyjayanthimala and Pradeep Kumar. It is based on a typical love story where the lovers belong to two feuding tribes. However, the most significant feature of Nagin is its music composed by Hemant Kumar.

A prominent aspect of its music was the use of ‘Been,’ an instrument played mainly by the snake-charming community. When Nagin was first released, it became an instant hit, primarily because of its songs, 13 of them. The ‘Been music’ in the film was performed by Kalyanji and Ravi, who later became independent music directors.

Now let me take back to that era when Nagin songs, particularly “man dole mera tan dole’, were on everybody’s lips, whether one was an ace or novice singer. This particular song was and remains a favourite in Ladies’ parties as part of wedding ceremonies.

Beside ‘man dole…..’, other melodious songs of Nagin are Tere Dwar Khada Ek Jogi”, Sun Rasiya Man Bhasiya, Yaad Rakhna Pyar Ki Nishani, Sun Ri Sakhi, Mera Dil Ye Pukare Aaja, Jadugar Saiyan, Ari Chhod De Patang, Mera Badli Mein Chhup Gaya Chand, O Zindagi Ke Denewale, Teri Yaad Mein Jalkar Dekh Liya, and Teri Yaad Mein Jalkar Dekh Liya. The leading singers of all these songs were Lata Mangeshkar and Hemant Kumar.

Listening to these soundtracks on YouTube will take you back to the music of the Golden Age of Indian cinema when you float with the ‘man dole tan dole’ melody in the musical hit Nagin.

-Promod Puri

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