Composer Madan Mohan was one of those who had the unfortunate experience of seeing some of his best tunes being left out. The haunting Mohd. Rafi solo Chirag Dil ka Jalao from Chiraag (1968) was not included in the film. Even at the fag end of his career, Madan Mohan had to endure the ignominy of the Rafi-Asha duet Jis Din Se Tumko Dekha Hai from Parwana (1971) being left out. Arranged with mild background music, a delectable guitar-based rhythm and some soft riffs by Bhupinder, it was different from what he usually composed.
In 2010, music fans made a fervent plea to filmmaker Ketan Anand (son of filmmaker Chetan Anand) to include the poignant Lata solo Khelo Na Mere Dil Se in the colour version of Haqeeqat that he was planning to release. The song was recorded but never filmed for the black and white original film. The song did not make it into the colour version either.
Something similar happened to OP Nayyar too. One of Asha Bhosle’s best solos Chain Se Humko Kabhi was left out of Pran Jaaye Par Vachan na Jaaye (1974), though the other popular Asha solo Ek Tu Hai Piya was retained.
- Blogger Anu Warrier (Conversations Over Chai) relates two amusing stories about why Geeta Dutt’s Jaata Kahan Hai Diwane and Asha Bhosle’s Balma Khuli Hawa Mein were removed from CID and Kashmir ki Kali respectively. Both songs were chopped after the films had run in the theatres.
- In the first, the censors suddenly took objection to the word ‘fiffy’ in the lines Kuch mere dil mein fiffy , kuch tere dil mein fiffy, zamaana hain bura ... However the song remains hugely popular and was recreated in 2016 for Anurag Kashyap’s Bombay Velvet .
- The case of Balma Khuli Hawa was even weirder. “ Kashmir ki Kali released with Balma khuli hawa mein intact,” Anu writes. “The audience of the first week all saw the song... without any detriment to their morals. However, the Censor Board woke up suddenly and discovered that in the song, Sharmila’s dupatta flew in the breeze exposing her (covered by her kameez) breasts which, according to the aforementioned thekedaars of public morals, were heaving too much. Not only that, the dupatta settled on her head without fluttering down to cover her modesty again, so the whole song had to be axed.”
Jamuna Kinare Aaja , a Lata Mangeshkar solo based on raag Behag, was composed by RD Burman for Mehbooba (1976). But the song wasn’t there in the movie. The movie was a flop but the song was hugely popular on the radio in late 1976 and 1977. Sometimes even including a song as a desperate measure to save a film did not work. Like the time Ramesh Sippy decided to include Jaanu Meri Jaan in the movie Shaan (1981) that fared badly at the box office. But that did not help salvage the film.
In some instances, the public forced the directors to remove a song. The immensely popular Aaj Dil Pe Koi Jor Chalta Nahin , composed by Laxmikant and Pyarelal, figured initially in Milan (1967), just after the interval. Producer L V Prasad learnt that many of those taking a break outside did not return to their seats in time to catch the song. Ten years earlier, something similar had happened. Guru Dutt was not amused when many in the audience extended their break during Geeta Dutt’s boat song, Rut Phire Na Din Hamare ( Pyaasa , 1957). The song was removed from the prints almost immediately.
The theme of Charlie Chaplin’s Limelight (1952) was used by the then 19-year-old RD Burman in the unreleased Raaz (1958). Twelve years later, he used the same tune in the Lata-Kishore duet Tum Meri Zindagi Mein for the Amitabh Bachchan-starrer Bombay to Goa (1971). But that didn’t see the light of day either. The list goes on...