My ten favourite Nalini Jaywant solo songs
If I ask my niece who is Nalini Jaywant, she will most probably say that she must be one of my innumerable aunts. In fact, I do have a distant aunt with the name of Nalini. But the actress Nalini Jaywant seems to have faded into oblivion. When one reads discussions on Hindi film actresses of the 50s, her name hardly appears. Maybe the reason is her self-imposed exile, otherwise it is hard to understand, why she should disappear from public memory. In her heydays she was considered the most beautiful actress and as a talented actress by her colleagues.
She started her career in her teenage years, playing sister (the title role) to Sheikh Mukhtar in Mehboob Khan’s Bahen , where she sang all her songs in her own voice.. Her films in the 40s were nothing to write home about, till she made a splash with Anokha Pyar  as the all-sacrificing part of the triangle, showing Dilip Kumar once again between two strong ladies, the other being Nargis. After that there was no looking back for her, acting in hit films like Samadhi, Naubahar, Rahi , Shikast, Munimji, Nastik and Kala Pani. Like many of her contemporaries she couldn’t carry her success streak into the 60s and retired from the silver screen. She appeared only in two films in the 80s Bandish  and Nastik .
More detailed writing on her career can be found at Upperstall and by Shishir Krishna Sharma on his blog. The first and last photo in this post are from his collection. Thank you Shishirji for the loan!
Here are my ten favourite solo songs of this beautiful and talented actress. Enjoy!
abhi shaam aayegi niklenge taare – Samadhi 
MD: C. Ramchandra; Lyrics: Rajinder Krishan; Singer: Lata Mangeshkar
Nalini Jaywant plays a reluctant spy to Ashok Kumar’s patriotic freedom fighter in this film. During the shooting of this film, supposedly Ashok Kumar and she came closer and had a deep relationship, which people say lasted for ten years.
jab nain mile nainon se – Jadoo 
MD: Naushad; Lyrics: Shakeel; Singer: Shamshad Begum
A film based on the opera Carmen by Georges Bizet, which was based on the novella by Prosper Mérimée. She plays the role of a gypsy involved with a band of thieves and in love with a policeman. Well, such a love between an independent fiery gypsy-girl and a convention bound policeman is bound to end in a tragedy! My mother told me, that the refrain lara loo became very famous in those days.
I was torn between this song and lo pyar ki ho gayi jeet. The scales dipped in favour of Shamshad Begum to escape the dominance by Lata in this list. The score being from Naushad, there are more forgotten gems in this film.
thandi hawayein lehra ka aaye – Naujawan 
MD: S. D. Burman; Lyrics: Sahir; Singer: Lata Mangeshkar
One of my favourite S. D. Burman songs! This tune would inspire many Hindi film music directors in the decades to come. One of them would be his very own son. But we will devote more time to it in a post of its own. The tune is supposed to have been lift-off of a melody from Algiers . I couldn’t find the original though. So if anybody has a link to it, please do pass it on to me.
ae ri main to prem deewani – Nau Bahar 
MD: Roshan; Lyrics: Meerabai; Singer: Lata Mangeshkar
It seems Meerabai’s bhajans were the in-thing in the early 50s. Jogan  was chock full of them and then this. But Nalini Jaywant doesn’t play a jogan here, nor is she at this moment in deep love with him. It is just the light flirtation at the beginning of grave love story.
kare badra tu na jaa – Shikast 
MD: Shankar Jaikishan; Lyrics: Shailendra; Singer: Lata Mangeshkar
In Shikast Nalini Jaywant departs from her normal fare of goody two-shoes. She plays here a frustrated and violent widowed sister of a land-lord, who falls in love with the local social reformer. The songs heralds the blossoming of tender love in her bosom.
kanha bajaye bansuri aur gwale bajaye manjire – Nastik 
MD: C. Ramchandra; Lyrics: Pradeep; Singer: Lata Mangeshkar
If in Shikast, she was the reformee, In Nastik she plays the patient and all-suffering reformer of an atheist and rebel, played by Ajit. The tune reminds of dandiya-raas tune played at the navratri pandals in my childhood.
ghayal hiraniya main ban ban – Munimji 
MD: S. D. Burman; Lyrics: Sahir; Singer: Lata Mangeshkar
She gets to mouth Lata’s semi-classical number here. Although supposed to be afraid to wander around the forest, she appears to be quite amused about her surroundings, which looks more like an unkempt garden than a wild forest. Stock footage of some animals not native to India, just make it more lively. But who cares about such things, when one sees the beautiful Nalini singing in Lata’s magical voice!
A click on the movie title will lead you to the review of the film, written by Madhu on her passing away in 2010.
chand madham hai aasman chhup hai – Railway Platform 
MD: Madan Mohan; Lyrics: Sahir; Singer: Lata Mangeshkar
From the cheerful song above, we shift into sadder gears with this song. Listening to this wonderful song, I get reminded of Javed Akhtar talking about Sahir’s depiction and involving anture in his verses. door waadi mein dukhiyaa baadal, jhuk ke parbat ko pyaar karte hain (in distant valleys, sad clouds bow down, to make love to mountains). Such imagination, such a poetry!
From the melancholic chand madham hai to cheerful beimaan balama is just a small hop. Alone watching this song makes me want to watch this film. Nalini Jaywant seems to be adept in comedy just by using her eyes and without falling into slapstick, which is also seen in this song of Munimji. A pity that she didn’t get more such roles.
dil laga ke kadar gayi pyaare – Kala Paani 
MD: S. D. Burman; Lyrics: Majrooh Sultanpuri; Singer: Asha Bhosle
Nalini Jaywant won her only Filmfare award for the role of a nautch-girl in possession of a secret, which would prove Dev’s father’s innocence. She surrenders this information, which would also mean a life-long economic security for her, in her love for Dev. She portrayed all the emotions of this character from the cunning prostitute to love-smitten maiden to an all-sacrificing lady in all its shades, for which she deserved every award she could get. Although seen as a supporting role, I find her role compared to that of Madhubala very central to the plot and deservingly she gets three solo songs in the film.
Nalini Jaywant left her earthly body on 20th or 22nd December two years back. The photo below was clicked by Shishir Krishna Sharma a few months before her death. She reminds me very much of my own mother here, frail but full of life!. Thank you Nalini, you enriched our life with your art!
Enjoy the playlist!