The night before he was shabbily removed as editor of the Hindu, Siddharth Varadarajan sent me a link to to this tune by Zohra Bai from the 1944 film, Jeevan. It’s called My Dear, I Love You. As Siddharth noted, it’s “slightly weird but quite charming”. It got me thinking about Hindi film songs that had lyrics in English. Here’s an arbitrary selection.
Perhaps the first Hindi film song in English was this rendition of the Longfellow poem A Psalm of Life by Shanta Apte. It’s from the 1937 film Duniya Na Mane.
In 1975, Preeti Sagar sang My Heart Is Beating in Julie. The music was composed by Rajesh Roshan and the lyrics were by Harindranath Chattopadhyay.
This song by Mohammad Rafi never actually made it into a film — it was only released on record. It’s a version of Hum Kale Hai Tu Kya Huwa Dilwa Hai, from the 1965 thriller Gumnaam. The music is by Shankar-Jaikishan and the lyrics are by Harindranath Chattopadhyay.