So Good They Sang It Twice

“New York New York, So Good They Named It Twice” is a popular American song from the late ‘70s, whose essential lyrics go thus:

Good old New York New York, so good they named it twice

New York New York, all the scandal and the vice

I love it!

New York New York, now isn’t it a pity

What they say about New York City?”

We do know of course that New York is both a city and a state, the former within the latter, which is why it makes sense to say New York, New York. But by thinking out of the box, the songwriter brilliantly converted what was pure geography into a thing of extraordinary value.

Such naming of a city after its province—or vice versa—isn’t unique to New York. There are several such examples in the USA. There’s a city called Iowa in Iowa state, a Minnesota in Minnesota state, and an Oregon in Oregon state. Elsewhere too, there are several cities that are named after their provinces or countries, for instance: Kuwait, Dubai, Guatemala, Singapore, Luxembourg. These and more are both cities as well as areas beyond these cities. That’s why the name can be repeated.

But why places, even a few movies have had repeated words to make a title. Chori Chori was made in 1956 as also in 1973. Chalte Chalte was made in 1976 and also in 2003. Cinema Cinema (1979) and Ahista Ahista (1981) are valid examples too, and a classic case was Zindagi Zindagi (1972), in which story writer-director Tapan Sinha wanted to show the two essential faces of life, a point that he set in motion at the very beginning of the film with the title song, “Zindagi aye zindagi, zindagi tere hain do roop”.

But if the above are interesting instances of repeated words that make up the title of a film, even more interesting becomes instances of two different songs in a film, with both mentioning the film’s title. We will attend to films with their titles in tandem songs in a bit. But before it all, we need to glance at films in which one song has the film’s title in it. Here are a few names: Love Marriage (1959), Saranga (1960), Yeh Dil Kisko Doon (1963), Yeh Raste Hain Pyaar Ke (1963), Pathar Ke Sanam (1967), Talaash (1969), Sharafat (1970), Woh Din Yaad Karo (1971), Suhaana Safar (1974), Uljhan (1975), Kaho Na Pyaar Hai  all had songs with their titles mentioned, and because these have been popular films, we need not list the title songs here.

Just to mention here that while in some cases the title stares at us in the face, at other times it is not so. Aankhon aankhon mein baat hone do, from Aankhon Aankhon Mein (1972) is a clear instance of the first kind, while Na dar sanam, laga bhi le, ke teri zindagi ka hai aakhri dao, from Aakhri Dao (1958) is an example of the second kind. In more difficult cases, we find the title sitting deep inside the song, for instance in Ga rahi hai zindagi…Aa gaya aanchal kisi ka aaj mere haath mein, from Aanchal (1960). The point is, the filmmaker chooses what he likes and finds relevant from anywhere in the song. That becomes the film’s title, and that’s the song he wishes the film to be identified with, not forgetting the box-office of course.

These are instances of films with two title songs:

  • Barsaat (1949): Barsaat mein humse mile tum sajan, and Chhod gaye baalam
  • Awaara (1951): Awaara hoon, and Hum tujhse muhabbat kar ke sanam
  • Kanhaiya (1959): O Kanhaiya o Kanhaiya, and Kahaan hai kahaan hai Kanhaiya
  • Singapore (1960): Dekho ji dekho sun lo ye baat, and Ye sheher bada albela
  • Asli Naqli (1962): Laakh chhupao chhup na sakega, and Kal ki daulat aaj ki khushiyaan
  • China Town (1962): Laakhon haseenon se hai gulzaar China town, and Thandi bahaaron se hai gulzaar China town
  • Hariyali Aur Rasta (1962): Ye hariyali aur ye raasta, and Bol meri taqdeer mein kya hai
  • Dil Hi To Hai (1963): Dil jo bhi kahega, and Bhoole se muhabbat kar baittha
  • Rajkumar (1964): Jaane waale zara hoshiyaar, and Aaja aayi bahaar
  • Waqt (1965): Waqt se din aur raat, and Aage bhi jaane na tu
  • Pehchaan (1970): Paise ki pehchaan yahaan, and Sabse bada naadaan wohi hai
  • Ek Nazar (1972): Pehle sau baar idhar, and Pyaar ko chaahiye kya ek nazar
  • Julie (1975): Bhool gaya sab kuchh, and Dil kya kare

Some films even had three title songs in them, meaning so good they sang them thrice! Think of these:

  • Chhalia (1960): Chhalia mera naam, and after a little tweaking: Mere toote hue dilse, and Teri raahon mein khade hain dil thaam ke
  • Mere Mehboob (1963): Mere mehboob mein kya naheen, and the two tandems, Mere mehboob tujhe meri muhabbat ki qasam
  • Sangam (1964): Mere man ki Ganga, and O mere sanam, and O mehbooba
  • Raat Aur Din (1967): Awaara aye mere dil, and the two tandems, Raat aur din diya jale
  • Saagar (1985): Chehra hai ya chaand khila sa, and the two tandems, Saagar kinaare

Why is Geet Gaaya Patharone missing from the list above?

There are dozens of tandem songs with titles, but we have left them out in our story here. Tandem songs are two or more songs, similarly-worded at the start, and rendered either by different singers or by the same singer in a different mood. Bol ri kathputli dori (Kathputli, 1957) is an example of a tandem-title song by just one singer, while Geet gaaya patharone are two tandem-title songs by different singers in Geet Gaaya Patharone (1964). A similar tandem-title song is Humen aur jeene ki chaahat na hoti, agar tum na hote (Agar Tum Na Hote, 1983), as also Tum dil ki dhadkan mein rehte ho (Dhadkan, 2000), and Kaho na pyaar hai (Kaho Na Pyaar Hai, 2000).

Agar Tum Na Hote, mentioned above, was directed by Lekh Tandon, the man who also wielded the megaphone in many films like Professor (1962) and Amrapali (1966). His feature Jhuk Gaya Aasmaan (1968) too had a title song. So I called him and after the preliminaries, asked, “In Agar Tum Na Hote, why did you decide to have a title song repeated by different actors, sir?“ His reply: “In the story, Rajesh Khanna and Rekha are married and deeply in love with each other. She sings this song for Rajesh first, but after giving birth to a daughter, she dies out of post-pregnancy complications. That devastates him. The grieving Rajesh then sings the tandem version when thinking about her. But Rekha has a double role in this film, the second one as Raj Babbar’s wife. The final tandem is a duet which Rajesh sings for Rekha no 2, who in turn accompanies him while thinking about her husband. I explained this complex situation to Gulshan Bawra, who wrote perfectly for me to pick up the words from”.

Oh, I wasn’t aware that three tandem-title songs were on display here. So yesterday I revisited that film. To my greater surprise, I found the song four times, the last time a Kishore Kumar version that brought the film to an eye-watering end.


Published in DNA Jaipur on page 13, 01 October 2017

17 thoughts on “So Good They Sang It Twice

  1. What an exhaustive study, but then you are a wizard, Manek. Loved this multiple songs in one movie theme. Have to doff my chapeau in your praise! Keep the wonder coming.

  2. You are always coming with different Theme with full energy which looks like hunting melody Aap sab ko le Gaye purane jamane Mai old is gold . Aise hi likhte rahiye Aap k liye har raste khule hai aur Charo aur hariyali hariyali hai . Namaskar manekjee

  3. What a lovely write up. I could never imagine that such a subject could be imagined for research of an article. Ye to Manek ke kalam ki saragami, Manek ke kalam ki sargami…

  4. There was a trend at one time to weave the title of the film in to a song in the same film. I recall Hasrat Jaipuri Saab as having mastered this art. Many others tried to do the same.

    1. Yes Balbir, many of his songs had titles, especially in Shankar-Jaikishan films. I think generally the songs were written first…

  5. Indeed a unique subject to write Thanks for making our Sunday truly a Rich one.You have mentioned the Title song of Awara ‘hum tum tujh se mohabbat kar ke sanam’ it is also unique in another sense ,the antara says Yeh DIL jo jala ek AAG lagee ANSOO jo bahe BARSAAT huee BADAL kee tarah AWARA they HUM rote bhi rahe Hanste bhee rahe A record seven titles in two lines ,Surely will look out for more songs like this

  6. 4 times!!! Wow! Isn’t that a little overdone? I haven’t seen the movie, so I ask.
    Well-well, Manek! You’ve done it again! I love the 2 songs with the titles of the movie ‘hidden’ in them… well, at least in one songin each case.. will have to pay more attention now! ?
    Very exciting essay for me, since it’s connected to the words/ lyrics of songs!
    Manek- thank you! Thank you! 🙂

    1. Not overdone, Monica…it helps to connect the story na, and also offers a focal point. If that focal point is musically attractive, then balle balle…or should that be balle balle balle balle? 🙂

  7. What a unique subject for study! Indeed, had no idea there were even more than three songs with the title of the film in them! Kudos, Manek, as always!

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