B-Town musicians come together to celebrate Mumbai’s monsoon


When it rains, it pours music in a quintessential Hindi film. Overcast skies, a drizzle or a downpour, they evoke all kinds of emotions in Bollywood — from the first surge of love (Sujata; 1959) to hope (Lagaan, 2001), unabashed sensuality (Mr India, 1987) and breezy fun (Chaalbaaz, 1989). But while we continue to celebrate iconic rain songs that cast a spell on film buffs, it’s time to get behind these tracks and find out what inspires the musicians of today. BT got together composers Salim Merchant, Sachin Sanghvi, Jigar Saraiya, Mithoon and Clinton Cerejo, who were more than excited to talk about the rain songs that get them in the mood for the season…


Composer Sachin, who calls himself a monsoon baby, because he was born during this season, shares ,“I have a special connection with monsoon. It brings out the best in a musician. There is that one rainy night, or that one washed-out morning that suddenly sets the mood for me. I like the bheeni khushbu of the maati. Often, I come across people who don’t like overcast skies, but those are the very things that inspire my music. In fact, I wish monsoons could replace summers forever and stay on longer. My favourite rain number is Bheegi Bheegi Raaton Mein (Ajanabee, 1974). RD Burman has scored so many love songs based on the rains, but there is something special about this one — Kishore (Kumar) and RD were lethal together. It is not just another rain love song, it has got a beat and a certain naughtiness to it. How many naughty songs has RD done with so much swag and attitude? His never-ending experiments and ability to compose a catchy tune every single time, wins. Long live RD and long live monsoons!”

(L-R) Salim Merchant, Clinton Cerejo, Jigar Saraiya, Mithoon and Sachin Sanghvi jamming at Bandra Reclamation

Sa Rain Ga Ma


Jigar Saraiya (of the composer duo Sachin-Jigar fame) calls rains his goto inspiration. “I wait for the rains,” he says, before moving on to the topic of monsoon songs that continue to inspire him. “I have always been a huge fan of Kishore Kumar and the song Ek Ladki Bheegi Bhaagi Si (Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi, 1958), which was composed by SD Burman and written by Majrooh Sultanpuri is my favourite. Madhubala ji is so beautiful in it. Kishoreda creating music out of various instruments in the song — from a pipe to the saxophone, a metal gear or drumming on the table — is also inspiring. We got a chance to remake the song Ek Ladki Bheegi Bhaagi Si in the background score of Raabta (2017). I was also hooked by Adnan Sami’s Bheegi Bheegi Raaton Mein (2000) when I was in school. There was a different vibe about him on the piano in that video. I can’t forget Tip Tip Barsa Paani, because of the legacy it has.”

He adds, “If I ever get to create a rain song for Bollywood, the first thing I will keep in mind is the reality of rains — it is pretty and symbolic of both love and sadness.”


Composer Salim Merchant (of the musician duo Salim-Sulaiman fame) loves the monsoon season. He says, “My favourite song is Rimjhim Gire Saawan (Manzil, 1979). It’s a beautiful melody by RD Burman. I love it because it depicts baarish in the perfect way — be it in terms of composition, lyrics and the whole vibe of it. It is a beautiful complete rain song.”


Paani Re Paani Tera Rang Kaisa (Shor, 1972) composed by Laxmikant Pyarelal and penned by Inderjeet Singh Tulsi is Mithoon’s favourite rain song. The composer says, “It is a favourite because it celebrates rain in all its hues – actor/filmmaker Manoj Kumar and singers Mukesh and Lata Mangeshkar have treated this like a proper jashn. Baarish is kudrat ka kamaal; we can either complain about the inconvenience it causes or celebrate it as a festive moment. And that essence has been captured in this song — the energy of the melody, the production, the arrangement, the poetry, the choreography makes rain feel like one big party. If you talk about the seasson, then the compositions should primarily reflect the essence, especially that of longing that it bring in our lives.”

Talking about the other songs that he is fond of, Mithoon says, “There is a song called Cham Cham Cham Rut Barse Barkha Bahar Aayi Re (Barkha Bahar, 1973), again composed by Laxmikant Pyarelal and written by Majrooh Sultanpuri. Then there is Ghanana Ghanana (Lagaan, 2000) composed by AR Rahman with Javed saab’s lyrics. I also love Sun Sun Sun Barsaat Ki Dhun (Sir, 1993) by Anu Malik. I had done a rain song Dard-e – Dil Ki Sifarsh (Yaariyan, 2013) a few years ago and I really enjoyed working on it. Monsoons inspire me. When it rains, it makes you introspect. Aap ke andar jo emotions hai, woh aur bhi ubhar ke aate hai — so if you are happy, the joy is two-fold, and if you are sad, then the yearning increases that much more.”


My absolute favourite monsoon song is by Vishal Bhardwaj called Bekaraan (7 Khoon Maaf, 2011). Hitesh Sonik and I were working on the music production and we decided to begin with rain and let the music literally flow from the water in a sense. The end result was a tapestry where the rain gives birth to these musical motifs and the whole song seems to take off from there. The lyrics are another story altogether. I just love the lines that seems to speak of how one drowns in the eyes of the beloved: ‘Bekaraar yeh bekaraar, aankhein bandh keejiye na, doobne lagey he hum, saans lene deejiye na.’ This video of this song interestingly has no rains and Clinton says, “I love the fact that although the song seems like a monsoon song to me, there is no overt mention of it in the wonderful lyrics written by Gulzar saab. But the combination of Vishalji’s smokey voice combined with the unhurried orchestration and the effortlessness of the lyrics seems to suggest to me that one should stick one’s toes under a soft blanket while gazing at the rain frosting the window pane, with a cup of hot cocoa in one’s hand. With that song, I can feel the magic of the monsoon. It is definitely one of my top five rain songs — something I look back on and feel a sense of quiet fulfilment when I listen to it even to this day.”