The train song is a separate and illustrious genre of Hindi film music. So many songs have been shot in and around the railway tracks. Let's pick the best of the lot.
Chaiyyan chaiyyan in Mani Ratnam's Dil Se: Shah Rukh Khan and Malaika Arora jiving on top of a roofless train. A R Rahman's composition incorporated the rhythms of a moving train with neat dexterous beats that made the heart pound. Khan and Arora did quite a balancing act on that speeding train.
Hum donon do premi in Shakti Samanta's Ajnabee: When Rajesh Khanna elopes with Zeenat Aman the occasion was perfect for a train song. And what a nifty number R D Burman came up with! Interestingly all the musicians of the Hindi film industry went on a lightening strike when the song was recorded. Lata Mangeshkar and Kishore Kumar sang the song without instrumental support.
Dhanno ki aankhon mein in Gulzar's Kitaab: R D Burman didn't just compose this eclectic electronic pop-goes-the-train song, he also sang it. The number was filmed on the train driver played by character-actor Ram Mohan. The song immortalized the little-known actor.
Zindagi ke safar mein guzar jaate hain jo maqaam in Aap Ki Kasam: That haunting resonant raga of a broken heart as Rajesh Khanna journeyed with his guilt-stricken conscience from one unknown destination to another....Anand Bakshi's lyrics described the train journey as a metaphor life.
Gadi Bula rahi hai seetee bajaa rahi hai in Dost: The signature from Dulal Guha's Dost nailed it . This is the one train song that most significantly defines the romance of locomotive.
Rail gadi rail gadi chuk chuk in Aashirwaad: Basant Desai composed Ashok Kumar sang what has over the decades become the most beloved train song of all times. Ironically the song is not shot on a train but in a children's park .One of the kids dancing to the song is Baby Sarika. Now a 60-year oold with two daughters Shruti and Akshara Haasan.
Mere sapnon ki rani in Aradhana: Iss gaane ke peeche hai kahaani. When Rajesh Khanna ,on a jeep ,serenaded Sharmila Tagore in a train, a superstar was born. But due to a non –availability of her dates Sharmila's portions were shot in a studio.So that 'train' is actually a cardboard compartment.Such are the illusions that define the magic of celluloid. Officially composed by Sachin Dev Burman the songs allure including the harmonica creating the sound of train's movements, was designed by Sachinda's enterprising son R D Burman.
Chalte chalte yuhi koi mil gaya ttha in Pakeezah: The way the sounds of a distant train were incorporated into the song to signify the woman's tragic desolation makes this the single-most poetic song woven around a train journey. Kaifi Azmi wrote the haunting words.