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News |  27 Feb 2020 18:50 |  By RnMTeam

The Importance of Horse Beat Songs in Bollywood

One of the most important types of music in Bollywood in the last century was the horse beat song. If you have never heard of this genre before, then take a look at some of the greatest musical moments it has produced.

The History of These Songs

Horse beat songs are also known as tonga songs. This is because they were based on the tonga style of transport in which a carriage with passengers in it is pulled along the street by one or more horses.

In the movies, they didn’t gallop like horses in the Kentucky Derby odds or the runners in the Indian Oaks. Instead, the main characters were typically seeing swaying gently in a smoothly moving tonga as they sang nice songs to each other.

This genre of Bollywood song was most popular in the 1950s through to the 60s, although there are some early examples from the 1940s. In this period, the tonga was still one of the main types of transport in many Indian cities. They are still used in rural parts of Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and some other parts of the country but for residents of other areas, they are a thing of the past.

The idea is that this song recreates the wonderfully soothing rhythm made when a horse trots along the street at a regular pace. It is a highly distinctive type of music that instantly brings back memories for many fans of vintage Bollywood movies and classic Indian songs.

Some of the Best Examples

There are many terrific examples of horse beat songs. Bachpan Ke Din Bhula Na Dena is from the 1951 movie Deedar. It is about childhood memories and is sung by Shamshad Begum and Lata Mangeshkar. The video shows us some happy youngsters riding horses while the melodic beat is a pleasure to listen to even today. 

Azhagukkum Malarukkum comes from the movie 1963 Nenjam Marappathillai and is sung by PB Srinivas and Janak. The breezy tune features a hypnotic horse beat, while the main characters ride in a carriage through a countryside setting. As for the film, it was written and directed by C. V. Sridhar and is based on the idea of people remembering their past lives.

Another popular horse beat song is from 1957’s movie Naya Daur and features Dilip Kumar with Vyjayantimala. Called Maang Ke Saath Tumhara, it has the couple being pulled along by a beautiful horse as they sing. It is definitely one of the classics of this genre and its era. The movie is a sports drama featuring a tonga racing a bus and was re-released in colour in 2007.

Kadavul Ora Naal is a song by P Susheela in the 1969 film Shanthi Nilayam. The film shows us the wonderful Kanchana and Gemini Ganesan in a fun plot that is loosely based on the Sound of Music. The song’s video has a group of children riding a carriage and happily singing along.

Great Horse-Riding Scenes

Horses in Bollywood weren’t just restricted to these songs. They also turned up in some of the exciting and memorable scenes in our favourite movies. Whether it is part of a huge battle scene or a tender love song, the presence of a horse has added greatly to the following movies.

Bajirao Mastani is a hugely popular movie from 2015. Ranveer Singh and Deepika Padukone both took part in some stunning horse-riding scenes in this tale based on the life of the Maratha Peshwa Bajir and his second wife. This epic tale won seven National Film Award and received 14 nominations for the 61st Filmfare Awards.

Another example comes from Ashoka the Great which gained worldwide popularity under the title of Asoka after being released in 2001. Shahrukh Khan is among the much-loved actors who ride horses during this engrossing tale.