Dictionary defines railways as "a network of tracks with the trains, organisation, and personnel required for its working".
Hardly romantic, you would say. But put the same locomotive in a Bollywood film and enter fluttering eyelashes, love-drenched songs, love and longing. Not to forget some testosterone-driven fight sequences (Sholay being one example). In fact, it is hard to think of Hindi films without trains or trains without Hindi films.
Railways have been a part of it all -- from a heroine and hero meeting for the first time onboard a train (Jab We Met, Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge, Chennai Express…), to the hero showing his bravado as the train races ahead (Gunday, Ghulam, Kick, Dhoom 2…), to the couple separating forever on a railway platform (Veer-Zaara).
As India prepares for yet another rail budget, here's looking at the top 10 songs which are intrinsically linked with trains.
Kasto Mazaa (Parineeta)
The whistles and sound of steam engine is just the thing you need for a song featuring the picturesque toy train. Vidya Balan and Saif's romance unfolds to the words of Swanand Kirkire and voices of Sonu Nigam and Shreya Goshal.
The hurry to get somewhere, the feeling of beginning that journey – this Bunty Aur Babli track fuses heartbeats and train beats into one. Gulzar wrote the lyrics while Shankar-Ehsan-Loy gave music for this song which was all about leaving the humdrum existence of a small town for the excitement of big cities. So many of us have been on that journey; the means of transport, always, were the trains.
Shah Rukh Khan and Malaika Arora Khan gyrated to this AR Rahman chartbuster in Mani Ratnam's Dil Se. The stars are shot in an open railway carriage amid some of the most breathtaking scenery that India had to offer -- this song is truly a feast for the eyes. Also memorable for Sukhwinder Singh's amazing range.
Kab se karen hai tera intezaar
Shah Rukh Khan and trains seem to have a deep link. While he was on his way to become the Badshah of the Bollywood, he was part of this sweet little number from Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa. As Suchitra Krishnamoorthi makes her way to Goa, we are treated to the state's green beauty. Every time you see this song, don't you just want to hop on to a train to Goa?
Ghar aaja pardesi
This one is tailor-made for the NRIs. As Amrish Puri and his not-so-happy family makes way to Punjab aboard a train in Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge, we get to see verdant fields and multi-coloured dupattas. The films climax also has the train theme. Shah Rukh Khan is leaving on train and Kajol is pleading with Puri, who plays her dad, to let her go as well. Puri relents, "Jaa Simran jaa, jee le apni zindagi," now that's the stuff memes and memories are made of.
Bombay se Baroda tak
Rishi Kapoor and Paintal in drag as they give an impromptu audition for parts in a music group in Rafoochakkar – all aboard a train. For all those who have been scarred by the recent drag acts in Humshakals, time you see how they did it in good old days. The song was composed by Kalyanji Anandji and vocals are by Asha Bhonsle, Usha Mangeshkar and Mahesh Kumar. Also, watch for Asrani's lol act in the film. One such gem from the comedian: the train is about to walk".
Pal do pal ka
The Burning Train, as the name suggests, was all about a train whose first journey is sabotaged. The film captures the train journey in its essence and how it is the apt example of true national integration, a lot like Bollywood. Two of its songs – Pal do pal ka saath hamara and Teri hai zameen – still have a recall value. The music of this film was composed by RD Burman.
Gaadi bula rahi hai
In this song from Dost, train is a metaphor for life and for never-die spirit. Performed by Kishore Kumar, the song is slow and melodious. The film had Dharmendra in a starring role.
Mere sapnon ki rani
Even as Sharmila Tagore rides on a Darjeeling toy train, Rajesh Khanna serenades her on a jeep. This is a song generations have grown up with and is probably the best example of Bollywood and railways' romance. This song from Aradhana was composed by SD Burman and sung by Kishore Kumar.
Rail gaadi, rail gaadi
This song may not have been shot on a train but it is all about them. With "chook chook"in its lyrics, it takes you right back to your childhood when those words stood for trains and the romance that train travel entailed. Probably India's first rap act by Ashok Kumar for Aashirwad (is a certain Yo Yo listening?), it talks about trains like nobody else.