#IndiaAt75 Musicians and lyricists look at some iconic, poignant, inspiring, and uplifting songs from the 40s, 50s & 60s that encapsulate India’s spirit and evoke powerful emotions…
Ae Mere Watan Ke Logon – Non-film song (1963)
Ae Mere Watan… evokes patriotism in every Indian heart: Udit Narayan
Lataji ne iss gaane ko apni country ke liye bahut devoted ho kar gaaya hai. This song evokes patriotism in every Indian heart. Inn logon ne apne desh ke liye aisa gaana bana diya aur Lataji ne aisa gaa diya, ki jab tak yeh Bharat desh rahega, yeh gaana amar rahega.
Watan Ki Raah Mein Watan Ke Naujawan Shaheed Ho – Shaheed (1948)
A beautifully composed song, superb rendition by Rafi saab: Irshad Kamil
I feel songs about the mother and motherland should not be analysed, they are all great. Even in the future, this genre will only give us nice songs. It does not matter who composed, wrote or sung them, we all connect with them emotionally. Watan Ki Raah Mein… is a very well written song by Raja Mehdi Ali Khan saab. Shaheed depicts India’s struggle for independence and that is the relevance of this song. Beautifully composed by Gulam Haider saab, the rendition of Md Rafi saab and Khan Mastana ji along with the chorus fills the listener’s heart with patriotism.
Watan ki raah mein watan ke naujawan shaheed ho… from Shaheed (1948), sung by Md Rafi and Khan Mastana, written by Raja Mehdi Ali Khan and composed by Ghulam Haider, is considered the first film song in independent India on our freedom struggle.
Kar Chale Hum Fida – Haqeeqat (1964)
Everything just came together perfectly for this song: Shankar Mahadevan
Haqeeqat was a great film and this song – it is one of those moments where everything comes together perfectly – the lyrics, the composition, and the way it is rendered by Rafi saab. The words of this song are so powerful that any human being has to react to a song like that, get teary-eyed and feel for the nation. Also, the raag that has been chosen, Raag Bhairavi, is so universal, it tugs at the strings of your heart so hard that you start feeling. There are also certain notes that are used which are not in the raag, in the antara and come back to the raag. These are very technical details, but when you get into analysing the song, you realise that these songs are little musical institutions from where you can learn so much as a composer, as singers, as musicians.
Kar Chale Hum Fida, written by poet Kaifi Azmi and composed by Madan Mohan, featured in the soundtrack of Haqeeqat. In her memoirs of her life with her husband, Shaukat Kaifi recalled that the song had “achieved the status of an anthem”
Ae Watan, Ae Watan Humko Teri Kasam – Shaheed (1965)
An ageless, timeless classic: Jeet Gannguli
When Ae Watan, Ae Watan begins, the situation, the dialogue, and the script beautifully merge with the song. This bonding between the scriptwriter and the lyricist is so appealing and worth learning from. The music arrangement, the melody and tune are
exemplary. The way Rafi saab’s vocals have expressed this number is almost goosebump-inducing. It is the perfect amalgamation. The special feelings and
deep-rooted love and emotions that we have for our motherland is showcased and presented in this song. The music, lyrics, vocals, arrangement as well as the acting must be applauded. It is an ageless, timeless classic number.
This song, written and composed by Prem Dhawan, sung by Md Rafi, celebrates the essence of patriotism and is an ode to people who love their country irrespective of their differences. Manoj Kumar had said in an earlier interview, that while writing Ae Watan Ae Watan, Dhawan kept a picture of Bhagat Singh in front of him for inspiration
Tu Hindu Banega Na Musalman Banega – Dhool Ka Phool (1959)
The song’s message is relevant even now: Shaan
Though this song was recorded and released back in 1959, it is still relevant. Even 63 years later, the message is still essential. ‘We’ have to come together in the name of humanity and do away with ‘us’ and ‘them’ in the name of religion, caste, class, gender, race, etc. Insaan ki aulaad hai, insaan banega… The song is a reminder to how we must raise our children and give them the right perspective.
In Tu Hindu… Sahir Ludhianvi turns his attention to the creation of the New Indian who would not be obsessed with his religion or the religion of others. Tu insaan ki aulad hai, insaan banega (you are the child of a human and you must be human) is a message that’s powerful and relevant even today
Jis Desh Mein Ganga Behti Hai- Jis Desh Mein Ganga Behti Hai (1960)
The song and lyrics have stayed with us over the years: Shilpa Rao
The music of this film had a great impact on us while growing up as we all knew the song and the lyrics. These have stayed with us even today.
Raj Kapoor narrated the two opening lines of this song (Hoton pe sachchai rehti hai, jahaan dil mein safai rehti hai; hum us desh ke waasi hain, jis desh mein Ganga behti hai) written by lyricist Shailendra to motivate composers Shankar-Jaikishan to create this song, which was eventually sung by Mukesh
Chhodo Kal Ki Baatein- Hum Hindustani (1960)
It’s a beautiful song that captures the essence of moving ahead: Nikhita Gandhi
I think it’s a beautiful song and captures the essence of moving on and not dwelling on our woes. While we must always remember our past and our journey, let it not define how we treat our future. I hope the essence of this song resonates with us and raises our spirits to embrace each tomorrow.
This song written by Prem Dhawan, sung by Mukesh and composed by Usha Khanna from Hum Hindustani (1960) exhorts people to get down to work and not rest on past glories, a song that truly celebrates the spirit of India
De Di Humein Azadi – Jagriti (1954)
This song’s simple lyrics strike a chord: Abhiruchi Chand
This song reaffirms that if the goal is peace, it can only be achieved by following the path of non-violence. I remember singing this song as a kid in my school during Independence Day celebrations. Lines such as ‘Aandhi mein bhi jalti rahi Gandhi teri mashaal’ and ‘Sabarmati ke sant tune kar diya kamaal’ are so simple, yet so poignant. As a lyricist, I believe simple lyrics are the most effective and this song is a fabulous example of the same.
This song sung by Asha Bhosle, written by Kavi Pradeep and composed by Hemant Kumar from the film Jagriti (1954) is an ode to non-violence and the sant of Sabarmati – Mahatma Gandhi. The effectiveness of this song is in its simple, yet powerful lyrics that resonate with listeners even today.