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12 January 2014

My Favourites: Songs of Innocence

Childhood is a time of innocence.  But like many things, it is fleeting. Before you know it, you are an adolescent, and soon, you are being told you need to 'grow up' and be 'responsible'. When do you 'grow up' exactly? What is the defining line that cuts you off from your childhood and defines you (even to yourself) as a young man or woman? Technically, I suppose by the time you reach the 20s, you are an adult. At least, that is the point when your elders are telling you, 'You're supposedly an adult; why don't you do ----?' The very next moment, the same elders are telling you, 'Tum abhi bachche/bachchi ho. Buzurgon ka kaha maano.' (Of course, that is when they want you to do something you have no interest whatsoever in doing.)

For me, 'growing up' suddenly hit very close to home when my eldest niece got married last year. I mean, what the heck? I still remember her as the wriggly baby in my arms! I had just begun college then, myself. She is grown up? When did that happen? What next? My nephews will follow suit soon, then my other niece... and then, my own children? (Oh, gosh! My kids! The younger one is only eight! But in the time it takes me to blink, I will turn around and see a strapping young man standing next to me, and I will wonder the same thing - where did my baby go?) How time flies! 

Those first steps into adolescence, and later, young adulthood, are exhilarating. Scary, but exciting. Suddenly, there is a brand new world out there to explore. A world where you are not under your parents' shadows. a world where everything is new and shiny and wonderful, a world where darkness and shadows lurk, but they are so far beyond your ken that you do not stop to think of it, a life in which you are immortal.

It is the age when you test boundaries, both yours and that of your parents; it is the age when you quest for an identity that is more than just that of being your parent's offspring; the age when you need to rebel against uniformity to express your individuality (and never mind if that 'individuality' is part of a different uniform)... It is the age when the new feelings come beckoning and even you don't quite know what you feel...

If you look at Hindi films, there were many situations when the person feels that their childhood is being left behind. (It is interesting that all the songs on my list were sung by women. That raises the question: don't men feel the same angst? There is often a longing for those more innocent times that are now lost in the mists of the past, coupled with a nervous anticipation of what life has to offer.

So, dedicated to everyone who either remembers their own travels through those confusing, conflicting, rebellious, bitter-sweet, happy-sad times, and to those who are in, or about to step into that twilight world between the carefree days of childhood and sedate 'responsible' adulthood, here are some of the songs that probably express what you may have felt, are feeling, or will feel some day... 

1. Sapne suhane ladak pan ke  (Bees Saal Baad/1962) Lata Mangeshkar / Hemant Kumar-Shakeel Badayuni
Dreams of her youth are just beckoning beyond the vales, yet she realises that she is prey to conflicting emotions. As her feelings yo-yo between happiness and desolation, ostensibly uncontrolled, she wishes for the less-complicated years of her childhood. 
Ghabraake akela manwa, main leke jawaani haari
Kaise kate ye din uljhan ke, koi laa de zamaane woh bachpan ke
Waheeda Rehman is suitably bubbly and chulbuli in the picturisation of this song, and is definitely struck by an uncontrollable coyness in the middle. The hero is watching, taking a moment to free himself from the worry of wondering whether he is going to be the next murder victim.   

(Anyone else notice that,a great majority of songs such as these are sung in the great outdoors, usually in the hills; two, there has to be a lamb or kid or two gambolling around, and three, they will usually find some water to girlishly splash around?)

2. Ja ja ja mere bachpan (Junglee /1961) Lata Mangeshkar / Shankar-Jaikishen - Hasrat Jaipuri

Hills and dales? Check. Livestock? Check. Chulbuli-ness? Check. Jokes apart, Rajkumari (Saira Banu) has just been informed by her loving father that she is of an age when he should be thinking of her marriage. She, practical girl that she is, is bidding goodbye to her childhood. It is interesting that even as she bids it to hide somewhere, she is aware that a storm awaits her. Ye safar hai ab mushkil, aane ko hai toofan... is adolescence/early youth really that conflicted? 

Unlike the preceding song, however, she is perfectly happy with the impending changes, because she is aware of her own changing desires...
Mera aanchal mere bas ka baahar hua
Mujhko lekar udaa, aasmaan chhoo liya
Ja ja ja mere bachpan, kahin jaake chhup naadaan
Ye safar hai ab mushkil, aane ko hai toofan 

3. Kya yahi jawani hai (Chaand/1944) Zeenat Begum / Husnlal-Bhagatram - Qamar Jalalabadi
Our third heroine, Begum Para, has no such issues clouding the matter at hand. She is just surprised that this  is what it means to cross over into that hallowed age - This is it?  one can imagine her thinking. Heck, life is beautiful! And so is she. No doubts there, at all. Why ask anyone else? Her mirror tells her so. 
Main gairon se kyun poochoon, aaina jo kehta hai
Tu husn ki rani hai, kya yahi jawani hai
It is, in fact, a celebration of her youth. And she has only one thing to say to both her vanishing childhood and her coming youth:
Jaate hue bachpan se, aate hue yauvan se
Donon se main kehti hoon
Ye dil ki meri ye duniya
Ab kaise basaani hai

Chaand  was Husnlal-Bhagatram's debut film as composers. 

4. Bachpan o bachpan (Mem Didi) Lata Mangeshkar / Salil Choudhary - Shailendra
Tanuja's Rita, unlike the others, is searching for her childhood in this sweetly-told tale of a spinster aunt, her schoolgirl niece, and two crusty bachelors. She has looked for her childhood inside her house, she has searched for it in the town and the forest - she wants to know where it has hidden itself, without so much as a by-your-leave. For, the world as she knew it, is changing.
Jis din se tu gaya hai
Ye din machal raha hai
Duniya hai kuch ajab si
Sab kuchch badal raha hai

5. Dil ka ladakpan shuru ho gaya (Ek Raat/1967) Usha Khanna / Usha Khanna - Anjaan
Simi Garewal is probably better known as talk-show host than as an actress. But she did appear sporadically in a few movies here and there, since her very westernised demeanour did not fit the traditional 'heroine' roles. Of course, like everyone else, she needs hills and dales to frolic in, whilst singing about her impending adulthood. Except that the poor woman had to drive out of the city before she could find the aforesaid locales. (She is also probably the sort of driver you do not want behind the steering wheel of a car.) Her vanishing childhood is not very deeply mourned, but yes, it is unfaithful, leaving her at the crossroads of life. So, once she reaches the hills without killing anyone (not for lack of trying), she sings:
Woh masoom rishte sabhi tod ke
Meri zindagi ka ye rukh mod ke
Kahan kho gaya bewafa bachpana
Mujhe is ajab mod pe chhod ke   

6. Bachpan ke yaad dheere dheere (Shaheed/1948) Lalita Deulkar / Ghulam Haider - Qamar Jalalabadi
Kamini Kaushal, at least, is straightforward. The memories of her childhood friend have deepened into love now that they are meeting as young adults, and she hopes that he feels the same way. After all, it is not her fault...
Dil mein muhobbat aayi jawaani ke saath saath
Meri dil ki nagri pyar ka sansar ban gayi
Bachpan ki yaad dheere dheere pyar ban gayi...
If he doesn't fall in love with her, it will not be for want of trying. 

7. Bachpan ke din bhi kya din the (Sujata/1959) Geeta Dutt - Asha Bhosle / SD Burman - Majrooh Sultanpuri
There is a plaintive note to the emotions expressed here. Bachpan ke din bhi kya din the... Life was so much more carefree then. There is regret expressed for what is lost, for what will never be again...
Kabhi roye to aap hi hans diye hum
Chhote chhote khushi, chhote chhote vo gham
Haay kya din the, vo bhi kya din the
Bachpan ke din bhi kya din the
Udte phirte titli banke...
Nostalgia? Yet, she (Shashilkala) is the daughter of the house, loved and pampered. On the other hand, her adopted sister (Nutan), beti jaisi, who, despite her amorphous relationship with her mother, hums her happiness at being alive!

8. Banke panchchi gaaye pyraar ka taraana (Anari/1959) Lata Mangeshkar / Shankar-Jaikishen - Hasrat Jaipuri
These girls are not bidding goodbye to childhood or welcoming youth as much as they are celebrating it. There is such life, such zest for living, such sheer happiness that one cannot help smiling along with the bevy of girls, who crowd the road on their bicycles. And Nutan, glorious, smiling Nutan, wishes for a compatible person to share the experience.
Manzil pe aaye koi naina milaye koi
Bhar de ye ulfat ki jholiyaan
There is an expressed wish for love, for happiness, for someone (several someones) who will fill their lives with the colour of love. 
Kheton pe chhayi jawaaniyan
Patton pe likhi kahaaniyan
Phoolon ki daal jaise rangeen roomal koi
De-de humein bhi nishaaniyaan...
9. Mat jaa mat jaa mere bachpan naadaan (Chhoti si Mulaqat/1967) Asha Bhosle / Shankar-Jaikishen - Shailendra
If Rajkumari in Junglee wanted her childhood to go away, never to return, then, Roopa (Vyjayanthimala) is begging her childhood to stay, but unfortunately, her childhood is just a visitor, and has to leave. But like the others, she too is prey to many different emotions, and they are driving her mad. 
Kar de na mujhe paagal
Mere natkhat armaan
Why is it that she suddenly feels shy? Or needs to hide from the world? Whom can she talk to, now that her childhood is gone? Can't it stay?

Apart from the conflicting emotions, this heroine is also infested with insomnia. And sudden shyness. All symptoms of the age? Hmm...

10. Panchchi banoo udte phiroon (Chori Chori / 1957) Lata Mangeshkar / Shankar-Jaikishen - Shailendra
Like Banke panchchi gaaye pyar ka tarana, this song too is a celebration of life in the present. It is also so much more. It is a celebration of happiness, of breaking away from what is considered 'proper', of being able to live life her own way, unencumbered by restrictions.
Ho mere jeevan mein chamka savera
Ho mita dil se woh gham ka andhera 
Ho hare kheton mein gaaye koi lehra
Ho dil par kisi ka na pehra
Rang bahaaron ne bhara apne jeevan mein
Aaj main azaad hoon duniya ke chaman mein...

I must confess to being slightly befuddled by these songs, actually. I do not recollect being so conflicted when I was a teenager, or wanting my childhood to go away or return - I definitely wasn't afraid of growing up. (Now whether I've actually 'grown up' is a question I refuse to answer on grounds that it will incriminate me.) Of the songs that I eventually selected, Panchchi banoo udte phiroon is closest to the way I felt about my late adolescence and early twenties - that sense of being free...

So ends my list, but surely there are other songs? Which song would you say best describes this stage of your life? What would you add? Why?


  1. I saw the title and thought of a song - it was the first one in your list. Another one came to mind, I scrolled down and it was the second in your list. Luckily the third song which came to me turned out to be no. 7 in your list! I will read the rest of your post now and reflect on my younger days. Interesting choice of topic, as always! However do you get these brilliant ideas?

  2. One song comes to me -panchhi ban mein ... From Babul. Nargis looks so young and carefree in this scene. It is similar to the mood in the song from Anari.

  3. How about Aaj main jawab ho Gayi hoon ...? Since I am flat on my back right now, reeling from a horrible virus, I will post the links to the songs later.

  4. *grin* I know how that feels. The songs you mentioned are so symbolic of this theme, are they not? Can't blame you for thinking of those even before reading my post.

  5. Yes, she does, doesn't she? She is celebrating her life here. Thanks, Lalitha; I had completely forgotten about this song. Here is the link :


  6. Must confess that I have never heard this song before. I was pleasantly surprised - it is quite a decent song. :) Yes, it does fit the theme of the post very well, Lalitha. Thank you for adding two songs to the list despite your illness. I'll add the link for you:


    Hope you feel better soon.

  7. You know, Ava, I had just recently listened to the songs of Babul; yet, when I was writing this post, I completely forgot about them. Both you and Lalitha have added songs that fit my theme so well. Thank you for that.

  8. A lovely post! Songs #1, #2, #7, #8, #9 and #10 are my favorites.Some of the song that come to my mind on this theme are--

    "Koi Mera Bachpan La De Re"-from Anmol Moti (1969)


    "Gaya Bachpan Jo Ayi Jawani"-from Aankhon Aankhon Mein


    another one in the same vein(although it may not conform to the theme)

    "Deewana Mastana Hua Dil "-from Bambai Ka Babu (1960)


  9. Coolone, I saw the Babita song, and had that as a standby but (thankfully!) I didn't need it. :) (For some reason, Babita gives me the shivers!)

    Gaya bachpan does fit the theme (not a song I would pick, but still...) because it is what happens to a girl when her childhood is gone and her youth beckons her. I think, though, by this time, music had begun to nose-dive from the heights it had attained. Raakhee looks so beautiful, but I shudder at the picturisation. Why on earth would she be rolling on the ground? At a party?

    Now, Deewana mastana is a song after my own heart. Lovely song, Dev Anand - you don't really need anything else, do you? :)

    Thanks for the links though. They *are* part of the same theme anyway.

  10. Thanks, Ms Ashraf. :)

    Why on earth! I mean, lovely, lovely song, but oh, so, so woe-is-me-ish that I feel depressed now! *grin* Poor guy - he really has no hope for his jawani if all he is going to do is walk around singing about his lost love, no? *grin*

  11. How did we miss out on 'Ho o bachpan ke dil bhula na dena?' The lyrics are not exactly idyllic, but the video captures the innocence of childhood quite well:


    A sad song that captures the mother's anguish at the knowledge that her newborn's innocence would most likely be shattered at the harsh reality of the milieu in which he is born:


    Of course there are any number of children's songs that capture the innocence of that age, but your post is more about grown ups being nostalgic about the lost innocence, or retaining it even as grown ups. Still I would link one of those songs - something that I loved as a child and rediscovered decades later thanks to the internet:


    Thanks a lot for this lovely post that brought back pleasant memories.

  12. The crazy coincidence bug strikes again! Just the other day, I was thinking "I should do a song on childhood." I didn't get down to actually listing the songs on my laptop, but mentally, I'd begun thinking of the songs I'd include - Jaa jaa jaa mere bachpan, Mat jaa mat jaa mat jaa mere bachpan naadaan, Bachpan ke din bhi kya din thhe and Bachpan ke din bhula na dena. (At which point I ran out of songs, and didn't have the energy or time to do any research! I'm so glad you did this, Anu, because some of the songs you added were new to me. Got to expand my horizons a bit. :-)

  13. Interesting subject,but what I really liked was your introduction, very well written and sort of expresses what we all feel but perhaps do not know how to put into words. You have compiled a perfect list. I have 2 songs but one of them doesn't fit here, it is my all time favourite,the song expresses the sudden joys of realizing you are growing up, it is from Sound of Music,I am 16 going on 17 the other song is from Ashirwaad ek tha bachpan. I absolutely relate to the lyrics, it finds an echo in my heart, after all my father was a part of my childhood, I sometimes wonder how it would have been, had he been a part of my and adult life.

  14. Truth to tell, I do not like Bachpan ke din bhula na dena. :) I had the Tere bachpan ko on my long list, but I was thinking more along the lines of growing up and being nostalgic about your childhood, as you mentioned. So I dropped it. But yes, these are all songs about childhood and if you take Songs of Innocence literally, Tere bacpan ko would fit right in.

    I'm so glad you enjoyed the post. That makes writing worthwhile.

  15. *grin* I do not think we will ever be rid of it. Our trajectories are too intertwined. :) It is funny, you know, this is what I was thinking when I watched my niece getting married in October year before last, about how quickly time goes by, and the idea for this post came then. I mentally thought of songs to add - the first three on my list? You guessed it - Sapne suhane ladakpan ke, Ja ja ja mere bachpan and Ye Bachpan ke din bhi kya din the... :)

    Obviously, I had never heard the Hemant Kumar song before. Thanks for introducing me to it. You are right, it is sweet. Ek tha bachpan is a song I had forgotten about even though I liked the film very much. Thank you for the links.

  16. Thank you very much for the appreciation, Shilpi. I am sixteen is one of my favourite songs, so I'm glad you wrote about it. I'll post the link here, even if it is not a Hindi song.

    Ek tha bachpan - Madhu just posted it below. It is such a poignant song, Shilpi, I'm glad you posted it again. I can only imagine how much it must touch you. *hugs*

  17. Anu,

    Beautiful write up (as usual!). Some great songs. I was very pleased to find Bachpan ki yaad dheere dheere here. I am also very fond of Sapne suhane ladakpan ke, Panchhi bani udati phirun, Ban ke panchhi gaye pyar ka tarana. Madhu's addition of Hemant Kumar's non-fim song is also very good.

    Going through the list I was also waiting for Bachpan ke din bhula na dena. A bachpan song I like a lot is by your 'besura' singer. While it talks about all the good things they did in the childhood, Dharmendra's sour face shows something has gone wrong between the lovers?


  18. Thanks for the appreciation, AK. You will never let me forget that I think Mukesh goes besur, will you? :) That doesn't mean that I do not appreciate his songs. In fact, there are many songs of his that I like very much. This one, for instance. (Watch out, I'll do a post on Mukesh one of these days and suprise you.)

    I had completely forgotten about this song, though. Thanks for posting it here. In the film, Dharmendra and Sharmila were childhood friends. Unfortunately for him, Deven Verma betrays an agreement that they make, and marries Sharmila instead. So Dharmendra becomes the titular devar. (He finds out later that Deven lied to him.)

  19. :) Welcome to my blog. Thank you for reading and commenting.

  20. :) - you're sure to find it on the internet for download.

  21. On principle, I don't stream new movies unless they are on legal sites like Netflix. It would be very hypocritical of me to make a fuss about my blog being plagiarised, no, if I'm willing to steal the effort of someone else's labour, both physical and intellectual? Either I watch in a theatre, or I buy the legal DVD. Just a quirk - humour me. :)

  22. Quite commendable...see if it is on youtube.com/movies.

  23. I will wait for your Mukesh post. Hope it won't be on his 'besura' songs. Not letting you forget! But I don't take out a gun to shoot people who don't like my favourite singer. :)

  24. You will have to wait and see, won't you? :)

  25. Manmadhan Ullattil1 February 2014 at 09:39

    i saw this quite some time back, but i recall that the end was interesting..especially the fate of tilakan...
    i hope you saw thira and drishyam - both amazing movies

  26. I haven't seen Drishyam, Maddy, though I have heard very good things about it. It will have to wait until I go to India next, so I can buy the DVD. I don't recall anyone mentioning Thira. Thanks for the recommendation. I will put it on my to-buy list of movies.

  27. What was the reason that Rk did not allow any great artist to be associated with his magnanimous RK production Movies be it Lyricist Majruh Sultanpuri / Sahir Ludiyanvi / shkeel badayuni / kaifi azmi / jaan nisaar akhtar // music maestro Naushaad , even he ignored the super heroins like Sairabanu , wahida rehmaan, minakumari and all time great singer of Indian film industry Mohammad Rafi , just because of their relegion or some other reason Allah jane !

  28. Heather Wilson1 July 2015 at 00:41

    Hi Anu,
    Great review! I agree with you about the last section of the film and how conveniently everything works out in the end. However I loved the emphasis on food and the many scenes set on the beach which added so much atmosphere to the film. Also loved the fact that this was set in a Muslim community but as you say the religion was not important - it just was a story set in this particular community but could have been anywhere.

  29. Thank you, Heather. I did like this film quite a bit and that had a lot to do with the performances, and the staging.


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