It is said that children are a gift from God and serving them is like serving the almighty.
Bollywood has been instrumental in encapsulating the innocence of children through some beautiful songs that have left an indelible mark in one's consciousness. These songs show the naivety and sweet nature of the children.
I remember as a kid, the only time I didn’t see school as a prison was on Children’s Day. That was the only time of the year when teachers performed on songs and there was fun and frolic on the campus.
That is the reason why Children’s Day is so special. Celebrated annually on 14th November in India, it remembers independent India’s first Prime Minister - Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru and his fondness for children. Interestingly, Bollywood too captures the joys of childhood in its ubiquitous melodies – an ode to innocence.
These odes to childhood leave an everlasting impression when you are a kid. And they literally take us back to our
childhood when we are adults.
Of late, ‘Taare Zameen Par’ (2007) reminded us of our pristine childhood memories and serenaded us with its touching melodies. But the onus of creating the ultimate mother’s lullaby in India - ‘Chanda Mama Door Ke Poohe Pakaye Boor Ke’ goes to music director Ravi for ‘Vachan’(1955), who carved out his own niche with music in films like ‘Chaudhvin ka Chand’, ‘Waqt’, ‘Humraaz’.
As kids, it never struck us that the song being sung was not our mother’s own creation but was merely lifted from ‘Vachan’. Sung by the inimitable Asha Bhonsle, Ravi counted it as the best of his songs for children.
Another famous children’s song was from the 1959 film ‘Chirag Kahan Roshni Kahan’ – ‘Chal Mere Ghode’, where the tragedy queen Meena Kumari sheds her brooding image for a livelier avatar.
Moving just a little in time was ‘Nani Teri Morni’ from the black-and-white ‘Masoom’ (1983), which was another splendid interpretation of childhood. This was again a Ravi creation, who along with the likes of Raja Mehndi Ali Khan, Shailendra, SD Burman and later Gulzar and RD Burman, gave the Hindi film industry some of the best children's songs, songs that still occasionally find a mention in All India Radio's Children's Day specials.
Ironically, pointing on the lack of children’s song in recent films, once Ravi said, “I carved out quite a reputation for children songs. I gave ‘Chanda Mama', ‘Dadi Amma, Dadi Ammi', ‘Hum Bhi Agar Bachche Hote' and ‘Bachche Man ke Sache'. People seem to have forgotten all that now. The industry has always thrived in raising new heroes, toppling the established ones.”
Interestingly, talking about children’s song, Gulzar said, “It is a different mindset you bring to work. You just have to think young when penning songs for children.”
However for ‘Lakdi ki Kathi’ in ‘Masoom’, Gulzar did not go for established singers but roped in lesser known faces - Vineeta Mishra, Gurpreet Kaur and Gauri Bapat. Result? The song featuring young Urmila Matondkar and a very young Jugal Hansraj and Aradhana went on to become a sort of national anthem for kids all over India.
Here are some of all time favourite children’s songs from Bollywood films on Childern’s Day:
‘Taare Zameen Par’ from film ‘Taare Zameen Par’
‘Kholo Kholo’ from film ‘Taare Zameen Par’
‘Lakdi Ki Kathi’ from film ‘Masoom’
‘Tu Mera Dil Tu Meri Jaan’ from film ‘Masoom’
‘Aao Bacho Rail Chalaye’ from film ‘Ashirwad’
‘Chanda Hai Tu Mera’ from film ‘Aradhana’
‘Nanhe Munne Bacche’ from film ‘Boot Polish’
‘Phoolon Ka Taaron Ka’ from film ‘Hare Rama Hare Krishna’
‘Chakke Mein Chakka’ from film ‘Brahmachari’
‘Re Mama Re Mama Re’ from film ‘Andaaz’
(The views expressed by the author are personal)