Evergreen favourite: ‘Lakdi ki kaathi’ from ‘Masoom’
EVERY November 14, when India celebrates Children’s Day on the birth anniversary of former prime minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, radio stations and home music systems play evergreen children’s songs. Others simply remember their all-time favourites, or type out lists on Facebook or e-mail.
What’s noteworthy is that whenever one talks of children’s songs in Hindi films, one invariably thinks of tunes that are at least 30 years old. The only post-1985 songs that come to mind are a few from ‘Taare Zameen Par’ (‘Bum bum bole’, ‘Maa’ and ‘Mera jahaan’), and the one-off songs from ‘Makdee’ (‘Panga na le’), ‘Stanley Ka Dabba’ (‘Nanhi hi jaan’), ‘Akele Hum Akele Tum’ (‘I love you daddy’) and ‘Anjali’ (the title song). And if films like ‘Kuch Kuch Hota Hai’, ‘Hum Hain Raahi Pyaar Ke’ and ‘Raju Chacha’ had children in prominent roles, they strangely didn’t have any memorable kids’ songs, because the filmmakers were more keen on picturising the songs on the stars. Other films with children flopped so badly the songs were barely heard.
Ask anyone to compile a list of children’s songs, and some obvious tunes come to mind. Barring ‘Taare Zameen Par’, most of them are the old hits, which the parents or grandparents of today’s children grew up on.
The 1980s would be represented by the 1983 hit ‘Lakdi ki kaathi’ from ‘Masoom’. From the 1970s, there were ‘Re mamma re’ and ‘Hain na bolo bolo’ (‘Andaz’), ‘Bada natkhat hai’ (‘Amar Prem’), ‘Teetar ke do aage teetar’ (‘Mera Naam Joker’), ‘Lalla lalla lori’ (‘Mukti’), ‘Saare ke saare’ (‘Parichay’), ‘Mere paas aao’ (‘Mr Natwarlal’), ‘Rona kabhi nahin rona’ (‘Apna Desh’) and ‘Luk chip luk chip jaao na’ (‘Do Anjaane’), to name a few.
The 1960s were as prolific as the 1970s. Hit numbers were ‘Tujhe sooraj kahoon ya chanda’ and ‘O nanhe se farishtey’ (‘Ek Phool Do Mali’), ‘Chanda hai tu’ (‘Aradhana’), ‘Nanha munna raahi hoon’ (‘Son of India’), ‘Rail gaadi’ (‘Aashirwad’), ‘Daadi amma daadi amma maan jaao’ (‘Gharana’), ‘Hum bhi agar bacche hote’ (‘Door Ki Awaaz’) and ‘Naani teri morni’ (the old ‘Masoom’).
And from the 1950s, we had ‘Aao bacchon tumhe dikhayen’ ‘(‘Jagruti’), ‘Nanhe munne bacche teri mutthi mein kya hai’ (’Boot Polish’), ‘Ichak daana beechak daana’ (‘Shri 420’) and ‘Bachpen ke din bhula na dena’ (‘Deedaar’). Each of these old songs was memorable in its own way. Either they were fun songs, nostalgic songs, or even patriotic songs. And there are many more from the 1950s to the 1970s.
Get the point? Barring the odd exception, one barely hears any Hindi film songs for children these days. They have all kinds of songs – love songs, so-called comedy songs, group songs, sad songs and, of course, item songs. But where-o-where are the children’s songs?
The interesting thing is that there are many talented children who are capable of doing justice to these songs, and one has admired them in television shows like ‘Indian Idol Junior’ and ‘Sa Re Ga Ma ‘Li’l Champs’. They sing tunes rendered by Lata, Rafi, Kishore and others so charmingly, and yet, today’s filmmakers don’t see an opportunity to use them in the latest films.
And it’s not only in films that children’s songs are neglected these days. If one looks at private albums, there have been very few efforts to release children’s albums, the odd exceptions being the projects of Preeti Sagar, Ritika Sahni and Sunidhi Chauhan’s debut album ‘Aira Gaira Natthu Khaira’, which she recorded when she had just entered her teens.
Children form a large percentage of today’s film-going audiences. But what’s really sad is the kind of songs they are not only being exposed to, but also seem to know inside out. It’s quite shocking how many eight- or nine-year-olds sing ‘Sheila ki jawaani’ and ‘Fevicol’ at society functions or children’s competitions, with their parents beaming with pride at their ‘talent’.
It’s high time our filmmakers and music directors make some effort to revive the glorious innocence and magic that such songs provided in the past. No kidding here.