My husband and I are avid travelers. Give us a few days’ holiday and some funds, and we’re eager to race off somewhere. This past year, however, has been unbelievably hectic, what with one thing or another, and after an entire 365 days of not travelling anywhere, we were ready to crack. So we eventually took a holiday—to The Glasshouse on the Ganges, an idyllic little place we’ve visited before, just slightly above Rishikesh. Sitting there one evening, with my feet lapped by the cool waves of the Ganga, I was humming Ganga behti ho kyon (yes, I’m not making this up; I actually was doing that!) when it struck me: there are several songs in Hindi cinema about the Ganga. And that’s where the idea for this post originated.
The Ganga flows for a distance of 2,525 km, all the way from the Himalayas (it begins, officially, at the point—in Devprayag—where its two major tributaries, the Bhagirathi and the Alaknanda, join). Most devout Hindus consider Gomukh, at the foot of the Gangotri Glacier, where the Bhagirathi arises, as the birthplace of the Ganga. The fifth most polluted river in the world, this one is one of Earth’s major rivers (it even appears in classical Western art—the imposing ‘Fountain of the Four Rivers’ sculpture at Rome’s Piazza Navona includes the Ganges). Millions of people live alongside it, millions come from far and wide for a dip in the Ganga.
And Hindi cinema has embraced it wholeheartedly, all the way from the dozens of filmi children lost at the Kumbh, to Ganga ki Saugandh, Ganga Tera Paani Amrit, Jis Desh Mein Ganga Behti Hai, etc. Plus, the songs. Here are ten songs from pre-70s (mostly, with one minor exception from 1971) Hindi films which mention the Ganga. In different contexts, to different extents. All from films that I’ve seen.
1. Ganga aaye kahaan se Ganga jaaye kahaan re (Kabuliwala, 1961): If I had to pick a favourite Ganga song from cinema, this would be it: a hauntingly gentle one that begins by praising the beauty of the Ganga at sunset, its waves rippling in the play of light and shadow—and then, meanders on to a philosophy: that there are millions in this world, of different languages and different faces. But, as the Ganga embraces all, so must we. A surprising (perhaps, in today’s times) philosophy from an obviously Hindu sadhu, but it helps comfort the poor Pathan, so very far from home. The lyrics of this song are lovely, and I appreciate the fact that the music (by the inimitable Salil Choudhary) is very minimal, letting Hemant’s gorgeous voice shine through. Plus, the picturization is lovely: it focuses very much on the Ganga. A Ganga, too, that is quiet and serene, free of the usual hustle and bustle.
2. Tu Ganga ki mauj main Jamuna ka dhaara (Baiju Bawra, 1952): When one talks of the Ganga, can the Yamuna be far behind? The two rivers are celebrated together in everything from traditional Indian stone carving to Hindi proverbs—because their sangam or confluence at Prayag (Allahabad) is considered so very sacred. No wonder then that Hindi songs do mention (in more instances than one) the Ganga and the Yamuna in the same breath, naming their union as the greatest love of all. An easy enough metaphor to transfer to romantic love. As in this song from Baiju Bawra, where Bharat Bhushan (as the legendary singer) sings to his very embarrassed sweetheart (Meena Kumari) of their inevitable union, like the meeting of the waves of the two rivers.
3. Hum us desh ke vaasi hain (Jis Desh Mein Ganga Behti Hai, 1960): While there’s not a sign of a river—the Ganga, the Yamuna, or any other—in the picturization of Hum us desh ke vaasi hain, this song is a good example of another aspect of the Ganga: as a defining feature of India. (Rather like the fact that the Fountain of the Four Rivers uses the Ganges to represent Asia). In this patriotic (if somewhat over-patriotic and unrealistic) song about all that is wonderful of India, the country itself is represented by that one image: the country where the Ganga flows. That may be true only of a part of India, but still.
4. Mere mann ki Ganga aur tere mann ki Jamuna (Sangam, 1964): While we’re on Raj Kapoor, another song from one of his films in which the lyrics feature the Ganga. I must admit this song isn’t a favourite of mine (which is why, if you notice, I haven’t named this post ‘Ten of my favourite Ganga songs’): I don’t care for the music (especially the whine of the bag pipe), and Raj Kapoor is frightfully irritating as the stalkerish wannabe lover who can’t see or accept the fact that this woman he’s pestering is in love with someone else, not him.
Still, the lyrics do carry on with that same tradition, already seen in Tu Ganga ki mauj main Jamuna ka dhara: that true lovers, like the Ganga and Jamuna, will come together. Considering the name of the film, and the final scene—plus, to some extent, the theme throughout—those are fitting words.
And yes, the river is there all right, in the picturization, a small dam and all.
5. Ganga meri maa ka naam (Tumse Achcha Kaun Hai, 1969): Though Shammi Kapoor’s films could generally be depended upon to have super songs, this particular song isn’t that great: the music is lacklustre, with no melody to speak of. The lyrics, however, are in many ways similar to Hum us desh ke vaasi hain, because here too, the Ganga is used as a defining feature of India: our patriotic Indian says that the Ganga is his mother, the Himalaya his father: and that is why he is an Indian. The first couple of verses have some beautifully poetic descriptions of nature, and the locales in which the song is picturized—apple orchards, golden fields, saffron fields, a river rushing by against a backdrop of snowy peaks—are stunning.
6. Machalti hui hawa mein chham-chham (Ganga ki Lehren, 1964): From a film which was actually named after the Ganga (and in which the river played an important part), a song from Chitragupta, a music director who is sadly underrated. Machalti hui hawa mein chham-chham is very much a song about the river: about its rippling waters, its waves, its coolness and charm, the natural beauty of the Ganga and its environs, the way the river’s waves endure. And the river dominates the picturization: there it is, with a town spread on its banks, with bridges and bunds, with Kishore Kumar and his cronies in a boat, and with Kumkum and her sahelis on rafts. Kumkum takes centrestage, though, by actually rolling about in the water (how uncomfortable that must have been!)
7. O Ganga maiyya paar lagaa de (Chandan ka Palna, 1967): Like Ganga ki Lehren, another film that starred Dharmendra—but, unlike Ganga ki Lehren, a very avoidable film. (To be honest, every time I’ve thought of compiling a post of films ‘you must not watch’, Chandan ka Palna always tops the list). The one somewhat saving grace of Chandan ka Palna was that it had fairly good music—and this song, while not a favourite of mine (bhajans rarely are), isn’t bad. And yes, it finally brings us to the first song in this list which addresses the Ganga as the deity she is regarded as by so many millions. A cry of despair, begging the Ganga to come to the rescue of the helpless (and a good pun: “paar lagaa de”, literally, “take me across the river”, but also meaning “save me”).
8. Maa hi Ganga maa hi Jamuna (Majhli Didi, 1967): Another song from a 1967 Meena Kumari-Dharmendra starrer, but from a film that couldn’t be more different from Chandan ka Palna. Majhli Didi was a beautifully sensitive, poignant and lovely little film about the love that develops between an orphaned boy and the chhoti bahu of the household where his step-sister is the badi bahu. In one scene, the little boy repeats, at the request of his new didi, a song he heard at a jatra the night his mother died. A song dedicated to motherhood, to the mother who is Ganga and Yamuna and all the pilgrimages in one: worthy of all one’s love and adulation. An interesting example of just how high in esteem the Ganga is held, in that the lyrics hold this river as the benchmark for subjects worthy of reverence.
9. Ganga maiyya mein jab tak ke paani rahe (Suhaag Raat, 1968): Suhaag Raat was one of those painful, regressive films full of self-sacrifice and weepiness and high melodrama. It didn’t even have a memorable score to redeem it. But it did have the Ganga: much of the film was set in a nameless town supposedly beside the Ganga, and the river was named in this song. A karva chauth song, Ganga maiyya mein jab tak ke paani rahe is the Sati Savitri patnivrata female’s hope that her husband will live as long as the Ganga flows. I’m not sure if I’d like to live that long, but yes, I can understand the poetic sentiment of the song. The picturisation has some nice shots of little diyas nestled in leaf-boats floating down the river—and other shots of the Ganga, too.
10. Ganga tera paani amrit (Ganga Tera Paani Amrit, 1971): And, to end the list (though there’s another song, an extra, coming up), one of the first songs that popped into my head when I first began thinking of Ganga songs. Ganga Tera Paani Amrit was made in 1971, but in several ways it was more reminiscent of a late 1960s film than of the 1970s: it featured people like Rehman, Pran, and Nirupa Roy; the fashions were somewhat more cusp-of-the-decades than outright flamboyant 70s (no flared bell bottoms and loud prints). The core theme of the film—the importance of family ties, the emphasis on village life and farming—was more 50s and 60s than 70s. And the score, by Ravi (composing to lyrics set by frequent collaborator Sahir) had more than a touch of the 60s. This song, which plays as the credits roll and is repeated later in the film, highlights another aspect of the Ganga. Its water is described as amrit—nectar—not because it is merely a sacred river, but because its water irrigate many thousands of hectares of land, bringing—literally—life to northern India.
And, to end, a bonus song, even though it’s not from a film: Bhupen Hazarika’s hauntingly beautiful Ganga boichho kaino. A song without which—in my opinion—no post about Ganga songs could ever be complete. Originally written by Hazarika as an Assamese song (Bistirno parore) about the Brahmputra, and with its music inspired by the famous Ol’ Man River (by Hazarika’s friend Paul), this song was later translated into Bengali, and by Gulzar into Hindi—as Vistaar hai aapaar. Hazarika has sung all three, as have various other artists since.
All three versions—Assamese, Bengali and Hindi—sung in Dr Hazarika’s mesmerizing baritone—are wonderful, but I have a special liking for the Bengali version. Ganga boichho keno manages to convey, even to someone who doesn’t understand the language, some of that restrained power, the vastness, the generosity and might of one of the world’s greatest rivers.
Which songs would you add to this list?
Haha! This is a lovely idea for a post. I feel you have pretty much covered all the famous Ganga songs, at least all the one’s I know.
Here is a song from the current decade.
Thank you, Ava! Yes, I did think this might make an interesting idea for a song list. :-)
Thank you, also for Har-har Gange. I haven’t seen Bhoothnath Returns (or even Bhootnath, for that matter) but this song is pretty amusing.
Lovely theme, Madhu – and excellent post, as usual. I always marvel at the way you are able to describe each song uniquely, highlighting not just that song’s specific highlight but even using different language every single time (if you know what I mean). :-)
I think all the Ganga songs I know are already covered here – the first song that actually came to my mind when I saw the post title was “haiyya O Ganga maiyya” (your song no. 9). I remember how terrible (full of “sacrifice) the movie was – though, since I first saw this film as a young boy, I think nostalgia might play some role in not being particularly opposed to the songs. There’s the well-known Mukesh song “Khush raho har khushi hai tumhaare liye” (quintessential “sacrifice” song). Now, while we’re on this, how about a post on “sacrifice” songs (or maybe “sacrifice” films)?
I remember seeing Chandan Ka Palna too. So annoying!!!
Can’t think of any other Ganga song right now, but will rack my fast-depleting brain a bit! :-)
Thanks once again for a lovely post, Madhu. Always a pleasure to read your posts. :-)
Thank you for reading, Raja! And for your kind words – I appreciate the appreciation. :-)
‘Sacrifice’ songs? Hmm… that might be an idea. Though, on the other hand, I generally find the sort of mindless sacrifice propagated by old Hindi films to be utterly annoying. But then, the Ganga doesn’t really appeal to me – so it could well be that if I put my mind to it, I might be able to find some really nice songs about sacrifice. :-)
At last have some time to visit your blog after such a long time. :)
Ganga does fascinate us Indians, even for people who live far away from the Ganga it is a significant river. It even appears way down in the South in different names. I have never been to the river Ganga, so I can’t say much about it or for that matter about any river. I think I wasn’t even at Ban Ganga (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Banganga_Tank), in the city I was born.
For a river that so fascinates the subcontinent, I must say that I’m disappointed at the melodies given to the songs with her name in it. Talking of HER name, I remember that I was shocked to see Ganga being represented by a male figure in the fountain. My friend told me that it was the trend in the Baroque and earlier times to depict rivers as male. In German, Spanish and French, the Ganges river is male, der Ganges, El Ganges, le Gange! Shocking! :)
Ganga aaye kahaan se Ganga jaaye kahaan re is my most favourite song on Ganga as well. Such an haunting melody and yes, very comforting!
Tu Ganga ki mauj main Jamuna ka dhaara is a song, which I like as well. BB looks good with his curly hair. But find the chorus a bit distracting in such an intimate song. Just to think that we would have lost a great actress in process of filming this song.
Hum us desh ke vaasi hain, *yawn*
BTW I used to think that the line “jahaan dil me safai rehti hai” is “jahaan din me safaai hoti hai”
Sangam had good music. But don’t like this song nor the situation.
I won’t say much about the other songs.
I like the following songs with Ganga in it.
ganga ki reti pe bangla chhwaii de from Mirza Ghalib sung by Sudha Malhotra
ganga me dubaa na jamna me dubaa from Apne Rang Hazaar
A lilting song from Basant (1942)
gori mose ganga ke paar milna
ganga ki maati bhari godi me from Mere Apne
“I must say that I’m disappointed at the melodies given to the songs with her name in it”
Yes! So true. That’s why I didn’t label this post ‘Ten of my favourite Ganga songs’ – because the only songs I really like are Ganga aaye kahaan se, Machalti hui hawa mein chham-chham and Tu Ganga ki mauj. Some of the others (like the ones from Jis Desh Mein Ganga Behti Hai and Majhli Didi) aren’t bad, but aren’t favourites of mine, either.
Thank you for the songs you suggested – I liked Ganga ki reti pe very much (how could I have forgotten that?!). The song from Basant had cropped up while I was doing my research for the post, but since I hadn’t seen the film, I had to skip it. Good, solid 1940s song, and a nice one.
The song from Mere Apne is lovely too (I think for me that also has a lot to do with the voice – Manna Dey, isn’t it?). I really should watch that film one of these days!
Ram teri ganga maili ho gayi papiyon ke paap dhote-2has brilliant lyrics by ravindra Jain on maa ganga.
I have to admit I’ve never much liked Ram teri Ganga maili ho gayi (the music puts me off, and the rendition is too shrill for me), but yes, the lyrics are good.
A topic that doesn’t bring up the best in hindi film songs. But as always you’ve managed to come up with an interesting and well written post Madhu. Enjoyed the descriptions and analyses of the songs and lyrics.
My choice fell on a very noisy song but it’s intention is good. Its all about ‘desh badlega ganga ki kasam’ – rebelling against corrupt authority, though can’t make out whether it’s British or the ruling regime in independent India. My guess is latter as it looks too modern for the former. Film tu hi meri zindagi 1965
Like this song. Has a lovely tune. It’s preachy but after all it’s from a ‘sant’ film Sant Gyaneshwar.
Yes, Jyot se jyot jagaate chalo was on my longlist too – it’s a nice tune, even if the song itself is preachy – but I had to drop it because I haven’t seen the film (and am not particularly keen on watching it too!)
I believe this film is about the libaration of Goa from the Portuguese. Has a couple of obscure but lovely songs.
Oh thanks. I’ve been wondering.
You’re right, pacifist. Considering the Ganga is revered so much and appears so frequently (it would seem) in Hindi cinema, one would expect somewhat better songs about it. Such a pity the actually nice Ganga songs are so few and far between!
I had never heard this song before, but it’s really good. Very inquilaabi. Like it a lot. :-) Thank you for this!
This is a very interesting post with some of the best Ganga songs, and legends. I should add one more:’Ganga-Jamuni tahjeeb’. It has become a very important phrase in our discourse, to describe our syncretic culture, especially in classical music, architecture, language, with reference primarily to Islamic. You have included two Ganga-Jamuna songs, which refer to very different concepts. While Tu Ganga ki mauj main Jamna ki dhara can be lauded for its musical quality, and using the metaphor for platonic love, Bol Radha bol sangam hoga ki nahi has no such defence. It was purely a stalker song, and was taken as such by roadside Romeos those days.
One song which eminently describes the faith Ganga has evoked among the Hindus comes from Chitragupta from the classic Bhojpuri film Ganga maiya tohe piyari chadhaibo (1962). The title song with the same words means, ‘O Holy Mother Ganges, we offer you the sacred yellow cloth’. This was the first Bhojpuri film (you have to take my word that Dilip Kumar’s Ganga Jamuna is not a Bhojpuri film.
Thank you, AK – and also for that interesting observation about the difference in tone and concept of the two Ganga-Jamuna songs from Baiju Bawra and Sangam. The latter is definitely stalerish and (for me) thoroughly irritating.
I have heard of Ganga maiyya tohe piyari chadhaibo, always in the context of it being a superhit film. Haven’t seen it, though I’ve been wanting to (I’m not sure, though, whether I’ll be able to understand all of it without the help of subtitles). The title song is nice, and the picturisation – all those boats on the river – is good.
I do know that Ganga Jamuna isn’t Bhojpuri! ;-) Good music, though, there…
I saw this headline and the first song that popped into my head was Ganga aaye kahan se, followed by Tu Ganga ki mauj mein Jamuna ka dhara and Jis desh mein Ganga behti hai. :) The other one that I remembered was the one that Karthik posted – Ram teri Ganga maili ho gayi paapiyon ke paap dhote dhote
As Pacifist noted above, this is not a theme that has lent itself to a lot of great songs, is it?
But I have this to add; a beautiful melody by one of my favourite music directors. Not exactly a Ganga song like the others, but one that exemplifies how important Ganga is, for us.
And this one from Suhaagraat (not a great one musically, I’m afraid).
I don’t recall ever having heard Pyaas liye manwa hamaara yeh tarse before, but yes, nice song. Thank you for that, Anu!
The Suhaag Raat song (no, I don’t like it, either) is at #9 on my list. :-)
Uhhhh! Sorry! :( This is when there’s a disconnect between what I read and my brain!
All of us have done that sometime or the other. ;-)
I’d wondered if anybody would post this song in the comments, since I couldn’t post it in the list – the timeline is all off. From Laaga Chunari Mein Daag, Hum toh aise hain bhaiya:
The title words aren’t about the Ganga, but the river is mentioned a fair bit deeper into the song – that Sabki rangon mein lahu bahe hai, apni ragon mein Ganga maiyya, and later that stuff about people coming to the river to bathe. And the picturisation includes the river very well. Plus, it's one of those newer songs that I do think has good music. Very infectious!
Nice collection there. A Ganga song from Jis desh mein…. that I love and find myself singing quite often is Mera Naam Raju Gharana anaam. I find the lyrics very philosophical and illuminating and the spectacular visuals of RK floating on the Ganges and people thronging on the banks add more realism to the song.
Ah, yes. I’d forgotten about Mera naam Raju gharaana anaam – it certainly does have excellent picturisation as far as the river is concerned. But does it have the river mentioned in the song? I didn’t recall that (haven’t checked, because I’m quite rushed right now).
I am an inveterate koopmandook. Much prefer to read or watch documentaries about these wondrous places to schlepping through tourist spots. All my travels have resulted from my wife putting her foot down and dragging me off. But loved your post about your vacation and Ganga. Your favorite Ganga songs are mine too, not too many as you rightly pointed out. Have you seen the Bengali movie Ganga by Rajen Tarafdar? A wonderful movie about fishermen fishing on the Ganges. It has superb music by Salil Choudhury. Sample this (a poor recording but the only recording on youtube): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sNRdwcVAlNI
I haven’t seen Ganga, Soumya – it sounds good (and anything with music by Salil Choudhary certainly appeals to me!) Ganga Gangar tarange is beautiful. Thank you so much for that – it really made my day. (And I mean that).
Sorry, Madhu. Had been meaning to post a comment here but didn’t find the time earlier.
Very nice post – interesting topic. Though I am not much of a fan of many of the songs you have listed above :-(
The songs that immediately came to my mind were the ones from Kabuliwala, Sangam, Jish Desh mein ganga behti hai, Baiju Bawra and Ganga ki lehren. Not fond of the other songs you have posted.
I do happen to like this ‘new’ song from Laga Chunari mein daag – Hum toh aise hain bhaiya. It is not a typical Ganga song but its picturisation and the liveliness and chirpiness kind of make me associate it with Ganga.
Yes, Harini, I don’t care for most of the songs – there are only about four in the list which I really like (I don’t even like the Sangam song – find it too irritating). But since I wasn’t making a list of favourite songs, just a list that highlighted different aspects of the river – I decided to go ahead with that. :-)
And, you and I do think alike a lot! Even though I couldn’t (because of my restriction of timeline) include Hum toh aise hain bhaiya in the list, I have added it in a comment, above. I do love that song: it’s so Kashi. And the Ganga is mentioned more than once in it, so it fits right into a Ganga post.
To promote National integration and whatever here are songs in Tamil where Ganga is mentioned of course as ” Gangai” as it is known in the lingo.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UlocUamrLqQ I don’t think you have visuals of ganga here but a lovely song nevertheless.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LfFvLBGel_Q. Sivaji ganesan past his prime but still worth hearing for KJY alone. They do show Ganga here!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zs7dNNwN6CI This features Tamil Nadu CM. And it is a remake of a Bollywood blockbuster. Pretty easy to guess I suppose.t
I will finish off with a lovely song.
As a child I remember reading in one of the reviews “that this film does not deserve this song. it is so utterly bad that they should have had the sense to at least give it away free for somebody to use it elsewhere… !” After such a warning No , I did not see it even on television.
Hope the links work
It would seem that you have not seen this or is it part of a grander design akin to what successive governments in centre have been doing – neglecting the aspirations of people south of the Vindhyas :-)
Oww! How did this slip through the cracks? :-( Believe me, I would never discriminate against anyone, trolls excepted. ;-)
Am off to listen to the songs you’ve listed.
I have finally read your comment and have listened to the songs. Let me name them here, just in case somebody sees this comment sometime in the future, when – who knows? – the videos have disappeared from Youtube. Gangai karai thottam, Gangai Yamunai, Gangayile odam (yes, I think I know which you mean – Johny Mera Naam, right? Have you seen the film, and if so, was the rest of it also a copy?), and Gangai nathiyoram. I especially, especially loved that last song – it actually gave me gooseflesh, the music is so lovely.
i was just pulling your leg. Just wanted to show that Ganga is held sacred for all indians.There should be good songs in telugu as well.
Yes Raja was a remake of JMN – produced by sujatha cine arts – veteran actor K Balaji’s banner. he bought the rights and also played pran’s role! he generally made remakes of blockbusters mostly from Hindi but sometimes from Bengali and Malayalam as well. Mostly with Sivaji Ganesan .This was one of the better ones.
Reg Gangai nathi oram I wanted to show that there is quality music composed by MDs other than Ilayaraja and AR Rehman. This song was by Govardhanam a long standing assistant to the melody kings Visu-Ramu. He excelled in the few chances he got but luck did not favour him.
I amextremely happythat you too love the song. Jesudas & Vani Jeyaram are excellent. Really a pearl thrown away in the sand without knowing the value something tribe something (Jeeves where are you) as PGW would put it.
“There should be good songs in telugu as well.” There used to be at least one person visiting this blog, once upon a time, who knew his Telugu cinema. I hope he happens by…
Such a pity about Gangai nathiyoram being wasted on a bad film. But that seems to also have often been the case in Hindi cinema. I have rarely come across a good film from 1950s-60s Hindi cinema which had bad music, but there are numerous instances of fabulous songs but a less-than-good film.
The river Ganga is a really something. The first time I saw it was way back in my childhood on a visit to Benares and Calcutta, but I really saw its magnificence, when I saw it in Rishikesh. Wow! It was really something. As usual you and your readers have done a wonderful job so in that sense I have nothing more to add but I am going to post one song that I can relate to, that is just the first few words, you see although by birth and upbringing I am not a Ganga Kinara Wali but my ancestors were Ganga Kinare Walas and Walis so here goes
Yes, Khaike paan Banaraswala fits right in! Thank you for that, Shilpi. (Incidentally, on my mother’s side of the family, our ancestors were from Banaras too).
I have very vague recollections of seeing the Ganga in the plains. I mean, I know I’ve seen it in UP, Bihar and Bengal, but don’t remember that too well. I have seen it a lot in Uttarakhand, though, because we used to travel through that area quite a bit. So I’ve seen it everywhere from Devprayag, Rudraprayag, Karnaprayag, down to Rishikesh and Haridwar… its beauty in the hills is something quite unique.
Oh how I wish I could see it high up in the hills, anyway I loved what I saw in Rishikesh, Haridwar on the other hand was not what I expected.
True, by Haridwar, it’s quite grubby and commercial. But Rishikesh… still lovely, still relatively quiet.
Since I don’t guess you’ve ever seen the film, this Ganges song won’t qualify for your list. I’ve recently been working on the 1961 film Do Bhai and came across this song at about the same time you published this piece. Since there aren’t all that many songs about the Ganges, as it turns out, here’s another one to add to the collection:
I have heard of Do Bhai, Tom, but haven’t seen it – and I’d never heard Har-har Gange har-har bol before. Nice song, and I really like the views of the river. Incidentally, that musical instrument the singer holds in her left hand qualifies this for my percussion songs post, and the one she holds in her right hand gives it a place in my string instruments post!
Thanks for this.
so now can we post songs of other rivers if Ganga songs are exhausted ?:)
No, I don’t think so. Let’s preserve the purity of this post! ;-)
Though of course one can always make up a list of nadi/darya songs – plenty of those, I think, to be able to compile a fairly decent list.
ha ha . no i did not mean generic nadia/dariya songs ( i think that’s done already anyway ) . I meant songs where specific rivers (other than Ganga) are named.
1978 film Ganga Ki Saugandh song – Maano To Mei Ganga Maa Hu Na mano To Behta Paani
Great post! All songs which readily come to one’s mind have been covered here.
I do recollect a song which used to have the phrase ‘Ganga maiyya tohri piyari chadaibe….’ or something to that effect.
I haven’t heard of a song by the words you mention, but there’s a Bhojpuri film, starring Kumkum, which was called Ganga Maiyya Tohri Piyari Chadhaibo. I haven’t seen it (I don’t know how much I’ll be able to understand…) but it was apparently a runaway hit.
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You are right. This was an immensely popular Bhojpuri film. Thank you for correcting me!
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Wow….I needed help for a project on Ganga and totally got it! Thanks…nice post❤️
Glad to be of help. :-)
What a beautiful list mam.. you’re awesome writer. I also want to add one song to this, which is a tribute to the beauty and magnificence of the holy river Ganga by Ricky Kej, an Indo-American music composer, featuring sensational artist Shankar Mahadevan.
Nice song, thanks. I wish the cacophony of music and voice towards the end was a little less, though…
Lokesh – beautiful song, and great picturisation! The shots shuffle across ganges in different cities, back and forth, that looks a bit disjointed – not from visual / art perspective but from Ganga perspective! Ganga also tells a story if you look at her from mountains to sea.
I came across your post while writing a post myself. Very well researched post and very interesting. I miss the song ‘Mera Naam Raju Gharana…’ Hadn’t heard it for ages!
I am putting together a list of songs that were pictured with Ganga in visuals. The word ‘Ganga’ may or may not appear in the lyrics. Also, another list of songs that were shot in Haridwar. Thirdly, movies that have shots of Haridwar.
I wish Google search at sometime in near future enables this kind of ‘seek’ going further than ‘search’. After all, Google Earth helped a lost boy in Australia search his home in India! In the 2016 release ‘Lion’ starring Dev Patel, Nicole Kidman, and Dipti Naval. That inspired me in writing my own little blog ‘Anatomy of a Song’.
Thanks again for this excellent article.
“I miss the song ‘Mera Naam Raju Gharana…’”
One Raj Kapoor song was enough for me! ;-)
I’m sorry I couldn’t be of further help regarding the Haridwar article you wanted – but (if you have the time and the inclination) you might want to watch Ganga ki Lehren. I couldn’t tell whether that’s Haridwar or not (I’ve only been to Haridwar in passing, en route to higher up in Uttarakhand), but it might be – looked like it, a bit.
I’m looking for a song about the Ganges that, in translation, goes: Oh river Ganga – where do you come from? Where are you going? Waves dance like the rays of the sun and shadows…” (That’s all I know of it). Does anybody know what it is? Thanks!
That would be the first song on this list, Ganga aaye kahaan se. The first few lines (the refrain, actually) are exactly what you’ve written.
There’s a Bengali version of this song, at least with the same tune and about the Ganga too, but since my Bengali is really shaky, I can’t tell if the words mean the same. I don’t think they do, from what I can decipher.
Will u really compile such a list?
Oh! it would be fun reading that!
BTW, 16th november happens to be Roshan’s death anniversary as well, ( of course we know, its Chitragupt’s b’day)
Incidentally Roshan’s b’day coincides with Madanmohan’s death anniversary!
Isn’t that too much of a coincidence!
I’m very confused as to do a list on Roshan or chitragupt?
whereas Chitragupt post is ready, Roshan’s post isn’t!
Wah, so many composers with connections to the same date!
You have a Chitragupta post ready too. Good! I’m looking forward to it – let’s see which songs we’ll have in common, if any! :-)
My theme is known to u actually, if u remember our conversation
i’m also early waiting for ur list! Chitragupt is so dear to me and the songs are so close to my heart that I get hurt if someone insults him by calling his films B grade.
* eagerly waiting
My take on that is that the films themselves may be B grade, but Chitragupt’s music was A grade. ;-) When it comes the the films he composed for, I tend to separate his music from the film itself – they seem to have been in two separate realms. But that, I think, can be said of a lot of films from the 50s and 60s: many of them might have been terrible films by themselves, but I cannot, offhand, think of any film with music that was actually painful. Some music was brilliant, some was merely good – but the music of that era was never horrible, the way it got in the 80s and 90s, for example.
I believe in each and every word you have written above.
I also feel that let the films be B grade, the music was A grade.
The first lines of the comments vanished!
‘every time I’ve thought of compiling a post of films ‘you must not watch’, Chandan ka Palna always tops the list’
Ah, okay. :-) I was a bit puzzled. I should compile a list like that, but to be able to write well about those films, I’ll need to watch them again… and the very thought of that makes me shudder!
” Ganga ghat ka pani piya hai ”
Ponga Pandit / 1975 / Kishore Kumar / Randhir Kapoor
Good collection but few songs left