Ten of my favourite ‘Jaa’ songs

Or, to be rather more lucid, songs that begin with the word ‘Jaa’ (‘go’).

This post sprang out of my post on ‘Aaja’ songs.  Fellow blogger and friend Ava suggested that I might want to do a post on ‘Jaajaa’ or ‘Jaao’ songs, and that started me thinking: is jaajaa a word, just the way aaja is? Or is it jaa jaa (repeated for emphasis?), and so the core word is actually only jaa? A little online discussion took place between me, Neeru and Milind, and we came to the conclusion that jaa jaa is probably poetic license, a word repeated in order to fit the beat. Which I tend to agree with.

So, the word here is jaa. And these ten songs all begin with ‘jaa’ (and I’m being strict about this; no variations, like jaaiye or jaao). What or who is being sent away differs, but the crux of the matter remains: go. Go away. All these songs, as always, are from pre-70s films that I’ve seen. And they’re in no particular order.

Jaa songs

1. Jaa jaa jaa mere bachpan (Junglee, 1961): This was the first song that popped into my head when I saw Ava’s comment with the suggestion for this post. Saira Banu debuts onscreen with this song in Junglee—a lovely young woman, skipping and dancing through the hills and valleys of Kashmir, telling her childhood to take itself away: she is now grown up, ready for love, waiting for it to come her way. There is no place here for her childhood; she is past those days.

I love this song (and, actually, all the songs of Junglee, except for the title song). The music is wonderful, the landscape is beautiful, and Saira Banu is so fresh-faced and lovely, she’s a pleasure to watch.

Jaa jaa jaa mere bachpan

2. Jaa re jaa re ud jaa re panchhi (Maya, 1961): Though it was released in the same year as Junglee and featured another of my favourite actors—Dev Anand—Maya was very, very different from Junglee. This was the story of a wealthy but disillusioned man who takes a break from his privileged life in order to get to know what it’s like to be poor. In the process, he falls in love with a poor young woman—who, when she discovers his real identity (and the fact that he has, basically, been lying to her all this while)—sings this song. Telling him to go, to leave this vale of want and despair, to fly to more salubrious climes. Majrooh Sultanpuri’s lyrics and Salil Chowdhury’s music are wonderful, and Lata’s rendition is perfect (at least to my untrained ears)—she goes really high without faltering or going all shrill.

Jaa re jaa re ud jaa re panchhi

3. Jaa jaa jaa jaa bewafa (Aar Paar, 1954): The better-known version of this song is the duet, the peppy and playfully romantic Sun sun sun sun zaalima, in which Shyama’s character sings “Jaa jaa jaa jaa bewafa” in response to her beloved’s pesky wheedling. Here, in the much slower, sad version of the song, she reiterates her stand: “Kuchh kiya na dil ka khayaal; jaa teri wafaa dekh li” (You paid no heed to my heart; go—I have had a taste of your fidelity). Despairing and heartbroken, this is a girl far removed from the one who went dancing and jumping among the cars and over them in happier times…

Jaa jaa jaa jaa bewafa

4. Jaa tose nahin boloon Kanhaiyya (Parivaar, 1956): From the garage to a home—and a not-too-unusual combination of a dance rehearsal in a domestic setting. Though, somewhat unusually, the dancer’s tabla player here, the man who’s egging her on to perform, is not her ustad but her husband. And the dancer/singer’s song is not just a song, too: it’s a playful reminder to her husband, of how she’s only going to take this much, and no more. All light-hearted and fun, yet loving at the same time.

Interestingly, another song in another film begins with exactly the same words: in Samrat Chandragupta, a song picturized on Nirupa Roy and Bharat Bhushan begins Jaa tose nahin boloon. I don’t like it as much as this one, though.

Jaa tose nahin boloon Kanhaiyya

5. Jaa jaa re jaa saajna (Adalat, 1958): And, from the domestic setting of the previous song, to a completely different one: a kotha. From the mischievous banter between a woman and her loving husband, to the bitter cry of a woman who has been deserted by her husband. Madan Mohan gave Adalat a score far exceeding, in excellence, the film itself (which had more than its fair share of misunderstandings, mindless self-sacrificing, and melodrama). This song, while perhaps not as well-known as several of the others from the film, is a memorable one nevertheless. Slow, melancholy through much of it—and then, in the middle and towards the end, when the dancer whirls and takes up the song, suddenly turning fast-paced, very typically mujra-like.

Jaa jaa re jaa sajna

6. Jaa ri jaa ri o kaari badariya (Azaad, 1955): And, back again, to a domestic setting. Rescued and brought to a family of loving strangers, Meena Kumari’s character is finally ready to go back to her own home—and, as a way of thanking her hosts for their generosity and kindness, sings them a song and dances them a dance. The song is all about telling the dark clouds to depart, because their thundering and their gloom makes her heart quaver—and her beloved isn’t around to soothe away those fears. Not one of the best-known songs of what was a stellar score (and, even more impressive, a score that was composed by C Ramachandra in a record two weeks), but still a lovely song.

Jaa ri jaa ri o kaari badariya

7. Jaa ri sakhi saj-dhajke (Ghoonghat, 1960): Where there’s an Indian wedding, there are bound to be tears. Tears, of course, at the bidaayi, when the new bride bids farewell to her home and her family: but tears, too, of combined joy and happiness as the bride’s friends prepare her for the ceremony. Here, Asha Parekh is the happy bride and Beena Rai the woman with whom this girl’s fate has been oddly tied up. As she helps the bride put on her jewellery and daubs henna on the girl’s palms, the singer wishes her farewell. Farewell to one home which she will leave desolate, farewell to the friends who will miss her.

The song does have a slow, somewhat ponderously melancholic feel to it, but it’s not bad. And I do love one particular aspect of the picturization: the dancers, with lamps in their hands, who slowly whirl about the central figures of the two main actresses.

Jaa ri sakhi saj-dhajke

8. Jaa aur kahin ro shehnai (Shaadi, 1962): Another wedding song, and also, like Jaa ri sakhi, sung by a heartbroken singer. But this is not before the wedding; it’s after—and it’s sung by the bride. The pheras have been completed, the mantras read, so she is technically married; but her husband has been, willy-nilly, hauled off from the mandap by a greedy father who has suddenly realized he’s not going to get wealthy from this marriage. Bride? Wife? Neither? Our heroine (Saira Banu in one role I’m especially fond of, opposite Manoj Kumar) curses the shehnai, telling it to be gone. Since it cannot play celebratory music, it may as well wail. Wail, somewhere else, so that she may at least be spared that further anguish.

Jaa aur kahin ro shehnai

9. Jaa re Gokul ke natkhat chor (Laal Qila, 1960): Laal Qila could’ve been an interesting historical: it was set in the mid-1800s, when the East India Company was steadily taking over large swathes of India. The film did touch on Bahadur Shah Zafar, reduced to a mere puppet and bemoaning his fate; it did dwell briefly on the first war of independence—and that was it; the rest was boring, badly scripted and pointless stuff that had nothing to do with the Red Fort or what history was being made there. The only redeeming feature of Laal Qila was its lovely music (by SN Tripathi), especially Zafar’s ghazals. And this charming little love song, played out between Helen and an admirer, whom she addresses as a flirtatious Krishna, playfully telling him to go, to leave her alone.

Jaa re Gokul k natkhat chor

10. Jaa re baadal jaa (Kailashpati, 1962): One of those many mythologicals that featured Jeevan as Naarad, this one was a recounting of the myths surrounding Shiv and Sati/Parvati, and the destruction of the asura Taarak. The music, by Avinash Vyas, was not memorable (bhajans, which comprised most of the songs, in any case do not really float my boat)—but it did have this lovely song. Parvati, locked into her room by a mother who does not approve of her devotion to Shiv, sings to a passing cloud (Meghdoot-like?) to carry a message to her beloved, reassuring him of her love for him. A beautiful tune, and beautifully sung.

Jaa re baadal jaa

These are the songs I chose to fit this theme. Which would be your picks?

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71 thoughts on “Ten of my favourite ‘Jaa’ songs

  1. jaa-jaa is quite an oft usen term in Hindi songs.
    Thank God, you have also allowed the use of jaao, which reminds me of a song, which Pacifist Immer re-introduced me to.
    Raaj Kumar in Dil Ka Raja

    My favourite in this section, is jaa jaa re jaa balamwa from Basant Bahar

    Amazing rendition by Lata *sigh*
    Taseer Gujral has already mentioned it on your fb-page.

    Another amazing song, again sung by Lata is jaa re badra bairi jaa re jaa re from Bahaana, from whome else but Madan Mohan

    Which takes me to another cloud song, again by Lata
    jaa re kaare badra from Dharti Kahe Pukar Ke

    jaa jaa re chanda jaa re from Private Secretary is one which I like a lot. The MD Dilip Dholakia is also not a frequent name.

    Another jaa song from the same film, fabulously rendered by Manna Dey

    Here we have at last a jaa song sung by a male singer!

    Another song, nearly decade earlier, which is similar to that of the Lata song from Private Secretary is ja jaa re chanda teri chandani jalaye from Albeli (1955)

    Nice but not at par with the above songs though.

    A lovely classical song is jaa tose naahi bolu from Sautela Bhai

    Lata jaa-song this time from Naya Ghar

    And now that I have hogged so much comment space of your blog, I’ll shut up.
    Thank you for this post with great songs and 3 new songs for me.

    • Harvey, glad you liked the post! Thank you, and thank you for the songs you suggested! Jaa re badra bairi jaa is such a lovely song – if only I’d seen Bahaana, it would certainly have been on my list! Other songs that had been in my longlist but were dropped because I hadn’t seen the movies they were from included Jaa re beimaan tujhe, Jaa jaa re chanda jaa re and the song from Dharti Kahe Pukaarke. I hadn’t heard the songs from Basant Bahaar, Albeli and Naya Ghar before – but all are lovely. Jaa main tose nahin boloon, now that I’m listening to it, sounds very familiar. Really nice song; I’ve probably heard it somewhere before.

      “Thank God, you have also allowed the use of jaao

      No. :-) I have specifically excluded songs that begin with jaao or other variations, such as jaaiye. “And these ten songs all begin with ‘jaa’ (and I’m being strict about this; no variations, like jaaiye or jaao)

  2. Must confess I haven’t heard some of these, Madhulikaji. Harveypam has already added some I was going to . Here are a few more:

    Ja ja ja chhod de o chhaliya
    Kan Kan Mein Bhagwan (1963)

    Ja ja chhod de meri kalai
    Phagun (1958)

    Ja ja re ja deewane ja
    Grihasti (1963)

    Ja Re Chandra Aur Kahin Ja Re
    Sajni (1956)

    Jari Ja Ja Nindiya Ja
    Jhaanjhar (1953)

    Ja re ja o harjaai
    Kaalicharan

    • Ah, very nice songs, Milind! Really nice – especially the songs from Grihasti, Sajni and Jhaanjhar (I should have remembered the song from Grihasti, considering I’ve seen the film and the song’s a good catchy one), but I’d forgotten. Thanks for reminding me of that.

      Jaa re jaa o harjaai kept popping into my head, but I had to skip it, of course, considering it’s beyond the time period of this blog. But yes, it was an extremely popular song at one time.

  3. :) You beat me to it this time. Again, part of a twin post. Ah, but this goes very well with your aaja post.
    The first song that came to mind when I saw the title on my sidebar was Jaa tose nahin boloon Kanhaiyya followed by Ja ja ja ja bewafa and Ja re ja re ud jaare panchhi… all of them perennial favourites of mine.

    Harvey has filled in enough songs for another post. :) But I think these songs (from my list) haven’t been mentioned yet.
    Jaa jaa re chanda jaa re from Private Secretary

    Jaa jaa re chanda jaa re from Albeli (I love this one!)

    This one is from my ‘teasing songs’ list: Jaa ri na bataaoon main naam chitchor ka from Angulimaal

    *Going off to listen to your list in peace. :)

    • Ouch. So you had a post planned along these lines? Sorry about that. :-(

      Harvey actually included both the Albeli song and the Private Secretary one in his comment. ;-) But they’re both lovely songs, so I don’t mind listening to them all over again. I don’t remember hearing the Angulimaal song before, though since I did read your teasing songs post, I must have heard it.

        • Besides, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with two people compiling a list on the same theme (as long as it’s not right one after the other, since that can get boring…) It’s fun to compare lists and to discover ‘new’ songs.

          Harvey had pretty much compiled a ‘top ten’ list of his own, so I’m not surprised you missed those songs. ;-)

    • Despite the ‘prologue’, I can think we can make an exception – that’s what the comments are for! With people going off on tangents left, right and centre in the comments section, this one’s perfectly within its limits. Fun song, too: I don’t think I’ve ever come across this one before.

    • Always happy to have something from across the border – especially if it’s Noorjehan! (and especially when we seem to be really scraping the barrel when it comes to songs from Hindi cinema). Thank you; this was a lovely song.

  4. Wow! So many songs with Ja. When I suggested this word to you I could think of only 1 or two. Just look at the wealth of songs on display here! On your write up AND the comments. I am so happy. Your post becomes an encyclopedia on the subject being written about.

    This is fun!

  5. Not pre 70s, but yesterday I heard a “Jaa Jaa Jaa” by Kishore Kumar (Prem Nagar 1974) and while I did not really remember the song, seeing the clip from “Ghoongat” brought back memories, as it was the first Indian film I ever saw…

    • Ah, Jaa jaa jaa mujhe na ab yaad aa? I’d forgotten about that one (even though I focus on pre-70s songs, I invariably end up at least remembering some and thinking, “This could’ve been on my list if I extended the time period”). I personally think the song’s better listened to than watched.

      • This may seem out of place here & you may delete it if you like, but no one seems to have done a post on Hindi songs copied from Western numbers. Here’s a llst of some :
        Dil dil se mila kar dekho (Memsaheb) – ‘Twas on the isle of Capri.
        Mast nazar dekh idhar (Ek dil sau afsaane) – Come September
        Ae dil hai mushkil (CID) – Oh my darling Clementine
        Ajeeb daastan hai yeh (Dil apna preet paraayi) – My lips are sealed, Jim Reeves
        Baaje payal chham, chham (Chhaliya) – Ron Goodwin, Desert Hero
        Gore gore O baanke chhorey (Samadhi)- Chico,chico, Puerto Rico
        Saare ke saare ( Parichay) – Doe a deer, The sound of music
        Uthe sab ke qadam (Baton baton mein)- Polly wolly doodle all the way
        Honton pe geet jaage (Man pasand)- I could have danced all night, My fair lady
        Kaisa tera pyaar (Love Story) – I have a dream, ABBA
        Dekho, ab to (Janwar) – I want to hold your hand, The Beatles
        Chura liya hai tumne (Yadon ki baraat)- If it’s tuesday this must be Belgium
        Ye samaa, samaa hai ye ( Jab jab phool khile) – Besame mucho.

  6. The song from Maya is perhaps one the few hot favorites of both established singers as well as beginners apart from Aha Rim jhim ke from Usne Kaha tha and Tasveer teri dil mein (also from Maya). They have mesmerized the audience for long and even now.

  7. It’s a very interesting topic this time. There would be numerous songs starting with Jaa. However very few would meet the criteria & at the same time being melodious to listen to over & again. It has prompted me to share the song, a mujra, from Duniya Na Maane ( 1959 ) filmed on Minoo Mumtaz, singing for Pradeep Kumar. Here it goes:

    Jaa Re Jaa Re Jaa Re, Anadi Balma.

    The music maestro Madan Mohan has exhibited an excellent piece of work with clarinet that gives you the richness of the composition when you enter the hall at the moment while this song is going on ( as happened with me ) with gorgeous Minoo Mumtaaz dancing & singing it.

    Nice selection of songs above.

    Jaa further!

    IPS Pahwa.

  8. I have nothing to add to this already comprehensive list (and additions) here. Just wanted to stop by and thank you for reminding me of Geeta’s solo version – Ja Ja Ja bewafa. Beautiful indeed… Don’t know why but Geeta and Rafi have always had a profound effect on my ears..

    • Same here. I tend to steer clear of tagging people ‘favourites’, but if someone held a gun to my head and made me say which Hindi film singers were my favourites, I’d say Geeta and Rafi as well. There’s something about them.

  9. Nice post. The first song from ‘Maya’ is a favorite.
    Some additions.

    A rare song from ‘Do Boond pani’ by Jaidev featuring Simi Garewal in a “different” role

    from ‘Maya Bazaar’

    from ‘Waman Avtar’ – another rare one.

    from ‘Dil diwana’

    • Chris, just when I thought everybody had put in just about every Jaa song there was, you come up with a whole bunch of ‘new’ ones! I loved Jaa ri pawaniya piya ke des jaa; and should have remembered Jaa jaa jaa re chhaliya, since I’ve heard it before. Jaa re jaa re aakaash raja jaa re was new to me too, as was Jaa re jaa bewafa – and I thought I’d heard most songs from the 70s (also didn’t know that Jaya Bhaduri acted in a film with Randhir Kapoor other than Jawani Diwani).

    • I watch relatively little new cinema, and remember even less of its music, so I’m not surprised that I should not have heard of Jaa ri jaa ae hawa (the words and scenario of which remind me rather of Dheere chal dheere chal ae bheegi hawa from Boyfriend). Jaa re ud jaa re was nice; hadn’t heard that, either.

  10. Great exploration for ALL the songs starting with Jaa whether or not they could sincerely be considered to enter the list of first ten, or could replace one of them! Though pasand apni apni, khayal apna apna.

    A marvel from the 1957 film Bhabhi seems to have managed to escape the brunt of duster & needed a gentle polishing. The dazzling & sparkling Shyama singing:

    Jaa Re Jaadugar Dekhi Teri Jaadugari.

    I was waiting for someone to suggest this. A Nice one!

    IPS Pahwa.

    • Thank you for adding this one! I was wondering whether anybody would remember Jaa re jaadugar, or whether I would end up having to add it into the comments on my own. This song had been on my shortlist – in fact, the very first screenshot in the post is from this song.

  11. What a wonderful treasure trove of songs ! While there were quite a few songs I like starting with jaa, never thought there were so many. I like your selection. The last one on your list I heard for the first time. I really like the first 7 songs on your lis. Hats off to Harvey for listing so many wonderful songs. One of my favourites “ja main to se na hi bolun” from Sautela bhai is amazing. Unusual too, because Lata is singing for both the dancers. The Adalat song you listed is unusual too, same words set at a slow and fast pace in the same song, not two different versions, as are so many in the films.
    There are two other jaao songs that came to mind jaao rasiya, hato jaao rasiya (can’t find the video ) and jao na satao rasiya from Roop ki rani choron ka raja”. Jaao re jogi tum jaao re is still the best of the lot. Most of the songs I would have added are already there, so here is one from Champakali. The beginning music reminds me of another song, but can’t remember, it will keep bugging me now :(

    • I had never heard Jaa re jaa re o maakhanchor before; what a nice song! Thank you for that song. :-)

      Talking about the song from Adalat, that change in tempo and tone is something that really appeals to me as well – it’s an interesting way of retaining it as one song, but including (sort of) two versions of the song within one.

      I thought the start of the Champakali song sounded familiar too, but even I don’t know which song it resembles. Perhaps Mr Pahwa is right.

  12. I’m coming in after the party has wound-up, but I loved going through all the “jaa” songs. Harvey has posted two of my favorites in the Private Secretary and Sautela Bhai songs, but I remembered another “jaa.. main tose na boloun” number by Lata that I quite like:

  13. jaayo rey jogi jaye rey has not been written but dictated as lyricist shailender ji was in extreme depression tension due to teesri ksam unable to concentrate so came in studio and started dictating when music director shankar asked him gaana laayo ho na ! he said he has by heart ! i have highest respect for him that he wrote beautiful songs in tension. like tumhey yaad kartey kartey, dil ki girah khol do and all !

  14. I coulsn’t imagine that there are so much songs beginnings with Jaa! Thanks for amazing post! I haven’t heard three songs from your list and I feel I should watch Maya – earlier I missed your review.
    I supposed that Helen must have at least one teasing song with Jaa – and I found it:) It is from Passport and are less know that Saaz-e-Dil Chhed De, but anyway is pretty nice.

    • Oh, nice, Anna! :-) I haven’t seen Passport yet, and while I do remember hearing some of its songs, I don’t think I’ve ever Jaa raha hai kyon deewaane. Thanks for that. Helen is always such a pleasure to watch.

  15. Though I suppose this blog is exclusively for Indian songs, one Pakistani song for a change, which is perfect for the theme, sung by Noorjehan.

    • My post is about Hindi film songs, but I’m more than happy to have people suggest songs from non-Hindi films in the comments. I hadn’t heard Jaa apni hasraton par before; thanks. Nice song.

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