Ten of my favourite philosophical songs

This post has been in the pipeline for a while. I had been thinking about compiling a list of philosophical songs from classic Hindi cinema, and blog reader Kamini Dey’s request for a post with that theme served to spur me on. I got distracted midway, and decided to do a cynical songs post, but here it is, finally: a list of ten philosophical songs from old Hindi cinema that I especially like.

Capture

When I began work on this post, I ran up against a major roadblock: a lot of Hindi songs, even when the main theme of the song is something else—romance, for example, or a broken heart—often resort to philosophy (for instance, the common ‘Let’s fall in love because who knows whether this moment will return again,’ embodied in songs like Lag jaa gale ke phir yeh. Or the ‘My heart is broken, but I will live on, crying all the while’ of songs like Toote hue khwaabon ne humko yeh sikhaaya hai)

So, I set myself an important limit besides the usual stuff about the songs being from pre-70s films that I’ve seen. The song must focus on a philosophy of life. The philosophy shouldn’t be hidden away behind another agenda; the philosophy must be the main theme of the song. And yes, not more than one song per film.

Here goes, then, in no particular order:

1. Aage bhi jaane na tu (Waqt, 1965): Aage bhi jaane na tu is one of my perennial favourites, because there’s so much to admire about this song: Ravi’s music, Asha Bhonsle’s fabulous rendition, Erica Lall’s perfect depiction of the typical 60s crooner, the fact that this is one of those rare old songs which do not make the story come to a standstill while the song takes place. And, the lyrics. Sahir Ludhianvi, at his best. A song about how both the future and the past are the unknown; whatever exists, exists in this moment alone. It does not specifically mention romance or love, but so much more (crime, for instance?). A reminder that time flies past, which is why you must grab every moment, leave no opportunity to go its way ignored.

(Incidentally, the way this song begins is an interesting segue from dialogue to lyrics; Sunil Dutt’s character tells his beloved, in reassurance, to leave everything to kismet).

Aage bhi jaane na tu, from Waqt

2. Main zindagi ka saath nibhaata chala gaya (Hum Dono, 1961): Sahir Ludhianvi again, and with a song that’s all about a philosophy that helps tide over the difficulties of life. Dev Anand’s character sings of blowing away all his worries as smoke, going along with whatever life throws his way. Taking everything—sorrow, happiness, woe, pain, joy—in one’s stride, and treating them all the same. A short song, but one that can actually be pretty inspirational.

HumDono_MainZindagiKaSaath

3. Aankhon pe bharosa mat kar (Detective, 1958): … duniya jaadoo ka khel hai, har baat yahaan ek dhokha, har cheez yahaan pe mel hai. Don’t believe your eyes, says this song (with lyrics by Shailendra); this world is a game of magic. Everything here is illusion, farce, deception. And, the next moment, the song changes track—and, to some extent, its philosophy. From being cynical it goes to footloose and fancy-free: because you can’t do anything to change the world—which is anyway out to fool you—you may as well join in the fun, Laugh, dance, sing, enjoy life. Be like a little child: innocent and carefree.

Detective_AankhonPeBharosaMatKar

4. Chaahe koi khush ho chaahe gaaliyaan hazaar de (Taxi Driver, 1954): I imposed that restriction about not more than one song per film mainly because of this film. Taxi Driver—its music scored by SD Burman, to words by Sahir Ludhianvi—had two songs which were philosophical. One (and the one I was initially inclined to include in this list) is the sultry Ae meri zindagi aaj raat jhoom le, which is very similar in philosophy to Aage bhi jaane na tu.

But I settled on a very different philosophy, and one which is relatively uncommon in Hindi cinema: Mast Ram banke zindagi ke din guzaar de. Don’t give a damn whether the world praises you or kicks you; be mast, carefree. If the seth increases the prices of his wares, don’t worry. If he starts giving you credit, eat on while you can… an interesting little philosophy, actually, which could be a good recipe for happiness: don’t take on worries, because worrying doesn’t really get you anywhere.

TaxiDriver_ChaaheKoiKhushHoChaahe

5. Zindagi ittefaq hai (Aadmi aur Insaan, 1969): Like Erica Lal’s crooner in Aage bhi jaane na tu, or Sheila Ramani’s small-time club dancer in Ae meri zindagi aaj raat jhoom le, a somewhat unusual person, in an unusual place, singing philosophy. Mumtaz looking her absolutely gorgeous best, very stylish and oozing oomph from every pore, sings that life is but a coincidence. A series of coincidences. Friendships, relationships, love: these are all coincidences, happenstance. Reason for celebration. Har khushi ittefaq hai, she says. So live it up, while you can (a philosophy, really, that is pretty much an echo of the two other songs I’ve mentioned, above). Brash, cynical, self-centred, but oh, so practical.

AadmiAurInsaan_ZindagiIttefaqHai

6. Zindagi kaisi hai paheli haai (Anand, 1970): Like the previous song, also a song that is a definition of life. The ‘definition of life’ songs, of course, tend to be invariably philosophical, whether they define life as a dream, a journey, a coincidence—or, as in this case, a riddle. The eponymous (and aptly named) Anand, well aware that he is dying of a fatal disease, continues to not only smile, but almost gambol through what remains of his brief life.

He plays pranks, jokes about, sets about matchmaking for his friend, the shy and brooding doctor—but now and then, when he’s all alone, the mask slips. Sometimes, the face (and soul) it shows is obviously deeply unhappy and lonely; sometimes, as in this case, it is sad, but trying. As he walks down the beach, with colourful balloons soaring up into a bright blue sky, with children running about—all the signs of a carefree, joyful day—Anand sings of life: a riddle. A riddle that makes you laugh one moment, cry the next. A riddle that is so fascinating, so intoxicating, that it spins its web and entraps the human heart, which goes chasing after that elusive dream…

Anand_ZindagiKaisiHaiPaheli

7. Aasmaan pe hai khuda aur zameen pe hum (Phir Subah Hogi, 1958): When I published my list of favourite cynical songs, Kamini Dey—who had suggested I do this philosophical songs list—was sweet enough to tell me that that list qualified to complete her request, since cynicism is also a philosophy, after all. The idea that the world is selfish, self-serving, too tied up in its own materialistic ambitions to have any heart left—that is a philosophy, too. So I decided I could include a song here which I like a lot and which missed being in the cynical songs list by a narrow margin.

Raj Kapoor, as the poor man catapulted into a high society party, uses the occasion to vent some of his ire at the way the poor are ground under the heel of the rich. But does he blame the rich? No, not completely: his sarcastic words are addressed not to the moneyed, but to God. A God who has stopped looking down at (or looking after) the Earth he created, the race he created. And what effect does that have? ‘Jab use hi gham nahin, kyon humein ho gham?’ (‘When He isn’t worried, why should we be?’)

PhirSubahHogi_AasmaanPeHaiKhuda

8. Badal jaaye agar maali (Bahaarein Phir Bhi Aayengi, 1966): In sharp contrast to Aasmaan pe hai khuda, a song that is all about looking at the brighter side of things, of not letting go of one’s dreams. Dharmendra, as the earnest young journalist, finds himself surrounded by the poor, the weary, the downtrodden—and sings a song about hope. If the gardener changes, he says, the garden is not emptied; spring will still come. In similar vein, no matter what blows fate may strike, one should not let go of one’s hope. Spring will come; this, too, shall pass.

(It sounds somewhat sanctimonious, and the picturization makes it even more so, but still).

BahaareinPhirBhiAayengi_BadalJaayeAgarMaali

9. Mausam beeta jaaye (Do Bigha Zameen, 1953): And, the other side of the coin. The poor, giving hope to themselves, to their fellow-sufferers. As Balraj Sahni’s Shambhu leaves his village to go to Calcutta, in the vain hope that he will be able to earn enough to repay the debt and get back his meagre two bighas of land, villagers working in the fields sing of the seasons passing. One season makes way for another, and before one knows it, life is over—so, while one is alive, one should leave behind something. Some memory of one’s existence, some sign to show that one did pass this way.

I like the way this song is somewhat similar to Aage bhi jaane na tu, in that both talk of the unknown, of what the next moment will bring. But their tones could not be more different (and I don’t mean the music or the rendition): the crooner’s song is more of an ‘enjoy this moment’; the villagers’ is more ‘don’t give up; this may be the only moment you have.’ Beautiful song, and beautifully sung.

DoBighaZameen_MausamBeetaJaaye

10. Kisi ki muskuraahaton pe ho nisaar (Anari, 1959): And, to end, a feel-good philosophy. Raj Kapoor has lip-synced to several songs that repeat this sentiment—of living for others, of being selfless and of believing in a universal brotherhood of man—but of all of them, this song’s my favourite. The music is superb, and for once, Mukesh (who more often than not tends to sound somewhat sanctimonious when singing songs in this vein) is believable, sweet-voiced, conveying a sense of genuine kind-heartedness rather than preachiness.

Anari_KisiKiMuskuraahatonPeHoNisaar

Which songs would you add to this list? Please share—there are lots of great philosophical songs out there, including some I’m sure I don’t even know about!

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89 thoughts on “Ten of my favourite philosophical songs

  1. Very nice list Madhu didi! I loved all the songs. Setting a criteria was very important because so many songs like you mentioned tend to get philosophical when the hero is in a very sad mood.. Here are some of my songs but I think one or two of them might not fit into the list so you’ll have to forgive me :)
    Kisne yeh khel rachaya from Dharti Mata (1938)

    Apni to har aah ek toofan hain from Kala Bazaar

    Wahan kaun hain tera from Guide

    I’m sorry didi I know you’re not a fan of Guide but still..
    Jeevan been madhur na baaje from Street Singer (1938)

    Kahan ja raha from Seema (1955)

    Maine chand aur sitaaron ki tamannah ki thi from Chandrakanta (1956)

    And one song from the 70’s

    But very nice post didi!!

    • Nice suggestions, Rahul! The two KL Saigal songs and Raaton ke saaye were unfamiliar to me (incidentally, I don’t even remember hearing of Annadata before, and as luck would have it, Anu’s reviewed it over at her blog today!). All good songs – and while I don’t like Guide, I think its music is brilliant – one of the very few elements of that movie that I love. Wahan kaun hai tera is a lovely song, and was on my shortlist for this post.

      I had never thought of Apni toh har aah ek toofaan hai as a philosophical song – more as a subterfuge song (!), but yes, the words are philosophical.

    • There are many many HINDI film (and quite a number of
      non-film0 songs which can be labelled as

      Philosophical Inspirational Message and some

      which as itself are bhajans, but few lines are inspirational
      or philosophival, eg:

      ‘Tham Gaya Paani, Jam Gaayi Kaayi
      Behti Nadiya Hi Saaf Kahlayi
      Mer Man Hi Ne Jaal Phalaaye’ (probably)

      from KALA BAZAAR – Na Main Dhan Chahoon

      This song – Raaton Ke Saaye is an inspirational one and
      certainly not a philosophical one

      Sudhir

      June 27, 2016

  2. There are quite a few more..sansaar SE bhage phirte Ho Bhagwan ko tum kya paaoge AND man re tu Kahe Na dhir dhare from CHITRALEKHA , pal do pal ka saath hamara pal do pal ke yaarane hain from THE BURNING TRAIN , zindagi hansne gaane ke liye hai pal do pal from ZAMEER , apne liye jiye to kya jiye from BADAL (new ) , kaisi tune reet rachi bhagwan paap kare paapi bhare punyavaan from OONCHE LOG , zindagi kya hai gham ka dariya hai from PYAR KIYA TO DARNA KYA and so on…in fact , there are tens of songs using the word ZINDAGI dwelling on the meaning of life from various points of views.

  3. :) For a change, we have only two songs overlapping.

    From your list, Aage bhi jaane na tu is a perennial favourite. So are Aasman pe hai khuda and Zindagi kaisi hai paheli.

    Others that I would add:
    Zindagi khwaab hai from Jagte Raho

    Jiye toh aise jiyo from Bahu Beti

    Hai sabse madhur woh geet from Patita.

    Man re tu kahe na dheer dhare from Chitralekha

    • Yes, both lovely. I wanted to include Zindagi ke safar mein guzar jaate hain in this list, but it’s too far into the 70s for that. Classic philosophical song.

  4. Excellent selection of songs as usual and great write-ups on each song! A few I could think of:
    “Zindagi hai kya sun meri jaan” from Maya

    “Is duniya mein jeena ho to” from Gumnaam

    “Ae Johnny jeene mein kya hai” from Funtoosh

    “Duniya mein hum aaye hain to” from Mother India

    “Yeh duniya gol hai” from Chaudhvin ka Chand

    Most of the songs seem to be centred around “Zindagi” and “Duniya”!

    • That’s a fine collection, Vinay – and I’m hitting myself for having forgotten about Is duniya mein jeena ho toh (makes me think: one could probably do an entire song list of pretty ladies dancing about and singing philosophical songs). Yeh duniya gol hai had been on my shortlist for the cynical songs list, but I was undecided about it – you get the idea that this man is more baffled than disgusted by the world, so yes, it’s philosophical rather than cynical – which makes it a good fit here.

      I tend to disagree about Zindagi hai kya sun meri jaan. My main criterion for the songs was that their central focus should be philosophy; here, while Dev Anand’s character does sing of a philosophy, his main focus is on selling his ice cream.

      • You’re right, “Zindagi hai kya sun meri jaan” is only tangentially philosophical, but Dev Anand selling ice cream from a cart was too charming! And Rafi pronouncing cream as “kareem”

  5. What a lovely song list. If you could get a glimpse of my doodles and writings on old school / college notes, Mausam beeta jaaye was written here and there many times. That song always grabbed me somehow. It took several radio listenings to get the complete lyrics. Asman pe hai khuda, Aage bhi jaane na tu and Aakhon pe bharosa mat kar were other favourites. As I can tell from the comments and songs in Anu’s blog, it is kind of difficult to decide if the song is purely philosophical or about what is life. So I will give these a try, you be the judge !

    Kasme wade pyaar wafa sab

    Jeevan se lambe hain bandhu

    Ye jeevan hai, is jeevan ka ( a bit later than 1970 )

    • Neeru, thank you so much for these songs! I think all of these qualify perfectly (and Yeh jeevan hai is a special favourite of mine – if my blog extended well into the 70s, this one would certainly have been on this list). Kasme vaade pyaar wafaa is such a brilliantly scathing example of cynicism, and cynicism, after all, is a philosophy, isn’t it? So yes, that fits in beautifully too. I would’ve included it, if I hadn’t already made it part of my cynical songs list.

  6. i want to sing only one song. which everybody sings when gets trouble in this world. duniya bananey waley . kya tere mann mai samaai. tuney kaahey ko duniya bnaai.

  7. Great compilation!
    Allow me to suggest a sequel to this post, so several others may also get covered. Any song from ‘Teesri Kasam’ would qualify, I guess. ‘Jeena yahaan, marna yahaan….’ from ‘Mera Naam Joker’ could make it to this list. But the top one on my list would be ‘Ae dile nadaan….’ from ‘Razia Sultan’!

    • Yes, there are so many philosophical songs (and so many of them such good ones too). I agree with you that Teesri Kasam is one of those films from which just about any song would qualify; so, I think, is Jaagte Raho, and to some extent Anand.

      Ae dil-e-naadaan is a lovely song. Outside the scope of this blog, since I restrict myself to cinema from before the 70s, but a great song, nevertheless.

      • How about ‘Ae malik tere bande hum….’, ‘Ae bhai zara dekh ke chalo…’ and ‘Tu pyar ka sagar hai….’? The first and the last mentioned are perhaps more on the devotional side, I guess.

  8. I think I understand that you want to keep a line of separation between this topic and the cynical songs list that you recently created. Here you are focusing on philosophy of life. I like the songs you have listed. Here are a few that I like:

    1. Is mod se jaate hain – Andhi (1975) – Gulzar’s lyrics are well supported by RDB’s music and Kishore/Lata.

    2. Zindagi Ka Safar Hai Yeh Kaisa Safar – Safar (1970) – Lyrics by Indeevar

    I also like Anand’s other song besides the one on your list – Kahin door jab din dhal jaaye – I feel Yogesh did a great job with all the songs in this movie with his meaningful yet simple lyrics…

    • Thank you for adding two fabulous songs to the list, Ashish! I love both of these (and Zindagi ka safar would actually have fitted in, time-wise, too). Kahin door jab din dhal jaaye, though I didn’t mention it explicitly, was the song I meant when I wrote of how Anand’s mask of joviality slips now and then. That’s one of the few instances in the film when one realizes how sad and lonely he is.

      • Agreed. that song explained the philosophy and the dialogue that followed “Kya udasi khoobsurat nahi hoti babu moshai” or something to that effect gave me goosebumps…

        In a complete contrast, here’s a light philosophic song from the master philosopher of all time.. Yes, Johny Walker from the movie Johny Walker (1957) – Aey dil tu na darr.. OP Nayyar/Rafi/

        Content is arguable but lyrics (Hasrat Jaipuri) say the meaning is deep (let’s believe it, shall we?)

        • At first (without listening to the song) I couldn’t remember which one it was. But when I started listening to it, I remembered. Nice song! And, actually, rather like the vamp-spouting-philosophy, there’s probably an equal number of comedian-spouting-philosophy songs. Several of Johnny Walker’s in this list and the comments that follow.

        • Thanks, Ashish, for posting the song from “Johnny Walker”. I was not familiar with the movie and the song. And Johnny Walker in a double role is a real treat!

  9. Great selection of songs there. I love Hindi songs from yesteryears when lyrics meant something. Though once in a while some newer songs also manage to make a discerning listener think.

    • Thank you. I’m so glad you enjoyed the songs. And yes, I do agree that now and then new songs too have good lyrics. As an example of a philosophical song from a ‘new’ (not so new now, though!) movie, here’s Kaisi paheli zindagaani from Parineeta:

      Rather like Aage bhi jaane na tu or Zindagi ittefaq hai, in the sense of a somewhat unexpected singer…

  10. A philosophical song list! You never cease to surprise me!

    aage bhi jaane na tu: That’s a good one. Like it. And agree with it totally. Around 30 years later Eckhart Tolle would publish his best seller The Power of Now. The Upanishads and Tao Te Ching have been preaching it for millenias together.

    main zindagi ka saath: Lovely song, lovely tune, charming lyrics. The only fly in the ointment, it propagates smoking.

    aankhon pe bharosa mat kar: That reminds me of your quiz question of Pradeep Kumar’s profession in the film. So everything is maya, eh?

    chahe koi khush ho chahe: As somebody said, don’t be the football of other people’s opinion.

    zindaggi ittefaq hai: Might not agree with all of it, but love the song and the filming of it as well. There is so much eye-candy, that it distracts from the message. :D

    zindagi kaisi hai paheli haaye: There is not much in this song about what one should do, but just a definition. Good one!

    aasman pe hai khuda: Love the scathing cynicism.

    badal jaaye agar maali: Dharmendra looks so good.

    mausam beeta jaaye: Beautiful song! Salil was so good at chorus. Love that! Maybe it was the training of Rabindrasangeet.

    kisiki muskuraahaton pe: The raised forefinger! Nice message though.

    My favourite philiosophical songs, which are not included or mentioned in the list would be:
    tora man darpan kehlaye from Kaajal https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c44Ah24hr9M
    o re taal mile nadi ke jal me from Anokhi Raat https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_4dgpCAggSM
    sansar se bhage phirte ho from Chitralekha https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sNCqTht_Oj8
    It is so hard to find good (for me) philosophical songs, which are not from Sahir. So to move away from him, something on similar lines but by Shailendra
    jaao re jogi tum jaao re from Amrapali https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9e6rmVfDifo
    From Shailendra to his chela
    Post-70s
    o maanjhi re, apna kinara from Khushboo https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JFTaTokxsdc
    musafir hoon yaaron from Parichay https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_nCi5kwD1Y8
    and one which I don’t like much, but quite nice in a way
    aadmi musafir hai from Apnapan https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ipePh7hAkYc

    Thanks for the list, dear Madhu.

    Please don’t hesitate to delete the links, if the songs have already been mentioned. They do tend to bog down the post.

    • “chahe koi khush ho chahe: As somebody said, don’t be the football of other people’s opinion.

      LOL! Harvey, you’re a scream. I love the fact that you take the time out to write such a well thought-out, detailed comment. Makes one feel that one’s writing has actually been read.

      From the songs you’ve listed, Oh re taal mile nadi ke jal se was on my shortlist too. And if I had extended my list to the 70s, Musaafir hoon yaaron would definitely have been on it! I love that song. I like the words of Aadmi musaafir hai, but the music, the rendition, and the picturization not so much.

      All the other songs are good too, but these, especially!

    • At first (without listening) I didn’t remember this one. Then, hearing it, remembered how fond I used to be of this at one time. Nice song. Manna Dey did sing a lot of philosophical songs, didn’t he?

  11. and i like this song , but the kishore version that i am posting here…ik din bik jayega maati ke mol..from dharam karam..

      • I like the lyrics of this song, but not the music, really. Though my parents tell me that as a kid, I adored Ek din bik jaayega and used to keep singing it! (I do recall being too young to understand what ‘mol’ meant, and thought the word was ‘mole’ – which, when taken in conjunction with ‘maati ke‘, made perfect sense. After all, a mole lives underground, and all. But I couldn’t figure out why anybody would want to sell (or buy) a mole. :-D

  12. To say true to myself, I will be side-tracked from the main post. Punjabi has a lot of philosophical songs thanks perhaps too the influence of Sufism (can’t think off-hand of the ones in Punjabi films of yesteryears).
    Here I am posting a particularly good one from Bulleh Shah – because I like Asa Singh Mastana & Surinder Kaur’s contrasting voices! Only audio though

    http://folkpunjab.org/asa-singh-mastana/mati-khudi-karendi-yaar/

    Translation (by M. Sandhu)

    Maati kudam karendee yaar, vaah vaah maati de gulzaar Maati=soil;ghora=horse
    maati ghora maati jora, maati daa aswaar gulzaar=bouquet of flowers
    maati maati nu(n) dorave, maati daa khankaar khankaar=clanging
    maati maati nu(n) maaran lag-gee, maati de hathiyaar hathiyaar=weapons
    jis maati par bahutee maati, so maati hankaar hankaar=arrogance
    maati baagh bagheechaa maati, maati dee gulzaar baghechaa=garden
    maati maati nu(n) vekhan aayee, maati dee a bahar
    hus khed phir maati hove, paindee pau pasaar pau=feet;pasaar=spread
    Bullah ja(n) eh bujhaarat buj-jhe, taa(n) lah bhau siro(n) maar. bujhaarat=riddle

    The soil is in ferment, O friend
    Behold the diversity.
    The soil is the horse, so is the rider
    The soil chases the soil, and we hear the clanging of soil
    The soil kills the soil, with weapons of the soil.
    That soil with more on it, is arrogance
    The soil is the garden so is its beauty
    After the circle of life is done it returns to the soil
    Answer the riddle O Bulleh, and take this burden off my head.

      • That’s an excellent version and it is one of the most popular Bulleh Shah verses sung by many many singers. Also it is more about one’s personal place/meaning etc in life.

        I hope this one is new for many people and it is more a reflection on life in general.

      • Yes, I really like this one too. I have a confession to make: before I heard this one, all the Punjabi songs I’d heard were those awful, loud ones that were played by baaraats, and I used to hate it. This was the first popular Punjabi song I fell in love with.

    • Lovely, Banno! And thank you for the translation. That was useful (maybe I should really try watching Nanak Naam Jahaaz Hai one of these days)…

      Reminded me also of that beautiful piece of poetry, by Fariduddin Ganj-e-Shakar, about mitti. Had posted it on Facebook sometime back.

  13. i loved the screen caps ! lovely and contrasting. started laughing when i saw anand screen cap . mumtaaz looks so lovely. i think a post should be dedicated to hers as lead.

  14. Iam really sorry Madhu for late comment.Very well done! I like the list.You introduced few new songs to me from this list.Thankyou soo much for this.

    Here is my list for Philosophical song-
    1.Sansar se bhaage
    2.Main zindagi ka saath
    3.Duniya Banane wale
    4.Aye dil hai mushkil
    5.Jinhe naaz hai hind pe
    6.Man re tu
    7.Bane ho khaak ek se
    8.Aye ishq ye sab duniyawale
    9.Dekhi Zaamane ki yaari
    10.Tere bachpan ko jawani ki dua

    Though my list has few cynical songs also but they are philosophical. At last thankyou soo much for accepting the suggestion and working on it.Keep it up!

    • I am so glad you liked this list, Kamini! And I love your list, too (some of them overlap with my shortlist – or even the final songs – for my cynical songs list, so I think we don’t think too differently).

    • Thank you, Shilpi! Glad you liked this list – and I like both the songs you suggest. Ya dil ki suno was on my shortlist too, but when I paid closer attention to the lyrics, it seemed to suggest more a specifically targeted telling of the story of one person, rather than a general outlook on life. But that’s my take.

      Teri duniya mein jeene se is lovely. Really, really nice. :-)

    • The spam filter of WordPress has suddenly gone into overdrive. It marked just about every comment with two links or more as spam – lots of old faithful friends found their comments going into spam for this post. Crazy.

  15. This post made for a wonderful read. Going through the comments is almost as delightful as reading the post. The funny thing about philosophical songs in Bombay cinema is that they render a film with so much meaning that they often end up compensating for bad plotlines or generally mediocre films.
    Two more songs that come to mind are: ‘Zindagi Pyaar Ki Do Chaar Ghadi Hoti Hain’ by Hemant Kumar and ‘Yeh Zindagi Usi Ki Hain’ by Lata Mangeshkar, both from the film ‘Anarkali’. Although the latter can also be about love, I always connect to it as a song that teaches me about loving life and the universe, rather than just romantic loving. Another favourite is the aforementioned song from ‘Jaagte Raho’; ‘Zindagi Khwab Hain’, sung by Mukesh. This song is wistful and has a melancholic feel to it but the lyrics and its rendition has always moved me.
    Anyway, as someone who refreshes ‘Dustedoff’ every single day (and has been doing so for over two years), posts like this remind me about why I love Bombay cinema and it’s music in the first place. Several of the songs you’ve mentioned have become close friends, and have helped and healed during troubling times. Thank you for this beautiful write up.

    • Ritika, thank you so much. Your comment really warmed the cockles of my heart (and I could do with some warming – suffering from a horrible bout of flu right now!) :-)

      I like Zindagi pyaar ki do-chaar ghadi hoti hai as well as Yeh zindagi usi ki hai, though both do seem to veer more towards praising romantic love. Zindagi khwaab hai is a perennial favourite of mine. What a superb song. So well sung, such great lyrics and music, and well-picturized too.

    • “Several of the songs have become close friends and have helped and healed during troubling times” – so true! The uplifting power of some of the songs is amazing

  16. What an array of songs. The ones you have listed and the ones mentioned in the comments! Wow!

    I will mention one here from Chanda aur Bijli and is sung by Manna Dey.

    • Thank you for that, Ava! Somehow that ‘Ram Krishna Hari’ refrain (and the music) in Kaal ka pahiya ghoome always makes me think of this as a bhajan, but it really is a philosophical song.

  17. Oh wow! Hindi film songs certainly have a lot to say about life and how to live it.:-) My favorite of all the songs posted in terms of an outlook that I wish I could emulate is “chaahe koi khush ho” from Taxi Driver – seems like excellent advice for avoiding stress. Come to think of it, many of these philosophical songs could double as “advice” songs. Something along those lines is “Chod de saari duniya kissi ke liye” from Saraswati Chandra. Don’t personally care for the song but it does fit the theme.

    A “new” [by my time standards :-)] song in the mode of “aage bhi jaane na tu” that I really like is the title number from Kal Ho Na Ho:

    • Yes, Shalini, Chaahe khush ho chaahe gaaliyaan hazaar de is very good advice – and certainly something I wish I could adopt more frequently (though I must admit I’ve become better at it as I’ve grown older)!

      I’m not too fond of Chhod de saari duniya either, but it fits the theme, so why not? :-)

  18. I’ve been a regular reader, but this is the first time I am leaving a comment.

    First of all, a great post and a great blog in general.

    I’ll could think of 2 songs that could be added (and I think not suggested in other comments).
    The first is: Babu samjho Ishare from Chalti Ka Naam Gadi. The car is a metaphor for life and some simple yet deep lines: Itni si baat na samjhe zamana…Aadmi jo chalta rahe to mil jaye har khazana…

    A great fun song, but philosophical (maybe not as deep as say Main zindagi ka saath nibhata chala gaya.

    The second is: Yeh duniya agar mil bhi jaye th kya hai. This is the other end of the spectrum from Chalti ka naam Gadi…sad and philosophical. But lovely lines all through.

    • This is really creepy, because when I woke up this morning (in fact, the very moment I woke up), for some completely inexplicable reason, Babu samjho ishaare was playing in my head. And then I saw your comment! Such a crazy coincidence.

      Yes, I agree that’s a philosophical song, too – most people forget that because it’s decked out as a humorous one.

      Yeh duniya agar mil bhi jaaye is certainly philosophical. Cynical philosophical; I had it on my list of cynical songs.

      Thank you for commenting, and thank you for reading! :-)

      • :-) creepy coincidence indeed!

        These 2 songs once could say are an optimist’s and a pessimist’s view on life!

        I did browse through the cynical songs list later…another great one.

        Cheers,

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