As India celebrated 72nd Republic Day on Tuesday, it is time for a musical rewind, the Bollywood way.
There are countless classics that spring to mind. We look at a few that continue to resonate with the youth today, for the way they capture various moods of India.
Aye Mere Watan Ke Logo
The definitive Republic Day song, it was sung live by Lata Mangeshkar on January 26, 1963, as a tribute to Indian soldiers who died during the Sino-Indian War of 1962. The song is written by Kavi Pradeep and composed by C. Ramchandra. The first rendition of Mangeshkar, a live rendition at National Stadium in New Delhi, happened with President Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan and Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru in the audience.
Nanha Munna Rahi Hoon
Sung by Shanti Mathur for the 1962 film “Son Of India”, this song has long been associated with Republic Day and Independence Day, especially at schools where students perform to its beat. It’s about a child’s dedication to India. He describes himself as a soldier of the country.
Mera Rang De Basanti Chola
Lata Mangeshkar, Mukesh, Mahendra Kapoor and Rajendra Mehta sang the classic in the 1965 film, “Shaheed”. The music and lyrics are by Prem Dhawan. “Shaheed”, directed by S. Ram Sharma, stars Manoj Kumar, Kamini Kaushal, Pran, Iftekhar, Nirupa Roy, Prem Chopra, Madan Puri and Anwar Hussain. It is based on the life of Bhagat Singh.
Mere Desh Ki Dharti
This song in Mahendra Kapoor’s voice praises India. It is said that after the popularity of the song for the 1967 film “Upkar”, lead actor Manoj Kumar began to be addressed as Mr. Bharat.
Sandese Aate Hain
From the 1997 blockbuster “Border”, directed by JP Dutta, the song, sung by Roopkumar Rathod and Sonu Nigam, uses letters to beautifully present the Indian soldiers’ families’ love for them and to express how much they miss the soldiers, who are someone’s husband or lover or son.
I Love My India
The song is sung from the perspective of a man who has been abroad, to London, Paris and Japan, but hasn’t seen a country like India. The song was sung by Hariharan, Kavita Krishnamurthy and Aditya Narayan for Subhash Ghai’s 1997 film, “Pardes”.
Desh Mere Desh
Sung by AR Rahman and Sukhwinder Singh, the song is from the 2002 film “The Legend Of Bhagat Singh”, which revolves around freedom fighter Bhagat Singh. It talks about sacrifice for India and that freedom fighters would do anything for their country.
Rang De Basanti
The title track of “Rang De Basanti” (2006) is more like a celebration song in Daler Mehndi and KS Chithra’s voices. It touches upon the soil of India and her various colours.
The emotional song in B Praak’s voice goes well with the story of the 2019 release, “Kesari”, based on the Battle of Saragarhi, which was a battle fought between 21 Sikh soldiers and 10,000 Pashtun invaders in 1897.