V Kumar has been writing on Bollywood movies and music for several years, highlighting perspectives that are often missed out or ignored.
Greatest Inspirational Songs of Bollywood
Often, Bollywood is portrayed as a mindless pojection of fantasies, impossibilities and glamour. But there is a lot more that this century old industry has given to mankind, and one of them is Inspiration.
It has produced many a number that are not just a candy for the eyes and the ears, but a tonic for the soul as well ! They can inspire you, motivate you and help you in surviving through the challenges of life, and they do it not by way of insensitive orchestration of sermons, but by projecting lives and characters who survive and persevere through their ordeals in a way that people do in the real world ... and they do that with music and poetry that you just can't resist.
Here are the ten greatest ever inspirational songs of Bollywood. These are great musical masterpieces, but even more important is their message that subtly penetrates your psyche and gradually becomes a part of you. Their contribution to the human welfare is worth applauding and the inegnuity of their craftsmanship must be deserves to be recorded in golden words...
All is well !!!
"When your heart keeps shivering, keep your hand on your chest and take a deep breath; heart is just an idiot - it will settle with it; .... So round your lips, blow a whistle ... and then shout -"Hello! All is Well!"
A great number from a great movie, with a large compliment to the genius of Aamir Khan for communicating a difficult message in a very authentic manner. Self hypnotism is a time tested mode of pyschotherapy. This number brings it to the level of masses. Essentially, the message of this number is not very different from that of Geeta - Have "SAM BHAAV" (Neutralty to the circumstances. No fear about what will happen next) and this deep message comes in the most funny way one can concenptualize. Voiced by Sonu Nigam, Shaan and Swanand Kirkire, with music composed by Shantanu Moitra and lyrics by Swanand Kirkire.
From Dispair .... to Hope ..
"Unless you know what sorrow means, happiness and joy will have never have a meaning; It is only after struggling with typhoons, that shores begin to look so lovely and attractive ..."
One of the most soothing Bollywood songs for someone in distress. When you are suffering from a sudden loss, this is the number to hear and sing yourself. Its message is simple - When one door closes, many others are still left to open.... it is life that matters, not its events! The excellent lyrics were written by Indeevar.One of the best numbers sung by Mohammad Aziz. The music is composed by Rajesh Roshan.
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O' dear ! Awaken to life ....
"With misty eyes, it smiles at you; ...this new dawn waits for you with an embrace .....open your arms o poor soul .... and awaken .... my dear ....awaken to life !!"
Raj Kapoor, the Director is at his best in this number. Not surprising then that this movie and this number were his eternal favourites. The context is the protagonist - a poor man, thirsty in the night - tries to get some water and is mistaken for a thief. As he tries to escape his ordeal, the night becomes a prolonged misfortune, where he keeps falling from one trap to another. He comes across white collar criminals and is being chased by the police, when he lands in front of an innocent child, who reassures him with the words, "Darte ho ? Kyon ? Tumne to kuchh nahi kiya !" (Scared ? Why ? You haven't done a thing !) The innocence of a child becomes his support, the light of the new dawn brings and end to his miseries and finally ... there is water to quench his thirst ..... This melodious number was composed using Raag Bhairav, by Salil Chaudhary, with lyrics written by Shailendra and sung by Lata Mangeshkar.
The Candle that took on the Hurricane ...
".. Worn out fighting, he never gave up yet; ... With the strength of truth at his core, though weak he was, he kept the light alive , to continue on his path of selflessness ..... Never getting disheartened, till he had his breath, sustained by the faith in the Lord ....This is a tale of a small light who all alone fought against the hurricane.."
Arguably, the most inspiring song ever made in the history of Bollywood - from one of the most inspiring movies. Its greatness lies in its simple uncomplicated tale of an adolescent boy, orphaned by destiny, who boldly faces the challenges of life with perseverance and courage that becomes a beacon of light for you and me. Even a small light can fight with a hurricane ... of destiny ! Sung by Mannade with music composed by Vasant Desai - in Raag Malkauns. The lyrics are written by Bharat Vyas.
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Never say die ...
" What if the path is full of thorns, we still have to walk on it .... What if the evening covers the Sunshine, The night will surely pass out one day ..... This weather will also be over soon, Our courage will still hold .... and a new dawn will arrive ...."
One of the all time favourite inspirational numbers of Bollywood, it is composed in this century. Perhaps a reassurance that human nature and needs will never change, not even with time. The context is that of a desperate wife seeking a favourable letter from the widow of a man killed by his husband's negligience, who travels a thousand miles, befriends the woman and finally gets what she wants .... Nothing is impossible in life. Where there is a will, there will be a way ! .... This great Sufi song is sung by Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, its music was composed by Salim Sulaiman and the lyrics written by Mir Amanat Ali. ... An eternal masterpiece indeed...
Why bother about hurdles ....they are a part of life
"....let the destination be far way, we will approach it with our companions.... let the path be full of thorns, our loved ones would be our support .... happiness is like fleeting clouds that come and leave so soon ..... difficulties walk with us, they are our real mates .... why worry about difficulties then....they are our real mates! "
Another great song, and a very effective piece of inspiration. The context revolves around two handicapped boys, one crippled and the other blind, who work together through the difficulties of life and destiny. Their philosophy of life is too simple and equally impressive. If you can't change the situation, learn to live with it - same with suffering as well ! This number, a very popular one, even today, was sung by Mohammad Rafi. The music was composed by Laxmikant Pyarelal and its great lyrics were written by Majrooh Sultanpuri.
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Life is the name of moving ahead ...
" ... one who accepts defeat, becomes a gone case, life snarls at him and rejects association with him .....go out and regain lost friends, treat them as your own ..... don't be angry with yourself - for it is your own self that will lead you to salvation.."
Another very inspiring number, though more in a typical Bollywood style. It narrates the tale and philosophy of a man in a small town, who decided to break the world record of non-stop cycling. His courage, confidence, endurance and perseverance are all sources of inspiration, but the credit actually goes to the melodious song, composed by Laxmikant Pyarelal, with great lyrics written by Inderjit Singh Tulsi and sung by Mahendra Kapoor, Mannade and Shyama Chittar.
movie: DULARI (1949)
O' Heart ... keep heart & live on..
"Crying or cribbing will not solve your problems, so smile and work to improve your misfortunes ..... Oh Heart, I beg you, you never lose heart ...... and howsoever difficult, live through the days you are blessed with .."
A melodious piece of musical inspiration, reinforced by an on-screen example of real life. The context is that of a girl in rural India of the forties, who must submit her own wishes, aspirations, desires and love to the circumstances and the society that dominate and control her life and destiny. Immensely frustrating and with no light in sight, she must take care of her sorrows by herself - which she does by this song - a piece of self hypnotism, rationalization and sublimation fused with music that is a tonic for the soul. What you can't change, you must learn to accept and live with peacefully. The lyrics of this great number were written by Shakeel Badayuni, music composed by Naushad and the voice singing it belongs to Lata Mangehskar.
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Don't give up ... never stop ...
"...there will be no associates, nor any caravans in this test for you .... keep moving with your instinct, your destination will keep dropping hints for you ..... just make sure you are not stopped by callers from behind ..... never get disheartened and drop out .......for it is only after walking on fire, that you will get the life you are looking for..."
A song that must be another candidate for the Greatest Inspirational Song of Bollywood. A melodious musical masterpiece with a befitting context - of a dedicated College Professor, who tries to do his job of brining the errant students to the right path, only to face their retaliation in the form of allegations of sexual molestation. He stands alone, yet firm, with resilience, perseverance and goodwill for all till he proves his innocence. Life is the real test of character that everyone must go through without dispair. This melodious number was sung by Kishore Kumar, with music composed by Laxmikant Pyarelal, while the excellent lyrics are written by Majrooh Sultanpuri.
This path is difficult .. but ..
"...these problems will not remain for ever ..... for the destination awaits you around the corner ..... have faith in what I tell you, and don't be sad, My friend.."
One of the finest musical balms created by Bollywood for those suffering from an irrepairable loss.There are times in life when you lose all hope, when everything becomes meaningless and life seizes to have a meaning. It is in such context that this number shares your grief, as in this case of a young girl in a family of freedom fighters in British India, whose love is killed, but she must go on. Life is not easy, but it must go on...... The lyrics of this great number were penned down by Javed Akhtar, one of the greatest in his profession, the music was composed by R D Burman and the number is sung by Shivaji Chatterjee, whose voice makes it a real gem.
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© 2012 V Kumar
Shaloo Walia from India on June 07, 2018:
Aakash Sharma on June 15, 2015:
Chak lain De deserves to be on this list
But unfortunately it isn't here :(
V Kumar (author) on September 27, 2013:
Thank you AvineshP. Your words are very inspiring too.
Avinesh Prahladi from Chandigarh on September 27, 2013:
Hi V Kumar, I am really impressed by the effort that you have put in. Certainly, these are some of the inspirational songs of Bollywood.
This is a great hub.
V Kumar (author) on September 29, 2012:
Thanks. Your words mean a lot to me.
Ruby Jean Richert from Southern Illinois on September 29, 2012:
You put so much detail in your hubs, I'm impressed. I love these words, " Unless you know what sorrow means, happiness and joy will never have a meaning. I believe that..Thank you...