V Kumar has been writing on Bollywood movies and music for several years, highlighting perspectives that are often missed out or ignored.
The Greatest Lullabies
Great Loris of Bollywood
Lullabies, also known as "Lori" in Hindi, can be considered our first experience with music. It can be in any form - with words or without them, with a coherent meaning or devoid of it, and yet it invariably incorporates one of the most powerful messages that can ever be given or received by mankind - the message of commitment, affection and love, an undertaking of protection and a reassurance that all is well. Lullabies are simple, yet their reach transcends all artificial boundaries that mankind has created for itself. They can even transcend the age barrier as also seen in the great lullabies here.
If music is what destresses us, smoothens our phsychic edges and helps us in relaxing and enjoying our existence, lullabies stand out in achieving these objectives, without relying on the technical complexities, lyrical excellence or creative abstractions of modern popular music. Great lullabies are the music of innocence, they will always be enjoyed by a clear and uncluttered mind .... and when they are not, there is probably something amiss.
Here are the ten greatest ever lullabies of Bollywood. These finest gems of Bollywood music are also great songs that will always be a treat to listen .... for all of us ....
movie: DO BEEGHA ZAMEEN (1953)
Aa ja ri aa .. nindiya tu aa ...
Salil Chaudhary may not be the best music composer of Bollywood, but he has composed some of the greatest songs in Bollywood. This is yet another example of his extraordinary genius, reflected in the simplicity of the composition, which makes it one of the best lullabies of Bollywood - a song that one can never get tired of. It almost defines a great lullaby - soft, flowing, soothing and melodious for all, even the youngest of children. The fact that it is sung by Lata Mangehkar is enough to summarise its sweetness, while the lyrics by Shailendra are as good as it can ever be in a lullaby.
movie: MUKTI (1977)
Lalla lalla lori ...
There is no other lullaby in Bollywood that can come close to the popularity enjoyed by this number, the credit for which needs to be given to the lyricist, Anand Bakhshi - one of the best in this business. This is one number that doubles up as a very popular child song that children used to learn in play schools during seventies and eighties. The soft flowing quality that was always inherent in the music composed by R D Burman, makes him the ideal composer for such music, even if he did not try it too often. The singing of Mukesh brings out another dimension of his singing prowess - it is the sincerety in his voice which lends this number its great credibility.
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movie: ALBELA (1951)
Dheere se aaja ri ankhiyan me...
One of the best songs on this list, with a classical touch, this lullaby is based on Raag PILU. No surprise that it can soothen the nerves of adults too and serve as a sleeping pill for them. It showcases the expertise of its composer, C Ramachandra, while the voice of Lata Mangehkar makes his conceptualization a reality. The lyrics of Rajinder Krishan are very meaningful and apt. The song shows a younger sister trying to sing a lullaby for her elder brother, reflecting the close family bonds that formed our primary wealth in an era that we might have just lost.
movie: SUJATA (1959)
Nanhi kali sone chali ....
The magic of Geeta Dutt will always be an ironical mystery, and this is one of the numbers that give rise to it. This simple song, with very little to highlight as extraordinary, is arguably, the greatest ever lullaby heard in the history of Bollywood, and the credit rests with the mystical genius of Geeta Dutt's singing ...... how much one yearns for more, after listening to such songs! It is the best of all because it communicates the message of mother's presence, like no other song can, including all the other great numbers on this list. The music of this number could be composed only by the best and so it had to be S D Burman, who could do it. Lyrics of Majrooh Sultanpuri fully complement the teamwork.
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movie: KUNWARA BAAP (1974)
Aa ri aa jaa, nindiya tu le chal ..
If we were not looking at lullabies, this song would be the best song among these ten numbers - such is the effect of this musical masterpiece. Its melody is due to its music composed by Rajesh Roshan, but the credit for its greatness can only be reserved for Kishore Kumar, who, in that particular period, rose to heights of singing never touched before or afterwards. Anyone can sing this number, but only Kishore Kumar could make it great. The lyrics of Majrooh Sultanpuri do full justice to this song.
movie: ZINDAGI (1940)
So ja Rajkumari .. so jaa...
This number is a testimony to the greatness of the first singing star of Bollywood, Kundan Lal Saigal. In an era, where singing was either casual or classical, this lullaby was composed by Pankaj Mullick in Raag JHINJHOTI, and the great singing prowess of Saigal could bridge the unsurmountable gap between the two opposite extremes - the complexities of Hindustani classical music on one hand and the simplest form of music known to mankind, the lullabies on the other. The lyrics were written by Kidar Sharma. This was the first really great lullaby of Bollywood.
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movie: LORIE (1984)
Aa ja nindya aa ja, nainan beech ....
If anyone wants to know why Lata Mangeshkar is an unparalleled phenomenon in Bollywood, this lullaby gives you the answer - her voice. Almost before she completes the first word that she sings in this number, the audience is mesmerized by the sheer sweet melody of her voice, something that no instrument can ever match! The nightingale of Bollywood makes this otherwise ordinary number a great lullaby with her singing. The melodious, flowing music was composed by Khayyam, and the lyrics written by Bashar Nawaz.
movie: EK PHOOL DO MALI (1969)
Tujhe suraj kahoon ya chanda ....
This extremely melodious, meaningful and popular lori song is the work of three great artistes. The words were written by Prem Dhawan, the music composed by Ravi and the number is sung by Mannade. The song brings out the best of what a father's emotions represent for his child. It would not be wrong to say that this song goes beyond what is a lullaby. It is almost a tale of one's aspirations, affection and love that finds expression in this great song.
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movie: PARVARISH (1958)
Jhoome re jhoome re ... o meri god mein tare jhoome ..
A great lullaby with all the essential characteristics - soft, flowing, affectionate and melodious, it is sung by Asha Bhonsle. It brings out an aspect of her voice that not many may remember very well today. The music composed by Dattaram suits the need of lullaby very well. It is almost like a real life lori that mothers have been singing in the sub-continent since eternity. The lyrics of Hasrat Jaipuri are very apt for this nicely choreographed lullaby.
movie: BRAHMACHARI (1967)
Main gaoon tum so jao ...
This number may not be the stereotype lullaby, sung by a mother to her youngest one, but it is great nevertheless. It is set in the context of a bachelor, who is taking take care of orphaned children, like a parent, and sings everyday to them just before they sleep. With kids of all ages hovering around, the lullaby takes the form of this affectionate song that aims to soothe their injuries. Perhaps, its success in spreading parenthood around a room full of kids is what makes it great. Mohammad Rafi is the singer, Shailendra the lyricist and the music is composed by Shankar Jaikishan.
The BEST LORI ?
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© 2012 V Kumar
V Kumar (author) on April 26, 2017:
It is a great song. Maybe I should find place for it...
Raj on June 18, 2013:
you forgot one of best lories in movie Daddy... Sapno ke ghar