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Sunday, December 10, 2023

Sharad Purnima: Bollywood/Indian Songs on Radha-Krishna

Sharad Purnima is celebrated on full moon day of the Hindu lunar month Ashvin, which falls during October.

As such, there are many practices observed and followed during this auspicious day.

On one hand, Goddess Lakshmi and Lord Indra are worshipped and night vigil is observed.

It is said that during Kojagiri Purnima’s night Goddess Lakshmi visits every house and asks ‘Ko jagarti?’ meaning ‘Who is awake?’ Those awake are blessed with prosperity.

In Odisha, the day celebrated as Lord Kartikeya’s birthday and is called ‘Kumar Purnima’. Unmarried girls observe fast and perform puja to seek husband like Lord Kartikeya.

There is a traditional celebration called ‘Kaumudi celebration’. Kaumudi means moonlight.

Celebrating Lord Krishna’s ‘Maha Raas’

In Brij region, Sharad Purnima is also called as Raas Purnima.

This is the Purnima that celebrates Krishna dancing with the Gopis.

It is believed that it was on this night when Krishna performed ‘Maha Raas’.

Upon hearing the divine music from Krishna’s flute, Gopis of Vrindavan reached the forest to dance with Krishna.

During this Maha-Raas Krishna created several avatars to dance with each Gopi and extended the night equivalent to billion years.

In an ode to Sharad Purnima, Filme Shilmy takes a look at some memorable and popular Bollywood/Indian songs revolving Radha and Krishna.

Mohe Panghat Pe: Mughal-e-Azam (1960)

This classic number is a beautiful composition by Naushad. Lataji’s nightingale voice just makes the song more spellbinding.

Plus, Madhubala’s expressions are mesmerising!

‘Mohe Pangat Pe’ marks the moment when Salim (Dilip Kumar) falls in love with Anarkali (Madhubala) during this Radha-Krishna song.

This pristine track documents how Krishna jests with Radha at the river bank and describes his charm.

Ek Radha Ek Meera: Ram Teri Ganga Maili (1985)

One of our favourite tracks on this list. Composed by Ravindra Jain for the Raj Kapoor film, Ram Teri Ganga Maili.

Both Radha and Meerabai wanted Krishna. On one hand, Radha loved Krishna and vice-versa.

However, the two never ended up together as the Krishna married Rukmini.

Meera, on the other hand, was an aristocratic Hindu mystical singer and devotee of Lord Krishna. She revered and loved him unconditionally.

It is believed that Meera ultimately receives salvation and unites with the Lord. 

‘Ek Radha Ek Meera’ highlights the difference between both devotees of Krishna. 

Maiya Yashoda: Hum Saath-Saath Hain (1999)

Maiya Yashoda, undoubtedly, is amongst the most famous songs about Radha and Krishna.

However, the highlight of this song was the playful fight between Karisma Kapoor (playing Radha) and Saif Ali Khan (playing Krishna).

Vocals by Kavita Krishnamurthy, Alka Yagnik and Anuradha Paudwal, the song depicts the beautiful relationship between Radha and Krishna.

Radha Kaise Na Jale: Lagaan (2001)

Popular for its choreography, the song (composed by AR Rahman) captures the mischievous shades of Krishna’s early adulthood which made his beloved Radha anxious.

Javed Akhtar’s lyrics highlight how Radha would be jealous of Krishna spending time with other Gopis.

Having said that, the track is a dialogue. We also hear the perspective of Krishna who says:

“Madhuban Mein Bhale Kaanha Kisi Gopi Se Mile. Mann Mein To Radha Ke Hi Prem Ke Hain Phool Khile

Kis Liye Radha Jale, Kis Liye Radha Jale.”

These lines convey how Radha will always have a special place in Kanha’s heart.

The dandiya raas aspect makes this apt for Sharad Purnima and becomes the highlight of the song.

More Piya: Devdas (2002)

More Piya discusses Radha and Krishna’s union, to which Kirron Kher dances in the film.

“Dhumak Dhumak Kar Naach Rahi Thi Meri Radha Pyaari.

Jaane Kahan Se Raas Rachaane Aaya Chhaila Girdhaari.”

These lyrics convey how Krishna appears to play Raas with Radha.

Bhansali interestingly draws parallels between Radha-Krishna and Devdas-Paro.

We see the hearts of Dev (Shah Rukh Khan) and Paro (Aishwarya Rai Bachchan) meeting, that too on a riverbank and Paro even holds a matki (pot) like a gopi.

At the end of the song, we hear the lyrics: “On banks of river Yamuna, the drums are beating. Krishna plays Raas with Radha.”

Woh Kisna Hai: Kisna (2005)

“Jo Hai Albela, Madh Nainon Wala. Jiski Deewani, Brij Ki Har Baala… Woh Kisna Hai.”

This Ismail Darbar number is the perfect fusion of classic and folk.

The divine song does not only praise Lord Krishna but also expresses the profound love between the deity and Radha.

This is seen in the lines:

“Pyar Hai Sgar Se Bhi Gehra, Kisna Ke Sang Jiska… Woh Radha Hai.”

Watch & Listen to Our Playlist of all the songs here!


Radha Nachegi: Tevar (2015)

By playing the part of Radha in this song, Sonakshi Sinha brings a modern-day version of the legendary character to life.

‘Radha Nachegi’, a dance song, amalgamates traditional Indian culture with today’s ethos.

Even the rapping revolves around Lord Krishna.

Tara Vina Shyam: Beyond Bollywood – The Musical (2015)

When it comes to Garba/Raas, there are numerous devotional songs dedicated to Lord Krishna.

One of the most popular Gujarati ‘Dohas’ is ‘Gokul Aavo Girdhari’.

It is usually sung when the speed/tempo of Garba increases.

Another famous song is ‘Mane Ekli Jaane Ne’, usually sung during three-clap Garba.

That song is believed to be sung by the perspective of either a Gopi or Radha.

When we talk about raas, ‘Tara Vina Shyam’ is a traditional Dandiya track.

Beyond Bollywood‘s version of this is enthralling, to say the least.

This recreation of ‘Tara Vina Shyam’ is composed by Salim-Sulaiman and crooned by Janhvi Shrimankar and Salim Merchant.

It is soothing and angelic, making it a must-play during Sharad Purnima. The main lyrics convey:

“I am all alone without you, Shyam (Krishna, O Dark One), please come and play Raas with all of us who are thirsty for your company.”

Final Word

Bollywood and Indian cinema has wonderfully exhibited songs regarding Radha-Krishna.

More than an immortal love, Radha and Lord Krishna’s story is an example of pure devotion.

It is this reverence and love we must possess when celebrating a sacred day like Sharad Purnima.

Anuj Radia
Journalist and film enthusiast.

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