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Saturday, December 2, 2023

Janmashtami: Memorable & Significant Hindi Songs Which Depict Lord Krishna

When it comes to festivals, Bollywood has always presented these vigorously on celluloid and Janamashtami is a special time as it celebrates the birth of Krishna.

In a more significant meaning, it is the celebration of righteousness, innocence and purity. 

Haathi Ghoda palki, Jai Kanhaiya Laal ki! Lord Krishna has been depicted in diverse ways in Hindi cinema.

On this sacred festival of Janmashtami, let’s take a look at some memorable Bollywood songs which include Lord Krishna as its central theme!

Govinda Aala Re- Bluff Master (1963)


Now, this is one classic track. In this song, we see Shammi Kapoor joyfully dancing on Janmashtmi and we see him climb up the ‘human pyramid’ form to break the ‘dahi-handi’ (curd pot).

Furthermore, Shammi Kapoor’s spectacular expressions and Mohammed Rafi energetic voice add colour to this black and white movie!

In my opinion, this is a trendsetter song for Janmashtmi.

This is because after Govinda aaala re, popular songs like Mach gaya shor (Khuddar (1982)) and Go Go Govinda (Oh My God (2012)) also depicted the ‘Dahi-handi’ sequence!

Yashomati Maiyya se – Satyam Shivam Sundaram (1978)


There are a variety of songs which portray Lord Krishna. But none have been so thought-provoking, and that too in Raj Kapoor style.

With the lyrics: Yashomati maiyya se bole Nandlala, Radha Kyun Gori, main kyun koala? (Lord Krishna asks Mother Yashodha, why is Radha fair and why am I dusky?)

The most ironic thing about the song is the fact that Zeenat Aman portrays a character whose face is partly disfigured.

The song simply emphasises that the real beauty comes from within.

Maiyya Yashoda – Hum Saath-Saath Hai (HSSH) (1999)


Maiyya Yashoda from HSSH is one of the simplest yet elegant depictions of the Radha-Krishna relationship.

What is really special about the song is the way the three on-screen bahus in the film:

Karishma Kapoor, Tabu and Sonali Bendre dedicate this song to their mother-in-law, Reema Lagoo.

Moreover, watching Karishma Kapoor and Saif Ali Khan perform like Radha-Krishna will definitely make you smile!

Woh Kisna hai – Kisna (2004)


Jo hai albela, Madh nainon wala… Jiski deewani Brij ki har bala… Woh Kisna Hai! (He who is who has sleepy but beautiful eyes, of whom all the ladies in Brij are crazy, He is Krishna).

This phenomenal song is composed by Ismail Darbar for Subhash Ghai’s KISNA.

I really like this song as the dance sequences are a direct tribute to Lord Krishna.

As such, with Sukhwinder Singh’s powerful vocals, this song makes you want to get up, dance and celebrate the magic of Janmashtmi.

Man Mohana – Jodhaa Akbar (2008)


The beautiful composition by AR Rahman is a prayer reaching out to the almighty, to give strength and tranquillity.

Man Mohana is played when the Rajputi Princess Jodhaa (Aishwarya Rai Bachchan) is subjected to either marry the Mughal Emperor Akbar (Hrithik Roshan) or commit suicide by drinking poison.

This moment is quite understated but yet it brings out the predicament of the character.

Furthermore, the line: “Chod Ke Apne Kaashi Mathura, Aake Basa More Nain.

Tum Bin Paoon Kaise Chain?” We also see this song showcased at a time when Jodhaa prays from her quarters in the Mughal palace during which the Emperor also respects her devotion.

This track shows the ultimate strength and serenity comes from the almighty.

Radha Nachegi- Tevar (2015)


Radha Nachegi is a Janmashtami favourite track in recent times.

In the film, we see the beautiful Sonakshi Sinha performing to this fun-filled song, crooned by Ritu Pathak.

The repetition of “Bolo radhe radhe shyam” and the rap which is just based on Lord Krishna along the lines of:

“Nindiya udaye teri Birju ya bansi tori”, simply reinforces that a religious commercial dance song can be modern, yet maintain Radha-Krishna’s purity.

Radhe Radhe – Dream Girl (2019)


The ‘Radhe Rahe’ song from Dream Girl is positioned during the climax before it is realised that Karam (Ayushmann Khurrana) is not Pooja.

Even in the song, Khurrana steps into the shoes of Krishna to woo his Radha (which is played by Nushrat Bharucha).

Similar to ‘Radha Nachegi’ this is also a religious commercial dance song which can be contemporary and yet maintain the purity of Radha and Krishna.

This view is echoed in the words: “Radhe Radhe Radhe. Oh, Radhe Radhe Radhe. Tere Bina Krishna toh
Lage aadhe aadhe,” showcasing how both are incomplete without each other.

Final Word

Although songs like Radha from Student Of The Year is widely popular and modern, I felt that the lyrics before the main chorus: could be deemed to be condescending. 

On the whole, there are many songs based on Lord Krishna, but they seem to have some problematic aspects through the lyrics or choreography (i.e. the Bhool Bhulaiyaa title song and Dum Maaro Dum).

Ultimately, though, the tracks sung with pure devotion and purity are the ones which have won the hearts of many.

Here’s wishing our readers a very Happy Janmashtami!

Anuj Radia
Journalist and film enthusiast.

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