Posted on 25/09/2021 by Trivia – The Spice of Life
Many believe that age is just a number. Abraham Lincoln said, “And in the end it’s not the years in your life that count; it’s the life in your years.” Pondering over these thoughts, I felt there was potential to come up with a post about how age has been perceived in songs, especially, of the golden era. I must clarify here that the songs I shall enlist are not those where there is an observation about how man has no control over time and hence the need to make the best of the moment at hand. I am trying to look at songs where there is a mention of not just physical age but also of time passing or of an era having passed.
In this context the one word that captures all these multiple facets is Umr (उम्र). It means physical age in numerical terms. It also means a long span of time; depending on the context it could also mean life, an era or a lifetime. May I also mention here that many a time, when we think of a person and the same person suddenly pops up or calls up, we say – सौ साल की उम्र हैं तुम्हारी (you are going to live for a hundred years).(However, I cannot recall any song that captures this sentiment). Representative songs that speak of उम्र in different senses in the mukhda are included. There are also songs which talk of the years having passed by (e.g.सौ बरस or a hundred years). So here’s my list of ten.
1) Umr Hui Tumse Mile Phir Bhi (Bahu Rani, 1963) Lyricist : Sahir Ludhianvi; Music Director: C.Ramchandra; Playback Singers : Hemant Kumar & Lata Mangeshkar. This is a story of how a self-assured village girl weds a mentally infirm man and is abused by her in-laws. As many as ten movies in different languages have been made with the same plot. This duet from the movie is quite chirpy. The mukhda of this duet is very interesting.
उम्र हुई तुमसे मिले फिर भी जाने क्यों ऐसा लगे जैसे पहली बार मिले हैं
[I know you since long – umr here meaning a long time – and yet it seems as though this is our first meeting.] It seems to be a song of rediscovering one another.
2) Ai Ankh Ab Na Rona (Sipahiya, 1949) Lyricist : Rammurti Chaturvedi(? )/Rajinder Krishan(?); Music Director: C.Ramchandra; Playback Singers : C.Ramchandra & Lata Mangeshkar. This was a movie which had 5 lyricists writing the songs – R M Chaturvedi, Arzoo Lucknowi, Raj Kunwar, Banwari and Rajendra Krishan. This particular song is a rather poignant one, where the lovers fail to unite. Thus, the lines of the mukhda –
ऐ आँख अब न रोना रोना तो उम्र भर हैं पी जाए आंसुओं को बस वो जिग़र जिग़र हैं
(Oh eyes, do not cry for I have to cry for a lifetime (उम्र भर umr bhar ); the true heart is one that swallows all tears). Umr here is used for a lifetime. Another song which uses umr for a lifetime that I like is Dushman Na Kare Dost Ne Woh from Aakhir Kyon (1985)
3) Kacchi Hain Umariya (Chaar Dil Chaar Raahen, 1959) Lyricist : Sahir Ludhianvi; Music Director: Anil Biswas; Playback Singer : Meena Kapoor. This is a foot tapping song from a movie that deals with crossroads – both literally and metaphorically. This is a group song sung on Holi with customary revelry. The reference is to kacchi umariya – or tender age. This is the age when one is on the cusp of adulthood. You can even call it a coming of age song. Harking on kacchi umariya/bali umariya is very common in film songs. There are umpteen songs that mention this. The favorite number mentioned is (of course !) sweet sixteen – solva saal.
कच्ची हैं उमरिया कोरी हैं चुनरिया मोहे भी रंग देता जा मोरे सजना मोहे भी रंग देता जा
4) Umariya Ghatati Jaaye Re (Mother India, 1957) Lyricist : Shakeel Badayuni; Music Director: Naushad; Playback Singer : Manna Dey. This is a song which shows Raj Kumar and Nargis toiling away in the fields. Manna Dey sings this as a background song. There is pathos in his voice – which is required for this kind of song. The opening word of the mukhda is difficult to make out; it sounds like jundhariya (जुन्धरिया – which apparently means moonlit night in the local dialect of UP). But there are many websites which mention it as chundariya (चुंदरिया – meaning chunri). The idea seems to be that the moonlit nights are passing by and life is getting shorter, owing to ordeals and worries (that life is fraught with). Umariya here means life span or even life.
जुन्धरिया(चुंदरिया?)कटती जाए रे उमरिया घटती जाए रे
5) Tumko Hamari Umar Lag Jaaye (Aayee Milan Ki Bela, 1964) Lyricist : Hasrat Jaipuri; Music Director: Shankar Jaikishan; Playback Singer : Lata Mangeshkar. In a post on songs of age, it is but natural to have a birthday party song. I have chosen one which is rather soft and slow and uses the word umar in a very idiomatic manner. This is a very Indian concept – especially when the elders bless the younger ones. तुमको हमारी उम्र लग जाए (may my age be added to yours.) is what the elders say. This is what Saira Banu wishes for her lover – Rajendra Kumar – on his birthday.
तुम्हें और क्या दूँ मैं दिल के सिवाय तुमको हमारी उम्र लग जाए
6) Umariya Bin Khevak Ki Naiyya (Majhli Didi, 1967) Lyricist : Neeraj; Music Director: Hemant Kumar; Playback Singer : Hemant Kumar. This is a Hrishikesh Mukherjee movie that one must surely watch for the very subtle portrayal of relationships. Meena Kumari does a fabulous job as the eponymous Majhli Didi. In this song, Sachin (as a child artist) has just lost his mother and is being escorted by an acquaintance to a relative’s place. (Lalita Pawar’s house, who happens to be the older daughter-in-law of the house and Meena the younger). The boat is the mode of transport and thus the comparison of Sachin’s life to a boat without a boatman, as he has been orphaned. The word umariya is used for life here.
उमरिया बिन खेवक की नैया
7) Sau Baras Par Preetam Aaye (Rami Dhoban, 1953) Lyricist : Ram Murti; Music Director: Hiren Bose; Playback Singers : Hemant Kumar & Geeta Dutt. The moment sau saal or sau baras is mentioned the song that comes to mind is Sau Saal Pehle from Jab Pyaar Kisise Hota Hain (1961). I was however determined to find a different and lesser heard melody. I have zeroed in on this song from Rami Dhoban, which is based on the life of the great 15th century Vaishnava poet of Bengal – Chandidas and his love for a low caste washerwoman Rami. This is a rather rare duet of Geeta Dutt and Hemant Kumar and a very sweet one at that. Imagine waiting patiently for your beloved for a hundred years!
सौ बरस पर प्रीतम आये घर राधिका फूली न समाये
8) Nai Umar Ke Naye Sitaaron (Nai Umar Ki Nayi Fasal, 1966) Lyricist : Neeraj; Music Director: Roshan; Playback Singer : Bhupinder Singh. This is a movie based on student politics. Its claim to fame is the song Kaarvaan Guzar Gaya which has powerful lyrics written by Neeraj. However, the song that I wanted to dwell on is the title song of the movie which plays in the background in the beginning and also towards the end of the film. The singer is Bhupinder Singh, who was then a new comer. The word umar here is used for a new age or a new era. The song is one of hope and beckons a new era. The tune of the song is very much like Chhupa Lo Yun Dil Mein Pyaar Mera (Mamta, 1966) which also had Roshan as the music director.
नयी उमर के नए सितारों नए फ़सल की नयी बहारों
9) Pyaar To Pyaar Hain (Mohabbat Ka Paigham, 1989) Lyricist : Anjaan; Music Director: Bappi Lahiri; Playback Singer : Md.Aziz. I generally don’t include songs of the late eighties. However, this is one good song which focuses on age not being a consideration for falling in love. This is particularly relevant in today’s world where there are many couples with a vast age difference. Anjaan makes a profound statement when he writes :-
प्यार तो प्यार हैं प्यार का उम्र से क्या वास्ता (Love is love, what does it have to do with age?)
The lyrics of the famous song from Premgeet (1981) also express the same idea –
न उम्र की सीमा हो न जन्म का हो बंधन जब प्यार करे कोई तो देखे केवल मन नयी रीत चलाकर तुम ये रीत अमर कर दो
10) Sau Baras Ki Zindagi Se Acche Hain (Sachaai, 1969) Lyricist : Rajinder Krishan; Music Directors: Shankar Jaikishan; Playback Singers : Asha Bhosle & Md.Rafi. This is a song that I felt I must end my post with as it professes the idea that it is not the number of years you live but the life in the years that count – which is what I began this post with. And the moments that matter the most are the ones where you are with your loved ones. A song written by Rajinder Krishan for Shankar Jaikishan – something that would be unthinkable in the 1950s and early 1960s – the lyrics have a lot of depth. Longevity is not the measure of happiness is the message given loud and clear.
सौ बरस की ज़िन्दगी से अच्छे हैं अच्छे हैं प्यार के दो चार दिन
Having ended my list of ten, I must say that for each facet of age discussed in the post, there are many songs that one can think of. My attempt was to look at the lesser heard songs. I have tried to envision the various connotations of umr (उम्र) – as age, as an era, as a lifetime, as a phase of life, as life span and as coming of age. If you think there are more facets that can be added, please feel free to add them with the song.
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