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Tempus Fugit Songs integral to the plot

Posted on 03/12/2022 on Trivia – The Spice of Life

The importance of Songs in Indian Cinema cannot be overemphasised. The famous archivist P.K.Nair says that for the Western critics who had little understanding of Indian cultural moorings, all films were ‘musicals’. However, a film song is an integral part of the movie; it can be a celebration of life, an expression of inner conflict, a medium of poetic exchanges and much more.

In this post, I have tried to highlight a category of songs that help the plot to thicken. I have strung together songs which show time passing and the attendant changes that occur with time. These songs are therefore very important for the development of the plot. You could actually miss out details if you do not closely observe these songs. These are not songs where the lead pair merely romances. Sometimes even a new generation is introduced in the songs. Many of them are background songs.

Typically songs which show time passing – the time span could be a few days, months or years – help in making the film crisper and shorter. The transition from childhood to adulthood, the hero/heroine convalescing, a character blossoming on the professional front, a baby growing up, the hero/heroine growing old, a long drawn war, family feuds, the change of seasons – there are so many occurrences that need to be shown in a film but yet at a fast pace to keep the film entertaining and worth watching. Thus, in the songs that I list today time passes and there are attendant changes/developments that are shown. In a few songs there could be flashback sequences but the focus is more on the present and the future in these songs. [In fact, I had written a post a long time ago on songs with flashback sequences.] So here are the songs which are an integral part of the movie’s plot and cover a considerable time span; these are arranged in no particular order.

1) Wahan Kaun Hain Tera Musafir Jaayega Kahan (Guide, 1965) Lyricist : Shailendra; Music Director & Playback Singer : S.D.Burman. This song which marks the beginning of the film as the opening credits roll out, traces the journey of Dev Anand after he is released from prison. He is lonely and has no loved one who awaits his release. He wanders from one place to another trying to introspect and (accidentally!!)turns into a mendicant by the time the song ends. The song traces this unintended transformation. S.D.Burman lends his voice to this self-composed soulful melody which is extremely poignant and Shailendra’s lyrics make the song esoteric. The tune of the song was originally composed by S.D.Burman for a Bangla song Dur Kon Parabase.

2) Ab To Hain Tumse (Abhimaan, 1973) Lyricist : Majrooh Sultanpuri; Music Director: S.D.Burman; Playback Singer : Lata Mangeshkar. In Abhimaan, Hrishikesh Mukherjee tells with great sensitivity, the story of a couple pursuing the same profession of playback singing. When the wife turns out to be a better playback singer than the husband, thus getting more appreciation and adulation, the hurt begins to show on the husband’s face. This song traces the changing complexion of the couple’s relationship by succinctly portraying her growing fame vis-à-vis his plummeting popularity. The number of autographs the hero signs, the number of awards he bags and the pictures the press asks him for, dwindle over time but the wife’s popularity soars contemporaneously. This causes a rift in their relationship which becomes evident as the song ends. The wife senses this insecurity and jealously and tries to underplay the developing situation during the song but does not succeed. This song thus plays an important role in exposing the cracks in the relationship.

3) Chanda Hain Tu Mera Suraj Hain Tu (Aradhana, 1969) Lyricist : Anand Bakshi; Music Director : S.D.Burman ; Playback Singer : Lata Mangeshkar. This song from Aradhana is all about the dreams of a mother for her son who is her only hope and reason to live. Having faced a lot of hardship, Sharmila Tagore playing the mother wants her son to do well in life. The song begins with the son who is a toddler. The son grows up into a young boy donning the uniform of an Air Force pilot by the end of the song. Thus, a lot of time is shown as having passed by the end of the song. The seasons change and the years pass by. The song has another version too which Sharmila sings when her son is all grown up and happens to come to the house where she works.

4) Zindagi Ke Safar Mein Guzar Jaate Hain (Aap Ki Kasam, 1974) Lyricist : Anand Bakshi; Music Director : R.D.Burman ; Playback Singer : Kishore Kumar. This song is one where Rajesh Khanna is a young man who is wandering aimlessly when it begins and is an old beggar by the end. This background song has the protagonist introspecting though it is too late to make any amends. His marital life is completely destroyed because of his own suspicious nature. He boards a train and ponders about life. He realises that time will never come back. There is no way he can reset the clock.

5) Khush Raho Ahl-e-chaman (Main Chup Rahungi, 1962) Lyricist: Rajinder Krishan; Music Director : Chitragupt ; Playback Singer : Md.Rafi. This song is sung as a background song when the heroine leaves her home under very trying circumstances as she has a vow to keep. Meena Kumari leaves her village and resettles at a new place. She goes about her chores in her new house, albeit nonchalantly. The song traces the drastic change in her life. She is deprived of her familiar surroundings and has to make a fresh beginning. The video link is embedded here.

6) Phir Kahin Koi Phul Khila (Anubhav, 1971) Lyricist: Kapil Kumar; Music Director : Kanu Roy ; Playback Singer : Manna Dey. This wonderful background song composed by Kanu Roy based on Raag Desh is one of my all time favourites. The song shows how the wife and husband get close as the husband recovers from a brief illness. The song is picturised very naturally. Tanuja helps Sanjeev Kumar around as he convalesces. Dinesh Thakur is the spoil sport being the ex lover of Tanuja and an employee of her husband Sanjeev Kumar. The mix up of the spectacles in the song is a subtle reference to Tanuja’s past.

7) Kar Chale Hum Fida (Haqeeqat, 1964) Lyricist: Kaifi Azmi; Music Director : Madan Mohan ; Playback Singer : Md.Rafi. This patriotic song which showcases the war effort leaves one filled with pride for our armed forces who sacrificed their lives for the nation. The whole song features the Indo-China war of 1962 and how the entire country fought back. Thus, the song covers a considerable time span. Everyone did their bit for the country as is shown in the song. This patriotic song with apt lyrics by Kaifi Azmi, sung by Rafi is a grim reminder of how treacherous our neighbour was.

8) Zindagi Mere Ghar Aana (Dooriyan, 1979) Lyricist: Sudarshan Faakir; Music Director : Jaidev ; Playback Singers : Bhupinder Singh & Anuradha Paudwal. As the name of the movie suggests, this movie focussed on marital discord and the onerous task of bringing up a child in an urban setting, with both parents working. This song ( which also has a sad version) starts with the courtship days of the couple, followed by marriage and then parenthood, thereby covering a lot of ground. Here’s an audio link of the whole song followed by a video link featuring a truncated part.

9) Ae Zindagi Gale Laga Le (Sadma, 1983) Lyricist: Gulzar; Music Director : Ilayaraja; Playback Singer: Suresh Wadkar. This background song from a remake of a Tamil film is full of life. It shows how the actress suffering from retrograde amnesia is cared for by the hero. Soon a lovely bond develops between the two as time passes, which is very evident in the song. This is one of the best songs of Suresh Wadkar with heartening lyrics by Gulzar.

10) Kahe Tose Sajna (Maine Pyaar Kiya, 1989) Lyricist: Asad Bhopali; Music Directors : Ram Laxman ; Playback Singer: Sharda Sinha. This is a background song that shows the trials and tribulations of the lead pair. Days and nights pass by and the seasons change as well. The hero labours hard to prove himself and the heroine silently participates in the struggle doing her bit. Sung by Bihar Swar Kokila Sharda Sinha, this song was a chartbuster of its times. The lyrics of Asad Bhopali and the voice of Sharda Sinha have the rusticity that this song needed.

This brings me to the end of my list of songs which are integral to the plot of the film and also showcase the passage of time. Many of the songs are background scores. They help to depict a number of changes and the passage of time within a matter of a few minutes thereby doing away with long drawn sequences and captions to explain the developments. S.D.Burman in particular in his background songs that he lent his voice to as well, was perhaps a master of such songs.

Disclaimer claims no credit for any image, screenshots or songs posted on this site. The images and screenshots are the copyright of their original owners. The song links are shared from YouTube, daily motion and other platforms only to make the post audio visual. The copyright of these songs rests with the respective owners, producers and music companies.

7 thoughts on “Tempus Fugit Songs integral to the plot

  1. Interesting concept, very well executed. The songs I could remember are

    Na Jane Kyon Hota Hai from Chhoti Si baat

    Aaoge Jab Tum Sajna from Jab We Met

    I’m not sure, but Waqt Se Din Aur Raat from Waqt.



    1. Thanks for reading and appreciating, Anupji! While the songs from Chhoti si baat and Waqt have a combination of flashback (in the form of reminiscence) and the present, the song from Jab We Met I feel is a very good example for the theme at hand. There is so much that happens in this song.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. An unusual theme, Anitaji. Very well-written with fitting songs.
    First time, I saw the words Tempus fugit, used in a title of a post.

    How about these?

    Meri tamannaon ki taqdeer tum sawaar do – Holi Aayi Re 1970
    The female version of this song depicts the changes in Mala Sinha’s life and how her newborn turns into a school going boy.

    Zindagi har kadam ek nayi jung hai – Meri Jung 1985
    This song plays many times in the film, but the second part shows the progression of the children into adults.

    Aaungi ek din aaj jaaoon – Basera 1981
    The song depicts the progression of Shashi-Raakhee’s married life and Rekha’s integral role in their family.


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