Best Hindi Songs of Bollywood on Life of Common Man

Bollywood and Real Life

Bollywood Songs on Common Man's Life
Bollywood Songs on Common Man's Life

Bollywood: A Reflection of Life & Times of India

While it is the glamorous aspect of Bollywood movies which garners wider publicity and attraction, the movies of Bollywood actually offer a lot more than that. It would not be wrong to say that these three hour pieces of audio-visual performing art have a lot of contemporary reality embedded within.

A journey through the movies produced over the last century provides great insights into the real life of ordinary people of India. The depiction of society, the family dynamics, their relationships, their day to day life, their aspirations and their challenges form the context in which heroism emerges in various forms. Essentially, it is this depiction of real social milieu that makes Bollywood so different from movies made everything else. It is also such reflection of society that makes it a very vital piece of history.... probably far more vital than the much acclaimed archaeological monuments and residues!

This reality also finds a poetical expression in Bollywood songs and when aided by great music and skillful direction, has the ability to express the abstract feelings, sentiments and traditions in a way little else has been able to do. These songs on the life of common man of India remain one of the great documentaries on India's life and culture.

Here is a list of ten great Bollywood songs that depicted the contemporary reality of everyday life of an Indian on their journey to greatness !

movie: PHIR SUBAH HOGI (1958)

common man lives between hope and dispair
common man lives between hope and dispair

Cheeno Arab hamara ...

The movie PHIR SUBAH HOGI, literally meaning "the morning will come again", is a reflection of the anguish and confusion that faced India in the first decade after its freedom from colonial rule. On one hand there was great expectation of India becoming an important player on the global stage and reclaiming its lost glory, while on the other, the life of the common man remained pathetic. This song is a great musical expression of those feelings, as its opening line means, "China and Arab are friends of our India; and though we donot have a roof over our head, the whole world is ours." This great number was written by Sahir Ludhianwi, music composed by Khayyam and sung by Mukesh. The movie was directed by Ramesh Saigal.

movie: SHREE 420 (1955)

The life of common man and his entertainments
The life of common man and his entertainments

Dil ka haal sune dilwala .....

The movie SHREE 420 is about an innocent man who comes to a big city, where to survive, the first thing he has to do is to sell the medal he got for his honesty. Later, he gets trapped by some industrialists planning to rob common people. The movie is a depiction of how an innocent man gets corrupted in the system - one of the earliest attempts of Bollywood to highlight this problem that continues to pose a great challenge even today. The song is a road dance drama that shows how people in slums enjoy themselves, and provides glimpses of their community life, apart from telling something about their behavior and bondage. This classical number is sung by Mannade, written by Shailendra and its music composed by Shankar Jaikishan. The movie was directed by Raj Kapoor.

movie: GAUTAM GOVINDA (1978)

Millions await their destiny in the drops of monsoon every year
Millions await their destiny in the drops of monsoon every year

Ek ritu aaye, ek ritu jaaye ....

This number is an excellent documentary of the upheavels faced by people living in arid zones of India. The agrarian society was and largely continues to be even today, dependent upon the vagaries of monsoon to irrigate their fields. The faces tilted to the sky tell you about the eyes that keep searching for the clouds that will deliver.The dry land can't produce enough, and people struggle to make two ends meet, while population grows and at times there is social stress and tension in the environment of scarcity and uncertainty. The excellent song is voiced by Kishore Kumar, written by Anand Bakhshi and its music is composed by Laxmikant Pyarelal. The movie was directed by Subhash Ghai.

movie: SHOR (1972)

Common man's life has many colors of water
Common man's life has many colors of water

Pani re pani, tera rang kaisa....

The movie SHOR is a saga of how labor fights for its rights and how common people face and deal with the challenges of their existence and survival. The song is about how rains and water mean so different things to different people. For the young and the healthy, they bring relief from the heat and are drops of enjoyment, triggering singing and dancing, whereas for those who cannot afford to have a waterproof cover over their heads, it becomes a problem. The words literally mean, " Water, O' water, what is your color? You take the color of whatever you are mixed with". By focussing on what water means to people, the song tells us a lot about life and times of poor people living in cities in the early seventies. The song is sung by Lata Mangeshkar and Mukesh. It was written by Indrajeet Singh Tulasi and its music composed by Laxmikant Pyarelal. The movie was directed by Manoj Kumar, who also played the lead role.

movie: ROTI, KAPDA AUR MAKAN (1974)

For commom man, inflation is much more than a monetory phenomenon
For commom man, inflation is much more than a monetory phenomenon

Mehngai maar gayi ...

The movie, ROTI, KAPDA AUR MAKAN depicted the turbulent times that prevailed in India during the mid seventies. Those were times when a whole new generation that was born in free India was looking to find its identity and purpose. While the population boomed, unemployment was prevalent and thanks to global oil shocks, inflation was sky rocketing. This song tells us how times were difficult, and in particular, how inflation affected the masses. The rebellious India was just rising to confront all its barriers, and this song is just a prelude to that phenomenon. It was written by Varma Malik, while its music was composed by Laxmikant Pyarelal. Singers are Lata Mangeshkar, Mukesh, Jani Babu and Narendra Chanchal.This number topped the charts that year and made Narendra Chanchal a household name.The movie was directed by Manoj Kumar, who was also the actor in the lead role.

movie: KHATTA MEETHA (1981)

A song on aspirations of middle class Indians in seventies
A song on aspirations of middle class Indians in seventies

Thoda hai, thode ki zaroorat hai ....

The plot of the movie KHATTA MEETHA is actually a strange one by Indian standards, narrating the tale of a widower and a widow, with grown up children, who decide to tie the knot for the sake of companionship and convenience. As the two families are fused into one, there are frictions, frustrations and dissatisfaction, but very soon, one of them is confronted by an outsider and the whole family unites to fight for it. Few movies bring this contrasting family dynamic on screen better than this one. The song is about what each one of them aspire for and dream about - simple things like a job, success in a sports match, some income and love in human relationships. This lighthearted number was written by Gulzar and sung by Lata Mangeshkar and Kishore Kumar, while the music was composed by Rajesh Roshan. The movie was directed by Basu Chatterjee.

movie: PIYA KA GHAR (1971)

A song on the life of newly wed in a joint family in Bombay
A song on the life of newly wed in a joint family in Bombay

Yeh jeewan hai .....

This was another movie directed by Basu Chatterjee that highlighted the day to day life and its challenges in a metro city during the seventies. The story revolves around a joint family that lives in a common premise, and share all their resources, in the middle of all kind of joint family dynamics that used to be the part and parcel of every family and its members. It is a portrayal of the family centric Indian society. The song, shows the newly wed couple, who are unable to sleep together due to paucity of space in the house, and the resultant frustration that it leads to, and yet they must continue with the family - the family takes priority before the individual.This excellent number was written by Anand Bakhshi, its music was composed by Laxmikant Pyarelal and the singer is Kishore Kumar, whose golden voice gives it a unique melody.

movie: SAATH SAATH (1982)

Love in common man's life: better then fiction?
Love in common man's life: better then fiction?

Yeh tera ghar, yeh mera ghar ..

The movie SAATH SAATH is a tale of how the fate of a couple in traditional Indian society revolves around their marital bliss or the absence of it. it is depicted in a time frame of seventies, when the society was beginning to break free but the individual was still bound fully to the family in every way and his or her aspirations of happiness were generally meshed within the family bondings and belongings. The song shows how a young couple is striving to work on their relationship to develop a nest of love, and how their day to day challenges become an opportunity to this end. The song voiced by Jagjit Singh and Chitra Singh was writtern by Javed Akhtar and its music was composed by Kuldeep Singh. The movie was directed by Raman Kumar.

movie: SITARA (1980)

Dreams and aspirations of two love birds
Dreams and aspirations of two love birds

Thodi si zameen, thoda asmaan....

This song shows two love birds aspiring to make a love nest of their own. They are in love and the song centers around that, but while it reflects their passion, the song also describes what they are looking forward to, what they wish to be blessed with and what their overall aspirations are. They wish for a house of their own, where they will grow crops and spend their time together. The beautiful lyrics were written by Gulzar, the number is voiced by Lata Mangeshkar and Bhupender and music is composed by R D Burman. The movie is directed by Miraj.

movie: TAPASYA (1975)

Aspirations of an Indian used to revolve around a happy household
Aspirations of an Indian used to revolve around a happy household

Do panchhi do tinke ....

The movie TAPASYA is a story that one can witness in real life in India. It is the tale of a girl who has taken upon herself the burden of her family, and as a result cannot take up the responsibilities of marriage. In a paternalistic Indian society, where the bride is supposed to leave her family and adopts the family of her groom as her new family, there is very little opportunity for her to support her family after marriage. In this movie, the protagonist chooses to sacrifice her happiness while the family dynamics and melodrama unfolds. This song is all about the aspirations that she carries - dreams of a married life, household and family - small things which she will never be able to get. The song was sung by Kishore Kumar and Aarti Mukherjee, it was written by M G Hashmath, and its music composed by Ravindra Jain. The movie is directed by Anil Ganguly.

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© 2012 V Kumar

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Comments 4 comments

always exploring profile image

always exploring 4 years ago from Southern Illinois

What a great review. All of the movies appear to have a great message. Thank you for sharing. I wish i could speak your language..


V Kumar profile image

V Kumar 4 years ago Author

Thanks Ruby. I too wish I could add subtitles to the videos. Hopefully, will do it some day. Thanks for the encouragement.


mahua sengupta profile image

mahua sengupta 4 years ago from Kolkata, India

Thanks for sharing such a beautiful hub.....I like your visualization power and the way you presented the whole article! I vote you up!! I am also a deep lover of Bollywood oldies .....If am going to share my songs then this will become a long list! all fo your collections are great but the most catches my heart is "Yeh jeevan hai"


V Kumar profile image

V Kumar 4 years ago Author

Thanks for your encouraging comments. I look forward to your choice of songs.

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