Subhash K Jha talks about best Raksha Bandhan songs in Bollywood

In the days of Biswajeet, Rajesh Khanna and Amitabh Bachchan, almost every film had a sister.And every screen sister sang a soul-stirring song about her brother, whether it’s Nanda singing Bhaiyya mere raakhi ke bandhan ko nibhana to her beloved brother Balraj Sahni in Choti Bahen, or inversely, Amitabh Bachchan singing Nahin main nahin dekh sakta tujhe rote huey to a wheelchair-bound Farida Jalal in Majboor … you know the celebrated Raksha Bandhan songs. Here are the ones you don’t know.

1. Chanda re mere bhaiya se kehna behna yaad kare(Chambal Ki Kasam): Anyone who has heard Lata Mangeshkar singing to her absent brother in this Khayyam composition, would know what infinite emotionalism Lataji could infuse in a song about sibling bonding. Here she is the sister aching to see her brother. The lyrics by Sahir Ludhianvi are embedded in filial emotions. Khayyam composes the lyrics with the focused affection of a carved jewel. As for Lataji she considered this one of her most favourite Raksha Bandhan songs. She recalled thinking of her own brother Hridaynath and breaking down during its recording .

2. Abke baras bhej bhaiyya ko babul(Bandini): Asha Bhosle got this song about her sister waiting for her brother to take her home from her sasural , by default. Composer Sachin Dev Burman was not on talking…singing…terms with his favourite ‘Lota’. Hence Asha. Hence one of the most moving melodies of her career. The highest compliment we can pay the songstress is to say she doesn’t let us miss her elder sister in the song.

3. Chhor chale ghar tera babul piya ke ghar jaana(Mere Bhaiyya): The Salil Choudhary-Lata Mangeshkar collaboration is often mentioned for many milestone melodies like Aaja re pardesi(Madhumati) and Na jiya lage na(Anand). No one recalls this , a monumental classic where the sister sings a bidaai song to her brother. Yogesh’s lyrics build a montage of moving domestic images in the departing sister’s mind of things she would miss at home. You simply ‘moist’ hear this teary-eyed classic.

4. Behna oh behna teri doli main sajaoonga(Adalat): When it comes to the brother’s perspective on sisterly love we invariably fall back on Kishore Kumar’s Meri pyari beheniya from the film Sachcha Jhootha and Pholon ka taaron ka (Hare Rama Hare Krishna). This Mukesh number composed by Kalyanji-Anandji(the duo shared a special affinity with Mukesh) from the Amitabh Bachchan hit in 1976 is a sleeper weepie . We hardly ever heard Mukesh sing for Amitabh Bachchan in any other film other than Kabhi Kabhie .Mukesh ‘s melancholic voice colours the emotional lyrics in prominent shades of brotherly allegiance.

5. Maiya mere bhaiya na aaye re(Aaakhri Daku): How on earth did this enormously moving song of sisterly sorrow end up in this dud of a film? Lataji is at her supremely soulful summit singing for a sister who refuses to get into the doli without her brother. There is a visual vibrancy to the words. Lataji paints emotions in this gem of a number where composers Kalyanji-Anandji have gone beyond their trademark style.

About The Author
Subhash K Jha

Subhash K. Jha is a veteran Indian film critic, journalist based in Patna, Bihar. He is currently film critic with leading daily The Times of India, Firstpost, Deccan chronicle and DNA News, besides TV channels Zee News and News18 India.