1) Oh ma teri soorat se alag bhagwan ki soorat kya hogi: Dadi Maa(1966)—It’s not easy to sing in praise of the Mother Figure without tripping into the territory of treacle. This amazing ode to Mom holds up after so many years thanks to Mahendra Kapoor and Manna Dey’s spirited singing and composer Roshan’s joyous tune that envelopes the maternal emotions like a warm blanket. But it’s Majrooh Sultanpuri’s lyrics that finally do the trick. Ussko nahin dekha humnein kabhi par usski zaroorat kya hogi ae maa teri soorat se alag bhagwan ki soorat kya hogi. Wah!
2) Tu kitni achchi hai tu kitni bholi hai pyai pyari hai oh ma…Raja Aur Runk In 1968 when Lata Mangeshkar was 39 years old she sang for the 11-year old child actor Master Mahesh (who grew up to be a well-known actor Mahesh Kothare in Marathi cinema). Lataji’s voice conveys the all-embracing love of a child reaching out to his mother, Nirupa Roy in the film. Laxmikant-Pyarelal who idolized Lataji’s voice insisted she sing for the child. The transformation was magical.
3) Meri duniya hai maa tere aanchal mein: Talaash(1969).. Composer Sachin Dev Burman’s voice had the power to rip a hole in your soul. In this song that Rajendra Kumar sang for his screen-mother Sulochana(who was barely 15 years older) Burman Dada brings such strong feelings of filial bonding you feel he is not singing but offering prayer to the Mother.The umbilical chord lies unbroken.
4) Maine maa ko dekha hai maa ka pyar nahin ka: Mastana(1970): An exceptional song. Whereas most motherly melodies in our movies sing in praise of the mother, this song composed by Laxmikant-Pyarelal actually has the child speaking about the absence of maternal love in his life! Lata Mangeshkar sang for Master Bobby who was just 9 years old.
5) Mummy oh mummy tu kab saas banegi: Khatta Meetha(1978): Again a departure from the syrupy norm. This mom song has ‘son’ Deven Verma grumbling to his screen mom about his delayed marriage. Kishore Kumar sounded so much like Deven Verma in this song that listeners mistook the actor to be the actual singer of this Rajesh Roshan composition.
6) Maa hai mohabbat ke naam maa ko hazaaron salaam: Maa Ka Aanchal(1970): Remarkable mainly for Kaifi Azmi’s emotional homage to the Mother Figure, the song is composed by Madan Mohan almost like a patriotic song. Interestingly this same long-forgotten film(which marked the debut of Anjana Mumtaz as a leading lady) had Asha Bhosle singing another aching ode to the mom: Maa kaa aanchal ladle daaman hai bhagwan ka.
7) Maa mujhe apne aachal mein chupa le gale se lagaa le : Chota Bhai(1966): Master Mahesh pining for his mother in Lata Mangeshkar’s voice. Try listening to this Laxmikant-Pyarelal number without getting a lump in your throat.
8) Lukka chuppi bahut hui saamne aaja na: Rang De Basanti(2006): The most unusually structured motherly song ever. While the first half of the number has mom Lata Mangeshkar searching for her mischievous child as he plays a hide ‘n’ seek with her, the second-half of the song has son Rahman reaching out to his mother from a place where she can’t hear him. Prasoon Joshi masterfully weaves both the mother and child’s sentimental in the same line of aural vision.A marvel of melodic creation.
9) Mumma: Dusvidaniya(2008)—The film may be forgotten. Kailash Kher’s heartwarming ode to Mom is imperishable.
10) Tujhe saab hai meri maa: Taare Zameen Par(2007): Poet Prasoon Joshi and composer-singer Shankar Mahadevan put together a song that seems threaded with the teardrops of a child missing his mother. The sobs you hear while the song plays are yours.