It was a Hindi film song that moved India’s first Prime Minister Jawahar Lal Nehru to tears. Ay Mere Watan Ke Logon, sung by Lata Mangeshkar at an event, led to her being summoned by the PM. Worried that she had made a mistake, she went there only to see him with tears in his eyes. “At first I was nervous, thinking I have committed some mistake. But when I met Panditji (Nehru), I saw tears in his eyes. ‘Lata, tumne aaj mujhe rula diya,’” she said quoting the Prime Minister at a function to celebrate the 51st year of the iconic song.
It was yet another song by Kavi Pradeep, also part of a Hindi film, which shook the British Empire. Callled ‘Chal Chal Re Naujawaan’, the song was not only recalled by the colonial government but arrest warrant were issued against the poet.
Many such Hindi film songs come with their own history. As India turns a grand old dame and we celebrate our 70th Independence Day, we bring an exhaustive playlist of all-time favourite patriotic Bollywood songs.
While the list includes evergreen favourites, it also leaves room for a few surprises.
Take out your headphones or speakers and let the nationalistic mood sink in.