hindi film music

In the travel song in Hindi films, not all journeys are about love

‘Jab Harry Met Sejal’ is about finding the right partner, but there have been other quests too in Hindi cinema.

The life-as-a-journey theme has been played out in a great many Hindi film songs – Suhana Safar is a popular, happy sing-along choice, as is Zindagi Ek Safar Hai Suhana. The dominant emotion is one of reassurance and positivity. Life is beautiful, just look around you.

In Yun Hi CHala Chal Rahi from Swades (2004), a dishevelled fakir sings of the joys of life during a road trip with a US-returned scientist who is on a quest of his own.

Yun Hi Chala Chal Rahi, Swades (2004).

Ye umr waqt raasta guzarta raha; Safar ka hi tha main, safar ka raha: It’s all about the journey in the song Safar from the August 4 release Jab Harry Met Sejal, composed by Pritam and written by Irshad Kamil. Singer Arijit Singh’s come-to-bed voice accentuates the blithe, living-in-the-moment vibe – Kamil’s play on the word rozaana is particularly suited to Singh’s drawl.

Safar, Jab Harry Met Sejal (2017).

Pritam and Kamil have been down this track before, in Ali’s Jab We Met (2007). Two young people, looking for different things, find their paths crossing until they finally find each other. Aao Meelon Chale is about the realisation that often, the journey is so much more fun, and the destination doesn’t matter anymore.

Aao Meelon Chale, Jab We Met (2007).

But there have also been poignant numbers about difficult journeys and turning points.

In Maachis (1996), a group of young men set out to join an armed movement, their trek through mountains and valleys punctuated by memories of home. Lyricist Gulzar and composer Vishal Bhardwaj put together a wistful number about a journey and all that you leave behind.

Chod Aaye Hum, Maachis (1996).

There’s more revolt, and dangerous journeys, in 1942 A Love Story (1994), one of RD Burman’s last film albums, written by Javed Akhtar and sung by Shivaji Chattopadhyay. When an underground freedom fighter is discovered and killed, his grieving daughter must flee to safety and continue the struggle. Her fellow traveller, also a revolutionary, leads the way, singing of the difficult way ahead but reminding her that the dark times won’t last forever. There will be a new dawn soon.

Yeh Safar, 1942 A Love Story (1994).

Further back in time, in Silsila (1981), love bloomed amid Amsterdam’s tulips and Lodhi Garden’s lesser flora, to be quickly followed by a season of separation and despair. Fate, as it often, does, brings the lovers together again, but it’s a different time now – domestic situations have changed. Will it be a rebellion against norms and traditions, or will be sacrifice, letting go of your heart’s desire? Shivkumar Sharma and Hariprasad Chaurasia composed this evergreen number, written by Javed Akhtar. Love is a journey too, and you can never be sure where you might end up.

Yeh Kahan Aa Gaye Hum, Silsila (1981).

In Umrao Jaan (1981), a Lucknow courtesan flees the attacking British, arriving in Faizabad, her childhood home. It’s not a happy homecoming – she must find patrons in a new city, and although she finds her family, they won’t have her back on account of her profession. This is a place where she is no longer in charge of her life and destiny, and where there are “dust storms as far as the eye can see”. Here’s an Asha Bhosle classic, composed by Khayyam and written by Shahryar.

Yeh Kya Jagah Hai Doston, Umrao Jaan (1981).

While on journeys, here’s a poignant, stirring ode to nation and patriotism. This Hemant Kumar number, composed by Naushad and written by Shakeel Badayuni, was a favourite in schools and often played before and during assemblies, presumably to inspire young minds. At a time when narrow notions of patriotism are being shoved down throats, young and old, Insaaf Ki Dagar Pe from Gunga Jumna (1961) is an excellent reminder of what the national project was always about: justice and equality for all.

Insaaf Ki Dagar Pe, Gunga Jumna (1961).
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Changing the conversation around mental health in rural India

Insights that emerged from discussions around mental health at a village this World Mental Health Day.

Questioning is the art of learning. For an illness as debilitating as depression, asking the right questions is an important step in social acceptance and understanding. How do I open-up about my depression to my parents? Can meditation be counted as a treatment for depression? Should heartbreak be considered as a trigger for deep depression? These were some of the questions addressed by a panel consisting of the trustees and the founder of The Live Love Lough Foundation (TLLLF), a platform that seeks to champion the cause of mental health. The panel discussion was a part of an event organised by TLLLF to commemorate World Mental Health Day.

According to a National Mental Health Survey of India 2015-16, conducted by the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS), common mental disorders including depression, anxiety disorders and substance use disorders affect nearly 10% of the population, with 1 in 20 people in India suffering from depression. The survey reported a huge treatment gap, a problem that is spread far and wide across urban and rural parts of the country.

On 10th of October, trustees of the foundation, Anna Chandy, Dr. Shyam Bhat and Nina Nair, along with its founder, Deepika Padukone, made a visit to a community health project centre in Devangere, Karnataka. The project, started by The Association of People with Disability (APD) in 2010, got a much-needed boost after partnering with TLLLF 2 years ago, helping them reach 819 people suffering from mental illnesses and spreading its program to 6 Taluks, making a difference at a larger scale.


During the visit, the TLLLF team met patients and their families to gain insights into the program’s effectiveness and impact. Basavaraja, a beneficiary of the program, spoke about the issues he faced because of his illness. He shared how people used to call him mad and would threaten to beat him up. Other patients expressed their difficulty in getting access to medical aid for which they had to travel to the next biggest city, Shivmoga which is about 2 hours away from Davangere. A marked difference from when TLLLF joined the project two years ago was the level of openness and awareness present amongst the villagers. Individuals and families were more expressive about their issues and challenges leading to a more evolved and helpful conversation.

The process of de-stigmatizing mental illnesses in a community and providing treatment to those who are suffering requires a strong nexus of partners to make progress in a holistic manner. Initially, getting different stakeholders together was difficult because of the lack of awareness and resources in the field of mental healthcare. But the project found its footing once it established a network of support from NIMHANS doctors who treated the patients at health camps, Primary Healthcare Centre doctors and the ASHA workers. On their visit, the TLLLF team along with APD and the project partners discussed the impact that was made by the program. Were beneficiaries able to access the free psychiatric drugs? Did the program help in reducing the distance patients had to travel to get treatment? During these discussions, the TLLLF team observed that even amongst the partners, there was an increased sense of support and responsiveness towards mental health aid.

The next leg of the visit took the TLLLF team to the village of Bilichodu where they met a support group that included 15 patients and caregivers. Ujjala Padukone, Deepika Padukone’s mother, being a caregiver herself, was also present in the discussion to share her experiences with the group and encouraged others to share their stories and concerns about their family members. While the discussion revolved around the importance of opening up and seeking help, the team brought about a forward-looking attitude within the group by discussing future possibilities in employment and livelihood options available for the patients.

As the TLLLF team honoured World Mental Health day, 2017 by visiting families, engaging with support groups and reviewing the successes and the challenges in rural mental healthcare, they noticed how the conversation, that was once difficult to start, now had characteristics of support, openness and a positive outlook towards the future. To continue this momentum, the organisation charted out the next steps that will further enrich the dialogue surrounding mental health, in both urban and rural areas. The steps include increasing research on mental health, enhancing the role of social media to drive awareness and decrease stigma and expanding their current programs. To know more, see here.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of The Live Love Laugh Foundation and not by the Scroll editorial team.