Over the years, the lullaby has been a popular form of song. Used to put children to sleep, they are often sung by grandparents, parents and elders, either as a daily routine, or to deal with crying infants.
Though there have been many lullabies – or lori, to use the Hindi equivalent – some have been more often sung at home. There have also been those which were popular years ago but have been slowly forgotten.
Here, we choose 10 lullabies. The list is a mix of common and rare ones.
1 So Ja Rajkumari – Zindagi (1940)
In the pre-Independence era, Kundan Lal Saigal was the biggest singer-actor in Hindi cinema, till he passed away in January 1947. This unforgettable song was composed by the great Pankaj Mullick, and written by Kidar Sharma. The opening lines were, “So ja Rajkumari so ja, so ja main balihari so ja”.
2 Dheere Se Aaja Ri – Albela (1951)
Though filmed on Bhagwan and Geeta Bali in a vehicle, and not on a child, it has been a popular lullaby over the years. Sung by Lata Mangeshkar and C Ramchandra, who also composed the music, it was written by Rajendra Krishan. The song began, “Dheere se aaja ri akhiyan mein, nindiya aaja ri aaja, chhupke se nayanan ki bagiyan mein, nindiya aaja ri aaja”.
3 Taaron Ki Nagri – Waris (1954)
This song was picturised on and sung by the beautiful Suraiya, who was seen putting her son to sleep. Qamar Jalalabadi wrote the words which began, “Taaron ki nagri se chanda ne ek din dharti pe aane ki thaani, sun mere munna kahaani; kaliyon ne pehne shabnam ke gehne, lehron mein aayi rawaani, sun mere munna kahaani”. Music was by Anil Biswas.
4 Tim Tim Karte Taare – Chirag Kahan Roshni Kahan (1959)
This Meena Kumari-Rajendra Kumar film had both happy and sad versions of ‘Tim Tim Karte Taare’, sung by Lata. Ravi composed and Prem Dhawan wrote the lullaby, which went, “Tim tim karte taare, yeh kehte hain saare, so ja tohe sapnon mein nindiya pukare”. This was a rare beauty.
5 Nanhi Kali Sone Chali – Sujata (1959)
One of the most popular lullabies, it was a huge hit for singer Geeta Dutt. The song was filmed on Sulochana Latkar. It had music by S.D. Burman, with Majrooh Sultanpuri writing, “Nanhi kali sone chali, hawa dheere aana, neend bhare pankh liye, jhoola jhoole jaana”.
6 Main Gaaoon Tum So Jaao – Brahmachari (1968)
Another lullaby that was recorded in happy and sad versions, this was wonderfully composed by Shankar-Jaikishen. Mohammed Rafi gave voice for Shammi Kapoor, and in one of his last songs, Shailendra wrote, “Main gaaoon tum so jaao, sukh sapnon mein kho jaao”.
7 Aa Ri Aaja – Kunwara Baap (1974)
Kishore Kumar sang some wonderful lullabies for Mehmood. After ‘Chanda Ho Chanda’, composed by R.D..Burman and written by Anand Bakshi in the 1971 film Lakhon Mein Ek, he had Aa Ri Aaja for music director Rajesh Roshan in Kunwara Baap. The emotional song was written by Majrooh Sultanpuri.
8 Lalla Lalla Lori – Mukti (1977)
When one talks of lullabies, this song often comes immediately to mind. Sung by Mukesh, it was filmed on Shashi Kapoor and Vidya Sinha, besides Master Bittu. R.D. Burman composed the music, and Anand Bakshi wrote, “Lalla lalla lori, doodh ki katori, doodh mein batasha, munni kare tamasha”.
9 Chandni Re Jhoom – Nauker (1979)
Another wonderful R.D. Burman composition, this was recorded in two versions. While Kishore sang for Sanjeev Kumar, Lata rendered the Jaya Bachchan number. Majrooh Sultanpuri wrote, “Chanda mein jhoole meri bitiya rani, chandni re jhoom, chandni re jhoom”.
10 Yashoda Ka Nandlala – Sanjog (1985)
This can also appear in a list of Krishna songs, though because of the ‘zu zu zu zu’ hum, it’s often sung as a lullaby. Filmed on Jayaprada and Jeetendra at a rehab institution, it was sung by Lata and composed by Laxmikant-Pyarelal. Anjaan talked about a mother’s love.
Besides these, there are also many children’s songs which don’t actually come under lullabies, though they are sung by elders with the same intention. Examples would be ‘Tujhe Suraj Kahoon Ya Chanda’ from Ek Phool Do Mali and ‘Chanda Hai Tu’ from Aradhana. Maybe we’ll use them when compiling children’s songs.