10 Musical Ways to Celebrate Janmashtami

10 Musical Ways to Celebrate Janmashtami

On the eve of Janmashtami, Narendra Kusnur picked 10 songs dedicated to Lord Krishna – seven of them being from Hindi cinema


To mark Janmashtami, we choose 10 songs dedicated to Lord Krishna. Seven of these are from films, and of those, three are sung by Mohammed Rafi.

We also have a popular bhajan, an unknown song and one hit from the 1990s Indipop era. The list is in no particular order, the only condition being that the non-film songs were kept at the end.


1 Govinda Aala Re – Bluff Master

From the 1963 film Bluff Master, this song was set in a Dahi Handi crowd sequence and picturised on Shammi Kapoor. Mohammed Rafi sang Rajendra Krishan’s lines which went, “Govinda aala re aala, zara matki sambhal brijbala”. Music was by Kalyanji-Anandji.


2 Darshan Do Ghansham – Narsi Bhagat

A well-known Krishna bhajan sung by Manna Dey, Hemant Kumar and Sudha Malhotra in the 1957 film Narsi Bhagat. Ravi composed the music, and Narsimh Mehta wrote the lyrics “Darshan do ghanasham nath mori ankhiyan pyaasi re”.


3 Radhike Tune Bansuri Churayi – Beti Bete 

This song was very popular after its release in 1964. Picturised on Sunil Dutt and Saroja Devi, it was sung by Rafi, composed by Shankar-Jaikishen and written by Shailendra. The dancing added to the screen charm.


4 Badi Der Bhayi Nandlala – Khandan

Rafi shone again on this popular song composed by Ravi and written by Rajendra Krishan. It was filmed on Sunil Dutt, and had a wonderfully choreographed folk dance by people in colourful costumes.


5 Bada Natkhat Hai – Amar Prem

A simple song showing a mother, played by Sharmila Tagore, addressing her naughty son. “Bada natkhat hai re Krishan Kanhaiya, ka kare Yashoda maiyya”, wrote Anand Bakshi. Lata Mangeshkar sang the tune composed by R.D. Burman.


6 Yashomati Maiyya – Satyam Shivam Sundaram

Written by Pandit Narendra Sharma in the 1978 film, it was based on the theme of Radha and Krishna. Laxmikant-Pyarelal composed the tune sung by Mangeshkar with a short bit by Manna Dey. A young Padmini Kolhapure appeared on screen.


7 Shyam Teri Bansi – Geet Gaata Chal

Ravindra Jain wrote and composed this tune sung by Aarti Mukherjee and Jaspal Singh. The words went “Shyam teri bansi pukare Radha naam, log kare Meera ko yoonhi badnaam”. Sachin and Sarika appeared on screen.


8 Aisi Laagi Lagan – Anup Jalota

The most popular song sung by bhajan samrat Anup Jalota. It’s a Meera bhajan with the lines “Aisi laagi Lagan Meera ho gayi magan, woh to gali gali hari gun gaane lagi”. His live performances have always drawn a great response.


9 Aayo Natkhat Nandlal – Animated video

This one’s targeted more at children and tells the story of Lord Krishna through an animated video, directed by MFF. The names of the singers and musicians aren’t mentioned, and the lyrics move medley-like from one theme to another, blending chants, Hindi and English.


10 Krishna – Colonial Cousins

Comprising Hariharan and Lesle Lewis, the Colonial Cousins tasted huge success with this song, based on a popular Kannada bhajan ‘Krishna Ni Begane Baaro’. The song asks the almighty, be it Krishna, Rama, Jesus or Allah, to come back and save the world.

About Narendra Kusnur

Narendra Kusnur is one of India’s best known music journalists. Born with a musical spoon, so to speak, Naren, who dubs himself Kaansen, is a late bloomer in music criticism. He was (is!) an aficionado first, and then strayed into writing on music. But in the last two decades, he has made up for most of what he didn’t do earlier.

View all posts by Narendra Kusnur

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