"I was told to do it so I tried to do it to the best of my ability!"
When one thinks about Bollywood songs, the reality is that kids can add a certain charm to the music within an Indian film.
Their innocence is likeable and fresh. They also add a unique contrast to the picturisation of the tracks that star established actors.
In some songs, kids are seen singing, smiling, rocking their heads back and forth or dancing along.
Whatever they are doing, children are often a catalyst for the enthusiasm of the grown-up characters.
It is what makes these numbers, featuring kids all the more memorable.
DESIblitz presents a list of the 12 best Bollywood songs that have kids shining at the forefront.
Albele Panchhi – Devdas (1955)
This cute number from Bimal Roy’s Devdas is sure to melt hearts.
It features Nazima (Devdas Mukherjee) and Kumari Naaz (Parvati ‘Paro’ Chakraborty). They appear in this song, which has the high-pitched vocals of Asha Bhosle and Usha Mangeshkar.
This track plays after an argument between Devdas and Paro. Devdas has just slapped Paro, and he asks for forgiveness. That empathic scene is the perfect catalyst for this song.
The music is composed by SD Burman and the instruments he uses echo throughout the song.
Maitreyee Mishra, a huge fan of the film, reiterates this view in her comments left on IMDB:
“The music is brilliant. Every song seems to haunt you.
“The lyrics are deep and probing and perfectly suited to the story.”
‘Albele Panchhi‘ stands out among the other melodious songs by Lata Mangeshkar and Geeta Dutt.
The expressions on the kids’ faces are gratifying and innocent. The character of Devdas eventually grows into a depressed Dilip Kumar, showing the transition from innocence to rebellion.
When he does, viewers look back on this pious track with fondness and reproach.
Phoolon Ka Taaron Ka – Hare Rama Hare Krishna (1971)
Many Dev Anand fans are aware of Hare Rama Hare Krishna. Hence, they also know ‘Phoolon Ka Taaron Ka.’
Although, the version of this song that many remember is Kishore Kumar’s rendition. Earlier in the film, a very heart-warming form of the track plays, which is sung by Lata Mangeshkar.
In the song, a young Prashant Jaiswal (Master Satyajit) pacifies his little sister Jasbir ‘Janice’ Jaiswal (Baby Guddi).
Although Prashant is male, the vocals of Lata Ji create the purity of a child. They establish the sibling bond that shimmers in the rest of the film.
‘Phoolon Ka Taaron Ka‘ features Prashant carrying Janice on his shoulders. This protectiveness is endearing for every viewer to witness.
The track enables the Kishore Kumar version to have some resonance near the end of the movie.
Dev Sahab initially wanted his own children, Suneil Anand and Devina Anand to appear as the kids, but they were too shy.
These two young artists of the time did a fine job in delivering an outstanding performance.
Yaadon Ki Baaraat – 1973
Yaadon Ki Baaraat is a film by Nasir Husain. It is one that cemented the ‘masala’ genre in Indian films.
People recognise Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak (1988) as Aamir Khan’s first film. Although that was his star launch, it was not his first movie appearance.
It was actually in Yaadon Ki Baaraat where we first see a fresh-faced Aamir Khan.
In the film, two versions of the title song play. The adult rendition is sung by Mohammad Rafi and Kishore Kumar.
Like most older Bollywood songs featuring kids, the vocals of the child artists are performed by female singers.
In the child version of this song, singers Padmini Kolhapure and Sushma Shrestha showcase their versatile talents.
The children that appear in this track are Master Rajesh (Shankar), Master Ravi (Vijay) and Aamir (Ratan). At the time, Aamir was only 8 years old.
‘Yaadon Ki Baaraat‘ involves the three boys singing along to the lyrics. Their mother (Ashu) leads the song as they smile and happily move their heads side-to-side.
In 2013, Karan Johar interviewed Aamir, where they talk about this song. Karan asks:
“In Hindi cinema, why do children always move their heads side-to-side?”
An amused Aamir replies:
“I know! I was told to do it so I tried to do it to the best of my ability!”
This version charms the audience. Who could have imagined then that one of the kids would become one of the biggest Bollywood stars ever?
Jab Se Tumko Dekha – Kaalia (1981)
‘Jab Se Tum Ko Dekha‘ is an evergreen romantic number from Kaalia.
It features Kaalia ‘Kallu’ (Amitabh Bachchan) and Shalini/Rani Singh (Parveen Babi).
Along with them are Kallu’s niece Munni (Baby Geeta) and Shalini’s young sister Rina (Baby Khushboo).
Asha Bhosle and Kishore Kumar take care of the senior vocals.
Within the sequence, Munni and Rina echo the letters: “L.O.V.E.” Not only do the girls happily sing along, but they also gleefully watch their guardians fall in love.
Their smiles illustrate their love for this blossoming relationship.
During the sequence, all four characters get into a jeep and drive away, singing together. This creates a strong family bond for viewers to enjoy.
When Shalini and Kallu defeat Shahani Seth (Amjad Khan), ‘Jab Se Tumko Dekha’ plays again, finishing with the echoes of the kids.
It is a lovely and enjoyable song that reflects an adult’s romance through a child’s eyes.
Main Dil Tu Dhadkan – Adhikar (1986)
Adhikar follows the story of a separated couple and their young son Lucky (Lucky Bulbul).
The film opens with the depiction of Vishal (Rajesh Khanna) and Lucky’s loving relationship. An adult version of this song plays, which is rendered by Kishore Kumar.
However, near the end, it is the turn of Lucy to sing the song. He does so as part of his prayers to bring an unconscious Vishal back to his senses.
Unlike the earlier version, the child’s song presents Lucky’s mother Jyoti (Tina Munim) watching on.
This format of the track is decorated beautifully by the voice of Kavita Krishnamurthy.
An emotional Lucky looking at his father’s body while singing is tear-jerking for the audience.
At the end of the track, Vishal regains consciousness with a bleeding nose as blood also streams from Lucky’s nostrils.
As Kavita Ji finishes the song with melodious hums, the father and son wipe the blood away from each other.
The film was not as successful as others on this list, but ‘Main Dil Tu Dhadkan‘ is loved and embraced by many.
Yunhi Kat Jayega Safar – Hum Hain Rahi Pyaar Ke (1993)
‘Yunhi Kat Jayega Safar‘ from Hum Hain Rahi Pyaar Ke is relatable to the audience. It is also fun, charming and sweet.
It features Rahul Malhotra (Aamir Khan) and Vyjayanti Iyer (Juhi Chawla).
The kids featuring in the song are Munni Chopra (Baby Ashrafa), Vicky Chopra (Sharokh Bharucha) and Sunny Chopra (Kunal Khemu).
Rahul is the uncle to the three kids. After a scene where the children apologise to him after hurting his feelings, they all go out to the zoo.
The song includes iconography of the kids helping Rahul repair their car, admiring wild animals and enjoying a picnic.
Munni, Vicky and Sunny laugh and echo the voices of the adults. The music of Hum Hain Rahi Pyaar Ke was a thundering success, as were the kids.
In 2012, Christina Daniels penned Aamir’s biography I’ll Do It My Way. She cites Juhi talking about the kids during the shoot:
“Once they got to know everyone in the unit better, they turned into little horrors. But it was great fun.”
“This translated into the atmosphere of ‘fun and games’ on screen.”
That is clearly evident in the song as viewers grasp the togetherness and joy oozing out of each character.
Ladki Badi Anjaani Hai – Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (1998)
A significant strength of the timeless classic, Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, is its music. The strength of the movie transcends even further with the film’s child stars.
‘Ladki Badi Anjaani Hai’ features kids in the form of Anjali Khanna (Sana Saeed) and Silent Sardarji (Parzaan Dastur).
As Rahul Khanna (Shah Rukh Khan) and Anjali Sharma (Kajol) dance away, the youngsters follow them.
Their antics are charming, entertaining and pleasantly mischievous.
Silent strums to a violin and outshines Rahul in fishing. Meanwhile, Anjali shows off what a great dancer she is with some energetic choreography.
The dances and the innocence of the kids are a standout.
Shah Rukh, Kajol, Rani Mukherjee and Salman Khan shone in the film, there is no doubt about that.
However, the kids twinkled as well. Adding a different dimension to the film, their characters are still remembered.
Mujhe Maaf Karna – Biwi No. 1 (1999)
‘Mujhe Maaf Karna‘ from Biwi No. 1 is a despondent number. The song features Krishna ‘Rinku’ Mehra (Master Shahrukh) and Pinky Mehra (Baby Karishma).
The kids are performing in a Mother’s Day programme as their estranged parents, Prem Mehra (Salman Khan) and Pooja Makhija Mehra (Karisma Kapoor) watch on.
What starts as a moment of pride soon turns into a moment of melancholy. Rinku and Pinky despair over their parents’ separation and start crying.
This strikes a chord within the adults as they join in and start singing with emotion. The children utter lyrics such as:
“Don’t separate us from mummy and daddy.”
This undoubtedly touched the hearts of millions, leaving audiences heartbroken and sympathetic.
In the end, the plea and love of the kids bring the parents back together. It shows the power and impact that children can have on adults.
The song and the film were both huge successes of 1999, receiving accolades at the Filmfare Awards (2000), International Indian Film Academy Awards (2000) and Zee Cine Awards (2000).
Papa Mere Papa – Main Aisa Hi Hoon (2005)
Main Aisa Hi Hoon stars Rucha Vaidya as Gungun Thakur. She is the daughter of the mentally challenged Indraneel ‘Neel’ Mohan Thakur (Ajay Devgn).
Despite Neel’s disability, he and Gungun share a warm, loving relationship. Neel always plays, laughs and cries with her.
‘Papa Mere Papa‘ is Gungun’s tribute to her father. She’s proclaiming that her dad is the most loving person in the world.
She does so in front of Advocate Niti Khanna (Sushmita Sen). Niti is the lawyer who represents Neel in court when he facing the prospect of losing custody for Gungun.
There are heart-touching moments in the film. For example, Gungun decides to quit school. so she can remain at the same intellectual level as Neel.
Although, Neel advises her not to do so. Instead, Gungun must learn more so she can then teach him.
These endearing scenes are what make ‘Papa Mere Papa’ especially moving.
In a Bollywood Hungama review, Taran Adarsh praises Rucha Vaidya:
“The girl stands on her feet and mesmerises you with a performance that truly deserves laurels.”
Bollywood Hungama also talks about the music, calling the album “enjoyable.”
When a film has good music and a talented child actor, it makes for a captivating movie.
Maa – Taare Zameen Par (2007)
Taare Zameen Par is a film that broke boundaries for Bollywood because it raises the issue of dyslexia.
The impact that the film has had on education and childcare is phenomenal.
‘Maa‘ comes at a crucial point in the film. Ishaan ‘Inu’ Nandkishore Awasthi (Darsheel Safary) has just entered boarding school. In his new, scary environment, Ishaan feels alone and abandoned.
The song features Ishaan crying in the bathroom, struggling in adjusting to life at his school. It also presents Maya Awasthi (Tisca Chopra) as the shattered mother, who misses her son.
‘Maa’ is a heart-wrenching song. Though the focus is Ishaan, viewers also feel for Maya, who has had no say in this separation.
Filmibeat share their thoughts about the rousing track, stating:
“With the most simple and yet effective lyrics heard in the album so far, ‘Maa’ is another superb piece.”
A relatively different version of the song plays later on, but this time, Ishaan is numb, having succumbed to his sadness. However, as always, only his mother recognises it.
‘Maa’ truly embodies the special bond between a child and its mother.
Haanikaarak Bapu – Dangal (2016)
‘Haanikaarak Bapu‘ from Dangal is an entertaining number. It showcases Geeta Phogat (Zaira Wasim) and Babita Phogat (Suhani Bhatnagar).
Both girls are being trained physically by their unrelenting father Mahavir Singh Phogat (Aamir Khan).
It’s hilarious as the youngsters are denied their favourite foods and are forced to do push-ups. They are even made to swim in a freezing lake.
Mint reviews ‘Hanikaarak Bapu’, where they endorse the lyrics of Amitabh Bhattacharya:
“He supplies one amusing line after another, while tapping into a universal emotion no one writes songs about:
“The innocent complaint every child would’ve had against her parents who wouldn’t let her have fun for her own sake.”
The soundtrack of Dangal worked wonders with every song, but this track is special.
It satirises the harsh discipline that kids can be put under. That discipline comes in handy later on when Mahavir’s teachings take effect in the final wrestling matches.
Dangal remains one of the most successful Bollywood films of all time, winning four trophies at the 62nd Filmfare Awards.
Nachdi Phira – Secret Superstar (2017)
Secret Superstar is a film that encourages youngsters to follow their dreams. The main protagonist is a teenage singing sensation, named Insia ‘Insu’ Malik (Zaira Wasim).
Insia longs to be a famous singer. Within the movie, she plays many of her own songs, ending up posting those videos on YouTube.
Disgraced music composer Shakti Kumar (Aamir Khan) invites her to record ‘Nachdi Phira‘ for him.
When Insia’s voice hits the microphone, a gobsmacked Shakti stands up and emotionally dances along.
After she finishes singing, those present in the room all applaud Insia.
Pinkvilla believes the track has a long term-effect:
“A type of song that will gradually grow on you.”
Meghna Mishra provides the voice for Insia. Praising the vocals of Meghna in ‘Nachdi Phira’, Film Companion state:
“Mishra lifts it with a spirited rendition that soars and soars, reaching for a superb crescendo.”
The track is sung beautifully and Zaira complements it with equal grace onscreen.
Meghna won the ‘Best Female Playback Singer’ Filmfare Award for this song in 2018 and it is not hard to see why.
Bollywood songs are at the heart of Indian entertainment.
However, it is not always adults who can charm audiences. Sometimes, it’s the smaller actors and actresses that really dazzle viewers.
The songs don’t necessarily have to be about children either. Just the kids featuring in the tracks can be enough to make them a success.
They can be singing, dancing or laughing. Even more melancholic songs transform to another level when children are in the limelight.
Whatever they are doing, if picturised well, they add a lot of colour to the songs. Bollywood would just not be the same without them.