The song 'Duniya Ki Sair Kar Lo' which was released even before my parents were born, has got a profound and reserved place in my heart. Let's see why!
I came across this song when we were travelling in my father's car. He is a great fan of Kishore Kumar and Mukesh and always listens to vintage bollywood songs in the car, and yes in a very traditional way: downloading songs (in very legal ways) and storing them in a flash drive. I was quite young when I first listened this and always enjoyed it in car whenever it reached the queue in the music player. Years later, I dug out a lot of background information and the values associated with it and wrote it down today.
'Duniya Ki Sair Kar Lo' (also popular by name 'Around the World in Eight Dollars') was released as a part of movie 'Around the World' in 1967, 4-5 years even before my own parents were born. The movie showed an Indian who travelled around the world in 5000 rupees (that was a big amount back then). This movie was shot 'around the world' and this song 'Duniya Ki Sair Kar Lo' kinda emerged as a title track. Sung by Mukesh and Sharda, it is one of iconic bollywood songs which you can still find listeners of, like me.
A lot of peeps would wonder why only eight dollars? Well, 8 dollars (or its equivalent) was the maximum amount of currency Indians were allowed to carry abroad during the time the song landed. Those were the times of an early in-development nation, and only a few people were priveleged enough to even have that, yeah only those 8 dollars which we take for granted in this modern world.
The Profound Impression
Whenever I listen to this song, I feel connected to it in a non-superficial manner. It makes me feel that I got connected to the 1960's era and feel the vibes of that time, like somehow I was a part of it in my past life. It is quite hilarious to think it in this retrospective, but it is what it is. I feel myself a part of 1960's India (lol not even knowing what abysmal condition India was in at that time), feeling a like a homeless common Indian driving their way through poverty and disease. At the same time, I feel like me being a rich movie star or perhaps a scientist or something spending the primest times of my life, in that 1960's India. Well, this all is random, so forgive me for it.
Still connected to Indian Roots
The singers are not ashamed to pronounce 'World' as 'Wuld', 'Los Angeles' as 'Los Ainjelees', 'Disney Land' as 'Dijney Land', 'Miami' as 'Mayami', or 'Washington' as 'Waaashinton'. Listening this brings the desi out of you and reminds you to be still connected to your one and only India. While showing a glimpse of world tourism, it hightlights on the humane and Indian values and asks you 'ek baat kahenge sab se, nafrat ko mita do jag se' (translation: we will say this one thing to everyone: just remove hatred from this world')
Values of Success and Progress
The song is not a motivational song at all, but it still somehow gives me chills, and makes me productive or sometimes excited (lol I am writing this post while listening to the song on repeat). The song his this line: "insaan ke haath ka tona, mitti ko banaya sona" (translation: see this magic of human hands, which has made soil/sand into gold (metaphorically)); this line very much highlights the fact that the civilisation progresses on the hands of human labour and struggle. We have reached this point in our civilisation, where nothing feels impossible. Even if something is impossible currently, there is a possible hope here and there always that it might be possible in future.
The New India and Global World
The song was made in times of intense hussle and tussle, where India was just emerging as an independent nation, and everyone had apprehensions about the future of India. As an emerging and in-development nation, the song presses on the point that Indians are going to interact with world, shape our future and contribute to world's common good, and India would be becoming a part of the bigger Global World; and here we are in India in 2023, seeing this. Yep I agree that we are still nowhere near the West in terms of progress, but still there is a hope seeing how much we have progressed from absymal state of India to a truly republic and democratic state of India.
I didn't know that writing this blog about a random vintage bollywood song would bring out the Desi and patriot in me, but here it is. Bye, peeps!