15 Ram Bhajans that truly sparkle in Hindi Cinema

Jaise suraj ki garmi se was a very different devotional on Lord Ram from the 1974 film, Parinay. Photo: Trailer Video Grab 

On the historic occasion of the Shree Ram Lalla Pran Pratishtha at Ayodhya on January 22, 2024, let us look back at 15 memorable Ram bhajans and devotionals in Hindi Cinema. Lyricist Anand Bakshi defined Him as the All-Supreme Power in the 1983 hit, Andhaa Kaanoon, in a philosophical lines, Jitni chaabi bhari Raam ne, utna chale khilona (The human being is a toy that works as long as Lord Ram has wound up his key) in the hit song, Rote rote hansnna seekho.

Chalo bhai Ram bharose / Ram Bharose / 1977 / Kishore Kumar / Ravindra jain / Ravindra Jain

This is a cheerful narration of Lord Ram’s power and the strength that a devotee can acquire with total faith in Him. The breezy song also has the lines on which one can ponder—Suraj na uge chanda na khile / Usski marzi bina ek patta na hile (the sun nor moon can shine and without His will, even a leaf will not flutter) to describe His all-pervasive strength.

Dole re dole re pran /  Sampooran Ramayan / 1961 / Lata Mangeshkar & Mohammed Rafi / Vasant Desai / Bharat Vyas

Lata and Rafi infused rare soul in this spirited melody with perhaps aptly prophetic words then— Ho dole re dole re pran / Ho mila humko vardaan  / Aaj kyoon na kare hum gumaan / Hamare ghar aaye bhagwan (My being rocks with this blessing / And why should it not when the Lord has come home). Another interesting line that reflects what actually took place is Dharti utaar rahi aarti / Phool barsa rahaa aasmaan (On land, we pay respects with an aarti while the sky showers flowers) just like copters did so after the formal ceremony on January 22, 2024!

Hamari manorath poori karna / Asha Bhosle, Geeta Dutt & Shamshad Begum /  Ab Dilli Door Nahin / 1957 / Dattaram / Hasrat Jaipuri

Hasrat Jaipuri, a Muslim, always believed in religious harmony and the union between Hindi and Urdu, languages that he considered to be sisters. In this lovely song, filmed as a Ram Leela happening on stage, incidents from the Ramayan are narrated by three children, with three leading singers of the time evocatively describing excerpts from the saga of Lord Ram.

He rom rom mein basnewale Ram  / Neel Kamal / 1968 / Asha Bhosle / Sahir Ludhianvi / Ravi

Asha Bhosle sang this plaintive melody written by another Muslim lyricist—Sahir Ludhianvi, another staunch believer in religious integration. The situational song, an invocation to the Lord to use His powers to assuage the heroine (Waheeda Rehman)’s woes, was composed by Ravi.

Jaise suraj ki kirano / Parinay / 1974 / Sharma Bandhu / Jaidev / Ramanand Sharma

This gem flowed like a supple river into the hearts of listeners and has consecrated its place firmly in devotees’ minds. An exquisite composition by the underrated and underutilized Jaidev, this song was written, and also rendered, by non-film talents.                                                       

Mangal bhavan amangal haari / Geet Gaata Chal / 1975 / Sant Tulsidas / Ravindra Jain

Composer Ravindra Jain, through the aegis of singer Jaspal Singh, has made this Awadhi masterpiece on the saga of Lord Ram by Sant Tulsidas immortal with his version, just as composer Hemant Kumar did with his version of Vande Mataram in Jagriti in the 1950s.

Mujhe apni sharan mein le lo Ram / Tulsidas /1954 / Mohammed Rafi / Gopal Singh Nepali / Chitragupta

The ultimate paean of surrender to the Lord was wonderfully written by the less-known G.S. Nepali and composed by Chitragupta with the right sense of fervor. The last stanza was the acme of devotion—if Lord Ram could not accept the film’s lead character in life, then he was willing to lay down his life so that the Lord would acknowledge him. Rafi’s emotionally-suffused rendition lent this beauty a rare soul-stirring quality.

Raghupati Raghav Raja Ram / Sharada / 1957 / Lata Mangeshkar / Rajendra Krishan / C. Ramachandra

With the momentous line Sab dharmon ka saar hai Ram (Ram is the essence of every religion) this sublime chant is filmed on Meena Kumari and is a situational part of this uniquely-themed film.

Ramji ne dhanush toda / Eeshwar / 1989 / Nitin Mukesh & Suresh Wadkar / Laxmikant-Pyarelal / Anjaan

Referring to the Sita Swayamvar wherein Lord Ram effortlessly broke the Shiv-Dhanush (Lord Shiva’s bow) and won Seeta’s hand, and their total love for each other, this temple song is a treat to hear for its rousing words and simple tune.

Ramchandra keh gaye Siya se / Gopi / 1970 / Mahendra Kapoor / Rajendra Krishan / Kalyanji-Anandji

Prophetic in its words of a world that will go deviant before good times can return, this masterful song by Rajendra Krishan was superbly enacted by Dilip Kumar after Mahendra Kapoor as singer gave it his all. The musical triumph of Kalyanji-Anandji remains an evergreen 54 years down.

Rishi Kapoor enacts the classic Ramji ki nikli sawaari from Sargam. Photo: Trailer Video Grab

Ramji ki nikli sawaari / Sargam / 1979 /  Anand Bakshi / Laxmikant-Pyarelal

Another spirited song, filmed during Dassera, this invigorating in every way classic remains an everlasting melody that stirred the audience in the way it was filmed by director K. Vishwanath on Rishi Kapoor.

Sabse pehle sabse aakhir / Recorded for unreleased film ‘Hey Ram’ / 1977 / Anand Bakshi / Rajesh Roshan

Hiren Khera, Raj Kapoor’s secretary, who had produced several films as well, had launched this film in the mid-1970s. Before it was shelved, this soulful Lata-Rafi duet was recorded by Rajesh Roshan with the producer’s permanent lyricist, Anand Bakshi. Those interested in this fervent devotional can find it online.

Sukh ke sab saathi / Gopi / 1970 / Mohammed Rafi / Rajendra Krishan / Kalyanji-Anandji

The ultimate classic devotional for so many, this deeply-meaningful song remains a sublime expression of prayer on how Lord Ram is the only Entity that stays with us in both happiness and sorrow. It remains among the foremost creations of all time of its lyricist, composers and singer, besides being one of the very finest of many bhajans enacted by Dilip Kumar.

Tum aasha vishwas hamare / Subah / 1983 / Lata Mangeshkar / Pt. Narendra Sharma / Pt. Hridaynath Mangeshkar

Among the most haunting creations ever of the formidable combination of Lata Mangeshkar and her composer brother, Pandit Hridaynath Mangeshkar, this fabulous ode to Lord Ram was written feelingly by none other than a truly spiritual poet-lyricist, Pandit Narendra Sharma. Lata’s singing scaled beyond tall and infused new dimensions in spiritual excellence.

Yehi raho Ramji / Shri Ram Bharat Milan / 1965 / Asha Bhosle & Usha Mangeshkar / Pt. Shivram / Pradeep

A unique ditty in devotion, this song from a lesser-known film, used a rare theme—the village beseeched Lord Ram and Sita not to head for their exile (vanwaas), promising many things to them, like making another Ayodhya in their village and warning them of the presence of demons in the forest. This imaginative song was penned by another master writer, Dadasaheb Phalke laureate Pradeep.



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