Aye mere watan ke logon... Completes 50 Years
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Composed by C Ramachandra and sung by Lata Mangeshkar, it was first performed at Delhi's National Stadium in a fundraiser organised by the film industry for war widows. Pandit Nehru is known to have welled up when the six-and-a-half minute song was sung.
"I was very young when the song was composed but in the later years, everybody in my school wanted me to sing this song," says Mitul Pradeep, Kavi Pradeep's daughter, in a telephonic conversation from Mumbai. "My father later told me that all the soldiers who had laid down their lives were unsung heroes. This piece of composition has been sung at almost every patriotic function for almost 50 years and that is the commemoration for the ones who laid down their lives," adds Mitul.
There were no gentle shades of patriotism. The song, a strong melody in Raag Asavari — a sombre morning raga — was straight and simple, with a different chord progression for every stanza. The infectious and evocative tune was composed by C Ramachandra, a man who also sang and acted under the name R Chitalkar. He was known for his films such as Navrang, Anarkali and Asha.
In March the same year, Nehru visited Mumbai and expressed the desire to meet the poet (Kavi Pradeep had not been invited for the Delhi finction). He was eventually invited to the Raj Bhavan where he sang and later presented the handwritten script to Nehru.