Atul’s Song A Day- A choice collection of Hindi Film & Non-Film Songs

Gaaye chalaa jaa ik din tera bhi zamaana aayegaa

Posted on: February 4, 2012

This article is written by Sudhir, a fellow enthusiast of Hindi movie music and a regular contributor to this blog.

“Hum Log’ (1951) is a production from the banner of Ranjit Movietone, but more than that, it is a signature piece by Zia Sarhadi, who has written and directed this film. This film is one of the earlier examples of Neo-Realism in Indian Cinema, a school of cinematic expression that was pioneered in the west by directors such as Luis Bunuel (Spain), Vittorio DeSica (Italy), Luchino Visconti (Italy), Yasujiro Ozu (Japan) and Jean Renoir (France). Although the film did not have any commercial success, it still is considered as the cult classic in the genre of Neo-Realism in Indian Cinema.

Cinema, as it developed, has always been considered as an extension of the theatre. Managing to provide a much wider scope and canvas to the creative artist, it also proves to be more influential with a substantively deeper intrusion into the society in more than one ways. The debate still continues, as to what is the true identity of this art form, whether it is pure entertainment (in the same class as ‘Nautanki’ and other expressions of folk art), or does it have a more significant social and contextual responsibility in terms of exposing the truths of the social and political systems, in the same real terms in which they exist.

The Spanish film, ‘Land Without Bread’ (1933) is considered to be the path breaking precursor to this genre of film making. Many ‘progressive’ cinema professionals took upon themselves to express such stark, at times bitter realities of life and society, and together, these artists and their creations formed what is called the Neo-Realistic cinema movement across the world. The standard subject matter is the everlasting social divide between the haves and the have-nots – the divide amongst the rich and the poor. The reality of this divide never goes away. The everlasting presence actually makes individuals take it for granted, and accept it as a fact of life (which it is), till ultimately the mind begins to shun and ignore it. The neo-realism chooses to challenge this apathy and to try and strike a chord in the viewers mind to acknowledge and own up to this reality.

In the context of Indian Cinema, the movement of neo-realism cannot be discussed without talking about IPTA – Indian People’s Theatre Association. IPTA came into being as an association of leftist theater artists and others, with its roots in Calcutta. It started off as the cultural and artistic wing of the communist movement in India, with a goal to bring cultural and social awareness amongst the masses.

The list of its members reads like the significant who’s who of the Indian cinema. Some of the founding members of IPTA are Prithviraj Kapoor, Bijon Bhattacharya, Ritwik Ghatak, Utpal Dutt, Khwaja Ahmad Abbas, Salil Chowdhury, Pandit Ravi Shankar, Jyotirindra Moitra, Niranjan Singh Maan, S. Tera Singh Chann, Jagdish Faryadi, Khalili Faryadi, Rajendra Raghuvanshi, Safdar Mir, Sadat Hasan Manto etc. As the movement grew across India, more famous names became associated with it, notably Balraj Sahni, Chetan Anand, Zia Sarhadi, Zohra Sehgal, Shobha Sen, Gopal Halder, Hayatulla Ansari, Kamini Kaushal, Manikuntala Sen, Ahindra Chowdhuri, Anwar Hussain, Sombhu Mitra and Tripti Mitra. Also included is Mehboob Khan, the famous director. The graphic representing the banner of his company, Mehboob Productions, includes the symbol of hammer and sickle, the traditional logo of the communist movement.

The group came together in 1942, in the backdrop of the continuing second world war, the Quit India movement and then the disastrous Bengal famine in 1943. A conference was held in Bombay in 1943, where the group presented its idea and objective of representing the crisis of the time through the medium of theatre and to help people understand their rights and duties. This conference led to the formation of committees of IPTA across India. The movement hit not only theatres, but also cinema and music both in the mainstream and regional language contexts. The original group dispersed in 1947, but not before seeding breakaway factions in all parts of the country that continue to be active even now.

In Indian Cinema, probably the earliest creation from this group came in form of the film ‘Roti’ (1942) by Mehboob Khan. The treatment of the rich-poor divide and the urban-rural divide is stark and hard hitting, although the theatrical influence of presentation is still very prominent. It is notable that Mehboob Khan had earlier in 1940, made the film ‘Aurat’, which also deals with the exploitation of the poor farmers by the rich landlords and moneylenders. (NOTE: ‘Aurat’ (1940) was recreated as ‘Mother India’ in 1957, by Mehboob himself). Then in 1943, the Bengal famine happened, and the group responded with some very famous creations, notably the stage play ‘Nabanna’ (in Bengali) by Bijon Bhattacharya, and the iconic film ‘Dharti Ke Laal’ by Khwaja Ahmed Abbas. (‘Nabanna’ is the traditional harvest festival in Bengal). Then in 1946, came another classic icon from Chetan Anand – ‘Neecha Nagar’. This film went on to become a cult icon, and was the joint winner of the prestigious Best Film award at the first international film festival in Cannes, France.

I will skip the storyline details, which are already discussed in the comment posted by Arun ji, for the song “Apni Nazar Se Unki Nazar Tak” . And talk about this song. Like the film, this song has also become a cult classic – a song of optimism and encouragement that lights a ray of hope for the downtrodden. The words are simple yet very powerful, and the melody created by Roshan Saab is really impactful. The entire emphasis of the song is summarized very beautifully in the two line themselves,

gaaye chalaa jaa
gaaye chalaa jaa
ik din tera bhi zamaanaa aayegaa

“Sing (the song of hope), for the day will come, when it (the world) will be yours”.

For decades, this song has been and continues to be the call of encouragement for the workers movements in this country. These powerful words have become a cultural symbol, and an endeavor to strike out the despair and gloom and to instill anticipation and expectation, for those whose life and times continue to be a tough and continuous struggle for maintaining the body and soul together.

My enchantment with this song started way back in my childhood. I was watching the film ‘Musafir’ (1957) on Doordarshan, at a neighbor’s home. There I heard this song for the first time – a tiny interlude in the film wherein Mohan Choti, the sprightly delivery boy of the corner tea shop, is having a moment of leisure, beating out the rhythm on the back of a metal mug, and singing just these leading lines, only twice or so. This interlude that lasts less than a minute on screen, instilled these words and the melody in my mind. I eagerly awaited through the rest of the film, for these lines to be restored and re-sung as a complete song, mistakenly assuming that this song is from the film I was watching. Of course I was completely unaware that this song does not belong to ‘Musafir’. As the film ended, the child’s mind was (mistakenly) irate at the film producers and/or the Doordarshan people, who had so cruelly cut out this song from the film. I made a difficult way back home, and my child’s mind would not believe that the film had ended and a song that had caught my fancy with just two line, is probably lost forever. These lines remained with me for years, and I would rue the fact that I probably could never hear the rest of the song, ever. And quite truthfully, it was almost after two decades of that viewing, that I came across the information about the correct antecedents of this song. And then many more years were still to pass before I could lay my hands on the complete song and then the film of course, as it got released on VHS and then later on disc.

The words of this song are penned by Uddhav Kumar, and the music composition is by Roshan. The singing voices are those of GM Durrani and Lata Mangeshkar, supported by a chorus. On screen, the song is performed by Nutan, Sajjan and a set of other actors, some of whom seem very familiar, but I am not able to identify them by name. I request other readers to please help identify other performers of this song on the screen. In the video clip, one can also identify Kanhaiyalal and Durga Khote, sitting in audience watching this performance. The song is presented as part of a stage show that Paro (Nutan) and Anand (Sajjan) put together for the purpose of raising money. The clip starts with a frame showing the lifeless form of Raj (Balraj Sahni) who is in custody for misappropriating funds belonging to his father’s employer. The stage show happens, unaware of the fact that Raj has passed away in custody. It also is the end of the film. Having displayed the struggle and the misery of the have-nots, the film realistically does not pretend to offer a solution. It just provides a hope and a promise that better times are bound to come – in the form of this song, a ray of hope.

gaaye chalaa jaa
gaaye chalaa jaa
ik din tera bhi zamaanaa aayegaa

Sing on
The song of hope
For the day will come
When this world will be yours

pukaarta hai aasmaan, badal bhi jaayegaa samaa
bahaar aa hi jaayegi, guzar hi jaayegi khizaan

The heavens above are calling out
The times, they will change
The spring, it will come, certainly
And the desolate winter shall pass, certainly

sitam ke teer khaaye jaa, magar kadam badhaaye jaa
yehi hai shaan-e-zindagi, naye diye jalaaye jaa
tu aansu’on ke saaz par khushi ke geet gaaye jaa

Bear for now
The assaults of injustice, inequity
But keep striding, moving ahead
This is the honor of life
Light new lamps
And spread the hope
Go on, sing the songs of happiness
On the melody of tears

zameen bhi tere saath, aasmaan bhi tere saath hai
jo tu jahaan ke saath hai, jahaan bhi tere saath hai

This earth, the sky
They are with you, for you
Feel the oneness with it
This world is with you
For you are with this world

ye reet hai jahaan ki, ye geet hai naseeb kaa
ameer khaa chukaa bahut, zamaanaa hai gareeb kaa

It is the eternal tradition of this world
(That the change will come)
It is the very song of destiny
The privileged have enjoyed enough
Now the era of the deprived is at hand

Song-gaaye chala jaa (Ham Log)(1951) Singer-G M Durrani, Lata, Lyrics-Uddhav Kumar, MD-Roshan
G M Durrani + Lata =Red


aa aa aa
aa aa aa
aa aa aa
aa aa aa

gaaye chalaa jaa
gaaye chalaa jaa
ik din tera bhi zamaanaa aayegaa
gaaye chalaa jaa
gaaye chalaa jaa
ik din tera bhi zamaanaa aayegaa

pukaarta hai aasmaan
badal bhi jaayegaa samaa
bahaar aa hi jaayegi
guzar hi jaayegi khizaan

gaaye chalaa jaa
gaaye chalaa jaa
ik din tera bhi zamaanaa aayegaa
gaaye chalaa jaa
gaaye chalaa jaa
ik din tera bhi zamaanaa aayegaa

sitam ke teer khaaye jaa
magar kadam badhaaye jaa
yehi hai shaan-e-zindagi
naye diye jalaaye jaa
tu aansu’on ke saaz par
khushi ke geet gaaye jaa

gaaye chalaa jaa
gaaye chalaa jaa
ik din tera bhi zamaanaa aayegaa
gaaye chalaa jaa
gaaye chalaa jaa
ik din tera bhi zamaanaa aayegaa

zameen bhi tere saath
aasmaan bhi tere saath hai
jo tu jahaan ke saath hai
jahaan bhi tere saath hai

ye reet hai jahaan ki
ye geet hai naseeb kaa
ameer khaa chukaa bahut
zamaanaa hai gareeb kaa

zamaanaa hai gareeb kaa
zamaanaa hai gareeb kaa
gaaye chalaa jaa
gaaye chalaa jaa
ik din tera bhi zamaanaa aayegaa
gaaye chalaa jaa
gaaye chalaa jaa
ik din tera bhi zamaanaa aayegaa
gaaye chalaa jaa
gaaye chalaa jaa
ik din tera bhi zamaanaa aayegaa


7 Responses to "Gaaye chalaa jaa ik din tera bhi zamaana aayegaa"

Help please! I could recognize Sajjan (looks so young). Nutan, Durga Khote, Kanhaiyalal. Who are other two men singing on the stage with Nutan and Sajjan? Also, at the end of the song, could see just a glimpse of a person with beard. Who is he?

Khyati ji,
The person with beard,seen in the last part of the song is Ramesh Thakur,in the role of Sethji in the film.
The other two people singing, can not be identified.

Thanks Arunji.

Dear Sudhir Ji
What an excellent write up painstakingly written. Great insight into development of the art of cinema. When people write about childhood anecdotes I am transported likewise. Thanks a lot. Lokking forward to more- K S Shenoy

Sudhir ji,
An excellent write up showing the efforts you have taken to explain the evolution of parallel cinema.

Arun ji, Satish ji,

Thanks for your kind appreciation. 🙂


I was slightly luckier than you in the sense that I was doing my graduation when this film was released in Moradabad. I was an active member of Student Federation, a sister organization of I PTA, having a soft corner for IPTA. But this is one of the best, if not the best, write up on this cultural organization I have come across and I thank you profusely for that. It will be worthwhile to explore if Uddhav Kumar was also a part of I PTA, as I suspect. The song which is so dear to you is an extra ordinary lyric and needs lot of commitment to write. I remember my friends to visit cinema hall running Ham Log again and again. I was not that lucky but envied them never the less. We did discuss this song and such other songs in our study circles. Every thing is in front of my eyes as if it is a matter of yesterday. Thanks again.

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This blog discusses Bollywood songs of yesteryears. Every song has a brief description, followed by a video link, and complete lyrics of the song.

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