Note: This is not an item number by any stretch. It is a children’s song. But it is my birthday and I couldn’t find any good item numbers to write about.

“Hum bhi agar bachche hote” provides a look into 1960’s upper class Indian life. The birthday boy is surrounded by friends and family, a pile of presents, and a three tiered cake. Everyone performs for him while he smiles and watches (though the child actor seems most interested in the toys and rather confused the rest of the time).

A wind-up toy band plays the song at one point. Later a child band in ruffled shirts, cummerbands, and black pants play. Finally, a child regiment of bagpipers, in kilts, march down the stairs and around the cake.

The choreography is minimal and the staging is particularly stiff, more a series of vignettes than a fluid dance sequence. Not that the editing is choppy, just that it appears each actor is still until the camera is focused on them.

Additionally, the song is over five minutes long, which seems to be overly long for a kids’ song. But perhaps Indian children in the ‘60’s, raised on Bollywood, had a different tolerance.

“Happy birthday to you” is the song’s refrain, and I quite liked its minor key. As one ages, birthdays often become bittersweet, and the minor key fits my own mood. The bright colors and goofy antics provide a nice contrast to the music.

Finally, the birthday boy’s mother has amazing style and I would like to learn her secrets.

Posted by Natasha

Natasha received her MA in Literature and Culture in 2008 from Oregon State University. Currently she lives in Oregon with her husband and cats.

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