By the end of the 70s, Amitabh Bachchan was the undisputed king of Hindi cinema and he had settled into a comfortable niche of angry action hero and romantic rogue that worked out quite well for him with almost every outing. Kaalia, released in 1981, was another in this line of Amitabh starers, along with Parveen Babi as his partner in on-screen romance.
Tum saath ho jab apne inherits a long history of Hindi songs set in strange parties where everyone seems satisfied to stand around and enjoy the song and dance unfolding before them, peppered with layers of meaning between the protagonist and the antagonist, who also happens to be invited, or is the host in some cases!
The song itself is a lilting ditty that has been ably assayed by Kishore Kumar and Asha Bhosle. You can quite imagine that by this stage of their careers, they would likely show up for the recording and have something like this done quite breezily, without too much fuss. That comfort shows in the song, and goes well with RD Burman‘s, effervescent music.
What the song is saying however is not always light and effervescent. The 1980s in Hindi cinema were a very defiant era; It’s what every film seemed to be steeped in, most often veering beyond defiance into the territory of petulance. This song is no different on the surface, with such gems as:
Hum to hai dilwale, khanjar Se nahi marte
Hum zulfon ke qaidi hai, sooli se nahi darte
We are warriors of the heart, daggers can’t kill us
We are the prisoners of tresses, the noose doesn’t scare us
Thankfully, while this song falls very much into the genre of defiant 80s anthems, it does it with class as far as the song and music itself are concerned. In spite of all the visual cliches and standard party-song tropes, Tum saath ho jab apne remains an enjoyable song, with poetic, if exceptionally theatrical, lyrics.