10 philosophical ideas perfectly expressed by Lollywood songs

Published: January 11, 2015

Lollywood gets an unreasonable amount of flak for being the stepsister of Bollywood.

Lollywood gets an unreasonable amount of flak for being the stepsister of Bollywood; the one that was sent to the village as a child, and says her ‘o’s as ‘a’s – McDonalds becomes ‘MaacdAnalds’ and Ostrich becomes ‘Asstrij’.

However, these people fail to realise the deep philosophical ideas expressed by Lollywood songs. Here are some examples of why Lollywood is on par with the greatest philosophers the world has ever seen.

1. Cartesian doubt

Philosophical version:

The Cartesian doubt is a method of questioning one’s own beliefs; of being sceptical about all that you hold to be true.

Lollywood version:

Sanu Nehar walay pull tay bula kar sohnay mahi kithon reh gaya?” – Noor Jehan

(Where did you get caught up after calling me to the bridge on the river?)

2. Classical conditioning

Philosophical version:

A subject learns to respond in a desired manner to an activity which the subject was previously neutral to; through conditioning this neutral stimulus has been associated with an unconditioned stimulus to elicit a desired response – Pavlov’s dogs salivating after listening to the bell – associating the sound with the food.

Lollywood version:

Thand paway gee kailajay dildaar, Pyaar dee gandheri chup lay” – Naseebo Lal

(You will feel cold inside after slurping on the bamboo of love)

3. Behaviourism

Philosophical version:

Behaviourism rejects the dualism of the mind and body, hypothesising that love is both observable and quantifiable.

Lollywood version:

Cheekhain marta badan mera tu jis walay neeray yaara, jadu maim aahi tay neeray ho manji de vich dhaang pherda” – Naseebo Lal

(My body shouts when you are nearby, whenever I am near you the bed makes a noise.)

4. Plato’s allegory of the cave

Philosophical version:

Plato’s allegory of the cave suggests that people in caves only exposed to the shadows of the light from the sun have never seen the sun and take the shadows to be the complete truth, even though they are mere reflections.

Lollywood version:

Kal jab dekha mai nay chand jharokay mai, usko kiya salaam tumharay dhokay mai” – Waris Baig

(Yesterday when I looked at the moon, I said hello to it thinking it was you)

5. Martin Luther King

Philosophical version:

“I have a dream that one day, little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.”

Lollywood version:

Kameez teri kali tay sohnay phoola wali” – Ataulllah Esa Khelvi

(Your shirt is black, full of flowers.)

6. Schrodinger’s cat

Philosophical version:

The paradox based on the scenario of a cat, which may be both dead and alive.

Lollywood version:

Adhi raat sottay meri laat hilli, lagta hai jiway koi billy shilly hai

(My leg moved while sleeping at night, it felt like there was a cat there.)

7. Kant’s metaphysical of morals

Philosophical version:

In the doctrine of virtue, Kant shows how humanity ought to behave.

Lollywood version:

Ama dekh aah dekh tera munda bigra jaye” – Munda Bigra Jaye

(Look mother, your son is losing all morals.)

8. Hegel’s phenomenology of the spirit

Philosophical version:

Hegel’s discussion of self-consciousness focuses on how the subjects view other subjects also as objects; the dialectic of the spirit is between this self-consciousness and the need for self-recognition.

Lollywood version:

Manji ek tay jawaniyan do… teri lataan day vich pair mu phasana paiya” – Guddu Badmaash

(The bed is one but teenagers two, I have no option but to put my foot with your legs.)

9. Freud’s Id

Philosophical version:

The ID is the part of Sigmund Freud’s philosophy that is the compulsive psyche that operates on the pleasure principle.

Lollywood version:

Sexy meri shirt, sexy meri pant, mujh ko rakh lay permanent.

(My shirt is sexy, my pants are sexy, you should keep me forever.)

10. Communism

Philosophical version:

The system of governance based on common ownership where there is no social class, and everyone is equal.

Lollywood version:

Tumharay aur meray ghar kay beech mai Larri Ada, yahan sunay ga nahee koi pukaar ye hai larri ada larri ada larri ada

(There is a bus station in between our houses, nobody listens to anyone here this is the bus station.)


Shehzad Ghias

A graduate from the LUMS Law School and is running his own theatre production company, Cogito Productions.He works as a theatre teacher at various schools. He tweets @Shehzad89 (twitter.com/Shehzad89)

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Maximus Decimus Meridius

    Hilarious awesome article. Especially the id partRecommend

  • Nouman Ahmed

    Sexy meri shirt, sexy meri pant, mujh ko rakh lay permanent. lol seriously? I just took a philosphy course this semester and I would ask my instructor to show this in class. :PRecommend

  • L.

    OH MY GOD that Waris Baig number is connected to tonnes of my memories! ———–chaiyan chaiyan, bheega bheega sa yeh December hai, Ankhon ko Ankhon nay, boohay barian, EVERY SINGLE Shehzad Roy song, FAAKHIR, channo ki ankh mein, kaash hum bhi padray likhay hotay, Ahmed Jahanzeb, aao wahan chalein and who could forget purani jeans aur guitar?!

    You reminded me of my amazing childhood, Shehzad and I honesty have tears in my eyes. Ahhh the good old days :’) Recommend

  • Shery

    and they expect us to watch these movies…Recommend

  • [email protected]

    This could have been funnier if the writer had actually bothered to explain how the song relates to / illustrates the philosophical idea. BTW, a “ganderi” is not bamboo. It’s sugarcane.Recommend

  • Shehzad

    Seems to be forceably contrived – perhaps the author is trying to sound all ‘educational’ and impressive’ and drags in the lollywood songs that don’t really fit or belong.Recommend

  • Chaman

    No Comments?Recommend

  • titan

    First !Recommend

  • Arsslan

    This is probable the most bizarre interpretation of these philosophical ideologies.

    Kudos for the effortRecommend

  • matton

    omG….What the hell was that ^sexy pant^! Pathetic.. My eyes n ears r shocked but what I just saw…
    Anyways, u come up with great stuff..Recommend

  • archy the guy

    what a piece of utter and total nonsense Shehzad Ghias stop producing below par stuff each week like an assembly line n please Express tribune stop putting his low quality work. put quality instead of thisRecommend

  • Anonymouse

    It would have been actually funny, if the author had actually taken some time to understand and actually used songs that match….two words….try hard.Recommend

  • two cents

    horrible piece………. Recommend

  • Ansar

    Agreed…Actually his English translation is poor too besides the songs and quotes being poles apart to each other….For instance,“Sanu Nehar walay pull tay bula kar sohnay mahi kithon reh gaya?” – Noor Jehan

    (Where did you get caught up after calling me to the bridge on the river?)..English for Nehar is canal not river

    Shahzad needs to come up with better stuff and this is not the first time he came up with rubbish.Recommend

  • Noni Fayyaz

    Contrived, boring and not funny at all. Is this what is published in Express Tribune Blogs nowadays? I was embarrassed to read it. How did teh writer manage to write such nonsense.Recommend

  • Syme

    Shehzad Ghias bro I never interpreted these songs so deeply and thanks for making my day. Wonderful explanation and perfect translation.
    However, deep down I feel that there is some disdain about pakistani music. Which, I think is grossly misplaced. I see loads of Pakistanis bashing lollywood and its music. I know we are not perfect but ours is a struggling industry which is producing what is desired by the public on one hand and the understanding of film/ music producers on the other hand.
    Producers think that all of us like explicit lyrics and dances. Yes some of us like them and some of us like them alone. Which begs the question, are we producing enough to watch and listen when we are in company? Certainly not.
    Our industry is too small, budget is one thing and extreme mindset is another thing. Lollywood has battled the islaminisations. Under the islaminisations they tried to remain afloat by either double enterads or spooky clothes. They managed very well or at least they survived.
    Indian movies flooded the cinema which took away the remaining life of lollywood and Syed Noor /Saima marriage cremated it altogether :(
    I am a big fan of Punjabi movies and dance numbers. I believe there is only one item number in Indian movie but all the songs are item numbers in pakistani movies.
    Urdu movies on other hand are mostly filled with some official statement, either patriotic or institutional. I don’t want to spend money to watch a movie where I am told off. I went there to enjoy. Spend some time with friends.
    Middle class with false sense of piety is also to be blamed. You don’t watch the movies and listen to music which they are producing and laugh at Meera’s English but can’t speak in front of bus driver in your own mother tongue.
    They love silly talk of morning hosts and more interestingly they are willing to listen to some sick televangelists but they can’t absorb Mathira, Veena , Nargis or Saima.
    They are happy if Fawad grope an Indian actress in a movie but get furious when Meera wore low cut shirt. They don’t consider it hypocrisy if a girl in duniyhapur stage takes off her top to please the cheering crowd but get furious when Veena played “drama queen”. Recommend

  • Hala Syed

    this is the most excellent thing i’ve ever readRecommend