Following the sensible, lovely songs from Bollywood, I want to draw people’s attention to the songs that people would dance to ironically, or maybe even admit to as a guilty pleasure, or just enjoy reminiscing about while thinking about the days of yore. These are songs that are bound to stay in your head for the rest of the day if I play them right now. I wish I could.
- Tunak Tunak Tun by Daler Mehndi
This song once came on the radio when I was on my way to work. I hadn’t slept well and so I wasn’t in a particularly great mood that morning but this song completely turned my mood around and woke me up. The popularity of this song has transcended the Indian culture to the extent that white guys get high and dance to this song and post silly videos of them being so silly.
2. Dil Tote Tote Ho Gaya from Bichhoo
I don’t think anybody from my generation who was a fan of Bollywood can forget poor Hansraj Hans attempting to dance and compete with Shilpa Rao in the video of this song. My favourite part about this track is the little message towards the end about the importance of not using drugs.
“Na nasha karo na vaar karo- karna hai agar to pyaar karo”
3. Jab Bhi Koi Haseena from Hera Pheri
A friend once pointed out to me that all the songs in the movie Hera Pheri follow a certain sound rather than actual music- and I cannot un-learn that fact.
This song had the sound ‘Chhana chhan chhanaa na na’- pretty catchy. Then there was something called ‘Humbaleelo’- what sense does that even make? Then another catchy one- ‘Tun Tunak Tun’- which often comes on as a search result when you type in ‘Tunak Tunak Tun’. Then, the song ‘Pom Pom Pom’ starring the actress Tabu, whom I so admire for her work in The Namesake, but whom I fail to understand from the video of this song.
Jab Bhi Koi Haseena, though, has a special place in my heart because the video was shot in Dubai from a time when we were growing up and so it literally captures my childhood memories.
4. Jungle Hai Aadhi Raat Hai from Biwi №1
This film is ridiculous (although I am told it performed admirably on the Box Office) and so are the songs because the lyrics are just…there are no words. But this song is great, not least because of how exotic the video was, but also because Karisma Kapoor’s outfits were gorgeous and that is a huge compliment from me because I barely ever notice anybody’s outfits.
My favourite part about the song is when Hema Sardesai does a cry like ‘Ahhhh’ in between verses sung by Kumar Sanu, like so-
“Aankh to khuli hai (ahhhhh) lekin tum so gayi ho (ahhhhh)
Jaanta hoon main tum (ahhhhhhhhh) deewani ho gayi ho”
5. G-U-J-J-U and Kudi Kudi Kudi from Kal Ho Na Ho
Indian cinema in general and Karan Johar in particular have never known subtlety whilst portraying people from certain parts of the Indian community. If his movie has a Punjabi man, he will be a loud, “jolly”, possibly rotund and overly affectionate middle aged man, and if it’s a Gujarati, it will most definitely be someone who is rich and with a thick Gujarati accent. Think about the scene from Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham right before Rahul and Anjali meet Mrs. Raichand at Bluewater mall for the first time in years- was it strictly necessary to have a rotund, middle aged, loud man greet them and give inappropriate privacy-invading hugs to Shahrukh Khan? Did adding that bit enrich the plot of the story?
The same lack of subtlety can be seen in his movie Kal Ho Na Ho. I don’t know many Gujaratis but I highly doubt that the song they sing when their son decides to get engaged goes like this-
“G-U-J-J-U! Gujju! Gujju! Rohit and Naina, we are proud of you! Gujju!”
Also, while we’re at it, no Punjabi matrimonial consultant company has ever done a jingle that goes ‘Kudi, kudi, kudi, choose karle munda- 1, 2 ya 3’.
6. Bhumro from Mission Kashmir
This song is on the list because it’s a sweet song. Also it reminds me of Indian fast bowler Jasprit Bumrah. When he played in the super over in the Mumbai vs. Punjab match in the last IPL, I properly wound up my entire family by singing that song non-stop.
Also, this movie has Hrithik Roshan.
7. Ek Pal Ka Jeena from Kaho Na Pyaar Hai
Speaking of Hrithik Roshan! This magnificent beauty of a man changed my life with his dancing skills in this song (by being smokin’ hot), and the banging tune that it is, I think we can revisit this song any time.
8. Mehbooba Mehbooba from Ajnabee
Sure, it’s a catchy song and the movie has a dramatic ending when it is revealed that Akshay Kumar’s password to his online banking is ‘everything is planned’ (Everythingisplanned7! would probably have worked better because he’d need a special character and a number and a capital letter, but nobody made Bollywood movies back then for how realistic they could be), but this song needs to be revisited for its video for two reasons- Akshay Kumar’s outfit and the super cool way he throws his sunglasses away before starting to sing.
9. Tera Rang Balle Balle from Soldier
I loved this song when I watched this movie as a child- mainly because of the ‘balle balle’ because that made me feel like my community was being represented on the big screen (#d&i) but also because of Bobby Deol’s hair. Bobby Deol’s hair will always have an important part in my life because he inspired my own hair in my Annual Haircut of Regrets 2020.
10. Woh Ladki Hai Kahan from Dil Chahta Hai
To paraphrase Boromir- ‘one does not simply listen to this song without doing that move’. You know the move.