Top 10 bollywood love songs of the 90’s

By | June 6, 2014

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This is my top 10 list of Bollywood (hindi movie) love songs from the 90s. This was a time when the film industry was re-discovering itself and in the process, they came up with some excellent stuff and some really terrible crap. Below is a compilation of some of the good stuff, in the order they deserve to be heard.

 

10. Do dil mil rahe hai

Movie: Pardes (1997)
Singer: Kumar Sanu
Music: Nadeem Shravan
Lyrics: Anand Bakshi

A love song sung from a third person perspective, interspersed with waves crashing into rocks, this is a nice melodious song. Some songs in this movie were sung by the then upcoming singer Abhijeet, however for this one, went with Kumar Sanu. It is a relaxing melody that doesn’t overpower you in any way. I am not a big fan of the dumb looking dude(not SRK) in the video, and Mahima Choudhary looks like  a confused horse! This wouldn’t be the song you want to croon out for your love, but you can sure sing it for another couple and be the creepy dude in the process. They should’ve done a female version of this, just for the sake of it!

9. Dil hai ki manta nahi

Movie: Dil Hai Ki Maanta Nahin (1991)
Singer: Kumar Sanu & Anuradha Paudwal
Music: Nadeem Shravan
Lyrics: Faiz Anwar

Let the duets begin! This 1991 classic is perfect to set the tone for all the mush that is about to descend. If you have been listening to a lot of music from this period, you’ll realize that the background score gets quite predicable. For this song, it is the lyrics that set it apart. Also, this depicts the internal, infernal infighting that goes on in a heart when it is about to embark on a path of love. Starring Pooja Bhatt, Aamir Khan and a watermelon, its the fruit that comes out tops in the video. This songs takes a few moments to settle in its melody and is a little all over the place, but works as a package. What also works well is the Sitar interspersed with that tabla beat and the violin background. Packaged to work!

8. Kuch Na Kaho 

Movie: 1942 A Love Story (1994)
Singer: Kumar Sanu
Music: R D Burman
Lyrics: Javed Akhtar

A relaxed, one sided love song that works Javed Akhtar’s lyrics with the very melodious R D Burman’s music to create an effortless melody. There are 3 versions of this song (the director’s definitely got their money’s worth!), one sad, one in chorus form and this one! It shows the brilliance of the lyrics that can be rendered in many dimensions. However, that is one of its problems as well. The song gets really draggy in the middle bits and by the time its over, you’re left thinking if this could be less complicated. I would’ve liked to put this at #9, but this has much superior lyrics and a lovely, lingering soundtrack.  Just the melody makes it worth listening to over & over again.

7. Humko hamein se chura lo

Movie: Mohabbatein (2000)
Singer: Lata Mangeshkar & Udit Narayan
Music: Jatin-Lalit
Lyrics: Anand Bakshi

A haunting violin track that quickly descends into predictable love song score, this song is sitting pretty in this movie supposed to be all about love. I would rather have Lata Mangeshkar sing this song through and through. Being a duet, however, Udit Narayan does a good job in the shadows. This is typical love song fare of the late-90s, delivered with perfection and to the audience’s liking. Melodious as it is, the only bits you will remember of this song after a while are the violin track and those incredible high notes of Lata Mangeshkar’s voice. The video is entirely forgettable, I mean, with Aishwarya Rai in her peak at your beck and call, starting with a dripping wet actress who is not Aishwarya Rai is a crying shame!

6. Ye raat aur ye doori

Movie: Andaz Apna Apna (1994)
Singer: S.P Balasubramaniam & Asha Bhosle
Music: Tushar Bhatia
Lyrics: Majrooh Sultanpuri

Now for some fun! In a movie as fun to watch as Andaz Apna Apna, how could you have a lovey-dovey, running around the trees love song. It had to be fun, and what a good job this is. Words that are written to be perfectly street for the time, yet render themselves with the melody presented to them. The two incredibly classy singers make this song an easy listening gem. Also, a love song in stripey pajamas! Guaranteed to leave your lover with a big smile on their face.

5. Tujhe dekha to ye jaana

Movie: Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge(1995)
Singer: Lata Mangeshkar & Kumar Sanu
Music: Jatin-Lalit
Lyrics: Anand Bakshi 

Moving to cult movie territory now, DDLJ gave us this incredible gem of a song in 1995. Extremely uncomplicated lyrics combined with two magical voices and a great background score, thanks to the incredible talent at work. The video is quite cheesy, and running around in a mustard field will definitely give you a rash. A well balanced, somewhat soothing song that perfectly sets us up for the top 4.

4. Pehla nasha

Movie: Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar(1992)
Singer: Sadhna Sargam & Udit Narayan
Music: Jatin-Lalit
Lyrics: Majrooh Sultanpuri

Ah, what love is better than the first love. And what better song can you find for your first love. Udit Narayan sets the perfect stage with that dreamy voice, Jatin Lalit make sure the music will hold your hand and walk you to the doorstep of your dream where the lyrics of Majrooh Sultanpuri will make sure you don’t want to wake up from this dream, ever! It isn’t too long, it doesn’t overbear you with a tone or a beat, everything is just right. The slow motion video will also make you a little dreamy, though the well timed appearance of the lead lady will remind you that this is still the real world, not dreamland!

3. Kuch kuch hota hai

Movie: Kuch Kuch Hota Hai(1998)
Singer: Alka Yagnik & Udit Narayan 
Music: Jatin-Lalit
Lyrics: Sameer

Now for the real heavyweights. At #3, the title song from Kuch kuch hota hai. At the start of the song when Alka Yagnik takes the high note, you know this song will stay with you for some time.  Peaks and crests at the perfect timing, high notes going just high enough, background score being a very sticky sound, this song is no earworm. You would love to have it playing in an infinite loop in your head. The music is simple and likeable, the voices can’t get better(unless you can get Lata/Asha crooning this in their prime). The song ebbs and flows along at decent pace, and if you are in the right mood, this may give you some goosebumps. The video is typical of such a song, exotic locations, dreamy dancing and whatnots. Still, the song in itself is worth bearing through the video. This is completely deserving of being the highest placed duet on my list. So without further ado, lets chug along to song #2.

2. Hoshwalon ko khabar kya

Movie: Sarfarosh(1999)
Singer: Jagjit Singh
Music: Jatin-Lalit
Lyrics: Nida Fazli

Wow! Jagjit Singh taking his second swing at a love song and proving once again that the king of sad songs can also rule over the kingdom of superlative love songs(his first try was the incredible hothon se choo lo tum from Prem Geet).   This song has great music, but you will find it completely overshadowed by the maestro’s deep, comforting voice. It is dreamland all over again, and this time there is nothing to pull you out. This is a fine example of an urdu ghazal that is taken into a completely new zone by the singer & music composers. This is a proper, grown up love song that works equally well for those in their late 30s, 40s, 50s or even higher. Sure you can get similar or even higher quality songs if you move backwards in time from the 80s, but not in 1999, after new fluff records had been set by YRF and the likes.

1. Jiye to jiye kaise

Movie: Saajan(1991)
Singer: Pankaj Udhas
Music: Nadeem Shravan
Lyrics: Sameer

Another maestro takes the crown. A simply worded song that translates roughly into “how do I live without you” and waves eloquent on that, it is the lyrics that win it. This song, again, has three versions in the same movie, each sung by masters in the craft but for me, this version takes the cake. There is something about Pankaj Udhas’ voice that takes the really simple lyrics to a whole new level. Everything about this song is simple, the music is an easy melody based in the tabla, the lyrics aren’t too difficult to remember and most importantly, they aren’t excessively mushy. The video isn’t complicated either, with the singer making an appearance himself(bonus!) in the movie. If you want a quintessential love song that speaks simply, frankly in a no nonsense manner and doesn’t go on forever, this is your destination.

 

So that’s it, my top 10 bollywood love songs from the 90s. I decided to do this list because I couldn’t find all these songs at one place anywhere on the internet! Hopefully anyone who is searching for nostalgia from their teenage days will not have the same problem anymore.

 

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