Jadu hai, tera hi jadu

The 1998 film Ghulam will be remembered for many reasons. It remains director Vikram Bhatt‘s best film (from what I’ve seen), Aamir Khan sang a song in it, in some ways it marked the beginning of Aamir Khan moving away from his popular romantic hero image to being considered a serious actor, and while it was not her first film, it introduced the World with sufficient fanfare to Rani Mukherji. While Aati kya Khandala will remain the iconic song for which this film will be remembered, Jadu hai, tera hi jadu is the one I always think of when I remember this movie.
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Dil kabootar khana hai

In the early 2000s, there was a rash of films that were either made by film-makers of India origin living in other parts of the world, or by Indian film-makers about the Indian diaspora, and clearly targeted at that audience. Even if they were in Hindi, they were not quite Bollywood films, and in fact they varyingly paid homage to or outright ridiculed popular Hindi cinema tropes within their story. Inevitably, some of them attempted to incorporate the traditional bundle of songs that are part of any Hindi film into the proceedings, in subtle and sometimes less subtle ways. Dil kabootar khana hai, from Deepa Mehta’s 2002 Canadian production Bollywood/Hollywood is one such song that stands out in memory.
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Waqt ne kiya kya haseen sitam

In Hindi films and songs, like in many other things, there are the popular, there are the highly regarded and lauded, and then there are all the rest, some of whom grow in status over time and come to be recognised as ignored gems. While the song Waqt ne kiya kya haseen sitam had its share of popularity when it was first released in 1959, the movie it was from, Kaagaz Ke Phool, and its singer Geeta Dutt can be considered to be among those few that we can now think of as gems in retrospect, and were mostly ignored in their time.
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Gum hai kisi ke pyar mein

As a director, Manmohan Desai will always be known as the one who took the Hindi masala movie to its pinnacle from the 1960s to the early 1980s. He had a dream run of mostly successful films, all depending on a cornucopia of drama, a focus on mass entertainment above all other considerations, and a list of tropes that made his moves near-formulaic while also being very separate entities. He was most prolific in the 1970s and the 1972 film Raampur Ka Laxman was one of his early hits during that era. In an utterly rollicking smorgasbord of a movie involving long lost brothers, crime, conspiracies and romance, to name a few elements, the song Gum hai kisi ke pyar mein is a quiet little happy moment of romance acknowledged.
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Mujhe mil jo jaye thoda paisa

If the great golden run of Indian pop music peaked during the mid 1990s, by the end of the the century and into the new millennium it was pretty much dead. A few established acts were still releasing the odd song video, but gone were the crazy over-the-top productions and the songs that truly took chances. The promise of satellite television, arguably the instigator of the popularity of pop in the 1990s, had come through in some ways, but not in the explosive creativity department. By this time, Hindi cinema was truly starting to become slick and impressive, not only in the visuals and concept department, but also in the songs they introduced into the entertainment ecosystem. The audiences returned to their comfortable teat of Hindi film music and pop was lost. But there are always a few hold outs, and in 2002, seemingly out of nowhere, came the band Agosh with their song Mujhe mil jo jaye thoda paisa.
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Ajeeb daastaan hai yeh

Songs stick in our memory and become important to us for various reasons, often coloured by our associations with them, rather than the songs themselves. In my case, there are a whole range of old Hindi songs that have childhood memories for me, to do with when I first heard them or how. from the 1960 film Dil Apna Aur Preet Parai is one of these songs. Not only is the song itself about memories and how things have changed in some ways, but to me the song will always be associated with memories of my Mother singing it, either to herself, which she did often, or on stage on quite a few occasions.
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Kuch mere dil ne kaha

Tere mere sapne, released in 1996 was not a super-hit movie, but it still stands out in memory if you lived through the time, because it was memorable in various small ways. For one it was produced by Amitabh Bachchan’s on again, off again production house ABCL. It also introduced into the Hindi film world a handful of brand new actors who went on to have very varied careers. They were not all completely fresh, but a project with so much buzz behind it was their ticket to broader recognition. Arshad Warsi went on to have a healthy career as comic actor, which continues. Simran went on to become a South-Indian super star in multiple languages. Of the main cast, the two actors in the song Kuch mere dil ne kaha, Priya Gill and Chandrachur Singh, are the ones who had an interesting bunch of films that followed and then faded mostly into obscurity.
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Hum matwale naujawan

In the black and white Hindi films of the 1950s, it was fairly common for them to shoot a scene or two, or at least a song, on the streets of Bombay. Part of it was probably the relative ease of taking over a little piece of side-street in some suburb for the shooting while keeping away crowds, and the other was likely newer and more portable equipment that made it more practical. The crowds were not a problem, however, if your song incorporated them, like Hum matwale naujawan from the 1959 film Shararat.
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Iyengaaru veetu azhage

Known mostly for his over-the-top Rajnikant extravaganzas, Sivaji and Enthiran, S. Shankar has had a much longer career as director. He’s even strayed away from Tamil and made a Hindi film with Nayak, and he’s made plenty of bizarre Tamil films in the past too. One such is the 2005 film Anniyan, which I have watched and I did enjoy. It’s a slick thriller with darkness and grit and an extremely grey protagonist, and multi-personality disorder complications. In the middle of all this the film uses its ability to switch moods by inserting songs such as Iyengaaru veetu azhage into the proceedings to throw us off pleasantly.
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Chookar mere mann ko

This song from the 1981 film Yaarana has a special memory for me. While the song itself is a great little melody, what first comes to my mind is the way my parents described me singing the words to it when I was a kid, rather than what they actually are. While this doesn’t spoil the song for me, nor am I nostalgic about forgotten baby talk, Chookar mere mann ko still remains a worthy song to listen to.
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