Nostalgia is a sneaky shape shifter. It hides in plain sight and hits us when we are most vulnerable. For anyone who ever lived through the 90s, it’s safe to say that nostalgia often comes dressed as pretty 80s-90s Bollywood songs.
Alka Yagnik makes you believe “gazab ka hai din” even if you are stuck in murky waterlogged traffic; your best friend starts crooning “chori chori jab nazrein mili” – the moment you make eye contact with someone at a party; when you breakup, you still let KK sedate you with“tadap tadap ke is dil” on loop.
These are songs that draw the hideous “who’s listening in 2017” comments on YouTube. Why do these songs refuse to leave us? Nostalgia is the simplest and the most obvious explanation; though a trip down memory lane is not the only thing that makes these songs timeless.
Let’s make our way through 7 of these songs and decode their appeal across generations:
Udthaa Hi Fhirun
Inn Hawaaon Mein Kahin
Yaa Mein Jhool Jaun
It’s been 25 years since this song was released. Nothing about this song was less than perfect. From Farah Khan masterly filling in Saroj Khan’s shoes, to Udit Narayan and Sadhna Sargam’s nectar sweet voices, to Amir Khan and Ayesha Jhulka’s youthful presence – the song hit all the right chords – to communicate the heady fresh feeling of first love!
The country now is unrecognizable from then – but the feeling of first love remains identical.
For those of us way past our first loves – Pehla Nasha is a portkey to simpler times.
Times when our innocent feelings outlived the strong arm of reason and the first life of love coursing through our blood made us feel invincible. Time may have had its way with us – but when Pehla Nasha plays, we are still 12, cramped in benches too small for our growing legs, desperately trying not to look at the person who is making us feel funny things.
Tujhe Dekha Toh Yeh Jaana Sanam
Tune aawaz di dekh main aa gayi
Pyar se hai badi kya kasam
Love for Simran made Raj so much deewana that he came down to Punjab straight from London chasing their destiny. Srk standing in a mustard field, with his arms outstretched for Kajol is not just an iconic piece of Saroj Khan choreography, that moment represents hopes and dreams of a million young hearts, who were just starting to break through social constructs like arranged marriages and were hopeful of embracing their loves and dreams.
Jati hun main, jaldi hai kya
Khud Se Hi Darren Lagi Hoon
Main Pyaar Karne Lagi Hoon
Khud Se Jo Itna Darrogi
Tum Pyaar Kaise Karogi
We may now YouTube this song for its blasphemously awkward choreography; yet it doesn’t fail to halt us in our tracks. By the way, did you know that Rakesh Roshan had originally considered Sunny Deol for the role of Arjun? The dance doesn’t seem so bad now, does it?
The beautiful balance between playfulness and coyness pulled off by Yagnik and Sanu presents the perfect dilemma of lovers who dare to embrace love in all its glory in a rather conservative Indian society. Such was the situation 20 years back, we can’t say for certain if things have changed much.
Do Dil Mil Rahe Hai
Aise Bhole Ban Kar Hain Baithe
Jaise Koi Baat Nahin
Sabh Kuch Nazar Aa Raha Hai
Din Hai Yeh Raat Nahin
When two people are coming close; they have this mutual friend who is most excited? This person is always the third wheel, is the self appointed cupid in the early stages of the relationship, and later takes the place of agony aunt. This song captures this beautiful dynamic in the sweetest possible setting and words – making sure that it never runs out of relevance.
Tere jism ki aanch ko chhoote hi
Mere saans sulagne lagte hain
Mujhe ishq dilaase deta hai
Mere dard bilakhne lagte hain
The year is 1998, globalization has exposed India to novel complexities, computers are slowly starting to make inroads in daily lives, and Kargil War knocks at the door with Himalayan uncertainties. Want a tune that sings of love in the time of chaos? Well we’ll always run to the Gulzar-Ratnam-Rahman trio to do the job for us. A song that clearly asserts that no matter if life’s not all sunshine and daisies, love in its full spectrum shines through all.
Chaand Ki Thandak Khwabo Me Tujhko
Leke To Jaati Hogi Na
Suraj Ki Kirane Subah Ko Teri
Neede Udaati Hogi Na
This song is master at gutting us with its tenderness. The unnatural calm exuded by Salman Khan, Aishwariya Rai’s beautiful portrayal of dilemma, and Ismail Darbar’s magic all came together to portray the pain of lost familiarity. The lifespan of our relationships may have shortened over the years, but the impact of moments shared with loved ones is safely weaved in this one.
Mera kuch saaman
Ek akeli chhataree main jab aadhe aadhe bheeg rahe the
aadhe sookhe aadhe geele,
sukha to main le aaye thee
geela man shayad bistar ke paas pada ho
vo bhijwa do, mera vo saamaan lauta do
“Pancham did say that I would ask him to set a newspaper headline to music next!” – Gulzar had quipped when asked about the legend of Mera Kuch Samaan. The song was light years ahead of its time, starting from being an unusual non rhyming free verse to what it was trying to say. From intimate live-in relationships that bloom across urban India in 2017 to stories that touched the heart in 1987 – place this song anywhere and it plays like gold.
These are some songs that taught us all we know about pyaar, ishq and mohabbat. Now that the world is our oyster, and the circles that define love for us keep increasing their radius – the importance of these songs grow with each passing day – since these were fields where we learnt to fly.
Share at least 3 love songs that you never delete from your playlist with us and tell us why they are so important to you.