1990s was the decade that saw the Indian music industry experiment like never before. Indipop had a definite place in everyone’s playlist. The artists aped the west to the hilt and even small-timers made sure to grab their share of the limelight. Film music didn’t monopolize the industry as several unconventional performers thrived on music videos. Audio labels like Magnasound, Polygram, BMG Crescendo, T-Series, Tips and HMV kick-started careers of aspirants galore. Leading fashion models tried their hands at acting with these videos (most of them were rejected by the film industry later – which is another story). Now that the Indipop genre and the hobby of amassing cassettes and CD’s no longer exist, let us rewind a decade and half back to revisit what we used to listen back then.
Dede Mujhko (Alisha Chinoy)
Alisha’s Made in India was one album that broke new grounds in Indian’s non-film music arena. Be the compositions with heavy western influence or the erotic videos that featured the likes of Milind Soman – the album has a cult following today. With sales on par with film soundtracks, this is my favourite song from Made in India. Incidentally, it used to play a lot at home thanks to my (then) teenaged brother.
Saawan Mein Lag Gayi Aag (Mika)
How many of us have mimicked Mika with this one and still do? Well, this is the track that made the singer completely win us over. Today he must have made it big as a playback singer, but the moment we hear “Saawan Mein Lag Gayi Aag… Dil Mera” somewhere, what follows is an instant AAAAAAAAA….. 😉
Vote for Ghagra (Ila Arun)
Now she is busy making us chuckle with roles like Jodhaa Akbar’s vicious (okay, not for me 😀 ) Maham Anga. But Ila Arun used to be a pop sensation back in the 90s. She delectably mixes Rajasthani folk with desi rap in this superhit track. The semi-orgasmic way she uttered GHAGRO have us gasp till date! Same applies for her sex-laden “Nigodi Kaisi Jawani Hai” which is on the verge of being remixed by Sunny Leone and clan!
Chuimui Si Tum Lagti Ho (Milind Ingle)
Admit it, we remember this track more for the video that starred Abbas and Preeti Jhangiani. Directed by Kunal Kohli (yes!), many of us invested on that koala mascot which was a rage back then. The song (from the album Yeh Hai Prem) is not that bad either. Milind Ingle’s classical voice makes for a smooth listen.
Deewane To Deewane Hain (Shweta Shetty)
Shweta Shetty was a true diva. Remember how she went ‘dEEEEVaNEY’ in a peculiar accent? And look at the music video! It stems straight from an era that was definitely not homophobic. She locks up three hunks in a room and, voila, they bond big time. 😀 Shweta did make an impact as a playback singer too. Rangeela’s Mangta Hai Kya, Salaakhen’s Picchu Pade Hai and Aflatoon’s Poster Lagwa Do Bazaar Mein are indeed memorable. Wonder where she is today!
Aisa Hota Hai (Shaan & Sagarika)
Long before Shaan made it big as a solo artist with ‘Tanha Dil’, his collaboration with his elder sister Sagarika Mukherjee was lapped up by Hindi music lovers. Their songs and the music videos (mostly featuring themselves) were enjoyable from the word go. Here’s one track that nicely depict their love-hate camaraderie. Cute! But when can we see Sagarika making her comeback?
Tu (Sonu Nigam)
Sonu Nigam is one of Bollywood’s most loved playback singers today! Back in the 90s, he also had a career in Indipop segment – a rocking one, at that. He made music lovers sing along as he went “TUUUUUUU….” in this cracker of a song. The album Kismat has a bunch of peppy tracks and you will even spot Bipasha Basu in one of them.
Raageshwari was a performer way ahead of her times. I remember spotting her pictures on Air India’s Swagat magazine and gazing for long! 😛 Looks apart, she had an admirable voice to boot. I remember making two trips to the nearby cassette shop for this particular album, only to be shown the ‘Sold Out’ board. Understandable.
Surmayi Aankhen (Piya Basanti)
Okay, this is not accurately 90s, but aren’t you curious on what exactly happened to the couple in Piya Basanti’s title track? Featuring Donovan Wodehouse and Nauheed Cyrusi, this song concludes the tale. By the way, Ustad Sultan Khan and Chitra register a solid impact with her beautiful vocals as does Sandesh Shandilya with his music. This Gold-certified album was one of the last ones to have the B-town hum non-film songs in unison.
Gur Naal Ishq Mita (Bally Sagoo)
In Bally Sagoo’s hugely popular ‘Gur Naal Ishq Mita’, apart from Malkit Singh’s raspy Punjabi vocals we also remember the gorgeous couple Jas and Malaika Arora. This supremely popular track is still heard at weddings and processions and it ain’t complete without that signature step by Jas!
Meri Chunar Ud Ud Jaayen (Falguni Pathak)
It was a delightful sight to watch Falguni Pathak play cupid in her videos. Today she must have become the much in-demand ‘Dandiya Queen‘ but we do miss watching her romantic videos on TV! I can’t really pick a chart-buster that was better than the rest, hence going for this one.
Ho Gayi Hai Mohabbat (Aslam and Shibani Kashyap)
The song was immensely melodious while the video featuring Nakul Kapoor and Shibani Kashyap was lapped up by the public too. Romantic, playful and all things young – this song is almost a classic today. I’d have loved to hear more from the male singer Aslam!
Jaanam Samjha Karo (Asha Bhosle)
While the yuppie lot were killing it with their non-film char toppers, can we expect the forever young Ashaji to stay behind? Nayyy! Among her long list of hits, this one is a favourite with Helen Brodie and Milind Soman recreate the Cinderella tale with a modern twist.
O Sanam (Lucky Ali)
One of the most loved 90s Indipop tracks, this is! Lucky Ali was a pioneer in that segment and most of his albums were embraced with love by music lovers. With some beautiful locations and cinematography in the video here, this song is worth a revisit!
Aur Ahista… (Pankaj Udhas)
“Lafz girne na paaye hothon se… waqt ke haath inko chun lenge”
Such beautiful words laced onto a tune that melts your heart… Pankaj Udhas’ voice strikes all the right chords and is one of the prime reasons why this is amongst the most remembered and rewatched Indian music videos ever. If I ever meet Sameera Reddy, I am going to tell her how stunning she looked in this video. She trims her long, black tresses and there broke a million hearts! Talk about effective screenwriting…
P.S.: This is not a complete or comprehensive list. A version 2 will be coming soon!