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A song for every occasion

A song for every occasion
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Ever wondered why Indian cinema is incomplete without music? Can you imagine Mughal-e-Azam (1960) without Pyaar Kiya Toh Darna Kya or Pyaasa (1957) without Jaane Woh Kaise Log? Could anything have expressed Jai-Veeru’s bond better than Yeh Dosti (Sholay, 1975)? Would Prabhu Deva have become an overnight sensation had it not been for Muqaala Muqabla (Hum se Hai Muqabla, 1994)? Music transcends all barriers – semantic, regional, religious, gender, economic, social. Chikni Chameli (Agneepath, 2012) makes Dharavi dwellers break out in a dance with as much gusto as filthy rich baraatis at a farmhouse wedding in Delhi. Heck, music even transcends generations! Rains and Tip Tip Barsa Paani (Mohra, 1994) have gone hand-in-hand for more than two decades now, and will continue to. Such is the magic of music. It’s ageless. Unlike my skin.

Film music has become an intrinsic part of every Indian’s life. From birthdays to new crushes, from
festivals to proposals, nothing is complete without a film song apt for the occasion.

Like our zillions of gods and goddesses, there’s a plethora of songs we can choose from for every seemingly important and unimportant moment in our lives. I’m not sure there’s any occasion or emotion we don’t have a song about. But, there are certain kinds of songs that none of us can do without, that all of us have turned to at specific points in time. Here are 5 such broad categories that come as naturally to us as breathing!

The bromantic friendship song: From Zanjeer’s Yaari Hai Imaan Mera (1973) to Dil Chaahta Hai’s Koi Kahe Kehta Rahe (2001), from Sholay’s Yeh Dosti to Rockford’s Yaaron Dosti (1999), Bollywood has celebrated bromance and how! Can you imagine a high school/grad school farewell party bereft of a drunken rendition of at least one of these gems? I’d say not!

The love song: This one’s a no-brainer. Falling in love is incomplete without a song about it. My generation had treasures like Ghazab Ka Hai Din (Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak, 1988) and Pehla Nasha (Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikander, 1994). Most of us who grew up in the 90s’ have seen innumerable attempts at wooing by inexperienced fingers plucking at an out-of-tune guitar, and pubescent voices
croaking through the latter!

The wedding dance song: Indian weddings are big, fat, loud, and full of love. A lot like our mothers, if you come to think of it! An entire wedding function is dedicated to singing and dancing – the sangeet. Three hours of song and dance – how can film music not be part of it? Our grandparents danced to Ude Jab Jab Zulfein Teri (Naya Daur, 1957) and Aye Meri Zohra Jabeen (Waqt, 1965), while our parents’ generation had classics like Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jaayenge (Chor Machaye Shor, 1974) and Bachna Ae Haseenon (Hum Kisise Kum Nahin, 1977). Our generation, of course, isn’t too picky. We dance to anything that gets us grooving. From Didi Tera Devar Deewana (Hum Aapke Hain Koun, 1994) to Kaava Kaava (Monsoon Wedding, 2001), from MehndiLagaake Rakhna (Dilwaale Dulhaniya Le Jaayenge, 1995) to London Thumakda (Queen, 2014), we can shake our bootiya to almost anything, after the customary, wedding-special Patiala peg, of course!

The heartbreak song: Well, as they say, “when you’re happy you enjoy the music; when sad, you understand the lyrics”. That, perhaps, explains why sad songs seem to be deeper and more intense.

From Kya Hua Tera Vaada (Hum Kisise Kum Nahin, 1977) to Tadap Tadap Ke (Hum Dil De ChukeSanam, 1999), from Chahunga Main Tujhe (Dosti, 1964) to Tanhaaee (Dil Chahta Hai, 2001), heartbreak songs have helped us look deeper within and tide over trying times. Indians are known to wear their heart on their sleeve. And, where there’s love, there always is heartbreak. A sad song has a way of digging down into your soul. Without a little help from music, we may not dig down deep enough. And, on a lonesome, rainy, Friday evening, what better company can you ask for than a beautiful, tragic melody and a cup of tea?

The patriotic song: Songs about universal war, peace, and brotherhood have been written the world over. But, I’m not sure there’s any country that, at regular intervals, churns out soul-stirring, gut-wrenching patriotic songs like we do. From classics like Aye Mere Pyaare Watan (Kabuliwala, 1961) and Kar Chale Hum Fida (Haqeeqat, 1964) to newer compositions like Bharat Humko Jaan Se Pyaara Hai (Roja, 1992) and Yeh Jo Des Hai Mera (Swades, 2004), patriotic songs have been a part of our lives right from the start. Can you imagine an Independence Day school assembly without the choir rendering Vande Mataram (Anand Math, 1952), or waking up on a Republic Day without Mere Desh Ki Dharti (Upkar, 1967) blaring on the loudspeakers? I bet not!

And, with Holi around the corner, it’s time for some Rang Barse (Silsila, 1981)! No other festival has as many songs dedicated to it as does the festival of colours. And, why not? How often are we granted the licence to spread colour and love uninhibitedly? Definitely calls for some Bollywood magic along with the bhaang!

Buraa na maano, Holi hai!

The author is a snotty single child, mountain junkie, playback singer, Austen addict, hopes to soon finish writing her debut novel, and dreams of singing alongside Buddy Guy
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