So how do you choose ONE best song of each decade? Simple, you become subjective and piss off millions who are bemused to see their favourite song being criminally overlooked. This list is no different.
Indian cinema’s music industry is laced by the artists of the highest calibre. Each creates his notes with rhythmically good flair. Here is my list for the greatest songs of each decade. You might disagree with the choices, but listening to these would surely make you believe they were sung in the magic hour!
1940s: Barsaat mein hamse mile tum sajan
The glorious symphony was ever so present in the song. Raj Kapoor’s first blockbuster as a director gave us a song for the ages. And this was just a beginning for the legendary duo, Shankar Jaikishan.
1950s: Woh Subha Kabhi Toh Ayegi
Melancholy, pain and hope – all these happily coexist in Woh Subha Kabhi to Ayegi, the most nightmarishly beautiful song ever. The song perches itself comfortably in the nerves of a listener. Then the song mounts up, then it heats up, but it never really does explode.
Ye Raat Ye Chandni
There is something about ‘Raat’ and the Bollywood of good old days. ‘Raat’ again leaped into the sky and gave way to a melody that’s not as heart-wrenching as it is haunting. Song is …Hemant Kumar-ian and he is in full bloom.
Ye Raat Bheegi Bheegi
It’s not often when Mukesh didn’t sing for Raj Kapoor, but the odd occasions when it happened, Mannadey obligingly filled his shoes, and he did so with a melodious élan. Ye Raat Bheegi Bheegi is one of the priceless collaborations of the legends.
1960s: Tum pukar lo
The music, the lyrics and Hemant Kumar draw you in with the song’s saturated emotions, but only just. You are left at the edge, with your heartstrings more teased than pulled.
Chalo Ek Baar Phir Se
How could Rafi not be in this list, How could he not be in any list! Music, lyrics, vocals – everything leaps in the song that refuses to age with time
1970s: Tum jo mil gaye ho to ye lagta hai, ke jahan mil gaya
Composed by Madan Mohan, penned by Kaifi Azmi and crooned by Rafi, this has to be the most dynamic songs of all time, not letting your mind meander. Not even a bit.
1980s: Dil cheez kya hai aap meri jaan lijiye
1980s blasted off with a resoundingly resonant album, Umrao Jaan and it remained as the de facto album of the decade. Each song drenched in the nawabi touch, Dil Cheez brings to eyes a royally ‘blemished’ Kotha.
Mukesh, O Mukesh! There are some who don’t have to try and they will still sway you off your feet. Mukesh was one such artist. While his best ones came with Raj Kapoor, those with the likes of Dilip Kumar, Amitabh Bachchan and the rest are also right up there.
1990s: Roja Janemann/ Yeh Haseen Vaadiyan
How could AR Rahman be not in this list! Hell, how could he be not in any list! The painfully hackneyed word ‘Legend’ is made for talents like Rahman, and he sure earned the title at quite a young age. The Roja songs still remain his best work.
2000s: Kal Ho Na Ho
It is hard to imagine this song in some other voice than Sonu Nigam’s. His resonant and deep-felt voice, combined with the masterful modulations, rhyme a mood that refuses to depart.
Melodies like these may become outdated with time, but that melancholy remains timeless.