Hariharan is one among those few playback singers from south India who gained recognition through Bollywood also. A top ghazal singer of the country, he has delivered countless songs in different languages with his melody touch. Definitely his association with A. R. Rahman since 1990s has always remained in spotlight, the music composer who always reserves some special melody track for this ghazal king. I feel his mesmerizing voice has some divine voice, and he has a huge fan following crowd across India and abroad. Definitely Hariharan is one among the most gifted singers of India at present, who didn’t bind his talent with melodies only. In association with Lesle Lewis, he has experimented with fusion music also. Through this list I would like to list his top 15 Bollywood songs which I feel the best.
1. Tu Hi Re from Bombay – Hariharan gave many melodious tracks in Tamil and Hindi in the 1990s and early 2000s in association with A. R. Rahman. Actually the composer had three choices to record the song – Yesudas, SPB and Hariharan, and he imagined how the song would come out with these three voices. As Hariharan has not tried with non-ghazal songs too often, Rahman decided to gamble with the third choice, junior to Yesudas and SPB. The song came out to be one of the finest songs of Hariharan and Rahman’s musical journey. He recorded the Hindi version aside Kavita Krishnamurthy and Tamil and Telugu versions with Chithra’s voice.
2. Bahon Ka Darmiyan from Khamoshi – The Musical – One of finest romantic tracks of 1990s, its music was composed by Jatin-Lalit. Pictured on Manisha Koirala and Salman Khan, this song is still loved by millions. Alka Yagnik sang aside Hariharan for this beautiful song.
3. Roja Jaanemann of Roja – The title track had two versions sung in S. P. Balasubrahmanyam and Hariharan’s voice, and both the versions were well received. Sujatha provided the humming voice for both these songs. Roja is the debut work of A. R. Rahman, which opened to a new style of film music in Indian music industry.The movie also included the famous patriotic song sung by Hariharan – Bharat Humko Jaan Se Phi.
4. Tu Paas Hai from Taal – Taal, alongside Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam were the top albums of the year 1991. All songs of Taal went on to become chartbusters and Rahman’s work was also well appreciated. Pictured on Akshaye Khanna, Tu Paas Hai was one of the top songs of the year.
5. Chanda Re of Sapne – Hariharan and Sadhna Sargam sang both the Tamil and Hindi versions of this popular duet pictured on Prabhudeva and Kajol. The original version swept almost all music awards at National Film awards including best music for A. R. Rahman, best playback singers for S. P. Balasubramaniam and Chithra and best choreography for Prabhudeva for this particular song and Strawberry song.
6. Hum Tum Se Na Kuch of Ziddi– One of the top Hindi duets in Chithra-Hariharan combination, music was composed by Sameer Sen-Dilip Sen. All the songs except Hum Tum Se were fast tracks, and this duet got recognized as a soft romantic ballad.
7. Kabhi Mein Kahoon of Lamhe– This Yash Chopra coming- of-age film starred Anil Kapoor and Sridevi in lead roles, and this popular duet was pictured on both. Lata Mangeshkar is the female voice, and the music was composed by Shiv-Hari duo.Kabhi Mein Kahoon was one of the early Bollywood hits of Hariharan.
8. Sawan Barse Tarse Dil of Dahek– The movie was a huge flop. However its songs got noticed. This duet was sung by Hariharan and Sadhna Sargam and pictured on Akshaye Khanna and Sonali Bendre. The movie included compositions of Aadesh Shrivastava and Anand-Milind.
9. Ek Duje Ke Vasthe of Dil To Pagal Hai – The movie crew along with their spouses were featured in this wonderful track shown as opening credit of Dil To Pagal Hai. Composed by Uttam Singh, Lata Mangeshkar also rendered her voice for this romantic track. Lyrics were written by Anand Bakshi.
10. Kuch Mere Dil Ne Kaha of Tere Mere Sapne – The movie marked the successful beginning of many Bollywood stars including Chandrachur Singh, Simran, Priya Gill and Arshad Warsi. Music composed by Viju Shah opened to positive reviews, and this particular romantic track in the voice of Hariharan and Sadhana Sargam is simply the best. Lyrics were penned by Anand Bakshi.
11. Chod Aye Hum of Maachis– National award winning film was appreciated for the performances of its actors, apart from the magical tunes. Vishal Bhardwaj’s music was the strong point of the movie.This particular song is quite nostalgic to many who celebrate friendship, and makes us remember ‘Hoke Majboor’ song of war film Haqueeqat. The song was sung by 4 singers – Hariharan, Suresh Wadkar, Vinod Sehgal & KK. KK marked his Bollywood playback career through this song.
12. Yadein Yaad Aati Hai of Yadein – This title track sung by Hariharan is quite nostalgic and was a chartbuster of year 2001. The song featured Jackie Shroff & Hrithik Roshan. Its music was composed by Anu Malik and fine words written by Anand Bakshi. The song also had a female version.
13. I Love My India of Pardes– Hariharan received a Filmfare nomination for this Nadeem-Shravan composition. Kavita Krishnamurty is the female voice; Aditya Narayan also rendered his voice for this patriotic song. Yeh Mere Indiawas a tribute to India’s golden year of Independence Day celebrations and it was pictured on Amrish Puri and newcomer Mahima Chaudhary.
14. Hai Rama of Rangeela – The most sizzling track of the album, Hariharan sang this duet aside Swarnalatha. The song featured Jackie Shroff and Urmila Matondkar. The songs composed by Rahman were extremely popular those days. In fact, Rangeela marked the successful debut of A. R. Rahman in Bollywood.
15. Dil Hamara Hua Hai Kise Ka of Albela – Yet another popular track pictured on Jackie Shroff, the song also featured Aishwarya Rai. Hariharan sang this duet aside Alka Yagnik. The movie included many popular tracks such as Kaho To Zara Jhoomloo, Pyaar Ke Jaadoo and Sarse Sarak Gayee. Music was composed by Jatin-Lalit and penned by Rani Malik.
The list is not complete. So I would like to mention a few more songs – Ay Hairathe from Guru, Telephone Dhoon Me from Hindustani, Tauba Tauba and Ajooba from Jeans and Mil Gaye Mil Gaye of Love Birds were scored by A. R. Rahman. Similar to Yadein, his title tracks for Kya Kehna, Hum Saath Saath Hain and Sirf Tum are popular. His popular duets include – Tu Mere Paas Bhi Hai of Satya, Dil Hamara Hua Hai Kise Ka of Albela, Tu Maange Dil Main De Doon Jaan from Aflatoon, Likha Hai Yeh of Darr, Dil Ki Kalam Se of Itihaas and Tere Bina Zindagi Se of Dil Vil Pyar Pyar.
An end note: Hariharan’s voice has fascinated me always. His distinct and unique voice holds a flavour and melody is the soul of his renditions. His Tamil songs with Rahman’s music is equally popular, and his rendition for “Pachai Nirame” for Alaippayuthe (year 2000) has attracted me a lot. Vairamuthu also surprised me with its lyrics and for me, it’s my most favourite song of any language – old or new. Sonu Nigam has given full justice to his Hindi version (title track of Saathiya). Yet Hariharan’s rendition will always remain my personal favourite. Vairamuthu’s Tamil lyrics were far superior than Gulzar’s Hindi version (though I am a die-hard Gulzar fan). I believe it to the finest tune composed by Rahman, you may agree or not. But this song is so special to me.
Watch the youtube video. Closely watch English subtitles too, to know the strength of powerful lyrics. The song is lovely pictured too, a new concept later adopted for its Hindi version – to describe lover in terms of colours. Big hats off to the team behind this colourful song with a new theme never experienced before on Indian screen.
A freelance writer and blogger by profession since October 2011, interested in writing over a wide range of topics. Hope you enjoy my writings. I belong to one of the beautiful places of the world, Kerala, nicknamed as 'God's own country'.