Top 15 film songs sung by Bollywood Stars
When talkies came into existence silent era started slowly disappearing. In the primitive era of Indian talkies, i.e 1940s, lead roles were mostly given to actors who were capable of singing as well. We have some of great singing actors like Saigal, Noor Jahan, Surayya, Surendra etc. With the late 1940s, a new set of artists started flourishing in Bollywood – Playback singers in an industry where songs and dance sequences are given much importance. In the second half of 1950s, we lost almost all singing actors of big screen, and many big names in the field of singing ruled the industry.
In the glorious era of mid-1950s to mid-1970s, each actor was associated with some trademark voice and only fewer experiments were done by music directors of the time. So, in most cases a playback voice was employed then. Towards late-1970s, many new voices came in, gave some amazing songs and disappeared very soon. Read: 20 Less-known singers of Bollywood 1970s and 1980s. After the pathetic 1980s era of music, a new wave of breezy romantic melodies came into scene with late 1980s and early 1990s. Some major changes were witnessed in Bollywood music in this era. Many wonderful voices also gave amazing contributions to Bollywood, a trend that exists till now.
Second half of 1990s also witnessed some experiments done by leading actors, where they played the dual role of singers as well. 1980s too witnessed a few actors like Salma Agha of Nikah fame, who played the dual role of singer and actor, and emerged successful. Following that trend many actors have stepped into the shoes of playback singing and their singing experiments have always received overwhelming response from their fans. Also read: Bollywood songs sung by three lead Khans of Bollywood. In the list I would like to list 15 of such most popular songs sung by Bollywood stars of present times, and I have preference to songs since late-1990s, when such a trend started flourishing in, but have also included a few classic songs of early 1980s. And here goes my list.
1. Aati Kya Khandala from Ghulam – I would like to begin the list with this ‘Khandala’ song which indeed started this trend in the late 1990s. Yes, to start the new trend of leading stars to do playback for their song is indeed credited to Aamir Khan, who experimented with his voice in the year 1998. The song was sung by Aamir Khan and Alka Yagnik and music composed by Jatin-Lalit. Its catching lyrics by Nitin Raikwar was the highlight of the film.
2. Rang Barse from Silsila – Holi season is incomplete without cheering with this beautiful solo song sung by Amitabh Bachchan. After the era of 1940s, it was first one of this kind where a leading star turned a playback singer for a mainstream film. The movie was directed by Yash Chopra and this particular song featured all the leading stars of the movie. Yet the song is still known for the amazing screen chemistry of Big B and Rekha, and this iconic song can never miss our list.
Music was composed by Shiv-Hari and lyrics penned by Amitabh Bachchan’s father, Harivansh Rai Bachchan. Widely known to be a folk song, lyrics, music and rhythm drew inspiration from a Rajasthani folk bhajan about Meera, “Rang barse o meeran”. Big B also recited the poetic lines of the popular song sung by Lata Mangeshkar – ‘Yeh Kaha Aa Gaye Hum’ and the male version of Neela Aasman originally composed by Shammi Kapoor.
3. Apun Bola from Josh – The song marked the singing debut of Shah Rukh Khan and was an instant chartbuster. The actor later revealed that the song was cut into several pieces, and later strung together and yet the actor found it challenging to hold the tune. Shah Rukh has never attempted to sing a Bollywood song though he recited a poem for Jab Tak Hai Jaan. Apun Bola was very beautifully pictured and is known for its comic elements as well. Music was composed by Anu Malik and written by Nitin Raikwar, who penned the lyrics of Aamir’s debut – Khandala song as well.
4. Mere Angane Mein from Laawaris – Yet another popular folk solo sung by Amitabh Bachchan. Mere Angane Mein was well-noticed for its humour elements, and it had one female version by Alka Yagnik, in fact one of Alka’s early songs. The song composed by Kalyanji-Anandji is well-known for the screen presence and charisma of Big B. Its lyrics were penned by Anjaan. Also read: Top 15 Music albums of Kalyanji-Anandji. This song too was inspired from an UP folk song, and Mere Angane and Rang Barse later became his staple diet for his stage performances for many years later.
5. E Shivani from Khoobsurat – Stepping into the shoes of singing Khans in the late 1990s, this 1999 movie also included a popular song sung by Sanjay Dutt. Urmila played the role of Shivani in this song and movie. Songs composed by Jatin Lalit were extremely popular, and lyrics were penned by movie’s director Sanjay Chhel, who wrote the screenplay and its popular dialogues as well.
6. Right Here Right Now from Bluff Master – It was for the first time Abhishek Bachchan ventured into playback singing field, and like his predecessors he also tasted success. The song was a huge hit, and the movie also fared well at box office. Abhishek attempted rap genre of music for Right Here Right Now, and Sunidhi Chauhan played female part. The song featured Abhishek and Priyanka Chopra. The song was composed by Vishal-Shekhar and Trickbaby, and lyrics written by Mahmood. Also read: Top 20 songs featuring Abhishek Bachchan.
7. Senorita from Zindagi Na Milega Dobara – The song was indeed a very huge chartbuster, and its dance moves also got noticed. The lyrics were penned by Javed Akhtar and music composed by Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy. This song was first one of this kind, where all the three lead actors of the movie who performed in the song did playback singing as well. Farhan Akhtar had earlier showcased his singing talents through the songs of Rock On! But it was the first attempt of Hrithik Roshan and Abhay Deol, and quite surprising, the three had put together some wonderful strings of music. Spanish singer María del Mar Fernández also marked her Bollywood debut through this song. Also read: Hrithik at sweet 17!
8. Samjhawan from Humpty Sharma ki Dulhaniya – Alia Bhatt as a singer is a huge find, and the unplugged version of this extremely popular song, copied from a Pakistani track (Virsa) went viral over net. Pakistani version from the movie, Virsa was composed by Jawad Ahmed. Lyricist Kumaar penned its Hindi lyrics. Varun Dhawan and Alia Bhatt were featured in this song.
9. Mein Tera Hero from Hero – Salman Khan marked his singing debut in 1999 with the song, Chandi Ki Daal Par for the movie, Hello Brother. But he gained attention as a singer for a few peppy numbers since 2010s. But Mein Tera Hero is very special, everything in correct note and extremely melodious. The song Main Hoon Hero Tera in Salman’s voice, composed by Amaal Mallik received an overwhelming response from his fans and also more than 55 million hits. Lyrics were written by Kumaar and music composed by Amaal Mallik.
10. Dhaakad from Dangal – The song is not so great in terms of composition or singing, yet this promotional song got overwhelming response from viewers. Aamir Khan sang this song after a long break as a playback singer. Music was composed by Pritam and lyrics penned by Amitabh Bhattacharya. Rapper Raftaar sang the second version of same song.
11. Ae Zindagi Gale Laga Le from Dear Zindagi – Revived version of Illayaraja classic, either male or female version can never match the original version sung by Suresh Wadkar. Yet Alia made this song her own, and has made a good attempt. Hence it definitely deserves a position in this list. Only two songs are featured in this list of 15, where an actor has revived an already hit song, and just co-incidence both these songs are sung by Alia. The songs of Dear Zindagi composed by Amit Trivedi were extremely popular. Original lyrics of Ae Zindagi Gale Laga Le were penned by Gulzar. Also read: Tunes reused for Hindi remakes of south Indian hits.
12. Ikk Kudi from Udta Punjab – Yet another popular song sung by Alia Bhatt. Since 2014, Alia sings an unplugged version of at least one song from her movie, and all her songs have been accepted by movie buffs as well. Ikk Kudi is so special, and Alia showcased her singing talent through this song definitely. “Humsafar” of Badrinath Ki Dulhania and “Sooha Saaha” of Highway also deserve special mention in this list.
Popular young poet Shiv Kumar Batalvi is the original writer of the beautiful lyrics of Ikk Kudi. Music was composed by Amit Trivedi. The song had three versions, the most popular one being a promotional version sung by Alia and Diljit Dosanjh, and featuring both as well.
13. Mein Yahaan Tu Wahan from Baghban – Big B was widely praised for this particular song composed by Aadesh Shrivastava. Lyrics were penned by Sameer. Hema Malini was also featured in this song.
14. Maana Ke Hum Yaar Nahin from Meri Pyari Bindu – Among the young actors of present times, after Alia, it was Parineeti Chopra’s turn, and she added new flavours to the song from the movie, Meri Pyari Bindu. Kausar Munir penned the lyrics and Sachin-Jigar composed its music. Parineeti sang both its solo and duet versions.
15. Dil Ke Armaan from Nikaah – I would like to conclude my list with this extremely popular track of 1980s, though Salma is not a big star of Bollywood. Salma Agha appeared in only a few Indian movies, and did playback singing for most of her Bollywood works. Her distinct voice has always been appreciated. In fact the movie Nikaah was a blockbuster and its songs were extremely popular and achieved a cult classic status. Dil Ki Hai Arzoo, Chehra Chhupa Liya Hai and Faza Bhi Hai Jawaan Jawaan are three more tracks from the album which included Salma’s voice.
Conclusion – Here I came to an end to this interesting topic. Before I conclude I would like to mention a few names who couldn’t find a space in this list – Sridevi (much popular Chandini song), Priyanka Chopra, Ajay Devgan, Madhuri Dixit, Sanjay Dutt, Shradha Kapoor etc. Read in detail here.
I would also like to mention one great name of Bollywood cinema, who started off as a singing actor, and later moved on to character roles in the 1960s. He is none other than our legend Ashok Kumar who gifted the first rap song to Bollywood, Rail Gaadi.