Mahalakshmi Iyer is known for rendering melodious and expressive songs, and her solo songs are so special. The patriotic song, ‘Suno Zor Se’ from unreleased film Dus marked her Bollywood debut. She received early break through numerous Rahman songs in Tamil, and a few in Hindi. ‘Kabhi Shyam Dale’ gave her big break to Bollywood, and her popular duets – Chup Chupke, Bol Na Halke, Falak Tak and Sadka Kiya helped her gain recognition in Bollywood. But it’s quite unfortunate this gifted voice has never been nominated at Filmfare Awards. She sang almost equal number songs in Hindi and South, and has sung only less number of songs in Bollywood in the recent times. Here is the list of Mahalakshmi Iyer’s top 10 Bollywood songs of my choice. Also read: Top 25+ South Indian voices in Bollywood.
1. Bolna Halke Halke – Her melodious voice was used for the title track of Jhoom Barabar Jhoom also. Yet my pick is Bolna Halke Halke, her duet with Rahet Fateh Ali Khan. It’s the first choice of all music fans who love melodies. She gave some evergreen duets to Bollywood since mid-2000s. The second song is Falak Tak Chal, and I often feel there is some connection between both these songs, released one year later. The evergreen tune of Bolna Halke Halke was composed by Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy and beautiful lyrics written by our great Gulzar Saab. The song featured Abhishek Bachchan and Preity Zinta. This particular song also helped Rahet Fateh Ali Khan to establish in Hindi film industry.
2. Falak Tak Chal – All the songs of Tashan were extremely popular. But I love this particular song sung by Udit Narayan and Mahalakshmi Iyer most. This song featured Akshay Kumar and Kareena Kapoor, and beautifully pictured. Music was composed by Vishal-Shekhar and lyrics written by female lyricist, Kausar Munir, ex-wife of actor Nirmal Pandey.
3. Kabhi Shyaam Dale To – This song from Sur: The Melody of Love played a significant role in establishing Mahalakshmi’s career in Bollywood. Music was composed by M. M. Keeravani and written by Nida Fazli. The song featured Gauri Karnik as the stage performer who performs this song, and the movie marked her film debut as well. All the songs of the movie were extremely popular.
4. Ee Ajnabee – This haunting melody from Dil Se composed by Rahman is best known as Udit Narayan song. But we can’t easy forget the female vocals given by Mahalakshmi. It was one of her early hits in Bollywood. Lyrics written by Gulzar also played a significant role in the success of this music album. The song featured Shah Rukh Khan and Manisha Koirala.
5. Sadka Kiya – For most melody lovers, ‘Bahara’ is the most popular song from the movie, I Hate Love Stories. But since I watched this song, I loved it than any other song of the movie. Sonam Kapoor looked stunning in sari and shared an amazing chemistry with Imran Khan throughout the song. Music was composed by Vishal Shekhar, and Mahalakshmi sang this duet with Suraj Jagan.
6. Tum Bhi Tanha They Hum Bhi Tanha They (Khud Ko Tere) – Chirantan Bhatt scored the music of the horror film, 1920: The Evil Returns. The movie included one duet and 4 solos – three in male voices and the rest one in Mahalakshmi’s voice. The song truly deserves mention in my list. Lyrics were written by Shakeel Azmi, and the song featured Aftab Shivdasani and Tia Bajpai.
7. Chup Chupke – It’s one of the extreme popular duets sung by Mahalakshmi Iyyer and Sonu Nigam. Music was composed by Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy and written by Gulzar. The song featured Abhishek Bachchan and Rani Mukerji. The top song of the year, Kajra Re also belongs to the same movie.
8. Dil Se Mere Door Na Jaana – One of the early hits of Mahalakshmi, the song belongs to 1999 movie, Pyaar Mein Kabhi Kabhi which marked the acting debut of a bunch of young actors. The song featured Rinkie Khanna, Dino Morea and Sanjay Suri. She sang this duet with Shekhar Ravjiani, who composed the song aside Vishal Dadlani. The music duo Vishal-Shekhar marked their Bollywood debut with this film. The song was written by Mandira Bedi and Raj Kaushal. Mahalakshmi also sang the solo – Tumne Na Humse for the movie.
9. Chalka Chalka Re – The original Tamil version of this marriage song was also sung by Mahalakshmi, Richa Sharma and Vaishali Samant. The song featuring Rani Mukerji and Vivek Oberoi belongs to the movie, Saathiya, the top chartbuster album of the year 2002. Mahalakshmi frequently associated with A. R. Rahman since her early days in music industry. The song was written by Gulzar. Shoma Banerjee’s voice was also featured in the song.
10. Tu Jahan – This sad song belongs to Salaam Namaste, and featured Preity Zinta and Saif Ali Khan. She sang this duet aside Sonu Nigam. Music was composed by Vishal-Shekhar duo and lyrics are penned by Jaideep Sahni.
Her voice has been frequently used for Rani Mukerji and Preity Zinta, who ruled Bollywood throughout 2000s. Dil Lagaa Na of Dhoom, Har Taraf of Rishtey, Aaj Ki Raat of Don, Baat Meri Suniye To Zara of Kuch Naa Kaho, Tenu Leke of Salaam-E-Ishq, Dheere Dheere Mujhko Sanam from Khiladi 420, Des Rangeela from Fanaa, Pyar Mein Sau Uljhane of Kyun! Ho Gaya Na… and Kya Yeh Sach Hai of Dillagi are a few more hit songs sung by Mahalakshmi Iyyer. She owns some memorable compositions tuned by Rahman, and her voice was also included for the iconic song of Rahman – Jai Ho.
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