What sets Bollywood apart from Hollywood is the music. Hindi films put a lot of emphasis on the music. The soundtrack releases often before the film does, video promos are put on YouTube, and, well, people will always break out into song in a Bollywood movie. That’s a given.
With that being said, some dances and songs stand above the rest in my eyes. I did a quick comb through my iTunes and found the songs I love to dance to the most. These songs all together make one hell of a playlist, and they’re sure to leave you with the urge to at least tap your foot or snap your fingers.
Chaiyya Chaiyya – Dil Se
We’ll start things off with a number that I like to call “The Train Song.” Yes, they actually filmed this one on top of a moving train. Sukhwinder Singh is the guy singer in this one, and let me tell you, there’s something very “danceable” about his voice. Add in the gorgeous visuals (atop a MOVING TRAIN) and some pretty slick dance moves from Shah Rukh and Malaika. Chaiyya chaiyya!
Desi Girl – Dostana
It’s to be expected from one of the best-looking women ever to walk this earth, but Priyanka Chopra is looking absolutely stunning in this movie, and so are her two best friends (and rivals for her affection) Abhishek Bachchan and John Abraham. They then break into this catchy, catchy number that will be in your head for ages.
Deewangi Deewangi – Om Shanti Om
Imagine Denzel Washington, Angelina Jolie, Robert De Niro, Meryl Streep, and other famous Hollywood stars all dancing and partying under the same roof. This is the Bollywood equivalent of that song. And not only is it fun to pick out familiar faces, the song rocks hard. There’s a scene at the end that you won’t get unless you’ve seen the movie, but don’t worry, you have seven minutes of pure adrenaline to enjoy before that.
Dum Dum – Band Baaja Baaraat
If I had one word to describe this song, it would be intense. Ranveer Singh & Anushka Sharma, plus lots of background dancers, put on a show for the ages here in this song. Whew! The visuals blow my mind every time. With strong beat and power-packed vocals, this makes for not only a great dancing song but a great workout song as well.
Ghanan Ghanan – Lagaan
Lagaan has a lot of great songs, but this one, near the very beginning of the movie, is definitely my favorite. On the track are some of India’s most talented singers, and dancing in the film are a group of likable 19th century villagers led by my main man Aamir Khan. This song, a prayer of thanksgiving for coming rain clouds during a long drought, will fill your heart with so much happiness it threatens to burst.
India Waale – Happy New Year
What Happy New Year lacked in a concrete plot, it made up for with kick-ass songs that popped very colorfully on the big screen. This was the main attraction: a patriotic number that basically screams “We’re Indian and we’re awesome.” Seriously, I thought the theater was going to break out into a dance party, and would have been glad if it did.
Ishq Shava – Jab Tak Hai Jaan
Here’s another intense number. Katrina and SRK put on a damn good show here. This song follows a long instrumental that also rocks and that I wish I had a combined track for, but you can’t always get what you want. This is the third A.R. Rahman track on this list (Hollywood viewers know him for Slumdog Millionaire) and there’s more to come from him.
Kashmir Main Tu Kanyakumari – Chennai Express
I wasn’t the biggest fan of this movie or most of the songs from it, but just as I was getting bored, this adorable little number pops on. It’s the perfect song to blast in your car with the windows rolled down on a hot summer day. There’s so much happy in this song. I challenge you to frown during this one.
Koi Kahe Kehta Rahe – Dil Chahta Hai
From a movie that gets better and better with every watch, this song gets things off to a fun start. It’s a song about youth and a new era, as, indeed, Dil Chahta Hai was a new kind of Bollywood film. The rapport between the three leads is a treat to watch here. And, as much as I dislike Aamir with a soul patch (I dislike soul patches in general), the tight red leather pants make up for everything. Seriously.
Nagada Nagada – Jab We Met
I was enjoying the movie before this song, and when this kicked in, it seriously kicked it up a notch. I said to my mom, “This is the kind of scene that pushes Bollywood above Hollywood in my eyes.” Colorful and infectious, it’ll have your foot tapping, if nothing else. Man! Wouldn’t it be something to be a part of that party?!
Phir Milenge Chalte Chalte – Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi
This also features some cameos from well known people, including my main gal Kajol, my second main gal Rani, and Preity, Bipasha, and Lara all pairing up with SRK to celebrate the history of Bollywood. It was the first Bollywood song I ever loved, and it continues to be a favorite of mine. The catchy chorus will be stuck in your head for ages after you listen.
Rang De Basanti – Rang De Basanti
I love Daler Mehndi. Who doesn’t? My brother showed me the video for Tunak Tunak Tun a long time ago. Great fun! Then I saw Rang De Basanti and here he is on this title track! There’s a lot to like about the soundtrack to this serious film, but this song takes the cake. How on earth can you sit still to Daler Mehndi? Search him on YouTube for more fun songs.
Tharki Chokro – PK
For some reason, when the promo of this song first came out, people hated it. I saw a lot of comments calling it bakwas (Hindi for “nonsense”). I wish I could link to the full scene from the movie. The song is incredibly upbeat and the scene that accompanies is funny as hell.
Where’s The Party Tonight? – Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna
This is an abbreviated version of the song, as the full thing has spoilers. No one likes those. Here’s Abhishek and Preity, with John Abraham making a cameo as a long-haired DJ. (John and Abhi are in a lot of movies together, man.) This is one of the best dance songs I’ve heard in any genre, and the part from 1:09 to 1:38 is one of my favorite parts in any song.
You Are My Soniya – Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham
Is this the song that made everyone fall in love with Hrithik Roshan? Probably. One cannot deny that the guy can dance his ass off. “Yeh Ladka Hai Allah” from this movie gets honorable mention, but this one has more plays on my iTunes. Why? I’m not quite sure, but I’m in love with the melody that comes in before the first verse. This is one of the songs I find myself humming much too often.