The glory years of Indipop were two decades ago, but they keep returning in unexpected ways. A question recently asked on Kaun Banega Crorepati sent people flocking to the YouTube video of Remo Fernandes’s 1990s hit O Mere Munni. Indian Idol Season 11 contestant Sreeramachandra’s rendition of Shankar Mahadevan’s Breathless brought the spotlight back on the timeless track. Among our favourite things that got remixed and ruined in the decade that is just behind us were our most beloved tunes from the ’90s.
Indipop (most of it in Hindi) became a full-fledged parallel industry in the ’90s, giving serious competition to Hindi film music and creating its own galaxy of star composers and singers. This was also the decade of music videos, ranging from the artistic to the tacky, the thoughtful to the cheesy. Most of these videos survive on YouTube, inviting comments that are nostalgic as well as perspicacious and range from “takes me back to my school days” to laments about the death of melody. Here is the ultimate playlist of the most memorable Indipop songs that have survived newer talent, remixes and the scene’s eclipse by Bollywood.
The wonder women
Paree Hoon Main, Suneeta Rao
Paree Hoon Main was released in 1991, at least four years before Indipop consolidated itself as an alternate musical force. Unlike many hits of the time, such as Shweta Shetty’s Johnny Joker (1993), Paree Hoon Main has endured because Lesle Lewis’s killer tune aside, its music and arrangements don’t sound dated.
Best YouTube video comment: Had saved my one year’s pocket money to buy Sony Walkman and cassette and the first song I heard was this! Sweet memories of my childhood!
Made in India, Alisha Chinai
Who hasn’t heard of Made in India or come across its video? The song was a crazy hit at the time, as was its iconic video, which introduced Milind Soman to Indian television screens. Chinai, a singing pro since the early ’80s, sang Biddu’s tune with ease and looked gorgeous in the video, which has fond comments from listeners from as far as Uzbekistan and Indonesia.
Best YouTube video comment: I’m happy that I grew up listening to this and not Honey Singh or Baadshah’s Shit
Lover Girl, Alisha Chinai
Here’s the other famous track from the Made in India album because why stop at one Alisha Chinai song when you can have two? Biddu has been the brains behind several pop albums but Made in India is perhaps his best work in this genre after his groundbreaking collaborations with Nazia Hassan in the ’80s. This track has an infectious tune and a riff on what sounds like a tumbi. Chinai looks cute in a video that screams “1990s!”.
Best YouTube video comment: if had this song been released in 2015 then it would have been....dil ke badley main...dhup dhuppp..dhiiinggg dhaaang...dhik chick dhick chik ......dil dey,....tu sauda hum sey karley...dhang tang..dhum tum..tudong,.......dhang...
Chudi, Falguni Pathak
Dandiya queen Falguni Pathak was massively popular with teenage girls. One look at the Chudi video shows why. Pathak’s unusual personality did not exude the oomph of her contemporaries. Rather, her workmanlike innocence made her stand out. Her musicality was never groundbreaking. Her love songs had no hints of angst, passion, melancholy or playfulness, but her ability to draw in a specific listener base was exemplary.
Best YouTube video comment: Original song is like Saraswati puja New version is Dhinchak pooja 😁
Maine Paayal Hai Chhankai, Falguni Pathak
Most of Falguni Pathak’s videos revolved around girls or teenagers with a yearning for a fairy tale romance and encountering boys or man-boys at a campus fest or a (surely alcohol-free) party. Maine Paayal Hai Chhankai is the definitive video of the artist. It also helps that the tune is an earworm.
Best YouTube video comment: How many boys listening this ?
Dole Dole, Suchitra Krishnamoorthi
Falguni Pathak wasn’t the only one serving up stories and songs about teenage love. Suchitra Krishnamoorthi, who pursued a pop singing career alongside acting in the ’90s, plays a college-goer infatuated with a fellow student in the video of her song Dole Dole. A television and radio hit in 1995, Dole Dole does suffer from a heavy synth-pop hangover of the previous decade.
Best YouTube video comment: Die all char botal vodka ppl..these r real melodies..respect..
Deewane, Shweta Shetty
Shweta Shetty scored an early hit with Johnny Joker in 1993. However, it is her dance floor-worthy Deewane that remains her most popular song. The video features Shetty as the ultimate beauty surrounded by several men (one of them is played by the actor Kushal Punjabi, who killed himself on December 26).
Best YouTube video comment: I remember my dad had great crush on her😂 and it was his favorite song lol
A bunch of female pop stars emerged after the success of Made in India in 1995. Actress Raageshwari, of Main Khiladi Tu Anari fame, was one of them. Her song Duniya from her self-titled debut album, released in 1997, has a weird video in which she sings about having seen the world, the only evidence of which is her hopping about with street urchins.
Best YouTube video comment: lots of thnnx to upload ths video, its my one of the favrite song whn im kid i fnd it every where nt find thnx frnd who upload ths video
Miss India, Mehnaz Hoosein
It’s a wonder that Mehnaz Hoosein did not scale greater heights after an amazing debut single like Miss India. Hoosein is a decent singer and looked lovely in the video that starred her as an aspiring Miss India contestant relegated to behind-the-scenes work.
Best YouTube video comment: Nice
Oova Oova, Anaida
The music of Oova Oova, a hit when released in 1996, is not its strongest point. Featuring an auto-tuned voice, forgettable lyrics and unimaginative synthpop, Oova Oova is a weak song, but its video is proof that Anaida was easily one of the most attractive pop stars at the time.
Best YouTube video comment: please upload full video of oova oova
Boom Boom remixed, Nazia Hassan
This Biddu composition first topped charts in the year of its release, 1982, and then found a new lease of life through a second Biddu remix and a stylish music video featuring the model Anupama Verma (the video has been blocked from embedding). The new version had faster beats and token rap. Verma plays a woman wandering through a palace full of people waltzing about wearing Venetian masks.
Best YouTube video comment: Such mesmerizing voice ...irreplaceable!
The wonder men
Bolo Ta Ra Ra, Daler Mehndi
The idea that Punjabis are fun folk always up for dancing and partying owes a lot to the music videos for Daler Mehndi’s charttoppers. Bolo Ta Ra Ra was his first hit. His videos featured relentless dancing, and the Bolo Ta Ra Ra video is the best example.
Best YouTube video comment: Michael Jackson is just the American Dahler Mendi
Teri Jhanjhar, Hans Raj Hans
Once Daler Mehndi made bhangra reach every home with a television or a radio, there was no stopping the genre. Among the bhangra stars who followed were Hans Raj Hans, who sang the catchy Teri Jhanjhar and was part of its fun video that also starred John Abraham.
Best YouTube video comment: i always see this song only for hans raj hans wat a voice he has mashallah n he looks more handsum than jhon
Gud Naal Ishq Mitha, Bally Sagoo featuring Malkit Singh
This is not the first you will see Bally Sagoo in this playlist. Before Sagoo became famous with his remixes of Hindi film tunes, he earned fame in England and beyond with his bhangra reworkings. Especially famous was Gud Naal Ishq Mitha, featuring Malkit Singh. The song was heavily marketed in India with a wedding-themed video starring Malaika Arora in a blood-red bustier and a leather jacket and pants.
Best YouTube video comment: Malaika same as now... No change... Even she became more gorgeous now
Dekha Hai Aise Bhi, Lucky Ali
Lucky Ali stormed the scene with an unique and inimitable voice. Ali composed his own guitar pop tracks, which stood out for the state-of-the-art production work by Mikey McCleary. Among then is Dekha Hai Aise Bhi, whose sepia-tinted video has Ali hitchhiking across America.
Best YouTube video comment: Audio cassette n philips 2 in 1
Gori Teri Aankhen, Lucky Ali and Kavita Krishnamurthy
The voices of Lucky Ali and Kavita Krishnamurthy on the romantic ballad Gori Teri Aankhen provided an interesting contrast. The music video with its muted colours and melancholic theme was also hugely popular.
Best YouTube video comment: Ah the sweet pain
Tum To Thehre Pardesi, Altaf Raja
The ultimate truck driver song. Qawwali singer Altaf Raja had a distinctive nasal voice and a face expressive enough to leave a mark. Tum To Thehre Pardesi, out in 1997, made him instantly famous.
Best YouTube video comment: When you have a low budget but you decided to do it anyway
Dil Dhadke, Baba Sehgal
In hindsight, it is strange to think that hip-hop took nearly two decades to get a foothold in India despite the rise of Baba Sehgal in the early ’90s. Sehgal was the most popular and efficient of the artists who attempted rap in this decade in Hindi. His 1992 album Thanda Thanda Pani, which included Dil Dhadke, was a major hit.
Best YouTube video comment: WHAAT SPECIAL EFFECTSSS this was b4 windows95 Pentium 1 processor
Tanha Dil, Shaan
Shaan and his sister Sagarika had been around for a while in the Indipop scene. He became a regular hire for remixes of older Hindi film hits. After that came his strongest recording effort, his solo album Tanha Dil, which churned out at least three hits, of which the title track composed by Ram Sampath was the most popular.
Best YouTube video comment: Shaan never got the respect he deserved
KK was catapulted to fame in 1999, which saw the release of his debut album Pal, featuring the track Yaaron. Again, half the credit for Yaaron should go to its composer, Lesle Lewis.
Best YouTube video comment: Listening to this song, Countless litres of tears are shed from the eyes of all graduating school and college students every March every single year.
O Meri Munni, Remo Fernandes
Remo Fernandes, who usually sang in English or Konkani, took a detour in 1998 to record the Hindi album O Meri Munni. The fantastic title track, featuring Fernandes’s full-throated singing and other flourishes such as a beautiful flute solo, was an immediate hit. Thanks to Kaun Banega Crorepati this year, people have been checking out its video on YouTube again.
Best YouTube video comment: Goa and Remo Songs Deadly Combination
Ho Gayi Hai Mohabbat, Aslam
This song was the title track of a 1998 album that launched two pop stars together: Aslam and Shibani Kashyap. While Kashyap went on to bigger things, Aslam seemingly vanished after his Ho Gayi Hai Mohabbat became a chartbuster. The breezy video, shot in the backwaters of Kerala, features Kashyap along with “model guy” Nakul Kapoor, who continues to have fans on YouTube.
Best YouTube video comment: Ohhhh Nakul Kapoor 😳 Where are you man??? come back we 90s guys still miss you 👍🏾
Chui Mui Si Tum Lagti Ho, Milind Ingle
Chui Mui Si Tum Lagti Ho is remembered for its undeniably catchy hook and its video, which features one of Preeti Jhangiani’s earliest appearances. Primarily a Marathi singer, Ingle was a one-hit wonder with Chui Mui. The video’s television serial aesthetics seem kind of cute in 2019.
Best YouTube video comment: nice song! the soft toy of bear became even famous after this song :)
Suno Toh Deewana Dil, Kamaal Khan
Kamaal Khan started his career as a pop musician. O O Jaane Jana was a pop hit before getting incorporated in the Salman Khan movie Pyaar Kiya To Darna Kya (1998). Suno Toh Deewana Dil is among the singer’s few famous non-film tracks.
Best YouTube video comment: We’re the last generation of true love...after that they all want a body
Nachenge Saari Raat, Stereo Nation
This song was recently resurrected as a remix for Junooniyat (2016). As expected, new and old listeners flocked to the original track, which wasn’t great to begin with but was nevertheless a hit on the radio.
Best YouTube video comment: This is 10x better then newer
Revisiting and reimagining the past
Chura Liya, Bally Sagoo
Without Bally Sagoo, half the trends in Hindi pop and film music wouldn’t have been around. One of Sagoo’s major contributions to Indipop was creating the remix culture. His retooling of Chura Liya Hain Tumne Jo Dil Ko, spiced up with rap and reggaeton, was quickly embraced and inspired other composer-producers to follow suit.
Best YouTube video comment: Who can even imagine that this legendary song can be set to reggae and also have rap for good measure? ? Respect - Bally Sagoo!!!!!
Chaandni Raatein, Bally Sagoo
Only one Bally Sagoo remix just won’t do. He had multiple hits that were remixes, and they were different from each other but also from the source material. Chaandni Raatein, composed by Feroze Nizami and sung by Noor Jehan for the 1952 Pakistani film Dopatta, and its remix by Sagoo, are poles apart musically. And yet, you won’t mind what Sagoo did with the track. The music video features Reema Sen, who played a prominent role in Gangs of Wasseypur (2012).
Best YouTube video comment: Ye toh definite ki amma hai.. 😄
Dil Kya Kare, Instant Karma featuring Shaan
Most of the beloved Hindi remixes of the ’90s can be attributed to this group comprising Ehsaan Noorani, Loy Mendonsa and Farhad Wadia. The voice talent they featured regularly included Shaan and Mahalakshmi Iyer. Instant Karma’s videos were polished and had high production values, such as the one for Dil Kya Kare.
Best YouTube video comment: The time when songs, even remixes were actually good & when male models were actually handsome & female models in the video were actually pretty. Ohh the 90s...
Bheegi Bheegi Raaton Mein, Lesle Lewis featuring Srinivas and Sujata
The most interesting aspect of Lesle Lewis’s remix of this RD Burman tune is that he didn’t throw in too many new elements. Lewis retained the original’s arrangement and added bass and a mild layer of synths. The nicely shot video, brimming with sexual tension, also added to the remix’s popularity.
Best YouTube video comment: He’s Niketan Madhok, if anyone wants to know the name of the male actor.
Mona Re, Bombay Vikings
Bombay Vikings dared to do the unthinkable: in their remixes of classic hits, they not only changed the lyrics but sometimes reproduced the song almost entirely in English. Mona Re (O Mere Sona Re remixed) is an example. And yet they were lovingly accepted, which shows that the distaste for remixes is about an absolute lack of creativity rather than a grouse with the act itself.
Best YouTube video comment: 90s, when music video directors were more awesome than the film directors.
From Pakistan with love
The hypnotic video of Sayonee, for those who remember it, made the track a smash hit beyond Pakistani band Junoon’s home base. In India, thanks to Channel V and MTV, the song and the band became household names. The album Azadi, of which the song was a part, was a bestseller in India, and the band even performed at the 1998 Zee Cine Awards in Mumbai.
Best YouTube video comment: Most Indian songs have the comment “Love from Pakistan” so I’ll write “Love from India”.....
Sar Kiye Yeh Pahar, Strings
Originally a 1992 song, Sar Kiye Yeh Pahar was re-released as part of Duur, a 2000 album by Strings. With Junoon receiving unprecedented success in India, Sar Kiye Yeh Pahar showed up frequently on Indian radio channels. This song was only the first of Strings’s successes in India, with Dhaani and Najane Kyun to follow.
Best YouTube video comment: How much have we lost over the past decade? The 90s and early 2000, for all its political turmoil, was a great era for pakistani music
Kabhi Toh Nazar Milao, Adnan Sami featuring Asha Bhosle
This 1997 song was the kind of slow but spunky love ballad Adnan Sami has created multiple times. The video features two classic ’90s faces: model Aditi Govitrikar and cricketer-turned-actor Salil Ankola.
Best YouTube video comment: Remembered those golden days of video Album song era. and offcours how to ignore superb played BASS GUITAR In this song. Thanks......
Afreen Afreen, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan
Once the qawwali king got packaged for the international pop music market, India got a taste of him as well. Afreen Afreen from 1997 was a faster and hipper version of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan’s original song. Both the new tune and the video, with its enduring images of Lisa Ray strolling in a desert, became immensely popular in India.
Best YouTube video comment: I still say Masha Allah after seeing her face.
Purani Jeans, Ali Haider
Purani Jeans was Pakistani singer Ali Haider’s biggest-ever hit in India. The song evokes typical campus memories. The video can easily be mistaken for being Indian since the college and the fashion it features is the same seen in such movies as Kuch Kuch Hota Hai and Ishq Vishk.
Best YouTube video comment: Just got to know that this is a Pakistani song. My whole life was a lie. It also goes to show how similar we Indians and Pakistanis are.
How the 1990s influenced the early 2000s (we’re getting greedy)
With Pakistani bands gaining popularity, it was time for Indian acts to step up. Among the most successful ones in the 2000s was Euphoria. Their folksy fusion music became instantly popular, as did the slick music videos, directed by Pradeep Sarkar. Maeri, featuring a fantastic tune and a superb video, turned out to be their biggest hit.
Best YouTube video comment: Euphoria. The missing state now with just pseudo Utopia existing.
Aankhon Mein, Aryans
This catchy ballad is best remembered as one of Shahid Kapoor’s earliest appearances. Aankhon Mein’s video follows a meet cute plus a puppy. Can there be a better combination? And if anyone knows the story behind the band’s name, please write to us.
Best YouTube video comment: And after this Heartbreak the boy cracked NEET , became a doctor ...that’s how Kabir Singh was born
Dooba Dooba, Silk Route
Before AR Rahman and Pritam made Mohit Chahuan a regular fixture in Bollywood, his voice entered Indian households through his band Silk Route. The breezy Dooba Dooba is the band’s most recognisable song. The music video features Silk Route engaged in the uncomfortable task of performing while submerged in a lake.
Best YouTube video comment: I am from Nepal. I listened to this song in my 18’s via my walkman. But , nowadays, Hindi songs are losing the melodies , but only “Honey Singh”.
Sa Ni Dha Pa, Colonial Cousins
By teaming up with ghazal singer Hariharan as Colonial Cousins, Lesle Lewis became a pop star in his own right. The group released a number of stellar fusion songs amalgamating Indian classical, funk, rock and electronic music. Sa Ni Dha Pa was one of their most endearing and enduring hits.
Best YouTube video comment: Didn’t know Neil DeGrasse Tyson sings too.
Aye Laila, Misty Rhythms
The video has gajra-sporting village belles dancing to reggae music. Misty Rhythms was a short-lived group whose biggest hit was Aye Laila. A mix of Hindi and English lyrics over a reggae beat punctuated by some dholaks makes this one of the most unique Indipop tracks of the ’90s.
Best YouTube video comment: Whose the female model ? Anyone know her name?
Aisa Hota Hai, Shaan and Sagarika
This is the third Shaan song in the playlist because his talent is spread far and wide. Before the singer originally named Shantanu Mukherjee broke out as a solo pop figure, his sister Sagarika and he were being mentored by Biddu. Among the several tracks released by the duo, Aisa Hota Hai was a minor hit. The music video highlights the siblings’ camaraderie and Shaan’s criminally long hair.
Best YouTube video comment: Days of Audio cassette and VCP . No internet no mobiles . Every thing peace
Yeh Dil Sun Raha Hai, Sansara
Among the bunch of groups Biddu mentored or produced albums for was the girl group Sansara. This was a short-lived group with only a couple of hits, of which Yeh Dil Sun Raha Hai was one. The video is, what, angel-themed? Butterfly-themed? Beach-themed? You decide.
Best YouTube video comment: Still my fav revolutionary video it was
Bijuria, Sonu Nigam
Alongside rendering Mohammed Rafi tunes and pursuing a career as a playback singer in Hindi films, Sonu Nigam actively crafted an Indipop career. He clearly had acting aspirations too. Watch him dance and sing and be the Indian film hero who nags the heroine into liking him back in the video of Bijuria.
Best YouTube video comment: Those days when all the girls I knew had a crush on Sonu Nigam
Deewana, Sonu Nigam
Among Sonu Nigam’s many Indipop hits, this one and Ab Mujhe Raat Din stands out for having stood the test of time. Both, composed by Sajid-Wajid, are from Sonu Nigam’s most successful Indipop album Deewana (1999). The YouTube video has the rare distinction of having hate messages for Arijit Singh, since he sang the TanishkBagchification of the track in 2015.
Best YouTube video comment: hit like if you agree he is better than arrjit
Jaanam Samjha Karo, Asha Bhosle
Asha Bhosle lent her voice to a number of Indipop tracks, some of which were remixes of RD Burman tunes by Lesle Lewis. Jaanam Samjha Karo, also composed by Lewis, is a sassy pop track with horns and synths and a surprising flute section. Milind Soman stars along with Bhosle and Lewis in the video.
Best YouTube video comment: Milind soman ❤❤
Breathless, Shankar Mahadevan
Recently brought back to public consciousness by contestant Sreeramachandra in Indian Idol Season 11, Breathless introduced Shankar Mahadevan’s image to television screens. The song, seemingly sung without a break, became a runaway hit and has since been a favourite with singing competition-based reality show contestants. Farhan Akhtar and Zoya Akhtar directed the video, which you can watch only on Saregama’s official YouTube channel.
Best YouTube video comment: Oxygen-I am important for all living beings. Shankar Mahadevan :-Hold my beer.🍺
Sochta Hu, Babul Supriyo
Witness Bharatiya Janata Party’s Member of Parliament Babul Supriyo being cute and friendly in the video of Sochta Hu, the frothy title track of his solo pop album. Like many Indipop videos, this one is also centered on a campus romance.
Best YouTube video comment: Why our past always seems better than our present, it just seems or actually a truth
Tera Mera Pyar, Kumar Sanu
Long after Kumar Sanu had been a formidable playback singer, he churned out this supersweet Indipop hit. The video features Nimrat Kaur in one of her earliest appearances.
Best YouTube video comment: Those days when wasting popcorn was affordable.
Yeh Kya Hua, Shreya Ghoshal
This song appeared in the same album as Kumar Sanu’s Tera Mera Pyaar in 2002. The story of the budding romance between Nimrat Kaur’s character and a man she meets at a movie theatre explored in the video of Tera Mera Pyar is continued in this song’s video.
Best YouTube video comment: dec 2019?