1. Made in India – Alisha Chinai: This song by Alisha Chinai symbolized the 90s like no other video. It was also the first time the nation got to see Milind Soman, a personality that the nation is still obsessed with after 20 years. Made in India was the first big hit among the Indipop generation of private albums.
2. O Sanam – Lucky Ali: Lucky Ali is the son of the famous actor-director Mahmood, and has even acted in a few films. However, it was when his songs sprang out on our TV screens that the nation realized the talent of this singer-composer. Apart from the soothing songs, Lucky Ali’s videos were also beautifully shot, and look fresh to this day. Check it out for yourself!
3. Kaanta Laga – DJ Doll: Though it wasn’t technically in the 90s, no list on Indipop is complete without the mention of Kaanta Laga, the song that scandalized parents and got their kids to fantasise. It was the first song that pushed the boundaries for what’s considered ‘risky’ in India. The video looks pretty tacky today, but trust me, you had to reduce the volume if it came on the TV back then.
4. Aakhon mein tera hi chehra – Aryans: This was the first time Shahid Kapoor appeared on the scree, and it was perfectly timed with the rise of Aryans as an Indipop band. The band mostly sang melodic love songs, and the video which starred Shahid Kapoor and Hrishita Bhatt is now considered a cult hit among the Indipop songs.
5. Pehla Nasha Remix: Pehla Nasha is an iconic song of the late 80s, and it was only expected that it would be remixed. However, instead of merely rearranging the rhythm as most remixed versions of songs did back then, this song managed to maintain the class of the original song, along with the visuals for nostalgic reasons. This song launched a million high-school romances during lunch breaks and recess!
6. Ab Ke Saawan Aise Barse: Before this song, Shubha Mudgal was a respected singer in the classical music scene (she still is!). But it was this song that repackaged Mudgal as a rockstar, as she crooned this catchy number which was written by lyricist and ad-man Prasoon Joshi. Listening to this song still makes you want to run into the rain!
7. Gur Naal Ishq Mitha: You might not have heard of Bally Sagoo if you’re a millennial kid, but back in the day, nobody ruled the Indipop Bhangra scene like Bally Sagoo. A British-Indian music producer who is based out of the UK, Bally Sagoo stormed into the Indian imagination with this song that was used in weddings, birthday parties, and bachelor parties of those days.
8. Dooba Dooba Rehta Hoon: Before Mohit Chauhan became the award-winning singer that he is today, he was the front-man of the band Silk Route. Their songs were a huge hit among the youngsters of the time, as they sang about love, heartbreak and life – subjects that teenagers consider themselves eminent authorities! The video was also interesting, and you couldn’t take your eyes off the screen when it came on.
9. Sayonee – Junoon: While it is common for Paksitani pop singers to sing for Indian films today, back in the day only qawwali and ghazal singers found fame and fortune in India. The first rock band from Pakistan that made it big in India was the rock band Junoon. Their song Sayonee, a painful song about lost love, was an instant hit on audio cassettes and music channels.
10. Daler Mehndi – Tunak Tunak Tunak: Daler Mehndi had a maximum of three dance steps, but if ever there was a man who maximized his minimal dancing prowess, it was this man. In the 90s, Daler Mehndi was the largest selling artist, churning out albums and performing in a huge number of live shows. While he mostly sings for films these days, Daler Mehndi was the cream of the lot in the 90s.
11. Tum Toh Thehre Pardesi – Altaf Raja: If Aryans and Silk Route had captured the imagination of the Romantics, Altaf Raja had complete control over the huge target market of the depressed. His songs that spoke of love, pain, and betrayal were a favourite at weddings, even though one wonders why you’d want to listen to an Altaf Raja song about dhokha and beimaani on the day of your marriage!
What was your favourite Indipop song from the 90s? Did we miss any in our list? Do let us know in the comments section below!