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For the music genre, see Filmi.

Bollywood songs, more formally known as Hindi film songs, or filmi songs are songs featured in Bollywood films. Derived from the song-and-dance routine in Western film circles, Bollywood songs, along with dance, are a characteristic motif of Hindi cinema which gives it enduring popular appeal, cultural value and context.[1] Hindi film songs form a predominant component of Indian pop music, and derive their inspiration from both classical and modern sources.[1] Hindi film songs are now firmly embedded in North India's popular culture and routinely encountered in North India in marketplaces, shops, during bus and train journeys and numerous other situations.[2] Though Hindi films routinely contain many songs and some dance routines, they are not musicals in the Western theatrical sense; the music-song-dance aspect is an integral feature of the genre akin to plot, dialogue and other parameters.[1]:2

Linguistically, Bollywood songs tend to use a colloquial dialect of Hindi-Urdu, or Hindustani, mutually intelligible to both Hindi and Urdu speakers, while modern Bollywood songs also increasingly incorporate elements of Hinglish.[3]Urdu poetry has had a particularly strong impact on Bollywood songs, where the lyrics draw heavily from Urdu poetry and the ghazal tradition.[4]

History[edit]

Hindi film songs are present in Hindi cinema right from the first sound film Alam Ara (1931) by Ardeshir Irani which featured seven songs. This was closely followed by Shirheen Farhad (1931) by Jamshedji Framji Madan, also by Madan, which had as many as 42 song sequences strung together in the manner of an opera, and later by Indra Sabha which had as many as 69 song sequences. However, the practice subsided and subsequent films usually featured between six and ten songs in each production.[1]:20

Right from the advent of Indian cinema in 1931, musicals with song numbers have been a regular feature in Indian cinema.[5] In 1934 Hindi film songs began to be recorded on gramophones and later, played on radio channels, giving rise to a new form of mass entertainment in India which was responsive to popular demand.[5] Within the first few years itself, Hindi cinema had produced a variety of films which easily categorised into genres such as "historicals", "mythologicals", "devotional, "fantasy" etc. but each having songs embedded in them such that it is incorrect to classify them as "musicals".[1]

The Hindi song was such an integral features of Hindi mainstream cinema, besides other characteristics, that post-independence alternative cinema, of which the films of Satyajit Ray are an example, discarded the song and dance motif in its effort to stand apart from mainstream cinema.[1]

The Hindi film song now began to make its presence felt as a predominating characteristic in the culture of the nation and began to assume roles beyond the limited purview of cinema. In multi-cultural India, as per film historian Partha Chatterjee, "the Hindi film song cut through all the language barriers in India, to engage in lively communication with the nation where more than twenty languages are spoken and ... scores of dialects exist".[6] Bollywood music has drawn its inspiration from numerous traditional sources such as Ramleela, nautanki, tamasha and Parsi theatre, as well as from the West, Pakistan, and other Indic musical subcultures.[7]

For over five decades, these songs formed the staple of popular music in South Asia and along with Hindi films, was an important cultural export to most countries around Asia and wherever the Indian diaspora had spread. The spread was galvanised by the advent of cheap plastic tape cassettes which were produced in the millions till the industry crashed in 2000.[5] Even today Hindi film songs are available on radio, on television, as live music by performers, and on media, both old and new such as cassette tapes, compact disks and DVDs and are easily available, both legally and illegally, on the internet.[1]

Style and format[edit]

The various use of languages in Bollywood songs can be complex. Most use variations of Hindi and Urdu, with some songs also including other languages such as Persian, and it is not uncommon to hear the use of English words in songs from modern Hindi movies. Besides Hindi, several other Indian languages have also been used including Braj, Avadhi, Bhojpuri, Punjabi, Bengali and Rajasthani.

In a film, music, both in itself and accompanied with dance, has been used for many purposes including "heightening a situation, accentuating a mood, commenting on theme and action, providing relief and serving as interior monologue."[7]

Production[edit]

Songs in Bollywood movies are deliberately crafted with lyrics often written by distinguished poets or literati (often different from those who write the film script), and these lyrics are often then set to music, carefully choreographed to match the dance routine or script of the film. They are then sung by professional playback singers and lip-synched by the actors. Bollywood cinema is unique in that the majority of songs are seen to be sung by the characters themselves rather than being played in the background.[citation needed] In Western cinema, often a composer who specializes in film music is responsible for the bulk of music on the film's soundtrack, and while in some films songs may play an important part (and have direct relationship to the subject of the film), in Bollywood films, the songs often drive large-scale production numbers featuring elaborate choreography.

The key figure in Bollywood music production and composition is the music director. While in Western films, a "music director" or "music coordinator" is usually responsible for selecting existing recorded music to add to the soundtrack, typically during opening and closing credits, in Bollywood films, the "music director" often has a much broader role encompassing both composing music/songs specifically for the film and (if needed) securing additional (licensed) music. In this sense, a Bollywood music director also plays the role of a composer and music producer.

The lyricist of Bollywood songs is less likely to be the same composer or music director, as Bollywood films often go to great lengths to include lyrics of special significance and applicability to the film's plot and dialogue, and/or the words of highly regarded poets/lyricists set to music written specifically for such words in the film, as noted above.

Bollywood film songs have been described as eclectic both in instrumentation and style.[8] They often employ foreign instruments and rework existing songs, showing remarkable inventiveness in the reinvention of melodies and instrumental techniques.[9]

Genres[edit]

Filmi[edit]

Main article: Filmi

Ghazal[edit]

Main article: Filmi-ghazal

Qawwali[edit]

Main article: Filmi qawwali

Disco[edit]

In the Indian subcontinent of South Asia, disco peaked in popularity in the early 1980s, when a South Asian disco scene arose, popularized by filmi Bollywood music, at a time when disco's popularity had declined in North America. The South Asian disco scene was sparked by the success of Pakistani pop singer Nazia Hassan, working with Indian producer Biddu, with the hit Bollywood song "Aap Jaisa Koi" in 1980.[10][11] Biddu himself previously had success in the Western world, where he was considered a pioneer, as one of the first successful disco producers in the early 1970s, with hits such as the hugely popular "Kung Fu Fighting" (1974),[12][13][14] before the genre's Western decline at the end of the 1970s led to him shifting his focus to Asia. The success of "Aap Jaisa Koi" in 1980 was followed by Nazia Hassan's Disco Deewane, a 1981 album produced by Biddu, becoming Asia's best-selling pop album at the time.[15]

In parallel to the Euro disco scene at the time, the continued relevance of disco in South Asia and the increasing reliance on synthesizers led to experiments in electronic disco, often combined with elements of Indian music.[10] Biddu had already used electronic equipment such as synthesizers in some of his earlier disco work, including "Bionic Boogie" from Rain Forest (1976),[16] "Soul Coaxing" (1977),[17]Eastern Man and Futuristic Journey[18][19] (recorded from 1976 to 1977),[20] and "Phantasm" (1979),[21] before using synthesizers for his later work with Nazia Hassan, including "Aap Jaisa Koi" (1980), Disco Deewane (1981) and "Boom Boom" (1982).[15] Bollywood disco producers who used electronic equipment such as synthesizers include R.D. Burman, on songs such as "Dhanno Ki Aankhon Mein" (Kitaab, 1977) and "Pyaar Karne Waale" (Shaan, 1980);[15]Laxmikant-Pyarelal, on songs such as "Om Shanti Om" (Karz, 1980);[22] and Bappi Lahari, on songs such as "Ramba Ho" (Armaan, 1981).[15] They also experimented with minimalist, high-tempo, electronic disco, including Burman's "Dil Lena Khel Hai Dildar Ka" (Zamane Ko Dikhana Hai, 1981), which had a "futuristic electro feel", and Lahiri's "Yaad Aa Raha Hai" (Disco Dancer, 1982).[10]

Such experiments eventually culminated in the work of Charanjit Singh, whose 1982 record Synthesizing: Ten Ragas to a Disco Beat anticipated the sound of acidhouse music, years before the genre arose in the Chicago house scene of the late 1980s. Using the Roland TR-808drum machine, TB-303bass synthesizer, and Jupiter-8 synthesizer, Singh increased the disco tempo up to a "techno wavelength" and made the sounds more minimalistic, while pairing them with "mystical, repetitive, instrumental Indian ragas", to produce a new sound, which resembled acid house.[23][10] According to Singh: "There was lots of disco music in films back in 1982. So I thought why not do something different using disco music only. I got an idea to play all the Indian ragas and give the beat a disco beat – and turn off the tabla. And I did it. And it turned out good."[24] The first track "Raga Bhairavi" also had a synthesised voice that says "Om Namah Shivaya" through a vocoder.[25]

Along with experiments in electronic disco, another experimental trend in Indian disco music of the early 1980s was the fusion of disco and psychedelic music. Due to 1960s psychedelic rock, popularized by the Beatles' raga rock, borrowing heavily from Indian music, it began exerting a reverse influence and had blended with Bollywood music by the early 1970s. This led to Bollywood producers exploring a middle-ground between disco and psychedelia in the early 1980s. Producers who experimented with disco-psychedelic fusion included Laxmikant-Pyarelal, on songs such as "Om Shanti Om" (Karz, 1980), and R. D. Burman, on songs such as "Pyaar Karne Waale" (Shaan, 1980),[22] along with the use of synthesizers.[15]

Cultural impact[edit]

Indian cinema, with its characteristic film music, has not only spread all over Indian society, but also been on the forefront of the spread of India's culture around the world.[1]:14 In Britain, Hindi film songs are heard in restaurants and on radio channels dedicated to Asian music. The British dramatist Sudha Bhuchar converted a Hindi film hit Hum Aapke Hain Koun..! into a hit musical "Fourteen Songs" which was well received by the British audience. Film-maker Baz Luhrmann acknowledged the influence of Hindi cinema on his production Moulin Rouge by the inclusion of a number "Hindi Sad Diamonds" based on the filmi song "Chamma Chamma" which was composed by Anu Malik.[26] In Greece the genre of indoprepi sprang from Hindi film music while in Indonesia dangdut singers like Ellya Khadam, Rhoma Irama and Mansyur S., have reworked Hindi songs for Indonesian audiences.[27] In France, the band Les Rita Mitsouko used Bollywood influences in their music video for "Le petit train" and French singer Pascal of Bollywood popularised filmi music by covering songs such as "Zindagi Ek Safar Hai Suhana".[28] In Nigeria bandiri music—a combination of Sufi lyrics and Bollywood-style music—has become popular among Hausa youth.[29] Hindi film music has also been combined with local styles in the Caribbean to form "chutney music".[30]

Best-selling soundtrack albums in India[edit]

See also: Indian Music Industry and Indian pop

Top ten[edit]

RankYearSoundtrackMusic director(s)SalesSource
11990AashiquiNadeem–Shravan20,000,000[31]
21995BombayA. R. Rahman15,000,000[32]
31997Dil Toh Pagal HaiUttam Singh12,500,000[33]
41994Hum Aapke Hain KaunRaamlaxman12,000,000[34]
51996Raja HindustaniNadeem–Shravan11,000,000[33]
61989Maine Pyar KiyaRaamlaxman10,000,000[35]
1991SaajanNadeem–Shravan10,000,000[36]
1995Bewafa SanamNikhil-Vinay10,000,000[37]
Dilwale Dulhania Le JayengeJatin–Lalit10,000,000[38][39]
RangeelaA. R. Rahman10,000,000[37]
1999Kaho Naa Pyaar HaiRajesh Roshan10,000,000[40]

By decade[edit]

By year[edit]

YearSoundtrackSalesSource(s)
1980Qurbani500,000[44][47]
1981Love StoryN/A[44]
1982Prem Rog
1983Hero
1984Pyar Jhukta Nahin
1985Ram Teri Ganga Maili
1986Bhagwaan Dada1,000,000[48]
1987Premaloka3,800,000[49]
1988Qayamat Se Qayamat TakN/A[44]
1989Maine Pyar Kiya10,000,000[35][44]
1990Aashiqui20,000,000[31][33]
1991Saajan10,000,000[36][33]
1992Deewana4,500,000[33]
1993Khalnayak5,000,000[35][33]
1994Hum Aapke Hain Kaun12,000,000[34]
1995Bombay15,000,000[32]
1996Raja Hindustani11,000,000[33]
1997Dil Toh Pagal Hai12,500,000
1998Kuch Kuch Hota Hai8,000,000
1999Kaho Naa Pyaar Hai10,000,000[40][33]
2000Mohabbatein5,000,000[45]
2001Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham3,500,000[45]
Lagaan: Once Upon a Time in India3,500,000[50]
2002Humraaz2,200,000[45]
2003Tere Naam3,000,000
2004Veer-Zaara3,000,000
2005Aashiq Banaya Aapne2,000,000
2006Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna2,000,000
2007Om Shanti Om1,900,000
2008Slumdog Millionaire:
Music from the Motion Picture
2,000,000[51][45]
2010Komaram Puli760,000[46]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

A group of Bollywood singers at the Indian Singers' Rights Association (ISRA) meet in 2013. Standing (L to R) Kailash Kher, Sonu Nigam, Sowmya Raoh, Javed Ali, Shaan, Udit Narayan, Manhar Udhas, Kunal Ganjawala, Abhijeet Bhattacharya, Hariharan, Mahalaxmi Iyer, Sitting (L to R) Mohammed Aziz, Pankaj Udhas, Alka Yagnik, Sanjay Tandon, Chitra Singh, Suresh Wadkar, Mitali Singh, Kumar Sanu.
  1. ^ abcdefghGopal, Sangita; Moorti, Sujata (16 June 2008). Global Bollywood: travels of Hindi song and dance. U of Minnesota Press. pp. 1–6. ISBN 978-0-8166-4579-4. Retrieved 22 January 2012. 
  2. ^Gokulsing, K. Moti (4 February 2009). Popular culture in a globalised India. Taylor & Francis. p. 130. ISBN 978-0-415-47666-9. Retrieved 22 January 2012. 
  3. ^"Decoding the Bollywood poster". National Science and Media Museum. 28 February 2013. 
  4. ^Dwyer, Rachel (2006). Filming the Gods: Religion and Indian Cinema. Routledge. p. 106. ISBN 9781134380701. 
  5. ^ abcMorcom, Anna (30 November 2007). "The cinematic study of Hindi film songs". Hindi film songs and the cinema. Ashgate Publishing, Ltd. pp. 1–24. ISBN 978-0-7546-5198-7. Retrieved 22 January 2012. 
  6. ^As quoted in Gopal & Moorti (2008), pg 14.
  7. ^ abMehta, Rini Bhattacharya; Pandharipande, Rajeshwari (15 January 2010). Bollywood and Globalization: Indian Popular Cinema, Nation, and Diaspora. Anthem Press. p. 36. ISBN 978-1-84331-833-0. Retrieved 22 January 2012. 
  8. ^Morcom, Anna (2007) Hindi Film Songs and the Cinema. Aldershot: Ashgate.
  9. ^Carlo Nardi (July 2011). "The Cultural Economy of Sound: Reinventing Technology in Indian Popular Cinema". Journal on the Art of Record Production, Issue 5ISSN 1754-9892.
  10. ^ abcdGeeta Dayal (6 April 2010). "Further thoughts on '10 Ragas to a Disco Beat'". The Original Soundtrack. Retrieved 3 June 2011. 
  11. ^Geeta Dayal (29 August 2010). "'Studio 84′: Digging into the History of Disco in India". The Original Soundtrack. Retrieved 3 June 2011. 
  12. ^James Ellis. "Biddu". Metro. Retrieved 2011-04-17. 
  13. ^The Listener, Volumes 100–101. The Listener. BBC. 1978. p. 216. Retrieved 21 June 2011.  
  14. ^Shapiro, Peter (2006). Turn the Beat Around: The Secret History of Disco. Macmillan Publishers. p. 55. ISBN 0-86547-952-6. Retrieved 7 June 2011. 
  15. ^ abcdeKenneth Lobo, EDM Nation: How India Stopped Worrying About the Riff and Fell in Love With the Beat, Rolling Stone
  16. ^Biddu Orchestra – Bionic Boogie at Discogs
  17. ^Biddu Orchestra – Soul Coaxing at Discogs
  18. ^"Futuristic Journey And Eastern Man CD". CD Universe. Retrieved 7 July 2011. 
  19. ^Biddu Orchestra – Futuristic Journey at Discogs (list of releases)
  20. ^Futuristic Journey and Eastern Man at AllMusic
  21. ^Captain Zorro – Phantasm Theme at Discogs
  22. ^ abDisco Goes to Bollywood: A Rough Guide, Pitchfork
  23. ^William Rauscher (12 May 2010). "Charanjit Singh – Synthesizing: Ten Ragas to a Disco Beat". Resident Advisor. Retrieved 3 June 2011. 
  24. ^Stuart Aitken (10 May 2011). "Charanjit Singh on how he invented acid house ... by mistake". The Guardian. 
  25. ^Geeta Dayal (5 April 2010). "Thoughts on '10 Ragas to a Disco Beat'". The Original Soundtrack. Retrieved 3 June 2011. 
  26. ^Conrich, Ian; Tincknell, Estella (1 July 2007). Film's musical moments. Edinburgh University Press. p. 206. ISBN 978-0-7486-2345-7. Retrieved 22 January 2012. 
  27. ^David, Bettina (2008). "Intimate Neighbors: Bollywood, Dangdut Music, and Globalizing Modernities in Indonesia". In Sangita Gopal and Sujata Moorti. Global Bollywood: Travels of Hindi Song and Dance. University of Minnesota Press. pp. 179–220. ISBN 9780816645794. 
  28. ^"Pascal of Bollywood". RFI (in French). 11 November 2004. Retrieved 10 September 2012. 
  29. ^Sangita Gopal and Sujata Moorti, ed. (2008). Global Bollywood: Travels of Hindi Song and Dance. University of Minnesota Press. p. 8. ISBN 9780816645794. 
  30. ^Sangita Gopal and Sujata Moorti, ed. (2008). Global Bollywood: Travels of Hindi Song and Dance. University of Minnesota Press. p. 34. ISBN 9780816645794. 
  31. ^ abc"India Today". India Today. Aroon Purie for Living Media India Limited. 19: 70. 1994. 
  32. ^ ab"The "Mozart of Madras" AR Rahman is Performing LIVE in Australia". SBS. 14 February 2017. 
  33. ^ abcdefghi"Music Hits 1990-1999 (Figures in Units)". Box Office India. 2 January 2010. Archived from the original on 2 January 2010. 
  34. ^ abMorcom, Anna (2017). Hindi Film Songs and the Cinema. Routledge. p. 198. ISBN 9781351563741. 
  35. ^ abcd"Audio tape producers ride crest of Bollywoods music boom, composers become stars". India Today. 30 November 1993. 
  36. ^ ab"Bringing melody back, Nadeem-Shravan churn out hit after hit". India Today. 15 April 1992. 
  37. ^ ab"Making Music Like Ne'er Before". Outlook. 13 March 1996. 
  38. ^"Outlook". Outlook. Hathway Investments Pvt Limited. 3: 78. 1997.  
  39. ^"Tuning in to better times?". The Hindu. 9 July 2003. 
  40. ^ ab"Film producers float their own music firms". The Times of India. 11 November 2011. 
  41. ^"Music Hits 1950-1959". Box Office India. 5 February 2010. Archived from the original on 5 February 2010. 
  42. ^"Music Hits 1960-1969". Box Office India. 5 February 2010. Archived from the original on 5 February 2010. 
  43. ^"Music Hits 1970-1979". Box Office India. 5 February 2010. Archived from the original on 5 February 2010. 
  44. ^ abcde"Music Hits 1980-1989". Box Office India. 5 February 2010. Archived from the original on 5 February 2010. 
  45. ^ abcde"Music Hits 2000-2009 (Figures in Units)". Box Office India. 5 February 2010. Archived from the original on 5 February 2010. 
  46. ^ ab"'Komaram Puli' audio creates latest record!". way2movies. 16 July 2010. 
  47. ^Faruk Kaiser's Golden Disc accolade for Qurbani
  48. ^Faruk Kaiser's Platinum Disc accolade for Bhagwan Dada
  49. ^"Bahubali audio sold for Rs 3 cr, sets record". The Times of India. 21 May 2015. 
  50. ^