Anyone who knows me would tell you that songs especially Bollywood numbers play a huge part in my life. In fact every time I make a new friend, within the first two three meetings I ask them what songs do they listen to and more often than not, the future course of the friendship gets decided by that discussion. I can't interact with people who don't have an interest in music nor can I get along with the 'I love only firang songs coz they are supposed to be cool' crowd. I could spend days discussing old hindi film songs and my ideal vacation activity would be a campfire singing old songs.
But there is a category of songs that I am particularly fond of discussing. I call them the loser songs of the 90's (umm actually could include some 80's songs too). Now the 90's were the era when I had my first crushes and had all those growing up pangs and all. And the songs of that era particularly were about some sort of impossibly undying, pining away sort of love. As an infatuated teenager I used to really believe in 'Dil jigar nazar kya hai main to tere liye jaan bhi de du..' but now that I look back I cant help laughing at the songs and their loser in love kinda lyrics.
Many a stimulating discussion I have had about these songs and how the hits of that era now just remind you of the silliness of your own life then. I remember a discussion with Smiling Serpent which I am unlikely to forget anytime in my life because I have never laughed so much ever (much to his consternation, because unfortunately the joke was on him :-). This post has been inspired by insomniacal chats during night shifts with Phoenix in the last few days.
The 90's were a 'dramatic love' era. I remember Filmfare and Stardust publishing stories about fans who used to write fan mail in blood. There were people who had committed suicide after Divya Bharati died. So it was all about hyperbole. Naturally the songs of the era also followed this trend of being high on an aching, nauseating kind of unrealistic love which was supposed to true love. So you had Kumar Sanu crooning away 'Tu meri zindagi hai' (I do like this one still) as if he were a dying man looking for the oxygen of love (ooh even reminiscing about the era is making me use hyperbole). That is why I call them the 'loser' songs, all about aching love nothing about love's uplifting qualities. That reminds me of the ultimate loser song, ever heard Achha sila diya tune mere pyaar ka?
The songs of the era were the kind that the roadside tapori would sing in his mistaken view of love which actually would be some funny form of eve teasing. 'Premi pagal aawara, aashiq majnu deewana...' or 'Main hoon aashiq, aashiq aawara'. The songs of the era also seemed to propagate the myth that if you chase a girl hard enough (like a needy psychopathic stalker) she is bound to fall in love with you. 'Is tarah aashiqui ka asar chod jaunga, tere chehre pe apni nazar chod jaunga' scary man. Or 'First time dekha tumhein ham kho gaya second time mein love ho gaya yeh akkha India jaanta hai ham tumpe marta hai...' Perfect songs for the guy who is waiting at the corner of the road for his favourite girl to walk past.
Lots of metaphors and lots of promises of undying love. 'Tu shayar hai main teri shayari (I remember everyone of us girls in the school had tried to move their index fingers the way Madhuri does in that song). 'Saanson ki zarurat hai jaise' 'Tumhein apna banane ki kasam khaayi hai khaayi hai' 'Dil hai ki maanta nahin' 'Saanwali saloni teri jheel si aankhein' (cute still) 'Juliet ki tarah honthon pe hai surkhiyan dekh le khud ko tu nazar se meri jaaneja'.
Unrequited love, betrayal or some form of separation was a common theme. 'Chupana bhi nahin aata', 'Accha sila' mentioned above, 'Ae kaash kahin aisa hota ke do dil hote seene mein' 'Jaao tum chahe jahan yaad karoge wahaan ki ik ladka duniya mein hai jo de sakta hai tumpe jaan' 'Woh meri neend mera chain mujhe lauta do' 'Ab tere bin jee lenge ham zehar zindagi ka pee lenge ham'. How many lovers of that era must have gone through breakups listening to these depressing numbers.
There were also the quirky ones with weird lyrics. 'Tu tu tu tu tara...' 'Ole ole' 'Oye oye' 'Ruk ruk ruk' 'Sexy sexy' 'Choli ke peechey' 'Bambai se gayi puna' 'Jaipur se nikali gaadi dilli chali halle halle' 'Barana de' 'Shehar ki ladki' 'Madhuri Dixit mili raste mein' 'Meri marzi'. I could go on and on.
Each of these songs brings back some memory of some Antakshari won while travelling jam packed in a school rickshaw, some train journey listening to these songs on the walkman (do they exist still?), some wedding band favourites, some that I sang to my then crush in the privacy of my own bedroom believing every word to be coming truly from my heart, some poem I wrote taking off from the lyrics of some loser song, lots and lots of memories of growing up. I dearly loved these songs then, I laugh at my own adolescent image of love now. What was I thinking when I used to sing 'Teri ummeed tera intezar karte hain' or sometimes shyly to myself 'Raah mein unse mulakat ho gayi..'? Well I guess I was just behaving my age.
Some of these songs are gems and I still love them. But 'loserness' being the characteristic of the songs of that era, I cant but help call them all loser songs of the 90's. Anyone remembers any more of these songs, please add your list in the comments section :-) Lets remember the days when we were all bitten by the bug called infatuation :-)