Bollywood in the 80s extended the musical tradition of romance in Hindi movies by adding more drama, passion, and of course exposure (in whatever terms). Romantic songs of the 80s have a characteristic balance of classical-to-westernized elements – whether in setting, costume, musical composition, or mode. Following is a list of 20 most romantic songs that resounded in the sub-continent long after the movie’s release. The songs are not given in order of best-first but chronologically with respect to the movie’s year of release. Bollywood fans can sift these into any order from most to least appealing, according to their taste choice, or just share their very own list. Enjoy my list below!
“Kya Dekhte Ho”: Sizzling beauty Zeenat Aman and dashing Khan of Bollywood star Feroz Khan matched each other’s romantic appeal in this touching song from the big hit Qurbani (1980).
“Mere Naseeb Main”: One of the most popular performances of Bollywood’s Dream Girl Hema Malini, the song from superhot film Naseeb (1981) is still alive in all its beauty.
“Yeh Vaada Raha”: Rishi Kapoor, the Romantic icon in the 80s’ Bollywood, danced with two “Miss India” beauties – Poonam Dhillon and Tina Munim – in this softly-composed timeless song that captures the essence of Romantic delicacy, from the 1982 movie Yeh Vaada Raha.
“Humne Sanam Ko Khat”: Shakti (1982) is remembered for uniting two superstars – the Big Bachah and Dilip Kumar – in strongly conflicting characters. While Smita Patel was never very exciting in Romantic songs (or any songs at all), this evergreen semi-classical hit made history, and is widely loved today for both music and lyrics.
“Hamein Aur Jeene Ki”: A uniquely composed and performed song, with two full versions played in the movie – male and female – this hit from Agar Tum Na Hote (1983) had a more revealing touch of wistfulness that remains unsurpassed to date. I prefer the female version for Lata Ji’s elixir of a voice.
“Jab Hum Jawan Honge”: Undoubtedly one of the biggest musical hits of the 80s, Betaab (1983) brought this youthful, phenomenal song which has all the power even today to stir an unquenchable nostalgia of youth and love that is hard to put in words – an unforgettable piece showing a fresh Sunny Deol and Amrita Singh.
“Tu Mera Janu Hai”: Emulating Betaab in music was the mega hit Hero (1983) from Subhash Ghai. A film which took people head over heels by its portrayal of passionate love was also a musical phenomenon. This song shows all the colors of on-screen love which the movie shows between fresh faces Jackie Shroff and Meenakahsi Sheshadri.
“Zihale-e-Miskin Makun Ba Ranjish”: A somber movie with the humanist theme of freedom from feudal oppression, Ghulami (1985) gave one popular hit infused with the air of silent love in rural life. Filmed on Huma Khan, this hit is among
“Chehra Hai Ya Chand Khila Hai”: Who didn’t want to see the hot screen couple of 1973’s Romantic blast Bobby – Rishi Kapoor and Dimple Kapadia – when it reappeared in Sagar (1985). Dimple rose overnight to fame again after taking the leadin this super hit musical-romance of the year. The scene where Rishi runs after her in the song shows how magical Bollywood romance can get!
“Aaj Subah Jab Main Jaga”: From a not-so-popular movie Aug aur Shola (1986), the song “Aaj Subah Jab Main Jaga” was all over the place since the movie’s relase for years. Jeetenedra and Sridevi were at the top of their stardom in the mid 80s and the hottest on-screen couple. Among their dozens of popular hits, this song stands out as something many a romantic soul would still not turn off.
“Har Kisi Ko Nahin Milta”: After Qurbani, Janbaaz (1986) was Feroz Khan’s ultimate hit and it was more about the music of this song that charmed everyone. Sridevi’s short-lived role in the bold and violent movie was immortalized by this song.
“I Love You”: Mr. India (1987) was the movie India loved and the song “I Love You” made Mr. India’s romance as much visible as Anil Kapoor’s character was invisible in the script. Considered one of the sexiest songs of Sridevi, the song alone was enough to establish Anil Kapoor and Sridevi a popular on-screen couple.
“Jane Do Jane Do”: Shehanshah (1988) was one of Big Bachan’s hits in the 80s, reminding that the superstar was still holding the chair of stardom even in the late 80s. The song “Jane Do Jane Do” came with some really cool dance music and will still pleases the dance lover’s taste.
“Ek Do Teen”: This wasn’t a song but pure craze from the violently emotional love story/action movie Tezaab (1988) that lifted Madhuri Dixit to the peak of fame overnight and made Anil Kapoor-Madhuri couple the leading on-screen couple in the late 80s and early 90s. This song was everywhere all the time; those who weren’t singing were still chanting the music. And the craze continues to date. Among the two versions – male and female – the female was clearly the biggest hit (though the other was not ignored too).
“Aey Mere Humsafar”: After the mostly violent mid 80s, Qayamat se Qayamat Tak (1988) was a more placid romantic gift from Bollywood. The movie’s songs were mostly composed with soft melodies and “Aey Mere Humsafer” became an instant hit. Amir Khan and Juhi Chawla also rose to great fame immediately upon the release of the film.
“Dil Khoya Khoya Gum Sum”: Filmed on Farah Naaz, who had by then won a fair level of popularity in Bollywood, this song from Mohabbat Ke Dushman (1988) was not the usual beat of excitement and stood unique in its diction and rhythm that characterize pastoral lives. Nevertheless, it filled the air with romance for young music lovers of 80s’ Bollywood.
“Tirchi Topiwale/Oye Oye”: Perhaps the spell of “Ek Do Teen” would never have been broken if it weren’t for the new amazing hit “Tirchi Topi Wale” in the 1989 hit Tridev. The ostentatiously choreographed dance show wasn’t so much behind the madding obsession with the song as the “oye oye” that, according to hearsay, even had to be banned at one point in India to stop the masses from disturbing people around them in public places.
“Tera Naam Liya”: Since Allah Rakha, Jackie and Dimple had become a popular on-screen couple and the super-hit Ram Lakhan (1989) let them act in this most famous romantic hit that soon took over the romantic souls.
“Kabutar Ja Ja”: Salman Khan’s first commercial hit Maine Pyar Kiya (1989) was a new chapter of boundless success in the Bollywood romance traditions. The craze created by it was in most part due to the unique feel of innocence and heart-winning songs (and there were so many of them) that ensured the movie’s rule in Bollywood romance for a long time to come. All songs became hits but the ‘Kabutar’ song portrayed love in a manner unsurpassed heretofore.
“Chandni Chandni O Meri Chandni”: What to say of Sridevi? Her charm never seemed to end and neither did her image as an object of endless romance. This song from the 1989 hit Chandni shows why.