Sunday, May 15

Who doesn't love Mrs Nene?

A couple years ago when Madhuri Dixit made an appearance as a judge on the Indian version of Dancing With The Stars, Jhalak Dikhla Jaa, it made headlines! Madhuri had moved to Colorado after getting married and essentially disappeared from view. People were dying to see Madhuri back on screen and what better way than have her as a judge for a popular dance show. Madhuri's love and talent for dance is well known. In fact, Madhuri fans will swear that will never be a dancer like her again in Indian cinema. But apart from being an amazing dancer, Madhuri is also an extremely talented actor. She can capture hearts and tears in a blink of an eye. She is the quintessential Bollywood leading lady - she can act, she can dance and she is gorgeous!

I can't think of any other way to celebrate the contributions of Madhuri than showcasing some of my top 15 favorite songs featuring her.

Ek Do Teen - Tezaab (1988)

Never has a star been made with one song! The moment people saw this song, they fell in love with Madhuri Dixit and rest was history! She shined in this song and everyone was touched by her star quality. Every single time I hear this song, I want to join the crowd - MOHINI! MOHINI!

Tere Lakhan Ne - Ram Lakhan (1989)

This song highlights Madhuri is a completely different way compared to Ek Do Teen. Here she is close to the traditional Kathak dance style. The song is also very classical in nature. I like how she can pull off the masti dance numbers and at the same time she can also perform traditional dances with just as much ease. I love the way she is able to portray her emotions without being over the top. Just one glance at her and the audience knows that she is deeply hurt.

Humko Aaj Kal Hai - Sailaab (1990)

This is a lovely breezy song performed perfectly by Madhuri. She's dressed in a traditional kholi outfit, which looked wonderful on her. There is no extra fluff or drama. Just Madhuri owning the song and the excellent choreography of Saroj Khan. I loved the whole vibe of the song.

Aaj Na Chhodungi Tujhe - Dil (1990)

Here's a classic dance battle between the leads! Madhuri challenges Aamir Khan which results in this epic dance battle. I remember how this song was the rage when it first came out. Once again, Madhuri is awesome in this song. She portrays her anger and irritation perfectly without going over the top or looking childish.

Tamma Tamma Loge - Thanedaar (1990)

Talk about an epic 80s style dance number! Madhuri and Sanjay Dutt rock their butts off in this number. I've never seen Sanjay Dutt dance to this extent in any of his other films. It must have been because of Madhuri's presence! Needless to say, Madhuri rocks this song and owns it. She make the choreography look simple and easy which is the sign of an excellent dancer.

Tu Shayar Hai - Saajan (1991)

Yet another Madhuri classic. Yet another 90s stage song. I love how this song is simple and yet so beautiful. The lyrics of the song are lovely. Madhuri performs the song very well. Her expressions add so much more to the simple dancing.

Dhak Dhak Karne Laga - Beta (1992)

Now this is the mother of all sensual songs! After this song came out, Madhuri was officially tagged as the "Dhak Dhak" girl. What I enjoyed the most was that Madhuri was super sexy without being sleazy in any way, a sign of a mature performer. She had the right amount of oomph that the song required and never made it seem cheap or vulgar.

Didi Tera Dewar Deewana - Hum Aapke Hain Kaun (1994)

Who can forget this song? This has to be one of the most iconic Bollywood songs. Madhuri owns this song completely. She looks the part and does this song complete justice. Hum Aapke Hain Kaun is a wholesome family entertainer with amazing music. Out of all the wonderful songs in that movie, this one stands out as an instant Madhuri classic.  

Chane Ke Khet Mein - Anjaam (1994)

I remember when this song first came out, every little girl wanted to dance just like Madhuri. Her jatkas, thumkas and her nakhre were amazing! I love the way she tells her story. Even if you don't understand the language, her expressions convey all the emotions perfectly!

Mera Piya Ghar Aya - Yaraana (1995)

Once again Madhuri performs an exciting stance song after Ek Do Teen. As far as I can remember, this movie was not successful but this song was a huge hit. Madhuri's amazing dancing and expressions along with the catchy song made this song an instant favorite.

Are Re Are - Dil To Pagal Hai (1997)

Madhuri and Shah Rukh Khan sizzled in this song! Who can forget the Aur Paas scene from this movie! Once again DTPH has awesome music but out of all the songs, this one stands out for me. I love the way the song transitions from dance rehearsals to fantasy moments seamlessly. This movie was sort of a redemption movie for Madhuri and she worked every bit of it. 

Que Sera Sera - Pukar (2000)

Madhuri and Prabhu Deva together in a song? Yes please! When word got out that Madhuri was going to be choreographed by Prabhu Deva, Bollywood fans lost their marbles. Two of the best dancers in Indian movies coming together was a big deal. And Madhuri did not disappoint! She matches steps with Prabhu Deva effortlessly in this song.

Badi Mushkil - Lajja (2001)

Once again a Madhuri song created interest for the movie. Lajja dealt with the topic of lives of women in India. It featured an ensemble cast which included Manisha Koirala, Rekha and Madhuri among others. This song provided some much needed brightness in the otherwise serious film. Even though Manisha is also featured in this song, without doubt Madhuri owns it!

Kahe Chhed Chhed Mohe - Devdas (2002)

Those expressions! If looks could kill... Madhuri is amazing in Devdas. She completely embodied the character of Chandramukhi. In fact, I can't imagine any other recent actress doing justice to that role. The choreography of this movie was exquisite and Madhuri does an amazing job in every song. Dola Re which featured Madhuri and Aishwarya dancing together for the first time was amazing but this is the song that highlights Madhuri's talents for me.

Special Mention:

Aaja Nachte - Aaja Nachle (2007)  

After a long gap Madhuri returned to Bollywood with Aaja Nachle. It was a lovely film about a woman trying to bring back theater to her home town. I personally thought the movie was well made and a perfect fit for Madhuri. We see Madhuri demonstrate her latkas and jhatkas for the first time with this song and she does not disappoint. Her dancing was on point, she looked amazing and her expressions were out of the world.

Ghagara - Yeh Jawani Hai Deewani (2013)

This cheeky song was Madhuri's way to show Bollywood that she could totally pull off an item song. Madhuri takes control and demonstrates how it's done! It was interesting to see Madhuri with Ranbir especially since she's done films with Rishi Kapoor. This just goes to show that Madhuri is like fine wine - she just gets better with age.

Monday, May 9

Favorite Item Songs - The 90s

Item songs have been a Bollywood staple. They gave rise to item queens such as Helen, Bindu, Aruna Irani and many others. After the 70s, item songs went out of fashion. They didn't appear that frequently and the era of item queens ended. The 90s re-established the item song trend. These songs were provocative and sexy and sometimes starred the leading lady of the film. The only common theme to these songs is that the film's narrative would not suffer if these songs were omitted. So without further adieu, here are my favorite item songs of the 90s. 

Choli Ke Peeche Kya Hai - Khalnayak (1993)

I still remember when this song came out. This song was considered provocative and the suggestive lyrics added to the woes of women's groups who fervently protested the song. Needless to say, this song is probably Madhuri Dixit's most famous song. In the movie Khalnayak, Madhuri's character goes undercover to get information about Sanjay Dutt's character. It is during this song that she makes contact with Sanjay Dutt's character. 

Baby Baby Mujhe Log Bole - Khuddar (1994)

This song originally started off as "Sexy Sexy Mujhe Log Bole." The original lyrics of the songs caused such a stir that they had to be changed after the fact. Along with the lyrics of the song, Karisma Kapoor was also dragged into the controversy. It's sad when the leading lady is dragged into the mix when she had nothing to do with the lyrics. Regardless, this song makes my list because it's catchy and for the first time had a good amount of English lyrics. 

Gup Chup - Karan Arjun (1995)

Mamta Kulkarni - a name associated with sexiness and oomph for the 90s. She was no stranger to controversy. Its not surprising that she was a part of this suggestive song. Shah Rukh Khan, Salman Khan and Kajol got most of the recognition for Karan Arjun while most people forget about Mamta Kulkarni. She was cast opposite Salman Khan and did quite a good job. In this song, she is attempting to distract the villains while the brothers, Karan and Arjun, set their plan to defeat the villains in motion. 

Humma Humma - Bombay (1995)

A.R. Rahman was making waves in Bollywood with his new style of music. Needless to say, Humma Humma certainly did not disappoint. The catchy chorus and the interesting vocals by Remo Fernandes made sure to hold attention. Bombay was a serious movie that dealt with the topic of the religious riots. This song takes place right after the main characters get married. This song provided just enough distraction from the seriousness. And yes that is Prabu Deva's brother and Sonali Bendre dancing it out! 

Sheher Ki Ladki - Rakshak (1996)

Now this one is a typical item song. Raveena Tandon made waves by doing this song. She created a trend by doing this song. It won't be to much to say that this song created curiosity for this movie. I didn't watch this movie but I did watch this song countless times!

Koi Jaye To Le Aaye - Ghatak (1996)

Now I'm not sure if this song would be considered an Item Song but I'll add it to the list anyway. These stage show type songs were all the rage in the 90s. Not that the main characters were stage dancers or anything but they still had such a song. I still remember the craze that this song spawned! Mamta Kulkarni's name was on everyone's lips! She rocked this song and I'm sure no one else would have created as much noise as she did.

Le Gayi Le Gayi - Dil To Pagal Hai (1997)

Dil To Pagal Hai started out with this song. It really has nothing to do with the movie other than introduce the audience to Shah Rukh Khan and Karisma Kapoor. This song was another one of Karisma Kapoor's famous songs.  

Chamma Chamma - China Gate (1998)

This song highlights the power of a good item song. An amazing item song creates interest for the movie, adds some drama to the movie and finally is extremely catchy. Chamma Chamma instantly created interest for China Gate. Urmila Matonkar performed this song perfectly. She was able to show off her dancing ability and create just enough oomph to keep viewers interested. Not only was thins song popular in India but it also was a part of a sequence in Moulin Rouge. Check it out here.

Main Kudi Anjani Hoon - Zor (1998)

I remember watching this song and thinking about how amazing Sushmita Sen was in it. This was an interesting song and for the first time Sushmita Sen took center stage and owned the song. It was also a time when Hema Sardesai, the singer of the song, was becoming increasingly popular for her catchy songs. All together, this is an enjoyable song and I'm sure one that Sushmita is proud to call her own.

Chaiyya Chaiyya - Dil Se (1998)

And this is how Munni got her start. This iconic A.R. Rahman number is the most recognized item song. This is the result of another Mani Ratnam and A.R. Rahman collaboration after Bombay. This is Malaika Arora's first item song. The visuals, the dancing and the music are what make this the best item song of the year! 

Makhna - Bade Miyan Chote Miyan (1998)

The world was pleasantly surprised when Madhuri Dixit featured in this song from Bade Miyan Chote Miyan. Back when Amitabh Bachchan was trying to get back into the public eye, he did a slew of films acting as the hero nonetheless. This was one of the few hits he had during those days. Regardless, Madhuri's presence and the fun song added quite a bit to the curiosity of the movie. This is one total fun and classic Item Song!

Dilbar Dilbar - Sirf Tum (1999)

With this song Sushmita Sen stepped into the world of Item Songs. Sirf Tum was a simple movie about lost lovers trying to find themselves a bit like Sleepless in Seattle. This song added some much needed brightness and oomph. Sushmita looks amazing and single-handedly created interest for the movie with this song.

Main Aayi Hoon U.P. Bihar Lootne - Shool (1999)

Watch and learn - That's what Shilpa Shetty must have said when she became a part of this iconic Item song from the 90s. No one can forget the raw sensuousness of this song. Shilpa does a fantastic job playing the seductive village belle in this song. 

These are the item songs of the 90s that stand out to me. Do you have any favorites that I missed? Let me know in the comments! I would love to find others that I may have forgotten.