Friday Playlist: Bollywood Nights

Songs from classic Indian musicals.

In my humble opinion, musicals were never better than the movies put out by the Hindi-language movie industry in India, known as Bollywood, in the ’50s,’60s, and ’70s. Back then, the songs would often be prerecorded by top vocalists known as playback singers, and the actors would lip-synch while dancing on screen. So someone like Asha Bhosle, who has more than 1,000 credits to her name (I know, what have I done lately?!), would provide a song for the acting/dancing superstar Helen to perform, like in the movie Caravan. The result is a melodramatic musical number worth trying to replicate in your bedroom.

Illustration by Minna


  • mrsfigg February 15th, 2013 11:37 PM


  • sedgwick February 15th, 2013 11:45 PM

    mentally adding that jaan pehechaan ho one from ghost world to this

    • teenwitch February 16th, 2013 5:12 AM

      yeah, i love this one

    • Anna F. February 16th, 2013 12:31 PM

      Jaan Pehechaan Ho is a great track that was originally released in the 1965 movie Gumnaam (I put another song from that movie on my playlist). Gumnaam is this very fun murder mystery based on an Agatha Christie story, and the whole thing happens to be streaming free and legal on Youtube. It’s worth watching

  • AnaRuiz February 15th, 2013 11:56 PM

    This playlist sorta aggravets my India wanderlust.

    That, and I wish my playlists had the beautiful hand made collages/lists that go with yours.

  • bugaleeto February 16th, 2013 12:11 AM

    This makes me think of Ghost World

  • Tangerine February 16th, 2013 12:13 AM

    I was so excited to see this playlist go up!! Hooray for bollywood <3

  • Pearl February 16th, 2013 12:17 AM

    Yesssss! Having grown up watching these movies, I couldn’t ask for more! You guys should watch the accompanied videos to these songs, no one can bust a move like Helen (Yeh Mera Dil / Piya Tu Ab Toh Aaja/Mehbooba)

    • Anna F. February 16th, 2013 12:34 PM

      YES YES YES. When I was compiling this playlist, I watched so many videos, many of them starring Helen. HOW IS SHE A REAL PERSON????

      • Pearl February 16th, 2013 8:15 PM

        Back in the day, she was extremely popular & scandalous for her so called raunchy dance moves but she’s legendary! I practically worship her, SHE’S SO PERFECT. UGHH.

  • pleasecallmeginger February 16th, 2013 12:54 AM

    Oh, those eyes.
    Are to DIE for… :O
    And her hair……

  • Caterina Maria February 16th, 2013 1:13 AM

    Okay, but one of these days, you’re going to do a Bollywood-now one, right? Suraj Hua Madham, y/y/please? :)

    • Alma February 16th, 2013 9:38 AM


      Ah, I remember watching K3G and Kuch Kuch Hota Hai all the time and obsessing over Kajol and Shahrukh Khan when I was younger.

      Including like, last week.

      • PZ February 16th, 2013 3:39 PM

        heck yes!! i’ll totally volunteer to make a bollywood now playlist. also classical indian music is sososo great and was p influential on some western musicians. like jeff buckley was obsessed with nusrat fatel ali khan (who is amazing and wonderful). not very playlist-friendly though, bc a lot of the compositions are a bit long.

  • streaked lights February 16th, 2013 3:14 AM

    These songs are perfect! And, yeah, definitely agree; you guys gotta watch the videos as well.

    Seriously, the next time your friends are over, try memorizing the dance steps to one of these numbers; it’s a lot of fun!

  • Mintvirgin February 16th, 2013 3:45 AM

    extraordinary topic, but its ingenuity doesn’t make this bad. i love indian films because of hot atmosphere of exoticism…. the music is great!

  • LilySew February 16th, 2013 7:14 AM

    Woah. Anyone else recognise the first song’s intro from that old Black Eyed Peas song ‘Don’t Phunk With My Heart’? It’s nice to hear where BEP got the sample from. Awesome playlist. :D

  • Alma February 16th, 2013 9:33 AM


  • sparklybandit February 16th, 2013 9:35 AM

    YEaaaaaaaaaa mera dil! pyra ka devava!!! :) my mum says i look like shamila tagore! :)

  • Sohini February 16th, 2013 9:48 AM

    Love, love this playlist! Bollywood is literally my happy place.
    xx Sohini
    TV, Turmeric, Tea

  • Alby. February 16th, 2013 10:01 AM

    Definitely look up some more recent movies from India, like Ekk main aur ek tu is brilliant for cheesy, happy , bedroom sing a long songs!!

  • Emma February 16th, 2013 10:07 AM

    has anyone here ever seen “fraaandship?” it’s this AWESOME modern bollywood musical and it’s on netflix instant! so many great singing/ dancing scenes :)

  • Dino February 16th, 2013 11:25 AM

    Yeah I noticed that too!!This is soooooo cooool! I love! When my dad and I are driving in the car we usually put the radio on the Indian station as it’s usually the only one that actually has music playing at all plus music that’s decent. :)

  • The Rose is me February 16th, 2013 10:26 PM

    you guys should have more drake& the weeknd& wale & phlo fiinister on here on here they make awesome music :)

  • asylum February 17th, 2013 12:49 AM

    I love the song Mehbooba! I used to listen to it on the radio all the time as a child.
    Kishore Kumar is just Genius!

  • Beatrice February 17th, 2013 4:14 AM

    Great mix! Bollywood needs to be more of a regular presence at most parties.

  • amberino February 17th, 2013 6:21 AM

    Rookie you are wonderful *^*

  • MissKnowItAll February 17th, 2013 8:00 AM

    Kishore Kumar is an absolute legend!

  • jesus_chan February 17th, 2013 2:10 PM

    This is so cool! I haven’t had much cultural exposure to India (besides food and the occasional trip to an Indian neighbourhood of Toronto). Don’t know if anyone noticed but the beginning of Yeh Mera Dil was sampled in the Black Eyed Peas’ “Don’t Phunk With My Heart.” Great Work, Anna! :)

  • Smriti February 18th, 2013 12:25 AM

    OMG!! These all are my all time favorite hindi songs… : )

  • serpentinevalentine June 9th, 2013 12:05 PM

    I am absolutely in love with this playlist! I’ve been listening to it all day and it’s inspired me to watch some of these classic Bollywood movies that these tracks are from.

    Once again, a brilliant playlist Rookie! I hope there are more playlists celebrating different cultures like this in the future.

  • anixstar June 13th, 2013 8:17 PM

    You should make a follow-up playlist with more modern songs, like Honey Singh, or something from Student of the Year.

  • November 4th, 2013 10:40 PM

    I simply cannot believe that Rookie has a post on Bollywood songs, I really, really, can’t and there aren’t enough words or eloquent phrases in the English language (or any others, as a matter of fact) to convey my earnest adoration for the bloggers of Rookiemag you really just made my day. Another of my favourites by Mohammad Rafi is Lakhon Hai Nigaah Mein which was released in 1962 (
    Thank you so much, dhonnobad, shukriya for making my day!