Archive for January 12, 2013

T24 HFS of All Time: Lucky winners and alternate 12 songs

Saidas M. Ranade, Houston, Texas

For the final round I had given each respondent an opportunity to enter their name in the drawing for a prize worth US $50.00. On January 7, 2013, I did a drawing for the three prizes. Here are the lucky winners:

  • Sanjeev Deshpande, Houston area
  • Mahesh Biradar, NY, USA
  • Sandeep Joshi, Mumbai, India.

The check is in the mail for the three winners. Mahesh opted to donate $25 from his winning amount to So, based on the initial commitment we made and based on the number of completed ballots, PrathamUSA received $180 from my friend Prakash Lakshmanan (Thanks Prakash for your generous support) last year (2012) and will receive $45 from me and $25 from Mahesh Biradar this year.

And finally, a friend of mine posed an interesting question. How many of my own favorites made it to the final 24? Well, many of the songs I voted for did not make it to the final 24 or the 12 honorable mentions.  So, just to reach that magic number of TOP 50 songs, I have listed 12 additional songs that I voted for that came close to the top songs in the initial rounds and in my opinion may have ended up in the final round depending on the sample of respondents who voted during the earlier rounds of this project.

This new TOP 50 list truly represents the best of Bollywood music from 1931 to 2012. So, next time a person asks you about Bollywood music, you can with confidence and a smile send him the link to this blog.

Here are the alternate 12 songs that along with the previous 38 (Click on this link to learn more)add up to the Top 50 Bollywood Movie (Hindi Film) Songs of All Time:

Jummaa chummaa de de, Sudesh Bhosle, Kavita Krishnamurti, Hum, Dj farokh, Laxmikant Pyarelal, Anand Bakshi

Suraj hua maddham, Sonu Nigam, Kabhie Kushi Kabhie Gham, Jatin – Lalit, Aadesh Shrivastav, Sandesh Shandilya, Sameer, Anil Pandey

Ruk ja ai dil diivaane, puuchhuunto main zaraa, Udit Narayan, Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge, Jatin – Lalit, Anand Bakshi

Tauba Tumhare, Alka Yagnik, Chalte Chalte, Jatin Lalit, Javed Akthar

Masakali, Mohit Chauhan, Delhi – 6, A.R. Rahman, Prasoon Joshi

Pani pani re, Lata Mangeshkar, Maachis, Vishal Bharwaj, Gulzar

Jahan Dal dal par sone ki chidiya, Mohammad Rafi, Sikandar-E-Azam, Hansraj Behl, Rajinder Krishan

Har ghadi badal rahi hai roop zindagi, Sonu Nigam, Kal Ho Naa Ho, Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy, Javed Akhtar

Ruk jana nahin tu kahin har ke, Kishore Kumar, Imtihan, Laxmikant Pyarelal, Majrooh Sultanpuri

Ho pardesia, Kishore Kumar, Lata Mangeshkar, Mr Natwarlal, Rajesh Roshan, Anand Bakshi

Satyam Shivam Sundaram, Lata Mangeshkar, Satyam Shivam Sundaram, Laxmikant Pyarelal, Pt. Narendra Sharma

Chand sifarish, Fanaa, Shaan, Kailash Kher, Jatin Lalit, Prasoon Joshi

This blog post officially brings the project to find the top 24 Hindi Film Songs of All time to an end. Please share your comments in the space below this blog post and thanks for allowing me this privilege of doing this project!

Top 24 Bollywood Movie (or Hindi Film) Songs of All Time: Results, Observations and Lessons Learned

Saidas M. Ranade, Houston, Texas

Since the release of Alam Aara in 1931 Bollywood has by one count produced more than 40,000 songs.  On January 7, 2012 I launched a project to find the Top 24 Hindi film songs of all time. I gathered data from various sources such as Binaca Geetmala, Filmfare awards, Plant Bollywood’s top 100, Outlook jury’s top 20, etc. and narrowed the list down to 600 songs. Each week, I presented a selection of songs and the public voted online for their favorite songs. About 100 songs made it to the final round which began on December 8, 2012. The final round ended on December 31. And I am pleased with the results.

Cross tabulating the results using a person’s age as the basis, as expected, showed as shift in the songs selected. In general, with a few exceptions, younger respondents selected newer songs. To improve the validity of the results I decided to include the songs selected by the younger folks (35 and under) as well as songs that were too close in votes tally to be excluded from the top 24 in a separate Honorable Mentions list. To view the top 24 and honorable mentions list visit:

Here are a few interesting insights and observations about the songs that made it to the top 24 list:

  • Seven of the top 24 songs were also picked by a high profile jury assembled by in 2006.
  • I had often heard 1960s being referred to as the Golden Age of Hindi Cinema. Eleven songs in the Top 24 are from the 60s. Seven are from the 70s. These results are not an aberration or an accident. The top 24 songs list reflects the history and evolution of Bollywood. Shakeel Badayuni, Anand Bakshi, Rajinder Krishan, Kaifi Azmi, Hasrat Jaipuri, Majrooh Sultanpuri and Sahir Ludhianvi were born around the year 1920. Majority of these writers got their first break around the year 1950. And, they were the most prolific during the 60s and the 70s. This period of 1960s and 70s also coincided with the time during which Bollywood’s film production technologies, crafts and skills became more refined.  Today visual elements of a movie are very important during its pre-release and launch phase. Until the late 70s, radio was the main medium of publicity for Bollywood. Hence music and songs were considered to be critical to the success of a movie. It was also the time during which Indian classical music played a bigger role in composition and rendition of songs.
  • This is purely a conjecture.  Either because the field was saturated with already established lyricists or because song-writing was not considered as glamorous as the actors and actresses, new lyricists did not enter the field until the 90s. In addition passing away of Jaikishan, S D Burman, Vasant Desai in the 70s and Salil Chowdhury and Shankar in the 80s may have contributed to the lack of good quality songs in the 80s and 90s.
  • I suspect that the recent passing away of Dev Anand and Rajesh Khanna may have had some impact on how people voted for their favorite songs. Only time will tell if this claim in true.
  • People are either good at or are more comfortable picking the top song rather than the top 5. In most of the categories (Love, Romance, Funny, Cabaret, etc.) the vote count for the number one choice far exceeded the tally for the second choice.
  • The right combination or collaboration leads to success. Manna Dey and Kishore Kumar, Aishwraya and Madhuri, RD Burman and Anand Bakshi, SD Burman and Majrooh Sultanpuri, AR Rahman and Javed Akthar.
  • In the United States they speak about Christopher Cross as a one hit wonder. One would naturally expect some songs written by Sahir Ludhianvi, Majrooh Sultanpuri, and Hasrat Jaipuri to be in the Top 24. What is surprising is that the list also includes songs written by less prolific lyricists like Bharat Vyas, Shahryar, Gulshan Bawra and Yogesh. One would expect any top songs list to include songs composed by music directors like Shankar Jaikishan, RD Burman, etc. Again what surprised me is that the Top 24 list includes songs composed by less well-known composers such as Ravi, Jaidev, Ismail Darbar, Khayyam and Vasant Desai.  My conclusion is that quantity of output helps in achieving excellence but there may be exceptions to that rule.
  • I am not familiar with the classical Hindustani or Carnatic music but I was expecting that one or two classical ragas would stand out in the top 24 list. While this did not happen six of the top 24 songs were based on either raga Piloo, raga Pahadi or raga Khammaj.
  • One would have expected more songs with AR Rahman as the music director to be in the Top 24. I think AR Rahman’s musical talent and composition skills are amazing. Unfortunately the songs for which he has been the music director, with some exceptions, do not seem to be memorable or hummable. I think his music overshadows the lyrics in songs.
  • As far as the future goes I believe that we (Indians and Indo-Americans) need to encourage young people to study liberal arts, languages and poetry.  Majority of the influential lyricists in Bollywood had early training (or talim) in Urdu and Persian. I recommend training for young students in Hindi, Sanskrit, Urdu and other languages. The beauty and uniqueness of India is in its languages, traditions, dance and music. Rather than getting caught up in sales and marketing gimmicks, and using the actors as “brands,” Bollywood has an opportunity to leverage and represent the true essence of India as its brand. This is what the rest of world  and the Oscars are waiting for. While the sameness of technology and material objects may be helpful for efficiency and convenience the sameness and homogeneity of arts, culture, language, dance and traditions is a recipe for a boring and depressing future.

Since the project lasted one whole year, along the way I also learned a lot about the people, technology, marketing, and myself.

  • For me the first lesson was: Just because you think something is important does not mean it is important to everyone. At first it was hard to accept this but with time I realized that not everyone is going to be as excited about this project as I am.  I realized that people have other important priorities. I was reminded of an advice from a book called The Four Agreements by Miguel Angel Ruiz: “Don’t take things personally.”
  • Some members of my own alumni organization members from ICT in Mumbai, India (excluding the BChemE batch of 1980) insinuated that I was abusing my access to their network for some sort of selfish gain. A few especially Maharashtrians and Tamilians were clear in their wishes to not receive any further e-mails from me. I think part of their reservations also stemmed from the fact that Bollywood is seen by many as a “big money” business that lacks artistic values and caters to the lowest drives in human beings.  While there may be some truth to that assertion, Bollywood has produced lasting visual art, created wonderful songs and music and along with cricket put India on the world entertainment map. I simply cannot imagine a life without Lata Mangeshkar, Asha Bhosle and Kishore Kumar.
  • When everything is said and done, more is said than done: Majority of the people told me that they would vote and never did. I think for most people it is important to appear to be nice or to be seen as respectful rather than to either speak the truth or support words with actions. Again, the lesson for me is one of the four agreements from the book The Four Agreements by Miguel Angel Ruiz: “Keep your word.”
  • We have destroyed the potential and the future of the Internet by making it mainly an arena for commerce. We are so sensitive to sales and marketing ploys that very few people believed my assertion that there was no catch in the project. Due to fear of viruses, hackers, and other scams many people probably did not even open my e-mails. After I sent out my first e-mail blast about the project, a Professor of ethnic music studies at Colombia University sent me threatening and degrading e-mails because I asked for his vote and he did not want to receive any more e-mails from me.
  • In the US everyone seems to be totally booked and does not have time. Time has become money for most Indo-Americans. Many Indo-Americans feel that they are wasting time if they are not making money. A newspaper editor told me that putting anything in a newspaper about the project would not be of any help. A close friend of mine from the Sugarland instead of offering help told me that this project was for young people. The biggest surprise was that with a few exceptions, I did not get any collaboration or support from my friends and acquaintances in the US who are supposedly fans of Bollywood and who are in the media business related to Bollywood. Radio station DJs who are supposed to make their living off Bollywood music were the worst about either participation or support. Lesson for me: When someone asks for help for a good or an interesting cause do my best to help even if there is no short term gain from that exercise.
  • I had been informed by others and seen in the past the low rates of civic participation from young people. However I did not believe that until I worked on this project. I sent countless e-mails to India Student Associations (at UH, Rice, Texas, etc.) and organizations like NetIP and got minimal response. Some of this may be because we are sensitive to Internet scams. Another reason might be that they did not believe that there was no gimmick or catch in the project. However, as hard as it may be to accept, there may be one other simple reason: Since the project did not include money, sex, fame, food or booze, they simply didn’t give a damn!

The Top 24 Bollywood (or Hindi) Film Songs of All Time

Saidas M. Ranade

Houston, Texas

On January 7, 2012, I launched this research project to find the top 24 Bollywood Songs of All Time. The main motivation was curiosity and the goal was to have fun along the way. Today is December 31, 2012. The voting for the final round is now closed and I am very happy with the outcome.

I am indebted to Prakash Lakshmanan, Sanjeev Deshpande, Tej P Kabra, Gauri Joglekar, Sandeep Joshi, Professor Patrick Hogan, Professor Philip Lutgendorf, Srinivas Krishnamachari, Mahesh Biradar and Pradeep Gavankar for their unwavering support for this project.

In  case of a tie, I used validation from other sources to break the tie. The songs that almost made it to the top 24 are listed below as Honorable Mentions. I will post my complete research findings soon. Until then, as promised, it gives me great pleasure to announce the list of TOP 24 BOLLYWOOD MOVIE SONGS OF ALL TIME (in no particular order).

TOP 24 HINDI FILM SONGS OF ALL TIME ARE (drum roll please!):

Yeh dosti, Kishore Kumar, Manna Dey, Sholay, R.D. Burman, Anand Bakshi

Mere desh ki dharti, Mahendra Kapoor, Upkaar, Kalyanji Anandji, Gulshan Bawra

Mainzindagi ka saath nibhata chala gaya,  Mohammad Rafi, Hum Dono, Jaidev, Sahir Ludhianvi

Dola Re, Kavita Krishnamurti, Shreya Ghosal, Devdas, Ismail Darbar, Nusrat Badr, Sameer, Pandit Birju Maharaj

Piya tose naina lage re, Lata Mangeshkar, Guide, S.D Burman, Shailendra

Dil cheez kya hai aap meri jaan lijiyeâ, Asha Bhosle, Umrao Jaan, Khayyam, Shahryar

Abhi na jao chhod kar, Mohammad Rafi, Asha Bhosle, Hum Dono, Jaidev, Sahir Ludhianvi

Chura liya hai tumne jo dil ko, Mohammad Rafi, Asha Bhosle, Yaadon Ki Baarat, R.D Burman, Majrooh Sultanpuri

Ek chatur naar karke singar, Manna Dey, Kishore Kumar, Mehmood, Padosan, R D Burman, Rajinder Krishan

Aage bhi jaane na tu, Asha Bhosle, Waqt, Ravi, Sahir Ludhianvi

Dum maro dumAsha Bhosle, Hare Ram Hare Krishna, R D Burman, Shibu Pintu, Anand Bakshi

Piya tu ab to aaja, Asha Bhosle, Caravan , R D Burman, Majrooh Sultanpuri

Raat akeli hai, Asha Bhosle, Jewel Thief, S.D Burman, Majrooh Sultanpuri

Kabhi kabhi mere dil mein khayaal aataa hai, Mukesh, Lata Mangeshkar, Kabhi Kabhi, Khayyam, Sahir Ludhianvi

Tere mere sapne ab ek rang hai, Mohammad Rafi, Guide, S.D Burman, Shailendra

Teri meri prem kahani hai, Rahat Fathe Ali Khan, Shreya Ghosal,  BodyGuard, Himesh Reshmaiya, Pritam, Shabbir Ahmed

Kuch to log kahenge logon ka kaam hai kehna, Kishore Kumar, Amar Prem, R.D Burman, Anand Bakshi

Pyaar kiya to darna kya, Lata Mangeshkar, Mughal-E-Azam, Naushad, Shakeel Badayuni

Jaane kahan gaye who din, Mukesh, Mera Naam Joker, Shankar – Jaikishan, Hasrat Jaipuri,

Kahin door jab din dhal jaaye saanj, Mukesh, Anand, Salil Chowdhury, Yogesh

Waqt ne kiya kya haseen sitam, Geeta Dutt, Kagaz Ke Phool, S D Burman, Kaifi Azmi

Aane waala pal jane wala hai, Kishore Kumar, Golmaal, R D Burman, Gulzar

Zindagi kaisi hai paheli, Manna Dey, Anand, Salil Chowdhury, Yogesh

Aye Malik tere baande hum, Lata Mangeshkar, Do Ankhen Baara Haath, Vasant Desai, Bharat Vyas


The list below includes songs that almost made it to the top 24 list. And, could in principle, occupy one of the top 24 songs slots along with a song from the list above.

O Saathi re, Kishore Kumar, Asha Bhosle, Muqaddar Ka Sikandar, Kalyanji – Anandji, Anjaan

Aye mere pyare watan, aye mere bichchde chaman,Tujhpe dil qurban, Manna Dey, Kabuliwalla, Salil Chawdhury, Prem Dhavan

Chammak challo, Hamsika Iyer, Akon, Ra.One , Vishal Shekar, Vishal Dadlani , Niranjan Iyengar

Ek pal ka jeena, Lucky Ali, Kaho Na Pyar Hai, Rajesh Roshan, Vijay Akela

Ay meri Zohra jabi, Manna Dey, Waqt, Ravi, Sahir Ludhianvi

Ek ladki ko dekha to aisa laga, Kumar Sanu, 1942 A Love Story, R.D. Burman, Javed Akthar

Gumnam hai koi, badnam hai koi, Lata Mangeshkar, Gumnaam, Shankar Jaikishan, Hasrat Jaipuri

Hoton pe aisi bat, Bhupinder, Lata Mangeshkar, Jewel Thief, S.D. Burman, Majrooh Sultanpuri

So gayaa yah jahaan so gayaa aasamaan, Nitin Mukesh, Shabbir Kumar, Alka Yagnik, Tezaab, Laxmikant Pyarelal, Javed Akthar

Choli ke piche, Alka Yagnik, Ila Arun, Khalnayak, Lakshmikant Pyarelal, Anand Bakshi

Munni badnam, Aishwarya, Mamta Sharma, Dabangg, Sajid Wajid, Lalit Pandit, Lalit Pandit

Jo wada kiya woh nibhana, Mohammad Rafi, Lata Mangeshkar, Taj Mahal, Roshan, Sahir Ludhianvi

Woh shaam kuchh ajeeb thi, Kishore Kumar, Khamoshi, Hemant Kumar, Gulzar

Musafir hoon yaro, Kishore Kumar, Parichay, R D Burman, Gulzar


I am grateful to all those who supported this fun project, allowed my weekly e-mail intrusions and cast their ballots.  I am eager to hear your comments and feedback. Your writing here will mean a lot to me. Thanks.