A Look Back: Dhols & Ghoonghats – Navratri Bollywood Ishtyle

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It is where hearts meet, auntyjis gossip and kids have a blast. Navratri shin-digs are the ‘it’ get togethers in the Desi calendar every year. It’s a nine day long festive period where everyone joins in daily for a night of song and dance. Apart from being the social get together of the year the festival has a strong religious meaning. It celebrates nine forms of Goddess Durga, one on each night, hence the name nav-nine ratri-nights. The 10th day is the festival of Dashera, marking the ultimate triumph of good over evil in Indian history.

Unlike any other usual festival, navratri songs and dance are specific. They have a distinct beat and the dance form adopted is garba or dandiya. The song and dance routine of the night, garba or dandiya, also have a strong historical backing as depicts the rasa-lila between Lord Krishna and the gopis of Vrindavan.

Of course in modern times Navratri trends are dictated by the music of Indian cinema. So as Navratri comes to an end and you yearn to rewind time and get back to eyeing that cutie from across the dance hall or dressing up in your favourite ghangra, let us take you on a trip down Bollywood memory lane and revisit the Navratri tracks that had us reaching for our dandiya sticks long after the festival concluded.

Aaj Radha Ko Shyam Yaad – Chaand Ka Tukda
We’ll start with the classic that stuck to its roots. This Lata Mangheshkar track was the ultimate ‘performance song’ of its era. Chances are if you’re a 90s child, this song was a favourite at school dance performances and dance classes. The beautiful lyrics illustrating the epic love story of Radha and Krishna is the highlight of the track. Sridevi delivers one of her most memorable dance numbers under the guidance of Saroj Khan. Composed by Mahesh-Kishore this Chand Ka Tukda track has stood the test of time.

Radha Kaise Na Jale – Lagaan
Following the tradition of dandiya’s intrinsic connection with Radha and Krishna is another Saroj Khan choreographed number. This A R Rahman track from Lagaan is probably a dandiya number which you don’t even need to be reminded of as you’re likely to not to have even forgotten it. Udit Narayan is uber macho and effortlessly cheeky in this number and Asha Bhosle taps into what we perceive Radha’s emotions to be, perfectly.

Shubhaarambh – Kai Po Che
Though there were no dandiya sticks or garba moves in the picturisation, we cannot help think that this Amit Trivedi number rendered by Shruti Pathak and Divya Kumar really ought to be in your local navratri night’s playlist. Perhaps the beats need a bit of a jig but the earthy Gujju touch and up beat interludes make this a very likely dandiya number.

Rock On
Abhishek Kapoor’s hilarious take on what a rock band does in its years of struggles made for one of the most amusing dandiya portions in a film. Farhan Akhtar is heard rendering classic old-school numbers with rock-dandiya beats. The first song he sings is Saason Ki Zaroorat from the 1990 Nadeem-Sharvan musical blockbuster, Aashiqui. Then he moves to Hasan Jahangir’s famous 80s single Hawa Hawa E Hawa. The highlight of the medley however is Yeh Din To Aata Hai Ek Din Jawaani Mein which is sung with a whole new zest by the actor/director/singer. The song hails form 80s Amitabh Bachchan, Parveen Babi and Zeenat Aman starrer, Mahaan. This hilarious dandiya medley is perhaps the most realistic take on what dandiya music actually sounds like in the real world making this one of our favourite dandiya portions in a film.

Photocopy – Jai Ho
Boldly flaunting his Gujju heritage we have here is Himesh Reshmiya, under the composition of Sajid-Wajid. The track of course also features the talented Keerthi Sagathia and Palak Munchal also. Though some of you may dismiss the track there’s no denying it is quite an ideal dandiya/garba number!

Sapne Saajan Ke – Sapne Saajan Ke
This 90s number featuring Rahul Roy and Karishma Kapoor took no risks and delivered and out and out dandiya number. As we mentioned earlier, romance and navratri dance nights go hand in hand so this track just sets that very likely scene. Nadeem-Shravan composed this one and it is rendered by the evergreen singing duo of Kumar Sanu and Alka Yagnik. 90s kids this one will probably strike nostalgia.

Ghoonghat Mein Chand – Khoobsurat
Kumar Sanu is in his endearing best in this Jatin and Lalit track from Khoobusrat. Urmila looks like a million bucks, and the sweet family atmosphere the track is featured on just makes this one a total ‘awww’ moment. Kavita Krishnamurthy also features in the track and the lyrics have been penned by Sanjay Chel. http://youtu.be/6iVqikzTqQM

Disco Dandiya – Love Love Love
Dandiya trends was reborn when this Bappi-da track debuted on the scene. Aamir Khan was all the rage and then he comes up with this number, which every youngster at the time could totally connect with it because it was dandiya in jeans after all! Oops, I mean ‘disco’ dandiya. Can we give it up for choreographer Vijay Oscar who truly made his presence felt. Sung by Vijay Benedict and Alisha Chinai, this one is a navratri classic!

Chand Aaya Zameen Pe – Dil Hi Dil Mein
This one is probably another navratri number you do not need to be reminded of. Hailing from one of his finest Rahman albums, Dil Hi DIl Mein, this track is nothing short of perfection! Sung by Udit Narayan and Kavitha Krishnamurthy we think this number ought to top the charts of navratri playlists across the globe.

Dholi Taro – Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam
Somehow over the years when you say navratri people automatically start singing Dholi taro dhol baaj dhol baaje….yes its that catchy and forever on your mind. Bhansali’s distinct love for his heritage and the need to flaunt it any opportunity he gets means that in his small filmography he’s delivered two navratri tracks! We think he ought to make it a ‘thing’ for his films, one navratri number per SLB films, what say! This track remains memorable courtesy fo Shankar’s vocals which are so exuberant. He’s accompanied by Kavitha Krishnamurthy in this number and it was composed by Ismail Darbar. Mehboob penned the lyrics and the iconic track featured on Salman and Aishwarya was choreographed by Arsh Tanna, Sameer Tanna and Vaibhavi Merchant who were all recipients of the National Awards for their work in this song.

Chithi Mujhe Likha – Pratikaar
What is any dance playlist without a Madhuri Dixit track. You may not remember this one but its one worth revisited as it features the classic Jodi of Madhuri Dixit and Anil Kapoor. Madhuri looks so effortlessly elegant in very traditional navratri attire. From the long plait, to the dupatta positioning to the kamar-bandh, there is absolute attention to detail in her styling. We also have quite a unique duo singing this track of Amit Kumar and Asha Bhosle.

Dholna – Album: Pyaar Ke Geet (Shubha Mudgal)
This Shubha Mudgal track featuring a very strong Rajhastani feel topped charts for the longest time after its release and till date remains as impressive of a track. It makes for a great dandiya number courtesy of the upbeat composition. And though this is a Shubha track, it was not be wrong to say that Sukwinder steals the show!

Bani Bani – Main Prem Ki Deewani Hoon
Dandiya not only is the dance form adopted for navratri tracks but the sound of dandiya sticks is often used as a percussion element in tracks, as it done in this Anu Malik number from Main Prem Ki Deewani Hoon. The number predominantly features Chitra however has supporting vocals from KK.

Nagada Sung Dhol – Goliyon Ki Rasleela Ram Leela
We end this trip down Bollywood memory lane with a track that will be synonymous with Navratri for the current generation. Once again Bhansali called upon Samir and and Arsh Tanna to choreograph this track which probably why it reminds you so much of Dholi Taro in its treatment. Apart from of course the scene set, choreography and the track itself what also strikes you from this Shreya Ghosal number is Anju Modi’s breathtaking costumes.

Bollyspice wishes everyone a happy festive season!

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