1. Narangi Latke:
Nothing quiet sets the mood for love than a generous serving of fruit. In “Krantikshetra”, a band of terrorists lay siege to one of India’s premier schools. Now some other educational institutes might have, in the same situation, asked for Hindustan’s fragmentation, but this school, having as its student worthies like Harish (who seems to be stuck in school longer than Kanhaiya Kumar is stuck in universities), decide to engage in a song-and-dance number to distract said dastardly terrorists. Eminent faculty Dr. Shakti Kapoor is chosen for the purpose, along with a comely female student, and he regales the evil men with a song about the secret lives of plants.
Malnthara baag mein, nazook nazook daal pe, narangi laatke
From slender branches hang oranges, ripe for…for what’s the word…plucking. [Trivia: In the movie, they changed the words to “Narangi Lage Re” for some strange reason but the soundtrack has the original]
2. Angoor Ka Dana:
What’s better than one song about fruits to get you in the mood for love? Two songs about fruits. If song number one is about oranges, this one is about grapes. More precisely about how grapes become raisins, presented in a more digestible way than your average program on Discovery Channel. In it, the lady uses herself as a metaphor for a grape and requests people not to insert needles because if they do, the juice will leak out and she will become a raisin. On second thoughts, I don’t think that’s how raisins are made, but then again, if we can’t use a bit of imagination on Valentine’s Day when can we?
3. Prem Patra Aaya Hai:
The secret to a great romantic relationship is communication. Now in my time, (the 90s), there was no Whatsapp for jokes and Snapchats for dickpicks. Lovers communicated by hand-written letters, and there can be no Greatbong mixtape without a song that captures the joy of receiving that piece of paper with your lover’s handwriting. Maybe this song does go overboard a bit, but it does remain my favorite letter song of the 90s, perhaps because it has Avinash Wadhawan (most famous for “Oh Krishna You Are The Greatest Musician Of This World) and a sequence where the hero imagines he is making out with his lady-love, only to find it is a cow he has been caressing, thus inching out by a postcard “Khat Maine Tere Naam Likha” from Kajol’s debut film “Bekhudi”.
4. Tanha Dil Ghabrata Hai:
If song number three is the letter song, this is the telephone song. We made love over landlines. Phone calls were expensive, they got disconnected or crossed, and the worst was that they were in the living room, right where father would be sitting reading the newspaper. This song starring the cute real world couple of Bhagyasree and Himalaya (factoid: I watched Himalaya’s debut film “Qaid Main Hai Bulbul” with one other person (male) in an empty theater) captures beautifully the joy of receiving a call from that girl you slipped a note in school. Of course here, being rich, the couples have cordless phones, which in my days, was reserved for those affluent or those who has a NRI uncle kind enough to get one from phoren. For me, no such luck.
5. Khabar Mere Marne Ki:
Har kisiko naheen milta yahaan pyar zindagi mein. It’s even worse if you went to engineering college. A playlist for love cannot but have a song for unrequited love, and this one is it. Sung by Sonu Nigam, it shows, in a way that only 90s videos can, the depth of despair at witnessing one’s love is getting married to someone else, making you so desperate that you close your eyes in pleasure as two men kiss you from either side.
6. Gup Chup
Those who have been in love know that misunderstandings happen. So do mistakes. Like after a long day of work, you go to bed with your “behenoi” on the roof instead of your husband, and your only excuse for the transgression, next morning, is “behenoi tha piya jaisa lamba” (Both were of the same length), also known as the Ahalya defense. In such situations, it is in your best interest, like Mamata Kulkarni, to ask forgiveness from Ranaji. One of the most brilliantly picturized songs from the 90s, this has it all. Shahrukh and Salman in the background. Johnny Lever in drag. Mamata Kulkarni in Chris Gayle like form. Ranjeet. And Amrish Puri’s expressions. I am sorry millenials, you will not enjoy anything like this in your lives. Ever.
7. Chu Chu
No 90s inspired romantic playlist is complete without a Illa Arun/Sapna Awasthi type song. While Gupchup does belong to that style, Chu Chu is the more true representation of the genre, having all the keywords “murga”, “kabootar”, and the appropriate moaning sounds. While some may argue for “Choli ke peeche hai” or “Tick Tock Tick Tock”, what sets this song apart from the rest, at least for me, is what it conveys. If you come across a girl whose “man ke chidiya bole” (the bird of her mind) Chu Chu Chu, you know your acchedin is about to begin. Very rare this was in the 90s, so you wanted to put a ring on that bird. Seriously.
8. Bholi Bhali Ladki
Sometimes the purpose of a mix-tape, presented rather innocuously to your loved lady, is inception. To bury an idea, like a sui in angoor ka dana, in her mind.
So you had to plant the question. Oh innocent girl. When?
And for that, this song.
It does not merit an explanation. Just a listen.
9. Kal Raat Saiyaan Ne Aisi Bowling
I have always had a liking for women who like cricket. And this song, which somehow never made it to the screen in Vijaypath, is about a torrid spell of bowling, like Michael Holding to Boycott or Mitch Johnson to Jonathan Trott. At one point in the song, like Suresh Raina, the heroine is pleading for the hero to not bowl bouncers but to pitch it slow, at another point, she is ruing the intensity with which he is rubbing the ball, like a worried match referee. What makes this song so delightful is the kind of detail used in describing the passage of play, detail that you would be hardpressed to find anywhere outside a Prem Panicker match report from the late 90s. Love is a game, they say, and if she gets this song, both of you shall emerge winners.
10. I am Coming
Mithunda. A song that goes “Humpty Dumpty. Wee Willie Winkie. Ting-a-Linga-Ling (which actually sounds like Tingle In the Ling). I am coming. ”
What more can one say?
Except Happy Valentine’s Day.