Penn Masala - the world’s first and premier South Asian acappella group made up of students from the University of Pennsylvania - recently posted a music video on "The Evolution of Bollywood Music" which features song snippets from 39 Bollywood songs from 1949-2013 strung together to create a delightful 5 minute song.
This acappella tribute to some of the super hit songs quickly went viral, going from tens of thousands of views to hundreds of thousands seemingly overnight.
This group has been going strong for many years and regularly tours and produces albums of their music. Their website at pennmasala.com best explains what this group is all about:
Penn Masala was born with the desire to create music that traversed traditional cultural boundaries and captured the experience of growing up with competing Eastern and Western cultures. As the first group in the world to bring the sounds of the Indian subcontinent to a cappella, we've consistently been at the forefront of South Asian-Western fusion ever since. Along the way, we've met and sung for heads-of-state, prominent businessmen, and international leaders, while traveling to some of the most vibrant cities across the world. Our music has grown to attract fans from all backgrounds, and we in turn have been influenced by a wide range of cultures. The Hindi-English mashups we pioneered bring together Western pop and Eastern melodies to form harmonies you won't hear anywhere else. Penn Masala's original compositions, complete with innovative sounds, rich textures, and complex arrangements, showcase the distinct sound we've created.
Here are all the blockbuster songs featured in Penn Masala's video with some additional information:
1. "Suhani Raat Dal Chuki" ("The beautiful night has slipped away") from Dulari (1949) starring Suresh and Madhubala. The music was composed by Naushad with lyrics penned by Shakeel Badayuni. Dulari was the eighth highest grossing Indian film of 1949 and this hit song, sung by Mohammad Rafi, would become a classic.
2. "Mera Joota Hai Japani" ("My shoes are Japanese") from Shree 420 (1955) starring Raj Kapoor and Nargis. With lyrics penned by Shailendra, the music was composed by the musical team Shankar Jaikishan (aka "S-J") who were known for composing "everlasting" and "immortal melodies" in the 1950s and 60s. Shree 420 was the highest grossing film of the year and this hugely popular song, picturized on Raj Kapoor and sung by Mukesh, became a patriotic symbol of the newly independent India.
3. "Eena Meena Deeka" from Aasha (1957) was inspired by a well-known children's rhyme. This fun and popular song was one of the Hindi cinema's first rock-n-roll numbers. With music composed by C. Ramchandra, the song was sung by Asha Bhosle and Kishore Kumar in two different versions. According to Ashwin Panemangalore in a 2006 DNA article:
C Ramachandra, the prolific film music director (a misnomer for composer) was entrusted with the score for the film Asha in 1956. One of the songs called for a fun and spice melody designed to tease the senses. Immersed in creative thought in his music room, he was distracted by his kids playing outside. Distraction turned to interest as he heard his kids chant Eenie-Meenie-Miny-Moe.
He shared the tune with his assistant John Gomes. Together, they created "Eena Meena Deeka, De Dai Damanika." John, being Goan, added the 'Maka naka' ('I don't want' in Konkani) as the nonsense rhymes developed, a longer phrase each time, gathering tempo till they ended with "Rum pum po!" John is ecstatic.
He whistled an elegant four-bar phrase and notated it immediately. Later, he employed a two-man saxophone section for the part, and added voices. The infectious Eena Meena Deeka was born. With the release of Asha, the song was on everyone's lips and - with apologies to Irving Berlin - the melody lingers on.
4. "Ajeeb Dastaan Hai Yeh" ("Indeed this is a strange story") from Dil Apna Aur Preet Parai (1960) starring Raaj Kumar, Meena Kumari, and Nadira. The song was composed by Shankar Jaikishan with lyrics by Shailendra, the song was picturized on Meena Kumari and sung by Lata Mangeshkar. The film music earned S-J a Filmfare Award for Best Musical Director.
5. "Aaja Aaja Main Hoon Pyaar Tera" ("Come come, I am your love") from Teesri Manzil (1966) starring Shammi Kapoor and Asha Parekh. This rock-n-roll hit was written by the now famous R.D. Burman - then a newcomer to the industry with this being his first film. The lyrics were penned by Majrooh Sultanpuri and sung by Mohammad Rafi and Asha Bhosle.
6. "Roop Tera Mastana" ("Your beauty intoxicates me") from Aradhana (1969), which was the highest grossing film of the year and voted Filmfare Best Movie of the year. The music for the film was composed by S. D. Burman and he had begun recording of two of the songs with Mohammed Rafi; however, when Burman became critically ill, the responsibility for finishing the soundtrack fell on his son R. D. Burman who used Kishore Kumar for the remaining songs including the seductive "Roop Tera Mastana". The soundtrack was considered a landmark score in Bollywood history and it helped shaped the careers of singer Kishore Kumar, lyricist Anand Bakshi, filmmaker Shakti Samanta and composer and music director R.D. Burman.
7. "Hum Tum Ek Kamre Mein Band Ho [Aur Chaabi Kho Jaaye]" ("You and me, shut up in a room [and the key gets lost!]") from Bobby (1973) - the top grossing blockbuster hit of that year. This introduced the teenage romance film genre set against the backdrop of rich and poor and starred Rishi Kapoor along with Dimple Kapadia in her film debut. Years later when Shah Rukh Khan was filming Jab Tak Hai Jaan in Gulmarg, he stayed in what has become known as the "Bobby Hut" where this song was filmed.
I am stayıng ın the room where 'hum tum ek kamre meın bandh ho' was shot ın Bobby. Feels sweet...now just to try and lose the keys...ha ha.
— SHAH RUKH KHAN (@iamsrk) September 4, 2012
8. "Yeh Dosti Hum Nahin [Todenge]" ("This friendship we will not [break]") from the G.P. Sippy's blockbuster hit Sholay (1975) sets the tone for the bromance between the two central characters, Veeru and Jai (played by Dharmendra and Amitabh Bachchan). The song composed by R.D. Burman, with lyrics by Anand Bakshi, and sung with joyful exhuberance by Kishore Kumar and Manna Dey. Considered the ultimate friendship anthem, in 2010 "Yeh Dosti" was played to symbolise India's friendship with the United States during a visit from President Barack Obama.
9. "Bachna Ae Haseeno" ("Watch out girls! I'm coming") from Hum Kisise Kum Naheen (1977). One of the biggest chart-busters of the year, the song was composed by R.D. Burman and sung by Kishore Kumar. Initially picturized on Rishi Kapoor, the song was later remixed for the 2008 Yash Chopra romantic comedy Bachna Ae Haseeno and picturised on Rishi Kapoor's son, Ranbir Kapoor.
10. "Om Shanti Om" from Karz (1980) starring Rishi Kapoor. The Film's music was composed by Laxmikant-Pyarelal with with lyrics by Anand Bakshi who won a Filmfare nomination. Kishore Kumar sang this number which reached the number 2 spot on the Binaca Geetmala's annual list 1980. As a tribute to this film, this song was included at the beginning of the 2007 Farah Khan film Om Shanti Om starring Shah Rukh Khan and Deepika Padukone, which drew on Karz's premise of reincarnation.
11. "Khaike Pan Banaraswala" ("Eating the betel leaf of Banares") from Don (1978) starring Amitabh Bachchan. The song was composed by the duo Kalyanji Anandji, with lyrics by Anjaan and sung by Kishore Kumar who won Filmfare Award for Best Male Playback Singer for the song. The song was remixed and performed by Udit Narayan and Shah Rukh Khan in the 2006 remake Don: The Chase Begins Again.
12. "Inteha Ho Gayi Intezaar Ki" from the blockbuster megahit Sharaabi (1984) starring Amitabh Bachchan and Jaya Prada. With music composed by Bappi Lahiri, this song was sung by Kishore Kumar and Asha Bhosle and it earned Anjaan and Prakash Mehra Filmfare Nominations for Best Lyricist.
13. "Pehla Nasha" from Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar (1991) starring Aamir Khan and Ayesha Jhulka. The music for the movie was composed by the duo Jatin Lalit with lyrics by Majrooh Sultanpuri. The soundtrack was nominated for Best Music at the Filmfare Awards 1993. "Pehla Nasha" was the third song to be shot in slow motion and this style was soon used by other films and music videos. Sung by Udit Narayan and Sadhana Sargam, this song was the most popular track of the film.
14. "Mehndi Laga Ke Rakhna" ("Put your henna on") from the longest-running film in Bollywood history: Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (1997) starring Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol. This wedding song - composed by Jatin Lalit, with lyrics by Anand Bakshi and sung by Udit Narayan and Lata Mangeshkar - became an all-time hit, and is played in weddings across the South Asian diaspora to this day.
15. "Muqabla" from the Tamil film Kadhalan (1994) which was dubbed into Hindi as Humse Hai Muqabla. The background music score and the soundtrack were composed by A. R. Rahman. "Mukkabla" ("Muqabla" in Hindi) was sung by Mano and Swarnalatha and became recognized on a national level, becoming one of the most famous Tamil songs in history.
16. "Dil To Pagal Hai" ("The heart is crazy") from Dil To Pagal Hai (1997) starring Shah Rukh Khan, Madhuri Dixit and Karishma Kapoor. The film was a major hit that came at a time when Bollywood was going through a major sea change. It was the first film to feature choreography by Shiamak Davar, who blended western and eastern dance style into something new and different. The soundtrack was composed by Uttam Singh with lyrics by Anand Bakshi and the title song was sung by Lata Mangeshkar and Udit Narayan.
17. "Chaiyya Chaiyya" ("Walk in shade") from Dil Se .. was famously choreographed by Farah Khan and picturized on Shah Rukh Khan and Malaika Arora who performed on top of the moving Ooty train (the Nilgiri Mountain Railway) in mountainous Tamil Nadu. A.R. Rahman was looking for a Punjabi devotional song to include in the soundtrack and singer Sukhwinder Singh suggested the Sufi folk song "Thaiyya Thaiyya" with lyrics by poet Bulleh Shah. Gulzar subsequently rewrote the lyrics and changed the name to "Chaiyya Chaiyya". When A.R. Rahman heard Sukhwinder Singh sing, he immediately chose to use him to sing the song for the film - and he won Filmfare Award for Best Male Playback Singer. A remix of "Chaiyya Chaiyya" was used in Spike Lee’s film Inside Man (2006).
18. "Meri Mehbooba" ("My love") from Pardes (1997) starring Shah Rukh Khan and Mahima Chaudary. The popular soundtrack was composed by the duo of Nadeem Shravan with lyrics were penned by Anand Bakshi who remixed the lyric snippet from the song "Obladi Oblada" by The Beatles. Nadeem Shravan received a Filmfare nomination for the album and won a Star Screen Award for Best Music Director. "Meri Mehbooba" was sung by Kumar Sanu, Alka Yagnik and incorporated both eastern and western influences, including a latin beat.
19. "Koi Mil Gaya" ("You are not alone") from Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (1998) starring Shah Rukh Khan, Kajol, and Rani Mukherjee. The soundtrack for Karan Johar's directoral debut featured music composed by Jatin-Lalit with lyrics by Sameer and became the best selling soundtrack of the year. "Koi Mil Gaya" was sung by Udit Narayan, Alka Yagnik, Kavita Krishnamurthy.
20. "Tunak Tunak Tun" by was a bhagra pop song written and performed by Dalar Mehndi (the brother of playback singer Mika Singh). Considered the father of Indian pop music, created apart from the Indian film industry. He contributed his energetic style and powerful voice to more than 50 Indian film soundtracks - including "Gurbani" from the 2013 film Bhaag Milkha Bhaag - and continues to inspire many a Bollywood playback singer. Prior to this song, some critics said Dala Mehdni's music was popular only because of the choreography and dancing girls in his music videos. He proved them wrong with the video for "Tunak Tunak Tun" which was unique because, in Mehndi's words:
"It has no dancers, no models, no choreographers, no backdrop, only a powerful voice and your performer Daler Mehndi."
21. "Doli Taro Dhol Baje" from Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam (1999) starring Salman Khan, Aishwarya Rai, and Ajay Devgan. Composed by Ismail Darbar with lyrics by Mehboob, the song is sung by Kavita Krishnamurthy, Vinod Rathod, and Karsan Sagathia. "Doli Taro Dhol Baje" became one of the most popular songs to be played during the Navratri ("Nine Nights") Festival.
22. "Kahin Aag Lage [Lag Jaa Ve]" ("If a fire sparks, let it burn") from Taal (1999) starring Anil Kapoor, Akshaye Khanna, and Aishwarya Rai. The highly successful soundtrack was composed by A. R. Rahman and marked the beginning of a famed collaboration between Rahman and director Subhash Ghai. The lyrics for "Kahin Aag Lage" were written by Anand Bakshi and it was sung by Asha Bhosle, Richa Sharma, Aditya Narayan. Trivia: Actor Shahid Kapoor was a background dancer in "Kahin Aag Lage".
23. "Na Tum Jaano Na Hum" ("Neither you nor I can know") from the film Kaho Na ... Pyaar Hai (2000) which marked the debut of Hrithik Roshan and Ameesha Patel. The music was composed by Rajesh Roshan with lyrics by Ibrahim Ashq and voiced by Lucky Ali and Ramya. Trivia: In 2002, Hrithik Roshan starred in a film titled Na Tum Jaano Na Hum. Unfortunately, while the song by the same name was a hit, the film under-performed at the box office.
24. "Koi Kahe Kehta Rahe" ("If someone talks") from Dil Chahta Hai (2001) starring Saif Ali Khan, Aamir Khan, and Akshaye Khanna and marking the directorial debut of Farhan Akhtar. The composing trio of Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy worked with lyricist Javed Akhtar along with Farhan Akhtar and producer Ritesh Sidhwani to create music which had a rock-influenced, edgy, and universal sound, unlike other Bollywood soundtracks of the time. The disco song "Koi Kahe Kehta Rahe" was sung by Shankar Mahadevan, Krishnakumar Kunnath (KK), and Shaan, who won a Filmfare Award for Best Male Playback Singer.
25. "You Are My Soniya" from Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham... (2001) starring Amitabh Bachchan, Jaya Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan, Kajol, Hrithik Roshan, and Kareena Kapoor. This fun disco pop song was composed by Sandesh Shandilya with lyrics by Sameer, performed by Alka Yagnik, Sonu Nigam and picturized on Hrithik Roshan and Kareena Kapoor with choreography by Farah Khan.
26. "Mitwa" ("My friend") from Lagaan (2001) starring Aamir Khan. The music of the film was composed by A. R. Rahman with lyrics by Javed Akhtar and was performed by Udit Narayan, Sukhwinder Singh, Alka Yagnik, and Srinivas. Udit Narayan won the Best Male Playback Singer Award for "Mitwa". In a 2001 rediff.com article, Aamir Khan fondly described his view of this song:
"Mitwah is an antidepressant. If you are depressed or feel defeated in life, this song will certainly cheer you up. Masti bhi chhayegi, milke pukaro to, phulowali jo ruth ho aayegi [Mischief will even be cast, if we meet and call out, the season of flowers will arrive]. These lovely thoughts make you feel very good."
27. "Pretty Woman" from Kal Ho Na Ho (2003) starring Shah Rukh Khan, Preity Zinta and Saif Ali Khan. Javed Akhtar supplied the lyrics and the trio Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy won their first Filmfare Best Music Director Award for this soundtrack, as well as the National Film Award for Best Music Direction. The film-makers acquired the rights to create a Bollywood version of the Roy Orbison 1964 hit "O, Pretty Woman" and the song was shot in the New York Borough of Queens, with dozens of local Indians as extras.
28. "Kajra Re" ("Oh, kohl-lined [eyes]") from Bunty Aur Babli (2005) starring Abhishek Bachchan, Rani Mukherjee, Amitabh Bachchan. Shankar Ehsaan Loy composed the soundtrack, Gulzar supplied the lyrics and the song was sung by the playback singers Alisha Chinoy, Shankar Mahadevan and Javed Ali. Aishwarya Rai appears in the film to perform in this song which the Hindustan Times labelled as the item number of the decade:
There’s something about "Kajre Re" (Bunty Aur Babli). Maybe it is the sight of a droolsome Aishwarya Rai performing trademark Bollywood ‘thumkas’, in a ravishing, sexy avatar, that men had so-far only dreamed about. Maybe it is the father-son duo dancing with abandon. Or maybe it is the reinvention of the qawwali by Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy and Gulzar, that helped the song pip Omkara’s "Beedi" (2006) as the item number of the decade.
29. "Dhoom Machale" from Dhoom (2004) starring Abhishek Bachchan and Uday Chopra as partners in crime-solving. The music director for the film was Pritam and the lyrics were penned by Sameer. The contagious rhythm and simple lyrics of "Dhoom Machale" made it a perfect foundation for future Dhoom film title songs - which are also referenced in the Penn Masala video. "Dhoom Machale" song was performed by Esha Deol and sung by Sunidhi Chauhan who won a Zee Cine Award for Best Playback Singer (Female).
30. "Where's the Party Tonight?" from Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna (2006) starring Shah Rukh Khan, Rani Mukherjee, Preity Zinta, Abhishek Bachchan, Amitabh Bachchan and Kirron Kher. This bouncy club song is picturized on Preity Zinta and Abhishek Bachchan and sung by Shaan, Vasundhara Das, Loy and Shankar is the club song. The trio Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy composed the music, lyrics were supplied by Javed Akhtar, and Farah Khan's was nominated for Best Choreographer at the Global Indian Awards for this song. Actor John Abraham as a special appearance during the song as the DJ. The energetic number is used as a backdrop to a major event in the storyline of the film.
31. "Mauja Hi Mauja" ("Enjoy only enjoy") from Jab We Met (2007) starring Shahid Kapoor and Kareena Kapoor. As the concluding number of the film, this high-octane punjabi dance number will likely have you dancing joyously in the theatre aisles. The music for "Mauja Hi Mauja" was composed by Pritam Chakraborty, with lyrics by Irshad Kamil, and sung by Mika Singh. The song won a Zee Cine Award for Best Track of the Year.
32. "Jai Ho" ("Victory to thee") from Slumdog Millionaire (2008), a British film that was directed by Danny Boyle, written by Simon Beaufoy, and co-directed in India by Loveleen Tandan. Composed by A. R. Rahman with lyrics by Gulzar and performed by Sukhwinder Singh, Tanvi Shah, Mahalakshmi Iyer, and Vijay Prakash, "Jai Ho" won an Academy Award for Best Original Song. The song, which appears at the end of the film, offers a triumphant refrain.
33. "Deewangi Deewangi" from Om Shanti Om (2007) starring Shah Rukh Khan and Deepika Padukone. This item number offers a who's who of Bollywood stars with 30 famous actors and actresses showing up to dance and sing "Om Shanti Om!" This ultimate party song was composed by the musical duo Vishal-Shekhar with lyrics by Javed Akhtar and is sung by Shaan, Udit Narayan, Shreya Ghoshal, Sunidhi Chauhan, and Rahul Saxena.
34. "Munni Badnaam Hui" ("Munni goes infamous") from Dabangg (2010) starring Salman Khan, Arbaaz Khan, and Sonu Sood. Lalit Pandit wrote this song which featured Malaika Arora Khan as the character Munni. According to the Times of India, the song was inspired by a folk song:
The source of this chartbuster seems to be a bawdy, folksy Bhojpuri number, "Launda Badnaam Hua Naseeban Tere Liye", sung by Rani Bala in an album titled, "Balma Bada Bavaali". "Munni" is closer to the original in terms of tune and chorus, though it has been splashed with modern oomph. Director Abhinav Kashyap has himself said that the song owes its genesis to his childhood memories of the song from UP, and they improvised on it to produce today's superhit number.
35. "Sheila Ki Jawani" ("Youthful Sheila") from Tees Maar Khan (2010) was a chartbuster because of the music - composed by Vishal-Shekhar - and Katrina Kaif's performance which the actress describes as one of the "raunchiest" songs she ever shot. Farah Khan won a Zee Cine Award and a Filmfare Award for Best Choreography; Sunidhi Chauhan won a Filmfare Award and Apsara Film & Television Producers Guild Award and a GIMA award Best Female playback for Best Playback Singer (Female); and Katrina Kaif won Airtel Award for Dancing Super Star.
36. "Ooh La La" from The Dirty Picture (2011) starring Vidya Balan and inspired by the life of south Indian film star Silk Smitha who was known for her erotic roles. The song, composed by Bappi Lahiri is sung by Bappi Lahiri and Shreya Ghoshal picturized primarily on Vidya Balan and Naseeruddin Shah. The song's upbeat and simple refrain juxtaposed with the tawdry dance moves ripe with innuendo caught the attention of filmgoers.
37. "Jiya Re" from Jab Tak Hai Jaan (2012) starring Shah Rukh Khan, Anushka Sharma and Katrina Kaif. Composed by A.R. Rahman with lyrics by Gulzar the song is performed by Neeti Mohan (in her Bollywood debut) with a rap by Sofia Ashraf. The song describes the character Akira - an enthusiastic and energetic personality - and was picturized on Anushka Sharma with Shah Rukh Khan.
38. "Dilliwaali Girlfriend" from Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani (2013) starring Ranbir Kapoor and Deepika Padukone. The song was composed by Pritam Chakraborty with lyrics by Kumaar and is sung by Arijit Singh, Sunidhi Chauhan. The choreography of this item number is delightful with Ranbir Kapoor stepping up to show his mad dancing skills.
39. "Badtameez Dil" from Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani (2013) starring Deepika Padukone, Ranbir Kapoor, and Kalki Koechlin. The song was composed by Pritam Chakraborty with lyrics by Amitabh Bhattacharya and is sung by Benny Dayal and Shefali Alvares. The song is full of nonsense verse created for the sheer pleasure of having fun.
Explore the following playlist which features videos of each of these songs for a total of 3 hours, 32 minutes - or just relive the memories in 5 minutes with Penn Masala.
If you liked this, please visit our other Music Monday or Bollywood film posts.