Today, pop music may largely be compromised of raps and remixes. But growing up in the late 90s and early 2000s meant original songs and fighting to watch MTV. Because at the time, we would watch all music channels with rapt attention, trying to memorize lyrics, and obviously, wait for the story being unfolded.
In a few short minutes, pop videos managed to weave hilarious, warm, romantic, and relatable stories that we looked forward to as much as the tracks. Here are some of the most memorable music videos from the 90s & 2000s, that we remember for both, the song and the story:
1. Gud Naal Ishq Mitha
The song that introduced us to Jas Arora’s mischievous smile, Malaika Arora’s sartorial elegance (those red heels!), and of course, our favourite dance step, Gud Naal Ishq Mitha is undoubtedly a memorable track. But the story of a young man, using his sister’s wedding to introduce his partner to his parents, is also undeniably sweet.
2. Jaanam Samjha Karo
We don’t just dig Asha Bhosle’s lilting, melodious voice in this song. We also love her role as a fairy godmother, and of course, the adorable pair of Milind Soman and Helen Brodie – who magically find love in a record store. We may have grown over fairytales now, but we sure as hell loved this magical romantic story as kids.
3. Gori Teri Aankhein Kahein
The amazing vocals of Lucky Ali and Kavita Krishnamurthy were perfectly accompanied by the hauntingly beautiful story of this song. It presented a young woman’s attempt to deal with the grief of her husband’s death, and was not your average pop music video – but then, it wasn’t your average pop song.
4. Meri Chunar Udd Udd Jaaye
Long before Socha Na Tha, it was the video for Falguni Pathak’s Meri Chunar Udd Udd Jaye that introduced us to the shy smile and expressive eyes of Ayesha Takia. Years later, we revisited the video – that presents the story of a young girl stuck in a strict household, and secretly reminiscing about her ‘best friend’ – and realized, it may have been presenting a same-sex love story.
5. Chudi (Yaad Piya Ki Aane Lagi)
If your mind didn’t immediately flashback to the iconic step from this video, then are you even a 90s kid? The story was fairly simple – a group of young girls gets ready to attend a music concert. But the innocence of developing a random crush (and then, against all odds, discovering him), creating a dance step, and shopping on discount with friends was what struck a chord with our naive, young, hearts.
6. Chandni Raatein
Ah! The pain of that first heartbreak – and the song(s) we associate with it. Like Chandni Raatein, where the protagonist is left pondering where his love interest vanished to. Till date, we wonder what exactly was written in that letter that he read – and who was the mystery person for whom Reema Sen left him.
7. Piya Basanti Re – Surmayi Aankhein
Remember the time when even music videos came in two parts – interconnected not because of the song, but because of the story? Like Piya Basanti Re and its sequel Surmayi Aankhein. And just like we jump on the nostalgia train now, the videos begin with the protagonist going down memory lane to his forbidden love story, where he and his partner are on the run.
8. Aaja Piya Tohe Pyaar Dun – Meri Soni Meri Tamanna (Remixes)
While we’ll always choose originals over remix, this was one of the rare occasions where a remix got it right. Shyla Lopez’s graceful moves were just the right mix for this sensual number that showed a young woman’s adorably clumsy attempts to get ready for her partner. It may seem like an inconsequential event, but the song sure made a story out of a simple gesture.
And the sequel video, where her partner makes up for laughing at her attempts, made a whole lotta sense to our hopeless romantic hearts. Admittedly this wasn’t a ‘novel story’, but to our teenage hearts, this served as the perfect dose of young romance.
9. Leja Leja Re
The album Ustad & the Divas was launched with this melodious number. But the video was equally charming, where a dancer–frustrated with her job–expresses her emotions by drawing on a bus stop. Only to find the same drawings ‘improved upon’ by a random stranger. Adorable does not even begin to describe it!
10. Bheegi Bheegi Raaton Mein (Remix)
Strangers in a night is a popularly used theme for most stories even today – but somehow Niketan Madhok and Anupama Verma’s sizzling chemistry had us easily falling for this story when the video came out. Clearly, not all remixes got it wrong!
11. Maine Payal Hai Chhankai
Was there any Falguni Pathak song that wasn’t accompanied by a warm and fun video? We don’t think so. But we do know that it wasn’t just Vivek Bhatena’s intense stares that hooked us to the video. It was also the story of the college’s annual day. We fell for the inherent sweetness of videos that the current pop numbers seemingly fail to recreate.
12. Deewana Tera
Sonu Nigam was the wonderboy of 90s songs. And Deewana Tera is easily one of his more popular pop songs – partly because of the engrossing story. As the video – of a man whose partner strays too far into the sea – aired, we sat engrossed, waiting to see how it unfolds. And even today, we fondly reminisce over our childhood crush Tarun Raghawan.
13. Ab Ke Saawan Aise Barse
Shubha Mudgal’s powerful vocals had the perfect accompaniment in this fun-filled video of a community coming together to celebrate the monsoons. The beauty of this video was how it combined multiple small stories to present the natural abandonment of enjoying rains.
14. Ghar Aaja Soniya
Okay, chances are you remember this song for presenting three of our childhood crushes – Sharbani Mukherjee, Samir Soni, and Arjan Bajwa. But this music video actually presented a full-fledged story of a deaf and mute woman whose husband divorces her. As she is left distraught, her friend helps her explore other avenues and develop her individual identity.
15. Jab Saamne Tum Aa Jate Ho
This number by veteran singers Jagjit Singh, Asha Bhosle, Lata Mangeshkar was a full-fledged drama converted to a music video. In a double role as twins, Riya Sen falls for her childhood best friend, only to find him falling for her sister instead. We’re not saying all those music videos had progressive, original stories – this one definitely didn’t. But they did make up our childhood – much like most of the 90s cinema.
16. Aur Aahista Kijiye Baatein
Based on O. Henry’s famous short story, The Gift of the Magi, the story in this music video felt honest, pure, and heartwarming – all at the same time. A couple in love try to find the perfect gift for each other – and end up sacrificing something close to themselves.
17. Aankhon Mein Tera Hi Chehra
Now that Shahid Kapoor is one of film industry’s leading stars, almost all of us have revisited this old video starring him at least once. But, when it first came out, a young boy’s impassioned efforts to buy the perfect gift for his crush had us all crushing, hard, on his youthful exuberance on display.
18. Ab Mujhe Raat Din
Are we reaching to say this video had a story? Yes. Do we care? No. Because it may have been nothing more than the video of a couple dancing, but it made us imagine our first dance (and for some of us, even dance our first ‘couple dance;). There was a time when we still believed in dancing in love.
19. Tera Mera Pyaar
Right around the time we thought music videos were beginning to lose the magic of the 90s, Kumar Sanu gifted us this sweet romantic number – with an equally charming video. Nimrat Kaur stars as the young girl, who finds love in a movie theater, and our naive, teenage selves added one more reason to hit the movie halls!
If you listened to Euphoria’s songs, you knew you will be treated to both – a good melody and a good story accompanying it. And Maeri was one of them. When Palash Sen traveled on a train and took us through his love story – one tinged with family drama, forced separation, and wonderful beats – we were completely hooked. And even today, we look at the video with a nostalgic fondness.
21. Kabhi Aana Tu Meri Gali
Come to think of it, Euphoria’s earlier videos definitely relied on boys with saviour complex, and unrealized love stories. Like when Vidya Balan almost married someone against her wishes – only to have an unfair dowry demand and Palash Sen ‘save her’. Watch the video for a healthy dose of drama and nostalgia!
22. Purani Jeans
This was, is, and will probably always be the number that guarantees a trip down memory lane. And just like the lyrics, every scene in the video was a reminder of the pranks, romances, and mistakes that made our childhood.
23. Ab Na Jaa
Reunions can be a bittersweet experience, or a chance to look back at unfulfilled promises and turn them true. This simple video was an ode to the latter.
24. Khoya Khoya Chand
Looking back at these videos, it’s evident that most of us really did grow up on a steady diet of forbidden love stories and desi ‘prince charming’. Nevertheless, this video – which starred Dia Mirza as a young woman who has to give up on her love – did worm its way into our hearts.
25. Ho Gai Hai Mohabbat
We do not approve of duping someone so that they fall for you – but we still look back fondly at the mischievous antics the ‘hero’ pulls in this video. Also, credit this video for showcasing the magical allure of Kerala backwaters and houseboats long before it became a ‘popular tourist attraction’.
26. Tera Chehra
What would you do if you accidentally came across your celebrity crush? It may not be exactly what happens in this video, but as far as fantasies go, it came pretty close.
They may not have been the most original, or hell, even varied stories. But they did make up a very significant portion of our childhood – and for that reason alone, will always hold a special place in our hearts.