The first song from Ayan Mukerji’s Brahmastra, titled ‘Kesariya‘ has been trending ever since its teaser release. It is largely sung in Hindi but has two English words “Love Storiyan” in a jarring line. The words seemed out of place in the otherwise flawless track.
This is not the first time that Bollywood lyricists have mashed different languages and phrases in songs. Here are some of those instances done well.
Another celebrated Alia Bhatt song is from her 2014 release, 2 States. The song Locha-E-Ulfat shows Amitabh Bhattacharya’s excellent lyrical abilities and Benny Dayal’s voice. It is a very smartly worded song.
The song has several English phrases like “comedy”, “tragedy”, “simple”, “fine” etc. These flow smoothly throughout, feeling like a friend confiding in you, in everyday language, about a crush. The title itself is a mixture of Urdu and Marathi. “Locha” is a Marathi word, while “E-Ulfat” is Urdu, it literally translates to “problems of love”.
2. O Womaniya
The song is excellently written by Varun Grover for Gangs of Wasseypur. Similar to every song in the movie, like Chi Cha Leather, this song has a mixture of words in Bhojpuri, Hindi and English.
Not only a smart mixture of languages, it also created the euphemism “Womaniya” that made the song even more memorable.
3. F For Fyaar
The peppy Punjabi and Hindi song, created for the cinematic DJ Sandz, is written to fit the context of the film. It normalizes pre-marital sex and passion in love.
4. Banno Tera Swagger
A Kangana Ranaut classic, Tanu Weds Manu Returns got a lot of acclaim and box office success due to its storyline, performances and soundtrack. The song Banno Tera Swagger is a beautiful and peppy mixture of Haryanvi, Hindi and English words.
With slangs like “swagger” and words like “sexy” and “backseat” flowing with Haryanvi and Hindi lines, the song creates a fun atmosphere.
5. D.K. Bose
A parody of the song Papa Kehte Hain, D.K. Bose continues to be an excellent song to learn about context, lyricism and smart puns. Its lyrics like, “Saabun ki Shaqal mein, beta tu toh nikla keval jhaag” is still quoted today.
Not only does it use a Hindi cuss word without actually using the word, it mixes English and Hindi perfectly in a conversational style. Lyrics like “Oh my God lag gayi” and “Bhaiya..we don’t have a clue” sit perfectly against words like “scooter”, “frustration” and “daddy”. It is yet another Amitabh Bhattacharya song that shows how well he can do that.
6. Dil Bechaara
Amitabh Bhattacharya did justice to this song, given the legacy that it created. The opening line “Dil bechaara, friendzone ka maara” might sound strange on-paper but sounds beautiful out loud.
It has several words like “love”, “like”, “birthday” etc in puns and charming lines. It slowly dwells from one part to another without sounding jarring or out-of-place.
7. Monta Re
A beautiful underrated song from the movie Lootera, this song is only now gaining attraction through Instagram reels. It flows like a folk song, between Urdu words and Hindi and Bengali verses.
The chorus, “Disha haara kemon boka monta re” is right after Hindi verses and does not sound jarring. It is one of many Bengali lines from the song that add flavor to it. Monta Re is the perfect representation of appreciating music, language and culture without appropriating it or giving up on artistic integrity.
8. Galti Se Mistake
A song from the underrated Ranbir Kapoor movie, Jagga Jaasoos, it is extremely fun and creative in its lyrics and choreography.
The title itself mixes Urdu and English, “galti” being a Urdu term for “mistake”. The lyrics are conversational, using terms from Urdu, Hindi and English.
The song mixes Punjabi and Persian in an unprecedented way. Not only is Persian rarely explored in Bollywood, but also it flows smoothly.
The lyric, “Ni main jagiya nami danam”, is half Punjabi and half Persian, literally translating to “But I don’t know why I am still awake”.
10. I Hate Luv Storys
The opening verse and hook of the song is in English, while the rest of the song is in Hindi.
It fits perfectly with the context of the movie with the song being a non-committal Casanova’s conversation with women he likes.
There are several other songs with phrases and entire verses in different languages- most common being Arabic, Urdu, English and Punjabi.