Every once in a while, there comes a film that not only changes the way we view stories, but also stands the test of time.
Ram Gopal Varma’s romantic comedy Rangeela, released in 1995, is undoubtedly one such film.
Literally everything about the film, from its relatable story to its amazing costumes (that won Manish Malhotra his first Filmfare) have managed to stay relevant over the years.
And of course, one could write passages about Urmila, Aamir, and Jackie’s brilliant performances and still fall short of capturing in words the magic they created on-screen.
But, above it all, the one thing that made the film truly memorable is its soundtrack, composed by A.R. Rahman, with lyrics by Mehboob.
Rahman made his Bollywood debut with a truly eclectic soundtrack, where every song was a chartbuster in its own right. And Mehboob, who went to write songs for Daud, Hum Dil De Chuke, etc., penned lyrics that perfectly complemented the characters and the novel compositions.
Yaai Re tops the list of songs that leave you grinning from ear-to-ear, feeling hopeful, and ready to seize the day. The perfect marriage of great lyrics, amazing vocals by the queen of melody Asha Bhosle, and a feet-tapping, fun composition, this song was made for dancing. Also, it’s impossible to imagine anyone but Urmila capture the essence of the song.
Every 90s kid, has at one point or the other, recreated the iconic hook step from the song during a sleepover. That’s the magic of Saroj Khan’s choreography. And to date, this remains one of the few ‘happy’ songs that speaks to single, hopeless romantics. After all, we’re not always sad!
From its picturization to the composition, everything about this song screams romantic passion. And yet, it never crosses the line into vulgarity. The steadily rising beats create a powerful tempo but it does not overpower Hariharan and Swarnalatha’s voice, making it a sensual, lyrical, and musical masterpiece.
Kya Karein Kya Na Karein
Our Bollywood heroes emerge from all walks of life. But the romantic ballads are very rarely, if ever, unique to the character’s personality traits. But, when Mehboob talked about Munna’s (Aamir Khan) love and infatuation, he talked about love in terms Munna was most likely to express his feelings in.
Years later, Apun Bola from Josh came close to recreating the magic of Kya Karein. However, most other songs, raps, remixes, or pop tracks, that claim to create ‘authentic songs’, can’t hold a candle to Kya Karein.
Yaaron Sun Lo Zara
First of all, let’s take a minute to appreciate the song’s opening notes. A jarring, almost disruptive sound you’d never imagine in a song seamlessly blends into Chitra’s soft humming before Udit Narayan starts singing. It’s pure, unfettered genius, perfectly capturing the song’s theme – the battle between fighting for your dreams, and taking life as it comes.
Pyar Yeh Jaane Kaisa
One of the mellower tracks from the film, Pyaar Yeh was perhaps the closest to Rahman’s earlier works. Sung by Kavita Krishnamurthy and Suresh Wadkar, the song captured Raj’s (Jackie Shroff) affection for Mili (Urmila Matondkar) – which, considering his character, was far more mature and subtle than the way Munna expressed his emotions
Mangta Hai Kya
In my humble and far too inexperienced opinion, Mangta Hai Kya is by far the most experimental track that Rahman has composed. Here, the lyrics and the notes don’t fit the usual set pattern – and consequently, the choreography (by Ahmed Khan) is also quite different from most Hindi songs. Rahman himself sung the duet, with Shweta Shetty.
To date, few films have captured Mumbai’s essence (from its ‘tapori’ culture to the larger-than-life film industry) with such finesse. No wonder the film went on to win seven Filmfare awards. But, it’s the music that continues to impress us, every time we hear the songs.
Design credits: Nupur Agrawal