7 Classic A.R. Rahman Hits

Songs that have a soul of their own — such are the compositions of awe-inspiring A.R. Rahman. Hindi music lovers still get goosebumps when they listen to his scintillating composition of “Maa Tujhe Salaam.” The legendary singer and music director has composed a large number of songs belonging to more than 150 albums. He is a boon to the music industry, and his dedication and love toward it cannot be denied.

While India has produced many music directors over the years, Rahman has always made his presence felt. With Academy Awards, Grammy Awards, and more under his belt, Rahman’s compositions are respected internationally. He has brought a new wave of innovation to Hindi music that has led many to compare him to the renowned R.D. Burman.

Born as A. S. Dileep Kumar, Rahman’s very first music album for an Indian film was for 1992 film Roja, and thus began his journey. His songs, which included “Saadda Haq,” “Tu Hi Re,” “Ay Hairathe” and “O Rey Chhori” reverberate in minds long after they’re no longer playing. It’s a difficult task to pick out a few of the best Rahman songs, but in honor of his limitless talent, let’s hook on to a feel-good A.R. Rahman playlist.

Chhoti Si Aasha” from Roja

Roja was the first film that set Rahman’s mark in the Indian music industry. Directed by Mani Ratnam, the blockbuster hit’s soundtrack changed the face of contemporary Indian music. “Chhoti Si Aasha” is very sanguine, chirpy track that talks about all the little and big things a girl wishes to do in order to make her own identity in this world. The beautiful lyrics, penned by P.K. Mishra and voiced by Minmini, will always tickle the heart.

Chaiyya Chaiyya” from Dil Se

“Chaiyya Chaiyya” is considered by many to be one of Rahman’s finest works — and it truly is magical. Based on Sufi music and Urdu poetry, this song was made even more special when combined with a sumptuous performance by Shah Rukh Khan and Malaika Arora Khan. The duo danced ever-so-gracefully on top of a moving train and defined some of the best moves of their time. Sukhwinder Singh and Sapna Awasthi’s heavy vocals helped make this song a cult classic.

Ishq Bina” from Taal

The melodious symphony of Rahman and heart-touching lyrics penned by Anand Bakshi became an instant hit in India. Rahman received countless accolades that year, and Taal movie director Subhash Ghai later even credited the movie name to Rahman. The fusion of Indian classical music with electronic beats and traditional orchestral arrangements made “Ishq Bina” the theme of the entire movie. The dynamic onscreen coupling of Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and Akshaye Khanna perfectly complemented the innocence of the song.

Yun Hi Chala Chal” from Swades

“Yun Hi Chala Chal” from Swades talks about a simple philosophy of life – keep going on whatever may happen. The down-to-earth theory backed with Rahman’s music has freshness and longevity. The more you listen to it, the more you’ll enjoy this contemporary hit sung by the great trio of Udit NarayanHariharan, and Kailash Kher. The track is considered a must-have road trip song for anyone striving for upbeat optimism.

Rang De Basanti” from Rang De Basanti

The song “Rang De Basanti” celebrates Indian culture and positivity. The Punjabi tunes and beats mixed with truly festive and patriotic lyrics praise the spirit of this nation. The award-winning film, Rang De Basanti, is recognized for multiple reasons, and all the reasons are backed by Rahman’s breathtaking composition. The heart of each Indian who wishes to take pride in and accomplish something for their nation is truly captured in this song.

Kaise Mujhe” from Ghajini

There are not many songs that can touch your soul just by the first note. Ghajini’s “Kaise Mujhe” is considered to be one of Rahman’s finest compositions. Sung by Benny Dayal, this track shows both the lyrical and musical mastery of the legend. This romantic ballad has a wistful, loving and mournful take to it — complex enough to fill your heart with different emotions.

Jai Ho” from Slumdog Millionaire

A list of A.R. Rahman hit songs would never be complete without adding tracks from the Academy Award-winning film Slumdog Millionaire. “Jai Ho” talks about victory and has proven to be a purely Rahman song in its every beat. A lot went into its production, and Rahman specifically used Logic instruments to compose the electrifying beats. Due to its popularity, the song was later recreated by American girl group The Pussycat Dolls, featuring Nicole Scherzinger.


To hear all of A.R. Rahman’s music, visit his page here.

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