“In Indian music, it is not possible to build anything other than the raga basis. We can run away from its fetters, but not from its main outline.” Rabindranath Tagore

Since the golden years of Hindi films, music composers have often turned to Indian classical music in search of inspiration. Naushad was one of the first mainstream composers who successfully embedded the melodic structures of several of his film songs in classical music. As a matter of fact, in the 1952 film Baiju Bawra, he set all 13 songs to classical ragas. The path-breaking effort earned Naushad the very first Filmfare Best Music Director Award for the song “Tu Ganga Ki Mauj,” based on raga Bhairavi.

Indian classical music, both Hindustani & Carnatic, is a vast veritable ocean whose depths are unfathomable. This tradition is as old as time itself and within this evocative world of sounds one can find joy, tranquility, passion, devotion, grief, ecstasy & the ultimate truth itself.

Ragas (melodies) and Talas (rhythmic patterns) are an intrinsic part of Indian classical music. While each raga represents a framework of musical notes and phrases, its ultimate goal is to evoke an emotion that enchants the listener. All ragas have their corresponding scales, which is defined by a specific set of notes from an octave. By simply accentuating on certain notes or by varying the way a note is approached, an adept singer or an instrumentalist can conjure a gamut of moods in the listener’s mind. Only a few forms of performing arts can boast of such a feat.

Songs rooted in classical music were very popular in the 1950s. But as the 60s approached, Western music gained a toehold in the Indian film industry and, since then, tunes with a classical bent have been few and far between. Yet from time to time, melodies with an unmistakable classical trait tug at our heartstrings and draw our attention back to this often-neglected rich tradition that lies at the very center of our cultural fabric!

Through the Bollywood Goes Classical series, we offer you a selection of striking recent & classic Hindi film songs that are based on Indian classical music. For the curious, here are the list of songs and the ragas that they are set to –

Bollywood Goes Classical – Part 1

Aye Ajnabi (Dil Se..) – Bhimpalasi
Mora Piya (Raajneeti) – Darbari
Aaoge Jab Tum (Jab We Met) – Tilak Kamod
Soney Do (Citylights) –  Lalit & Ahir Bhairav
Tu (Bobby Jasoos) – Chayanat
Albela Sajan (Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam) – Ahir Bhairav
Jiya Dhadak Dhadak Jaye (Kalyug) –  Bhoopali
Tera Zikr Hai Ya (Guzaarish) – Bhoopali
Yun Hi (Tanu Weds Manu) – Rageshri
Thode Badmaash (Saawariya) – Yaman Kalyan
Raske Bhare Tore Naina (Satyagraha) – Traditionally Bhairavi
Naina Neer Bahaye (Water) – Bhatiyar
Sapnon Se Bhare Naina (Luck By Chance) – Bhairavi
Badi Dheere Jali (Ishqiya) – Lalit
Listen to the full playlist on Saavn

Bollywood Goes Classical – Part 2

Kaise Kahen Hum (Sharmeelee) – Tilang
Kahan Se Aaye Badra (Chashme Buddoor) – Megh
Chand Phir Nikla Magar Tum Na Aaye (Paying Guest) – Shuddha Kalyan
Jeevan Se Bhari (Safar) – Malgungi
Mera Saya Saath Hoga (Mera Saaya) – Nand
Jaoon Kahan Bata Ae Dil (Chhoti Bahen) – Jhinjhoti
Aankhon Se Jo Utri Hai Dil Mein (Phir Wohi Dil Laya Hoon) – Kirwani
Tum Bin Jeevan Kaisa Jeevan (Bawarchi) – Hemant
O Sajana Barkha Bahar Aayi (Parakh) – Khammaj
Hum Bekhudi Mein Tum Ko Pukare (Kala Pani) – Chayanat
Kuchh Dil Ne Kaha Kuchh Bhi Nahin (Anupama) – Bhimpalasi
Aye Dil Mujhe Aisi Jagah Le Chal (Arzoo) – Adana
Ghunghat Ke Pat Khol (Jogan) – Jaunpuri
Dil Hoom Hoom Kare (Rudaali) – Bhoopali
Listen to the full playlist on Saavn