11. Don Revisited from Don (2006). The true test of music and vocals is whether they can stand independent of each other and still sound good. Don Revisited (Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy) barely has lyrics to it (five words from the dialogue), but easily makes my top five Bollywood tracks for use at the gym. Never mind Don could make time to turn back during a car chase when speeding through underneath a truck moving at a different speed! :)
10. Ghumyo Chakkar from Aamir (2008), courtesy new Music Director Amit Trivedi. If you've seen the film, you know how delightfully it is integrated with the screenplay. "The wheel spins," it says. And so do we.
9. Pukaarta Chala Hoon Main from Mere Sanam (1965). Vocals by Mohammad Rafi, music by O. P. Nayyar, and lyrics by Majrooh Sultanpuri. Need one say more?
8. Yeh Dil Na Hota Bechaara from Jewel Thief (1967). Dev Anand in a song I have yet to tire of. There's something about his courtship ethic (especially in the black and white films I've seen) that makes me think it has the right mix of respect, mischief, and class. And to add to it all, blue shoes! Kishore Kumar does the singing honors, with music by S. D. Burman and lyrics by Majrooh Sultanpuri.
7. Hum Hain Raahi Pyaar Ke from Nau Do Gyarah (1957) as in Dil Hai Ke Maanta Nahin (1991), in which the realization of love is structured around a car. The original song stars Dev Anand driving more of a truck, but I love how it starts out -- "Teesri baar meri motor ko gaali di, toh khoon ho jaayega" (If you curse at my vehicle a third time, there will be murder -- talk about humble aggression!).
6. Dil Chahta Hai from Dil Chahta Hai (2001). Simple but effective (and very personalized, but that story doesn't belong here). Vocals by Shankar Mahadevan, from the debut album of Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy. What say?
5. Kahin Na Kahin Dil Lagaana Padega from Kashmir Ki Kali (1964). Not only do Shammi Kapoor and I share a passion for driving, we also have similar tastes when it comes to picking a car to drive around in. This song is perfect for what it is, from a fantastic film. Mohammad Rafi in fine form (is he ever not?), music by O. P. Nayyar, and lyrics by S. H. Bihari. And of course, a car that would end up by Champa! What's not to love about it? (Oh, and Lagaan in the title! Okay, okay, bad joke, I know ;)
4. Aaye Ho Meri Zindagi Mein from Raja Hindustani (1995) is a great car song. A cab driver and his 'Madam Memsaab', and a Kunal Khemu clapping away as if to create a qawwali-like atmosphere (which the song does carry) in a moving vehicle. Its music (Nadeem-Shravan) is among the best of the decade, the chemistry between Aamir Khan and Karisma Kapoor, and sung by the voice of Aamir Udit Narayan...stuff of legends.
3. From the film that had the word 'car' in its title -- Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi (1958) -- is Babu Samjho Ishaare. The song features lovely Bombay, three great comedians, and a car named Champion and with a swagger.
2. Chahe Koi Khush Ho from Taxi Driver (1954). Another Dev Anand song by Kishore and with music by S. D. Burman, this song tailored to car lovers' interests had lyrics by Sahir Ludhianvi, and some vocals by all time favorite comedian Johnny Walker!
1. Paathshala - Be a Rebel from Rang De Basanti (2006). With music by A. R. Rahman, lyrics by Prasoon Joshi, and vocals by Aslam, Blaaze, and Naresh Iyer, this (and especially its sister song -- Masti ki Paathshala) is likely the college favorite and party track of the decade. It is also an extremely well executed car song, the symbolism beautiful and its significance well beyond that of the rest.
Honorable mention to two songs that will forever be remembered for their picturizations: Kaise Mujhe from Ghajini (2008), and Yeh Dil Deewaana from Pardes (1997). Both had strong but temporary presence afforded to cars. Oh, and honorable mention to scenes set in cars! On my wish list is more car songs in which the women are driving!
All right. I'm sure I've missed a ton of really good songs. How about you share some of your favorites?
PS: Thank you random driver in Los Angeles with a sticker attached to your car reading "No Fear", serving up a welcome reminder for this post. You, my friend, haven't driven fast enough! (But within the limits prescribed by law, of course. I'm talking about here.)