Here are some of my favorite wedding songs, defined as songs that are great to play during (Indian) weddings, especially during music parties that many weddings devote an evening to. (They are often combined with the Mehndi/Henna night.) The term 'shaadi ka pavitra bandhan' (the immaculate institution of marriage) is ubiquitous in the movies, and many of these songs deliberately include interesting, and often amusing, commentary on it.
The vast majority of these are from films released in my lifetime. The only other filter is that the songs involve dancing. This is partly because the choreography in each case captures the essence and color of the Indian wedding. This is also because I'd rather not get into the mandatory bidaai (farewell) song on behalf of the bride. :)
As always, please add your favorites. Such a universal theme means there are literally tons and tons of good songs all over the place. All videos are accessible on YouTube as of the publication of this post.
- Ghoonghat Ki Aad Se from Hum Hain Raahi Pyaar Ke (1993), with music by Nadeem-Shravan, lyrics by Sameer, and vocals by Kumar Sanu and Alka Yagnik. The first song I mention is an outlier in this list. Good luck dancing to this at the next wedding you attend. But every wedding needs a bride and a groom. And Aamir Khan and Juhi Chawla (haaye Allah!) are a filmy couple second to none. (PS: Did you really think this wasn't going to make it? :P)
The following are listed in order of their release:
- The fabulous Antakshari song from Maine Pyaar Kiya (1989) is not essentially a wedding song, but what's a wedding without a few good bouts of antakshari? It aligns well with the theme of togetherness and celebration, and it's from one of the most insanely popular films of all time. Lyrics by Dev Kohli, music by Ram Lakshman, and vocals by S.P.Balasubramaniam, Lata Mangeshkar, Usha Mangeshkar, Shailendra Singh.
- Didi Tera Devar from Hum Aapke Hain Kaun (1994), with music by Ram-Lakshman, lyrics by Dev Kohli, and vocals by Lata Mangeshkar and S. P. Balasubramaniam. Dear God: I miss Madhuri Dixit. Many more beautiful wedding-themed songs in this film, Wah Wah Ramji being my favorite.
- Mehndi Laga Ke Rakhna from Dilwaale Dulhania Le Jaayenge (1995), with music by Jatin-Lalit, lyrics by Anand Bakshi, and vocals by Lata Mangeshkar and Udit Narayan. Of course.
- Banno Rani (link to audio) from 1947 Earth (1998), with music by A. R. Rahman, lyrics by Javed Akhtar, and vocals by Sadhana Sargam. The film didn't contain the song in its entirety, but the bits that were included were enough to showcase the sparkling chemistry between Aamir and Nandita Das. If you haven't seen the film, please stop the video 2:20 in.
- Yeh Ladki Haaye Allah from Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham (2001), with music by Jatin-Lalit, lyrics by Sameer, and vocals by Udit Narayan and Alka Yagnik. I have a confession to make. In a movie starring Kajol, Rani Mukherjee, and Kareena Kapoor, I came away appreciating Simone Singh the most! This is beautifully choreographed. As is the Simone-less Bole Chudiyan.
- Chhalka Re and Naina Milaike from Saathiya (2002). Vocals by Richa Sharma and Mahalaxmi Iyer, and Sadhana Sargam and Madhushree respectively. Music by A. R. Rahman and lyrics by Gulzar. I want my Rani back!
- Maahi Ve from Kal Ho Na Ho (2003), with music by Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy, lyrics by Javed Akhtar, and vocals by Udit Narayan, Sonu Nigam, Sadhana Sargam, Shankar Mahadevan, and Madhushree. Fun, fun, song, which has the festive December vibe all over it.
- Mujhse Shaadi Karogi from Mujhse Shaadi Karogi (2004), starring Salman Khan, Akshay Kumar, and Priyanka Chopra, and with music by Sajid-Wajid, lyrics by Jalees Sherwani, and vocals by Udit Narayan, Sonu Nigam, and Sunidhi Chauhan. Is there a better way to pop the question? Check. Is there a better way to pop the question in a film starring Amrish Puri? Probably not. Also refer to the song Mujhse Shaadi Karogi from Dulhan Hum Le Jaayenge (2000), starring Salman Khan and Karisma Kapoor.
- Mele Chaliya from Yahaan (2005), starring Jimmy Shergill and Minisha Lamba, and with music by Shantanu Moitra and vocals by Shreya Ghosal. It's a beautiful and authentic song, and the film it's in is quite good too.
- Nagada Baja from Jab We Met (2007), starring Shahid Kapoor and Kareena Kapoor, and with music by Pritam, lyrics by Irshad Kamil, and vocals by Sonu Nigam and Javed Ali. The tempo to this song is unbelievable, and its choreography is probably among the best of the decade. (Shahid's easily the best dancer of all current actors, but you knew that.) Pritam couldn't possibly have plagiarized the tune -- the roots to the song lie in Indian folk music. :) Seen and heard Asha Bhosle and Sonu Nigam perform variants of this song live, the energy levels in those situations were even better.
- Tenu Leke (I'll take you along) from Salaam-e-Ishq (2007), starring Salman Khan and Priyanka Chopra, with music by Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy, lyrics by Sameer, and vocals by Sonu Nigam and Mahalaxmi Iyer. This, like the soundtrack it belongs to, is a personal favorite. From the weddings I've attended in the past couple of years, I sense it's an overwhelming favorite. It's also particularly good for live bands. And it goes really well with the title song of the film. One of my favorite December albums.
- Mastam Mastam (dedicated post here) from Yuvvraaj (2008), starring Salman Khan and Katrina Kaif, with music by A. R. Rahman, lyrics by Gulzar, and vocals by Sonu Nigam. I simply love this song! The lyrics, the sounds, the choreography, and oodles of heart.
- Thoda Thoda Pyaar from Love Aaj Kal (2009), with music by Pritam, lyrics by Irshad Kamil, and vocals by Sunidhi Chauhan. Going by his track record, chances are good Pritam has plagiarized here, but this one makes it for the vocals and lyrics, nonetheless.