I believe in Dil To Pagal Hai soundtrack supremacy. A tale of love, friendship, and a passion for music, the soundtrack of this 90s Bollywood hit encapsulates exactly that. Bollywood’s evergreen romantic Yash Chopra created some of the best love stories with flawless soundtracks for multiple generations of fans. For those who love Bollywood music, to those looking for the perfect soundtrack to start with, the contemporary and traditional fusion in this soundtrack is the best place to start, and in my opinion the perfect representation of Bollywood for those unfamiliar with it. The energy, instrumentals, indulgence in romanticism, and soulful vocals found here is what makes Bollywood what it is. The movie was originally launched as “Mohabbat Kar Le”, which was later renamed as “Dil to Pagal Hai”, and became immortalized in Bollywood history. Following its release, professional dance groups were popularized, Shahrukh Khan’s status as the King of Bollywood was cemented, and the movie’s album took its place as 2nd on the list of Top 10 Bollywood song album sales of all time, with 12.5 Million sales worldwide .
The soundtrack, like most Yash Chopra films, is unforgettable, unique, and youthful, full of passion, excitement, and heartbreak in the voices of Udit Narayan and Lata Mangeshkar on 7 sensational duets.The composer Uttam Singh was a tabla and western violin specialist who worked with legends like Madan Mohan, Naushad, S,D. Burman and R.D. Burman. He spent two years composing ten songs for the film that went on to become the top released film album for 1997 . The dynamic songs composed by Uttam Singh had an excellent use of violins, western and Indian instruments are the soul of the film and many prominent Bollywood discographies.
Allow me to briefly delve into the top tracks of Dil To Pagal Hai.
The soundtrack starts with the masterful title song “Dil to Pagal Hai,” sung by Udit Narayan and Lata Mangeshkar and heard in teasers and trailers alongside shots of SRK and Madhuri. So India gasped, and the romantic suspense in the film skyrocketed when Akshay Kumar, who was purposefully left out of the movie credits, appeared out of nowhere to sing the song with Madhuri on screen halfway through the film.
The A side’s second song is credited to Yash Chopra’s son Uday Chopra. “Are Re Are” by the Udit-Lata super combo is a super ultra catchy duet. This song’s creation was almost like something out of a book. As Uttam Singh was practicing the melody, a young Uday Chopra arrived at the studio. When Uday Chopra heard the song, he began to hum it, and soon everyone else joined in. Anand Bakshi, the lyricist for Yashji, came into the studio at that precise moment, heard the song, turned around, and went to the bathroom. Uttam Singh thought that was the end of the tune for him, but to his surprise Bakshi emerged from the restroom and sang, “Are Re Are Yeh Kya Hua, Koi Na Yeh Jaana,” and everyone cheered.jumped with joy. With the combination of the catchy chorus and the meaningful verses, a classic love song was born.
This is followed by “Bholi Si Surat”, the song whose guitar strings can be recognized in a heartbeat by almost every Bollywood fanatic. A song of innocence, playfulness, and fantasy, each stanza of this song is otherworldly. The traditional beats and amazing lyrics of “Dholna” makes it stand out from the other songs on this album.
Side A wraps with the intense music of Madhuri and Karishma’s dance showdown, with a multitude of contemporary western, African, and traditional Indian elements. I especially enjoy the ending, when Karishma takes over the dance to the strumming beats of the opening dance number from the film “Le Gayi”, tying the tracks together.
Side B starts slowly with a brief Alaap (form of melodic improvisation opening the song) by Udit and Lata’s golden voices before picking up pace as they sing “Pyar Kar,” Uttam Singh’s first song recorded for the film. The song is the perfect song of longing, dreams, and soulmates who have yet to meet, staring at the same moon.
“Chak Dum Dum” was a snippet sung and danced to by a choir of kids, before Udit and Lata added their talents, making the most popular monsoon song in Indian history, “Koi Ladki Hai” which also features a great Violin solo by Uttam Singh.
Then, for the only time on the soundtrack, Hariharan replaced Udit Narayan for a duet with Lata Mangeshkar on the movie’s special opening credits track “Ek Duje Ke Vaaste,” which shows the movie’s crew members with their spouses during the opening credits. With its soft, intimate lyrics, this is what the sound waves of love feel like.
Lastly, there’s “Le Gayi,” the only song with Asha Bhonsle’s vocals, which takes the movie’s momentum to a whole new dimension with its confidence, glamour, dance sequence and energy, the definition of Bollywood for any first-timer.
The album concluded with an instrumental piece featuring Shashrukh Khan’s iconic whistling tune from “Are re Are,” which was accompanied by a delicate combination of matka (Indian folk music instrument), flute, strings, and Uttam Singh’s violin solo.
In my opinion it checks all the boxes of the key descriptors of Bollywood music. The album gave us everything from delicate to upbeat, traditional to modern, love to rivalry, intimate to expressive, and intense to emotional, all in one movie. Even if you don’t watch the movie (I recommend that you do), you should listen to the Dil To Pagal Hai soundtrack—the perfect representation of Bollywood music.