No matter where you are in the world, when Bollywood movies are mentioned, the first thing that comes to mind for most are the elaborate Bollywood songs in those films. They’re what makes Bollywood movies stand out from other Asian cinema and and are part and parcel of the genre, with deep roots in Indian film history.
Bollywood songs, also known as “filmi”, are expected to be catchy tunes, and much like in Western musicals, are used as a plot exposition device for the film’s characters. Indian audiences are notorious for expecting to get their paisa vasool, or “money’s worth”, so it is common practice for a movie to release their soundtracks before the actual movie. A film’s success often depends of how well their Bollywood songs are received.
This expectation extends to Bollywood actors and actresses as well. Top performers are often referred to as “paisa vasool” as well, instead of the Western term “star”. Bollywood actresses and actors are expected to be talented dancers and thespians, but not necessarily singers. The use of professional playback singers is standard practice, and actually have their own following of fans who see films simply to see their performance of the latest hit Bollywood songs.
Top Bollywood songs not only gross millions, but become a cultural touchstone for the Indian public as well. Filmi is the largest section of the Indian music scene, making up over 72% of all music sales in the country. Rediff films recently released its list of the top Hindi film songs for 2011, based both on sales and critical recepetion.
1. “Darrling” – 7 Khoon Maaf
2. “Kum faya kun” – Rockstar
3. “Dilli” – No One Killed Jessica
4. “Bekaraan” – 7 Khoon Maaf
5. “Karma is a b***c” – Shor In The City