As A R Rahman closes in on completing three decades in the music industry, he has given us songs in a variety of languages, situations and moods. If YouTube comments were to be compiled, his music has got listeners through break-ups, fueled long drives with friends, carried some through tragedy and loss or even had some profess love to non-existent partners. Now as he steps into film writing and production with 99 Songs, we look back at some of his best work in the definitive Hindi A R Rahman playlist.
In a recent interview he warned everyone not to watch 99 Songs expecting, well, 99 songs. Something that would obviously be impossible to fit in a normal movie run time. But we have no such limitations here. So we're doing it – 99 ARR songs for 9 moods.
Save and listen to these when you are falling head over heels in love, when you are on a long drive, when you just had your heart broken – there is an ARR song for everything.
The mood: The magic of falling in love.
The setting: You are on your way home after your first date that went really well. You are looking out of your car window as the cold night wind breezes through your hair.
The list: Tu Hai, Mohenjo Daro | Phoolon Jaisi, Ekk Deewana Tha | O Rey Chhori, Lagaan | Hawa Sunn Hawa, Ada | Hosanna, Ekk Deewana Tha | Kissa Hum Likhenge, Doli Saja Ke Rakhna | Yeh Rishta, Meenaxi | Nazar Laaye, Raanjhanaa | Saanwariya Saanwariya, Swades | Jashn-E-Bahaaraa, Jodhaa Akbar | Ae Nazneen Suno Na, Dil Hi Dil Mein
The mood: The (bitter)sweet zen state of grown-up love.
The setting: You just noticed something small your partner did for you. They remembered the exact temperature you like to set your AC to. Or perhaps they put on your playlist on the long drive. You smile, send a little thanks to the universe and listen to….
The list: In Lamhon Ke Daaman Mein, Jodhaa Akbar | Tu Bin Bataye, Rang De Basanti | Dil Gira Daftan, Delhi 6 | Guzarish, Ghajini | Kabhi Neem Neem, Yuva | Sharminda Hoon, Ek Deewana Tha | Dekho Na, Swades | Mahive Mahive, The Legend Of Bhagat Singh | Rehna Tu, Delhi 6 | Enna Sona, Ok Jaanu | Saans, Jab Tak Hai Jaan
The mood: Heartbreak warfare.
The setting: You know the break is real this time. You have been putting off getting into the weeds of your relationship, but you finally did. And it really didn't end well.
The list: Main Tumhara, Dil Bechara | Kaise Mujhe Tu Mil Gayi, Ghajini | Tum Todo Na, I | Jaane Tu Meri Kya Hai (Jai), Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na | Mann Chandd Re, Connections | Kahin Aag Lage, Taal | Mylapore Blues, Connections | Dreams On Fire, Slumdog Millionaire | Ae Ajnabi, Dil Se | Agar Tum Saath Ho, Tamasha | Aahista Aahista, Swades
The mood: Surrendering to something much bigger than yourself.
The setting: You're standing at a bus stop looking at the chaotic world around you – the highs and lows of people going about their lives. You feel small – like a drop in the ocean – insignificant – but strangely at peace with it.
The list: Oo Aashiqa, 99 Songs | Arziyan, Delhi 6 | O Paalanhaare, Lagaan | Pray For Me Brother | Roshan Hui Raat, Sapnay | Khwaja Mere Khwaja, Jodhaa Akbar | Mann Mohana, Jodhaa Akbar | Kun Faaya Kun, Rockstar | Piya Haji Ali, Fiza | Ek Tu Hi Bharosa, Pukar | Sai Shirdi Sai, 99 Songs
The mood: Riotous energy and infectious joy.
The setting: The pandemic is over, and you finally are on that drive to Pondicherry with your best friends and no, you did not forget your wallet at home. Everything is just right.
The list: Ok Jaanu, Ok Jaanu | Nayi Nayi, 99 Songs | Raanjhanaa, Raanjhanaa | Awaara Bhanwara, Sapnay | Barso Re, Guru | Rang De Basanti, Rang De Basanti | Matargashti, Tamasha | Mashkari, Dil Bechara | Sunlo Zara, Ek Deewana Tha | Pappu Can't Dance, Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na | Khalifa, Lekar Hum Deewana Dil
The mood: The final tiny push to liberation.
The setting: You finally decide to put in your papers. You press send on that resignation mail ready to leave your cushy banking job to pursue what you have always wanted – film journalism.
The list: Khalbali, Rang De Basanti | Beera Beera, Raavan | Safarnama, Tamasha | Columbus, Jeans | O Saya, Slumdog Millionaire | Masakali, Delhi 6 | Patakha Gudi, Highway | Challa, Jab Tak Hai Jaan | Maahi Ve, Highway | Roobaroo, Rang De Basanti | Yun Hi Chala Chal, Swades
The mood: You are Indiranagar ka gunda. Swagger max. Black tinted glares and leather jacket optional.
The setting: You just flipped off the asshole in the jeep behind you honking at a red light. Kicking your vehicle into top gear, you push that throttle to max.
The list: Genda Phool, Delhi 6 | Blue Theme, Blue | Dhakka Laga Bukka, Yuva | Muqabala muqabala, Humse Hai Muqabala | Fiqrana, Blue | Dilli – 6, Delhi 6 | Nachley, Lakeer | O Humdum Suniyo Re, Saathiya | Chaiyya Chaiyya, Dil Se | Yaaron Sun Lo Zara, Rangeela | Behka, Ghajini
The mood: Playful and flirtatious.
The setting: You finally mustered enough courage to slip a note asking him for his phone number in the notebook you passed him. He noticed it and smiled. It's the thrill of your life.
The list: Ay Hairathe, Guru | Sarsariya, Mohenjo Daro | Kay Sera Sera, Pukar | Saiyyan, Nayak | Jogiya Jogiya, The Legend Of Bhagat Singh | Radha Jaise Na Jale, Lagaan | Banarasiya, Raanjhanaa | Sheher Mein, Rockstar | Mera Naam Kizie, Dil Bechara | Aise Na Dekho, Raanjhanaa | Ek Bagiya Mein, Sapnay
9. Chehre Jo Oodhe Tune Woh Tere Kahaan Hai
The mood: Introspective and reflective.
The setting: You realise you haven't called home in weeks. You have been so caught up with life – you haven't stopped to think of much else. You are looking out at the traffic from your hostel window wondering how to get out of the rut.
The List: Chali Kahani, Tamasha | Jo Bhi Main, Rockstar | Kahaan Hoon Main, Highway | Yeh Jo Des Hai Tera (Instrumental), Swades | Phir Se Udd Chala, Highway | Khul Ke Jeene Ka, Dil Bechara | Tu Koi Aur Hai, Tamasha | The Horizon of Saudade, Dil Bechara | Zindagi, Yuvvraaj | Jaage Hai, Guru | Nadaan Parinde, Rockstar