Mid-90s onwards, there was a growing trend of “item numbers” in Bollywood. With time, this trend widen to a broader category called “dance or party numbers”, which, in audience language, referred to songs that could be danced to, as a party or an event. Romantic melodies and slow-tempo songs took a backseat in this period. Not that they were not been made. But the charts were dominated by party songs.
Ormax Heartbeats started tracking must popularity using audience research from end-2010. Since then, there has been a significant change in the proportion of dance songs vs. romantic melodies. The chart below shows the break-up of the top 10 songs every year from 2011 to 2016, categorised in these two primary categories: Dance Numbers & Romantic Melodies.
As can be seen, the trend peaked in 2012, when 9 out of the top 10 songs were dance numbers. All the top 5 songs that year (Chikni Chameli, Fevicol, Chinta Ta, Tumhi Ho Bandhu and Hookah Bar) belonged to this category. Since then, there has been a definitive shift in favour of romantic melodies. 2016 had seven romantic melodies in the top 10, and the top 3 songs of the year were all soft romantic songs, i.e., Sanam Re, Soch Na Sake and Jag Ghoomeya. Channa Mereya and the title song of Ae Dil Hai Mushkil are still on the charts, and could make it 5 on 5 in weeks to come.
For those complaining about melody going away from Bollywood music, this should be good news!