I live in a small town on the Konkan coast of India. The advantage of living in such small places is that you bump into interesting things that were once part of a glorious past. This morning I spent around half an hour at a tiny little photo studio, getting a couple of passport prints developed. As I sat waiting on the stiff wooden stool for the whole transaction to be completed, I got a chance to listen to Bollywood songs that once topped the charts way back in the nineties. Despite the cacophony of the traffic on the street outside, these songs emanating from the young photographers music player fell loud on my ears.
Let’s go on a trip down memory lane, back to the world of the nineties, when things were a lot different.
Rap then meant Baba Sehgal
If you grew up in the nineties, then there is no way you could have missed India’s first rapper – Baba Sehgal. Remember his first hit “Thanda thanda pani”? So what if it bears an uncanny similarity to the song Ice Ice Baby by the international group of the nineties- Vanilla Ice. Baba Sehgal was truly a favorite of many, our very own rapper.
Alisha Chinnai, Colonial Cousins, and Phalguni Pathak- Weren’t these the pop albums?
When the video of “Made in India” came out, it created quite a storm. Wait, before you think it had to do with the music, let me make it clear. It wasn’t just the music. The video featured Milind Soman in his handsome best. He surely managed to steal a million hearts way back then.
Not to forget the sweet as honey voice of Phalguni Pathak. Technically not a pop song, though I still wonder why it was listed under that chart. I still remember, practically every Dandia night in the nineties played her songs.
The shirtless hero
They were quite a few who would dare to bare their chest. The popular ones were Suniel Shetty and Salman Khan. There were a few others, who would leave those top few buttons open, to just about bare those tufts of hair on the chest. It was probably all about projecting the man as the tough, macho kinds. The heroines seldom had much of a role to play, isn’t it?
Walkman and its woes
With train travel being the favorite mode between cities and towns, a definite travel companion was the Walkman. The travel bag that carried this not-so-small gadget, would also have a couple of cassettes and batteries. For some reason, most Walkman’s would not have a next track/previous track option. So if you desire a track a second time, well, all you had to do was insert a pencil, and rewind manually. Any other option was totally forbidden as that meant the battery would drain out sooner.
Classic cult songs
Remember the song “Jumma chumma de de”? It was a song that was on every ones lips when it came about. I can never forget Kimi Katkar and her red dress that she wore in the song. The dress swayed as she moved, knocking down many a drunk men, who danced around her.
The fashionable nineties
Fashion sense, may well seem tacky now, but looking back, I was drawn to it. Those ribbons for the hair, made out of colored net (reminds me of a mosquito net now), with white stars on them, become popular thanks to Anu Agarwal and Ashiqui. They were called Ashiqui ribbons! How could I forget the leopard print outfit worn by Shilpa Shetty in “Chura ke dil mera”? I still can’t fathom when and where such dresses could be worn.
The goofy movies
The top spot in the list of goofy movies surely goes to “Andaz Apna Apna”. The adorable duo – Aamir and Salman Khan- won all our hearts, despite the fact that the movie lacked any sense.
The controversial ones
There surely were many. But if there’s one song, that my mom wasn’t too keen on me watching, it had to be the one in Rangeela with Urmila swaying away in itsy-bitsy clothes. And if I now had to compare with present day Bollywood, I find Rangeela to actually be fairly decent.
Getting back to where I had started from, as I got up to pay for the prints at the photo shop, I took a quick peek at the blessed music system that seemed to have taken me down memory lane. I was pleasantly shocked to find the good old two-in-one player. By its side were a dozen odd tapes. A little smile erupted on my face. So glad was I, to have spotted this in a world flooded with gadgets of sorts. Surely, it’s a matter of time, when one would find these two-in-one players only in museums. I gave the young boy the biggest smile ever, thanking him for the music and a glimpse of what was once my glorious past.
What are your Bollywood memories of the nineties?????