Kumar Sanu and the 1990s Bollywood are synonymous. You just can’t separate the two and when you did you know what happened. The 90s were lost, so was Kumar Sanu. But now, the Melody Kind is making a comeback – and it is spectacular and grand. Sanu has sung two songs in the upcoming Dum Laga Ke Haisha – Yash Raj’s tribute to the colourful 90s. The tracks are already chartbusters. Composed by Anu Malik and penned by the versatile Varun Grover, Tu and Dard Karara are vintage Sanus, as some like to put it. For his fans this was a moment they could savour and of course, Dum Laga Ke Haisha has already won half the battle of the box-office by including the legend. (Kumar Sanu is supposed to make a cameo appearance in DLKH, too).
BC goes back in time and looks at Kumar Sanu’s top ten tracks. Of course, the list is very personal but it just might have something for everyone.
Bas Ek Sanam Chahiye Aashiqui Keh Liye from Aashiqui (1990)
It was with Aashiqui that Kumar Sanu developed his image in Bollywood. All the songs were chartbusters and even now they are hummed by one and all. More importantly, the songs of Aashiqui have attained cult status. It is difficult to choose one song from the film but this song is definitely a crowd-favourite as it sets the mood of the movie.
Kabhi Kuch Paya, Kabhi Kuch Khoya from Zindagi Ek Jua (1992)
This song is often not included in Kumar Sanu’s top ten list. This is a bit harsh because the song is wonderful. Picturised on Anil Kapoor with the surprise package being Shakti Kapoor on the drums, the melancholic quality of the song is tremendous. If possible hear as well as watch the song on YouTube. You will be in for a treat. The camaraderie is impossible to separate. Kumar Sanu’s melodious voice really nails it here.
Yeh Kali Kali Ankhen from Baazigar (1993)
Only Kumar Sanu could’ve possibly done this song and don’t forget his partnership with Anu Malik who boosts it with a bit of his own style. Baazigar never disappointed with its tracks and though Vinod Rathod stole the show with Batana Bhi Nahi Aata, this song definitely deserves a mention.
Aye Kash Ke Hum from Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa (1994)
Shah Rukh Khan often says that this is his favourite movie and why not? Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa is one of the best romantic comedies ever made in India. A simple story, a sparkling performance by Shah Rukh and some fantastic songs. This song deserves a special mention only because it tells us how much SRK’s character Sunil loves Ana, the girl of his dreams and how these moments spent with her is so much special to him. Who else but Kumar Sanu for this song?
Ek Ladki Ko Dekha from 1942: A Love Story (1994)
Another landmark in Kumar Sanu’s career. Another difficult job of choosing only one song from this brilliant soundtrack, which was also RD Burman’s last work. Ek Ladki Ko Dekha brings out the best from Kumar Sanu and he completely does justice to RD Burman’s composition. Not to mention this song also became a favourite with many who fell in love for the first time or got their first crush.
Raah Mein Unse Mulaqat Hoh Gayi from Vijaypath (1994)
One cannot get enough of this song. Picturised on Tabu and Ajay, with Alka Yagnik complementing Kumar Sanu in this fantastic duet. This song was of course the highlight of Vijaypath, which was a much lauded action thriller but boasted of tracks, which are still popular now, especially this one.
Barsaat Ke Mausam Mein from Naajayaaz (1995)
This song too suffers the fate of Kabhi Kuch Paya Kabhi Kuch Khoya from Zindagi Ek Jua. Sung by Kumar Sanu and Roop Kumar Rathod it is extremely underrated. Picturized on Naseeruddin Shah and Makarand Deshpande, the Kumar Sanu-Anu Malik combination with the added zeal of Roop Kumar Rathod could never go wrong. Yes, it is also an essential listen for the rainy season.
Tujhe Dekha Toh Yeh Jaana Sanam from Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (1995)
A movie that has captured the hearts of billions. A song that makes you fall in love all over again. For anyone who might be watching DDLJ for the first time sans any knowledge of Kumar Sanu’s legendary status this can be a bit shocking. Kumar Sanu does a fantastic job. There’s no way can one deny anu’s magical voice here. He is the perfect foil for Lataji in this magnificent track that touches your soul.
Dil Mera Churaya Kyun from Akela Hum Akela Tum (1995)
The Kumar Sanu and Anu Malik partnership was often stronger than the partnership of Sachin Tendulkar and Saurav Ganguly. This song proves it. Inspired by Kramer vs Kramer and Bollywoodized for the Indian audience, the movie boasted of a solid soundtrack with Kumar Sanu as well as Udit Narayan lending their voices but to be honest, Udit Narayan was totally overshadowed by Kumar Sanu. Another highlight of this song was Anu Malik providing the lines “Why did you break my heart?…” the way only he could.
Mohabbat Ho Na Jaaye from Kasoor (2001)
It was the new millennium and the Kumar Sanu juggernaut was still going strong. This duet between Alka Yagnik and Kumar Sanu was one of the finest songs in the entire track-list. Yes, it was not like the songs we were accustomed to hearing from Kumar Sanu but it had something very unique that soothed your ears.
Bonus Track: Ankhon Se Tu Dur Hai from Tera Mera Pyar (2004)
Here is one bonus track for this list, a very personal favourite and maybe of many more who have heard this album. This album was the one that introduced Nimrat Kaur through the video of Tera Mera Pyar, though this is a different track which apparently has no video to accompany it but this duet Alka Yagnik simply accelerates your heart making it frenzy with desire. It was unfortunate that Kumar Sanu lost out to the new singers. There were plenty of reasons. Like some accused him to have a linear method of singing with no variance, he couldn’t compete with the new singers, the new music directors didn’t find him fit for their experiments, yes that’s another reason why we see him teaming up once again with Anu Malik. Whatever the reasons might be, we all hope that his comeback is now permanent. He was the undisputed king of the 1990s. So don’t be surprised if you hear an auto-wallah or a taxi-wallah listening to Kumar Sanu or finding his tracks playing in some obscure hair-cutting salon. He had vanished from Bollywood but not from our hearts. Welcome back, Sanu sir.