Valentine's Day is not just for those in love, but also for those struggling to make sense of it. Here is a list of 10 searing Hindi film songs that tell the story that follows every breakup in real and reel life.
Valentine's Day special: 10 songs to get you out of Heartbreak hotel
Mumbai - 14 Feb 2020 8:30 IST
It was Percy Shelley who wrote that ‘our sweetest songs are those that tell of saddest thought’, making Devdas, Sohni-Mahiwal, Heer-Ranjha and Imtiaz Ali nod in approval.
While Hindi cinema might have created unreal expectations of love and romance for its audiences, its contribution to songs that cater to the heartbroken majority cannot be overstated.
Considering the number of Hindi films revolving around romance and heartbreak, there is good chance that we have missed a few. But for every rhyme, there is a reason. This list of songs has been chosen for an emotional graph that might feel familiar to anyone who has had her heart broken. That includes, well, everyone.
So on we go to a list of songs that are best enjoyed with a pinch of nostalgia, a warm cheese pizza, and a full bottle of rum.
1. 'I Hate You Like I Love You' — Delhi Belly (2011)
Let’s start with the conflicted feeling running through your heart towards the end of a relationship. You can’t let go, but you have to. Kind of like the sight of Aamir Khan, the quintessential romantic hero of the late 1980s and early 1990s, decked up in a flashy faux-Elvis Presley suit and dancing like Mithun Chakraborty.
Ram Sampath’s underrated score for Abhinay Deo’s wonderful absurd comedy is captured in this zany song. From its very opening, it becomes the perfect example of the ‘love-hate’ phase of every relationship. You can’t live with them, can’t live without them.
2. 'Emosonal Attyachar' — Dev D (2009)
When Nawazuddin Siddiqui starts singing ‘Sapne dekhe jannat ke par mitti me mil jaaye’, you feel it, bro! Legend goes that since 2009, every breakup has led to this song being played loudly in hostel wards and apartments across India. Amit Trivedi might have composed quite a few class hits in his career, but this angsty, heartbroken dance number remains evergreen.
If the lyrics (Amitabh Bhattacharya) set to the visuals of Siddiqui and Sunil Grover don’t get you, the rhythm and brass band will. One of the most popular songs of the year, ‘Emosonal Attyachar’ became a calling card of its own. Also, Trivedi ran an inside joke of his own by crediting the track to Bandmaster Rangila and Rasila. The singers are actually Trivedi and Amitabh Bhattacharya.
PS: If it feels a little male chauvinistic, we beg your pardon. But the Kabir Singh research model suggests that men are more emotionally immature at breakups than women.
3. 'Bekhayali' — Kabir Singh (2019)
Speaking of Kabir Singh, it would be sacrilege if we left this song out from the list. Kabir Singh may have had many faults, but its soundtrack was fantastic. This one by Sachet-Parampara, given voice by Arijit Singh, is an anthem to set your soul on fire. Just listening to Kalyan Baruah’s electric guitar fire is thrilling.
It is not just the music. Irshad Kamil’s lyrics capture that sense of desperation, a lingering loss and refusal to move on, that has turned many into losers. Needless to say, everyone has gone through this (raises hand sheepishly). Sometimes, you just have to burn through those dark emotions to come out on the other side.
4. 'Heer Badnaam' — Zero (2018)
To avoid going all Kabir Singh with the song list, here is one for the women. Zero might have been Shah Rukh Khan’s swan dive to the bottom of the box office, but the film had a spectacular soundtrack. This one, in particular, captures the angst and open rebellion against the mansplaining about the ‘fickle’ nature of women.
Remix king Tanishk Bagchi delivers a hyper aggressive statement of a song, with Romy adding to the mix with his vocals. The song might not be a soothing balm for a broken heart, but it certainly feeds the anger. And as the adage goes, Hell hath no fury....
5. 'Heer Toh Badi Sad Hai' — Tamasha (2015)
But there is only so much of anger that you can take. There are moments when you just have to carry the sadness in your heart and move on. Imtiaz Ali’s Tamasha is another tale about a broken heart. While it is easy to think of it as a very male-centric romance, this lovely song was all heart.
Even as Tara copes with the loss of Dev, she takes flight with her career. It is not like the pain is gone, but the lingering sadness cannot stop life. With an Oscar winner in AR Rahman providing the soul music, and Mika Singh bringing all his Punjabi energy to it, this song is chicken soup for the broken soul.
6. 'The Breakup Song' — Ae Dil Hai Mushkil (2016)
Once you are done with the moping, it is time to step out and get back on the circuit. Meet up with friends, get the parties flowing, maybe give love another try? It is not easy, but then, nothing is. A smile on your face and a song like this in your ear might make the task a little more bearable.
Composed by Pritam, the song had Badshah, Nakash Aziz and Jonita Gandhi bringing in the joy with their voices. Even Arijit Singh, the bard of self-pitying lovers, joined the fray with an enthusiastic change.
On a side track, why are Ranbir Kapoor and Arijit Singh found in every story about a broken heart? One wonders.
7. 'Main Jiyoonga' — Break Ke Baad (2010)
Enough of this moping around, we say. It is time to pick up the pieces, dust yourself off, and get your life back on track. You might need some high pumping energy to get going. A simple way would be to guzzle some strong coffee, but if you don’t want to add insomnia to your list of problems, music is the solution.
Hindi cinema does not always produce pure tween romances, but Break Ke Baad was a rare occurrence. Danish Aslam’s film was a decent date movie. What set it apart was a thumping, rock-based soundtrack by Vishal-Shekhar. Of course, with a title like Break Ke Baad, it was bound to have one rebound song, and this one in Nikhil D’Souza’s voice is the perfect remedy to any blues that might be keeping you down.
8. 'Dil Dhadakne Do' — Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara (2011)
Another remedy for any long-lasting blues after a break-up is travel. Pack your bags with friends and head out to new shores. Meeting new faces, perhaps old flames, can help cope with heartburn. While you may not be able to plan a trip at the budget of Zoya Akhtar’s Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara, it is nice to soak yourself in these visuals.
The song is just the remedy to spur you to pack your bags and call your friends to catch up. Javed Akhtar’s uplifting lyrics are given voice by Shankar Mahadevan, Joi Barua and Suraj Jagan to the music of the trio of Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy. Need we say more? Enjoy!
9. 'Kay Sera Sera' — Pukar (2000)
While you are celebrating, remember that rebounds never end well. Don’t believe us, believe Prabhu Deva when he is singing and dancing like he does in this number. Of course, Madhuri Dixit will disagree, but then she has always been the Queen of Hearts.
This song is for those who are battling the twin voices within their hearts and struggling to find peace. AR Rahman’s pulsating music and those magical movements by Prabhu Deva and Madhuri Dixit are enough to get you humming. If nothing else, watch this for the amazing grace and fluidity on screen before dancing became Tiger Shroff-level mind-bending contortion.
10. 'Ullu Ka Pattha' — Jagga Jasoos (2017)
No matter how hard you try, the heart wants what it wants. It wades right into the mess that you just worked so hard to get out of. But in the end, isn’t that what we all secretly desire? At least, on Valentine’s Day.
The important thing is to keep your hopes up. If Pritam's lovely rhythm does not get you grooving to the stupidity of your heart, Amitabh Bhattacharya's lyrics can be trusted to melt it. Especially when he says 'Jaana na ho jahaan / Wahin jaata hai / Dil ullu ka pattha hai [Goes right there, where you don't wanna go, the heart is a fool]', you just have to agree, and hope for the best.
And where there is hope, there will always be love. Happy Valentine's Day!