1 ‘O Sheronwali’ — Suhaag (1979)
This classic number from Manmohan Desai’s Suhaag is still heard today at Navratri functions. Sung by Mohammed Rafi and Asha Bhonsle, the song was picturised on Amitabh Bachchan and Rekha where they played dandiya in the temple itself. The hit soundtrack was composed by Laxmikant-Pyarelal.
2 ‘Disco Dandia’ — Love Love Love (1989)
Juhi Chawla and Aamir Khan were paired together in 1989’s Love Love Love after the success of their blockbuster hit, Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak (1988). Music composer Bappi Lahiri took the traditional dandiya song and combined it with the 1980s staple, disco! Vijay Benedict sang for Aamir Khan, while Alisha Chinai sang for Chawla.
3 ‘Dandiye Ke Bahane’ — Taaqat (1995)
Released the same year as Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge, Taaqat is a forgotten feature from Kajol’s oeuvre. So was this song which is probably only remembered around Navratri time. The music for the film was composed by Anand-Milind and sung by Udit Narayan and Sadhana Sargam.
4 ‘Dholi Taro Dhol Baaje’ — Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam (1999)
Filmed in several regions of Gujarat and Rajasthan, Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s second film won over audiences. The music of Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam composed by Ismail Darbar is still popular till today and the choreographer Vaibhavi Merchant too picked a National Award for her traditional dances as displayed in the lively garba number, ‘Dholi Taro Dhol Baaje’.
5 ‘Yehi Hai Pyar’ — Aa Ab Laut Chalen (1999)
Rishi Kapoor’s only directorial venture starred Akshaye Khanna, Aishwarya Rai and Rajesh Khanna. ‘Yehi Hai Pyar’ was set at a Navratri function held in America where Khanna’s character Rohan vies for an NRI girl while the perfect girl, in the form of Rai, is right in front of him. Nadeem-Shravan composed the score for this last RK production.
6 ‘Chand Aaya Ha’ — Dil Hi Dil Mein (2000)
Originally released in Tamil as Kadhalar Dhinam, Dil Hi Dil Mein was dubbed in Hindi. The film starred the late Kunal Singh and Sonali Bendre, but the highlight of the film was AR Rahman’s music, including this festive Navratri song. ‘Chand Aaya Ha’ is sung by Kavita Krishnamurthy and Udit Narayan.
7 ‘Radha Kaise Na Jale’ — Lagaan (2001)
Javed Akhtar won the National Award for his lyrics on ‘Radha Kaise Na Jale’, a beautiful number which set the tensions felt between the trio of Bhuvan, Gauri and Elizabeth to the relationship between Lord Krishna and Radha. The music of the Oscar-nominated film was composed by AR Rahman, while the duet was sung was Asha Bhosle and Udit Narayan.
8 ‘Dhol Baje’ — Kehtaa Hai Dil Baar Baar (2002)
Director Rahul Dholakia’s first film, Kehtaa Hai Dil Baar Baar, was set in New Jersey where he resides. Starring Paresh Rawal, Jimmy Shergill and Kim Sharma, the film was about a young Gujarati girl who falls in love with a Punjabi guy, much to the dismay of her father. This merry song was composed by Jatin-Lalit.
9 ‘O Re Gori’ — Aap Mujhe Achche Lagne Lage (2002)
Composed by Rajesh Roshan, ‘O Re Gori’ is decidedly untraditional; you definitely won’t be hearing this at Navratri pandals. The film reunited the hit pair from Kaho Na... Pyaar Hai (2000), Hrithik Roshan and Ameesha Patel.
10 ‘Shubhaarambh’ — Kai Po Che! (2013)
There was a dearth of good garba and/or dandiya songs in Hindi cinema, until Kai Po Che! came along. Music composer Amit Trivedi, who in his early days had performed at dandiya events, brought to life the minimal soundtrack of three songs. ‘Shubhaarambh’, sung by Shruti Pathak and Divya Kumar, interspersed the dissecting lives of the three friends, Ishaan, Omkar and Govind. Govind is seen with Ishaan’s sister Vidya at a garba event in the song.
11 ‘Nagada Sang Dhol’ — Goliyon Ki Raasleela Ram-Leela (2013)
One can always count on Sanjay Leela Bhansali for a good traditional number. In the second film where he composed the score, he had not one but two numbers where the garba dance is woven into the song. In ‘Nagada Sang Dhol’, Deepika Padukone as Leela dances with abandon while her Ram, played by Ranveer Singh, makes a late entry.
12 ‘Lahu Munh Lag Gaya’ — Goliyon Ki Raasleela Ram-Leela
The electrically charged song, ‘Lahu Munh Lag Gaya’, where the lead couple, Ram and Leela, first meet is set in a busy courtyard where the two join the rest of the exuberant dancers. The song won the Filmfare Award for Best Choreography for its choreographers, Samir and Arsh Tanna.