Though she started young, having a hit in Laawaris as a 15-year-old, Alka Yagnik’s biggest work came only after she turned 21. Narendra Kusnur chooses a mix of solo numbers and duets to celebrate her 55 th Birthday
Two female singers made maximum waves during the period between the late 1980s and the end of the 1990s. Both Alka Yagnik and Kavita Krishnamurthy had a string of hits, and were also very prolific with the number of songs they sang.
Alka celebrates her 55th birthday on March 20. And though she started young, having a hit in Laawaris as a 15-year-old, her biggest work came only after she turned 21. A large chunk comprised duets with Udit Narayan and Kumar Sanu, the two biggest male singers of the 1990s.
Here, we choose a mix of solo numbers and duets, rounding off in the year 2000. The list is chronological.
1. Mere Angane Mein – Laawaris (1981)
Though this song was known for its male version sung by and filmed on Amitabh Bachchan, the female rendition by 15-year-old Alka was admired too. Picturised on Raakhee and Amjad Khan, it had music by Kalyanji-Anandji, with Anjaan writing, “Mere angane mein tumhara kya kaam hai, jo hai naam waala wohi toh badnaam hai”.
2. Gazab Ka Hai Yeh Din – Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak (1988)
The film marked a turning point for Alka’s career as she teamed up with the new Udit Narayan on some melodious duets. Featuring Aamir Khan and Juhi Chawla in the woods, this one was composed by Anand-Milind. Veteran lyricist Majrooh Sultanpuri wrote simple lines like, “Tum ho akele, hum bhi akele, mazaa aa raha hai, kasam se”.
3. Ek Do Teen – Tezaab (1988)
The song shot Madhuri Dixit to superstardom and has remained one of Alka’s biggest hits. Javed Akhtar wrote, “Tera karoon din gin gin ke intezaar, aaja piya aayee bahaar” with Laxmikant-Pyarelal composing the music. Saroj Khan’s choreography set new trends, and the tune was a rage in its time.
4. Tu Shayar Hai – Saajan (1991)
Another hugely popular number, this was also filmed on Madhuri Dixit, with Sanjay Dutt watching. Nadeem-Shravan had by then moved up the popularity charts, and Alka did a fantastic job. Sameer wrote, “Tu shayar hai, main teri shayari, tu aashiq hai, main teri aashiqui, tujhe milne ko dil karta hai, o mere saajna”.
5. Ghunghat Ki Aad Se – Hum Hai Raahi Pyar Ke (1993)
Alka has had some remarkable duets with Kumar Sanu, including this one filmed on Aamir Khan and Juhi Chawla in a tourist locale. Nadeem-Shravan teamed up with Sameer, who wrote, “Dilbar ki aad se dilbar ka deedaar adhura rehta hai, jab tak na pade aashiq ki nazar, singaar adhura rehta hai”.
6. Baazigar O Baazigar – Baazigar (1993)
Arzoo Lucknawi wrote the lines, “O mera dil tha akela, tu ne khel aisa khela, teri yaad mein jaagoon raat bhar, baazigar o baazigar, tu hai bada jaadugar”. Music was by Anu Malik, who made a comeback of sorts, with Sanu joining Alka. Kajol and Shah Rukh Khan appeared on screen.
7. Kuch Kuch Hota Hai/ Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (1998)
Shah Rukh Khan, Kajol and Rani Mukherji appeared in this song depicting a three-way relationship. Alka and Udit sang Sameer’s lines, “Tum paas aaye, yun muskuraye, tumne na jaane kya sapne dikhaye, ab toh mera dil, jaage na sota hai, kya karoon haaye, kuch kuch hota hai”. Music was by Jatin-Lalit.
8. Taal Se Taal Mila – Taal (1999)
Another Alka favourite, with Udit joining beautifully in the duet. Filmed on Aishwarya Rai and Akshaye Khanna, the tune was composed by A.R. Rahman, who was at his peak those days. Anand Bakshi, a regular with filmmaker Subhash Ghai, wrote the lyrics, with the lines “Aaja sanwariya aa aa aa aa, taal se taal mila” becoming a singalong favourite.
9. Is Deewane Ladke Ko – Sarfarosh (1999)
A playful love song by Alka for Sonali Bendre, this had Aamir Khan reciting dialogues in the middle. Music was by Jatin-Lalit, and Sameer’s words began, “Is deewane ladke ko koi samjhaye, pyar mohabbat se na jaane kyun yeh ghabraaye, dard-e-dil, jaane na, paas main jitna aaoon, utni door yeh jaaye, jaaye haan jaaye”.
10. Panchchi Nadiya Pawan Ke Jhonkhe – Refugee (2000)
The debut film of Abhishek Bachchan and Kareena Kapoor had some great songs by Anu Malik. On this song, Javed Akhtar wrote intense lines like, “Panchchi nadiya pawan ke jhonkhe, koi sarhad na inhe roke; Sarhad insanon ke liye hain, socho tumne aur maine kya paaya insaan hoke”. Alka was joined by Sonu Nigam in this wonderful duet.
As we stepped into the 2000s, the Hindi film music scenario changed with the entry of newer music directors and singers. The younger Shreya Ghoshal and Sunidhi Chauhan blossomed, and the older singers started getting fewer offers. Yet, earlier songs by Alka and Kavita continued to be popular and make it to playlists even today.