It’s that time of the year, y’all! Unleash those folksy outfits and stand around in a circle because… Navratri celebrations have begun. Navratri, or as the young Gujarati boys and girls call it — mating season — is a celebration of nine nights of non-stop music (featuring generous auto-tune) and energetic dance.
To help you get into the groove for everything between the free-flowing garba moves to high-intensity dandiya steps, here’s the most comprehensive playlist to kick-start the festivities:
1. Paree hoon main – Suneeta Rao
Suneeta Rao’s fabulous indie-pop song was a big hit, when it released in the late 90s. And the song has somehow never escaped the zeitgeist, thanks to these annual Navratri celebrations. Leslie Lewis’s sublime production of the song ensures that the song is still as ethereal and haunting, as it was in 1997.
2. Dholi taro dhol baaje – Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam
Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s blockbuster movie set the ball rolling on Hindi cinema’s most high-profile dandiya celebration with the help of Salman Khan and Aishwarya Rai. Grandly mounted and featuring Ismail Darbar’s earthy arrangement for the song, it obviously became and has remained one of the favourites.
3. Maine payal hai chhankai – Falguni Pathak
The undisputed queen of Mumbai’s dandiya raas, Pathak gained peak-fame through a string of singles that catered directly to the nine-day festivities. A lot many upcoming leading actresses began by starring in music videos by Falguni Pathak.
4. Yaad piya ki – Falguni Pathak
The beginning of Riya Sen (daughter of Moon Moon Sen), this song wasn’t just a big hit for Pathak herself, but also delivered the singer’s most iconic steps in the 90s pop culture.
5. Shubhaarambh – Kai Po Che
Operating on home turf, Amit Trivedi delivered arguably the finest Dandiya raas song to have come out of Hindi cinema. The qualitative dissonance between Shruti Pathak and Divya Kumar’s vocals lent an interesting texture, with Trivedi’s top-notch production being the cherry on top of this outstanding song.
6. Nagada sang dhol baaje – Goliyon Ki Rasleela: Ramleela
Sanjay Bhansali can be a joy to watch, especially when left to his devices. Coming back to the Dandiya roots after more than a decade, the screen came to life with the exquisitely designed production of this song.
7. Udi udi jaaye – Raees
Shah Rukh Khan’s turn of a Gujarati Scarface obviously needed to have this song to establish Khan’s character as a ‘family man’. The song, composed by Ram Sampath, captured the celebratory spirit of the festival.
8. Chogada tara – Loveyatri
Aayush Sharma’s leading man debut featured this catchy song, that sounded vaguely similar to ‘O Sheronwaali’ from Amitabh Bachchan-starrer, Suhaag. The song from the 1979 movie, which is a staple during Navratri celebration has now been reborn as Chogada Tara and its flamingo steps.
9. Dholida – Loveyatri
Another song from Aayush Sharma’s much-panned debut film that was set around the nine days of festivities, it had the catchy melody and the right amount of dhols to get even the reluctant dancers to tap their feet.
10. Radhe radhe – Dream Girl
Ayushmann Khurrana’s most unabashed attempt at doing the Hindi-film-ka-hero routine led to this song, where the usually subtle actor can be seen dancing with abandon.
Bring it on, boys and girls!