Bollywood changes every year, updating its stories, its fashion, and its sound. But we can’t forget about the good old classic films. Sure, there are some awesome films these days, but you just can’t beat the classics. It’s time to give some love to the songs that have stood the test of time. These tunes paved the way for the future of Bollywood to come.
Right here, we’ve put together a list of the 45 best old Bollywood songs that we can’t forget. If you’re in the mood for some classics, then you’ve come to the right place.
1. Awaara Hoon – Awaara
Also known as The Vagabond, this amazing film from 1951 is a crime drama brought to us by the great Raj Kapoor. This is one of the movies that shaped Bollywood as we know it today. The lighthearted musical themes mixed with serious topics created a delightful, meaningful experience that audiences fell in love with instantly. Awaara Hoon has a fun, almost playful rhythm and melody. Bollywood aficionados shouldn’t miss this one.
2. Hum To Tere Aashiq Hain – Farz
In 1967, the spy thriller film Farz came out, entertaining us all with the story of Secret Agent 116. Though this is definitely a Bond-inspired film, it is actually a remake of a movie from the year before, called Gudachari 116. Listening to the fabulous Lata Mangeshkar sing this romantic song is one of the highlights of the movie. Because what would a spy movie be without a good love story?
3. Tere Jaisa Yaar Kahan – Yaarana
Let’s not forget the impact the 1980s had on Bollywood. They might not have been in black and white, but the best of these films had a lot to say about where the industry was going. Yaarana came out in 1981. Amjad Khan stars in this film about friendship, where he plays one of his only non-antagonistic roles. But it’s Kishore Kumar who sings Tere Jaisa Yaar Kahan, which audiences still can’t stop humming to themselves today.
4. Jaaneman Jaaneman Tere Do Nayan – Chhoti Se Baat
While we’re looking at different retro contributions, the 1970s also had a lot to offer. This 1976 film is considered one of the greatest comedies of the entire decade. It’s actually a remake of the British film from 1960, School For Scoundrels, and it was an unrivaled success. If you remember the song Jaaneman Jaaneman Tere Do Nayan, then chances are you have a smile on your face right now.
5. Udein Jab Jab Zulfen Teri – Naya Daur
B. R. Chopra directed this 1957 sports drama that won the Filmfare Award for Best Actor. It became the second highest-grossing film in India in the entire decade. Suffice to say, this is a classic for a reason. Udein Jab Jab Zulfen Teri is one of the most memorable tunes in the film, sung by Mohammed Rafi and Asha Bhosle.
6. O Mere Dil Ke Chain – Mere Jeevan Saathi
Audiences could not get enough of Rajesh Khanna in the 1960s and 1970s, and this 1972 gem delivered. O Mere Dil Ke Chain is still a romantic favorite today, sung by Kishore Kumar, one of the greatest Bollywood singers who has ever lived.
7. Badan Pe Sitare Lapete Huye – Prince
When you are in the mood for the best of the Indian 1960s vibe, this is what you should watch. Prince has it all: fashion, hair, music, and a romantic, slow-burn storyline. Released at the end of the decade in 1969, it was verified as a Super Hit at Box Office India. Was there ever any doubt?
8. Jumma Chumma De De – Hum
We can’t ignore the impact of the 1990s, either. Hum came out in 1991 and represented a whole new generation of Bollywood filmmakers. It dominated talk at the Filmfare Awards that year, pulling in a staggering six nominations and winning three of those. Jumma Chumma De De is a high-energy song that won Best Choreography. Reminiscent of Footloose in many ways, the dancing in this ensemble performance is unforgettable.
9. Ek Pyar Ka Nagma Hai – Shor
If you’re in the mood for a tear-jerker, turn to Shor. This family drama from 1972 is the heartbreaking story of a father and son who always seem to be on the wrong end of fate. Ek Pyar Ka Nagma Hai will definitely get those tears flowing. At the Filmfare Awards, this movie picked up one win and six other nominations, including Best Lyricist for this song.
10. Kabhi Kabhie Mere Dil Mein – Kabhi Kabhie
The title of this film, in English, means “Sometimes,” but this song will always be considered the lyricist’s masterpiece work. It’s based on a poem that was originally written in literary Urdu, but the lyrics were brought to a more comfortable level for a wide audience in the film. It’s a beautiful song from 1976 that truly demonstrates the musical art that is possible in Bollywood.
11. Piya Tu Ab To Aaja – Caravan
In 1953, a low-budget film called Girl On The Run came out to lackluster praise. In 1971, Nasir Hussain directed Caravan, which was loosely inspired by the other film. This time, the movie did much better. It’s still considered one of the highest-grossing films in India—ever. Piya Tu Ab To Aaja has a memorable, breathy singing style that made the song an instant hit.
12. Gulabi Aankhen – The Train
The Train is a 1970 remake of the 1967 film Cochin Express. It’s a fun thriller and romance movie with an excellent cast and soundtrack. Gulabi Aankhen is performed by the fan-favorite Mohammed Rafi, whose voice lends a familiar sweetness to the lyrics.
13. Tere Bina Zindagi Se – Aandhi
Here’s a film that made headlines, but not for the usual reason. This movie was temporarily banned in 1975 due to rumors it was based on Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, who at the time had a well-known complicated situation with her husband. The Model Election Code of Conduct banned the film and claimed this movie could damage the reputation of the Congress party. Perhaps because of this controversy, audiences could not wait to see Aandhi, and it went on to win Best Film at the Filmfare Awards. The lyricist earned the Best Lyricist nomination for the song Tere Bina Zindagi Se.
14. Wada Karo Nahi Chodoge – Aa Gale Lag Jaa
This box office hit from 1973 is a romantic favorite. Wada Karo Nahi Chodoge was composed by R. D. Burman, and the lyricist was Sahir Ludhianvi. This sweet duet features excellent instrumentation and choreography.
15. Jab Koi Baat Bigad Jaye – Jurm
In 1990, Mahesh Bhatt directed this remake of the 1987 film Someone To Watch Over Me, and it was a success. Both leading actors received Filmfare Award nominations for their performances. Jab Koi Baat Bigad Jaye is a remake as well. American folk music fans will recognize the melody from the popular 1960s tune Five Hundred Miles.
16. Lag Jaa Gale – Woh Kaun Thi?
In English, the title means “Who Was She?” This 1964 thriller film captured audiences with both its story and its soundtrack alike. Lata Mangeshkar performs Lag Jaa Gale beautifully, and it’s considered one of her defining recordings. The singer even counted it among her favorite songs.
17. In Ankhon Ki Masti – Umrao Jaan
This film from 1981 features some of the most beautiful clothes and settings of the era. In Ankhon Ki Masti is a compelling and seductive song by a courtesan, sung by Asha Bhosle, whose voice is well known from Bollywood films of that time. Both the leading actress, Rekha, and Bhosle won National Film Awards for their performances in this film.
18. Roop Tera Mastana – Aradhana
Released in 1969, this romantic drama won Best Film and the Filmfare Awards. It stars Rajesh Khanna, who was a box-office hit during that era. The story is based on a film from 1946 called To Each His Own. Roop Tera Mastana was filmed in one take. The singer is, of course, Kishore Kumar, who was a superstar playback artist of the time.
19. Mere Samne Wali Khidki Mein – Padosan
Fans of musical comedies love Padosan. It’s a lighthearted romp that is fully rooted in the 1960s, with all the fun that entails. This 1968 release stars Kishore Kumar, who does his own singing. Much of the film was shot in the beautiful Brindavan Gardens, which were built in the 1920s and 1930s. It’s a fantastic backdrop for this gorgeous film that brings a smile to everyone’s face. Mere Samne Wali Khidki Mein is performed by Kumar, much to fans’ delight.
20. Jaane Kahan Mera Jigar Gaya Ji – Mr. & Mrs. 55
Released in 1955, this romantic comedy is a definite classic. Time Out listed it among the 100 Best Bollywood movies of all time. Mohammed Rafi and Geeta Dutt performed Jaane Kahan Mera Jigar Gaya Ji, one of the most entertaining tunes in the entire film.
21. Pal Pal Dil Ke Paas – Blackmail
You shouldn’t miss the 1973 thriller by Vijay Anand if you want to experience the best of Bollywood history. Kishore Kumar’s performance of Pal Pal Dil Ke Paas is widely considered one of the best of his entire career—and that’s saying something.
22. Neele Neele Ambar Par – Kalaakaar
Here’s another great film from the 1980s that all Bollywood fans need on their list of top movies. P. Sambasiva Rao directed this one in 1983 as a remake of the 1982 film Payanagal Mudivathillai. It wasn’t a box office hit, but the soundtrack, with—you guessed it—Kishore Kumar, was not to be missed. Audiences particularly loved Neele Neele Ambar Par.
23. Raat Baaki Baat Baaki – Namak Halaal
Prakash Mehra directed this 1982 genre-crossing film, with music by Bappi Lahiri and lyrics by Anjaan. It was a fantastic success at the box office. The amazing Kishore Kumar won a Filmfare Award for Best Male Playback Singer for his work on one of the songs, and Lahiri and Asha Bhosle thrilled audiences with their performances of Raat Baaki Baat Baaki.
24. Chura Liya Hai Tumne Jo Dil Ko – Yaadon ki Baaraat
This 1973 genre-crossing film was directed by Nasir Hussain and is considered today to be one of the most influential pieces of Bollywood from that era. Composer R. D. Burman created an unforgettable soundtrack that includes Chura Liya Hai Tumne Jo Dil Ko, sung by Bollywood superstars Mohammed Rafi and Asha Bhosle.
25. Pyar Kiya To Darna Kya – Mughal-e-Azam
In English, this song’s title means “Why fear when in love?” Released in 1960, filming the sequence for this song was notably expensive and difficult, as the filmmakers’ vision was challenging to create. The result, however, was phenomenal.
26. Aye Mere Zohra Jabeen – Waqt
Yash Chopra directed this 1965 drama. It was one of the first Bollywood films to feature an all-star cast, and the choice created a trend that many films to follow picked up on. Manna Dey sings Aye Mere Zohra Jabeen, and the film won a Filmfare Award for Best Director.
27. Mere Sapno Ki Rani – Aradhana
This 1969 track from Aradhana became a smash hit in India when it came out. Performed by none other than Kishore Kumar, it is known for its romantic tension and beautiful vocals.
28. Likhe Jo Khat Tujhe – Kanyadaan
This 1968 film wasn’t afraid to tackle serious topics. It faced child marriage head-on and told the story of two people who are forced into a marriage that isn’t right for them. Likhe Jo Khat Tujhe is performed by Mohammed Rafi, with lyrics by Gopaldas Neeraj.
29. Ek Do Teen – Tezaab
Action films experienced a surge in popularity in the 1980s, and Tezaab is one of the best. Released in 1988, this movie earned 12 Filmfare Award nominations, and it took home four trophies. Ek Do Teen was performed by Amit Kumar and Alka Yagnik.
30. Gaata Rahe Mera Dil – Guide
This 1965 romantic drama is based on the 1958 novel, The Guide by R.K. Narayan. It did well upon release and has remained known as one of the greatest Bollywood films ever made. Best Film, Best Actor, Best Actress, and four other awards came home with this one from the Filmfare Awards. Time magazine placed this film fourth in a list of Best Bollywood Classics. Gaata Rahe Mera Dil was performed by Kishore Kumar and Lata Mangeshkar.
31. Yeh Dosti Hum Nahin – Sholay
It took nearly three years to film Sholay, which finally came out in 1975. This action-adventure film has a distinct “western” feel and has sometimes been referred to as a “Curry Western.” The excessive violence has sometimes divided audiences about whether this is a masterpiece. However, the song Yeh Dosti Hum Nahin, performed by Kishore Kumar and Manna Dey, is a timeless classic.
32. Ajib Dastan Hai Yeh – Dil Apna Aur Preet Parai
Shankar–Jaikishan wrote the music for this 1960 romantic drama, and the song Ajib Dastan Hai Yeh became an instant hit. The film went on to win a Filmfare Award for Best Music Director.
33. Pyar Hua Iqrar Hua – Shree 420
Interestingly, the term “420” in India refers to Section 420 of the nation’s laws that punish fraud. Whereas “420” in other countries often refers to a different crime, here it refers to a person who is a fraud. This 1955 film was a major success. The song Pyar Hua Iqrar Hua was performed by the great Lata Mangeshkar and Manna Dey, with lyrics by Shailendra.
34. Tera Mujhse Hai Pehle Naata Koi – Aa Gale Lag Jaa
It’s impossible to choose only one song from this fantastic film. We’re looking at Aa Gale Lag Jaa again, this time for Tera Mujhse Hai Pehle Naata Koi, which earned Poornima a Filmfare Award nomination for Best Female Playback Singer.
35. Sar Jo Tera Chakraye – Pyaasa
Guru Dutt produced and directed this 1957 drama about a poet. It only makes sense, then, that the songs and lyrics offer beautiful experiences for the audience. Sar Jo Tera Chakraye is performed by the super-talented Mohammed Rafi, making this great track even greater.
36. Chookar Mere Mann Ko – Yaarana
This is another one where we can’t pick just one song. Yaarana made such good use of Kishore Kumar that it stands as one of the best films to demonstrate his incredible talent.
37. Yeh Reshmi Zulfen – Do Raaste
The title of this 1969 blockbuster means, in English, “Two Paths.” It’s a great story about class conflicts and tensions. Sung by the great Mohammed Rafi, Yeh Reshmi Zulfen is one of the best hits of this film.
38. Intaha Ho Gai Intezar Ki – Sharaabi
Prakash Mehra directed this comedy and drama film in 1984, and Bappi Lahiri composed the music. Loosely inspired by the hit comedy film Arthur, this movie did great with audiences. Intaha Ho Gai Intezar Ki was performed by Kishore Kumar and Asha Bhosle, virtually guaranteeing success.
39. Rang Barse – Silsila
Amitabh Bachchan sang this song in the 1981 hit, Silsila. It’s actually a popular folk song in India, but it got a cinematic adaptation here that audiences loved. This beloved folk song recording became a favorite even among those who don’t care for films because of its local history.
40. Goom Hai Kisi Ke Pyar Mein – Raampur ka Lakshman
Ever heard of Kishore Kumar? Of course, you have. He’s the top name on nearly all classic Bollywood tracks, and this is no different. He performed Goom Hai Kisi Ke Pyar Mein with Lata Mangeshkar in this 1972 romantic drama.
41. Jai Jai Shiv Shankar – Aap Ki Kasam
This 1990 film was a great hit with audiences, not least because of its soundtrack. Check out this song to really see what we mean.
42. Mere Haathon Mein – Chandni
This 1989 romantic musical was produced and directed by Yash Chopra. The great Lata Mangeshkar performs Mere Haathon Mein, which is one of her most stellar performances out of quite a few classic Bollywood tracks.
43. Khaike Paan Banaraswala – Don
Kishore Kumar lent his voice once again to this action thriller from 1978. It is non-stop excitement, Bollywood style. He’s the singer on the popular Khaike Paan Banaraswala track, and you can also hear the amazing Asha Bhosle in this film.
44. Jawani Jan-E-man – Namak Halaal
The 1980s was a great time for genre-crossing films, and Namak Halaal is one of our favorites. That’s why we can’t choose just one song from this blockbuster hit. Asha Bhosle performed the fantastic song, Jawani Jan-E-Man.
45. Abhi Na Jaao Chhod Kar – Hum Dono
We end our list with a true classic from 1961, which was so beloved that it got colorized in a re-release for its 50th anniversary in 2011. Abhi Na Jaao Chhod Kar will melt even an unromantic person’s heart.
As the Head Editor and Writer at Music Grotto, Liam helps write and edit content produced from professional music/media journalists and other contributing writers. He works closely with journalists and other staff to format and publish music content for the Music Grotto website. Liam is also the founding member of Music Grotto and is passionate in disseminating editorial content to its readers.
Liam’s lifelong love for music makes his role at Music Grotto such a rewarding one. He loves researching, writing and editing music content for Music Grotto.