Happy Birthday Sonu Nigam! 30 Songs to Show I Love You!

How is this the first time I remembered to celebrate Sonu’s birthday?  Oh well, to make up for it, I will do 30 songs, to match his birth date of July 30th.

1.I love you because you came from Harayana, son of a working performer, more of a hardscrabble backstory than most playback singers.

2. I love you because you weren’t an overnight success, came to Bombay at 18 and worked and waited to get noticed.

3. I love you because you sang at the inauguration of Harvard’s first female president, which is very cool and random.

4. And now, songs!  The love song from Refugee, surprisingly catchy with a surprisingly good performance from Abhishek and Kareena in their first movie.

 

5. This is a movie, and a song, that has been almost entirely forgotten by everyone else, but I just love it.  The song that is, I’ve never seen the movie, “Pehli Baar” from Jungle.

 

6.  Both of those were kind of small love duets, but you can also do the big popular hero songs, like “Aisa Pehli Baar Hua” from Har Dil Jo Pyar Karoge.

 

7.  Just to show you can go slow as well, how about “Khamoshiyan Gungane Lage” from One 2 Ka 4?

 

8.  Okay, all of this are nice ones that I like but not super famous.  Let’s do a super famous one, title song of Rehnaa Hai Tere Dil Main.

 

9. Another 2001 romance classic, “You Are My Soniya” from Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham.

 

10. Those were kind of pop hits, but he also managed the trickier Rahman-style songs.  Like the title song from Saathiya.

 

11. So long as we are talking Viviek, let’s check out another one of those lessor know Sonu songs that Margaret loves, “Jeena” from Dum.

 

12.  And another one, just a delightful song that everyone I have played it for has fallen in love with it as well.  “Meri Zindagi Main Aaye Ho” from Armaan.

 

13.  That’s been a whole lot of duets, because that’s what most Hindi film songs are.  Let’s look at a rare solo, and a really good one.  “Gumshuda” from Chalte Chalte.

 

14. I just did one that everyone would know, so forgive me for picking another obscure one just for me.  “Sapney” from Ssssh, a completely unmemorable movie with a really great soundtrack!

 

15.  Here’s one that was popular and all that, but I didn’t realize Sonu did it.  It doesn’t have that “Sonu Nigam” song sound.  Which is impressive, that he has that kind of range.  “Piyu Bole” from Parineeta.

 

16.  Another one without that “Sonu” sound, but just a beautiful song.  “Dheere Jalna” from Paheli.

 

17.  Okay, forgive me, I have to go back to the funky picks because I still have so many!  Like, “I’m in Love” from Neal ‘n Nikki.

 

18.  And “Sun Zara” from Lucky: No Time for Love.

 

19.  Okay, one I love, which is distinctly peppier than the last few.  “Jabse Mere Dil Ko Uff” from Teri Meri Kahaani.

 

20.  And now, just for maximum emotional impact, I will wrench you from the heights to the lows with “Jeena Nahin” from 3 Idiots.

21.   Keep us down low, my favorite song from Agneepath, “Abhi Mujhe”

 

22.  So long as we are doing Hrithik songs, there is also this one, where Sonu manages to capture the same hesitancy in trying to understand what happiness is.  “In Lamho” from Jodha-Akbar.

 

23.  Okay, I’ll wake us up a little with something a bit faster.  Proving that Sonu can do the Punjabi folk sound just as well as the smooth pop sound. “Nagada Nagada” from Jab We Met.

 

24.  Although the classic smooth Sonu sound was pretty good. “Main Agar Kahoon” from Om Shanti Om.

 

25.  Especially when combined with Shahrukh, in everything from “Main Hoon Na”

 

26.  To “Kyon Hawa” from Veer-Zaara.

 

27. Not just Shahrukh, how many singers can say they also sang for Kunal Kapoor and Ranvir Shorey? “Ishq Hua” from Aaja Nachle.

 

28.  Okay, final three!  Really hard to pick, these three are all the most important songs.  For me, for India, and for Sonu himself.  I’ll start with me, because I am least important.  This is possibly my all time favorite song from Hindi film.  “Ajnabi Shehar” from Jaan-E-Mann.

 

29.  And next, most important for Sonu.  His first major break out hit, and an all time classic song, “Sandase Aate Hain”.

 

30.  Finally, most important overall song.  “Kal Ho Na Ho”.

 

 

Now, question, for you which are those 3 final songs?  Most important Sonu song for you, for Sonu’s career, and just overall song?

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35 thoughts on “Happy Birthday Sonu Nigam! 30 Songs to Show I Love You!

  1. RHTDM, Chalte Chalte, KNH are my favorites from your list.
    I liked him first on Zee’s Saregama TV show in ’90s

    He sang very less in Telugu, but my favorites –
    Nindu Noorella Savaasam from Pranam

    Raave Naa Cheliya from Jeans (AR Rahman)

    Anta siddhamgundi from Siddharth’s Konchem Ishtam Konchem Kashtam

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  2. Happy birthday to my favourite and the only one I’m able to recognize playback singer 🙂
    Getting to know his voice is one of the reasons I’m happy I started watching indian films.

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    • I hadn’t thought about him much until I put this post together and realized both that he had song my favorite songs, and that his voice was remarkably smooth and sweet to listen too. Almost so good that you don’t notice it.

      Which is your favorite Sonu song?

      On Mon, Jul 30, 2018 at 8:20 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • Dheere Jalna is my fav, the second ia Suraj hua madham. I have a special sentiment to this song because it was my first Sonu song,and from my first hindi movie ever. I still remember how I felt when I saw/heard it in the cinema.
        My other favourites:
        Kyon Hawa
        Tumhi dekho na (KANK)
        Jeeta Hoon (Haal-E-Dil, did somebody remember this song and movie? BTW this is what I call definitive Sonu sound)
        Satarangi Re
        Dil Ne Ye Kaha Hai Dil Se (Dhadkan)

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        • Suraj Hua Madham was my roommates favorite song in college, and Kyon Hawa was my college best friends favorite song.

          I wish I got to see SHM on the big screen, it’s definitely a song that would really shine that way. Both the big sound coming from the theater speakers, and the big visuals that always look a little squashed on the small screen.

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  3. He did a lot of old albums such as tribute to the old masters like Mohammad Rafi.IIRC HMV released a lot of them back in the early 2000s. And yes, he did a fine job.His technique is out of the world, though I love Shaan’s voice better.The latter did all the remixes of the peppy remixes of the songs from the 70s while Sonu’s range is impressive.

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    • I can’t remember which of these songs it was, but I was listening to it going “wait a minute, how is he going up the scale and down again and still perfect emphasizing the words? How does he DO that????” That’s my particular thing, when singers “cheat” by blurring the words together so it is easier to sing the notes, instead of managing perfect pronunciation along with perfect music.

      On Mon, Jul 30, 2018 at 9:07 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  4. I thought Dheere Jalna from Paheli IS the definitive Sonu sound! Or at least the kind of song I most associate with Sonu. I also love Tanhayee from Dil Chahta Hai, and (dear lord) the title song of Tera Jadu Chal Gaya. I remember there was a time on all the reality singing shows (eg SaReGaMa) when literally every male contestant would sing Sonu songs week after week after week. There was no better way to demonstrate your range and skill than take a Sonu song and knock it out of the park.

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    • He did Tanhayee? I love Tanhayee!!!! And it’s kind of hard to find, since it doesn’t really have a music video, not like the other DCH songs.

      And Dheere Jalna was the one I was trying to remember where I was so impressed by how he balanced the requirement on singing each word clearly and with correct depth of feeling, while also roaming up and down the scale and changing tempo. It would have been so easy to just focus on the notes and not worry about the words.

      On Mon, Jul 30, 2018 at 9:20 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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        • Or the qawwali from Main Hoon Naa. Anybody else would have sounded like they were yelling (at the higher notes). Sonu sounds so melodious and yet full of energy.

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      • Came back to say nobody else could have sung Tanhayee. Only Sonu. As skilled as the other Bollywood singers are, if I hear a male voice doing THAAAATTTTTT, I know it has to be Sonu. Yet another example of what I consider the Sonu sound.

        Sure, he sang a lot of sweet love songs, but so did a lot of others. But this??? The solos – which made you go HOLY $HIT that’s unbelievable skill??? Only Sonu.

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        • Most of his work is from a time when the singer had to carry the song. Which he did and how!!

          The composer would come up with the sthayi and the antara (stanza), and that was it. It was up to the singer to make each antara sound different and keep up the listener’s interest throughout the – 5 minute – song.

          That’s no longer the case. There are very few songs any more with each antara being the same composition. We do have great singers even today, but they have a slightly different skill set. Technical complexity, or singing with ‘gamak’ which was Sonu’s forte – and to some extent Udit Narayan’s – is harder to find.

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          • Maybe that’s why I can recognize Arijit. Am I right that he can still do that? I can think of so many Arijit songs where it is repetitive but not.

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          • To a small extent. Not like Sonu or Udit. As in, not that much complex warbling. A little bit here and there to make it sound different each time. But yeah, he might be the only one left.

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    • – Suraj hua Maddham (K3G)
      – Satrangi Re (Dil Se) which I thought was very unusual for Sonu at the time, and very well done nevertheless
      – The qawwali from Main Hoon Na
      – Kismat Se Tum (Pukar). Holy $hit what an amazing job! I can’t wait to get done with work so I can listen to all these amazing songs.

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      • Suraj Hua Madham feels like the “typical” Sonu song, for me at least. I think of his voice with these big sugar sweet sweeping ballads. I was amazed when I put this post together just what kind of a range he has in terms of the kinds of songs he can sing. Folk to party to love ballad and everything in between.

        It must be so much fun for composers to work with him, knowing he can do anything they throw at him.

        On Mon, Jul 30, 2018 at 9:25 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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        • He did Guzarish too???? He did every good song!!!! Of course, on Udit Narayan’s birthday I will probably end up feeling the same way.

          On Mon, Jul 30, 2018 at 9:30 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • Seriously! He did work on nearly every good song!

            If you listen to Do Pal Ruka, you’ll know what I mean by the Sonu sound (or my version of it). It’s very similar to what he did with Dheere Jalna. He was the go-to singer for songs of this kind….and now that he’s stepped back, nobody is making these songs any more.

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  5. Ye dil deewana from pardes the fav Sonu song till now.
    What range and emotions .
    Samdese aate hai the 2nd fav song and his most important.
    Can’t select 3rd there are so so many.
    But abhi mujhme kahi wins for me but closelubfollowed by guzaarish

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    • Glad to know I’m not the only one with a soft spot for Abhi Mujhme Kahin.

      I love Yeh Dil Deewana too, such energy in it, and power in the voice, it really feels like he is shouting down his emotions.

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  6. Sonu is such a wonderful singer. Agree with RK above that we don’t have such singers any more nor songs that stand the test of time. And yes Tera Jadoo Chal Gaya was the song we used to try play-sing to see how far one can go without breaking the voice. Love all of Sonu’s song. Abhi Mujhme Kahi, Sun Zara Soniye are so sublime & emotional. Phew, talking about them makes me want to hear them.

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    • It took me an extra long time to put this post together, because I kept stopping to watch/listen the videos in full, instead of just putting in the links without watching all the way through like I usually do.

      On Mon, Jul 30, 2018 at 12:43 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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