Woo-hoo! Karan Johar songs! The perfect happy escape. And not an over-whelming number of them either, so I think we can rank them all, don’t you? Especially because I am removing My Name is Khan since I don’t like throwing something that real in with the other stuff, feels disrespectful to victims of hate crimes, you know? So, Karan Johar songs, but with MNIK removed!
Songs! Karan seems to be on the higher side of things on the involvement scale for directors with songs. He has choreographers, they help with the concepts and all that stuff, but Karan is there too. You can see that with the songs themselves, the straight line from “Kuch Kuch Hota Hai” to “Ishq Wala Love”.
Looking at this list, mostly I am putting the older songs higher. I don’t think that is because he is getting worse though or anything like that. I think it’s more that films aren’t being allowed to make space for songs any more. So where back in the 90s and early 2000s he got to have this nice long 5 minute song concepts, he’s a bit limited now. But still, SO GOOD!!!
So complicated! Emotional journeys all of the place, 6 major stars in one song, gorgeous costumes, gorgeous sets, so many different cameras all over the place, I doubt he will ever achieve something as spectacular as this song.
For me, the most successful emotional journey song, that feeling of secret love and freedom and happiness, just doing regular things but having them feel magical.
Well this is just a blast! Fun song with more complicated set up than appears (4 separate lead dancers, each with their own section, same set). The sign of a good song, you can watch it again and again and not get bored.
Ae Dil Hai Mushkil
Okay, stay with me here! It’s not as spectacular as the other three songs, and that’s the point. It’s just Ranbir singing, and the camera slowly moving in to his face. That’s a really hard take to do technically, and even harder to do it and make the audience stay interested.
Kuch Kuch Hota Hai
Such a cute song! Not quite as groundbreaking as the others, your usual love song in fields, but Karan does some cool stuff with contrasting Kajol and Rani and Shahrukh. And of course, the performances sell it to a whole new level.
Deewana Hai Dekho
Kind of a rambling song, taking the dancers here and there and everywhere. But Hrithik’s dancing is so spectacular, and the Kareena-Hrithik chemistry is so perfect, it’s works.
You Are My Soniya
This one is tightly focused, Hrithik and Kareena having their love duet, but a totally different modern “cool” love duet, unrelated to all the previous “college dance” kind of song numbers.
Suraj Hua Madham
Egypt! And Romance!
Saajanji Ghar Aaye
Salman’s big surprise intro! And just a fun big song, with some little bits intercut of Shahrukh. Those intercuts are harder than they look, since you have to keep the song moving at the same time.
Kabhi Alvida Naa Khena
Your standard montage song, but just a little bit better than other montage songs.
Koi Mil Gaya
So fun! So happy! So silly! Perfectly capturing the sense of half comic book/half real of the college part of the film.
Yeh Ladke Hai Deewana
A fun song, but not quite perfect in the college feel as Koi Mil Gaya
Tujhe Yaad Na Meri Aa
A bit tonally odd, to have a happy love song intercut with a tragic song. But Karan just barely manages to pull it off.
Ladki Badi Anjani Hai
The camp song! With some clever intercutting of the past visions of Shahrukh and Kajol. But kind of static cameras and stuff.
Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham
Not a lot happening in this song, we are just meeting the cast of characters, but it is just so gorgeous!
Say Shava Shava
More happening in this song than in K3G, but less beautiful.
A very simple song, not that impressive in filming, and almost cut short. But still such a perfect capturing of a feeling.
Tumhi Dekho Naa
A standard love song montage, but the way the color theme is woven in, especially with the extras costumes in the background is just perfect.
Yeh Ladki Hai Allah
Fun party song, nothing really special about it, although it is good.
And now he is getting silly! It’s the comic feeling of KKHH, but even more so. A better done song than the earlier ones, but less heart.
The Disco Song
So many people dancing! But such quick edits, and the emotional moments didn’t quite land.
Rock ‘n Roll Soniye
A lot of emotional stuff flying in this song, but the tune isn’t quite right for it, and the story part isn’t quite right either.
Where’s the Party Tonight?
This is just weird. Night club song intercut with serious sex song?
The Breakup Song
Fun, silly, nothing serious. Karan playing around with the idea of a silent disco.
Ishq Wala Love
This song is so stupid, it has to be a spoof of his earlier love triangle songs. It takes KKHH, and makes it silly.
Fawad is there, and he is cute. And it’s always nice to see a wedding song. But again, feels a bit short and not that special.
This could have been a really great club song, if only Varun could dance.
Just an odd concept for a song, more about moving the plot forward than anything else, no emotion and no real fun to it.
Sex montage! And hard rock. And somehow it doesn’t feel right for Karan.