Karan Johar Week: Let’s Rank Karan Johar Songs!

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!!!

Bole Chudiyan

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.

Mitwa

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.

Radha

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.

Channa Mere

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.

Kukkad

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.

Cutie Pie

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.

Vele

This could have been a really great club song, if only Varun could dance.

Ratta Maar

Just an odd concept for a song, more about moving the plot forward than anything else, no emotion and no real fun to it.

Bulleya

Sex montage! And hard rock. And somehow it doesn’t feel right for Karan.

18 thoughts on “Karan Johar Week: Let’s Rank Karan Johar Songs!

  1. Too many songs to rank all, but I’ll just do my top 10 favourites:

    1. Yeh Ladki Hai Allah – my favourite, so much flirting, addictive tune too
    2. Channa Mereya – my go-to sad song and so beautiful
    3. Radha – fun, so much fun!
    4. Cutie Pie – Fawad, and the undercurrent of bottled feelings of Ranbir in it all and really my aesthetic loving self just loves it all
    5. Saajanji Ghar Aaye – Actually legally on YouTube (I read the KKHH watch along for it, was asleep, otherwise I would have joined) and so much fun!

    6. Bole Chudiyaan – so many things all at the same time! It’s long, but by no means boring
    7. Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham – like the above
    8. The Break – Up Song – fun and motivational as well
    9. Kal Ho Naa Ho – heartbreaking and yet also uplifting, quite a song to pull off
    10. Ae Dil Hai Mushkil – a lot of feeling and it works well in and out of the film

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    • Look at that! You were the opposite of me, put his recent films more on the top than his older ones. His aesthetic sense definitely got better, in terms of pure visuals no comparison between ADHM and KKHH. I just go more for the emotion and big groups of dancers and long song, I think.

      On Sun, May 24, 2020 at 12:10 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • Well, my interest in India cinema started in the early 2010s so it makes sense since I would see his more recent stuff rather than the old ones. Heck, my hatred for Little Anjali kept me from seeing KKHH for such a long time, now she is much easier after seeing it a couple more times. And another good side, so many wedding songs as my favourites – so if I’m invited to an Indian wedding at least I’ll be prepared!

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  2. Radha is the ultimate for me, I think I’ve mentioned that in previous posts.

    A lot of these I look at musically. Ladki Badi Anajani Hai is so criminally underrated in my opinion. The crooning chorus is so easy to get stuck in your head, and I love when movie musicals call back to other songs, so the callback to the title track at the end gets me every time. Same with the remixed Ishq Wala Love in The Disco Song, but the song as a whole isn’t as standout.

    I think in terms of a comprehensive sountrack, K3G wins. There’s really something for everyone. Video wise, I say Bole Chudiyan and You Are My Soniya top, but I always go back to Yeh Ladki Hai Allah because it’s so sweet. Idk why Suraj Hua Maddam always puts me on edge. The scale of it is incredible, but the song is so all over the place, aside from that musical callback, I always find myself skipping it in my playlists.

    Unpopular opinion I guess, as a song, Bulleya is INCREDIBLE. Really fits the mood of the movie at that point, and I LOVE the male vocal. I feel like Bollywood is missing such an incredible opportunity with rock music. I haven’t seen Rockstar, so the only other pure rock song I can think of is Jee Karda from Badlapur, which is also great. And I still haven’t seen or listened to KANK, so I can’t speak for those.

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    • You have gotten me wanting to revisit these songs! And I thought nothing would get me interested in Bulleya again.

      I can say that I have a similar edgy feel with Suraj Hua Madham. All the other songs, those are just okay, and I can enjoy rewatching them, but somehow Suraj doesn’t work for me. I always thought it was the unflattering see through shirts, but maybe it is the music!

      On Mon, May 25, 2020 at 5:36 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  3. “Yeh Ladki Hai Allah- Fun party song, nothing really special about it, although it is good.”
    Yep, that’s my favorite, I refuse to believe there is nothing really special about it. There must be a reason I love it so much.
    My second favorite is Kuch Kuch Hota Hai – I saw it before I saw the film, and I couldn’t understand why the short-haired girl wasn’t getting more love because she was SO MUCH better than the long haired one! So when it comes to characterization without plot or dialogue that song wins.
    My LEAST favorite is Suraj Hua Madham, no one, not even SRK, can pull off a flowered sheer, hooded shirt.

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    • I have no idea why Yeh Ladki is your favorite!!!! It’s fine to me, but nothing special at all. On the other hand, I also just can’t like Suraj Hua Madham, and that seems to be a universal opinion so far.

      Yes to Kajol in KKHH!!!! She does such a good job emoting to the camera.

      On Mon, May 25, 2020 at 11:32 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  4. Even though the short dresses make me cringe, I find myself humming “Say Shava, Shava” from KG3 – it’s got a beat that’s hard to resist for me “Bole Chudiyan” is a close second.

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      • Agree, Shava Shava is so happy, but also complicated, and it tells you this will be a movie with loads of characters and conflict, and still a happy ending.

        On Tue, May 26, 2020 at 4:36 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  5. Nobody mentioned Tujhe Yaad Na Meri Aa which is my favorite song from KKHH soundtrack. And I love Suraj Hua Maddham with all my heart. It was my first romantic hindi song ever, it has delicate drums, Sonu Nigam, pyramids and wet Shah Rukh. I don’t need more. I love it so much I don’t mind SRK’s funny shirts.

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    • Look at that, someone who likes Suraj Hua Madham! I guess there’s a lid for every pot.

      On Wed, May 27, 2020 at 2:32 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  6. I would definitely place Suraj Hua Madham in 2nd position. Iconic love song – Sonu Nigam and Alka Yagnik giving the best of their careers. One of the best on screen pairs of the nation picturized amidst the enchanting landscape of Egypt. From the pyramid in the beginning to that water body in the end ( sagar hua pyasa). Even after so many years, the song is fresh as it was made yesterday.

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    • And almost everyone else here didn’t like it! Fascinating.

      What would you put first?

      On Fri, Jun 5, 2020 at 8:31 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • Oh! I honestly think Suraj Hua madham is one of the best duets of our times.
        First, well, it’s a bit tough. I guess I will also go for Bole Chudiyan. It’s a landmark song. And as you rightly pointed out, 6 stars, all with their version of character, putting everything in just the right balance and gorgeous costumes.. Karan Johar got this one perfect. No matter how many Punjabi dance hits come along, when someone plays Bole Chudiyan, everyone dance and sing along..

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