Top 21 Bollywood Albums Worth Listening To Again and Again

Bollywood is close to almost every Indian’s heart and so is Bollywood music. In more than 100 years of Indian cinema, it has created some of the greatest musical composition. There are new songs everyday, some catchy enough to stay with you for a few days, some not even that. But there are some movies which gave us many songs which has stayed with us through the test of time. Here, I have tried to compile a list of 21 great albums in no particular order. I have tried to represent each era of Bollywood equally, We have  an article in it self for the golden era of 60s and 70s.

Rockstar (2011)
Music: AR Rehman
Lyrics: Irshad Kamil
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Let’s start with an obvious choice. One of AR Rehman’s finest works. The fact that the movie pays so much attention to the music adds to the appeal. From the electrifying Sadda Haq, to sufi Kun Faya Kun, to soft Katiya Karun , to intense Aur ho, to the romantic Tum ho, mesmerizing Phir se Udd chala, to the enlightening Nadaan Parinde and all the other instrumental tracks. This decades best music album till now.

Devdas (2002)
Music:  Ismail Darbar
Lyrics: Nusrat Badr, Sameer, and Pandit Birju Maharaj
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Devdas is simply the best musical album after the turn of the century, thanks to Ismail Darbar timeless tunes.  From the soulful Silsila Yeh Chaahat Ka, to the flawless Maar Daala, to the lovely Bairi Piya, to the classical Kaahe Chhed Mohe, to the beautiful Hamesha Tumko Chaha, to the remarkable Chalak Chalak, to the simple Woh Chaand Jaisi Ladki, to the semi-classical Morey Piya, and the iconic Dola Re Dola, Devdas is one extraordinary album that has all the ingredients to go down well with the audiences.

Saathiya (2002)
Music: AR Rehman
Lyrics: Gulzar
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2002 was surely a great year for Bollywood music, Saathiya is still fresh in our minds with songs like the tittle track Sathiya, Chalka Chalka Re, Aye Udi Udi, Chupke Se, Oh Hum dum, etc.

Teesri Manzil (1966)
Music:  RD Burman
Lyrics: Majrooh Sultanpurimain-qimg-3445d5ffa8e35492c013e8f90bdd83a2-cOne of the best RD Burman album till date.  It was this album that made RD Burman a household name.  To the electrifying O Haseena Zulfon Wali, to the riveting Aaja Aaja Main Hoon Pyar Tera, to the delightful Dekhiye Saahibo Woh Koi, to the wonderful Deewana Mujhsa Nahin, to the heart-warming Tumne Mujhe Dekha, to the classic O Mera Sona Re, Teesri Manzil is an winning album from the first song to the last song.

Delhi 6 (2009)
Music: AR Rehman
Lyrics: Prasoon Joshi

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Another AR Rehman album which is an absolute gem. This album has songs of all moods and audiences. Form the romantic Rehna Tu, to the fun Masakalli, to the sufi Arziyan, to the refreshing Genda Phool and Kaala Bandar, this album has it all in the great lyrics of Prasoon Joshi.

Dil Se...(1998)
Music:  AR Rehman
Lyrics: Gulzar

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Dil Se… is an achievement for AR Rehman. Dil Se is simply one of the best albums of the 90s.  Every song is distinctive in its own way, which makes Dil Se…an enjoyable album.  From the energetic Chhaiya Chhaiya, to the superb Jiya Jale Jaan Chale, to the brilliant E Ajnabi, to the wonderful Dil Se Re, and the lively Satrangi Re. Arguably Rehman’s best work ever.

Saawariya (2007)
Music: Monty Sharma
Lyrics: Sandeep Nath
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Even though this movie was a disaster amongst the audience, it’s music is really special. If someone of present singing enthusiasts want to practice/sing new songs, Saawariya songs are great for that. Great blend of music and lyrics in songs like Mashaallah, Jab se tere naina, Yoon Shabmani, Saawariya, Thode Badmash etc.

Umrao Jaan (1981)
Music:  Khayyam
Lyrics: Shahryar
main-qimg-ae35669efdcdb3b39f135cdf17aa35c2-cKhayyam saab has done some great Bollywood soundtracks in his career, but there is something about Umrao Jaan that is makes it special and unique, which is why it’s a timeless album after 26 years of its release.  Asha Bhosle provides the vocals for Rekha in this album, and one has to say that each song she sings is amazing.  From the evergreen Dil Cheez Kya Hai Aap Meri, to the mind-blowing In Aankhon Ki Masti, to the wonderful Yeh Kya Jagah Hai Doston, to the brilliant Justajoo Jiski Thi, to the dazzling Zindagi Jab Bhi Teri Bazm, to the classical Pratham Dhar, to the sweetful Jhoola Kinne Daala and the situational Kahe Ko Byahi, Umrao Jaan is one of the best albums to come out in the 80s.  Umrao Jaan’s album is a must for all musical lovers.

Omkara (2006)
Music: Vishal Bharadwaj
Lyrics: Gulzar
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Even when Gulzar saab writes a item song, he writes it with class. Beedi Jalayle and Namak Ishq ka are great examples of it. These songs are still fresh in our heads even after a decade. Adding those are songs like O Saathi re, Naina Thagg lenge and the title track and you have a great album.

Ijaazat (1987)
Music: RD Burman
Lyrics: Gulzar

main-qimg-35bc703cff06be4c1ddde241211ffc79-cPancham Da makes the entry on the list and he will feature more. This is one of the most beautiful movie of its time with a great soundtrack. Songs like Mera kuch samaan, Katra katra, Khali haath Shaam aayi hai, etc, breathe magic though its soulful lyrics (Gulzar saab, Duh!) and beautiful singing. I have a soft corner for this album due to one of my favourite tracks of all time “Mera Kuch samaan”.

Veer-Zaara (2004)
Music:  Madan Mohan
Lyrics: Javed Akthar

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Veer-Zaara is a classic album from the Yash Chopra camp.  If there is one department a Yash Chopra can never fail on, it’s the music.  It will have atleast one or two great songs; however, almost the whole soundtrack of Veer-Zaara is pure brilliance.  To the remarkably romantic Tere Liye, to the wonderful Main Yahaan Hoon, to the beautiful Aisa Des Hai Mera, to the classic Yeh Hum Aa Gaye, to the beautiful Do Pal, to the astonishing Aaya Tere Dar Par, to the notable Kyon Hawa, to the incredible Lodi, to the noteworthy Tum Paas Aa Rahe Ho and the timeless Jaane Kyon, Veer-Zaara is one of the best soundtracks to come out in 2000s.

Jodha-Akbar (2008)
Music: AR Rehman

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This historical love story is one of the best works by Ashutosh Gowariker filled with immensely beautiful songs.  From the grand songs like Azeem-o-Shaan Shehenshah, to the devotional Khwaja mere Khwaja, to the romantic In Lamhon ke daman mein, and beautiful Jashn-e bahara.

Muqaddar Ka Sikandar (1978)
Music:  Kalyanji-Anandji
Lyrics: Prakash Mehra & Anjaan

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When one hears of the classic Muqaddar Ka Sikandar, you remember numerous things, however the stand out ones are Amitabh Bachchan superb performance, Rekha dancing to Salaam-E-Ishq and Kalyanji-Anandji wonderful music score.  Some might call this album to be Kalyanji-Anandji’s best score till date, and honestly, one can argue that.  Take probably the best and most popular mujra song of all-times Salaam-E-Ishq, everything about this song is flawless, from the singing to the lyrics and the music composition.  The other beautiful compositions in this album are O Saathi Re Tere Bina, Rote Hue Aate Hain, Dil To Hai Dil, Pyar Zinadgi Hai, and Wafa Jo.  Muqaddar Ka Sikandar has to be ranked as one of the best albums for an Amitabh Bachchan starrer, and was one of best selling albums in the 70s.  A magnificent album in every right.

Silsila (1981)
Music:  Shiv-Hari
Lyrics: Anand Bakshi

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Once again, Yash Chopra has another classic soundtrack in the list in the form of Silsila.   Every song is a classic in its own right.  Rang Barse still remains the best Holi song ever in Hindi cinema, in fact, Holi is incomplete without Salam-e-ishq being played.  The other classic songs in Silsila were Yeh Kahan Aaye Gaye Hum, Sar Se Sarke, Neela Aasman, Ladki Hai Shola, Jo Tum Todo Piya, and Dekha Ek Khwab.  In fact, Dekha Ek Khwab is probably the greatest duets to ever hit Bollywood.  No doubt, Silsila remains Shiv-Hari most memorable score till date.

1942 A Love Story (1994)
Music:  RD Burman
Lyrics: Javed Akthar

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V. Vinod Chopra films always had great music, but 1942 A Love Story remains his best score till date.  It was one of the best music directors of all times, RD Burman last soundtracks, and did he make a lasting impression with this album. Every song was backed with wonderful lyrics from Javed Akthar. From the superbly done Ek Ladki Ko Dekha, to the extraordinary Pyar Hua Chup Kaise, to the playful Rooth Na Jana, to the wonderful Kuch Na Kaho, to the excellent Rhim Jhim and the soulful Yeh Safar.

Aradhana (1969)
Music:  SD Burman
Lyrics: Anand Bakshi

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One can honestly say that SD Burman best till date is Aradhana.  If one were to list the most popular songs in Bollywood history (let’s say 20 best songs), one can bet that Mere Sapnon Ki Rani and Roop Tera Mastana will make it to the list.  Even their remixes are very popular.  Those two songs scores in every department in terms of singing, lyrics and musical composition. The other legendary song from this album is Kora Kagaaz Tha Yeh Man Mera, which is one of the best love duets ever in Bollywood history. Those three songs makes Aradhana great already, however Aradhana had other great songs such as Gun Guna Rahe Hain, Baghon Main Bahar, Chanda Hai Tu Mera Suraj and Saphal Ho Tera Aradhana.

Pakeezah (1972)
Music:  Ghulam Mohammed
Lyrics: Majrooh Sultanpuri, Kamal Amrohi,et al.

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One of the greatest classical albums of the 70s was definitely Pakeezah.  Pakeezah is an album that has songs that can stir our emotions very well.  The music was done by the immense talented Ghulam Mohammed, and it will be fair to say that Pakeezah is his best album till date.  Every song from Pakeezah creates a mesmerizing effect on listeners till this date.  From the haunting Chalo Dildar Chalo, to the elegant Chalte Chalte, to the wonderful Inhi Log Ne, to the breathtaking Mausam Hai Aashiqana, to the beautiful Nazariya Ki Mari, to the excellent Thare Rahiyo, to the exceptional Mora Sajan, to the awe-inspiring Teer-E-Nazar, and the poignant Kaun Gali, after 35 years, the album still is amazing and like I mentioned before, it stills upto this day creates an mesmerizing effect on listeners.

Kabhi Kabhie (1976)
Music:  Khayyam
Lyrics: Sahir Ludhianvi

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Thirty years after Kabhi Kabhie release, yet the music still lives with us.  What makes Kabhi Kabhie album so memorable?  Well for one, Khayyam wonderful score.  But, the main asset in Kabhi Kabhie that many albums don’t have (especially in today’s time) is its meaningful lyrics.  If you have both meaningful lyrics and amazing score, that is the perfect sweet-spot, and Kabhi Kabhie proves this theory to the fullest. Yash Chopra is one director, after Raj Kapoor, who knows the significance of excellent music. One of the most iconic songs of Bollywood ever is from this album, in Kabhi Kabhi mere dil mein. Other gems are the beautiful Tere Chehre Se, to the beautiful Surkh Jodeki Yeh, to the simple, Mere Ghar Aaye Ek Nanhi, to the evergreen Main Pal…Do Pal, to the melodious Pyar Karliya To Kya, and the tuneful Chahe Chale Churiya.

Raanjhanaa (2013)
Music: AR Rehman
Lyrics: Irshad Kamil

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If you ever see me with my ear plugs on, listening to a song, there is a very high probability that I would be listening to one from Raanjhanaa. This movie had so much to offer, amongst which was a set of such beautiful songs. The romance of Tum tak and Raanjhanaa hua, the love of Banarasiya and Ay Sakhi, the energy and zeal of Tu Mun Shudi and Piya Milenge; you have an album like no other. And I still haven’t mentioned my favourite Aise na Dekho. This is another gem from the team of  Rehman and Irshad Kamil.

Aandhi (1975)
Music: RD Burman
Lyrics: Gulzar
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Unlike many others on the list Aandhi doesn’t have a lot of songs in its album. But there are three very iconic songs in the album which are still highly celebrated and considered to be one of the  best of all time. These are, Is mod se jaate hai, Tere bina zindagi se koi, Tum aa gye ho noor aa gya hai. One of the best works on Gulzar saab.

Lootera (2013)
Music: Amit Trivedi
Lyrics: Amitabh Bhattacharya

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An album with a soul. Amit Trivedi is one of the best music directors working in India today and Lootera is arguably the best composition by him. Every single song of this movie is a gem. The melodious Sawaar loon and Ankahee, to the soulful Shikayatein and Monta re, to the hauntingly beautiful Manmarziyan and Zinda hun yaar. Put this album on loop, play it for the whole day.

Honourable mentions: Abhimaan, Guide, Qayamat se Qayamat tak, Hum dil de chuke sanam, Rang de Basanti, Tare Zameen par, Woh kaun thi, Dilwale Dulhania le jaaenge.

Image source: glamsham.com

So, here you go, these are the top Bollywood albums, in my humble opinion. If you think we missed something you really like, please comment and let us know. Stack them up, next time you are having an Antakshari or a Karaoke or both.

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