I am in no way exaggerating when I say the late 1970s/early 1980s Bollywood and disco marriage produced the best music ever. The hooks were infectious as hell and will make you dance. Sure, a huge factor in my fondness for this music is my parents (Dad mostly) playing this around the house growing up, but you can’t deny how universally appealing these songs are.
Let’s take a brief trip through the era that was my parents’ youth and my definition of glamour.
“Aap Jaisa Koi” – Qurbani (1980)
The bodysuits. The headbands. The drumkit that you cannot actually hear in the actual song. Feroz Khan’s whole look that is vaguely lecherous (too many buttons unbuttoned with that neck scarf). Who gives a shit, when Zeenat Aman is serving pure glamour and style?
“Laila O Laila” – Qurbani (1980)
Zeenat Aman is back in the most perfect feather boa and sequin dress combo ever on screen. The first comment on this video is, “For some reason I get drunk and remember songs like these.” which is exactly correct. Also, if you want even more disco related to Qurbani, look no further than YouTube.
“Yaar Bina Chain Kaha Re” – Saaheb (1985)
So this is a lesser disco effort (clearly by the mid-’80s the novelty and style was starting to wear thin) but it’s remarkable for every single thing Anil Kapoor is doing, including wearing the most glorious large-bedazzled jacket every known to man.
“Yeh Mera Dil Pyar Ka Deewana” – Don (1978)
Helen was THE “item girl” in Bollywood, adding her dancing skills to every movie and elevating every song. You might remember her excellence from previous P-Mag articles, but if you need a reminder, check out her exceptional dance moves at 3:33. And, yes, the intro is the same intro from the Black Eyed Peas’ “Don’t Phunk with My Heart.”
“Meri Umar Ke Naujawaanon (Om Shanti Om)” – Karz (1980)
Actor Rishi Kapoor is quite literally dancing on a giant record with a disco ball center. This can’t possibly get any more disco. Everything is lights and colors and sparkle, and that’s mostly the dancing. His slow, dad-version of the running man on the spinning record is true art. We are all the man at 3:34.
“Main Haseena Ghazab Ki” – Khoon Bhari Maaang (1988)
In your wildest dreams did you ever ask for a big Bollywood disco dance number where one of the actresses looks like a cross between Gozer from Ghostbusters meets Dynasty in just one of her many costume changes in the song? Well, bless Rekha for wearing it, and bless this song. Admittedly, you might enjoy her Aunty Entity looking headdress in the last costume change more than her first look.
“Jawani Jaaneman” – Namak Halal (1982)
DO YOU EVEN SEE PARVEEN BABI? Forget Amitabh hamming it up in the background. It’s all about all gold everywhere and Parveen Babi’s everything. Seriously, do you even SEE her?
We end on two songs from the same film, because the movie is quite literally called Disco Dancer, which means it is definitely a pinnacle of all disco-related Bollywood songs.
“Jimmi Jimmi Aaja Aaja” – Disco Dancer (1982)
First there’s “Jimmi Jimmi Aaja Aaja,” which may be familiar to anyone who’s an M.I.A. fan. Also actress Kim Yashpal’s outfit is like Wonder Woman went disco and I love it.
“I am a Disco Dancer” – Disco Dancer (1982)
This is it. This is the ultimate in Bollywood disco productions. If you can get over the fact that actor Mithun Chakraborty is most certainly not a disco dancer and can spend some time appreciating how great the the horn section/lady backup dancers are in everything, you will love it all. Don’t worry, there’s also a spelling lesson and audience participation to ramp this up to the highest level of cheese.
Okay, so maybe this song has some real competition with “Disco 82” for the Supreme Bollywood Disco title.
Seriously though, who doesn’t love sequins?