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62 Iconic songs of KK (Part 1/8)

Randhir Prasad Featured Writer
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Randhir Prasad

Ever since the tragic news of K.K’s untimely demise broke out on the 31st May of 2022, the world was shocked. The Hindi cinema music industry lost one of its veterans. A lot of memoirs, obituaries went around describing just how good an artist and a person he was. Considering the remarkable body of work the man left behind for all of us, all this love pouring out was definitely expected; in fact he deserves much more. For me, K.K. was that secret friend with whom I grew up, through my childhood and adolescence.

His melodies, his voice, his emotions have spoken so much to me. I really don’t think any other playback singer from Hindi movie industry or even from Indie pop would have spoken so much. So in this article, I would like to describe all those songs of KK that have touched my heart. Some of these songs are very popular and some are relatively unknown. Also, this list mostly includes KK’s Hindi movie songs and Hindi pop songs. You may get songs of other languages, but that’s only if they were very popular among listeners who mainly follow Hindi music. So here are 62 Iconic songs of KK:

1. Strawberry Aankhein

Sapnay/Minsara Kanavu (1997) This was one of KK’s earlier collaborations with A. R. Rahman. The lyrics are by Javed Akhtar and they’re pretty wacky. Right from the chorus “Strawberry aankhein sochti kya hai” to “Woh ice cream ho jo hai Fridge mein rakhi” also “Tumhein har cheez mein mili Mercedes meri”. This song has very European high pitch notes. KK sounds playful as he needs to and Kavita Paudwal compliments him well. The Tamil version of the song is also sung by KK.

2. Khwabon Khwabon- Force (2011) [Also Uyirin Uyire- Kakha Kakha (2003) ]

This is one of those KK songs which makes good use of his ability to transition from high pitch to low pitch and visa versa. This song has upbeat music, is an out and out romantic track and has KK killing it . Suchitra gets to sing a gibberish part repeatedly which goes like “Omaha ziya Wahi yala Wahi yala Ziya newa sahiya” . The Hindi version is somewhat crisper than the Tamil version. The Hindi lyrics by Javed Akhtar sound very filled in though, since the song is originally composed in Tamil. Harris Jayaraj has composed the song well.

3. Deewangi- Deewangi (2002) 

Well Tapad Tadap wasn’t the only brilliant high pitched song sung by KK and composed by Ismail Darbar. This song I feel is kind of a follow up to Tadap Tadap. Though this song is more contemplative in nature, more about a person thinking about his past, his present plight and his intense feelings for his loved one. The lyrics by Nusrat Badr bring out all the assortment of emotions, and KK sings each word as if he is feeling them. This is a relatively lesser known song by KK. Do listen to it if you haven’t.

4. Guzaarish- Guzaarish (2010) 

This is one track which brings out the cravings of an immobile, physically disabled person. This track conveys just how very small joys of life can suddenly seem so big when you’re not able enough to pursue them. The lyrics by A. M. Turaz are just soul crushing. The one particular stanza that hits me every time I listen to this, goes like: “Yeh jo Baarish hai, dekho na… Yeh jo Baarish hai… iss mein teri baahon mein marr Jaoon, bas itni si choti si ik khwaaish hai…” The singing by KK is just as beautiful as one would expect. He is the guy who can stretch his notes long while still keeping the mood intact. Sanjay Leela Bhansali has himself composed this track. He is heavily influenced by Bollywood tunes of the classic black and white era and it shows here. The composers have intercut some Shakespeare play dialogue recordings in the instrumental sections.

5. Tadap Tadap- Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam (1999) 

Now we come to the song that’s the precursor of the previous two songs. This is also KK’s breakthrough track into the Bollywood music scene. I have listened to this umpteen number of times since 1999, ever since the album came out, and each time I hear it I am always in awe of how intense and direct the song sounds, almost like coming directly from a bleeding heart. KK’s vocals majorly contribute to the overall quality of the song. The way he gradually takes the tempo of the track from the line “Tadap Tadap ke iss dil” to “Toh lut gaye, Hann lut gaye” is just marvellous. The lyrics by Mehboob just hit the correct spot. The second stanza especially which begins with “Agar mile khuda toh…. poochunga khudaya!” takes the song to a another level. I also found the percussions to be very interesting, they are different from what one would generally expect.

6. Jaane Kaise- Raqeeb (2007) 

Well when you have three renowned collaborators in their best form you will have a song that’s gonna be just wholesome. The composer is Pritam, the lyricist is Sameer Anjaan and the singer is the person we’re celebrating here, all in top form. Though Pritam here hasn’t been very noble. He has plagiarized the entire composition from Amr Diab’s Allem Alby. Pritam’s music arrangement is state of the art though. Sameer Anjaan’s masterful lyrics shine here. He has infused a touch of Urdu and let his words flow like water. In the end it’s our man KK whose enhanced the quality many folds with his singing. This is one of KK’s tracks that I’d listen to on a loop when it came out.

7. Ab toh Forever- Ta Ra Rum Pum (2007) 

The song is a party number by Vishal Shekhar bearing their early signature touch, it’s also a romantic duet of KK and Shreya Ghoshal. Somehow I feel apart from Dus Bahane and Koi Kahe Kehta Rahe, none of KK’s party songs have been able to be ultra popular; although he’s sung many of them. This is among the one’s that gained some popularity at it’s time. I particularly like how they used the contrast between KK and Shreya Ghoshal’s voice. The lyrics by Javed Akhtar are youthful.

8. Apdi Podu-Ghilli (2004) 

Ok, majority folks who followed Bollywood exclusively, who did not follow Tamil cinema much, weren’t aware that the male singer in this song was KK all this while; until off course all his interviews went viral following his sad demise. This is surprising, especially because this song was a rage even among people who were not so much into Tamil cinema music, it was a rage in a lot of North Indian circles as well. 

Okay, I can’t get too much into in to the technical details of this song because it doesn’t belong to Bollywood ; but I will say in retrospect this song doesn’t sound as high on decibels as a majority of such mass songs sound today. Rest, the strong groovy nature of this song will just not let you sit still while listening to it, it’ll make you shake a leg. 

The composer of this song is Vidyasagar, lyricist is Pa. Vijay and the female playback singer is Anuradha Sriram.

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