Actually I was gathering information on the popular films and film songs of 1997, when I came to know about the sad demise of Shravan, from the composer duo, Nadeem Shravan. It was a shock as I wasn’t aware of his ill health at all.
The duo was at the top of the Hindi film industry in the 90s and would always be remembered for their melodious compositions. It won’t be an overstatement if I say, their film Aashiqui brought back the wave of melody and romantic films. It was released in 1990 and had a record breaking sale of audio cassettes. The songs stood out as prominently different from the disco beats of the 80s. The noisy music went into the dark and it was the dawn of the melody. Nadeem Shravan had their own style of composing songs and it was apparent from the very beginning of any of their songs. That distinct style and the melody they wove in the songs were just too catchy.
Shravan was the son of renowned classical singer Pandit Chaturbhuj Rathod who was obviously his mentor. It’s interesting to know that Nadeem also had his classical music lessons from the same mentor.
The composer duo started their journey with a Bhojpuri film, Dangal in 1975. But though the songs sung by Rafi, Manna Dey and Asha Bhosle were a bit popular, it didn’t help them. After composing for around a dozen films in the 1980s, the doors of success opened. In 1990 Aashiqui was released and became a sensational hit. When hardly a song or two from a single movie used to be popular, all twelve songs became popular. The cassettes were sold in a record breaking manner. It was Gulshan Kumar, the owner of Super cassette Industries, who gave them a chance. Unfortunately in 1997, Nadeem was accused of being involved in Gulshan Kumar’s murder case and he left India.
Meanwhile, between 1991 and 1997, they composed hits after hits for a number of movies. In the era of electronic sound, Nadeem Shravan insisted on original instruments and use of tabla, dholak, flute and sitar was prominently seen in their songs.
In the early to mid 90s, they delivered at least two or three superhit films per year. And it should be noted that at least 5 or 6 of the songs per movie were popular. This happened consistently for years. Nadeem Shravan ruled the 90s with their style and melody.
Even after Nadeem moved to London, the duo continued composing for Hindi films and regained popularity in 1999 – 2000. In the naughties their pair still scored hits till they officially split in 2006.
The duo always stood by the melody, though they attended the rhythm part with equal attention. A number of songs are a good fusion of rhythm and melody. Their typical song used to open with a soft instrument or humming, bursting into an infectious rhythm very soon. The interludes used to be extremely catchy and in tune with the original orchestration. Oh! I can imagine so many of their hit songs with the unmistakable Midas touch.
Sameer was their favourite lyricist who was associated with the duo for around 85 films, though they also had other lyricists for a few movies. But their tuning with Sameer was the best. They worked together for the first time for the movie, ‘llaka’ and continued the successful journey in the 90s and well into the 2000s.
As for playback singers, they trusted Kumar Sanu, Udit Narayan and Alka Yagnik the most. They were fortunate to start their journey with the stalwarts of the golden era, Rafi, Asha Bhosle and Manna Dey. Asha Bhosle sang for them later as well, but offhand I don’t remember their association with Lata Mangeshkar. Kumar sanu and Anuradha Paudwal achieved immense popularity with the songs of Aashiqui and overnight attained the top position. Later Kumar Sanu continued to be their favourite, though a share was also given to Udit Narayan. Though Vinod Rathod was Shravan’s younger brother, his place in their musical team was limited. Even after initial hits in Deewana, where Vinod was Shah Rukh Khan’s voice, their journey further wasn’t together. Offhand I can’t remember Nadeem Shravan offering songs to Shravan’s other brother, Roopkumar. While Alka Yagnik remained their favourite, Sadhna Sargam, Kavita Krishnamurthy, also had significant contributions to their songs.
Shravan left for heavenly abode at the age of 66, after suffering from covid infection and a brief fight with corona, on 22nd April 2021. An era came to an end. May his soul rest in peace. As a die hard fan of the 90s, I present my tribute to the composer, Shravan.
Let’s remember him by memorizing some of my favourites composed by Nadeem Shravan. The most difficult part was to choose songs for the list. When I started listing film names, I could recollect more than thirty films that have my favourite songs. I somehow managed to shortlist 15 songs for today’s list. The remaining are nevertheless equally good, but I had to come to a reasonable and acceptable number for the list. I’ve arranged the songs in chronological order. The list has my favourites, so need not reflect the hits of the year. I don’t claim those songs to be their best from that particular year. So here we go.
Nazar Ke Samne Jigar Ke Paas – Aashiqi (1990) Kumar Sanu & Anuradha Paudwal / Lyrics – Sameer
What can I say about this one? All the twelve tracks of the movie were superhits. But a few of those were inspired ones. The songs captured the listener’s mind and overnight the entire crew of the film became popular. The songs used to play everywhere. The songs were ubiquitous. I had seen the movie thrice in theater as a school boy. Listen to the simple but sweet and extremely melodious tune of this song. The interludes gel well with the tune of the song. Beautiful sitar and santoor pieces and the ever romantic saxophone. And what nice tabla pieces.
There’s one story behind the film. The songs were originally recorded as a music album, but when director, Mahesh Bhatt, heard them, he was very impressed. He insisted on having a film where he would incorporate the songs. Gulshan Kumar agreed and the rest is history!
Dekha Hai Pehli Baar – Saajan (1991) Alka Yagnik & S P Balasubramaniam / Lyrics – Sameer
While it’s not my most favourite from the film, it’s certainly the most popular song of the movie. It’s rhythm is so catchy, we can ignore the average picturisation. What nice interludes, santoor, violins and saxophone. All the songs in the movie were equally popular. As SPB was the preferred voice for Salman, he was an obvious choice, while their favourite Kumar Sanu sang for Sanjay Dutt. The female songs were divided equally into Alka Yagnik and Anuradha Paudwal. What days those were! The year 1991 was flooded with Nadeem Shravan’s songs.
Dil Hai Ke Manta Nahin – Dil Hai Ke Manta Nahin (1991) Kumar Sanu & Anuradha Paudwal / Lyrics – Faiz Anwar
While the majority of the songs of the movie are popular, the popularity of this one is unparalleled. It was and is still extremely popular. Very beautiful orchestration and a sweet melody. The cassette also had a couple of extremely melodious songs, Kaise Mizaz Aapke Hai and Hum To Mashhoor Hue Hai, which were not a part of the movie. But I’m very much fond of the songs. I also remember that the cassette had the songs sung by Babla Mehta, whereas the original film version had Kumar Sanu. Adayen Bhi Hai, Galyan Sakhli Sonyachi, Mainu Ishq Da Lagiya Rog were also good. The latter had an unmistakable Punjabi folk base and excellent Dholak rhythm.
Hum Tere Bin Kahi Reh Nahi Pate – Sadak (1991) Manhar Udhas & Anuradha Paudwal / Lyrics – Sameer
The songs of Sadak were immensely popular too. Though Kumar Sanu was the choice for the majority of the songs, a couple of songs were also offered to other singers, Manhar Udhas and Abhijit. I’ve highlighted one of those songs. The song starts at a slow speed with minimal orchestration and bursts into a fast rhythm and full orchestration. Very catchy song manages to capture your attention throughout. Sadak was also full of good songs and nearly all were popular. The film was also acclaimed for best performance by Sadashiv Amarapurkar in a negative role.
Dil Ye Kehta Hai – Phool Aur Kaante (1991) Udit Narayan & Alisha Chinoy / Lyrics – Sameer
The musical hit was well received by the audience. Though the majority of the songs were popular then, now only a couple of songs appeal to me. As I had included Dheere Dheere Pyar Ko in my 1992 post, I thought of adding this one. Kumar Sanu was the obvious choice for the movie, though this romantic sensuous number was offered to Udit Narayan, and Alisha Chinoy was also called in for the song. The song very effectively creates a romantic dreamy aura. The orchestration has played a major role in this effect.
Pyar Ka Saaya – mainly the title track.
Teri Ummeed Tera Intezaar – Deewana (1992) Sadhana Sargam & Kumar Sanu / Lyrics – Sameer
The song starts with a slow pace without instrumental support and then the violins play the main tune and then the catchy rhythm starts. The song however runs at a slow pace, never attaining a fast rhythm. Basically it’s a soft romantic song.
Deewana was also a superhit movie, with many popular songs. Nadeem Shravan offered all the main lead songs to Kumar Sanu, whereas Vinod Rathod sang for the newcomer Shah Rukh Khan. And Sadhana Sargam had more songs than Alka Yagnik. Perhaps it was a phase where Alka Yagnik was slowly gaining the main place in their musical team. I think it was a transitional phase, as the majority of the popular female songs were offered almost equally between Sadhna Sargam and Alka Yagnik.
Aashiqui Mein Har Aashiq – Dil Ka Kya Kasoor (1992) Sadhana Sargam / Lyrics – Sameer
In this film as well, Sadhana Sargam was the main voice of Divya Bharti, though Asha Bhosle also sang for her. The song sung by Alka Yagnik runs in the background and Divya Bharti doesn’t lip sync to it. Sadhana Sargam’s voice is very sweet and expressive and she sings the higher octaves very easily. The song was very popular and it’s my favourite since the day I heard it for the first time. Kumar Sanu sang for the hero, Prithvi, who plays a singer in the movie and his songs were extremely popular too. Dil Jigar Nazar, Khata To Jab Ho, and Gaa Raha Hoon Is Mehfil Mein, all achieved great popularity.
Sapne Saajan Ke – Though the film is full of songs, I’m inclined to Ye Dua Hai Meri Rab Se.
Wo Meri Neend Mera Chain – Hum Hai Rahi Pyar Ke (1993) Sadhana Sargam / Lyrics – Sameer
Another instance where Sadhana Sargam sang for Nadeem Shravan, but the scenario is not the same. She is singing just one song that runs in the background, and all the songs Juhi lip syncs to, are sung by Alka Yagnik. An exactly opposite situation than we came across in 1992. Hum Hai Rahi Pyar Ke was also a musical superhit and all the songs were popular. It’s really creditable that they consistently performed well, and their magic worked every time, making the songs superhit and in turn making the film superhit. Of course as far as Hum Hai Rahi Pyar Ke is concerned, Mahesh Bhatt, Juhi Chawla, Amir Khan all had their shares in the film’s success. Juhi’s natural performance was the main attraction for me.
Gawah Hai Chand Taare – Damini (1993) Alka Yagnik & Kumar Sanu / Lyrics – Sameer
Though the song is an inspired one, I’m very much fond of it and that’s why I included it. It’s so melodious and hummable. The tune just lingers in your mind. It was their main strength, they could compose easily hummable tunes, easily remembered yet very melodious.
The film was based on a serious issue and there was no scope for songs. But still Nadeem Shravan composed a few songs and three of those songs found a place in the movie. Here again it’s worth noting that a couple of songs are sung by Sadhna Sargam, only the title song was sung by Alka Yagnik. So I think it could be that in the early years, perhaps they had thought of choosing Sadhana Sargam as their lead singer. But finally settled on Alka Yagnik. I guess the audio cassette companies would also have had their own choices of playback singers. The prime example was that of Anuradha Paudwal who was strongly endorsed by T series.
Dil Tera Aashiq – was a fun movie, though it had nothing fresh except, Madhuri Dixit and a couple of songs, the title track and Kam Se Kam Itna Kaha Hota. In the film, Nadeem Shravan used five singers for Salman. Kumar Sanu, Udit Narayan, Vinod Rathod, Mukul Agrawal and S P Balasubramaniam. However, the song by SPB was not included in the movie. Sadhana Sargam also had a song for Madhuri, who otherwise received Alka Yagnik’s playback.
Rang – The film is remembered today for a couple of reasons. It was Divya Bharti’s last film and secondly fir the songs. I mainly remember a couple of songs, Tujhe Na Dekhu To Chain and Har Sawal Ka Jawab Nahi Mil Sakta.
I was unable to include songs from the movies of this year in the final 15. But of course the films need a mention.
Salami – mainly for Chehra Kya Dekhte Ho
Dilwale – nearly all the songs were extremely popular, though weren’t my favourites. Mainly, Jeeta Tha Jiske Liye, both versions were famous.
Nazare Mili Dil Dhadka – Raja (1995) Alka Yagnik & Udit Narayan / Lyrics – Sameer
Based totally on the tune of Come September, the song saw heights of success and popularity. As a child I wasn’t aware of the lifting of tune, though later I was a bit taken aback. But it still remains my favourite song, for the catchy tune and the freshness in the voices of the singers. Alka Yagnik was at the top of her career and creating magic with her voice. Equally popular was Madhuri’s dance number, Akhiyan Milaon Kabhi Akhiyan Churaoon. But it was mainly for Madhuri’s facial expressions and dancing talent, rather than for the tune, though I agree, the tune and beats were infectiously catchy.
Barsaat – Debutante Twinkle Khanna and Bobby Deol’s film was well appreciated due to its music. I won’t say all the songs were good, but Humko Sirf TumSe Pyar Hai, Love Tujhe Love Main, and Nahin Yeh Ho Nahin Sakta were appreciated the most. Again one song was sung by Sadhna Sargam. And Sonu Nigam also sang a couple of songs, though not popular.
The same situation as 1994. I couldn’t choose songs for the final list though the songs of Raja Hindustani and Agni Sakshi were popular.
Agni Sakshi – In contrast to the earlier years, all female songs were offered to Kavita Krishnamurthy. She of course did her job exceptionally well. A duet by Alka Yagnik and Sonu Nigam was extremely melodious, but wasn’t a part of the movie, if I remember correctly.
Raja Hindustani – I’m not very fond of the songs from this movie. So the songs couldn’t make it to the final list. Pardesi Pardesi Jana Nahin was a superhit song.
Yeh Dil Deewana Deewana Hai Yeh Dil – Pardes (1997) Sonu Nigam (with Shankar Mahadevan, Hema Sardesai & Ehsan) / Lyrics – Anand Bakshi
Pardes was Subhash Ghai’s production and he chose Nadeem Shravan over L P. The songs again were popular and boosted the film’s performance at the box office. The N R I angle of Hindi films was carried forward in the movie. Kumar Sanu’s Do Dil Mil Rahe Hai had a very subtle rhythm of Guitar, and it was a soft dreamy romantic song. I Love my India by Hariharan and Kavita Krishnamurthy was popular too, so was Chitra’s Jahan Piya Wahan Main. Zara Tasveer Se Tu had a wonderful performance by Alka Yagnik and she stole the show, though Kumar Sanu was excellent too. In general the songs had a completely different flavour than the usual songs of Nadeem Shravan. Sonu Nigam excelled in the mentioned song and it was one of his earlier hits. Based on jazzy western beats, it was a delightful song. Sonu’s voice modulation and extreme control of his voice were highlighted. That certainly boosted his career.
Judai – The film had inspired songs. Though the most memorable part of the movie was Sridevi, the songs did do well commercially. A couple of songs I’m fond of are, Mujhe Ek Pal Chain Na Aaye and Haan Mujhe Pyar Hua Allah Miyan.
Mohabbat – I remember the film only for a couple of reasons. Madhuri Dixit and the songs. The film also had an inspired song, Don’t Break My Heart, by Abhijit and Kavita Krishnamurthy. It was popular and I’m very much fond of the song. Another song, Aaina Bata Kaise by Sonu Nigam and Vinod Rathod was good too, though one hardly remembers it. The entire album had only one female playback singer, Kavita Krishnamurthy. Despite the popular songs, the film faced utter failure.
1998, 1999, 2000 –
Perhaps due to the Gulshan Kumar murder case controversy, 1998 wasn’t a good year for the composer duo.
Sirf Tum (1999) – It was an extremely popular album of the year 1999, though I wasn’t a fan of the songs. But Pehli Pehli Baar Mohabbat Ki Hai, Dilbar Dilbar, and the title track were very popular as their promotion on TV was very vigorous. Priya Gill and Sushmita Sen were back in the limelight due to the film.
Dhadkan (2000)- The last year of the 90s decade again saw them composing good songs. The movie, and the performances by the main lead, and the songs all were well appreciated. Nadeem Shravan were back to their original team of singers, with Abhijit singing one of his career best songs, Tum Dil Ki Dhadkan Mein.
Kitni Bechain Hoke – Kasoor (2001) Udit Narayan & Alka Yagnik / Lyrics – Sameer
A sensuous song, very aptly starts with saxophone. To portray intense emotions, the orchestration is perfect. The new millennium started with the film, Kasoor and the composer duo was back in full swing. The songs were smashing hits and are still very popular. In addition to this song, Zindagi Ban Gaye Ho Tum and Mohabbat Ho Na Jaye were also popular. The latter showed Kumar Sanu’s excellent voice control and Alka Yagnik with her higher notes. Lisa Ray got her first film musically and commercially successful. Thanks to the musical team of Nadeem Shravan.
Hum Ho Gaye Aap Ke – The Fardeen Khan starrer, had good music, but wasn’t a successful film. The title track and Sunidhi’s crispy, Pyar Hua Na Re Mama were worth mentioning. Perhaps Sunidhi’s first with the composer duo. In general the duo attempted to reuse their old tunes with slight change. The rhythm and the general style of composing was too stereotypical. It was much pronounced in the songs.
Dil Hai Tumhara – Dil Hai Tumhara (2002) Udit Narayan, Alka Yagnik & Kumar Sanu / Lyrics – Sameer
The song feels like a fresh breeze of cool air whenever I listen to it. The singers voices are fresh, so is the tune. In addition to their routine singers, Shaan, Sonu Nigam, Kavita Krishnamurthy also sang for the movie. Chhaya Hai Jo Dil Pe by Shaan and Kavita Krishnamurthy was very melodious and delightful. Call it their style of composing, but the stereotypical rhythm was back in a few of the songs. There was repetition of the same rhythm, similar beats and a cliché way of the journey of the songs. I would put Dil Laga Liya and Chahe Zubaan Se Kuchh Na Kaho in this category. It was as if their creativity had reached a plateau. Of course that’s quite natural, the slow downfall of every composer’s career. Still the songs were popular and appreciated.
Raaz – I am aware, it was perhaps one of the top selling albums of the year, and I’ve not included the songs on my list. But in my opinion the songs were modified copies of their own old songs. So the songs didn’t appeal to me and are not my favourites. The most popular song of the movie was, Aap Ke Pyar Mein Hum.
Dil Ka Rishta Bada Hi Pyara Hai – Dil Ka Rishta (2003) Udit Narayan, Alka Yagnik & Kumar Sanu / Lyrics – Sameer
The title track is very impressively composed, and was very much popular. The film couldn’t perform well despite a different storyline and Aishwarya’s aura. A few other songs, Saajan Saajan, Haye Dil Mera Dil, and Dil Churale O Chand Se Chehre Wale, were popular too. One thing we must admit is that Nadeem Shravan never drifted from melody. They always followed it, though they tended to repeat the beats or the rhythm.
Chain Aapko Mila – Hungama (2003) Sadhana Sargam & Shaan / Lyrics – Sameer
The song is picturised at a party where the original singers are shown singing it on a stage. I like the song a lot, and both the singers do full justice to it. Again there is a melody and neatly composed interludes. It’s said that the song was originally composed for a 1992 movie and Asha Bhosle and S P Balsubramaniam had recorded it. The film was shelved and the song wasn’t released. However, Nadeem Shravan included it in a 2003 movie, Footpath. But it wasn’t a part of the movie. The duo re-recorded it with different orchestration and more or less the same tune. The mood of the song was however totally different, the earlier one had a touch of pathos and had different verses. The one in Hungama is fun to watch and it’s my most favourite from the movie.
Andaz – The film marking the debut of Priyanka Chopra and Lara Dutta was also a commercial success and the songs had their share in promoting the films and making an aura before its release. I remember it today only for the song, Rabba Ishq Na Hove.
I end the post here. As I said already, this list includes my favourites. Please add your favourites. I know I’ve left out a number of popular songs.
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