Top 10 cringe-worthy songs from the 90s


For my generation born in the mid-80, 90’s were the true 80’s of Hindi music- loud kitsch music (with Jhankaar beats!!),  made-up lyrics (tururu, tururu, tururu turu kahan se karun main pyar shuru!!), some mad dance moves, of which some still survive in the southern movies, and really bad fashion sense.  And now that I’m thinking about it, not much seems to have changed in the last 2 decades- we still have kitschy music (thankfully without Jhankaar beats), made up lyrics (Haila Haila, Hua Hua!!), and mad dance moves (without shirts).

But the 90s were a totally different league altogether, the music induced cringe as it has never been induced before. I know that many of the 80’ers would argue that nothing beats Mithun shaking his biscuit on Bappi-Da in the cringe fight, and probably yes. But what the 80’ers didn’t to deal with was satellite television and Superhit Muqabla (peace be upon him), which would transmit these blaring cringe inducing sounds every day, every week to our home, and we would sit wide (glazed?) eyed, hum them, sing them, and even shake our biscuits (let’s admit it- who hasn’t danced or wanted to dance to “meri pant bhi sexy”…okay, me neither).

So here goes my list for the 10 most cringe inducing songs from the 90’s, that are still stored up in our head, creep up every now and then, and halfway through the song in your head you go “WTF!! Where did that come from!!”.

With so many to choose from I applied a few rules : a) apart from the cringe quotient, the song must have the great ability to get stuck in your head playing itself in a loop no matter how hard you try to get rid of it, b) one song per movie, otherwise the list has a danger of being overrun by tracks from epics like Mohra, and Gopi Kishan. Now Enjoy!!

10. A aa ee, U uu OO (Raja Babu)

No, I’m not constipated. This is just the phamous alphabet song from Raja Babu. I know it has another cringer called “sarkailo khatiya”, but it failed on rule one. No matter how much Karisma Kapoor or Govinda (yes, him too) lifted their kurtas, the song never got stuck in my head like this alphabet song did. With awesome lyrics written by Sameer (who else), sung by Abhijeet, a cringer-singer in his own right, it also features

–          the backdrop dancers doing a pelvic thrust wearing a saree

–          Govinda’s style, which still inspires doodhwallas, and politicians alike. Now that’s something for national integration

–          Shakti Kapoor- enough said

9. Hai Hukku Hai Hukku (Gopi Kishan)

“Hai hukku Hai hukku Hai Hai!! Hai hukku Hai hukku Hai Hai”..FTW, enough said.

P.S: If Kumar Sanu is sent to hell, it will be because of this song.

8.  Bol Bolle Bol Tujhko Kya Chahiye (Trimurti)

I’m absolutely sure that if the Joker was to be given an item number in the Dark Knight this would be it, with him singing “Bol tujhko kya chahiye” to Harvey Dent.  Mohan Agashe seems to be channeling the spirit of the Joker in his dancing (yes, he is shaking his biscuit too!!).

The song starts with Ila Arun blaring “aiiiyayayaaa aiiyaayaaaa” like a banshee. It gets better though with Mohan Agashe entering the fray and making a complete ass of himself, along with backup dancers, dressed as African tribals, who also are his henchman in the movie. I guess his recruitment ad must have gone like “the ability to shake your booty in sync with the boss is considered an important asset”.  Although even without the Mohan Agashe show, the song would have made it to the cringe list just because of its lyrics (Anand Bakshi), which apart from the irritating “Bol Bole Bol”, include “hero hai to joker hu main” (see the Joker effect here again), and SRKs tie. Also did I mention that they are doing it for an assembled crowd that includes Tinu Anand?

Confession. I loved this song when it came out. Confession over.

Mmmmm….I still love this song. Ok now confession over.

7. Aaye ho meri zindagi (Raja Hindustani)

This is the ultimate, sweet, mishti doi of a song, and for precisely this reason it is cringy (and yes, I love it too). Composed by the 90s cringe factory Nadeem Shravan, and written by the baap of all cringe factories, Sameer, this Raja Hindustani number is one song that I’m really apologetic about (what if my really cool friends find out?). I peep over my shoulder, make sure no one is in earshot, and then turn down the volume real low. Guilty Pleasure, “udta badal behta paani, bole rut mastani”..ssshhhh koi sun na le…


6. Sawarne Lage (Raaz)

I know Im cheating a bit, the movie came out in 2002. But the music had all the 90’s ingredient, by which I mean music by Nadeem Sharavan, lyrics by Sameer, and singer line up- Udit Narayan, Alka Yagnik, Abhijeet, hell even, Jolly Mujherjee, and Bali Brahmbhatt. Now if that aint 90’s, nothing is.

It’s a good, melodious song, and very well sung. So what’s cringy about this? You might be the biggest Nadeem fan, and you might even be born with iron balls, but would you like your girlfriend/boyfriend to see this on your playlist? #iWin

5. In the night no control (Khiladiyon ka Khiladi)

Okay, enough of the sweet stuff, time to get the big boys out, or in this case the old aunties out. So Rekha and Akshay Kumar making out in the slime, in the washroom, in the car, okay making out everywhere. With poor Akshay looking stoned (he probably was), and having no clue what to do, and Rekha climbing all over him, ready to split the poor guys guts open. Add to this the amazing lyrics that go “In the night no control, kya karun kuch to bol”, and the epic “even naughty girls need love”, and we have a cringer on our hands!!

P.S: This is Anu Malik’s first entry on the list. Yay!!!? Ok no Yay,

4. Subah se le kar Shaam tak (Mohra)

If our nos. 5 and nos. 6 ever mated they would have produced an offspring like our nos. 4, who faces an identity crisis- whether to be a sweet song which is turning dirty, or to be a nymphomaniac in love. Well, it straddles both extremes, and ends up being cringy and on our list.

Make no mistakes guys; this song has really earned its place. It had to fight a really tough battle with “Tu cheez….”, and “tip tip barsa paani” from the same movie. I must admit that I cringe (and love) both these songs equally, AKs black bandana, and sunglasses in “Tu cheez..” (in a nightclub mind you!!) are matched at each step by Raveena’s wet yellow saree (in close up from all possible angles), and AKs crooning of “DDDDDDDdooba dariya mein….”. What finally tilted the cringe-balance in favor of “Subah se….” were the epic lines – “aise kaise ho sakta hai poora, poora pyaar, kuch shadi se pehle, aur kuch shaadi ek baad”. Well, in a single stroke, Mr. Sameer (yet again) has echoed the sentiments of a zillion boyfriends in India. We have a winner ladies and gentlemen.

3. Tu Mile- Criminal

This is one song that features on the list *ONLY* because of its video. The *ONLY* song that made me cringe even in the 90’s (I was happily indulgent of the others). Now it’s a good song, very good lyrics, and beautifully sung, but try watching Nagarjuna and Manisha trying to eat each other in front of your parents when you are barely 10. Especially, when it appears every week at nos. 2 (why the heck wasn’t it nos 1 beats me) on Superhit Muqabla (peace be upon him), and they insist on showing the entire video, where for other songs they were cut after 2 minutes. WHY!WHY!WHY!

So I used to look on the right, on the left, scratch my head, my toe, my hands (it’s not funny how much you itch when you are in an embarrassing situation), Im sure my parents did the same, poor souls they couldn’t even change channels (there was no option!! DD days)

2. Jumma Chumma- Hum

This was the song that defined manliness in the 90’s. The Big B, wearing an open chested shirt, black jacket, in a bucket, calling out his girlfriend Kimi Katkar (cringe 1) called Juma (cringe 2), for a Chumma (cringe 3), on a Jumma (cringe 4), and then just stopped short of molesting her (cringe 5,6,7,8…) but it seemed epic. Well, to be honest, even if AB was brushing his teeth in slow motion on that background score (remember that one!!!) that would have been epic too. In short, Epic Cringiness.

P.S: I always wanted to smash jugs containing soap foam (inna saara) like in the song.

1. Akhha India Jaanta Hai (Jaan Tere Naam)

All you mid-80ers, haven’t you ever wished you could grow balls enough to walk into your girlfriend’s wedding (against her wishes of course), dressed in the cool white bandwala’s dress, and sing in front of her parents “First time dekha tumhein hum kho gaya, Second time mein love ho gaya, Yeh Akhaa India jaanta hai hum tumpe marta hai”.

If Jumma was the manliness of the 90s, this song was probably the cool of the 90’s, and the cringe of today. Ronit Roy will not be featured in most of the lists, but for this 1991 (or was it 92) flick he would make it to the cringe inducing songs every time.

True story: One of my colleagues actually danced to this song on his sister’s sangeet ceremony. It was his childhood dream to do some kickassery like this. Hats off buddy!!

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2 Responses to Top 10 cringe-worthy songs from the 90s

  1. Lol, thanks for this hilarious post, as a non hindi speaker i had no idea theses songs carry cringe factors as sometimes silly dvd manufacturers don’t translate the song lyrics, I’ll forever love the music of Mohra no matter what and here is one i think should have found palce on your list, I’m totally in love and can’t help singing along

    • Ankit says:

      Thanks a lot . Mohra has some great 90’s music, and it was hard to pick just one for the list. I love ruk ruk as well. The dance steps, mad lyrics, and some crazy back up dancers complete the cringe quotient. Another insane song from the same movie had Gulshan Grover crooning “Ullu ke pathey”- a hindi profanity meaning son of an owl.. 🙂

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