Bollywood’s Golden era:
Bollywood’s Golden Era has produced many legendary singers that introduced us to some of the masterpieces. The Golden Era started around the 1950s and ended around the 1970s. Some of the greatest talent in Indian music emerged in the 1950s from Lata Mangeshkar, Mohammed Rafi, Kishore Kumar, Mukesh, and Asha Bhosle to Manna Dey found fame as their work was praised by both Indian and Pakistani cinemas. Bollywood didn’t stop producing some of the greatest talents even after the golden era ended. From having some of the greatest Indian pop music compositions by R.D. Burman for Sholay’s ‘Mehbooba Mehbooba’ and Hare Krishna Hare Ram’s ‘Dum Maro Dum’ to introducing us to Indian classical music when Hariharan introduced the new music genre of Urdu Blues in Ghazals in the Hindi cinemas for which he was awarded Padma Shri in 2004.
90s & 00s era:
The era of the 90s and 00s was also very successful as it gave the Indian cinemas some of the gems that established their mark in Bollywood music. It was the time when some of the greatest talents made their way to audiences’ hearts and are still ruling them. Some of the popular Indian singers that gained success at that time are as follows:
1. Roop Kumar Rathod: He is a famous Indian playback singer and music director. He was born into a family with great music background hence, was involved in music since the age of 10. Tabla player turned playback singer got the breakthrough of his career in 1997 when ‘Sandese Aate Hain’ from the movie ‘Border” got famous. He then continued singing some of the best songs of the 2000s be it ‘Tujh Mein Rab Dikhta Hai’, ‘Maula Mere Maula’ or ‘Tere Liye’, they all attracted the attention of audiences. His album ‘Kalmaa’ along with his wife Sonali Rathod also got huge fame.
2. A.R. Rahman: He is a two-time winner and five-time nominee of the Academy Award (Oscar), a person who has revamped contemporary Indian music. From creating jingles in advertisements to introducing the Hindi film industry with some legendary songs, he earned himself the nickname “The Mozart of Madras”. He got his breakthrough in Roja (1992) which resulted in his first hit. After that, he continued gaining an appreciation for his work along with getting the nominee for Academy Awards for Lagaan (2001), the first Bollywood movie to get selected for it. He also won the Academy Award for the song ‘Jai Ho’ from Slumdog Millionaire (2008).
3. Lucky Ali: Masqoob Mehmood Ali popularly known as Lucky Ali in India rose to great fame when he sang ‘Ek Pal Ka Jeena’ for Kaho Na Pyaar Hai (2000) received mass appreciation from the audiences. Some of his well-known work is in Kaante (2002), Sur (2002), and Tamasha (2015).
4. KK: Krishnakumar Kunnath popularly known as K.K. is one of the most popular Indian singers, composers, and a lyricist. He has sung more than 500 songs in Hindi bagging many awards for his accomplishments, from getting National Award for ‘Tu Aashiqui Hai’ to receiving two awards for playback singer and many more.
5. Kunal Ganjawala: He is a famous Indian singer who got fame because of his song ‘Bheege Hont Tere’ from Murder (2004). He then gave back-to-back hits ‘Salaam Namaste’ the title track of the movie, ‘Maula Maula’ from Singham (2011), ‘Dil na Diya’ from Krishh (2006), and many more.
6. Kailash Kher: The famous Indian playback singer and music composer is well-known for his unique style of music influenced by Sufism and Indian folk music. His one of the greatest works includes ‘Chaand Sifarish’ from Fanaa (2006) which caught the attention of audiences, he then produced consecutive successful songs for the Hindi Cinemas. ‘Teri Deewani’, “Jay-Jay Kara’, and ‘Mere Nishaan’ are a few of the masterpieces that he has produced to date.
7. Mohit Chauhan: He is an Indian pop singer who got his first break to sing in the movie Rang De Basanti (2006) by A.R. Rahman in which he sang ‘Khoon Chala’ which proved to be his first success in Bollywood. He bagged many awards for his work which include two Filmfare awards for the songs ‘Masakali’ from Delhi (2010) and ‘Jo Bhi Main’ from Rockstar (2012).
8. Shankar Mahadevan: He is both a playback singer and a composer for the Indian film industry and is part of the Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy composing trio team for Indian films. The singer shook the Hindi Cinemas when he released his album Breathless in 1998 in which the title track ‘Breathless’ sung seemingly in a single breath was a unique and mind-boggling performance for the Hindi cinemas audience to witness. Some of his recent famous Bollywood works include ‘Gallan Goodiyan’ from Dil Dhadakne Do (2015) and the title track of Happy New Year (2014).
9. Falguni Pathak: The popular Indian singer, composer, lyricist and performing artist also known as ‘Daandiya Queen’ for stealing hearts during Navratri has given Bollywood songs that made the audiences groove to them. Some of her greatest works include ‘Meri Chunar Udd Udd Jaye’ from Aiyo Raama (2000), ‘O Piya’, and ‘Saawan Mein’ from the album O Piya.
10. Adnan Sami: He is a famous British-born singer, composer, musician, and pianist of Pakistan origin. His songs ‘Lift Karade’ and ‘Kabhi Nahi’ got a lot of attention in India due to the composition and lyrics along with the special appearances of the legendary Bollywood actors Govinda and Amitabh Bachchan. His recent one of the best songs includes ‘Bhar Do Jholi Meri’ from Bajrangi Bhaijaan (2015) which attracted the audiences as it was the modification of the song sung by the famous Sabri Brothers.
11. Richa Sharma: She is an Indian playback singer popularly known for singing Bollywood’s longest track, the ‘Bidaai’ song from Baabul (2006). Some of her awards winning works include ‘Maahi Ve’ from Kaante (2002) and ‘Sajda’ from My Name is Khan (2010).
12. Rekha Bhardwaj: Rekha, a popular Indian singer and a live performer has given Bollywood some beautiful songs that give us Goosebumps. ‘Darling’ from 7 Khoon Maaf, ‘Ghagra’, ‘Kabira’ from Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani, ‘Phir Le Aya Dil’ from Barfi, and many more.
13. Abhijeet Bhattacharya: He is an Indian playback singer who got famous due to his music style influenced by the legendary Kishore Kumar. His songs ‘Main Koi Aisa Geet Gaaon’ from Yes Boss (1997) and ‘Baadshah O Baadshah’ from Baadshah (1999) gave him huge fame. He then produced a lot of hit soundtracks for the Bollywood King Shahrukh Khan however; he never got the success that he deserved for his work due to his involvement in a lot of controversies.
14. Vishal Dadlani: He is an Indian singer, lyricist, and music composer popularly known for his duo with Shekhar i.e. Vishal-Shekhar. He is also the lead vocalist of one of the famous Indian rock bands known as ‘Pentagram’. He is one of the ruling singers/composers/lyricists of Bollywood. His works include ‘India Waale’, ‘Swag Se Swagat’, ‘Radha’, ‘Tune Maari Entriyaan’, ‘The Hookup Song’, and many more.
15. Himesh Reshammiya: The popular Indian playback singer turned actor is also a songwriter, music composer, music director, and film producer. He started his career as a music composer/director in Pyaar Kiya to Darna Kiya (1998) and made his debut as an actor in Aap Ka Suroor (2007). He got a lot of fame from the Indian reality singing show ‘Sur Kshetra’ in which he was the mentor for the emerging singers. Some of the famous works include ‘Aashiq Banaya Aapne’, ‘Zara Jhoom Jhoom’, ‘Jhalak Dikhla Ja’, and ‘Chalao Na Naino Se.’
16. Shaan: Shantanu Mukherjee popularly known as Shaan is a famous Indian playback singer, actor, and television host. He got famous for his hosting of some of the famous reality singing TV shows ‘Sa Re Ga Ma Pa, ‘Music ka Maha Muqabla’ and ‘Star Voice of India’. He has sung many songs for Bollywood movies including Dil Chahta Hai, Kal Ho Naa Ho, Jab We Met, 3 Idiots, Dhoom, and many more.
17. Sonu Nigam: He is an Indian singer, music director, and actor who is known in the media as one of the most successful singers of Bollywood of all time. He has sung over 5000 songs and has been given the title of ‘Modern Rafi’; a name influenced by his idol Mohammad Rafi. Some other titles for which he is known are ‘The master of melody’ and ‘The Lord of chords.’ He is very popular among the youth for some of his modern masterpieces, ‘All izz well’ topping that list. His songs ‘Abhi Mujh Mein Kahin’ from Agneepath and ‘Bhagwaan Hai Kahan Re Tu’ from PK were a huge success. He has bagged many awards for his exceptional work in the music industry recently, receiving the honor of Padma Shri (2022).
18. Sunidhi Chauhan: She is popularly known for her versatility in the Indian music industry ruling countless hearts with her performances. She is also famous for judging one of the biggest Indian singing reality TV shows ‘Indian Idol’. From singing Indian pop songs like ‘Dhoom Machaale’ to singing classical music ‘Kashmir Mein Tu Kanya Kumari’, she knows how to make audiences dance to her tunes.
19. Arjit Singh: He is one of the most popular singers among the youth. He got fame when he sang ‘Tum Hi Ho’ from Aashiqui 2 which took the internet by storm. With having 162 hits under his belt and continuing to steal hearts with his phenomenal work, he has been given the title of ‘King of Playback Singing’.
20. Shreya Ghoshal: She is an Indian playback singer and music composer. She caught the attention of the director Sanjay Leela Bhansali in a singing reality show Sa Re Ga Ma Pa, he then allowed her to sing 5 songs for the record-breaking movie ‘Devdas’. After this, she continued captivating the audience with her soulful voice giving back-to-back hits. ‘Uff’, ‘Chaka Chak’ from Atrangi Re, and ‘Param Sundri’ from Mimi are some of her recent hits.
21. Kanika Kapoor: She is an Indian playback singer who got viral immediately after the release of ‘Baby Doll’ from Ragini MMS 2 (2014). The song became the party anthem and she caught the attention of the film directors. She then sang many item songs and became famous for giving the music industry some of the most hit western pop songs. ‘Lovely’ and ‘Kamlee’ from Happy New Year (2014), ‘Chittan Kalaiyaan’ from Roy, ‘Nachaan Faraate’ from All is Well (2015), and ‘Desi Look’ from Ek Paheli Leela (2015) are the songs that still top the list when it comes to the party anthem.
22. Harshdeep Kaur: The Indian playback singer popularly known as ‘Sufi Ki Sultana’ for her soulful Sufi depiction of the talent. She got fame when she sang ‘Ik ankar’ from Rang De Basanti and ‘Udne Do’ from Taxi No. 9211. However, she became popular among the youth when her song ‘Jhak Maar Ke’ from Desi Boyz got released. She has given Bollywood music many hit songs ‘Jugni’ from Cocktail, ‘Uff’ from Bang Bang, ‘Zaalima’ from Raees, and many more.
23. Mika Singh: He is an Indian rapper, composer, and songwriter. He isn’t only famous because of his songs but he has also judged a lot of singing TV reality shows. Some of his prominent works include ‘Bas Ek King’ from Singh is King, ‘Mauja Hi Mauja’ from Jab We Met, ‘Dhanno’ from Housefull, and one of his recent ‘Saawan Mein Lag Gayi Aag’ from Ginny Weds Sunny became a huge hit.
24. Yo Yo Honey Singh: He is famous for introducing the music industry with a new genre of hip hop, bhangra, and rap in his songs. He became a sensation among the youth when his songs ‘Love Dose’, ‘Blue Eyes’, and ‘Desi Kalakaar’ got released. His music style was very unique for the youth and he soon became the ‘Punjabi Rap God’ for them, a title named after the legendary rapper Eminem. In India, he still tops the list of rappers with his back-to-back hits.
25. Badshah: He started his career in 2006 alongside Yo Yo Honey Singh and soon established himself as an Indian rapper with his talent. ‘Kar Gayi Chull’ from Kapoor & sons gave his career a boost; he then didn’t stop giving music industry most hit party anthems. His song ‘Genda Phool’ became the most hit party anthem of the year 2021. For his songs’ lyrics, he was given the title ‘Bad Boy Badshah’.
26. Ayushmann Khurrana: The famous Indian actor is also popularly known for lending his voice to some of the hit projects of Bollywood. His singing career grew immensely after his song ‘Pani Da Rang’ from Vicky Donor became popular. He then gave many hits and was also listed among the ‘100 most influential people in the world’ in 2020 by Time.
Bollywood’s Emerging Talent:
With the increasing population in India, there has been a lot of growth in talent as well. Bollywood is now witnessing many young singers achieving success at a very fast pace. Armaan Malik is one of the new emerging talents popular among the youth, having a musical family background has made the entry simpler for him in Bollywood making his brother Amal Malik proud. Darshan Raval is another popular Indian singer making his way to audiences’ hearts by giving back-to-back hits like ‘Mujhy Peene Do’, ‘Rabba Meher Kari’, and many more. Dhanush, an Indian actor, and a playback singer have recently become a youth sensation with his release of ‘Atrangi Re’ in which he both played a leading role and sang ‘Little Little’. The Kakkar siblings Tony, Neha, and Sonu are the new internet sensation due to their eccentric style of singing, liked by some while cringed by others. However, they still have made themselves popular among the youth with their hit songs. Rahul Vaidya is an Indian playback singer who had worked in many Bollywood movies like ‘Shaadi No 1’ and ‘Krazzy 4’ but his talent captivated the attention of India and earned fame when he participated in the biggest reality shows of India ‘Bigg Boss 14’. Jubin Nautyal’s hit Indian songs are seemingly endless. His T-Series song “Lut Gaye” just crossed 1 billion views on YouTube, making it the first Jubin song to do so. With the song “Tujhe Kitna Chahein Aur Hum,” he also gained a lot of success. Tulsi Kumar is T-Series’ flag bearer. She is a well-known entrepreneur, voice-over artist, singer, and radio DJ. ‘Dil Yeh Mera,’ ‘Nachenge Saari Raat,’ ‘Dil Ke Paas,’ and ‘Mere Rashke Qamar’ are among her some of the greatest songs. Neeti Mohan is another talented Indian singer lending her voice to some of the hit Bollywood songs like ‘Ishq Wala Love’ from Student of the Year, ‘Jiya Re’ from Jab Tak Hai Jaan, and many more.
Bohemia, Ritviz, Salman Ali, Yasser Desai, and Monali Thakur are some of the emerging talents who will become very popular among the youth considering their increasing number of fans.