Inspired by the awesome blog, “Things 90s Kids Realize”, I thought I could reflect on some relatable 90s experiences. I have to say I was lucky. Not only did I get to experience the awesomeness that this blog explores, but also the exposure of Pakistan and India (mostly Bollywood) in the 90s.
Anyway, so here’s 7 things I loved in the 90s (definitely not in any particular order) as Pakistani-American kid who watched a lot of Bollywood too and secretly wished she could become the first “Amreekan”-Desi Bollywood star. A girl can dream, can’t she?
1.) Daler Mendhi (in childhood pronounced as “Dollar Mendhi”)
If you have not read FunnyIndianLady’s Bhangra tribute, in which she talks about Daler Mendhi, then you certainly should. Anyway, from Tunak Tunak to Bo Lo Ta Ra Ra – one thing was for sure – Mr. Mendhi got you hopping! You wished to be Punjabi when you heard his songs. His videos of duplication were even more hilarious, and you didn’t care if he had shady dealings in the 2000s. He was FREAKING Daler Mendhi. He was a face of 90s Bhangra before Bhangra got invaded with those audio improvements and DJ/VJ nonsense. And of course, as mentioned many times, the videos when I watch them now make me fall on the floor and laugh.
2.) Abhijeet and Anu Malik Lyrics
Remember the song Zara Sa Jhoom Loome from Dilwale Dulhania Lejayenge, where Sharukh and Kajol get very drunk? Ever notice that the voice of the guy sounds like a really spazzy, squeaky stereotypical nerd? Well, I always found that voice annoying, but it definitely popped its ways into songs during the 90s. Abhijeet had that goofy voice out of a cartoon that somehow was a voice used for very “cheap” (as my dear Indian counterparts call it) songs.
Somehow, I also think lyricist, Anu Malik, should be grouped into this as well. His lyrics are known to be quite cheezy and inclusive of very creepy sounding English that we would cringe to listen to as women. Here listen to a song for yourself from the 90s – it’s called Dil Mera Churaya Kyun. If you want to listen to something utterly ridiculous from the 2000s, listen to “Do me a favor let’s play Holi.” If there’s a king of mixing English so horribly into Hindi songs – it is Anu Malik.
3.) The Vital Signs and Junoon
One of my favorite bands of those days. I had talked about the Vital Signs very briefly in my post, in regards to Junaid Jamshed. However, I remember the days I owned a Vital Signs cassette (yes, I did grow up with cassettes and VHS, thank you very much). I would fell a tinge of excitement when I would hear the songs, even if I heard them 75 times before.
The Vital Signs were awesome! You saw them on Coke ads and in general this really fun, but patriotic feel about Pakistan. It almost made you want to give things on PTV a chance (though sadly, nobody watches PTV now).
And then there was Junoon. Our parents hated their long hair and did not understand all of this crazy rock and roll nonsense they played. Yet, it’s so nice to know that this rock and roll nonsense sometimes had meaning and was actually pretty cool. I was a fan, but my parents never understood it.
4.) Girl Power (Really More Like a Girl Teasing a Guy Into He Lair) and “I’m Taking You Away, Hot Bride” (says the Groom) Songs
For girl power songs, I am talking about songs which connoted a sense of “Yeah, future husband I am marrying you, but I am not leaving my father’s house” (but really I know I am because dad does not want to be footing my bills anymore and it’s now your responsibility to pay for my expensive tastes).
Here’s an example of one of my favorite of such songs. Mere Khwaabon Mein Jo Aaye (the cover picture of this post). Kajol basically sings all of her thoughts of what she wants from a guy (despite the fact that she’s arranged to a boy she barely knows in Punjab, who ends up being a total douche).
Playing hard to get was in our repertoire as Desi women watching Bollywood. If you did not do so, you were simply just not of a “special type” of marriage material. I suppose that is still the case now. Hence, even up to your wedding day, you sang songs expressing how awesome you are, and how you are not ready to grow up at all and go into another house. Really it is a tease to make the guy you were marrying want you more. Just my thoughts.
Nevertheless, I sure want these types of songs at my Mendhi, and for some cute theatrics of being taken away from my parents’ home (though I do not live with my parents anymore, but I do in spirit?). I want to tell my “hone waala shohor/pathi” (about to be husband) that I am still a free bachelorette and he can’t take me away (though he can).
5.) Salman Khan and Every Take Off Shirt Opportunity
So, the concept of a “fit male body” began with Salman Khan, however, that fit body was not through natural means per se (ahem, steroids). However, there was not even one film that one cannot find Salman taking off his shirt, all while wearing tight jeans. In the beginning, for example, in Hum Aapke Hai Kaun he was wearing a tank top, and that was fine. He was actually quite cute in the film, but then the tight jeans and the bare chest (and receding hairline) entered the scene. That’s when Salman Khan became a repulsive “dhaag” (stain) on Bolllywood. Just a few days ago I was remembering the cute Salman when I was in Chowk here in Lucknow (the city I am currently studying in). There was a soda billboard that definitely looked like it had not been changed since the 90s, but it nevertheless had an actually cute picture of Salman.
Still, the man has mass appeal here in India. It will always remain a mystery to me why that is, but I will continue to choose not to question it.
6.) Made in India
So, remember Alisha Chinoy’s Made In India? Better yet, do you remember the steamy guy who showed up in her video?
Yes, Bharat Maata’s new form of patriotism – a capitalistic reminder that a lot of the stuff you wear or buy for the house is FROM India. I remember when this song came out, and my relatives would get annoyed when I sang it, reminding me that our family was actually Pakistani. Still, the song was catchy.
7.) Gundas aur Villains!
Who can forget the evil guys in movies? Better yet though, who could forget the evil ones of the ’90s. Everything about them was evil, from the horrible mustaches to the tapori-like slang. And of course the creeper smiles and mingling with the prostitutes. They always had their ridiculously curly mustaches and their max-out of creeper looks. These guys needed a lot more credit because they were so ridiculous that they always made the hero and heroine look beautiful.