Bollywood travel songs play significant roles in my life. At times they work as a time machine; reminding us of a place I have traveled. Sometimes, the location or the spirit of the song sparks an idea of our next trip. Let me tell you about some of my all-time favorite Bollywood Travel Songs and the lovely Indian locations they refer to.
Mere Sapno ki Rani, 1969
Darjeeling’s legendary toy train, a World Heritage, has been immortalized by Kishore Kumar’s ‘Meri Sapno Ki Rani’ in 1969. This song tops the chart of Bollywood Travel Songs of all times. On-screen Rajesh Khanna is seen singing on an open jeep which his friend is driving through the winding mountain road. The jeep moves side by side with the toy train for Rajesh Khanna to see his love, Sharmila Tagore, through the window of the toy train. S.D.Burman composed this evergreen song for Shakti Samanta’s movie, ‘Aradhana’. Darjeeling has lots to offer but the tooting toy train, the sight of the mighty Kanchenjunga, and world-class tea gardens are the focus. In the song local tea plucking women with baskets on their back are seen, the hairpins where the railway tracks and the roads meet are captured in the song.
Dil Chahta Hai, 2001
The title track of the 2001 super hit movie, ‘Dil Chahta Hai’, defines Goa, for our generation. Amir Khan, Saif Ali Khan, and Akshaye Khanna driving together to Goa gives the ultimate friendship goal of traveling together to Goa. The song, ‘Dil Chahta Hai’ portrays Goa’s best locations; the deep blue sea, beach shacks, the ruins of Chopara Fort, and the serene lanes with coconut trees on both sides. As we drove through Goa, we played this song on loop. The video was etched in my mind. This song is one of the legendary Bollywood travel songs which won Shankar Mahadevan the ‘Bollywood Movie Award for Best Playback Singer, Male’ in June 2002. He along with Ehsaan Noorani and Loy Mendonsa composed the music for this Farhan Akhtar movie.
Iye Ishq Hai, 2007
Videos of Manali, Naggar, and Rohtang on Instagram are still coordinated with the song, ‘Iye Ishq Hai’ from the 2007 Imtiaz Ali movie, ‘Jab We Met’. Shreya Ghoshal received National Award for this song. Kareena Kapoor’s dance, especially in the traditional Himachali attire with dancers dressed up as yaks looks amazing and touristy. Shahid Kapoor’s cute smile adds a special charm to the beautiful song. They drive through the snowy roads of Rohtang in the song. The road goes through snow walls. When I first watched the song, I felt like reliving my Manali Rohtang trip, which I had taken before the movie. It is undoubtedly one of the best Bollywood travel songs gifted by the eminent music composer, Pritam.
Behti Hawa Sa Tha Wo, 2009
Shantanu Moitra and Shaan take us to a transcendental level with their song, ‘Behti Hawa’ from Rajkumar Hirani’s 2009 blockbuster ‘3 Idiots’. R. Madhavan and Sharman Joshi drive with not so friendly Omi Vaidya, in quest of a special friend, Amir Khan. The drive through the breathtaking roads of Ladakh and deep friendship is what we have in the song. Amir Khan’s science school, the Druk Padma Karpo (White Lotus) School has now become a hot spot for tourists in Shey (near Leh), Ladakh. This song has grabbed numerous awards, including that of the ‘Best Lyricist’ (Swanand Kirkire). This is one of the best soothing Bollywood travel songs. Driving or riding to Ladakh is a dream for many and the song has captured the beauty of the roads perfectly. The song is inspiring enough to finally make one take that step to fulfill the dream.
Jiya Re, 2012
A. R. Rahman’s ‘Jiya Re’ from Yash Chopra’s 2012 movie, ‘Jab Tak Hain Jaan’ is one of the coolest Bollywood travel songs. Shahrukh Khan and Anushka Sharma are traveling through the Kashmir Valleys. Gulmarg with cattle herders, Kashmiri kids, and local women form a great backdrop. Anushka is seen dancing on the Shikaras of Dal Lake with colorful flowers from the Lake’s floating flower market. The modern travelers also enjoy the zip lining and river rafting at Pahalgam, which Anushka and Shahrukh are doing while traveling. The jazzy beats in this song are perfect for a hilly drive.
Journey Song, 2015
Piku’s ‘Journey Song’ inspires road trips. Piku is Shoojit Sircar’s 2015 movie. The song is composed and sung by Anupam Roy. It is a song depicting a road trip taken by Irfan Khan, Deepika Padukone, and her father Amitabh Bachhan, from Delhi to Kolkata, via Varanasi. This song has inspired many to do a similar road trip. They drive through alluring highways and take a night halt at Varanasi. The evening aarti at Varanasi’s Dashashwamedh ghat is something which one cannot miss. Then when they reach Kolkata, by the end of the song glimpses of the “City of Joy” are also found. Howrah Bridge, Princep Ghat, Calcutta taxi, and trams are exclusive to Kolkata. The name of the song itself suggests that it is one of today’s best Bollywood travel songs.
‘Safarnama’ means ‘The Book of Travels’. So as the name suggests this song from Imtiaz Ali’s 2015 movie ‘Tamasha’ definitely makes it to the list of Bollywood travel songs. A. R. Rahman’s serene composition and Lucky Ali’s voice created this piece of magic. Safarnama is all about traveling, physically, mentally, and spiritually. Ranbir Kapoor runs through the roads of Shimla, the capital of Himachal Pradesh. The steep hilly lane, the congested yet magical hills at the backdrop, the pine trees, Shimla Mall, and the iconic Church are all present in the song.
There is a song which I must mention as we are talking of Bollywood travel songs. It does not exactly specify any location but is a perfect travel song. The song is ‘Iyuhi Chalachal Rahi’ from Ashutosh Gowariker’s 2004 super hit movie, ‘Swadesh’. In this song, Shahrukh Khan drives through rural India, the real India, in his caravan. The song is a masterpiece composed by A. R. Rahman and sung by Kailash Kher. The beats of this song create great vibes on a long drive.
Traveling without music is incomplete for some. Well, a Bollywood playlist for your travel is now ready. It reflects the spirit of the places and the journey.
A versatile writer and travel freak, discovering the world in her own casual way. Loves to immerse into the core of Mother Nature and extract her inherent beauty.