Ah, Bombay Vikings. One of the first few Indian independent bands that actually made us get up and dance with fresh music, fresh non-filmy music. Started by Neeraj Sridhar in Stockholm, Sweden, in 1994, Bombay Vikings soon achieved worldwide fame with their 1999 hit, Kya Soorat Hai. And for a whole decade (and counting) after that, they created and released more songs that broke all boundaries; these were Indian classical-rock fusions, old Bollywood gaane ki remixes (but tasteful, unlike the ones churned out today), and original music that spoke to a whole generation of aspiring Indians who were looking for music that defined youth, Indian sensibilities and our truth — non-Bollywood music, specifically.
My iTunes played a Bombay Vikings song the other day, and sent me on a spiral and I have been listening to their hit songs on Spotify on REPEAT all weekend.
So, I thought I must share these amazing tracks with all of you. Because nothing makes us miss the good old, nostalgic days like iconic music.
Here are 8 songs by Bombay Vikings that really defined the 2000s:
1. Kya Soorat Hai
There are so many reasons why Kya Soorat Hai blew up like it did in 1999 and became an instant worldwide hit. For starters, it was the epitome of 1999 clubbing music: the thumping beats, the electro tune that wasn’t overdone (unlike today) and lyrics that are perfect to sing and dance along with. Prabhudeva’s own brother, Raju Sundaram, stars in the music video that SCREAMS 90s: the tucked in white t shirt, the cool cassette player, the girl’s white strappy dress, and a video that used every bit of technology available on Microsoft Office at the turn of the century.
2. Mona Re
MO-O-NA! The song starts with a chorus and a gorgeous blend of 90s techno-pop and RD Burman’s classic O Mere Sona Re from the 70s. A classic western remix of a classic 70s hit was pretty risky at the time, but I’m pretty positive that only Bombay Vikings could have balanced it just right. Mona Re wasn’t just a great song for long drives and jam sessions with friends; it was super fun to watch as well. The music video is quirky and hilarious, epitomising late 90s fashion and riding on the streets of Mumbai wearing…viking hats (?). Whatever, if Bombay Vikings did it, it was cool.
3. Woh Chali
Only Bombay Vikings could have done justice to a Lata Mangeshkar remake. Woh Chali is a remake of Lataji’s 1962 hit song Main Chali Main Chali. The remix isn’t overdone or overly produced with unnecessary rap bits or forced electrotunes. Neeraj Sridhar paid his respects while also adding his own spin to the song, making it sound original and even new. Fun fact: Lata Mangeshkar enjoyed this song so much that she actually ended up inviting Neeraj to perform at her birthday!
4. Angel Eyes
Definitely one of the sexiest songs of 2000, Angel Eyes was on every music channel that I can remember. Super catchy and perfect for a sing-along, for clubbing music, or to serenade your crush, Angel Eyes is a song that I can never actually ever forget, its Hinglish lyrics are officially attached to my brain. Angel eyes, mere khwabon mein tu…
5. Chhod do Aanchal
Another hit remake of a Lata Mangeshkar classic, Chhod Do Aanchal by Bombay Vikings featured singer Linea in the chorus. The song was another amazing tribute to Bollywood music of the 60s and 70s, especially the disco fever that raged those decades. A combination of disco, bop music and 2000s ka early techno-rock-pop, Chhod Do Aanchal was new to all audiences. Plus, with a music video this creative, there is no surprise that this song became an instant fan favourite.
6. Hawa Mein Udta Jaaye
Another Lata remix, Hawa Mein Udta Jaaye was released by Bombay Vikings in 2002. This remix is yet another perfect example of how a rock band remixes an old song and makes it sound modern all the while retaining its beautiful older quality. What really sends this song to another level is its use of acoustic guitar, that somehow blends in perfectly with a sitar-like instrument and male classical background singing. It’s the right amalgamation of old and new, of Indian and Western, of filmy and indie.
7. Kahan Ho Tum
I’m sure you don’t remember the movie U Bomsi N Me, and tbh neither do I. But what I remember, far too clearly, from the movie is its music. More specifically, the song Kahan Ho Tum. Recorded by the one and only Bombay Vikings, the song remains a masterpiece even today. It is dramatic, grand, has gorgeous, painful lyrics, and is relatable to just about every human being, no matter which decade. The piano adds an especially haunting tune to the song, which is produced exceptionally, overall. Also, Neeraj Sridhar’s voice is the sexiest thing I have ever heard.
8. Aa Raha Hoon Main
One of their larger-than-life ballads, Aa Raha Hoon Main was an instant commercial hit the year it came out, 2004. It not only defined the youth’s ambition and enthusiastic future, it was upbeat and motivating enough to get the young kids started on their journey. You’re lying if you’ve never jammed to this with headphones on, volume at max, head bumping and screaming at the top of your lungs, “AA RAHA HOON MAIN”! Watch out world!