Bollywood and Bhangra – Musical influences from India

By 22 September, 2017 No Comments

India is vibrant and diverse and boasts an expanding creative scene. If you’ve ever watched an Indian film you’ll know that the music is as important as the film’s storyline itself! It’s never long before a song is performed, usually accompanied by a dance routine and impressive costumes. Bollywood, also known as Hindi cinema, is the biggest producer of Hindi language films in the world. On the other hand, Bhangra is a type of music and dance from India, originating from the Punjab region. Many of the biggest musical hits in India actually originate from Bollywood but are also influenced by Bhangra, making the Indian music scene somewhat unique.  Let’s take a look at some of India’s biggest stars.

Arijit Singh is one of the most successful singers in the history of Indian music. He made his Bollywood debut in 2011, the same year he began to record Bengali film songs. Over the years he has been nominated for more than 80 awards, winning nearly 30. Tum Hi Ho (You Are The One) is one of Arijit’s most successful songs from the Indian movie Aashiqui 2, receiving nearly twenty nominations and awards combined.

Hirdesh Singh, better known by his stage name Yo Yo Honey Singh, is an actor, singer and producer of both Bhangra and Bollywood films and music. Since his debut in 2006 he has released dozens of singles and albums but in 2016 he took a break from the industry.

Sunidhi Chauhan made her debut in 1996 at the age of 13. The singer, who possesses a high-octave vocal range, has made several cameo appearances in Indian films and has also appeared as a judge on Indian Idol in 2010 and 2012. She later appeared on The Voice as a coach in 2015. She has been nominated for more than 80 awards during her career.

Neeti Mohan made her debut as a singer in 2003 after winning the reality show Popstars where she won a place in the group Aasma. Over the years she has built a successful career as a solo artist and has appeared on numerous TV shows both in India and abroad.

The influence of Indian music extends far beyond the country. Jai Ho! (You Are My Destiny) was a huge international hit for The Pussycat Dolls in 2009. The single was credited as A. R. Rahman and The Pussycat Dolls featuring Nicole Scherzinger. Producer A. R. Rahman was listed by Time Magazine as being one of the 100 most influential people in the world in 2009. The video for the song recreates the final scenes from the film Slumdog Millionaire, the soundtrack of which further boosted the prominence of Indian music around the world. The video for Jai Ho! (You Are My Destiny) has been watched over 100 million times on YouTube!

Other notable stars to have been influenced artistically by Indian music and stylings include Cher and Madonna. Ray Of Light, Madonna’s 1998 album featured themes including Hinduism and Buddhism as well as mystical influences present in both music and lyrics. Cher’s Farewell Tour, which ran from 2002 until 2005, saw her perform the highly revered Gāyatrī Mantra and many of her costumes also included Indian influences.

Which singer from India would you like see perform at Eurovision Asia?