Shakespeare had once said- “If music be the food of love, play on”. Indeed, what is life without music? Where are those vibrant colours of life if there are no melodies to cheer us up? How would be even survive those traffic jams or solo bus rides and journeys if there was no music at all? And what is music without Bollywood? Yes, we will be talking about the popular male singers of Bollywood here. Without some amazing and timeless hits like Meri bheegi bheegi si, Ya Ali, Pachtaoge, Gulabi aankhein, Muskurane ki wajah- we would really not know how to feel our emotions or know what love is. The contributions of these great maestros like Kishore Kumar, Mohammed Rafi, Arijit Singh, Armaan Malik to name some complete Bollywood. We will highlight the songs gifted to us by the retro singers and the new millennial heart-throbs. So, stay put till the end!!
The veteran retro legends
1. Kishore Kumar– Originally known as Abhas Kumar Ganguly, Kishore Da is someone whom the entire world listens too. He may not be present with us physically, but his works will remain with us till eternity. As long as music and mankind exist, so will Kishore Da and his melodies. Be it Kora Kagaz, Mere sapno ki rani, Kuch toh log kahenge or O mere dil ke chain- each and every song by him is just a gem which we can never get over from.
2. Mohammed Rafi– Md. Rafi is a singer who is just beyond all praise and perfection. Someone as gifted as him shall always remain immortal. His classically enriched voice and his effortless style of singing is the reason why we still remember him this fondly. One of the greatest voices of the world, Md. Rafi’s Deewana hua, Chahe koi mujhe junglee kahe, Baharon phool barsao still resound in our ears and hearts even today.
3. Mukesh– Mukesh is a stalwart whose melodies will always remain priceless. One of the best singers of all times, his contributions to Bollywood in the golden retro era will always be cherished and valued. Bollywood shall forever be indebted to him for his Joker kehta hai, Pyar ka nagma, Dum dum diga diga to mention some of his blockbuster hits.
4. Hemant Kumar Mukhopadhyay– Hemant Kumar was not just a singer. He was an enigma. One of the phenomenal musicians of all times, he not just enlightened Bollywood with his mellifluous voice, but he sang in several other languages too out of which Bengali steals the spotlight. Hai apna dil to awara, Yeh raat yeh Chandni, Na tum humein jaano- these are some of his best gifts to us worth mentioning out of his hundreds of other addictive melodies.
5. Manna Dey– Originally known as Prabodh Chandra Dey, Manna Dey is a legend who has indeed exalted the Bollywood music industry to a different level. Every praise and applause is less for him, since he is just beyond excellence. His duet with Kishore Da in Padosan shall always be perpetuated in our hearts. O Gori Tori Tu Pyar Ka Sagar Hai, Laga Chunari Mein Daag, Lapak Jhapak Tu Aa Re- these are some of his best tracks that will always be with us.
6. Mahendra Kapoor– Mahendra Kapoor will always be in our hearts and minds and playlists. Be it patriotic numbers or romantic hits, his mellifluent voice is just something else. His melodies can never age since they infuse in us a different vigour whenever we listen to them. Chhod Kar Tere Pyar, Mere Desh Ki Dharti, Neele Gagan Ke Tale are some of his notable melodies which still enchant us whenever we play them.
7. Talat Mahmood– Padma Bhushan winner Talat Mahmood was a stalwart whose voice would just keep us totally enticed and beguiled. His refreshing and baritone voice made him stand apart from the rest and he successfully left a lasting impression on our minds and hearts. Sab din ek samaan nahin tha, Bun jaoon ga kya se kya main, Sapnon Ki Suhaani Duniyaa Ko are some of his gems that we can never ever forget.
8. Jagjit Singh– “King of Ghazals” and “The Ghazal King”- these titles will obviously bring to your mind the image of the legendary Jagjit Singh. A man who doesn’t need to be introduced at all, Jagjit Singh indeed laid down the foundation of the Bollywood with his hypnotizing vocals. The charms of Hosh waalon ko khabar na, Woh Kagaz ki Kashti, Badi Haseen Raat Thi, Mujhse Bicchad Ke Khush Rehti Ho are still intact in our hearts filled with love for him.
9. K.J. Yesudas– Kattassery Joseph Yesudas is a singer who is highly esteemed by one and all. Known for his superb contribution to Bollywood, the regional film industries and the devotional songs genre, his voice will simply keep you awe-struck. Some of his melodies which are our all-time favourite jams are- Gori tera gaon, Dil ke tukde tukde, Aaj se pehle, O goriyan re.
The 90s to 2005 rulers
1. Kumar Sanu– Originally known as Kedarnath Bhattacharya, Kumar Sanu is indeed a ruler of hearts. His contribution to Bollywood will always be incomparable. He is a singer who was and is way ahead of his time. Be it Tera mera pyar, Yeh kaali kaali aankhein, Tere dar par sanam, Dheere dheere se mere zindagi mein- his melodies are not just timeless but also unforgettable.
2. Udit Narayan– This name is familiar to everyone, isn’t it? His amazing voice and mesmerizing style did steal our hearts then and it continues to do so now as well. He has given us a lot of addictive hits that have redefined our concepts of love and emotions. Kuch kuch hota hai, Pehla nasha, Manzilein, Main yahaan hoon yahaan- these melodies indeed shaped and moulded our hearts back in those decades and they will conquer us totally in the coming years as well.
3. Sonu Nigam– Sonu Nigam is a singer who rose to popularity in 1990s and from then there was no stopping. Though he continues to bewitch us now also, he mainly stole the show back then with his golden chartbusters like Suraj hua maddhyam, Tanhai, Yeh dil deewana, Sandese aate hai to name some.
4. Shaan– Shantanu Mukherjee a.k.a Shaan started his career in Bollywood as a playback singer in 1999. After that, he rose to fame and now we all know that without him Bollywood is just incomplete. Be it Tanha dil, Woh ladki hai kahan, Musu musu, Woh pehli baar- we just cannot get more of Shaan.
5. K.K.– Krishnakumar Kunnath or Kay Kay or K.K. is a singer who will never lose his charm. His career in Bollywood kickstarted in 1994 and he received his biggest break from Tadap Tadap. After that, there was no looking back. Be it Woh Ajnabee, Pal, Yaaron dosti, Teri yaadon mein- every melody by him is a present to us which we shall carry and pass on to our future.
6. Abhijeet Bhattacharya– This section would be left unfinished if we did not talk about the stunning Abhijeet Bhattacharya. Often hailed as Shah Rukh Khan’s voice, he indeed made our 90s-2010s decade priceless. Main koi aisa geet gao, Chaand tare tod laun, Chandni Raat hai- all his songs are till date etched deeply in our hearts and they will exist there for years to come.
7. Sukhwinder Singh– Sukhwinder Singh is a singer who has won millions of hearts all over the world. Though he continues to impress us with his dulcet yet resonating voice even now as well, but we are putting him under this age due to some of his breath-taking melodies which we haven’t got over now too. Ramta jogi, Chaiyya Chaiyya, Main Albeli, Dillagi are some of his best melodies that we still listen too on loop.
8. SP Balasubrahmanyam– Recognized as Salman Khan’s voice, SP Balasubrahmanyam is a singer renowned for his erudition and skills all over the world. A highly respected musician, his vocals have an unmatched elegance which allures every music-lover. Be it Aaja shaam hone aai, Tu hi re, Didi tera devar- every melody by him is literally a treat to the ears.
9. Shankar Mahadevan– Whatever we say about him is too less, as he is nothing but one of the greatest maestros of the world. His compositions and performances- both are totally bewildering and you cannot escape from their charms and beauty. Breathless, Mitwa, Urvasi Urvasi, Dil Chahta hai- these are some of his best songs from an inexhaustive list.
The new sensations
1. Arijit Singh– As the Bollywood music industry grew and transformed as time passed by, we saw the birth of a living legend who is nobody but Arijit Singh. The King of Sad Songs, he needs no introduction because everyone on this planet knows him, adores him and is gaga over him. Channa mereya, Humari Adhoori Kahani, Saware- the list of his evergreen hits is a long one and we are sure to add some more to this list in the coming years as well.
2. Armaan Malik– The guy with the sweetest voice, Armaan Malik is a dream. His velvety smooth vocals literally make us drool over him. One of our all-time crushes, he is someone whose voice can make you fall in love within a blink of your eye. His Bol do na zara, Tumhe apna banane ka, Main rahoon ya na rahoon; these hits will just make you all overwhelmed with emotions.
3. Jubin Nautiyal– Jubin Nautiyal is a prodigy, he has definitely made an indelible mark in Bollywood and we are over-excited to listen more of him in the coming years. His Humnava mere, Tum se, Zindagi kuch toh bata, Tum hi aana; all have already won us over in and out and his awesome voice is something which are and will always be craving for.
4. Papon– Papon who is originally named as Angaraag Mahanta is a singer who needs no description or definition. His baritone and powerful vocals have already defined him to be the greatest singer who is now ruling everyone of us. His Humnava, Jiyein Kyu, Kyu na hum tum- they have made him the man he is today and these songs tell us what his true potential is.
5. Javed Ali– One of the best singers Bollywood has ever gifted us with, Javed Ali has a different charm about him. His classically enriched vocals are worth dying for and he is in one word enticing. He has given us some gems like Ek din teeri raahon mein, Tu jo mila, Labb par aye, Naina lade and we sure do want him to gift us with further gems in the coming times.
6. Mika Singh– Party songs and peppy numbers. Whenever we utter these words the only name that rushes to our mind is Mika Singh. His casual and flirty style indeed sweep us from our feet and you cannot help but shake a leg to his dance numbers. Starting from Something something to Sawaan mein lag gayi aag then Aj ki party, Jumme ki raat- the list is endless yet exciting.
7. Ankit Tiwari– A gifted and extremely distinguished musician, Ankit Tiwari has proved to us what true talent is. The songs which have been composed by him and the songs which have been sung by him, all are just pure gold. The strains of Galliyan, Sunn raha hai, Dil Darbadar- are still ringing in our ears and will continue to do so in future as well.
8. Mohit Chauhan– Mohit Chauhan is a man who has indeed captivated us with his tuneful and lilting voice. He has literally kept us engaged with Masakali, Tumse hi, Nadan Parindey, Sadda Haq (to mention some of his best performances). Mohit Chauhan has over the decades built his place in all our hearts and we cannot wait to hear more of him in the coming times.
9. Atif Aslam– This entire list would have remained incomplete without the mention of Atif Aslam. Though he started his career in Bollywood quite early but we are mentioning him here because of his rapid rise to fame over the years. Dil diyan gallan, Aadat, Woh Lamhe, Pehli dafa, Tu jane na, Tere bin- we just cannot stop at any one song since all his melodies in that baritone voice of his is just of a different kind that makes us drop dead.
Here is the curated and compiled list of our favourite Bollywood male singers whom we love to the moon and back. Though we did miss out some of the magnificent singers as the space and words do have a limit, however, without each of these wonderful musicians Bollywood would never reach the zenith that it has today. So plug in your earphones and embrace an enthralling evening with the melodies of these lovely Bollywood male playback singers that we have compiled just for you.