Now that’s what I call dance music!

May 22, 2022

Dance those Monday blues away with the best, peppiest tunes we have ever heard in Pakistani cinema.

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Research (this one article in Cosmo from 2009) suggests that feel-good, happy tunes release happy chemicals
in our brains. In Instep’s ongoing appreciation for all Pakistani films ever, from Rocky Dada (1987), to Dum
(2022), we list the songs we find will elevate our spirits instantly, and hope they will lift yours too.

‘Tere Ishq’

Ghabrana Nahi Hai (2022)

Everything about this song is awesome. From upcycling a Raheem Shah track, making it even more upbeat, to the clear atmosphere of sleaze the filmmakers have constructed - which as a sidenote is cute, not sleazy? – we think ‘Tere Ishq’ gets a lot right. Also, was this den of sin the song is shot in part of the chain of casinos and brothels ‘Salman Rushdie’ builds in International Gorillay? Inquiring minds want to know.

Yes, this is an item number, but surely, we can forgive item numbers that give us great tunes? What would the world today be without ‘Choli Ke Peechay’, or ‘Beedi’? A world which wouldn’t know what to dance to freestyle at mehndis and was deprived of 1993 Sanjay Dutt in a beard and eyepatch. Moral of the story: just listen to, watch, and dance to ‘Tere Ishq’ to remember how beautiful life can be. And then watch a clip of ‘Choli Ke Peechay’, where Sanjay Dutt’s beard makes an appearance around the 1:11 mark, to really seal the deal.

‘Mahi Aawe Ga’

Qaidi (1986)

We’ve had the queen of queens in our midst. Madame Noor Jehan has sung some of the most iconic songs in Pakistani cinema, which have birthed many covers, but we love ‘Mahi Aawe Ga’ for its passionate call of love, some very coordinated dancing by Anjuman in a random baagh in Lahore, and Sultan Rahi’s kinda-pleased-but-I’ve-seen-better face.

But most of all we love that the song taps into that female urge to just love people as hard as we can. Your boy, girl, or punch-face Persian from Empress Market could be the (if Megan can do it, so can we) most irritating presence on the face of this planet, but as women, we often tend to go right ahead and love our people regardless.

‘Sub Toh Sohniye’

Daira (2002)

‘80s babies where you at! Like everyone else coming of age at the beginning of the 2K, we too, read Moth Smoke (by Mohsin Hamid), and we too, felt caught up in a world of smoke and lies and infidelities. Everyone growing up in the ‘90s thought they had to be a little ‘alternative’, okay? Please don’t judge us. But this track, originally on the soundtrack of the film Rangila, starring actor Rangeela, was remade into the song that lights up our souls when we hear it.

Sub Toh Sohniye’ has the fun shehnai sound, so you know it’s going to sound great if you’re trying to have a retro baraat, and the video features, along with those three dudes and one Ayeshah Alam, that one backup dancer dude who was in every video in 2003, and outshone everyone – including the star – because he’s just so darn enthusiastic and you can see it on his face.

‘Love Mein Ghum’

Love Mein Ghum (2011)

To be fair, ‘Love Mein Ghum’ has a bunch of things going for it. Saqib Malik directed, and HSY choreographed, one of the most entertaining film song videos ever, featuring Pakistan’s film, television and fashion industries, tied by the thread that holds us all together: Moammar Rana.

Plus, the tune is super catchy and bright, and why didn’t this become the song at mehndis circa 2011 and 2012? Why were we dancing to ‘Ole Ole’? Who else remembers the utter boredom that dance practices at the turn of the century and its first decade brought with them? Share your stories with us!

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