This post is just for you if you, too, are a fan of armchair travel. And though I don’t share my video playlist that easily, I’m spilling the beans here! A collection of some of the best music videos that capture what travelling in India is like. While the actual list is quite long and will run into at least four more such posts, this is perhaps the best of the whole lot. Read it, watch it if you’re planning a trip to India or are just simply lazy to go out and hit the roads!
1. Kahan Hoon Main – Kinnaur & Spiti
This one is right at the top of this post for the very breezy feel of Himalayas that it has. You’ll find the leading actors perched atop a Himachal Roadways bus, traversing across Kinnaur and then Spiti. Ki Monastery is one of the major features in this one. Meaningful vocals, depicting a girl’s journey from everything urbane to the wilderness of highways, are an add on. This one would make you want to soar high, towards the Himalayas. This is perhaps Bollywood’s answer to Into The Wild.
2. Saathiya – Hampi
You’ll love this score, set against the backdrop of River Tunghabhadra and the ruins of Hampi. More so since it has the characteristic colourful dance troupes of Bollywood numbers. If you cannot stand the cheesiness, keep your eyes focussed on the very alluring backdrops. If nothing, you’ll fall in love with Hampi.
3. Piya Basanti – Kotgarh and Melan Village, Himachal Pradesh
Oh, I love this one. Shot mainly around the villages of Melan and Kotgarh, in Himachal Pradesh, this music video has a very dreamy feel to it. A compact storyline and very impressive vocals blend perfectly with the rolling mist that sweeps in the Himalayas. *Scampers to get the backpack.
4. Yaad – Sikkim
Alright, this is one of the rarer finds. You would know this music video only if you have fallen in love with the engaging music of Maatibaani or the Dewarists. Ancient poetry has blended well with the work of Shankar Tucker and lead vocalist Nirali Kartik. Setting fire to their work is the oh-so-lovely land of Sikkim, shot well with the tea estates, high altitude lakes and prayer flags that’ll set your heart aflutter in place.
5. Dil ka Bhanwar – Qutub Minar
Loved the era of black and white cinema? If yes, then this one is for you. With the lead pair of Dev Anand and Nootan in place, this song is majorly filmed in and around the architectural wonder of Qutab Minar in Delhi. A rare find, the song is as vintage as the location. Md Rafi is, of course, great with the vocals again.
6. Taal se taal – Chamba
I’m not sure if you would love it more for the reason that it features Aishwarya Rai or the fact that it has one of the most appealing landscapes ever. Shot around Chamba in Himachal Pradesh, this song will let you know the magic of rain when it visits the Himalayas.
7. Tu Kuja – Rann of Kutch
Another one from the movie Highway, this song might not let you soaring with happiness. It’s one of those numbers that may want you to make introspect or cry your heart out as the lead actor wanders alone in the salt marshes of the Rann of Kutch. Desolate yet compelling enough to wonder and wander.
8. Laman – Kalpa
If you love a dash of spirituality and are a fan of acoustic, this one is for you. A masterwork by Laman, this song is an ode to Hindu deity Shiva and is shot in some of the most gorgeous locations of Kinnaur, especially Kalpa. A tiny hamlet of a place, Kalpa wooed me with its quaint settings, simple folks and dozens of shooting stars that are an everyday affair here!
9. Laage Re Jal – Rajasthan
Paheli, a movie that was India’s nomination for Oscars for the year it was released, is a story straight out of Indian folk tales. My grandfather had recounted it so many times that it was fun watching it as a movie. What made it more engrossing was the stunning locations of Rajasthan. A story of a ghost who falls for a lovely bride, Paheli also has some scenes shots at the mysterious Rani ki Vav and has camel races, folk dances and delightful havelis for scenes. And this song, it’s simply lovely. Right notes, right beats and a very colourful Rajasthan.
10. Tu Hi Re – Fort Bekal, Kerala
Mani Ratnam is a master at painting scenes in his movies. Bombay, clearly is no different. Specially this song, Tu Hi Re, that was shot in the largest fort in Kerala – Fort Bekal. Built upwards from the sea itself, Fort Bekal’s citadel is one crashing point! By that I mean that the citadel has waves crashing around all through the day, making one remember the mesmerising acts by Arvind Swamy and Manisha Koirala.
11. Piya Haji Ali – Haji Ali, Mumbai
One of the most impressive songs from the movie Fiza, Piya Haji Ali will make you stir in emotion. You might be an atheist or a non-believer but I bet this song would make you think. You might not turn into a believer by the time you end watching it, but you would certainly be craving to visit the mosque of Haji Ali in Mumbai.
12. Kun Faya Kun – Hajrat Nizamuddin, Delhi
Another one from my ‘meaningful lyrics playlist,’ Kun Faya Kun from the movie Rockstar is shot at the dargah of Nizamuddin in Delhi. Again a soul-stirring qawali, it’s one number that stands as a just opposition to Haji Ali. Brilliantly shot around and inside the dargah of Khwaja Nizamuddin, this song will definitely find a place in your must-watch playlist and travel bucket list too.
13. Barso Re – Karnataka/Kerala/Ooty
Meet a very earthy Aishwarya Rai and the stunning beauty of Kerala in this number from another Mani Ratnam film. Shot at and around the Athirapally Falls, this number would make you dash for your backpack and hit the roads to Kerala. Great music by AR Rehman.
14. Jiya Jiya Re – Kashmir
Mr Yash Chopra made an epic return to Kashmir for his last movie, landing in the gregariously green valley of Kashmir. A fun song, this one has chased Kashmir in the right spirit, capturing its people, its skies, its meadows and more. Peace and more travellers to Kashmir.
15. Meethi Boliyan – Diu
This was quite sometime before Diu swept travellers off their feet with the Ilha de Calma campaign. A peppy number, it was shot in and around the stunning Diu Fort. Complete with a lighthouse and a brilliant seaside setting, Diu Fort is just one of the many wonders of Diu. Find your calm here and you would know why the campaign is so rightly titled.
16. MTV Sound Tripping – Ladakh
Hippies, nomads and road trip lovers, this one is for you all. Shot in Ladakh, it’s more than just a music video. That since all the sounds and most of the artists in the video are intrinsically Ladakhi. Awe-inspiring locations, use of regional music instruments, shades of Buddhism and Tibetan ideologies, this video is your quick, shorter ride to the Himalayan land. Do watch, do visit.
17. Boondan Boondan – Yay for Indian Monsoons
Ahh.. one of my favourite Indian bands, Maatibaani. These folks are just wonderful and so is this music video. Other than the lead artists, it features Noor Mohammed Sodha, who’s playing Jodiya Pawa, a wind instrument from the Kutch region of Gujarat. Interesting vocals, great music and settings that will remind you of Indian monsoons, Boondan Boondan ought to be a must have on your list.
18. Dilli 6 – Dilli 6
Dilli 6, or Old Delhi, as the newbies call it, is best featured in this number. Old, dusty lanes, temples nested under century old Banyan trees, Sun setting the Red Fort on fire – it’s got everything that is Dilli 6. I’m not saying that it has Delhi in the best touristy light, but it has it in the right light! Just as it is.
19. Dhoom Pichak Dhoom – Benaras
Ahh.. if Varanasi (I prefer to call it Benaras) is on your mind, watch this video. A peppy, love song, this is by Euphoria, one of the first Indian bands. Find the vocalist Palash Sen wooing his love, crooning across the Ganga ghats. Gorgeous scenes that will make you visit Benaras. In spite of the huge crowds and narrow lanes that are mostly blocked by a cow or two!
20. Hum Hain Iss Pal – Gangotri & Around
Director Subhash Ghai might have bid adieu to films now, but the way he shot India in his movies is not comparable. Be it the movie Taal or Pardes, his camera work makes me wonder in delight. This number, from the movie Kisna, was shot at Ranikhet, Gangtori and Rudraprayag, capturing the fascinating yet little talked about land of Uttarakhand. Cheers to this land of the Himalayas.
21. Satyame Jayate – Delhi, Jammu & Kashmir, Kerala – Across India!
An epic show by humanitarian Aamir Khan, Satyamev Jayate’s title track takes you on a whirlwind tour of India spanning from Jammu & Kashmir, Delhi, Punjab, Kerala, Sikkim, Rajasthan and more. Other than being an inspiring travel video, this one has a very human appeal with the actor and social workers capturing the people, food and roads of India. Great work, must watch if you are looking for India travel videos.
A special thanks to my reader Jeril AK for suggesting this video.
Are you an armchair traveller too? Tell me which is your favourite travel video that features India, or any other place. One such favourite of mine is Alexander Rybak’s Roll With the Wind that’s shot at Giske, Norway. A superb song with great settings!