Love affair with Indian Disco

Boom Boom! Oh Nazia, my first love. You are responsible for my love of Disco, specifically Bollywood Indian Disco.  From the extremely cute age of 4 years, Nazia Hassan’s sublime Boom Boom from the film, Star (1984), to this day is not only my favourite Nazia Hassan track, but possibly tops my all time favourite list. It is also responsible for keeping me fed. The only time I would eat my food was if this track was on and I could watch and listen while mum continually stuffed my belly with much needed food for me to, well, stay alive.
My brother, which still completely befuddles me as to why, purchased a cassette copy of a non-stop disco compilation – Disco Duniya. 30 or so bollywood tracks that were not necessarily disco tracks, but remixed to a non stop beat interspersed with the Disco Duniya anthem. The original vinyl is hard to come by now but managed to grab a MP3 copy recently and after listening to it, great childhood memories came flooding back. To this end I decided to dig out some older, rarer tracks not necessarily from films but also some purposefully made disco anthems and compile them into my fake pretend compilation album brand Disco Nasha titled, Chal Disco Chal (Lets go to the Disco). It’s great living in my head, come visit sometime, you’ll have a blast.

The tracks are not from the usual suspects of RD Burman, Asha et al, but from the sensational Sharon Prabhakar, the evergreen Mussarrat Nazir, mesmerising Salma Agha, sultry Usha Uthup and of course our sweetheart Nazia Hassan.

A special thanks goes out to all the music bloggers out there on the net who made some of these tracks available. Note, I’m no expert on music trivia, just a lover of great sounding music, so apologise if any information in incorrect and always welcome corrections to any comments. Peace!

Guys and Gals, join me in trip back to the 80’s where Disco ruled in India (long after it peaked in the UK and US mind!). Enjoy!

Chal Disco Chal
Album: Chal Disco Chal (1980)
Singers: Sharon Prabhakar, Mussarrat Nassir, Pete Moss

What a track to start with, Lets Go To The Disco! There’s something special with having both Sharon (India) and Mussarrat (Pakistan) singing together, and can just picture them both glammed up, getting ready for a night out. Half way through I’m positive theres a little sample / inspiration from Woman by Barrabas. The first of a few tracks taken from the album of the same name on this compilation. There’s no eastern influence in the music, no sitar, no tablas creeping in, just a funky bass, electric keys and raring saxes, the result, a track you just cannot help but tap your feet to.

Disco Dilruba
Album: Partner (1982)
Singer: Sharon Prabhakar
You can always rely on Kalpana Iyer to electrify the screen picturising any disco track. It can be any mediocre track but she will make you believe you are watching and listening to one of the greats! What a gift to have. Fortunately, Disco Dilruba, cheesey as it is, is one of the greats. Starts off with thumping beat leading into a funk bass melody. One word to describe this tune… Disco is meant to be sexy and with Sharon and Kaplana, you will watch, you will listen and you will enjoy! The uploader of the video wrote some great notes to accompany, credit to this guy! Below a brief excerpt:
“The song is a pastiche [piece in the style of] on Boney M.s 1981 disco song ‘One Way Ticket To The Moon’ by Indian Music Director Vijay Singh, but totally ‘Indian-ised’ in the process to become something completely new and fresh. The singer is Sharon Prabakhar and she gives a new lower pitched ‘disco’ sound to the 80s song that was uncommon at the time. The voice is quite ‘raunchy’ and fun. The English, “Ooh My Heart is Burning” and “Baby let your love light shine” are quite cheesy but make the song very memorable at the same time. The lyrics are quite empty about “Dilruba” but make a great dancing tune for the scene.”
Paar Main Jeena
Album: Do Ustad (1982)
Singer:Usha Utup
“Live in Love…Die in Love…Take from Love…This Is Its Name!”. Starting with a riff from a Boney M track because well why not! This track is just crazy awesome. Yes Bhappi Lahiri I’m sure ripped off more than two western songs for this one, but when you combine it with Usha Utup’s sultry deep low raucous voice, all is forgiven. To be fair his skill in mixing electronic instruments with traditional, in 1982, in India so no easy feat. AND making it frickin’ funky as hell, hat off to you sir. By the way, I am so in love with Kalpana Iyer, wish I went out partying with her in the 80’s! Again the upholder has some great notes accompanying the video, be sure to give those a read too!
Album: Aafat (1977)
Singer: Bhappi Lahiri and Annette
Can you imagine a world without Bhappi Lahiri, just spend a few minutes and think. There would be no Disco Dancer, no Sharon, no disco bling, no blatant rip offs mashed into bollytastic indian tunes, and there would be no Aafat. And what an Aafat that would be. But its okay because i’m here, you’re there, and without love we cannot live, so come quickly, as without love, nothing else matters. That there is reason why Indian Disco music is not only about sublime beats but so important in its message, love and peace. In world and life of stress, disco music can help you put things into perspective. Seriously. The bass riff after each shout of the chorus, admit it, you gyrated your hips to the tune. Also Annette Pinto, seriously doing some research on her, thats love making sounds!
 Jhoom Jhoom Baba
Album: Kasam Paida Karne Wale Ki (1984)

Singer: Salma Agha

Aaahhh Salma Agha, with those eyes and voice, you cannot help but be mesmerised. Although my favourite Salma Agha track rests with Sote Sote Adhi Raat, Jhoom Jhoom has got kind of a Footloose, preppy vibe to it and very enjoyable. Hey everyone get on the dance floor and just dance….dance. Thanks Mithun for providing the beats!

Aaj Mere Ghar Aaye
Album: 24 Carats
Singer: Usha UthupUsha Uthup has one of those voice you cannot help but fall in love with. Her sultry, husky voice was made for funk and disco. 24 Carats was an album which lifted the music from classic western hits of the 70s with Usha’s vocals. The most famous Michael Jackson’s Don’t Stop Till You Get Enough, Gloria Gaynor’s I Will Survive, Billy Joel’s My Life. Its all so familiar but different at the same time. Its like you’re given a Twister ice cream, but it isn’t ice cream, its celery and salad cream. And you love it all the same. My favourite from this album is the cover of Donna Summer’s Hot Stuff, Aaj Mere Ghar Aaye.
24 Carats front 886
Woh Mera Hi Hai
Album: Disco Mastana (1982)
Singer: Sharon Prabhakar
Taken from the album Disco Mastana, (which I’m still trying to source the original at a reasonable price!), this Boney M’s Gotta Go Home inspired track works. It just works. In a similar vein to Usha’s 24 Carats, Disco Mastana contains the tunes from big disco hits from the west, Boney M’s Ma Baker, Donna Summer’s I Feel Love, Love to Love you Baby, Hot Stuff reproduced by Pete Moss and with Sharon’s superb vocals. Its charming, its kitsch, its Disco baby.
Daku Daku
Album: Chal Disco Chal (1980)
Singers: Sharon Prabhakar
Being a bad boy in the early 80’s and with your bad girl, this is the music you were probably getting it on to. Man was I was born in the wrong age or what! Haunting yet utterly addictive. Theres something with the beat that just draws me into this track.
Tere Kadmon Ko
Album: Disco Deewaane
Singer: Nazia and Zoheb Hassan
Biddu and Feroz Khan brought to the world our sweetheart, Nazia Hassan. Unfortunately she has been taken away from us, however her voice will echo in our hearts for eternity. Disco Deewaane was in my opinion the best album of Nazia’s, every track is phenomenal, catchy and exquisite. Tere Kadmon Ko was recently covered by NRG and Kami K for a new generation. The cover wasn’t too bad, the rap could’ve been done without, however made me revisit the original, both are here for your pleasure.
Mujhe Chahe was actually my favourite off the album and couldn’t resist sharing with you. Epic!
Bole Ghadi Ye Sanson Ki
Album: Pasand Apni Apni (1983)
Singer: Sharon Prabhakar
Check the friggin bass in this tune….Ding Dong Ding Dong! If any time a woman complains about how impractical her sari is, show her this video. If you can disco dance in a sari you can do anything! Check it out at 2.34, my favourite though at 3.12 for pure class dancing from Mithun and Rati.
Come Closer
Album: Kasam Paide Karne Wala Ki (1984)
Singer: Salma Agha
Interestingly this track has been sampled by many international musicians (Guts, Planet) after its release, and when you’ve heard it, you’ll understand why. Mesmerising guitar riff, wishing Salma would tell you to come closer. One of Bhappi’s finest in my opinion.
You know I could go on forever listing and talking about these tunes. But this post is already long as it is. Will definitely look at doing another list soon, Turkish Funk, Bollywood Funk, Bollywood Film Disco Tracks, Theme Tunes, any suggestions, get in touch! Ciao!