Surmayi akhiyon mein (Sadma, 1983): A film with an unforgettable score by Ilaiyaraaja gave us one of the most iconic lullabies of our times. The percussive undercurrent and simple execution made it an ingenious combination. Sung by Yesudas, the soothing, melody had nuanced lines such as Nindiya ke udte pakhi re, ankhiyon mein aaja aaathi re by Gulzar, with a warmth we didn’t know of.
Rang bhare badal (Chandni, 1989): It was optimistic on the part of composers Shiv-Hari (Pt Shiv Kumar Sharma and Pt Hariprasad Chaurasia) to have Sridevi sing this along with Jolly Mukherjee in a film which remains one of her most popular outings. And as out of tune and shrill as she is, it’s her coquettish attempt at singing, and laughter that makes the piece endearing.
Mere haatho mein (Chandni, 1989): For years after it arrived in our living rooms, the piece was a fixture at Indian weddings. Shiv-Hari used raag Bhairavi. Not many knew the name, but the groovy theka and a catchy tune made it a worthy contender for the throne of best wedding songs in Hindi cinema.
Hawa hawai (Mr India, 1987): As effortless as the song sounds, it was one of the hardest pieces singer Kavita Krishnamurthy crooned in a film. Laxmikant-Pyarelal created a bongo and brass structure and Krishnamoorthy’s vibratos nailed the piece.
Kaate nahi kat te (Mr India, 1987): The pulsating, tango-style beats lead one into arguably the most erotic number from the ’80s. The song’s popularity is also the reason why singer Alisha Chinai became the Made in India girl some years later.
Morni baaga maan (Lamhe, 1989): Raag Maand, Ila Arun, Mangeshkar and Shiv-Hari’s composition made this piece an exquisite configuration, perfect for the beautiful Sridevi imitating a peacock’s movements in a desert
Mai teri dushman (Nagina, 1986): Laxmikant-Pyarelal used the been here and created a melody that sounded melodious and haunting at the same time. This climax number sung by Mangeshkar has Sridevi render a powerful performance.
Naino mein sapna (Himmatwala, (1983): Everything about this song – the sets, the costumes, the steps – was garish and yet popular. The chorus with the staccato beats and awkward moves by Sridevi and Jeetendra will remain etched in the memory.
Navrai majhi (English Vinglish, 2012): Sunidhi Chauhan and Neelambari Kirkire sing this happy Marathi wedding song . This Amit Trivedi piece with Sridevi shaking a leg will also remain a reminder of one of Sridevi’s finest outings after a long hiatus.