I usually think of sexy as subtle. Overt (what we used to call ‘zabardasti ka sexipana’ in college) can seem a bit camp. However, for the sake of nostalgia, I will begin with the overt-est song I can recall:
1. Das Gayo Paapi Bichhuda (Ila Arun)
It contains escalating moaning sounds laced with Ila Arun's lusty, folksy singing. I still can't listen to this song if there's family around.
2. Chad Gayo Paapi Bichhua (Madhumati)
I'm picking this song partly because it makes such a great contrast to the other song. Both are about 'bichhu' or a scorpion sting. I am no expert on folk literature but the scorpion's sting is often linked to love. The poison coursing through the blood, the misery, invocations for someone to come rescue her - all hint at unbearable longing.
[I also urge listeners to listen to the Coke Studio version of the same song. I don't understand the Assamese lyrics but in the way drums have been used, the beat goes straight to your head.
3. Kaate Nahin Kat'te Ye Din Ye Raat (Mr. India)
We grew up watching Mr India, over and over (I suspect it was the only VCR cassette the cable-wala owned). As kids, the song made us uncomfortable. The very phrase 'I love you' induced fierce blushes and whispers. Later, I grew to love the breeziness and suggestiveness of the song's treatment, both visual as well as in its musical arrangement. Also, there's a saree and rain and a haystack.
4. Karvatein Badalte Rahe (Aap Ki Kasam)
This song makes me think of calm mornings though it speaks of sleepless nights. The effect it pulls off is curious. The words are about restlessness, impatience for union, but there's something so soft about the way it's been sung, it makes one think of the comforts of a strong relationship.
5. Bheegi Bheegi Raaton Mein (Ajnabee)
The mandatory rain-dance song. This one is less dance and more conversation. I like its lyrical approach for it is focused on the sensual experience of the elements. Zeenat Aman's perfectly comfortable sensuality is set off beautifully by her full-sleeved nightgown.
6. Shola Jo Bhadke (Albela)
An incredibly sweet song. The 'shola' (flame? spark?) that troubles the 'jawaani' (youth) is a small one. It is sure to singe but may not burn. I adore this song for it is balanced perfectly between romance and some not-so-serious, almost harmless fun.
Tune in to the playlist of all of Annie Zaidi's Sexy Saturday Songs here.
Annie Zaidi is the author of Gulab, a novella, Love Stories # 1 to 14, a collection of short stories, and a collection of essays, Known Turf: Bantering with Bandits and Other True Tales. She is also co-author of The Good Indian Girl, and the editor of Unbound: 2000 Years of Indian Women's Writing.