Indian pop

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Euphoria (Indian band) perform at the Red Bull SoundClash Concert in Dubai in November 2014

Indian pop music (Hindi: हिन्दुस्तानी पॉप संगीत; Urdu: ہندوستانی پاپ), also known as I-pop or Hindi-pop for Hindi Music, refers to pop music produced in India. The term refers to popular music not associated with filmi soundtracks for Indian cinema, such as the music of Bollywood, which tends to be more popular. Indian pop is closely linked to Bollywood, Pakistani pop, Bangladeshi rock, and the Asian Underground scene of the United Kingdom.


Pop music originated in the South Asian region with the playback singer Ahmed Rushdi's song ‘Ko Ko Korina’ in 1966[1][2][3] and has since then been adopted in India, Bangladesh, and lately Sri Lanka, and Nepal as a pioneering influence in their respective pop cultures. Following Rushdi's success, Christian bands specialising in jazz started performing at various night clubs and hotel lobbies in Karachi, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Dhaka and Lahore. They would usually sing either famous American jazz hits or cover Rushdi's songs.[4]

Pop music began gaining popularity across the Indian subcontinent in the early 1980s, with Pakistani singers Nazia Hassan and Zohaib, forming a sibling duo whose records, produced by the Indian Biddu, sold as many as 60 million copies.[5] Biddu himself previously had success in the Western world, where he was one of the first successful disco producers in the early 1970s, with hits such as the hugely popular "Kung Fu Fighting" (1974).[6][7][8]

The term Indipop was first used by the British-Indian fusion band Monsoon in their 1981 EP release on Steve Coe's Indipop Records.[9][10] Charanjit Singh's Synthesizing: Ten Ragas to a Disco Beat (1982) anticipated the sound of acid house music, years before the genre arose in the Chicago house scene of the late 1980s, using the Roland TR-808 drum machine, TB-303 bass synthesizer, and Jupiter-8 synthesizer.[11][12]

The launch of MTV India and Channel V in late 1990s gave a huge push to India-pop music. It was this time when the music reached its greatest heights. Until then, few singers like Usha Uthup, Sharon Prabhakar, and Peenaz Masani outside it were popular. Since then, pop singers in the latter group have included Daler Mehndi, Baba Sehgal, Alisha Chinai, KK, Shantanu Mukherjee a.k.a. Shaan, Sagarika, Colonial Cousins (Hariharan, Lesle Lewis), Lucky Ali, and Sonu Nigam, and music composers like Zila Khan or Jawahar Wattal, who made top selling albums with, Daler Mehndi, Shubha Mudgal, Baba Sehgal, Shweta Shetty and Hans Raj Hans.[13]

Besides those listed above, popular Indi-pop singers include Gurdas Maan, Sukhwinder Singh, Mohit Chauhan, Papon, Zubeen Garg, Raghav Sachar Rageshwari, Vandana Vishwas, Devika Chawla, Bombay Vikings, Asha Bhosle, Sunidhi Chauhan, Anushka Manchanda, Neha Bhasin, Bombay Rockers, Anu Malik, Jazzy B, Malkit Singh, Raghav, Jay Sean, Juggy D, Rishi Rich, Sheila Chandra, Bally Sagoo, Punjabi MC, Bhangra Knights, Mehnaz, Sanober and Vaishali Samant.[citation needed]

In the late 2000s, Indi-pop music faced increasing competition from filmi music. Major pop singer stopped releasing albums and started singing for movies. Recently, Indian pop has taken an interesting turn with the "remixing" of songs from past Indian movie songs, new beats being added to them.


Best-selling pop albums[edit]

Rank Year Album Artist(s) Sales Source
1 1984 Young Tarang Nazia and Zoheb 40,000,000 [14][15]
2 1995 Bolo Ta Ra Ra.. Daler Mehndi 20,000,000 [16]
3 1981 Disco Deewane Nazia and Zoheb 14,000,000 [17]
4 1998 Mundian To Bach Ke Panjabi MC 10,000,000 [18]
5 1997 Tum To Thehre Pardesi Altaf Raja 4,000,000 [19]
6 1995 Made in India Alisha Chinai 3,000,000 [20]
7 1993 Tootak Tootak Toothian Malkit Singh 2,500,000 [21]
8 1997 Vande Mataram A. R. Rahman 2,000,000 [22]
2004 Me Against Myself Jay Sean 2,000,000 [23]
10 1999 Deewana Sonu Nigam 1,200,000 [24]
Oye Hoye Harbhajan Mann 1,200,000 [25]

Most streamed music videos[edit]

Rank Year Song Artist(s) YouTube streams
1 2017 Lahore Guru Randhawa 570 [26]
2 2017 Bom Diggy Zack Knight and Jasmin Walia 510 [27][28][29]
3 2014 Zaroori Tha Rahat Fateh Ali Khan 480 [30]
4 2017 High Rated Gabru Guru Randhawa 460 [31]
5 2015 Dheere Dheere Yo Yo Honey Singh 410 [32]


  1. ^ "Socio-political History of Modern Pop Music in Pakistan". Chowk. Archived from the original on 2010-06-18. Retrieved 2008-06-27.
  2. ^ PTI (18 November 2015). "Death Anniversary of Ahmed Rushdi". Duniya News. Retrieved 2011-03-04.
  3. ^ "The Express Tribune, Remembering Ahmed Rushdi". Archived from the original on 27 April 2010. Retrieved 28 December 2012.
  4. ^
  5. ^ PTI (18 November 2005). "NRI TV presenter gets Nazia Hassan Award". Times of India. Retrieved 2011-03-04.
  6. ^ James Ellis. "Biddu". Metro. Retrieved 2011-04-17.
  7. ^ The Listener, Volumes 100–101. The Listener. BBC. 1978. p. 216. Retrieved 21 June 2011. Tony Palmer knocked off a film account of someone called Biddu (LWT), who appears to have been mad enough to invent disco music.
  8. ^ Shapiro, Peter (2006). Turn the Beat Around: The Secret History of Disco. Macmillan Publishers. p. 55. ISBN 0-86547-952-6. Retrieved 7 June 2011.
  9. ^ Ladyslipper Music - Monsoon Featuring Sheila Chandra
  10. ^ Sheila Chandra - Discography
  11. ^ William Rauscher (12 May 2010). "Charanjit Singh – Synthesizing: Ten Ragas to a Disco Beat". Resident Advisor. Retrieved 3 June 2011.
  12. ^ Geeta Dayal (6 April 2010). "Further thoughts on '10 Ragas to a Disco Beat'". The Original Soundtrack. Retrieved 3 June 2011.
  13. ^ "Music man with a golden touch". The Hindu. December 9, 2002.
  14. ^ "Young Tarang". Rediff. Retrieved 28 November 2017.
  15. ^ Sheikh, M. A. (2012). Who’s Who: Music in Pakistan. Xlibris Corporation. p. 192. ISBN 9781469191591.[self-published source]
  16. ^ "Daler Mehndi". Retrieved 2014-02-22.
  17. ^ "Disco Deewane, Nazia Hassan with Biddu and His Orchestra". La Pelanga. 19 September 2010.
  18. ^ Wartofsky, Alona (13 July 2003). "Rap's Fresh Heir". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on 19 September 2012. Retrieved 23 May 2012.
  19. ^ Limca Book of Records. Bisleri Beverages Limited. 1999.
  20. ^ Gokulsing, K. Moti (13 Jan 2009). Popular Culture in a Globalised India. Routledge,. p. 120. Retrieved 8 September 2014.
  21. ^ Sabharwal, Gopa (2017). India Since 1947: The Independent Years. Penguin Group. p. 304. ISBN 9789352140893.
  22. ^ Mathai, Kamini (2009). A. R. Rahman: The Musical Storm. Penguin Group. p. 160. ISBN 9788184758238.
  23. ^ Bill Lamb. "Jay Sean". Retrieved 2009-12-14.
  24. ^ "INDI-POP: DOWN BUT NOT OUT". Screen. 22 September 2000. Archived from the original on 2 March 2008. Retrieved 5 October 2013.
  25. ^ "Punjabi pop hits the jackpot!". The Tribune. 19 February 2000.
  26. ^ Guru Randhawa: Lahore Official Video on YouTube
  27. ^ Zack Knight x Jasmin Walia - Bom Diggy (Official Music Video) on YouTube
  28. ^ Bom Diggy Diggy (VIDEO) on YouTube
  29. ^ Bom Diggy Diggy (Video Song/Lyric Video) on YouTube
  30. ^ Rahat Fateh Ali Khan - Zaroori Tha on YouTube
  31. ^ Guru Randhawa: High Rated Gabru Official Song on YouTube
  32. ^ "T-Series". YouTube. T-Series. Retrieved 30 April 2018.