Interesting facts about Indian music & Bollywood movies

  1. First Folk Album in India is ‘Banjaran’ by Ila Arun. 1983. It was compilation of folk songs which were the nomadic ballads from Gujarat and Rajasthan. Ila Arun won the Filmfare best singer award in 1993 for the song “Choli ke peechhe kya hai”.
  1. The First Compact disc launched in India – “Shagufta”, Music India, 1987, by Pankaj Udhas is famous Ghazal singer. He has developed his own unique style where Urdu verses of poets are set to music. His singing was first noticed / became hit in movie “Naam” starring Kumar Gaurav, Sanjay Dutt – “Chithi aayi Hai”.
  1. First Computerised Album of India – “Baby Doll” sung by Alisha Chinoy  1988 by HMV. Alisha made Indipop history with her music album “Made in India”. The album is one of the biggest selling Hindi pop albums of all time in Indian Music History. Alisha has also done playback singing in Hindi films. Some of her famous numbers include “Kaate nahin kat te”, “Aaj Ki Raat – Don”, and “Ticket to Hollywood, “Kajra Re Kajra re.
  1. First Hindi Rap Album: – “Thanda Thanda Pani” by Harjeet Singh Sehgal / Baba Sehgal. It was a remake of “Ice Ice Baby” by Vanilla Ice. Baba Sehgal happens to be an engineer by profession. His music video Dil Dhadke had the distinction of being the first Indian music video ever to be shown on MTV Asia. Baba Sehgal has given music for the movie “Bhoot Uncle” and Yo Yo honey Singh for Bhootnath returns.
  1. After ‘Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara’ was released, there was a 32% increase in Indians visiting Spain.
  1. Until 1990, Amitabh Bachchan was the only star paid in crores.
  1. Indian films are screened in over 90 countries. And North America generates >20% of Bollywood’s overseas box office revenue. This was >25% till Pakistan markets embraced (Government allowed public screening) Bollywood and then started churning revenue!
  1. India’s most well known stars in Russia are Raj Kapoor and Mithun Chakraborty, mainly for their music related acts.
  1. The term ‘Bollywood’ was coined in the 1970s when Indian cinema overtook America as the world’s largest film producer.
  1. Ab Tumhare Hawale Watan Saathiyon is the longest Hindi film song, lasting 20 minutes, in the film by the same name.


  1. Music rights count for only 5-6% of a film’s revenue in India.
  1. Singer Udit Narayan has acted in Nepali films!
  1. Singer Sonu Nigam has acted in over a dozen Indian films, he was lead hero of one titled “Love in Nepal”!
  1. Farmers in Uttar Pradesh, India, used Yo Yo Honey Singh songs to scare away boars destroying their fields.
  1. Sarabjit Singh’s sister Dalbir was so impressed with Randeep Hooda’s portrayal of Sarabjit, that she publicly requested Randeep, to perform last rites when she dies – by giving her “kandha” (shoulders) to the funeral. Sarabjit the movie is set be released globally on 20th May and is story of an Indian national convicted of terrorism and spying by a Pakistani court. Sarabjit always claimed he was a farmer who strayed into Pakistan from his village located on the border, but according to Pakistan media, Singh had been a spy for the Indian Research and Analysis Wing intelligence agency and had been working undercover in Pakistan. But as per Indian media Sarabjit is an not a Raw agent and an innocent person. After a brief trial in the Lahore High Court (later directed to the Supreme Court), he was condemned and sentenced to death in 1991, but the sentence was repeatedly postponed by the Government of Pakistan. While in prison at Kot Lakhpat Jail, Lahore in April 2013, he was attacked by fellow inmates and died six days later at Jinnah Hospital, Lahore.
  1. The Oldest Gharana of Hindustani Music is the Gwalior Gharana. There are many Gharanas that actually originated from Gwalior Gharana. Nathan Peer Baksh and Nathe Khan were the two people who founded Gwalior Gharana the 16th century.
  1. First Music School in India is the “Gandharva Mahavidyalaya” in Lahore (which was then a part of India). It was set up by “Pandit Vishnu Digambar Paluskar” on 5th May 1901. The Music school was run by funds raised by concerts, public support and donations from richer class of the society. Vishnu Digambar returned to Mumbai in September 1908 to start a branch of the Gandharva Mahavidyalaya. Eventually, the Lahore school was shifted to Mumbai after Independence.
  1. First Musician to receive Padma Bhushan Award is MS Subbulakshmi. She received Padma Bhusan Award in the year 1954, Padma Vibhushan Award in 1975, Ramon Magsaysay Award for Public service in 1974.
  1. First Indian to compose Symphony is Illayaraja. In July 1993 Illayaraja composed a full length western classical symphony. It took one month to compose this one hour symphony. Illayaraja is the first Asian whose symphony was performed by John Scott of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. The Orchestra is patronized by Queen Elizabeth.
  1. First Gramophone Record in India was made in Kolkata in the year 1898. Thomas Edison invented a sound machine which was called Phonograph in 1877. Hemendra Mohan Bose of Kolkata who was an Indian entrepreneur imported the Phonograph machine and made the cylinder gramophone record. The records were popularly known as Bose’s Records. The Gramophone & Typewriter Ltd recorded the first Indian song in their Beliaghata factory in 1898.

(ps: the above is not an original blog but compilation of little known facts related to Hindustani music and Bollywood movies. This was compiled from ‘Google’ search in preparation of my emcee script in Artist 2 Artist Musical show, Season 4, Singapore. You can also read 20 interesting World music facts)

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