So if you’re one of the scores of people who went out to watch Ryan Reynolds’ hilarious superhero satire Deadpool this weekend, you would’ve noticed a very familiar song playing in the opening scene. No, we’re not talking about (spoiler alert) Angel of the Morning. But you’ve probably guessed it: We’re talking about Mera Joota Hai Japani, the classic Bollywood song that plays in the cab driven by the biggest Indian stereotype money could buy.
That got us thinking, Deadpool isn’t the first Hollywood movie to sneak in a popular Hindi song between all the hip hop soundtracks and orchestral scores. There have been so many others that we can name.
And that’s exactly what we’re going to do. Here are 6 Hindi songs that were featured memorably in big-time Hollywood movies (and one show). And just to make it more fun, we’re not going to include movies that were set in India like The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel or Slumdog Millionaire. Because why cheat?
Inside Man (2006)
Right in the opening credits, Spike Lee’s heist thriller starring Denzel Washington and Clive Owen featured AR Rahman’s Chaiyya Chaiyya from the film Dil Se.
Ghost World (2001)
Ghost World is one of the weirdest comic book movies you’ll ever see. For one, there aren’t any costumed superheroes flying around. It’s so left of centre that director Terry Zwigoff opened the movie with Mohammad Rafi’s Jaan Pehechan Ho from Gumnaam.
Shaun of the Dead (2004)
There’s a scene in Edgar Wright’s zombie comedy Shaun of the Dead where Simon Pegg, who plays Shaun, walks into a supermarket just as a zombie outbreak is beginning. The song playing in the background is Leheron Ki Tarha Yaadein by Kishore Kumar from the 1983 film Nishaan. And as a bonus, there’s a news announcer on the radio who says “Mare hue log apne apne kabron se uthkar zinda aadmiyon pe hamla kar rahe hain!”
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)
Just one scene with Jim Carrey’s Joel and Kate Winslet’s Clementine features two classic Hindi songs, and this time they have thematic consequence. It starts with another Mohammad Rafi song, Mera Man Tera Pyaasa from the film Gambler (1971) and smoothly transitions into Lata Mangeshkar’s Wada Na Tod from Dil Tujhko Diya (1987) just as Clem tells Joel she wants to marry him.
The Dictator trailer (2011)
The very first trailer for Sacha Baron Cohen’s wildly inappropriate comedy The Dictator featured Mundian Toh Bach ke by Punjabi MC. The visuals that accompany the song are just as insane. Oh, and fun fact: The same song was used in a first season episode of the hit HBO show Entourage. And apparently the music supervisors of Entourage really love Hindi songs (or Punjabi, more accurately) because they also used Shamur’s hit song Let the Music Play in the show’s fourth season.
Lord of War (2005)
The fantastic Nicolas Cage film used AR Rahman’s classic theme from the movie Bombay (1995) in a visually stunning time lapse shot of an aeroplane being dismantled as Cage delivered an existential voiceover.
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