15 Bollywood Songs that Featured in Hollywood Movies

Discover some of the Hollywood movies that have used Bollywood songs to enhance the cinematic experience, some of which may surprise you!

15 Bollywood Songs that Featured in Hollywood Movies

"It was a huge surprise to see this song in Hollywood!"

Over the years, Bollywood songs have been some of the most catchy and memorable numbers produced in the world of music.

These tracks have not only been popular in India but have also made a significant impact on the international stage.

In recent times, Hollywood has taken notice of these iconic tracks and incorporated them into their movies.

From the upbeat and energetic to the soulful and romantic, Bollywood songs have found a place in Hollywood films, creating a unique blend of east meets west.

DESIblitz explores some of these hit tracks that have made their way into America’s cinema industry.

We also pay attention to some stand-alone South Asian songs, away from Bollywood, that have added a touch of rich culture to the global cinematic experience.

‘Jaan Pehchan Ho’ – Ghost World

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Ghost World is a comedy-drama that focuses on two teenage misfits, Enid and Rebecca, played by Thora Birch and Scarlett Johansson.

The film follows their lives as they navigate through the awkwardness of adolescence and the uncertainty of their future.

The indie nature of the movie is ignited during the opening credits when it plays Mohammed Rafi’s ‘Jaan Pehchan Ho’ from the 1965 movie Gumnaam.

It cuts between the iconic Bollywood scene and a row of American apartments where we see different families.

By the end of the song, we see it is playing on Enid’s TV as she dances away to its lively rhythm and catchy lyrics.

The use of ‘Jaan Pehchan Ho’ in Ghost World has become an iconic moment in the film and is a testament to the power of music in bringing people together.

‘Chamma Chamma’ – Moulin Rouge

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‘Chamma Chamma’ is a popular Bollywood song that was remixed and featured in the 2001 Hollywood musical film Moulin Rouge!

The movie stars Nicole Kidman, the star performer at the Moulin Rouge cabaret and Ewan McGregor, a young writer who falls in love with her.

The film is known for its extravagant visual style and over-the-top musical numbers.

It’s also remembered for its use of pop songs from various eras, including Nirvana’s ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ and Madonna’s ‘Like a Virgin’.

‘Chamma Chamma’ was originally composed by Anu Malik for the Hindi film China Gate (1998) and was performed by Alka Yagnik.

In Moulin Rouge!, the track is sung by the character Nini Legs in the Air during a stage performance at the cabaret.

The song is used to showcase Nini’s exotic dance skills and adds a touch of Bollywood glamour to the film’s overall musical spectacle.

The remix of ‘Chamma Chamma’ in Moulin Rouge! features additional English lyrics and a more contemporary beat, while still retaining the song’s catchy chorus and signature hook.

‘Chori Chori Hum Gori Se Pyar Karenge’ – The Guru

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‘Chori Chori Hum Gori Se Pyar Karenge’ is one of the most popular Bollywood songs from the 1999 movie Mela.

The original track is beautifully sung by Udit Narayan and Abhijeet Bhattacharya.

It features in the 2002 Hollywood blockbuster, The Guru, which stars Jimi Mistry, Marisa Tomei, and Heather Graham.

The film focuses on Jimi’s character, Ramu, who moves to New York to become a star but gets mistaken for a spiritual guru and is hired by a wealthy couple to teach them the ways of Tantra.

The Guru is filled with dance sequences, including a Bollywood-style rendition of ‘You’re the One That I Want’ from the musical Grease (1978).

‘Chori Chori Hum Gori Se Pyar Karenge’ is no different. Ramu performs the track in front of a wealthy white family, telling them that “dance is like love, follow your inner beat”.

The song’s timeless melody and infectious rhythm continue to captivate audiences both in India and around the world.

‘Lehron Ki Tarah Yaadein’ – Shaun Of The Dead

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Shaun of the Dead is a 2004 British horror comedy, starring Simon Pegg and Nick Frost.

The film tells the story of Shaun, a young man who must battle a zombie outbreak in London while trying to save his girlfriend and his mother.

Whilst the movie is remembered for its inventive storytelling and unforgettable humour, it’s also remembered for its inclusion of ‘Lehron Ki Tarah Yaadein’.

The Bollywood track is from Nishaan and is sung by legendary singer, Kishore Kumar.

Around the 57-second mark of the above clip, you can see a nonchalant Shaun go into a store where the track is playing.

Because of how distinct Kishore’s voice is, this brief sequence brought joy to the scene. The song mixed with the comedic acting was a brilliant cinematic experience for all audiences.

‘Tere Sang Pyar Main Nahin Todna’, ‘Mera Mann Tera Pyasa’ & ‘Wada Na Tod’ – Eternal Sunshine

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Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004) is a romantic science-fiction film that stars Hollywood legends Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet as Joel and Clementine.

The plot focuses on the two former lovers who have undergone a medical procedure to erase all memories of each other from their minds.

The movie is also remembered for its creative symbolism.

In this scene, the songs ‘Mera Mann Tera Pyasa’ from Gambler (1971), ‘Tere Sang Pyar Main Nahin Todna’ from Nagin (1976) and ‘Wada Na Tod’ from Dil Tujhko Diya (1987) play in the background.

The use and meaning of the tracks are cleverly explained by Chhavi, who left a comment on YouTube stating:

“1.’Tere Sang Pyar Main Nahin Todna’: Our love is never going to break…so true…even after their memory was erased, they fell in love again.

“2.’Mera Mann Tera Pyasa’: I am thirsty for your love…fits perfectly…as Clem seems sooo in love with Joel and him too…they both are thirsty for each other’s love.

“3.’Wada Na Tod’: Don’t break my promise…’I’m gonna marry you’. Now they are not gonna separate again.”

The film won the Academy Award for ‘Best Original Screenplay’ and was nominated for several other awards.

‘Bombay Theme’ – Lord of War

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‘Bombay Theme’ is one of the most beloved Bollywood songs created by one of the industry’s most renowned composers, A. R. Rahman.

The original track comes from the 1995 classic, Bombay, starring Arvind Swamy and Manisha Koirala.

The track was later featured in the 2005 American crime drama film Lord of War, starring Nicolas Cage as Yuri Orlov.

In the film, the track is played during a scene where Yuri sits tied up in front of a 40-tonne cargo plane.

In a sped-up sequence, villagers take every bit of the plane and its onboard resources as Yuri speaks over Rahman’s classical number.

The use of ‘Bombay Theme’ in Lord of War demonstrates the global appeal of Rahman’s music and its ability to cross cultural boundaries.

‘Chaiyya Chaiyya’ – Inside Man

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‘Chaiyya Chaiyya’ is perhaps one of the most famous Bollywood songs of all time, taken from the popular movie Dil Se (1998).

The film stars Shah Rukh Khan and Malaika Arora whilst the track was yet again composed by A.R. Rahman.

It quickly became a cultural phenomenon and gained further international recognition when it was featured in the 2006 American heist thriller Inside Man.

It stars Hall of Fame actors Denzel Washington and Clive Owen.

To many fans, the use of ‘Chaiyya Chaiyya’ during the opening and closing credits came as quite a surprise, especially in such a mainstream Hollywood film. One viewer, Nakul Dalakoti, wrote:

“When I first saw this movie on TV, I thought something had terribly gone wrong with my TV as a Hindi song was playing in a Hollywood movie…???!!!

“It was a huge surprise to see this song in Hollywood!”

However, the director, Spike Lee used the number simply because he liked the song.

The song’s upbeat tempo and infectious melody make it a perfect choice to grab eyes and ears for an intense thrill.

‘Charu’s Theme’ – The Darjeeling Limited

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‘Charu’s Theme’ comes from Charulata (1964), a romantic drama with a cast including Madhabi Mukherjee, Soumitra Chatterjee and Shyamal Ghoshal.

‘Charu’s Theme’ is an instrumental piece composed by Bengali filmmaker and composer Satyajit Ray.

It features a hauntingly beautiful melody played on a sitar, accompanied by strings and a flute.

The track was later used in the 2007 American comedy-drama film The Darjeeling Limited.

The reason for this is that in Charulata, the eponymous character is a lonely woman who considers an affair after her husband neglects him.

In The Darjeeling Limited, Rita (Amara Karan) has a short fling with Jack (Jason Schwartzman) after her boyfriend mistreats her.

When she is confronted by Jack, ‘Charu’s Theme’ bellows in the background.

Whilst the specific clip is not shown above, one can still appreciate the layer of emotional depth Bollywood songs bring to Hollywood.

‘Swasame Swasame’, ‘Chalka Chalka Re’ & ‘Mujhe Rang De’ – The Accidental Husband

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The Accidental Husband (2008) is a rom-com starring Uma Thurman, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, and Colin Firth.

The film tells the story of a radio talk show host who gives love advice to her listeners but finds herself in a love triangle when a man she’s never met claims to be her husband.

The film features numerous Bollywood songs, all composed by A. R. Rahman.

The first introduction we see of the South Asian-inspired soundtrack is during the opening scene which uses ‘Chalka Chalka Re’ from Saathiya (2002).

Then during a wedding scene in the movie, ‘Mujhe Rang De’ is performed by a singer. The original track is sung by Asha Bhosle in the 1980 film Thakshak.

Finally, during the final scene, ‘Swasame Swasame’ from Thenali (2000) sets a beautiful close as the main characters embrace in their happiness.

‘Jimmy Jimmy’ – You Don’t Mess With The Zohan

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Legendary producer and singer, Bappi Lahiri created ‘Jimmy Jimmy’ which was first heard in the 1982 feature Disco Dancer.

The movie stars Mithun Chakraborty and Rajesh Khanna.

The song was later featured in the comedy hit You Don’t Mess With The Zohan, starring Adam Sandler and John Turturro.

The film follows the story of an Israeli Special Forces soldier named Zohan Dvir who fakes his own death so he can pursue his dream of becoming a hairstylist in New York City.

During the final sequences of the movie, ‘Jimmy Jimmy’ sets the backdrop for a hilarious fight between Sandler and Turturro’s characters and some goons.

‘Kaliyugavaradana’ – Eat Pray Love

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Starring Julia Roberts and Javier Bardem, Eat Pray Love (2010) is a romantic drama that tells the story of Roberts’ character, Elizabeth.

Elizabeth goes on a journey of self-discovery as she travels to Italy, India, and Bali after going through a difficult divorce.

She explores different cultures and traditions as she tries to find balance and happiness in her life.

In the movie, there are many South Asian artists and songs featured, one being ‘Kaliyugavaradana’ by U. Srinivas.

During a meditation scene, Roberts’ character tries to find inner peace whilst Srinivas’ classical number rings around the room.

However, viewers can also find other famous artists as part of the movie’s soundtrack.

These include Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan who collaborates with  Eddie Vedder for the song ‘The Long Road’, as well as M.I.A. who claims her spot in the musical score with her anthem ‘Boyz’.

‘Mundian Tu Bach Ke’ – The Dictator

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‘Mundian Tu Bach Ke’ by Panjabi MC is perhaps one of the most well-known Punjabi tracks of all time and has been featured in a catalogue of Bollywood movies.

The song was remixed in 2003 by hip hop mogul, Jay Z and eventually was made the backdrop for the trailer of The Dictator (2012).

The movie stars Sacha Baron Cohen who plays Admiral General Aladeen, the tyrannical dictator of the fictional Republic of Wadiya.

He travels to New York City to address the United Nations but is left stranded by one of his closest advisors.

The movie was destined to be a success after Cohen’s hit movie Borat (2006).

Many audiences were excited during the lead-up to the movie as ‘Mundian Tu Bach Ke’ brought the energetic vibe needed to entice viewers.

The song is a staple across South Asia, the UK, and different cinematic industries. The Dictator is another example of this.

‘Jhoom Barabar Jhoom’ – The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

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The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is a 2015 British-American comedy-drama film.

It stars an ensemble cast including Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Bill Nighy, and Dev Patel. The movie is a sequel to the 2011 film The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.

It follows the story of Sonny Kapoor (Dev Patel), who is trying to expand his hotel business while also dealing with personal issues, including his upcoming wedding.

Dev is a stand-out star in the movie and showcases his talent with the Bollywood-style performance of ‘Jhoom Barabar Jhoom’.

The track is from the 2008 movie of the same name that stars Bobby Deol, Preity Zinta, and Abhishek Bachchan.

During the wedding scene, Dev and his bride break out in impressive moves as the anthem hollers out. One fan expressed his love for the scene, revealing:

“This is how ALL wedding dances should be.

“Not this eye-roll-worthy romantic smushy crap that most grooms (and a lot of brides) are cringing through.

“Just go out on the dance floor and ROCK IT OUT.”

During the end of the sequence in the movie, all the other guests like Dench and Nighy’s characters are seen dancing to the song.

‘Urvasi Urvasi’ – Lion

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A. R. Rahman and Dev Patel feature again on this list with Rahman’s song ‘Urvasi Urvasi’ which features in Patel’s 2016 drama, Lion.

In the movie, Dev Patel plays Saroo Brierley, who is adopted by an Australian couple after being lost on a train in India at the age of five.

As an adult, he begins to have flashbacks of his childhood and sets out to find his birth mother and brother, using Google Earth to search for the village where he grew up.

During a scene in the movie, Brierley and his love interest Lucy (Rooney Mara) are walking on opposite ends of the road.

‘Urvasi Urvasi’ romantically plays and the characters smile, twirl and tease each other before finally embracing.

The song originally featured in the 1994 action romance, Kadhalan, which starred Prabhu Deva and Nagma.

‘Mera Joota Hai Japani’ – Deadpool

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The evergreen singer, Mukesh, lends his vocals to this unique track that was featured in the 1951 movie Awaara.

‘Mera Joota Hai Japani’ is picturised on Raj Kapoor and the actor does brilliantly at bringing Mukesh’s emotions to the screen.

To emphasise just how impactful these classic Bollywood songs are, the 2016 superhero film Deadpool used the track in one of its scenes.

In an exchange between Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds) and his taxi driver, Dopinder (Karan Soni), ‘Mera Joota Hai Japani’ plays on the radio.

Whilst it fits in with a stereotypical role, it highlights the knowledge of the director to include such an iconic song.

And, whether the number was at the forefront of the scene or not, it was still used in a huge movie that grossed over £630 million worldwide.

The use of Bollywood songs in Hollywood movies is a testament to the global popularity of Indian cinema and its vibrant music culture.

The use of Bollywood songs in Hollywood not only exposes audiences to new sounds and musical styles but also promotes cross-cultural understanding and appreciation.

While the use of these tracks may have started as a niche, it has since become a global phenomenon that has enriched the cinematic landscape.

Balraj is a spirited Creative Writing MA graduate. He loves open discussions and his passions are fitness, music, fashion, and poetry. One of his favourite quotes is “One day or day one. You decide.”

Videos courtesy of YouTube.





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