A delightful history of the Hindi film song and its hold over popular psyche ‘De de Khuda ke naam pe’ sang Wazir Mohammed Khan in Alam Ara (1931), giving birth to a phenomenon—the Hindi film song. Over the years, the Hindi film song has travelled a long way, influencing and being influenced by popular taste. Considered down-market not so long ago, it is undoubtedly the most popular musical genre in India today, pervading almost all aspects of Indian life—weddings, funerals, religious festivals, get-togethers and political conventions—and emerging as a medium to articulate every shade of joy and sorrow, love and longing, hope and despair. Bollywood Melodies traces the evolution of the Hindi film song to its present status as the cultural barometer of the country, through an evaluation of the work of over fifty outstanding composers, singers and lyricists—from K.L. Saigal to Sonu Nigam, Naushad to A.R. Rahman, Sahir Ludhianvi to Javed Akhtar. Placing the song in the social context of the times, Ganesh Anantharaman looks at the influences that shaped it in each era: Rabindra Sangeet in the 1930s, the folk-inspired 1940s, the classical strains of the following decade and the advent of Western beats in the late 1960s. The author also chronicles the decline of music in Hindi films over the next twenty years before a new crop of musicians and singers gave the film song a new lease of life. Erudite yet lively, and including insightful interviews with icons like Lata Mangeshkar, Dev Anand, Gulzar, Manna Dey and Pyarelal, Bollywood Melodies is not only a treasure trove of information for music lovers but also an invaluable guide to understanding the nation’s enduring love affair with the Hindi film song.