Popular Kathak Songs For your Next Performance

The melodious sounds of ghungroos, the graceful swirls of cloth, the hand movements which narrate a story and a mesmerized audience; a mention of Kathak evokes such a scenario in our minds. It is one of the eight major classical dance forms of India and is popular throughout India.

Kathak Performance

Originating in ancient India as an art of storytelling through dance, Kathak is famous for its charm and elegance. It features rhythmic movements of the feet. Ghungroos adorn those feet while the legs and torso are expected to be maintained thoroughly straight. The arms make the mudras. It has only three known distinct schools(gharanas). Interestingly, Kathak does show a relatively diverse dance vocabulary. It is present in many parts of India.


The dance form is an integral part of the subcontinent’s culture. It is also performed by many throughout the world, which makes it very popular. As a result, It has also been used as a storytelling device on mediums such as stage and movies. Traditionally, it was performed on live musical instruments. But later on, many songs were composed for cinematic experience and are frequently heard during performances. In fact, this article features five such songs which can showcase this graceful art form.


Kanha Re

A still from Kanha Re, the three Mohan sisters in Kathak costume.
Kanha re

The presence of Krishna in a lot of songs featuring Kathak. It shows the influence of Bhakti movement in modern Kathak as the stories of Krishna’s life became a central theme. “Kanha Re” is one such composition.

It is actually an older Raag Kedar-based “bandish”. That shows Krishna’s influence in classical music as well. Also, Neeti Mohan has voiced this bandish and the video features her two sisters as well. The song celebrates unconditional love for Krishna with Neeti as Meera, Shakti as Radha and Mukti as Rukmani. The song starts off slowly, revealing the stories of the three women . It ends with a instrumental piece, ending the composition on a high. Therefore, you can perform on this beautiful song on the eve of Janmashthami.


Taal Se Taal

A still from Taal Se Taal Mila, song for a slow kathak.
Taal se Taal


This modern classic plays for countless number of times in performances yet remains popular today.

It was composed by A.R. Rahman. The song sung by Alka Yagnik and Udit Narayan, this song features Aishwarya Rai dancing in a serene ambience. Rahman’s slow and delicate composition makes the visuals more beautiful. The tempo is slow and lends a soulful quality to the song, which can result in a slow and beautiful performance. Interestingly, the song, which literally means rhythm, is perfect for a semi-classical or classical performance and will definitely help one in delivering a graceful and elegant performance.

Jaa Re Hat Natkhat


This song, produced in 1957, is an “golden oldie” for non-dancers and dancers. Asha Bhonsle and Mahendra Kapoor became the melodious voices in this song. Moreover, this classic remains very popular in functions. People of all age groups performing on this. The song describes the festival of Holi and naturally, is playful and light-hearted. It moves away from its spiritual roots and shows a more colloquial theme in it. The song showcases a different style of Kathak. Additionally, traditional Indian motifs feature in the music and show the traditional rural life.

An old composition, you can find the prominence of one musical instrument at a time. The lyrics are in dialogue form, which compliments the story telling aspect of Kathak. The beats help in seamlessly moving the story forward. Also, If you are looking for a song full of enjoyment, this is the song for you.


O Re Piya

A still from O Re Piya, for a dramtic Kathak performance.
Aaja Nachle


After a light-hearted song, we have an emotional and moving composition, showing the variety you can have in your performances. Sung by Ustad Rahet Fateh Ali Khan and composed by Salim-Sulaiman, it describes the journey of a woman falling in love. The music brings out the dramatic mood of the story. In fact, the high emotional quotient of the song elevates the already passionate dance form. However, the beats at the end makes the experience trance-like. You can perform in a group or alone and use this song will make your performance memorable.

Ghar More Pardesiya

A still from Ghar More Pardesiya, Alia and the dancers acing the Kathak choreography.
Ghar More Pardesiya

There are many Kathak-based songs and one might assume that filmmakers would show a lack of interest in this genre of music. Yet, this dance form never loses its charm and always end up capturing the attention of the greatest filmmakers. “Ghar More Pardesiya” seems to hold testament to this fact. Interestingly, composed by Pritam and sung by Shreya Ghoshal and Vaishali Mhade, this song showcases Lady Sita’s love for Lord Ram.

The visuals are full of grandeur and Kathak dancers matching step to step. The song is a beautiful composition, with a perfect blend of traditional musical instrumentation and modern flow of rhythm. Moreover, the song starts off slowly. Then, it suddenly gains momentum and out comes an explosive chorus. Its fast rhythm accompanies cheerful and smooth vocals which lends enjoyable feel to the song. If you are looking for a enthralling performance, this is the song for you.

Tarana

FINAL THOUGHTS

A beautiful art form like Kathak deserves a beautiful playlist. In fact, you can use these wonderful songs to enhance your presentation and deliver an amazing performance.

If you wish to introduce your little one to the world of Classical Dance, Podium School is here to help you. You can check out the article How to start learning Indian Classical Dance forms?and start today!!

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