So here we are, at the end of the first year of the second decade of the 21st century. Customary as it is, penning down (can I say “penning” for online writing too?) my personal favorites of the year in Hindi film music in no order of preference .(Order to be read as: song, movie, lyricist(s), singer(s), composer)
Dil toh bachha hain ji, Ishqiya, Gulzar, Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, Vishal
A song about middle-old age succumbing to the familial longings of love reserved for a much much younger age, only Gulzar’s words can do justice to this theme. “Dil toh bachha hain ji” packages up these emotions so delightfully that you smile and not cringe when you see a fatherly Naseeruddin Shah being smitten and totally head-over-heels for a much much younger Vidya Balan (watching Naseer on the screen as the song plays is a whole semester in acting school – he does it with just a casual shoulder shrug or the perfect timing between two blinks).
Aazadiyaan, Udaan, Amitabh Bhattacharya, Amit Trivedi/Neuman Pinto/Amitabh Bhattacharya, Amit Trivedi
Amit Trivedi delivered two complex, rich and fantastic soundtracks in 2010, confirming that he is no flash in the pan. He is here to stay, and I confess that he is one of the two film composers whose work I eagerly await (no points for guessing who is the other). The entire soundtrack of Udaan is golden. Choosing one song was hard – Naav and Geet are my other two favorites. Aazadiyaan not only stands tall independently as a song, but also because the catharsis it provides to the viewer when it plays on-screen. The words, the slow rising pitch all contribute to a feeling of liberation and a freedom much deserved.
Shaam, Aisha, Amitabh Bhattacharya, Neuman Pinto/Amit Trivedi/Nikhil D’Souza, Amit Trivedi
Another soundtrack from Amit Trivedi, this time for a movie from the rom-com/chic-flick genre – a first for him and he rocks here as well. He belts out a handful of winning numbers in By The Way (a true blue rock song for a self-absorbed-i-dont-care-for-the-world Indian city girl), Behke Behke and Lehrein. Shaam is an atmospheric composition with minimal instruments, focussed entirely on the vocals and the melody – smooth as a wonderful scotch on the rocks.
Tere mast mast do nain, Dabangg, Faiz Anwar, Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, Sajid-Wajid
A perfect ode to a typical Hindi film song. A song about our hero serenading his lady-love with utterly ridiculous metaphors, grandiose promises, amateurish mush and over-the-top emotions – cringeworthy and yet it’s something we all totally devour (some of us openly some of us not so). It’s completely, one hundred percent FILMY. Note the chorus singer’s aren’t the standard 21st century sophisticated sounds – they sound more like a rag-tag group of street singers, the kind you can encounter in third class compartments of Indian trains. The last I heard this sound was in “Pardesi Pardesi jaana nahi” from Raja Hindustani. Long live Filmi-ness. You might hate the song, but I bet you can’t ignore it.
Behene De, Raavan, Gulzar, Karthik/AR Rahman, AR Rahman
2010 was less than a stellar year for ARR, with average compositions of Jhootha hi Sahi and Robot, the only redeeming factor was Raavan. Two songs stood out for me personally – Behene de and Raanjha Raanjha . Gulzar’s lyrics for Behene De have a generous theme of water and flowing rivers and Rahman’s composition further creates a visual of a free flowing body of water which engulfs anything and everything that comes in its wake. (I hear a mild Dil-Se flashback in this song).
Des Mera, Peepli Live, Sanjeev Sharma/Swanand Kirkire, Rahul Ram/Amit Kilam, Indian Ocean
Technically, not a song from 2010, but a song from Indian Ocean’s 2003 album Jhini which was used in this 2010 film by Anusha Rizvi. This song was my personal favorite since my ear drums were exposed to it in 2003. With Peepli Live, Indian Ocean officially entered the popular culture (whether they like this or not, is for anyone’s guess). Des Mera is in a nutshell all that is India and Indian-ness:
“Dhool gubaar mein jantar-mantar, Bahaar se bhola gehera andar..”
I am not even attempting to translate this.
Other notable mentions must go out to Sajid-Wajid’s Salaam aaya and Surili from “Veer”, Vishal Shekhar’s Sheila ki jawani from “Tees Maar Khan”, Vishal-Shekhar’s Tujhe Bhula Diya from “Anjaana Anjaani”. In the last weeks of 2010, Amit Trivedi rocked once again with the soundtrack for Raj Kumar Gupta’s “No One Killed Jessica” (to jog your memory, Amit Trivedi made his debut in Gupta’s 2008 directorial debut Aamir). Since the movie releases in 2011, this one does not make it to the 2010 list, but am sure Dilli and Dua will feature in the best of 2011 list.