It’s December and it’s customary to list the Hindi film songs that made me hit the “loop” button on my iPod for any one, or all of the following reasons:

– the song brought a new sound/style/technique

– the song was a sheer delight lyrically or musically or vocally or a combination of all three

– the song made my musically challenged brain and heart go “I love this, I don’t know why, but I LOVE this!”

Note that these are in no in order of liking and have no rankings.

(Reading legend: Song  – Movie – Composer/s – Singer/s – Lyricist/s)

Dilli – No One Killed Jessica – Amit Trivedi – Tochi Raina, Aditi Singh Sharma, Sriram Iyer – Amitabh Bhattacharya

There is angst, there is that in-your-face brashness that’s trademark Dilli (not Delhi), there is a surging, boiling quality to this opening track of a movie set in Dilli with it’s politics, power and class struggles. Amit Trivedi shines once again.

Tere Liye – 7 Khoon Maaf – Vishal Bharadwaj – Suresh Wadkar – Gulzar

A template Vishal Bharadwaj song! It makes the list purely because of the undeniably magical atmospheric aura that surrounds me when Vishal, Gulzar and Suresh Wadkar have a go! And the Mohan Veena: I could feel hair on my arm grow a whole inch the first time I felt this song.

Saibo – Shor in the City – Sachin, Jigar – Tochi Raina, Shreya Ghoshal – Sameer, Priya Panchal

A refreshing love duet, melodious and works wonderfully with opposing vocal qualities of Tochi Raina and Shreya Ghoshal. I was sold at the point where Tochi’s gruff vocals enter the song with “..samjhe ishaare” to weld with Shreya’s girl-woman vocals.

Haal e dil – Bbuddah Hogaa Tera Baap – Vishal, Shekhar – Amitabh Bachchan, Shekhar, Monali – Swanand Kirkire

While the song reminds of a song from Baghban, it makes the list for the simple melody and the deep, resonating voice of Amitabh Bachchan. At  almost 70 years old, this man’s voice still carries more gravitas than any other male singer on the scene today. Special mention to the mridang beats towards the end of the song which helps in creating a grand soundscape.

Bhaag DK Bose – Delhi Belly – Ram Sampath – Ram Sampath – Amitabh Bhattacharya

The entire soundtrack of Delhi Belly is a winner. D K Bose at the outset can be shelved as a clever publicity gimmick, but while it did provide the much needed PR for the film, it does stand as a song of considerable might with it’s innovative lyrics and a full throated vocal rendition by the music director himself. The soundtrack experimented successfully with: punk rock (D K Bose), 80s disco tunes (I hate you, like I love you), spoofs (Saigal blues, Nakkadwaley disco), Bhangra pop (Switty tera pyaar) and a full on angtsy rock track (Jaa Chudail). If I had to choose a soundtrack of the year, this is it!

Khwabon ke Parindey – Zindagi na Milegi Dobara – Shankar, Ehsaan, Loy – Alyssa Mendonca, Mohit Chauhan – Javed Akhtar

One of those tracks which bears a trademark SEL stamp all over it. It makes the list for it’s breezy singing (Loy’s daughter Alyssa is a perfect choice), simple poetry and a light-as-a-sea-breeze melody. It works even more in it’s placement in the narrative of this film that I have grown to like with a second viewing.

Piya Kesariyo – Hum Tum Shabana – Sachin, Jigar – Anushka Manchanda, Jigar – Sameer

Anushka Manchanda wowed with her strong vocals in Aisha’s By the Way last year, and here she goes at it again in a composition that scores big time on it’s arrangement and a trippy blend of the Bollywood standard Rajasthani words with loud guitaring.

Chammak Challo – Ra.one – Vishal, Shekhar – Akon, Hamsika Iyer – Vishal, Niranjan Iyengar

Akon sings in Hindi + Tamil lyrics +  SRK Diwali movie!!  The cynic in me gave this a shrug even before I had heard it. Once I exposed myself to this that extremely catchy beat refused to leave my head.  A gimmick alright, but a bloody good one!! On a side note, is there another mainstream actress who is so clumsy and awkward in her dance moves than Kareena Kapoor, yikes! That girl cannot move!

Bhare Naina – Ra.One – Vishal Shekhar – Nandini Srikar, Vishal, Shekhar – Vishal 

If there was ever a doubt that Vishal & Shekhar are everything that’s right with popular music, this composition will erase all those doubts. This song elegantly navigates from a semi-classical terrain – tabla, flutes et al – to a symphonic/rockish territory. Nandini Srikar must thank her stars for a solo song in this action packed album. If Delhi Belly is my pick for the album of the year, Ra.One is a close second. The entire album is an eclectic mix of genres and sounds from around the world. Who says massy music cannot be engaging?

Kun Faaya Kun – Rockstar – A. R. Rehman – A.R.Rehman, Javed Ali, Mohit Chauhan – Irshaad Kamil

Another Islamic devotional number by A.R.Rehman! So what’s new? He did that in Arziyaan in Delhi 6 and I had ran out of superlatives to describe it’s beauty. With Kun Faaya Kun, he strikes again, with such awe-inspiring, goose-bumps inducing…… and I have ran out of adjectives once again. It’s an experience that left me soaked from head to toe – the singing, the poetry, the guitar, the tabla, the harmonium, the peace!

Phir se Udd Chala – Rockstar – A.R.Rehman – Mohit Chauhan – Irshaad Kamil

This was a soundtrack that was anything but rock. Ignoring that the songs were incongruous with the title of the movie (save for Sadda Haq), this track stands out for it’s unusual flow, Mohit’s vocals and the poetry. How do you compose to words that aren’t written with the standard antara-mukhada/rhyme template and end with a phrase which seems to be incomplete, hanging in mid-air…. “rang birange wehemon mein main udtaa phiroon”? Well, you call A.R.Rehman.

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Aside from the ones listed above, notable mention must go out to :

– the songs of ‘Shaitan’, especially Suman Sridhar’s vocals to the remixes of Hawa Hawaii and Khoya Khoya Chand

– Suman Sridhar’s vocals for Tonight from ‘Luv ka the end’

– Amit Trivedi’s “Bangur” from I Am

– Raghu Dixit’s innovative use of the dappankoothu (spelling?) beat to equally amusing lyrics in Dheaon dheaon in the ghastly titled ‘Mujhse fraandship karoge’