1 Jan 2012

The Boom Box Hindi Film Songs of 2011

Also featured and not credited in the collage, is our lyricist of the year - Irshad Kamil

We follow the calendar year, keeping at equal tilt the scales, irrespective of the box office runs of a Delhi Belly or a Mausam. We see if we can still listen to the songs and enjoy them singularly. Has their lustre faded with time, or do they still find resonance at the end of the year? We have no single favourite, the order, for better organisation, is alphabetical.  

Bedardi Raja
Delhi Belly
V – Sona Mohapatra
M – Ram Sampath, L – Amitabh Bhattacharya

This was the year a certain Ram Sampath arrived, and how! Long ago he had done Khakee (2004), this film soundtrack put that debut film stuff into retro.Sampath's rebellious zeal and rhythmic catharsis is all over one of the best  soundtracks of the year.
Cheeky in its lines, some open sexual invitations such as...main toh phooljadi hu, maachis tu jala ja...Bedardi is clearly a horny woman's call, and as we find in context of the film, its a prostitute's business call card. Kauli kauli gori baahein, chhua toh maalai jaise, chhua toh maalai...would probably get a copywriter's assent, if he were assigned to do a copy for some brothel, and Sampath and Mohapatra make such a beat-boom celebration out of it, that we can only nod in admiration.

7 Khoon Maaf 
V – Vishal Bharadwaj
M- Vishal Bharadwaj, L – Gulzar

The lyrics are revealed like each verse line were a page, and Bharadwaj’s soft vocals are secrets being whispered into a lover’s ear. Aankh kuch lal si hai, raat jaage toh nahi, raat jab bijle gaaye, darr ke bhaage toh nahi, kya laga hooth tale, jaise koi chot chale...It is Vishal, among the contemporary Hindi film music directors who has spread the musical canvas for Gulzar's incandescent words, than anyone else has in this decade. For those burning in a love of  verse, flesh and possession, a cuddly song treat.

Bhaag D.K Bose 
Delhi Belly
V – Ram Sampath
M – Ram Sampath
L – Amitabh Bhattacharya / Akshat Verma (the D.K Bose refrain)

The frustration and catharsis of our times, Bhaag is more than getting the main refrain to sound like a cuss word that no censor board could touch. Love vents its frustration and Sampath sends the message across with pleasant stabs of appropriate grunge.

Chaar Bhaj Gaye (Party abhi baaki hai) 
V – Hard Kaur 
M – Sachin-Jigar, L- Sameer

After a long hiatus, Sameer has  improbably given us the youngster's rebel party song. A whiff of hedonism and a lot of booze that would make the alcoholic anonymous blush. If you can afford to do what the people in the song are doing, you must be filthy rich with your parent's or guardian's money, have a car and similar friends you can hang out with day and night, all in a life inconsequential. The song celebrates all that and the parent's intervention goes mere papa hai naraaz, (chorus) par party abhi baaki hai...also sing along is...booze lagi hai, bottle doh...

Hona tha pyar
V- Atif Aslam & Hadiqa Kiani 
M- Atif Aslam, L - Capt. Imran Raza

Simple as the guitar riffs, the steady low-toned drums, the passing flute, Atif’s threads are magic here, Hadiqa’s vocals gel well into a love blossoming as fresh as dew. Strains of  the ever-familiar boy-girl love song territory linger. Yet, in context of the film, there is talk, in the background of a female-repressed family of following their dreams...Khwabon ki dor, tute na yaar...is a poignant refrain for all wanting to turn their dreams into tangibility.

Ik Tu Hi Tu  
V – Hans Raj Hans and (in another version) Wadali Brothers
M – Pritam, L – Irshad Kamil 

Mausam, with a story that was in contrast to the unconventional, ribald world of Delhi Belly, had a soundtrack as different, but as catchy and more, let us say, closer to a unhindered, unaffected rural heart. For Ik Tu Hi Tu  is certainly not a city refrain, you don't cry over your lover and separation, you add them on facebook.com or make a phone call.It is of a world that has all but faded away, of a time where communication took days, letters held a charm in its arrival, lovers pined for each other and allowed themselves to be vulnerable. For such sweet trauma, a song you may not hear often in Hindi cinema again.

Jaa Chudail 
Delhi Belly 
V – Suraj Jagan
M- Ram Sampath, L – Amitabh Bhattacharya (Refrain lyrics - Akshat Verma)

The hate song is here and rocking. Defamatory fun and derision, we just couldn’t keep out the fun that Jagan has with the vocals, all wolf grunt with growling, vengeful blows at some (allegedly) deceitful woman.The humour is there in all its growling bumbling loudspeaker vengeance..aisi-waise kuch bhi nahi jungli ek balu hai tu...tu kya ukaad lega mera sadaa huva aalu hai tu...arre ja ja ja go to hell...Bob Dylan would certainly say to that...times they are a-changing...

Kun faya kun 
V- Mohit Chauhan
Javed Ali and A R Rahman 
M- AR Rahman, L – Irshad Kamil

What splendour, what dazzle and what mesmerising qawwali sounds, without a touch of cacophony! It sinks in like a dry leaf falling away, no kidding. Rahman's film qawwalis have all through made minimum and judicious use of percussion, the hand claps, and the harmonium - synonymous with this song form. Singularly, an experience to be heard without interruption...Note...ohhh mujhe pe karam sarkar tera,araz tujhe,karde mujhe,mujhse hi riha,ab mujhko bhi ho,deedaar mera...also the Kamil flow in...tu hai mujh mein samaya,kahaan leke mujhe aaya,main hoon tujh mein samaya,tere peeche chala aaya,tera hi main ek saaya,tune mujhko banaya,main toh jag ko na bhaaya,tune gale se lagaya,ab tu hi sach hai khudaya,sach tu hi hai khudaya...I could go on and on, try singing this on your own, loved doing that, there is a peace within.

Rabba main toh mar gaya oy  
V- Shahid Malliya & (in another version) Rahat Fateh Ali Khan
M- Pritam, L- Irshad Kamil

Again, the scent of first love, pure as snow, uninterrupted, melodic. The Shahid version was part of the audio-visual that made up the better parts of the film, as fitting to the youth showcased in the movie. Spare some minutes for the soulful Rahat version that didn't make the reel - as beautiful, with its old world charm.

Zindagi Na Milage Dobara 
V -  Farhan Akhtar, Hrithik Roshan, Abhay Deol and Maria Del Mar Fernandez
M - Shankar Ehsan Loy, L - Javed Akhtar

So what if the Don2 soundtrack signals a dull mood in the Farhan-SEL partnership? Senorita, in a film made by Farhan's sister Zoya, has the right mood and Spanish-Hindi changeovers (that we do not follow the Spanish lyrics does not matter, happily). Farhan is a vocalist of limited range with hell lot of confidence and character, Hrithik is good too and Abhay is not bad at all. Hail the sound engineers too! A soft dance celebration, still lingers.

Thayn Thayn  
Dum Maaro Dum 
V - Abhishek Bachchan
M - Pritam, L - Jaideep Sahni

OK, so Sahni's Dum Maaro Dum title stuff was jarring in parts, so what if it was a 'leeching guy' hate song. Talking about men sitting over toilet seats made a dent in film song poetry. What was sidelined was Sahni's take on the police-politician bond in the impressive Abhishek rendition of the Hindi rap...badi brave hai police,par slave hai police,kabhi this that that kabhi that that this,tere party ke chunao, tere paise ke dabao, tere khotey armaan, tere jhoote farmaan...

We must also commend Vishal-Shekhar's verve in The Dirty Picture and Nishat Khan's groovy, tight work on Yeh Saali Zindagi. Let's see what 2012 brings.

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