15 Jan 2013

The Boom Box Hindi Film Songs of 2012

Yes, it is that time of the year again. We kept at equal tilt the scales, do not consider box office performances and concentrate solely on the audio. The Hindi film soundtracks released in the 2012 calendar year are all eligible to make it to this post, the six selected songs are arranged in alphabetical order.   

Allah Jaane / Teri Meri Kahaani
V - Rahat Fateh Ali Khan
L - Prasoon Joshi, M - Sajid - Wajid

The master of the upper scales that he is, Rahat Fateh Ali Khan has been used to the extent of redundancy in many Hindi film soundtracks by now. Sajid - Wajid have given him a more soulful, if selective number of songs, we can still listen to Tere Mast Mast Do Nain / Dabangg (2010). Allah Jaane veers from the wannabe sufi mould thanks to Joshi's lyrics. The wind flute interlude at the first paragraph end, the Khan alaap, then the Joshi lyrics clinch the deal - kuch toh mila hai aaj hawa mein, saanson mein gungaroo kaise ka-na-na-nan.../aasma hai pairon ke neeche varna zameen par kaise neelapan.   

 Auntyji /  Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu
V - Ash King
L - Amitabh Bhattacharya, M - Amit Trivedi

A groovy jazz dance ode to all allegedly middle-aged women with allegedly portly, ageing husbands, Auntyji induces repeats on the strength of its well-interpreted Hindi vocals, zany guitar works and percussion (cymbal add-ons included). The lyrics are aptly poking fun and at a rare moment makes a statement - kanya kunwari tajurbe se bani aunty.    

Dreamum Wakeupum / Aiyyaa
V - Soumya Rao
L - Amitabh Bhattacharya, M - Amit Trivedi

Post The Dirty Picture soundtrack, playing up sleaze for naughty touchy-feel is the latest fad. Dreamum Wakeupum kind of kills the subtlety in following suit, with words like kamasutram, pumpingam and jumpingam adding bold letters to the obvious. Still the uniqueness is striking and Rao's vocals are naughty with a relish, the nadaswaram and beat percussion blend western-south Indian cliches to take the track far out of wannabe territory. 

Jiya Tu Bihar Ke Lala / Gangs of Wasseypur
V - Manoj Tiwari
L - Varun Grover, M - Sneha Khanwalkar   

Tani naachi gaayi sabke mann behlava re bhaiya...Unlikely DJ grooves kick start this cracker folksy heroic ode to the small-town crime lord. The ethos of Bihari culture oozes out of this one. Picture a jovial gathering of men on a quiet, idle village evening, traditional beat instruments along with dholak, bandan, matka and chamach.  

Phir Le Aaya Dil / Barfi
V - Arijit Singh
L - Sayeed Quadri , M - Pritam 

In a follow up mood to his 2011 Mausam soundtrack, Pritam does three versions of this ghazal-ish revisit and finds his mark in the unconventional vocals of Arijit Singh (Singh has previously sung Raabta in Agent Vinod (2012). The talk is of rekindling an old love, of meetings, partings and how the heart wishes for completeness. Leisurely-paced, soft tabla strains, light piano bridges, and Urdu words that took me (after a long time) to discovery and the dictionary. The stand out song of the year. 

Sing Raja / Joker  
V - Daler Mehndi & Sonu Kakkar
L - Shirish Kunder, M - GV Prakash Kumar

All of 25 years, GV Prakash Kumar is already showing his sparkle in whatever little he manages to get in Hindi film soundtracks. That AR Rahman is his maternal uncle is purely incidental, Kumar does shows Rahman's early spontaneity, verve and rawness in Sing Raja, an original dance floor track of the season. Dance karle English mein aur naach le tu Hindi mein is appropriately devoid of meaning, instead it flows with addictive beats, grooves and enthusiastic vocals. Kudos to the flute theme that starts it all.         

Special Mentions
Sajid - Wajid's masala raunchiness of Preetam Pyare in Rowdy Rathore, Vishal-Shekhar's street beats in Shanghai's Bharat Mata Ki Jai, Gungungana Re and Abhi mujh mein kahin (Easily among Sonu Nigam's best sung songs) from Agneepath, the marvelous solo debut in Paani Da Rang from Vicky Donor, Ali Zafar's spunky, fresh music in London Paris New York (Thehree si Zindagi, Woh Dekne Mein) and the spunky Amit Trivedi's English Vinglish soundtrack (Navrai Maji, Gustakh Dil) - we are happy to crown them as our special mentions.