Phew! Choosing 10 songs in a year filled with remixes and overall mediocrity was a tough task. There weren’t any chartbusters, radio anthems or ballads that would make you hum months later.
Yet, if one dug in deep, one found some songs worthy of making it to such a list. Music director Amit Trivedi had a prolific year, and came up with a few gems. Ajay-Atul had some big banners, and hence some exposure.
Significantly, A.R. Rahman doesn’t make it to the list – his only Hindi film ‘Beyond The Clouds’ sounding too familiar. We didn’t include Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Padmaavat as though it was released this year, the songs were out last September.
Again, we decided to stick to one song per film. So here goes:
1 Ae Watan – Raazi
Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy have generally been keeping a low key but here, they team up with Gulzar on this patriotic gem. The song has two versions by Arijit Singh and Sunidhi Chauhan. The female version contains parts of Allama Iqbal’s ‘Lab Pe Aati Hai Dua’.
2 Mere Naam Tu – Zero
The Shah Rukh Khan film was received with mixed reviews, and overall, the music was no great shakes either. But this song composed by Ajay-Atul and written by Irshad Kaamil is a beauty. Singer Abhay Jodhpurkar and flautist Varad Kathapurkar stand out.
3 Chonch Ladhiyaan – Manmarziyaan
Amit Trivedi comes up with some brilliant work here. The songs are in Punjabi, and focus on folk-meets-western arrangements. Many good tunes here, but we chose this ballad sung by Jazim Sharma and Harshdeep Kaur, and written by Shellee.
4 Tajdar-e-Haram – Satyamev Jayate
An energetic Sufiana number sung by Wajid and composed by Sajid-Wajid and written by Danish Sabri. The singing style is traditional reminding you of the 1970s qawwalis but the orchestration is contemporary.
5 Thare Vaaste – Parmanu: The Story Of Pokhran
(We noticed that the video to this video wasn’t playing. Here’s a link to video – Ed)
Another motivational, patriotic song, this one has been composed by Sachin-Jigar, written by Vayu and sung by Divya Kumar. Some nice desert-folk interludes.
6 Jaan ‘Nissar’ – Kedarnath
Trivedi shines again in a film that focuses on soothing ballads. There are two versions of this song, sung by Arijit Singh and Asees Kaur. Amitabh Bhattacharya’s lyrics touch a chord.
7 Aala Re Aala – Simmba
The song of this Ranveer Singh film was released towards the end of the year. Composed by Tanishk Bagchi and sung by Dev Negi and Goldi, it stands out for its on-screen energy and choreography.
8 Dhadak – Dhadak
The movie was a remake of the Marathi hit Sairat and some tunes were recreated from there. On the title track, composers Ajay-Atul and lyricist Amitabh Bhattacharya settle for a routine but pleasant love song sung by Ajay Gogavale and Shreya Ghoshal.
9 Naina Da Kya Kasoor – Andhadhun
More from Trivedi, who opts to sing this himself. Penned by Jaideep Sahni, the tune has a peppy hook and some smooth pianos. A good party singalong or something that can be played on loop.
10 Subah Subah – Sonu Ke Titu Ki Sweety
Music director Amaal Malik kept a low profile this year, but comes up with this neat love song. The infectious melody and outdoor shots in Rishikesh make up for the mechanical singing by Arijit Singh and Prakriti Kakar.
Narendra Kusnur is one of India’s best known music journalists. Born with a musical spoon (okay, doesn’t fit, but you get the drift), Naren, NK, Kusnur, Narender, Kaansen, Jahanpanna… however else many call him, is a late bloomer in music criticism. He was (is!) an aficionado first, and then strayed into writing on music. But in the last two decades, he has made up for most of what he didn’t do earlier. If ever there is an Ustad given for music writing, NK, would be among the first to receive one. Narendra Kusnur writes weekly on Xyngr. Don’t ask us when.