Warning: The Baap of all posts in length.
We can safely assume that by November of the present year, almost all the soundtracks of the Hindi movies that are going to come, are out. Thus, the post -of considering the 10 best motion picture soundtracks of this decade. Taking 2001 as the start of the decade.
The soundtracks in Hindi movies also go hand-in-hand with the lyrics written for them and thus if you think your favorite soundtrack isn't featured in this amazing list, then words might just be one of the reasons. And by the way that doesn't mean that I will feature all ten albums of Gulzaar saab! The soundtracks listed here are in no particular order - thus 10 means, they could fit anywhere between 1 to 10. But would always remain in the top ten! Also the box office status of the film doesn't matter - its pure music that matters! While I feature my ten best soundtracks, I would also try to highlight that one best feature of that every soundtrack.
1. Delhi 6 (2009)
Music: AR Rahman.
An album that could make Slumdog Millionaire feel a poor cousin of its. The best in the AR Rahman collection in the last decade. A bhajan, A muhalla song, A prayer, A qawwali, A Romantic Balled, A duet, A Hip-Hop number. You name it and Rahman sir composed it for Delhi 6. Extremely sad that the film didn't even do an iota of justice to the music that AR Rahman served it so passionately. Amit Trivedi, in one of his interviews said: 'If the Oscar guys would hear Delhi 6's soundtrack, they would come to Bombay and hand the trophy to AR Rahman!'
Highlight of the soundtrack: That amazing magic of Prasoon Joshi's words in the Qawwali: Arziyan:
Darare darare hain maathe pe maula,
Marammat muqadaar ki kar do maula,
Ab kya bataun yaar. Jisne hindi nahi jana, unko kya khaak samjah aayega!
Sample this: the effervescent Mohit Chauhan with words like:
Zara Phank Jhatak
Gai Dhool Atak
Aur Lachak Machak Ke Duur Bhatak
Ude - Dagar, Kasbe, Khuche, Nukkad, Basti..aha...What flight of words! and a little while later comes 'Badal ki Colony'
2. Gulaal (2009)
Music: Piyush Mishra - the genius!
Every song. Every word, Every line of this motion picture soundtrack is history. Never has such revolutionary music come in hindi movies and I can bet it- that it would almost take a decade to come up with something like this Again. Even Piyush Mishra himself can't come up with stuff like this now! When Ransa is killed half way in the film and the point when the song 'Sheher' starts - its pure genius. I had never felt so strong sitting inside a theatre. I went back again to watch Gulaal only to re-live that moment. Once that song went by: I came out of theatre:
Also there has never been an ultimate tribute to an old song like Piyush Mishra's tribute to Guru Dutt's 'Duniya'.
Kya dard se gaate hain Piyush bhai! Aah! It hurts to even know how the poet had imagined this world and how it has turned out to be.
Who's got the talent to write stuff like this:
Jis kavi ki kalpana mein zindagi ho prem geet,
Uss kavi ko aaj tum nakaar do,
Bheegti nasso mein aaj, phoolti rago mein aaj,
Aaj aag ki lapat ka tum baghaar do,
Try and imagine this: Aag ki lapat ka baghaar...!! waah!
Shilpa Rao's haunting: 'Aisi Sazaa' to Rahul Ram's 'Raat ke Musafir' to the brilliant satire called 'Ranaji' by Rekha bharadwaj - every song pe ek Mohor hai! One of the highly under-rated soundtracks of this decade: I recommend you Gulaal. Again and Again.
Highlight of the soundtrack: Piyush bhai himself singing:
Ghalib ke Momin ke khawabo ki duniya,
Majazo ke un inqlaabo ki duniya!
Faiz firako Sahir u Makhdum,
Mir ki Zauq kitabo ki duniya,
Yeh duniya agar mil bhi jaaye to kya hai?
(I hope I am not wrong somewhere in typing the lyrics and the names)
3. Hazaaro Khwaishe Aisi (2003)
Music: Shantanu Moitra
Shubha Mudgal, Swanand Kirkire and Shantanu Moitra. The three responsible for the timelessness of this soundtrack. The title track by Shubha Mudgal is pure meditation.
I could also feature Shubha Mudgal most amazingly sung Raincoat number: Mathura Nagarpati. But then the magic of :
Bahut be-aabaru hokar tere kuuche se ham nikale! isn't there in Raincoat.
Swanand fetched a National Award for 'Behti Hawa sa tha..', but indeed If I was the jury then it should have been for 'Bawra Mann Dekhne Chala Ek Sapna'
Highlight of the soundtrack: Like it or not but Sudhir Mishra doing a Baz Luhrmann and Shbha Mudgal rendering in the background was great stuff.
4. Om Shanti Om (2007)
The tune of the decade. Use a piano, Use Violins, Use Flute, Use Orchestra, Use a dusky voice or Use a Chorus and it will still sound so beautiful. Once you hear the beginning of 'Main Agar Kahoon', its hard not to fall in love. And then those little little ideas of finely executed choreography. The tea from the Tea kettle in the Wine glass. The toy couple in the glass, the special effect of a running car and the Storm Fan making the hair blow, adding to the effect. Very well done!
Take in case, the choreography of 'Dhoom Tana' and the design of that song: the instruments, the genre it mixes, the amazing Jeetendra expressions, Sunil Dutt And Kaka inside: Absolutely well thought of. Farah Khan & SRK exactly know how to celebrate bollywood and indeed they executed it in style! The rest can keep giving tributes. Infact Vishal-Shekhar themselves gave a score so typical to bollywood - like making every song from the same base but always a new lay (speed in music), a new instrument and a new arrangement! . To make, sell and market a whole motion picture soundtrack based on only one 'dhun' and yet having a variety is not a small task. Vishal-shekhar pulled it off in style.
Highlight of the soundtrack: Needless to say: the tune as heard in the video above.
5. Omkara (2006)
Music: Vishal Bharadwaj
The maai-baap of all item numbers thread with words that could expand your Hindi dictionary multifold. A Sukhwinder Singh led title song that had Gulzar saab at his creative apex. A Rahat Fateh Ali Khan song that could give you goosebumps, a musical with chorus that defines tragedy at its best and a romantic duet that gives you a whole new perspective on the small town romance. With gems like these Omkara is a soundtrack that one could listen to forever. Of-course nothing beats the high of Jhin-Mini Jhini, Ustad Sultan Khan singing and Abbaji dancing, but songs in Maqbool weren't given the justice, the way they were given in Omkara. If someone has heard Chingaari, Dheemo Re and Rukhe Naina from Maqbool, they never came as effectively on screen. Similarly Laakad in Omkara was also given step-motherly treatment though.
Highlight of the soundtrack: This one line:
Na gilaaf, Na lehaaf thandi hawa ke khilaaf sasuri
6. Swades (2004)
Music: A R Rahman
Have you ever heard something like: 'Pal Pal hai bhaari?' One of the most unique compositions of the decade. Once my father remarked on hearing this song: Imagine its Javed Akhtar writing, AR Rahman omposing, Shah Rukh Khan performing and you have a song about Ram! What better example of secularism than this? Ashutosh Gowariker and A R Rahman almost outdid Lagaan with a fantastic soundtrack of Swades. My favourite and I agree with Mr. Gowariker is the beautiful lullaby: Aahista Aahista
If Udit Narayan has to ever make a resume then Swades should be on his top employer list. But as usual Rahman kept the best song for himself - the title track. And could we please have some more songs being sung by Hariharan. At least Rahman should use him more often.
Highlight of the soundtrack:
1. The accordion theme when the opening titles come and we see Mohan Bhargav inside the flight. alternatively this music is also known as: Kabhi nahi badalnewaali Tanmay's ringtone!
2. The Reunion theme: The flute when Kaveri Amma sees Mohan Bhargav for the first time.
7. DevD (2009)
Music: Amit Trivedi (yay!)
18 numbers in an album!!! A feat completely unheard of. Overnight Amit Trivedi took the music industry by storm. Infact Anurag Kashyap got recognized as a mainstream filmmaker, which was due anytime though! An array of singers came on the board in this one album: Joi Barua, Trivedi (himself), Bonnie Chakroborty, Shilpa rao, Labh Jajua, Shruti Pathak, Tochi Raina and some more. If you figure the genres in the album, they range from Punjabi Bhangra to Fusion to Rock to Folk to Pop to Remix to Themes to what not! Amitabh Bhattacharya and Shellee had their words spot on. I remember when DevD's music was out - my iPod was never given any rest. Ganga and me played song after song day-night. Although Ganga also had Aamir in his play list.
Highlight of the soundtrack: Needless to say: The Brass Band but for me Nayan Tarse and the mood that the trumpet sets in was an ultimate high!
8. Taaren Zameen Par (2008)
Music: Shankar Ehsaan Loy
Its interesting to note that although Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy has been very consistent in delivering absolute winning soundtracks over the last decade, but there is just one entry on the top ten. Sample this: Dil Chahta hai, Kal Ho Na ho, Bunty aur Babli, My Name is Khan, Rock On! - all of them had great songs. But the idea of going back to them doesn't occur as much as it occurs with Taaren Zameen Par. Prasoon Joshi is giving tough competition to Gulzar saab in this list of mine. Sample these absolute gem poetry :
Muhaley Ki Raunak Galiyan Hain Jaise,
Khilney Ki Zid Par Kaliyan Hain Jaise
Muthi Mein Mausam Ki Jaise Hawayein
Yeh Hain Buzurgon Ke Dil Ki Duwayein
Kho Na Jaaye Ye Taare Zameen Par
Highlight of the soundtrack: That one song that immortalized Shankar Mahadevan and Prasoon Joshi in every kid's imagination: 'Maa'. I have seen the most strong-hearted people crying on this song. Such is the gift of art. Shankar Mahadevan truly has a gifted voice. I make sure whenever he performs in Mumbai or Delhi - I almost always try to be there.
9. The Legend of Bhagat Singh (2002)
Music: A R Rahman
Revolutionary, Patriotic and lots of Sukhwinder Singh!. The Legend of Bhagat Singh has timeless soundtrack features. Namely: The harmonium in Pagdi Sambhaal Jatta, the powerful percussion in 'Shora so Pehchaniye', the march past trumpet of Desh mere Desh
Highlight of the Soundtrack: Hariahran and Sonu Nigam coming together for 'Sarfaroshi Ki Tamanna' (the slower version)
Music: A R Rahman
The soundtrack is the Highlight of the decade. So no highlights for this soundtrack.
Also the background score of the film was an out and out winner. Actually Lagaan is above all this yaar. The Academy never realized it in 2001 and then it took them a decade to understand the genius of this man. And that too for what - Slumdog!! Haak Thoooo...Aisa toh Rahman apni neend mei banaa deta hai.
For Rahmaniacs - the day I heard Ghanan ghanan, I caught Rahman copying himself! - the rhythm of this legendary song is exactly like the rhythm of one more Rahman number that was easily forgotten. Here's the song from Priyadarshan's Doli Saja ke Rakhna. Hear it from 0:40
And here's the fantastic Ghanan Ghanan: Hear it from 0:19
Of course I am not complaining. Yeh toh Rahman ka paagalpan hai yaaron! Even if they play Lagaan without visuals in a theatre, you know one will still be entertained as much, such is the sheer power of the sound and the soundtrack of Lagaan.
Now, if you think that I have missed any of your favourite soundtracks, let me know. Oh Ok, RDB??
P.S: If there was one song that I could include and not the album but that one song: then it would have been:
Maula mere le le meri Jaan from Salim-Suleiman's Chak De India. Sung by Krishna who me thinks has the highest range amidst contemporary singers. He can be a stiff competition to Rahat saab.
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