A romantic track from the upcoming Karan Johar film Dhadak soulfully sung by Ajay Gogavale and Shreya Ghoshal composed by tunesmith duo Ajay-Atul and beautifully written by Amitabh Bhattacharya
Jo meri manzilon ko jaati hai Tere naam ki koi sadak hai na Jo mere dil ko dil banaati hai Tere naam ki koi dhadak hai na!
Music-director brother duo, Ajay-Atul, have been in the news and the music-lover radars for the past many years. For me, the number Abhi mujh mein kahin (Agneepath; 2012) earned them their place in the sun! With scores like Dhadak up their sleeve, they are poised to take a flight and this number will be a big contributing factor methinks. Although not innovative, this one is a soulful melody with some soothing vocals with Ajay Gogavale, the younger of the Ajay-Atul duo and the ‘sweet-as-honey’ Shreya Ghoshal! The track isn’t very breezy and immediately catchy but tends to grow on you. The composer pair use traditional instruments, piano riffs and chorus trying to keep focus on Amitabh Bhattacharya’s words that has some earthy lines like Pyaar se thaamna dor baareek hai, saat janmon ki yeh pehli tareeq hai. A discerning ear may be able to notice a slight similarity of the mukhada at 0:48 – 0:52 with one of the interludes of Ladki badi anjaani hai (Kuch Kuch Hota Hai; 1998; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WlWlGlvN4L4; 1:23 – 1:38s). Experience it, fall in love and let this one grow on you!
An instantly appealing and serene track from Prem Geet (1981) sung and composed by the legendary Jagjit Singh and beautifully written by Indeevar
With the onset of the ghazal era in the late 1970s and early 80s, Jagjit Singh emerged as the front-runner with years of struggle and a few super-hit non-film albums – with wife and co-singer Chitra Singh – like The Unforgettables (1976), A Milestone and Main Aur Meri Tanhai (both 1980) under his belt. Many filmmakers started using ghazals in their films in the early 80s with some very good results. This album had music honours done by the ghazal maestro himself. Indeevar’s words will stay with you long after you have heard this number – my favourite is Jag ne chheena mujhse mujhe jo bhi lagaa pyaara, sab jeeta kiye mujhse main har dam hi haara, tum haar ke dil apna meri jeet amar kar do, hoton se chhoo lo tum mera geet amar kar do. JagjitSingh imparts his bass-laden soothing vocals with near-perfect expression to bring the easy-on-the-lips couplets to life. Extremely hummable and endearing number that touches the heart! Re-play and fall in love with it…
Of the many ways to lead a life, accepting things as they are is one of the best! Anand Bakshi demonstrates that here in an inspiring way so much so that one line in this number sums up life for me – Yeh na socho is mein apni haar hai ke jeet hai, use apna lo jo bhi jeevan ki reet hai. Laxmikant-Pyarelal use light guitar strums, the whistle and soft beats accompanied by Kishore Kumar’s unusually soft vocals and emphasize the leitmotif yehi hai multiple times. Very soothing, inspiring and hummable!
Lyricists are typically unsung heroes and Anand Bakshi was no different. Across his illustrious career spanning almost 40 years and 4,000+ songs, Bakshi kept is simple with easy-on-the-lips words that were a ‘gift’ to a generation! Right from Ek tha gul aur ek thi bulbul (Jab Jab Phool Khile, 1965) to Tujhe dekha to yeh jaana sanam (Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jaayenge, 1995), he demonstrated his versatility across a wide range of emotions, situation and films.
Film: Jism (2003) Music: MM Kreem Lyrics: Sayeed Quadri Singer: KK
MM Kreem compositions over the years have had the ability to steal your heart silently and this number is no different! KK, one of the better but most under-rated mainstream singers, takes it to a different level with a husky hue and makes you feel the pain. The single instrument pieces that are nicely weaved in one after the other enhance the beauty so much that you’ll feel like listening to this one all alone in a quiet, moonlit night. Sayeed Quadri’s words are ultra-expressive and will make you feel like a mere mortal with lines like Kahaan kisi ke liye hai mumkin sabke liye ik sa honaa, thoda sa dil mera bura hai thoda bhala hai seene mein!
The versatile but modest KK (Krishnakumar Kunnath) started his career by singing ad jingles (did 3,500 of them!) and hit the bull’s eye with his non-film, solo album Pal (1999) that made him very popular with the youth at that time. Then came Tadap tadap ke is dil se (Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam; 1999 again) and he had ‘arrived’. With other unforgettable hits like Tu Aashiqui hai (Jhankaar Beats; 2003), Maine dil se kaha (Rog; 2005), Tu hi meri shab hai (Gangster; 2006), O meri jaan (Life In A Metro; 2007), Ajab si (Om Shanti Om; 2007), Khuda jaane (Bachna Ae Haseeno; 2008) and Tune maari entriyaan (Gunday; 2014), he continues to rule people’s hearts!
A relatively unknown but immensely melodious number comes from once again from the stellar RD Burman–Gulzar stable. Gulzar oh Gulzar, what do I say? He pens a beautiful but simplistic combination of innocence and romance in Chaand churaa ke laaya hoon, chal baithen church ke peechhe; na koi dekhe na pehchaane baithen ped ke neeche. RD strings them on a simple but a very hummable tune, uses church bells in the interlude and ends the antaras via a sweet conversation. Extremely hummable and cute!
The innocence of this number makes it extremely adorable. RD has not tried to use too many instruments but has prominently used church bells given the lyrics. It is tough to imagine a cute and innocent number like to get composed today. I also like another relatively unknown, low profile but brilliant duet – Gulmohar gar tumhaara naam hota (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I6Muu4qI6bs) also sung by Kishore Kumar and Lata Mangeshkar
A pop-ish ballad from October sung by Armaan Malik, composed by Abhishek Arora and written by Abhiruchi Chand
Upon first hearing, this one’s bound to take you back to the Michael Jackson era of the 80s and for some of you may bring back memories of the so-called Indipop scene in 90s. The instrumentation has a distinct western feel to it but that’s exactly what sounds lilting to the ears alongside Armaan Malik’s skillful and soft vocals who ends the track with falsetto. The backing vocals (by Neuman Pinto), electric guitars, bass and percussion add a beautiful new dimension to it. As a result, we get a full package from Abhishek Arora that grows on you. For the uninitiated, he did play a part in scores like Bluffmaster (2005), Pyaar Ke Side Effects (2006), Vicky Donor (2012) and Dil Juunglee (2018) to name a few. Playing this one on loop! Go listen…
Film: Border (1997) Music: Anu Malik Lyrics: Javed Akhtar Singers: Sonu Nigam, Roopkumar Rathod
Back in the day, critics termed this album ‘God-sent’ and this number the ‘national anthem’ of the year! It isn’t a patriotic one but it makes you feel a homesick soldier’s emotion. Anu Malik’s catchy tune fits Javed Akhtar’s simple but nostalgic words perfectly. Anu primarily uses male chorus and percussion to ensure Sonu Nigam and Roop Kumar Rathod’s nostalgia-laden voices and expression touch the heart. There is no routine mukhda-antara pattern but each antara is brilliantly catchy, heartwarming and can make one cry with its crescendo in Ae guzarne waali hawaa bataa. One of my all-time favourites and I get goosebumps every time I listen!
Critics also said that everyone – right from a vegetable seller on the street to the soldier on the border – were smitten by and humming this one back in the day. Anu Malik reached unforeseen heights after setting the words to tune and not the other way round. He uses mandolin and flute in the interludes but brings out nostalgia and homecoming like no one else! The beginning male chorus resembles Dil use do jo jaan de de (Andaz; 1971; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKdUnqGcO-Y). Anu claims and has mentioned in his interviews that he got a call from Lata Mangeshkar appreciating the number that time. He and Javed Akhtar etched out each number in this score beautifully – I also like Hamein jab se mohabbat ho gayi hai (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hGyX5V2LBO0), To chalun (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UhBspLOpryI) and even the patriotic Hindustan Hindustan (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=db85sHLPNhg). Methinks this album missed the filmfare trophy by a whisker to Dil To Pagal Hai given the latter’s youthfulness and popularity.
Film: Mere Sanam (1965) Music: OP Nayyar Lyrics: Majrooh Sultanpuri Singer: Mohammed Rafi
This magnificently hummable number is from the so-called ‘golden era’ of Hindi film music. The magician here is the temperamental but immensely gifted tunesmith – OP Nayyar – with his signature style, beats and a raag kirwani-based composition. Mohammed Rafi’s smooth vocals meander in a way that he slips into your heart via his seemingly effortless and masti-filled rendition. With a sweet tune and soft instrumentation like this, you feel like a cool breeze – comprising sprinkles of water – just kissed your face on a hot afternoon!
Majrooh Sultanpuri’s words have an old world charm and a delicate touch (read nazaaqat) to them. OP Nayyar was not classically trained but had a knack of creating unforgettable melodies with beat-styles that were absolutely unique to him. Here he uses a combination of the guitar, the mandolin and the santoor to great effect. Close to the end, at 3:10, the accompanying claps make it end even more beautifully than it started! I also love the 2 other popular numbers from this movie – Jaaiye Aap Kahaan Jaayenge (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AajHv7NIp9g) and Ye Hai Reshmi Zulfon Ka Andhera (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DIwJt7XG3zM)
A soulful, acoustic romantic melody from Aiyaary sung by Sunidhi Chauhan, composed by Rochak Kohli and penned by Manoj Muntashir
‘Good things come in small packages’ they say. This lovely ballad proves that they can come in short lengths too! Beautifully sung by none other than Sunidhi Chauhan, this one’s composed by Paani da rang-fame Rochak Kohli. The guitar riffs and strums support Sunidhi’s out-of-the-world vocals just like Ayushmann’s in Paani da rang. Within the antara, a discerning ear would notice a slight similarity at 1:15s with Aashiqui 2’s Chaahun main ya naa (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v6MH8K8K_SE; 2:03 onwards). That aside, I am so much in love with it that I have been re-playing this incessantly and have dedicated this weekend to this beautiful hummable track!
Film: Thakshak (1999) Music: AR Rahman Lyrics: Sukhwinder Singh Singers: Asha Bhosle, AR Rahman
It is AR Rahman time! Means that a complicated percussion pattern takes centre-stage and that is exactly why this one’s foot tapping. The first high-pitched antara is different compared to the next two lower-octave ones. The latter have a magnificent layering of the vocals juxtaposed with a beautiful combination of male and female chorus and decorated with an echo to help it reach a crescendo! This one exuberates energy, has excellent use of the bass and the racy leitmotif Rang de keeps haunting every now and then. Asha Bhosle displays a wide vocal range especially within the antara …starting 6:14, you have to listen to her alaap prowess and experience something special
Not many people know that the popular vocalist, Sukhwinder Singh, has penned this song. This number was also used in a 2008 Hollywood movie, The Accidental Husband. Thakshak was a low-key album from AR Rahman especially as it released just after Taal (also 1999). I really liked 2 other numbers in the album – the romantic and soothing Roop Kumar Rathod sung Khaamosh raat (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qs7Imo4xkKA) and the Sujata Trivedi crooned sensuous Boondon se baatein (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LGZIYhR5-VQ)
Chaahe tum kuchh na kaho maine sun liya, ke saathi pyaar ka mujhe chun liya reinforces the proverbial phrase ‘if speech is silver, silence is golden’. A few things in life are as soothing as a cool breeze and as calm as a summer sea…this track is one of them. It will remind you of your first love, make you fly, smile, cry and be nostalgic …and for some may be all at the same time! Majrooh Sultanpuri weaves a dream with Pehla nasha pehla khumaar, naya pyaar hai naya intezaar, kar loon main kya apna haal, ae dil-e-beqaraar tu hi bata. He also beautifully captures the love-smitten carefree aspiration with Udta hi phiroon in hawaon mein kahin, ya main jhool jaaoon in ghataaon mein kahin, ik kar doon aasmaan aur zameen. Jatin-Lalit tune this beautifully and pace it stunningly well along with some heart-warming instrumentation via the piano and the saxophone but minimal tabla-laced percussion. Udit Narayan and Sadhana Sargam emote it magnificently and I think this one defines, expresses and emotes romance like not many have done before. Feel blessed to have heard this in my lifetime! What a number!!!
Countless forgettable movies in the 1980s had some breathtakingly heartwarming numbers like this one. Gulzar–RD Burman combination has always presented awesome and appealing compositions through the years…but this one for some reason sounds extra-special! The opening has instant appeal with Asha Bhosle doing what she is best at – singing with a lot of feel. The young Amit Kumar, the illustrious Kishore Kumar’s son, matches Asha in a Kishore-esque manner. Gulzar isn’t far behind with an unbelievable poetic expression in Jab se tumhaare naam ki misri honth lagaayi hai, meetha sa gham haiaur meethi si tanhaayi hai! RD Burman garnishes the tune brilliantly but does not forget to keep the innocence and romance alive! I can only look up searching for him and say, “What a composition sir!” Such a masterpiece…
This song wasn’t too popular when it released. However, like any top-quality composition, it picked-up slowly and music lovers started to take notice! This number is considered as one of RD Burman’s finest compositions ever. Quite surprising that it came in the 1980s that was not considered a good phase for Burman. Although there have been many views on my blog across posts but I am proud to mention that the ‘original chord and lyrics’ post for this number has garnered the maximum number of hits till date! You can find the link here: https://shailendra19.com/2016/04/27/guitar-chords-and-lyrics-for-roz-roz-aankhon-tale-movie-jeeva/
The popular but temperamental Sahir Ludhianvi writes – Ik raasta hai zindagi jo tham gaye to kuchh nahi, yeh kadam kisi muqaam pe jo jam gaye to kuchh nahi. Another line goes – Jaate hue kadmon se aate hue kadmon se bhari rahegi raahguzar jo hum gaye to kuchh nahi. Inspirational lines! Ironically, we have the late Shashi Kapoor lip-synching this one. Kishore Kumar emotes this racy number inimitably to ensure Rajesh Roshan’s breezy composition gets the accolades it deserves. The mukhda has an appealing 2-octave play and Roshan uses his oft-used instrument, the flute, to great effect. Also uses Lata Mangeshkar’s vocals interspersed with some nice female chorus. Very catchy, hummable and inspiring I say.
Abdul Hayee, better known by his pen name Sahir Ludhianvi, had an illustrious career with multiple filmfare awards and a Padma Shri to his name. In March 2013, the ninety-second anniversary of Sahir’s birth, a commemorative stamp was issued in his honour. Some of his memorable work is reflected in numbers and words like Main pal do pal ka shaayar hoon pal do pal meri kahaani hai (Kabhie Kabhie, 1976), Tu hindu banegaa na musalmaan banegaa, insaan ki aulaad hai insaan banegaa (Dhool Ka Phool, 1959), Chalo ik baar phir se ajnabi ban jaayen hum dono (Gumrah, 1963), Ae meri zohra jabeen tujhe maaloom nahi (Waqt, 1965), Abhi naa jaao chhod kar ke dil abhi bharaa nahi (Hum Dono, 1961). What a writer!!
Don’t be surprised with this one here…it is more retro than you think! When Yash Chopra’s search for a new tunesmith did not yield the desired result, he turned to Sanjeev Kohli – none other than late Madan Mohan’s son – to use the maestro’s unused tunes and re-orchestrate, perform and string together beautiful ballads like this one. This track stood out with haunting opening piano riffs with a goosebumps-inducing soulful melody that goes deep inside the heart interwoven with some beautiful romantic poetry from Javed Akhtar. One cannot ignore the YRF-branded, trademark alaaps from none other than Lata Mangeshkar in tandem with Roopkumar Rathod’s silken vocals. It begins with a minor chord play in the mukhda meandering slowly into major-chord antara and then back to the soulful mukhda. A peculiar fact is that this is one of the very few numbers where the major and minor versions of same chord are used in the mukhda
Film: Bazaar (1982) Music: Khayyam Lyrics: Mir Taqi Mir Singer: Lata Mangeshkar
Late 1970s and early 1980s saw a rush of ghazals in film and non-film albums. Presenting one of them here…and this gem will take to a different world altogether! Words are courtesy the 18th century Urdu poet, Mir Taqi Mir, who is himself remembered as pioneers of Urdu and is called the ‘God of poetry’. This one has Urdu couplets like Parastish kiya tak ke aye but tujhe,nazar mein sabon ki khuda kar chale literally meaning I worshipped you to the extent I made you God in everyone’s eyes. Another one goes Bahut arzoo thi gali ki teri, so yaas-e-lahoo mein naha kar chale literally meaning I desired a lot for the way to your home so I leave from here bathed in blood! Khayyam weaves these into a beautiful, raag-based soothing melody with Lata Mangeshkar giving us every reason to visit the replay button
Unsung hero for some, Mohammed Zahur Khayyam (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mohammed_Zahur_Khayyam), popularly known by his last name gave some unforgettable melodies starting early 1950s. However, he got his place under the sun in late 1970s early 80s with albums like Trishul, Thodi Si Bewafaai, Bazaar, Noorie and Umrao Jaan. His ghazal-esqe compositions had some meaningful poetry as he preferred working with lyricists with a strong poetic background.
Numbers like this one simply take you down the nostalgic lane even if you may not have been around then. Christened as the ‘prince of ghazals’ by none other than Lata Mangeshkar, Madan Mohan, spearheads and melodizes this composition decorating Gulzar’s words like pearls into a string! What one can do is just sit back, listen, relax and admire such masterpieces. Lata Mangeshkar and Bhupinder Singh effortlessly meander through the tune providing just the right expressions for words depicting nature’s beauty and human emotion during different seasons. All I can say is Dil dhoondta hai phir wahi…!
There is also a solo ghazal-ish version of this number with the same lyrics but with a different tune also sung by Bhupinder Singh (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t4TzZJ8V0JU). Unfortunately, Madan Mohan passed away before the release of this movie on 14 July 1975 due to liver cirrhosis. This film was eventually dedicated to him. Not many know but Madan Mohan’s unused tunes – including the one he composed for this number – was eventually used for Tere liye hum hain jeeye in Veer-Zaara in 2004. Going by the critical acclaim and the commercial success Veer-Zaara got, one can just be in awe of the maestro called Madan Mohan! If you are interested in knowing the original chords for this number, you can find them here: https://shailendra19.com/2016/10/05/original-chords-for-dil-dhoondtaa-hai-phir-wahi-fursat-ke-raat-din-mausam/
This racy, catchy, dance-worthy but sad number has the filmmaker Prakash Mehra doing the lyrical honours and is set to a very hummable tune by Kalyanji-Anandji with some poignant expressions by Suresh Wadkar and Asha Bhosle. The former keeps it simple with his inimitable voice and effortless singing, crystal-clear diction accompanied by an equally effective saxophone play while the latter appears shortly to end this accompanied with sobbing. Some of the lines hit hard with samples like Cheer ke dekhe dil mera to, tera hi naam likha rakha hai and Dil ne yaar ki pooja ki hai, pyaar ka naam khuda rakha hai. The beauty here is enhanced by the fast-paced high-octave notes and primarily major-chord play. Haunting number I say!
If you’re looking for some inspiration, this one will provide you quite a bit of it! This Laxmikant-Pyarelal track has haunting use of the male and female chorus, minimalistic instrumentation and accompaniments to ensure Kishore Kumar’s soulful vocals reach and touch your heart. This track has the capability to lift the mood for anyone in distress with the evergreen lyrical genius Majrooh Sultanpuri penning couplets like Ruk jaana nahin tu kahin haar ke, kaanton pe chal ke milenge saaye bahaar ke;Sooraj dekh ruk gaya hai, tere aage jhuk gaya hai and Saathi na kaarwaan hai, yeh tera imtihan hai! The high-pitched O raahio raahi urges one to show perseverance and to keep going whatever the situation…
Despite being an immensely talented writer, Majrooh Sultanpuri (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Majrooh_Sultanpuri) only won the solitary filmfare award for another LP song Chahunga main tujhe saanjh sawere from Dosti (1964). He also was the winner of the prestigious Dadasaheb Phalke award in 1993. In this number, his moving words give everyone the inspiration to keep moving on even when you face multiple adversities along the way. Another noteworthy number from his album is the Lata Mangeshkar sung Roz sham aati thi magar aisi na thi (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-rhPlLYCcg8)
The RD Burman-inspired music director brothers with roots in the Mewati gharana,Jatin-Lalit, started their career with this successful album that had this extremely catchy and hummable number that people remember even today. This immensely appealing track has a lovely tune and is stringed together in a magnificent combination of modern and traditional instruments. Udit Narayan and Kavita Krishnamurthy fit the bill perfectly to croon Majrooh Sultanpuri’s words. Right from the beautiful opening alaap meandering through to the slow but romantic antaras via a pacy and percussion-laced mukhda, I bet you cannot take your ears off this one!
Jatin-Lalit started-off their film career with this album and continued until Fanaa (2006) which was their last album together. They parted ways citing personal reasons and leaving millions of film-music lovers disappointed. During this tenure, they endeared their fans with unforgettable albums like Khiladi and Raju Ban Gaya Gentleman (both 1992), Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa (1994), Dilwale Dulhania Le Jaayenge (1995), Fareb and Khamoshi: The Musical (both 1996), Yes Boss (1997), Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (1998), Sarfarosh (1999) and Chalte-Chalte (2003) to name a few! Interestingly, Jatin-Lalit hold the record for most filmfare nominations without winning it even once…yes, not even for extremely popular Dilwale Dulhania Le Jaayenge, the romantic Kuch Kuch Hota Hai and the biggie Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham. In case, you would like to find out the harmonium chords for this number and hear me sing-along, you can find it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X3fl1_o1Df4
Film: Star (1982) Music: Biddu Lyrics: Indeevar Singer: Nazia Hassan
This foot-tapping, disco, catchy and hummable track has the Pakistan-born, London-bred pop sensation, Nazia Hassan, and India-born, England-based pioneer of disco and Indi-pop, Biddu, team together to create magic! This was after the big success of their path-breaking single, Aap Jaisa Koi (Qurbani, 1980) and the record-breaking pop album, Disco Deewane (1981). Quintessentially a dance number, the orchestration here is much ahead of its time via use of western instruments and has some magnificent layering of parallel instrument pieces with Nazia’s diva-esque vocals providing the much-needed match. Now dance away on this one to welcome 2018!
Sadly, Nazia Hassan’s rise professionally was as meteoric as her fall personally. After a troubled married life, she succumbed to lung cancer and passed away at a young age of 35! Nazia shot to fame when she was just 15 with Aap Jaisa Koi (Qurbani, 1980) and continued to climb popularity charts with brother Zoheb Hassan with hugely successful albums like Disco Deewane (1981), Young Tarang (1984), Hotline (1987) ending with the not-as-successful Camera Camera (1992). She won the filmfare trophy for Aap Jaisa Koi at the age of 15 and became the first Pakistani to win the award …she remains the youngest recipient of the award to date. Not many people know that Biddu offered the very popular Indipop number Made in India (1995) to Nazia Hassan before she refused (being a Pakistani) and the number fell in Alisha Chinai’s lap!
Fasten your seat belts as you are going to get a bunch of energy and with an awesome build-up! Not for the faint-hearted or the melody-lovers, this track bears a clear AR Rahman stamp in his first-ever original Hindi film score. Asha Bhosle uses magnificent nuances and there is a nice layering/staggering of her vocals. Aditya Narayan, Udit Narayan’s son, who debuts here at a tender age of 8, also sounds cute. The use of bass and percussion here is out of this world. Each antara has a different but catchy tune. Even in a number like this, Mehboob’s words tell you something worth pondering over – Laanat hai ji us par, duniya mein hi reh kar, duniya mein jo jeene ke andaaz ko na jaane,Maathe ya haathon pe, chand ya taaron mein kismat ko dhoonde par khud mein kya hai yeh na jaane. Very colourful and inspirational!
Film: The Train (1970) Music: RD Burman Lyrics: Anand Bakshi Singer: Mohammad Rafi
This racy, catchy and foot-tapping track is as energetic as the name of the movie! This one has the magician, Mohammad Rafi, at his best and leaves a big impression in a short burst of time. He makes you believe that his dil has really become sharaabi and you need to sambhaalo him. RD Burman keeps it simple with fast-paced percussion but also embellishes it with the saxophone that follows the vocals and the accompanying bass throughout but lets Rafi do the rest. One of my all-time favourites!
The immensely talented Rafi could magically take a composition to a different level altogether. He started his film singing career in the mid-40s but his popularity began to fade in the early 1970s when Kishore Kumar took over after the big success of Aradhana (1969) especially Roop tera mastana. Rafi’s untimely/early death at 55 in 1980 left a big void in film music. Maybe one of the reasons many people consider 1980s to be one of the worst decades as far as film music is concerned.
Film: Phir Teri Kahani Yaad Aayi (1993) Music: Anu Malik Lyrics: Qateel Shifai Singer: Sadhna Sargam
As soon as haunting opening merges silently into the piano riff and the violin starts ‘singing,’ you know there’s something special coming your way! Sadhana Sargam induces a lot of feel into the ‘chale aaye’ so much so that you feel the beloved’s homecoming. Anu Malik sprinkles some real magic here with the tabla accompanying the soothing vocals within the mukhada, single/primary instrument pieces with others as support, the guitar and the saxophone in the appealing interludes. All these lead to a beautiful antara that has Qateel Shifai’s expression via my favourite lines – ‘Dil ko dhadkaa lagaa tha pal pal ka, shor sun le na koi paayal ka, phir bhi teri qasam chale aaye’. This one touches (and can pierce!) the heart, is extremely hummable and I get goosebumps every time I listen
Sampooran Singh Kalra, better known by his pen-name Gulzar, turned from a car painter to a lyricist/filmmaker way back in 1963. His heart-touching words have been set to an appealing composition by Ilaiyaraaja in this re-make of a Tamil film. With lines like ‘Humnein bhi tere har ik gham to gale se lagaaya hai’ and ‘Chhota sa saaya tha, aankhon mein aaya tha, humnein do boondon se mann bhar liya’, this number is a treat to hear every time. The mukhda has some excellent bass and the use of sitar, flute, santoor and tabla in the interludes and the antara brings the song even more alive. To top it all up, classically trained Suresh Wadkar highlights pathos beautifully with his soulful rendition
Film: Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak (1988) Music: Anand-Milind Lyrics: Majrooh Sultanpuri Singer: Udit Narayan, Alka Yagnik
RD Burman’s loss was Anand-Milind’s gain as the young Mansoor Khan opted for change after taking over the reins from his illustrious father, Nasir Hussain, primarily because it had to be a new-age love story comprising new faces. The new music-director duo exceeded expectations and had the nation humming their songs back then. This number, along with others, also propelled the career of Aamir Khan and Juhi Chawla’s voices in the film – Udit Narayan and Alka Yagnik. This melodious and extremely hummable track has a couple of different beats and has excellent use of percussion especially the tabla and the dholak
Film: Dil To Pagal Hai (1997) Music: Uttam Singh Lyrics: Anand Bakshi Singer: Udit Narayan, Lata Mangeshkar
Uttam Singh, Yash Chopra’s hand-picked arranger-turned-music-composer, heralded a new era with his brand of racy, youthful and neatly-packaged romantic numbers in this score. A simplistic but appealing tune on this track with Anand Bakshi’s easy-on-the-lips lyrics coupled with Udit Narayan and Lata Mangeshkar’s vocals interspersed with the whistle, flute pieces and chorus complement the on-screen dance sequences beautifully. Lata’s alaap and ‘hums’ in the antara juxtaposed with a different rhythm pattern is magical too
Film: Akhiyon ke jharokhon se (1978) Music: Ravindra Jain Lyrics: Ravindra Jain Singer: Hemlata
This soothing, semi-classical and beautiful timeless classic has the ‘other’ classically-trained Lata – Hemlata – rendering it in her unique but effective voice and style. Amongst the other yesteryear tunesmiths, there was a visually impaired but talented gentleman called Ravindra Jain who made his presence felt with some good classical-based albums and hummable melodies like this one primarily comprising his own lyrics. This number is arguably one of his best pieces of work. Go listen and it will keep haunting you!
This number topped the Binaca Geetmala charts in the year 1978. Ravindra Jain was primarily active in the 70s and the early 80s with some his notable albums being Saudagar (1973), Chor Machaye Shor (1974), Chitchor (1976), Ram Teri Ganga Maili (1985) and Henna (1991) among others. He was a mentor to many singers like KJ Yesudas (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/K._J._Yesudas) and Hemlata (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hemlata) and got them to sing many of his good numbers
The longish but serene opening 2-flute piece ‘takes you to the mountains’, flows into female chorus and Lata Mangeshkar’s mellifluous vocals take over in the raag bhairavi-based mukhda. She takes this song to a different level with her skill and murkis especially in the antaras and reaches a beautiful crescendo while ending them. This lovely track will stay with you after you have listened to it. The instrumentation and packaging is also top-class here. Take a bow, RDBurman and Lata!
Countless forgettable movies especially in the 1980s had some really hummable numbers…and this one’s a clear case in point. The legend of RD Burman continued to shine through a lot of cacophony around and sometimes it is tough to understand why and how he lost ground big-time in 1980s and 90s. Maybe, this was the reason Lata Mangeshkar claims that RD died (1994) ‘too young and unhappy’
Udit Narayan is at his vocal best in this Shiv-Hari album – they are none other than the santoor maestro Shiv Kumar Sharma and renowned flautist Hariprasad Chaurasia! The track is so energetic, expressive, catchy and hummable that you’ll have ‘tu hai meri Kiran’ ringing in your ears and lips for some time. The use of guitar in the prelude and interludes – with a 2-octave play – is exemplary. Simplicity is the key for this number …in tune, Anand Bakshi’s words, instrumentation and vocals!
These 2 instrumentalists par excellence got together for a few film scores starting Silsila (1981) and ended with this one in 1993…mainly Yash Chopra films! Perhaps one of the reasons why one of the instruments – the guitar – is so prominent and effective in this number. Of the other tracks in the movie, I really like the Udit Narayan and Lata Mangeshkar sung Tu mere saamne (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-klQkGJEsIg)
This timeless classic comes from the Kalyanji-Anandji stable with the iconic and legendary Kishore Kumar’s baritone voice and vibrato adding a different dimension to it. His alaap in the prelude, stretching of a few words – re, jeena – combined with the keyboard, the saxophone, a violin ensemble and chorus in the interludes and makes this number even more endearing. Lyricist Anjaan personifies days and nights in the antra – tujh bin jogan meri raatien, tujh bin mere din banjaare! Very appealing number and extremely hummable
The opening line of this nostalgia-inducing number has been sung in 3 different tunes to start with. This is from the era when the multi-faceted Vishal Bhardwaj was just a music director and not a filmmaker yet…but his mentor – Gulzar – was. Double him up as a lyricist and you get lines like ‘Teri qamar ke bal pe nadi muda karti thi, hansi teri sun sun ke fasal pakaa karti thi’. This track does not follow the standard mukhda-antara pattern and the beauty lies in how seamlessly each antara enters the mukhda. Also has 4 top-class vocalists playing their roles with élan.
Film: Naaraaz (1994) Music: Anu Malik Lyrics: Qateel Shifai Singer: Kumar Sanu
There are some filmmakers who have a keen ear and are quite particular about music in their films – Mahesh Bhatt is one of them. This may not be the best score of those days but this track created quite a flutter! Bhatt’s favourite melody-maker of the 90s – Anu Malik – got the instrumentation just right with the opening piano riff, the santoor, the whistle, tabla, saxophone and little somethings that support the vocals and Qateel Shifai’s beautiful poetry. Kumar Sanu too pours his heart out. Very soulful and appealing number!
When you have words like these from Qateel Shifai, all you do is wonder if there can ever be a replacement to the great Pakistani shaayar …especially in this day and age. Sample this – nazar yun behakne lagi hai ke jaise mere saamne koi jaam aa raha hai or main samjha ki jaise meri dhadkanon ko teri dhadkanon ka payaam aa raha hai. This one’s also from the Anu Malik era of the 90s – after years of ‘struggle’, he had finally ‘arrived’ after the triple success of Baazigar, Sir and Phir Teri Kahaani Yaad Aayee (all 1993). Still distinctly remember how his name was bigger than the Bhatts on the Naaraaz cassette cover. In this number, he borrows from the antara of his own Chura ke dil mera (Main Khiladi Tu Anari; 1994; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G_qyLs1SJbQ) or the other way round – listen from 2:59 onwards in Chura ke (agar main bataa doon mere dil mein kya hai) and compare with 2:24 onwards in Sambhaala hai (banaaya hai maine tujhe apna saathi) and you’ll know what I am saying
It seemed as if even the die-hard RD Burman fans gave up on/deserted him in the late 1980s and early 90s. However, methinks he kept churning out decent scores – Gardish was one such album and this number was special. Primarily a sad one, this one is quite catchy has the typical ‘RD-beat’, has some great wordsmithing by Javed Akhtar – khwab sheeshe ke duniya pathar ki – and soul-stirring vocals from the inimitable SP Balasubrahmanyam.
Unfortunately for film music lovers, this was one of the last RD albums and he wasn’t near his best. However, he had an ace up his sleeve with his swan-song 1942: A Love Story which would go on to be a chartbuster and fetch him the multiple awards including Filmfare albeit posthumously. I liked another track from Gardish quite a lot – Yeh mera dil to paagal hai (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7AjiKd07N5I)
Film: The Great Gambler (1979) Music: RD Burman Lyrics: Anand Bakshi Singer: Asha Bhosle, Amitabh Bachchan, Sharad Kumar
This number provides one of the reasons why people across generations love RD Burman! A little known Sharad Kumar starts soulfully rendering Italian verses and a hindi dialogue – between AB and Asha Bhosle (while Zeenat lip-syncs) – gets us into the beautiful ballad that has Asha Bhosle’s awesome rendition of Anand Bakshi’s romantic and philosophical words. The lag effect in the chorus ends this one on a high. I kept searching for the replay button and kept humming this after …and I think you’ll do the same!
Film: Rajnigandha (1974) Music: Salil Chowdhury Lyrics: Yogesh Gaur Singer: Lata Mangeshkar
Such melodies are just too good to describe in words but I should just say that this one’s as sweet as honey and I like it so much that I’d want another helping! With such tunes, the accompanying instrumentation just doesn’t matter though it complements it well here. 2 of the 3 stars of this track are so underrated that you may not have heard their names – music composer Salil Chowdhury and lyricist Yogesh (both Kahin door jab dil dhal jaaye fame) – the 3rd one being the one and only Lata Mangeshkar
The mukhda of the number is based on one of the most popular and oft-used raags (Bhairavi) in hindi film songs. The other very popular number of this small-budget next-door-people film was the Mukesh-crooned Kai baar yun hi dekha hai (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CPwbi-hfenI). That Salil Chowdhury was quite inspired by western classical music/symphonies is quite well known – Suhana safar aur yeh mausam haseen (Madhumati, 1958; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aSU74fpWsfQ) and Itna na mujhse tu pyaar badhaa (Chhaya, 1961; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=87CcAeWkeiw) being cases in point. However, he also seems to have inspired the new generation of tunesmiths – on closer listening (0:38 – 0:43), you’ll notice big-time similarity with the opening riff of Anand-Milind’s Ae mere humsafar (Qayamat se Qayamat tak, 1988; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vzPmymwMDw4)
This is what I call the ultimate duet of togetherness! One of my all-time favourites with the inimitable RD Burman, Kishore Kumar and Asha Bhosle sprinkling their magic interspersed with the whistle, claps, ‘la las’, the flute riffs and the chorus at the end of each antara – I rate this as one of best romantic numbers that I have ever heard!
It is tough to believe that this number is from a score that came at the time of ‘beginning of the end’ of RD Burman (or so he thought!) and melody in Hindi film music (or so the listeners thought). With the advent of a different genre of films highlighting the ‘angry young man’, violence, revenge and disco dance, Bappi Lahiri took over the baton big time from RD in the early 1980s. For the uninitiated, Poonam Dhillon does ‘turn into’ Tina Munim (now Ambani) in the last 2 antaras of this number after a facial/plastic surgery post her accident in the movie.
Nadeem-Shravan sprang a surprise with this album and this track stood out given its focus on melody, the standalone violin/guitar pieces, the whistle, the beat, the lyrics and the vocals – all these are to die for! The purity, serenity and romance in Sameer’s words and NS’ composition are effectively conveyed by Kumar Sanu and Alka Yagnik.
With its features, methinks they somewhat entered the Anu-Malik-melody-lane of the 90s. Throughout their illustrious career, Nadeem-Shravan were not known for ‘softness in romance’ via the use of so-called ‘modern’ instruments and focus on melody! This was therefore a bolt from the blue for the listeners…perhaps due to the fact that it was Bobby Deol and Twinkle Khanna’s debut at stake in a Rajkumar Santoshi directed love story. I also very much like the other romantic number from this movie – Teri adaaon pe marta hoon; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kdwrAl8zsYQ – so much so that I used to play both of these one after the other repeatedly!
Film: Diljale (1996) Music: Anu Malik Lyrics: Javed Akhtar Singer: Udit Narayan
Be patient with this one (read: listen twice/thrice), it will grow on you! Simplicity is the key here – in words, expression and tune from a very good but under-rated score in Diljale (1996). Udit Narayan’s vocals, the opening sarangi, the flute riffs, a 2-octave play and effective use of female chorus orchestrate to make this track very catchy and hummable.
This traditional-sounding and instantly-appealing duet from Waaris (1988) has magical wordsmithing and has been set to tune by the little known music director duo Jagdish-Uttam. Very hummable number …so much so that the tune will remain with you hours after you’ve heard it. Lata’s voice adds a different dimension to this romantic number! The discerning listeners will notice a slightly different tune for the 3rd antara (Ek chhota sa ghar ho) compared to the others
After Jagdish passed away in 1992, Uttam (Singh) was (re)discovered by Yash Chopra primarily to compose music for very successful and filmfare-award winning score Dil to Pagal Hai (1997) followed by the notable Dushman (1998) and Gadar: Ek Prem Katha (2001) before fading into oblivion again. Uttam Singh, in his own words, is a reluctant film composer. It took a lot of convincing from Yash Chopra to have the violinist-turned-music-arranger-turned-music-composer do the honours in Dil to Pagal Hai and create lovely melodies that listeners remember and hum even today!
A ballad that has very nice use of the tabla and does not follow the typical mukhda-antara pattern. Each antara is very soothing, has a different tune and enters the mukhda seamlessly. My favourite is the Alka Yagnik’s ‘tere bin kuchh nahi bhata hai mujhe har taraf tu nazar aata hai mujhe’ …loved Alka’s expression there. A beautiful romantic number 🎼🎹
An appealing and romantic number that has some really simple but soulful wordsmithing, very effective use of instruments like mandolin, guitar, dholak, flute, santoor, violins and saxophone in the prelude/interludes and has nice packaging overall! The antara starts off in the traditional hindi film song territory given the instrumentation but transitions effectively to support the mukhda. Kumar Sanu and Bela Sulakhe’s vocals fit perfectly and ooze out emotions beautifully. Very hummable…and most importantly tugs at the heartstrings 🎼🎹
YRF! Rab ne banaa di Jodi? Close enough as we look at another similar period drama from them. Does the music live up to what Rab… had to boast of? Does it create enough interest in listeners to be able to push them to visit the theatres?
A period drama with a feel of the ‘90s? Old wine in a new…er old, bottle? Enter the never-say-die, interview-loving, egotistic, harmonium-and-attitude-accompanied, like-it-or-not-I-am-the-best tunesmith…your very own – Mr. Anu Malik! If you can’t love him, you can’t hate him either. Yes, he was the one who gave you moments and songs you could cherish – unbelievable melodies in Phir Teri Kahaani yaad aayee (1993), big commercial successes like Baazigar (1993 again) and albums with high critical acclaim like Border (1997) and Refujee (2000). There were a bunch of others that entertained and enthralled a generation! Not to mention the overworked man and also-ran so-called ‘melodies’ with numbers that sounded like their elder cousins. I was as surprised to see his name in the ‘Music’ credits as you are. He hasn’t been in the thick of things off late with being content in playing the judge on reality shows and cracking some weird shers and jokes that even his co-hosts didn’t want to hear! However, in Dum laga ke Haisha, he is back to what he is best at (no pun intended!) – composing music …with some inspiration (!) during most instances. Anu is accompanied by a couple of debutantes – Lyricist Varun Grover and director Sharat Katariya.
Let us see what the album has in store for music lovers…
Moh Moh ke dhaage (male version) is really fresh and a great start to the score. Hariharan-like sounding Papon adds a new dimension to the melodious number. Varun Grover makes a clear mark in the days of ludicrous lyrical escapades… and proves that clean, well made and romantic melodies can never go out of fashion. This will take you back to Anu’s older melodies that used few/minimalistic instruments vs. a cacophony of all of them together. The flute strains, the guitar riffs and the harmonium lend a lot of life to this semi-classical composition. Moh Moh is very hummable and you will keep finding the replay button for this one! On repeated hearing, you will notice slight similarities to Anu’s Panchhi nadiya pawan (Refujee, 2000) and Yaadien (Yaadien, 2001). Nevertheless, it’s great on your ears and you can’t resist turning to it every now and then.
My rating for the song: 8/10
Dum laga ke haisha opens with strikingly similarity to Ainvanyi Ainvanyi (Band Baaja Baaraat; 2010)…that’s about it. This one is not even a patch on the very popular Salim-Sulaiman composed number. The word-play will also remind you of Dum dum mast hai (Band Baaja Baaraat; 2010; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L4ZgPw79f5c). Kailash Kher and the Nooran sisters go through the motions and so will you. Nothing more to remember than a small part of the mukhda which is catchy. Varun’s words also disappoint. Give this track a miss…
My rating for the song: 4/10
Tu…croons Kumar Sanu (surprised?) who is also supposed to play a cameo in the film. The alaap and whistle-laced opening makes you believe you are listening to a trademark Anu Malik package of the ‘90s…and that’s where the excitement ends. The number too does not take too long to end but has a nice saxophone play.
My rating for the song: 6/10
Sundar Susheel is cacophonous at best and borrows heavily from Anu’s Pyaar hoga pyaar hoga someday (Imtihan; 1994) which also started with ‘Lovely haseen koi decent dhoondenge, not temporary permanent dhoondenge’ (you can listen it here online: http://www.saavn.com/p/playlist/ali_southhall945/Imtihan). Also proves how bearing Malik would have been on the wordsmith! Malini Awasthi and Rahul Ram, thoroughly wasted I think, do provide the much-needed raunchiness to the number.
You will almost thank your stars when you notice another Moh Moh ke dhaage (female version) in Monali Thakur’s voice! She does justice to the number and you wonder why you had to go through an ordeal to get to another ear-friendly number.
My rating for the song: 8/10
Prem’s theme is in the Moh moh ke league and Papon’s alaaps demonstrate why he is considered one of the better talents in the industry today! His voice coupled with the guitar-laced rhythm makes this a worthy hear too. Folks with attention to detail will find the theme similar to Yaadien title song (2001; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3lH7DLOdTwc).
My rating for the song: 8/10
The score is decent but could have been much better. You would like to go back and re-play Moh Moh ke and you may not mind a couple of others along …but that’s about it!
Final verdict: DLKH should have been a ‘comeback’ of sorts for Anu. Given that, the score is a little bit disappointing …and there should have been no excuse assuming Malik does not have much to do anyway. Another issue is that it isn’t completely fresh and innovative (can’t expect that from Anu, can you?). Having said that, Anu, Papon and Varun do take you to a different world with Moh Moh ke. ‘Ho hum’ I say…or just a tad above that!
Songs to look out for: Moh Moh ke dhaage and Dard Karaara