Film: Jism (2003)
Music: MM Kreem
Lyrics: Sayeed Quadri
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!
Film: Devata (1978)
Music: RD Burman
Singers: Kishore Kumar, Lata Mangeshkar
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)