A mellifluous, soothing and haunting number from Raziya Sultan (1983) rendered soulfully by Lata Mangeshkar, excellently composed by Khayyam and beautifully written by Jan Nisar Akhtar
This swan song from Jan Nisar Akhtar released only in 1983 but the Urdu writer had died back in August 1976. That tells you about how long it took for Kamal Amrohi to complete this movie! Khayyam trumped Laxmikant-Pyarelal to compose this great score with such a hummable number due to latter’s high-headedness and Kamal Amrohi’s liking for the former. The beauty of this number lies in the fact that it has an excellent use of percussion via the tabla and the santoor. If you ever wanted to know how big a spell a santoor could cast on a song, this number is the answer. As the song progresses, you will find a long uncomfortable pause followed by (and signifying) ‘yeh zameen chup hai, aasmaan chup hai’ and then starting-off again with a thumping heartbeat. As we reach closer to the end of the track, I feel like the rhythm gathers some pace …but maybe that’s just me! The crescendo has a beautiful jugalbandi of the santoor and the sarangi. Jan Nisar Akhtar’s words go deep into the heart when he says ‘Aisi raahon mein kitne kaante hain, aarzooon ne har kisi dil ko dard baaten hain; kitne ghaayal hain, kitne bismil hain, is khudaai mein ek tu kya hai, ek tu kya hai ae dil-e-nadaan’. Khayyam magic ensures the santoor strings will keep ringing in your ears long after you have heard this number. No wonder Lata Mangeshkar herself considers this one as one of top compositions she has sung. Extremely soothing, haunting and appealing!
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. Jagjit Singh 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…
Film: Piya ka Ghar (1972)
Lyrics: Anand Bakshi
Singer: Kishore Kumar
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
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…