Top Songs – 2009

 In the past month or two, physician more about cutting through hectic work schedules, store maneovering hefty month-end targets and sinking into an ennui (impossible to shrug off), refractionist I carved out time for two main activities- one, search and buy a good music system (hi-end, assembled and absolutely a delight) and two, catch up on reading. Thankfully, April served a plethora of holidays to enjoy both. In any case, the sultry and humid weather that swamped Bombay disallowed any activity beyond home. And both IPL & the current on-going tussle between multi-plex owners & producers ensured no release worth watching hit the theaters.

I saw two flicks I had missed earlier – on DVD. 13B was engrossing and entertaining. Though not overtly scary, it carried enough drama to hold viewer’s interest;  however, the director failed minutes before the climax. Jai Veeru was absolutely disgusting – the premise was so kiddish, I am sure it couldn’t have even looked good on paper. Why did they even waste time & money filming it?

Coming to books, I finished Jeffery Archer’s latest release – Paths of Glory. It’s a ficitonalized account of mountaineer George Mallory, who may or may not be the first person to set foot on Mt. Everest. Archer narrates the story in his inimitable fashion, peppering it with interesting anecdotes, starting it from the beginning, in a saga-fashion, just like many of his previous works.

Since reaching Mt. Everest would inevitably involve a bit of India, there is a tiny section set in Bombay (so that’s why he was here last year, to research and get a feel?). However, I found that sliver entirely uninteresting and completely uninspiring, and certainly a huge disappointment. I expected better from Archer, even if the story is set in 1920’s. Rather, I found Vikram Bhatt’s research (or imagination) of that era much more vivid & compelling in 1920 (even though it is downright gross to compare two different media – films & books – but then, a book allows for more in-depth detailing, which makes Archer’s ommision even futher glaring!)

Overall, the novel is a good light read, not comparable to his legendary works, a notch lower than his previous Prisoner of Birth (of which, I have his duly signed copy), but certainly much above the other mass I read.

The biggest letdown was John Grisham’s The Associate. With an awesome build-up, and a terrific story-line (about a young associate haunted by his seemingly reckless past), the novel could have been sensational. Sadly, its climax simply shatters all the good work of previous pages. In fact, there is no climax, no end at all – so much so, I had to check & recheck whether the copy I bought had the last few pages missing! Either Grisham was in a hurry to publish it (which seems unlikely) or he has a sequel in mind (which could be a possibility). Either ways, I expected better.

Other than these two, I read several other relatively unknown authors (though all the cover jackets proclaimed them #1 New York Times Best Sellers!). A colleague (who knows my penchant for reading) keeps regularly passing me these books. They are an excellent read to pass a Saturday evening & whole Sunday. Some are genuinely gripping till the time they last, but soon fade off. The proximity of these reads ensure a gala confusion- characters of one have seagued into another. But one thing, most are set in American towns (often smaller ones from where the authors originate), and hence give an absorbing & hitherto unknown insight. As they last, I like to be part of these people, using my imagination where the author has not filled in, and enjoy them like long-lost friends dropping in home. These novels usually don’t have complex tales, and generally carry happy endings. And oh yes, the amount of coffee at work (almost always bad at work place) and the general sense of ‘work’ there keeps me guessing, is working in America really that ‘glamorous’? Some, looked like a TV mini-series rather than a full-blown movie. So, that’s where the difference lies between the good and the great!

My latest finish in this lot are , Mary Higgins Clark’s The Second Time Around and Nora Roberts’ Birthright. Clark’s novel is better of the two. Both carry some suspense. Both have strong women protagonists. And both should read Agatha Christie to realize that ‘the murderer’ should be a suspect from a pool of people who are properly introduced and given enough word space, so that needle of suspicion can keep spinning. Roberts fails miserably here. The wrong-doer is from a bunch of side-characters, whom I had nearly skimmed over. She could have given more time there to the side-characters so that the reader could have kept guessing which one is ‘the one’- instead she wastes valuable pages on what essentially is a Mills-and-Boons type of romance, with elongated (and perfect) love making (after a while it became so irritating that I simply skipped pages anytime the hero and heroine were alone), ending in soft sighs, tears flowing down and breaths going choppy.

There were more, but they have slipped my memory for now. Will try to write on them later.

 

In the past month or two, ophthalmologist cutting through hectic work schedules, visit maneuvering hefty month-end targets and sinking into an ennui (impossible to shrug off), clinic I carved out time for two main activities- one, search and buy a good music system (hi-end, assembled and absolutely a delight) and two, catch up on reading. Thankfully, April served a plethora of holidays to enjoy both. In any case, the sultry and humid weather that swamped Bombay disallowed any activity beyond home. And both IPL & the current on-going tussle between multi-plex owners & producers ensured no release worth watching hit the theaters.

I saw two flicks I had missed earlier – on DVD. 13B was engrossing and entertaining. Though not overtly scary, it carried enough drama to hold viewer’s interest; however, the director failed minutes before the climax. Jai Veeru was absolutely disgusting – the premise was so kiddish, I am sure it couldn’t have even looked good on paper. Why did they even waste time & money filming it?

Coming to books, I finished Jeffery Archer‘s latest release – Paths of Glory. It’s a fictionalized account of mountaineer George Mallory, who may or may not be the first person to set foot on Mt. Everest. Archer narrates the story in his inimitable fashion, peppering it with interesting anecdotes, starting it from the beginning, in a saga-fashion, just like many of his previous works.

Since reaching Mt. Everest would inevitably involve a bit of India, there is a tiny section set in Bombay (so that’s why he was here last year, to research and get a feel?). However, I found that sliver entirely uninteresting and completely uninspiring, and certainly a huge disappointment. I expected better from Archer, even if the story is set in 1920’s. Rather, I found Vikram Bhatt’s research (or imagination) of that era much more vivid & compelling in 1920 (even though it is downright gross to compare two different media – films & books – but then, a book allows for more in-depth detailing, which makes Archer’s omission even futher glaring!)

Overall, the novel is a good light read, not comparable to his legendary works, a notch lower than his previous Prisoner of Birth (of which, I have his duly signed copy), but certainly much above the other mass I read.

The biggest letdown was John Grisham‘s The Associate. With an awesome build-up, and a terrific story-line (about a young associate haunted by his seemingly reckless past), the novel could have been sensational. Sadly, its climax simply shatters all the good work of previous pages. In fact, there is no climax, no end at all – so much so, I had to check & recheck whether the copy I bought had the last few pages missing! Either Grisham was in a hurry to publish it (which seems unlikely) or he has a sequel in mind (which could be a possibility). Either ways, I expected better.

Other than these two, I read several other relatively unknown authors (though all the cover jackets proclaimed them #1 New York Times Best Sellers!). A colleague (who knows my penchant for reading) keeps regularly passing me these books. They are an excellent read to pass a Saturday evening & whole Sunday. Some are genuinely gripping till the time they last, but soon fade off. The proximity of these reads ensure a gala confusion- characters of one have segued into another. But one thing, most are set in American towns (often smaller ones from where the authors originate), and hence give an absorbing & hitherto unknown insight. As they last, I like to be part of these people, using my imagination where the author has not filled in, and enjoy them like long-lost friends dropping in home. These novels usually don’t have complex tales, and generally carry happy endings. And oh yes, the amount of coffee at work (almost always bad at work place) and the general sense of ‘work’ there keeps me guessing, is working in America really that ‘glamorous’? Some, looked like a TV mini-series rather than a full-blown movie. So, that’s where the difference lies between the good and the great!

My latest finish in this lot are , Mary Higgins Clark‘s The Second Time Around and Nora Roberts’ Birthright. Clark’s novel is better of the two. Both carry some suspense. Both have strong women protagonists. And both should read Agatha Christie to realize that ‘the murderer’ should be a suspect from a pool of people who are properly introduced and given enough word space, so that needle of suspicion can keep spinning. Roberts fails miserably here. The wrong-doer is from a bunch of side-characters, whom I had nearly skimmed over. She could have given more time there to the side-characters so that the reader could have kept guessing which one is ‘the one’- instead she wastes valuable pages on what essentially is a Mills-and-Boons type of romance, with elongated (and perfect) love making (after a while it became so irritating that I simply skipped pages anytime the hero and heroine were alone), ending in soft sighs, tears flowing down and breaths going choppy.

There were more, but they have slipped my memory for now. Will try to write on them later.


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Yesterday, viagra sale poet, director & writer Gulzar celebrated is 73rd birthday. Thanks to his recent successes, he is one name who is still pretty reknowned amongst the young generation. These days, his Kaminey‘s Dhan Te Nan is quite popular. And earlier this year, he co-won the prestigious Oscar for Jai Ho (Slumdog Millionaire)

Due to this, every radio channel worth its airwaves played his songs on their daily ‘oldie goldie’ programmes. By ten pm, I was furiously switching between four channels, simultaneously sms’ing to two friends the favorite songs (multi-tasking, eh!).

Well, as the frenzy endied, I thought I had to list out a few of his songs that the Melody Queen Lata Mangeshkar has graced with her mellifluous voice; after all, both have immense mutual respect for each other. She has sung in most of his films. And he has directed her home production (Lekin).  The association started right from Bandini, when a young Gulzar wrote a lovely lyric about a love-lorn woman, based on  refrains from Radha-Krishna lovetale.  Mora gora ang lai le continues to enthrall listeners, old and new;  S D Burman’s frugal but fruitful music enchants.

(As always, this is a random list – not in any particular order, and since Mora gora ang lai le has been mentioned above, and deserves to be before any list,  it is not mentioned below).

Yaara seeli seeliLekin – A heart-stopping, breath-taking, wide-sweep & panaromic number that spans emotions ranging from pathos to fear to loneliness to numbness. The pain of the spirit caught between the material and the nether worlds finds a haunting echo in Gulzar’s words ‘pairon mein na saaya mere, sar pe na saayiin re, mere saath jaaye na meri parchhaiin re‘. Indeed, it’s said ghosts do not have shadows. But at a deeper level, it’s about not having a companion; its about loneliness. Having said that, let me admit, more than a lyric-based song, or even a tune-based one (after all, it’s a folk-tune resurrect; I have even heard Reshma’s similar number), it is purely and wholly Lata Mangeshkar’s song. She takes the track to an impossibly high altitude; and the alaap in the end is a crescendo designed and created to make your heart miss several beats!

Dil dhoondta hai phir wohi fursat ke raat din / Ruke ruke se qadam ruk-ke baar baar chaleMausam – Had destiny not meted out its savage blow that fateful July in 1976, I firmly believe Madan Mohan & Gulzar could have jointly produced several more such precious gems. Alas, that was not to be! In fact, Madan Mohan Saab couldn’t even live to enjoy Mausam‘s success. Latadi sang three lovable numbers- the faster version of Dil dhoondta hai, the pain-lashed Ruke ruke se qadam and the impish Chhadi re chhadi kaisi gale mein padi.

Thodi si zameen thoda aasman tinko bas ek aashiyan Sitara – Gulzarsaab‘s forte has been his imagery. The moon can be a pillow or a plate. The eyes can emit fragrance. The roads can curve and course. The sun can set like a ghoonghat being unveiled. Time will be a fruit hanging from the tree-trunks. Anything is possible with his pen. In Thodisi zameen, he conjures up a rustic household replete with ‘lepa hua chulha’, ‘chhota sa jhoola’ and ‘saundhi saundhi khushboo‘. My favorite lines are in the last stanza – Raat kat jaayegi din kaise guzarenge, baajre ke kheton mein kauvve udayenge…baajre ke sitton jaise bete ho jawan. And when Latadi squeezes in that extra sweetness, one can only listen with a tender smile and a fond heart; and yes, her little giggle is like the wind-chimes’ tinkle on a languidly warm breezy day.

Zeehal-e-musqin makunbaranjish bahaal-e-hijra bechara dil haiGhulami – Never mind that the song opens with a rather ungainly Huma Khan prancing on hot Rajasthani sand. Ignore her. Close your eyes and savor that angelic voice nimbly skipping over the high-pitched lines – Kabhi kabhi shaam aise dalti hai – immediately, one can visualize a stark orange sun dipping into the ochre desert expanse. Gulzarsaab‘s words are tricky here; one, he uses strict Urdu in the opening lines. Two, the song spans varying emotions through its four stanzas, and hence there is no single theme. Laxmikant-Pyarelal and Gulzar are a rare combination; but this song (and the other solo Mere pee ko pawan kis gali le chali) shows that when great talents merge, they create magic. Zeehale musqin has been a childhood favorite, and I recall learning its full lyrics way back in 1984-85 when the film released.

Ghungta gira hai …Koi mere maathe ki bindiya saja de re mai dulhan si lagti hun dulhan bana de re Palkon Ki Chhaon Mein – Laxmikant-Pyarelal and Gulzar once again sparkle their talents in this Meraj-directed film, starring Hema Malini (Meraj was Gulzar’s assistant, if I am not too mistaken). I love the thought in this song. A lady feels she is a bride, and wishes to be dressed up so. Once more, Gulzar’s impeccable imagery is at work – ‘aankhon mein raat ka kaajal saja ke’ and ‘mai aangan mein thande savere bichhadun’. It’s a short number; barely 3 minutes long, but it’s packed with solid feelings. And needless to add, Latadi (one of her low-pitch songs) sounds divine! When she whispers ‘mai dulhan si lagti hun‘, the heavens eagerly advance to color the universe in love!

Humne dekhi hai unn aankhon ki mahakti khushbooKhamoshi – This one has scorching lyrics. Let the relationship be unnamed, don’t assault it with a label. I loved the usage of ‘ilzaam’ here. As also the line ‘pyaar koi bol nahi pyar koi raag nahi, ek khamoshi hai…‘ Indeed, a very refreshing and practical take on love. Hemant Kumar’s music is an array of softly swaying violins that suit the song’s sombre mood.

Jahan pe savera ho basera wahin hainBasera – I was still in my knickers when (while watching the film on VCR), this song knocked my air out. Ever since, I haven’t recovered and it still tingles my inner core. I marvel that a human voice could go so high and yet remain so tuneful and melodic. Hats off to Latadi and RD Burman for pulling this feat off. It’s much later that I could look beyond its easy tune and superlative rendition, and comprehend the beautiful words as well. Na mitii na gaada, na sona sajaana, jahan pyaar dekho wahiin ghar basaana…so true!

Jiya jale jaan jale nainon tale dhuan chale Dil Se – Thematically, this song is Koi mere maathe ki‘s extension; a love-lorn heroine on the threshold of holy matrimony sings about meeting her beloved. In fact, full credit to Latadi to render lines like ‘honth sil jaate unnke narm hothon se magar’ with such grace that no one even fleetingly thought of it as distasteful. Gulzar’s wordings are immensely sensuous; he writes about a woman sensuosly rolling in the bed with desire, but what a way to present it – Raat bhar bechairi mehdi pisti hai pairon tale, kya karein kaise kahein raat kab kaise kate! The song’s ending is marvellous; and it is said Latadi didn’t really ‘sing’ that. She was rehearsing the alaap, and A R Rahman recorded it. Whoa! Now that’s humungous talent, indeed!

Yeh shahar bada purana hai / O dil banjaare khol doriyan / Mere sarhane jalaao sapne / Khud se baatein karte rahna / Ek haseen nigaah kaMaya Memsaab – However vague the film might have been, one can simply not fault its music. Hridayanath Mangeshkar and Gulzarsaab team up to create five top-notch Latadi solos. And Latadi delivers them with panache and style that only she can provide. Whereas in Mere sarhane jalao sapne she takes her voice low to give a very haunting and disturbed effect, however, in O dil banjaare, she simply opens it up and leaves it to sway over the musical notes, like an irreverent kite flying joyously but naughtily teasing a balmy zephyr. (Incidentally, I find O Dil banjaare the best of the lot). In Khud se baatein karte rahna, Latadi retracts her voice, clinging it to her heart, stingily, painfully. Gulzarsaab again borders the risque in Yeh shahar bada purana hai when he writes ‘Yeh jism hai kachhi mitti ka, bhar jaaye toh rissne lagta hai’. In totality, a very satisfying album…but yes, it truly grows on you. Initially, I had found it a bit disjointed. But over the years, I have become its ferocious fan.

Tere bina jeeya jaaye na / Aajkal paaon zameen par / Aapki aankhon meinGhar – It’s so difficult to decide the better of these three songs. Whenever I play Ghar‘s CD, I am forced to hear them in a row, one after the other. Having said that, I must confess I have a very special corner for Aapki aankhon mein – especially for that small laughter just before Latadi delivers the line ‘aapki badmaashiyon ke yeh naye andaaz hain’ – naughty, jovial albeit shy and taken-aback; all packed tightly in seven words. I am confident her rendition would have made Rekha’s work much easy. Gulzarsaab‘s favorite composer R D Burman does complete justice to his lyrics.

Iss mod se jaate hain / Tum aa gaye ho noor aa gaya hai / Tere bina zindagi se Aandhi – Like Ghar, another album I have to listen to in its entirety. It is well nigh impossible to pluck just single rose from this garden! However, another confession – Tere bina zindagi has a better edge, lyrically, since it captures the futility of a failed relationship succcintly; life moves on, but is that really life? So well stated. Singing wise, I believe, Latadi is absolutely remarkable in Iss mod se jaate hai; she wonderfully stretches out the word ‘mod‘ , giving it tiny ripples, and provides through sound just the correct meaning to it. When she sings noor aa hi jaata hai, otherwise Hindi film music would have been absolutely ‘bewajah‘! Once again, R D Burman at his sublime best.

Phir kisi shaakh ne phenki chhanvLibaas – Alas, the film never released. Mercifully, its music found a way out. One of RDB-Gulzar’s last outings together, Libaas is an out-and-out Latadi score, with her delivering four power-punching numbers. Be it the subdued Sili hawa chhoo gayi or the regretful Khamosh sa afsaana or the mirthy Kya bhala kya bura, they are all top-league. In the last, Panchamda joins her for a small party. Gulzarsaab captures those carefree days once more- ‘saara din ghazalein pirona, raat bhar aawaargi’! My favorite, though, is ‘Phir kisi shaakh ne’; partly because I loved Ashaji’s Khaali haath shaam aayi (Ijaazat) and  inwardly yearned for Lataji‘s voice in that song. But thankfully, RDB created a similar melody for Lataji in Phir kisi shaakh ne. Also, the song effectively speaks about fear of falling in love again after a doomed relationship : Hum toh bhoole hue the dil ko magar, dil ne phir aaj kyun humein yaad kiya!

Din jaa rahe the raaton ke saayeDoosri Sita – I have written on this song earlier here.

Chaand churake laaya hun chal baithen church ke peeche / Gulmohar gar tumhara naam hota Devta – Oh, there we go again…RDB and Gulzarsaab, but this one is a little-known nugget, which has somehow slipped public attention. Else, Chaand churake laaya hun is a terrific track about a couple meeting surreptitiously behind a church, sitting below a tree. Light. Frothy. One can only smile bemusedly at Gulzarsaab’s innovative lyrics. So straightforward, yet so deviant. You know what I adore in Lataji’s voice here? She sounds a bit ‘rondu’ (sorry, I couldn’t find a better way to describe, and trust me, its not wholly degrading), just the way Shabana Azmi sometimes looks.

Thoda hai thode ki zarurat hai Khatta Meetha –  That every common man’s lament:   you have a little, you desire a little more; another Gulzarsaab triumph. As the song moves on various characters, each one’s desire finds a befitting verse. Latadi and Kishoreda sing this breezy Rajesh Roshan composition.

Yaad na aaye koi lahu na rulaaye koi / Ae hawa kuchh toh bata / Paani paani re khaare paani re Maachis – Another complete album. Vishal Bhardwaj zoomed his way up the charts in his debut, and Latadi was right there, supporting him. Paani paani re was quite a big hit (though the biggest ones were Chappa chappa charkha chale). My favorites – the lines ‘jungle se jaati pagdandiyon mein dekho toh shaayad paanv milenge’ (in Ae hawa).

Chai chhapa chhai chhapak ke chhai Hu Tu Tu – I adore the joi-de-vivre & playfulness in this song, and in Lataji’s voice. It’s as if she is having a blast, and she so efficaciously reflects the image of ‘paani mein chheente udate hui ladki’. But what is the ‘whistle-inducing moment’ in the song? When she says ‘janaab‘ – aah! She makes the words worth being words!

Tu mere paas bhi hai tu mere saath bhi hai phir bhi tera intezaar hai Satya – Taste honey or listen to this song. Same thing. A spirited track. Very light. Very energizing. Very melodious. Another Vishal Bhardwaj success.

And add Jahan Tum Le Chalo‘s  Shauq khwaab ka ho toh neend aaye na, we have quite a rich Gulzar-Vishal-Lata ouvre.

Dil hoom hoom kare  /   Jhuthi muthi mitwa aawan dole / Samay o dheere chalo –  Rudaali – She ‘hoom’ed  her way through the nation’s heart, and the song is no less  a neo-classic, mentioned with revere and remains till date a connoisseur’s treasure.  My special favorite is the percussion-and-santoor based rain number – Jhuthi muthi mitwa; Latadi’s voice is as refreshing as the first rains on heated earth.  The third best is the three-part Samay o dheere chalo.

And finally, I end this piece with the lines from Kinaara‘s song which actually symbolizes and summarizes Lata Didi, and nothing more is left to say  :  Meri aawaaz hi pehchaan hai … (and let me say, needless to say ‘gar yaad rahe‘ ). Thank you, Gulzarsaab for these immortal lines, and huge thank you Latadi, for singing such brilliant songs, in the way that only you can.

I had skipped this compilation last year. But breaking traditions is not a good habit. Hence, nurse this year I started to do this in November itself, physiotherapy so that I could complete it before year-end. Though, honestly & admittedly, I am not confident whether I am a good person to do this any longer. My listening to new songs is limited & restricted. The joy in finding a good song is absent because today’s music hardly fascinates me. The song structure has changed, mukhdas have elongated, interludes vanished and melody is on back-seat. Not my ideal situation.

Strangely, the songs that managed to excite me turned out to be ones that their music composers seemed to have abandoned mid-way (Jashn hai jeet ka, Bin tere marjaavan main, Ring ringa, Rafa Dafaet al).

Still, I will give it a shot from the small ambit that I managed to explore. As always, this list is in no particular order. And, this is a purely personal compilation, ingrained with my biases and prejudices.

Daata sun le Maula sun leJail – Lata Mangeshkar’s second foray this year into the recording room (other than Hanuman Chalisa), post her knee operation, was good in parts. I enjoyed the so-called ‘remix’ version better. It had a lilting tabla beat, and overall more cohesiveness than the ‘main’ version. Lata Didi, as usual, uplifted Shamir Tandon’s composition, which to put it politely, was a pretty ordinary composition. If this were Madhur’s answer to Ae maalik tere bande hum (Do Aankhen Barah Haath), it was a very weak reply indeed. Still, it was manna from heaven for Lata Didi devotees.

Otherwise, Jail‘s music held little interest. Sharib-Toshi’s Saiyan Ve burnt the dance floors for a while, but it’s longevity is suspect (especially since the film has bombed badly at box-office).

Tan ganga mann prem ki dhara and Krishna krishnaUmariya Kailli Tohre Naam – I welcome any musical serendipity. This time, in the form of a Bhojpuri film. From a chance ‘google’ search, I learnt that Lata Didi (Lata Mangeshkar) has sung one Bhojpuri song this year, under Raamlaxman’s baton. It took awhile to find the cd. And boy! was I bowled. As the cd unravelled – there was not just one or two but full three songs by the Diva! Krishna Krishna (in two parts; one, a duet with Bhupendra Singh; and second, a solo) sounded to my ears a nineties recording that seemed to have dug its way into this film. It’s purely in Hindi. Wonder which film it was originally recorded for. Tan ganga man prem ki dhara sounded newer. It’s a soft song, with lovely sitar and flute riffs and an effective chorus line.

(Incidentally, the mp3 I bought had hoardes of other Bhojpuri songs, which kept my interest alive. Will write on them later).

Jai Ho and Khatiye pe mai padi thi (Ring ring ringa) – Slumdog Millionaire – Frankly, I’d puke if I hear Jai Ho (the song or the phrase) any more. At one point, it seemed to be gushing out from any form of media that one could lay one’s senses on. Having said that, the song (when it released) held my attention for awhile. But, admittedly, it wasn’t anything really path-breaking. On the contrary, it felt like a left-over from Subhash Ghai’s Yuvraaj (which could be a fact too, since Mr. Ghai’s ‘acknowledgement’ is credited on the jacket sleeve).

I enjoyed Ring Ringa – with its Choli-ke-peeche-kya-hai-beats and flavor. Sadly, it’s only one stanza long, and could have done with more. And I missed Madhuri Dixit’s dance, too.

The instrumental pieces were brilliant, and in the end, Rahman winning an Oscar is more to do with Indian pride, than the compositions per se, right?

You may be just a little bit deewaniAladin – When it comes to love ballads, Vishal-Shekhar reign supreme in current era. They conjure very passionate love songs, with pithy but interesting interludes (in fact, they are the only music composers who seem to be working on this important aspect of a song). You May Be has some ravishing piano and santoor pieces. Other than this, I liked Bach ke o bachke and Giri giri re bijuria. One of the few albums I thoroughly enjoyed in its entirety.

Jashn hai jeet ka and Barso reLondon Dreams – Two outstanding numbers from Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy made the album worthwhile.
Jashn hai jeet ka is brilliant. In its essentially aggressive tune, it hides an unexplainable tragic undertones, beneath a macho exterior; and as someone wrote, almost Shakespearean in its tenor. The moral fall of the hero, even though he ostensibly conquers the world. Abhijeet Ghoshal’s singing is superb. When he opens with ‘Sun le khuda, gaur se zara, aasman mera ab aasman mera’ there is arrogance and attitude, which is required. I wish it were longer. One stanza makes it stunted.

On the other hand, Barso re (Vishal Dadlani & Roop Kumar Rathod) is full of life and energy. Roop Kumar Rathod amazed me – I couldn’t believe that this otherwise staid ghazal singer could throw his voice to such a monumental pitch, enveloping the listener in sheer aural frenzy.

Sadly, the album’s balance songs cut no ice.

Aasman odh kar13B – Yet another half-finished song, which could have definitely done with another stanza. It’s a soothing love ballad, that seems to stretch to the horizon languidly.

Fiqrana hoke jeeye na kyunBlue – Blue sank at the box office, but it’s music was buoyant. A R Rahman gets to do a full-fledged commercial score (again after Yuvraj – incidentally, one which I loved), and like the professional he is, he delivers. I loved Fiqraana the best, especially those guitar riffs, and more so once the song settles into its dominant rhythm. Curiously, there was a very nineties-ish number which no one noticed (or rather, ignored) Yaar mila tha saiyan ik din yaar mila tha (Udit Narayan, Madhushree), which had a very good tune – though I couldn’t make any head or tail of the lyrics. They meant to tell a story (about a coquettish girl meeting her lover’s friend) but somehow it couldn’t carry it forward well. I missed Anand Bakshi or Sameer in this one! The third good number is the part-seductive, part-mysterious Rahnuma (Sonu Nigam, Shreya Ghoshal)- it’s leitmotif has shades of James Bondish tenor, but in all its pretty listenable. Chiggy Wiggy should have had a shorter English portion (two minutes is way too long) but I reckon they wanted to utilize Kylie Mynogue to the hilt. It’s a pretty average number, and since all FM channels have drilled into listener’s heads, it’s likeable for the simple reason of familiarity. Blue Theme starts off well, but could have been better embellished in the second half.

Title song – Kaminey – Alongwith Aladin & Blue, the third album which I listened in its entirety wihout hitting the ‘next’ key on my CD player(s). I have reviewed it quite in detail here. It’s title song continues to haunt me. And now, I usually start off listening to this one, and then moving to the other songs.

BandaRaaz the Mystery Continues – Slowly, Bhatt-clans (including all their sattelites) music has alienated me. They came up with some really thought-worthy lyrics and music all through nineties. But their latest stuff makes me shudder. I still love to hear the earlier Raaz‘s music (Nadeem Shravan), but this one is too ‘sound’ oriented than ‘melody’ based. I liked the thematic Banda re, (with those chants and heavy chorus) and to a small extent Sharib-Toshi’s Maahi maahi.

MasakkaliDelhi 6 – Coming close on heels of last year’s Yuvraaj, I had very high expectations. In fact, Masakkali ostensibly held that promise further when heard in the promos. Sadly, I found Delhi 6′s music very disappointing. Indeed Masakkali was thoroughly enjoyable, with loads of superb interludes and wonderful singing (Mohit Chauhan, surprisingly in a very different avatar). Rahna Tu warmed the heart; it’s slow cadences swirled into the soul like mature wine. And, Saas gaari deve (Genda Phool) kept the foot tapping (though I am not sure why anyone in Delhi would sing a Madhya Pradeshi folk song).

Beyond these three the album simply crashed into a jarring, meaningless & noisy concoction esp Kala Bandar. The title track broke my heart. No, this is not the number I expected representing my city (and French wordings? Hello, where did that come from!). I expected something more enduring and endearing; and more profound lyrics than a bland line like ‘bas ishq mohabbat pyaar’ which seemed to be forcefully written rhyme for the equally plain first sentence.

Sapno se bhare naina – Luck By Chance As an album, quite a disappointment. However, I loved Sapnon se bhare naina – a tightly held track, just like tears threatening to fall from the eyes, but one holds back. However, the forced lyrics (Javed Akhtar) desperately let-down the composition, especially the second stanza made no sense (about sukh and chaina) – or was it too esoteric for my plain understanding? Anyways, I listen to the song for its wonderful tune, good music and Shankar’s effective singing.

Aalam guzarne ko and Marjawaan tere binKal Kissne Dekha – I laughed when I first heard Aalam guzarne ko, and re-checked if I had put on the correct CD. From where in good heaven’s name, did Sajid-Wajid retrieve this track, which is absolutely a long-lost cousin of Sonu Nigam’s private albums Jaan (released sometime in nineties)? I liked this song.

But the piece that absolutely blew me away was Shreya Ghoshal’s two-minute just-mukhda Tere bin marjaawan main kithe kithe jaawan main, carried along with an absolutely smashing tabla base. Why didn’t they complete this song?

Zindagi mein nayi baat hone ko haiMere Khwabon Mein Jo Aaye – Pandit brothers’ breakup is this decade’s biggest musical loss. Jatin-Lalit were a name that spelt quality music in the nineties. Their last joint collaboration – Fanaa– was very enjoyable. Post-breakup, Lalit Pandit is the only one prolific enough to have two-three releases. Tragically, none that stays with you for long. MKMJA had quite a lot of songs, but only three were listenable : Shreya’s Pahle to mere inn aankhon mein, Shaan’s Pathron ke bane in shaharon mein and Aishwarya’s Zindagi mein nayi baat hone ko hai.

In the last, one could faintly detect Jatin-Lalit of yore, especially in the beats. But hell! even this song is only one antara long!! Ouff!

Love mera hit hitBillu , Sab rishte naateDe Dana Dan and Aaj din chadya tere rang varga/ We twistLove Aaj Kal –I admit. I fail to fully appreciate or comprehend Pritam Chakraborty’s music – which I find gets pretty good (online) reviews, and mostly tops the charts. His usage of English words (often, inane – sample: ‘Shining like a setting sun like a pearl upon an ocean, feel me’) in lieu of interludes doesn’t cut ice with me.

Still, I can safely admit I enjoyed these four songs. Even though Love Aaj Kal fell short of Jab We Met’s expectations (musically as well as cinematically), still it was a pretty neat album. And, allow me to be candid enough to say, I liked De Dana Dan’s music, including the raunchy I am naughty hotty (which is superbly picturized on Neha Dhupia looking ooh-la-la). Yash Raj Films’ Dil Bole Hadippa carried a couple of good ones too – especially Yahan ishq hi hai rab aur khuda and the raunchy Innke ooche ooche dream

Piya jaise laadoo moti choor ke and Raffa daffa and Mann Ka RadioRadio – I am adding the last song purely from point of view of how good marketing can make an idiotic song also play in one’s head all day long. Ok, I give some credit to the easy tune as well, which has tendency of sticking on. And it sticks big time. I must have hummed the mukhda for days. But the lyrics?! Give me a break! Full-too attitude and Band jo baje tera, khulke tu muskura – if this is meant to be philosophical in the current Age, God help our youngsters! Himesh’s ‘new’ voice is no better than his ‘original’ ones – though his nose does poke its nose back in, in the antaras.

Overall, Radio wasn’t that big a disaster as I had initially envisaged. Hearing it in a colleague’s car, with no other choice, I quite fell for some of the numbers, especially Rekha Bhardwaj’s Piya jaise laadoo (Wow!), Shaam ho chali (good one), Zindagi jaise ek radio (bad lyrics, good tune) and Himesh’s Rafa dafa. In Piya jaise laadoo, traces of Kuchh Meetha Ho Jaaye’s title song could be easily heard. Rafa dafa, is again, a half-finished song which needed more life. At less than three minutes, with just one antara, it sounds a half-finished composition.

Sufi tere pyaar meinJai Veeru – Atrocious film, awful music, but Sufi tere pyaar mein holds interest. It’s one of those songs you don’t mind in a compilation.

So that’s all from me for 2009. Looking forward to the new year, and perhaps, once again the return of melody.

Happy New Year to all Random Expressions readers.


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13 Responses to “Top Songs – 2009”

  1. ekta says:

    New Year Wishes DJ.

  2. @Ekta – To u too 🙂

    Par itne bade post ka itnasa comment? ;-p

  3. Seema says:

    I like some of the songs that you have listed there and loads of them I haven’t heard. Somehow I feel you are disappointed with a song if the lyrics don’t measure up. For example the Delhi 6 title track may not have amazing lyrics yet it’s catchy and easy on the nerves. you forgot to mention ‘Delhi Destiny’ from 99 or didn’t you like it?

  4. Seema says:

    Oh and what about ‘Wake up Sid’… the ‘Iktara’ song is amazing, isn’t it?

  5. Sweety says:

    Hi DJ, after a long time, got to read your post, a long one indeed. well, most of the songs, i hvnt heard…so cant comment but yes, i quite liked Iktara fm “wake up sid”..donno why you did not like it..:(

    btw, when is your next post coming up…such long gap is not acceptable…hahaha

  6. Sweety says:

    btw, did i read correctly that songs from “Radio” hv impressed you? wt happnd to ur taste? 🙁

  7. arunima says:

    happy new year1

    at least you made an attempt. I don’t know most of the songs that are getting popular these days.

  8. @Seema – Never heard Delhi Destiny track…lemme find it.

    Well, on the contrary, I am not too much for lyrics, as long as they make basic sense 😀 Perhaps, I was expecting a lyric on Delhi symbolizing it’s ethos and spirit :-))

    @Sweety / Seema – Somehow, ‘Iktara’ didn’t cut too much ice with me. somehow……..

    @Sweety- Hear the songs I mentioned of Radio. U’ll like them too 🙂 esp Piya jaise laadoo and Raffa Daffa …

    @Arunima – HNY to you too 🙂

    U know what – thanks to this post, i actually made an effort to listen to a whole lot of tracks I missed when they released :-))

  9. ekta says:

    haven’t heard most of the tracks u mentioned…isliye itna chota sa comment…hardly get time to listen to some music n watch movies..haan par aajkal enjoying Ishqiya on loop.

  10. ekta says:

    Pyaar Impossible ke gaane sunne kya? find them pretty ok, peppy..nice beats.

  11. shilpa2 says:

    Mostly music of this year is very great.I completely enjoyed this post.

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  12. Neha says:

    It’s quit interesting music

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  13. Bennie says:

    I like some of the songs that you have listed there and loads of them I haven’t heard. Somehow I feel you are disappointed with a song if the lyrics don’t measure up.

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