As 2016 comes to an end, the time is now for the mandatory year-end lists. A year that clearly wasn’t amongst the best for Bollywood music, there had been a bunch of songs that struck a chord with us. While opinions will possibly differ, here is Filmy Sasi’s compilation of the 2016’s top 25 Bollywood songs.
Javed Ali, you were missed as always. This less heard number from Happy Bhaag Jayegi has all qawwali and folk flavours that our music directors often stereotype Ali in. A melodious composition rendered with great feelings, we wish it got more ears than it ended up getting!
When Shreya Ghoshal experiments, she does it like a boss. In the only memorable thing about the utterly forgettable Rocky Handsome, Shreya’s croons ‘Rehnuma’ in an octave lower than her usual and nails it as always. A decent composition it is, the song’s indifferent lyrics do attempt to take away a bit of its charm. Trust Shreya to rescue it like a pro!
Mohenjo Daro ranks amongst the year’s least fancied films. As for the soundtrack, the background pieces overpowered the lyrical ones. However, there is certain magic in A R Rahman’s ‘Tu Hai’ (that also appears as ‘Sindhu Maa’). Rahman experiments with sounds as always. As he renders the numbers with great panache, one wishes he had opted for a different female playback singer. Sanah Moidutty’s rendition is way so passive that we miss out words and syllables completely often. How I miss a voice like Chithra‘s here!
Akira saw a role reversal. The leading lady wore the pants and her love interest did all the singing around. In such a scenario, Vishal-Shekhar gift us the mellifluous ‘Kehkashan’ in Shekhar Ravjiani’s angelic voice. One’s got to agree it is his voice that does most of the talking. The hummable melody and not-so-pedestrian lyrics pass muster too.
A song that could easily have found a place in the top 10, if not for the composer Arko Pravo Mukherjee’s decision to use his own voice as playback. While his throw of words isn’t anything to write home about, his Punjabi diction is equally questionable. However, what remains is the eminent charm of the composition and Mukherjee’s own lyrics that are even better. Imagine this one in Sonu Nigam’s voice. Let’s not go there anymore!
A smooth Punjabi folk number put to words by Shelley forms the silver lining of the moody album Amit Trivedi creates for Udta Punjab. Shahid Mallya’s earthy voice and minimal traditional background score adds to its sheen as does backing vocals by Shadab Faridi, Suhas Sawant and Arun Kamath.
The most conventional track in the nuanced, folksy album by Gulzar and Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy. The lyrics are, without doubt, romantic to the hilt but it is the minimal and atmospheric instrumentation that forms the highlight of ‘Aave Re Hitchki’. Shankar Mahadevan and Mame Khan’s voices only elevate the appeal of this hauntingly beautiful track from Mirzya.
A leading lady with a halo and a composition that is simple yet dreamy – you got a chartbuster recipe. Although there’s nothing exemplary about the composition or the lyrics, it is Palak Muchhal’s vocals that adds that necessary layer of magic to this sweet ditty from MS Dhoni: The Untold Story.
A situational number with a very strong classical base, ‘Teri Khair Mangdi’ from Baar Baar Dekho is one of the finest of songs of 2016 purely for the Bilal Saeed’s brilliant composition and rendition. This is no ordinary number by any measures – be the tense melody or the meticulous arrangement, the song paces up and down catching us unawares. Bilal’s powerful singing is just the icing on the cake!
In a year that offered bleak chances for female vocalists to shine, it is Kanika Kapoor’s fearless rendition of ‘Da Da Dasse’ from Amit Trivedi’s Udta Punjab that shone brightest. Well programmed, sung and written, the song blends smoothly with the films narrative while being a kickass number for your road trips.
A fairy tale of a love song – that too something children would enjoy. The brief for Sachin-Jigar must have been the weirdest of all. Trust the talented duo to come up with a velvety love song for A Flying Jatt that is all things celestial. Unconventional usage of vocals by Atif Aslam and Sumedha (a fresh, fresh find) deserves brownie points so do Priya Saraiya’s simple and sweet lyrics.
14. Kaaga (Mirzya)
Mirzya is not an everyman soundtrack – especially if you listen to it minus the visuals. Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy treads a path they haven’t really explored before and achieves reasonable success. This song sung by Kaushiki Chakraborty is principally appreciable for its studied rendition, versatile background score and of course, Gulzar saab’s unconventional lyrics.
Ali Zafar’s voice is balm to any disturbed soul out there. This simple composition from Dear Zindagi with equally supple lyrics, it is Zafar’s singing that elevates it’s impact. Can we have its audio please, Sony Music?
For a song that came totally out of the blue in Ae Dil Hai Mushkil, we didn’t quite mind it as long as the melody was notable – particularly for a club number. Amitabh Bhattacharya is at it again, as he gets the pulse of Gen-Y to the T. Arijit and Jonita Gandhi pack a punch with their spirited rendition. Rapper Badsah should stick to songs like this, as opposed to remixing 90s to get nothing but backlash. Well, it was a hard call to pick favourites between the film’s own thumping ‘Bulleya’.
11. Badal (Akira)
2016 saw Sunidhi Chauhan’s authoritative return to Bollywood’s music scene. Oh, how badly we missed her! Although one wishes the song was a bit less programmed, Sunidhi’s rendition and Vishal-Shekhar’s consistent tune keep us hooked. Manoj Muntashir writes some affecting lines that makes us wish the song had come in some other film!
10. Nashe Si Chadh Gayi (Befikre)
It is always pleasant when Arijit Singh steps out of his mould and decides to have some actual fun. The last time we had a roaring time was in Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani as it gave us ‘Dilliwali Girlfriend Chod Chaadke’. Although in a different genre, Singh tries to add an intoxicating vibe to his singing that bears resemblance to Adnan Sami’s style. Not a bad thing at all, we are all game for more such peppy numbers, Arijit, Vishal-Shekhar and Jaideep Sahni.
Another talent from Pakistan, we truly hope we have not lost Atif Aslam to cross-border issues. The reason being that there’s not one singer who could set us on a trance as he goes, Yaraaaa…. in this lovely number from Rustom. Arko Pravo Mukherjee is a fantastic composer who should utilize more playback singers in his melodies than croon them himself.
A song that leaves us wanting for the version in the film as opposed to the one in soundtrack. A simple jazz-tinged tune with some classy saxophone backing, it is mostly in Ali Zafar’s rendition and throw of words where the magic lies. True to the way it is presented in Dear Zindagi, the song’s natural impromptu feel is nothing but gold. Well done, Amit Trivedi.
Sarwar Khan’s robust rendition, without an iota of doubt, is what makes this song the finest in the album. Of course, the tune is melodious with the words adding further beauty to it. Still, Khan’s rendition itself is so powerful that we are convinced that this bapu is indeed haanikarak – without even watching Dangal.
One of the most fulfilling songs we have heard this year, Ikk Kudi from Udta Punjab is enjoyable in all its versions. Late Shiv Kumar Batalvi’s words have been put to a soulful tune by Amit Trivedi. It only helps that they kept orchestration minimal and let the singers breath life into the tune.
Love – expressed in the most Kashmiri way possible, this song and its unadulterated appeal was the highlight of Fitoor. Amit Trivedi’s serene yet modern voice captures romance like celesta does to water. Swananad Kirkire’s innocent words couple with some shimmering instrumentation makes the song one of the year’s best. Who would miss those silken flute notes in the beginning?
Hope. Nagesh Kukunoor’s Dhanak was high on this emotion. Given this direction, most composers end up churning out generic tunes with manipulative words. Also with the usual treatment with high-pitched vocals, it isn’t easy to stand out within this template. Pushing their envelopers, lyricist Manoj Yadav and music director Tapas Relia create a spellbinding song (sung by Shivamm Pathak) that is bound to give you goosebumps. Watch the film and you will have your bloodlines race with glee. Equally eclectic are the film’s rhythmic folk number ‘Mehndi’ and the lovely fusion track ‘Damadam’.
Heartbreak numbers and Arijit Singh is a sure shot chartbuster deal. Given Karan Johar’s impeccable taste to handpick music that would thrust your hearts, this Pritam-Amitabh Bhattacharya number from Ae Dil Hai Mushkil is a certain win. Singh’s rendition gives us some major feels, especially as it transpires on screen!
Hire Sonu Nigam for a heart wrenching ballad, you have half the battle won by default. To add to it, we have composer Jeet Gannguli who uses playback singers like no contemporary musician of today. Just notice the way he orchestrates the song letting Sonu’s breath all emotions right. Rashmi Viraag puts together words like soun, bicha ke in a way that it is impossible for the song to miss the mark! Phenomenal number from Sarbjit.
1. Labon Ka Karobaar (Befikre)
Vishal-Shekhar’s sweeping ode to limitless love is easily the year’s biggest musical win! With a composition taking us on a nostalgia trip to Shankar-Jaikishen, OP Nayyar era, Jaideep Sahni seems to have had a helluva time writing. Given Mikey McLeary’s splendid production and Papon’s delicious rendition, this love song is bound to satiate every heart in love. If only Aditya Chopra knew his storytelling as much as he knew his music in Befikre.
Over to you, 2017!
Author at Filmy Sasi