They say that this is a new era in the Hindi Film Industry. They say India is the next big thing on the World Cinema platform. Its true that we have the Dibakars and the Anurags of the world; But ruling the roost are the Rohit Shettys, Prabhudevas and the Sajids of the world who have repackaged the atrocious films of the early 90s in super a Slo-Mo and Supa- Flying Comico-Action packed disasters.
Same applies to the Hindi music scene, wherein we have taken a step forward and three steps backwards at the least. Crass is the new class. Let’s not get into the details of those three steps backwards (or in any direction or the lack of it) where we have the worst of music, lyrics, singers, cinematography and so forth.
I couldn’t manage to collate even two dozen good songs this year and thankfully we are not heading into the year 2025 now. It makes my choice simpler as here I get to share 13 (Thanks to Coke Studio) of my favorite songs from 2013.
13. Alvida (D-Day)
Lyrics: Niranjan Iyenger Music: Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy Singers: Nikhil D’Souza, Sukhwinder Singh, Shruti Hassan and Loy Mendonsa
An varied mix of singers along with some good lyrics makes this song quite interesting. Sukhwinder Singh still has that knack of taking a song from a level to the next level with absolute ease. Shruti Hasan seems to have better vocal skills than the acting skills.
12. Khushamadeed (Go Goa Gone)
Lyrics: Priya Panchal Music: Sachin-Jigar Singer: Shreya Ghoshal
Sachin-Jigar are probably best known for their Song ‘Saibo’ and to be fair to them they have given some decent music over a short period (not taking into account their long struggle). This song doesn’t fit into the narrative of the film at all but is tailor-made for Shreya who does absolute justice to it.
11. Benaam Khwaayishein (Coke Studio)
Lyrics: Pinky Poonawala Music: Papon Singer: Anweshaa
Unlike last year Clinton Cerejo and Amit Trivedi, have been disappointing in this year’s Coke studio. But the find of this year’s Coke studio has been Angaraag ‘Papon’ Mahanta for his compositions and the find of Papon has been Anweshaa. Papon’s love for ghazals is well known and it is really heartening to see him compose such beautiful ghazal. We need more of these.
10. Kaun Mera (Special 26)
Lyrics: Irshad Kamil Music: M.M.Kreem Singer: Papon
M.M. Kreem has been one of the most under rated musicians of our times. Whenever he has been given an opportunity, he has done a fantastic job. Even though there are a few versions of this song penned by the talented Irshad Kamil, I just love Papon’s version (you may call this a personal bias).
9. Man Manam (Coke Studio)
Lyrics: Hazrat Shah Niyaz Barelvi Music: The Sufi Gospel Project Singer: Sonam Kalra
Coke Studio (Ind or Pak) + Sufi Music + Lovely voice= Give it to me any time of the day. Superbly sung by Sonam, this isn’t a song; this is an introspective drive.
8. Meethi Boliyan (Kai Po Che)
Lyrics: Swanand Kirkire Music: Amit Trivedi Singers: Mili Nair, Amit Trivedi
Of all the songs in the film, I particularly like this one. This may fall in the same genre as ‘Khushamadeed’ listed above, but the real difference here is Amit Trivedi- the musician and Amit Trivedi- the Singer. A song about friendship, freedom and life. And for all moments.
7. Zinda (Lootera)
Lyrics: Amitabh Bhattacharaya Music: Amit Trivedi Singer: Amit Trivedi
Amit Trivedi yet again. The best part about him is the fact that he gets under the skin of the films that he is composing for and he understands the gist and the feel of the movie. As a result he delivers something par excellence (even though some may call him repetitive). Amitabh Bhattacharaya can surprise you with some great lyrics specially when he works with Trivedi.
6 . Sati (Coke Studio)
Lyrics: Traditional Music: Salim-Suleiman Singers: Salim Merchant, Vijay Prakash ft. Taufique Qureshi
A very intense song with a theme on the ‘Sati’ practice in not so ancient India, and the Sati practices which we still see today. This has a superb use of percussions thanks to Taufique Qureshi. I have never rated Salim-Suleiman in the league of extraordinary composers, but this composition highlights what they are capable of doing.
5. Zariya (Coke Studio)
Lyrics: Traditional Jordanian lyrics, Prasoon Joshi Music: A.R. Rahman Singers: Ani Choying Drolma, Farah Siraj Backing Vocals: Abhilasha Chellum, Deblina Bose, Kanika Joshi, Prajakta Shukre, Sasha Tirupati , Varsha Tripathy, Aditi Paul, Suchi, Rayhanah, Issrath Quadhri
There are a few moments that money can buy, but for that goose-bump moment there is A.R. Rahman. If we say that Rahman has lost his touch and charm, think again.. the problem may lie with us because what Indo-Western music can be, only this man can present to us. Go find a nun from Nepal or a folk singer from Jordan and bring them together to give us a spiritual nirvana through music and then let’s talk about Rahman’s shortcomings, if any. Equally brilliant in this composition is that chorus of 10 ladies, who in every respect are individually a complete singer.
4. Shikayatein (Lootera)
Lyrics: Amitabh Bhattacharaya Music: Amit Trivedi Singers: K.Mohan, Amitabh Bhattacharaya
Ah! Mohan Kanan. He is always there and yet you never know or see much of him. This is his brilliance. Trivedi’s knack of getting some interesting musical notes in between a song makes the heart sink, something only Rahman has done time and again (remember ‘hey eye e ee heya’ from Dil hai chota sa, Roja). This is a really melodious number with Trivedi’s dark/grunge undertones.
3. Maaru Bihaag (Balcony TV)
Lyrics: Traditional Music: Hari & Sukhmani Singers: Hari & Sukhmani
I don’t have any knowledge of raagas and bandishei, but over the course of time I have realized that a fusion/jugalbandi between Indian classical and modern music is that kind of music which transports me to that high state where we all want to be in. Sukhmani has a wonderful voice quality backed with sense of classical training and its really good to see Hari and Sukhmani to take a step out of their comfort zone (i.e. folk music) marvelously.
2. Paagal (Coke Studio)
Lyrics: Winit Tikoo Music: Winit Tikoo Band Singer: Winit Tikoo
A song of longingness. A song for the rains. A song about craziness. The is a song about all this. Guitars, Tablas and Sarangi… and if you fail to get transported to that rain laden feeling around you that captures all your senses, you better start living. The last three and a half minutes of the song are just as blissful as it can get.
1. Khumaar (Coke Studio)
Lyrics: Vaibhav Modi Music: Papon Singer: Papon
Papon, Paponn…Paponnnnn… I don’t think that even Papon realizes how big a singer he is. And when you see someone of his caliber composing such passion-filled compositions, you realize there is more to life. He instills such faith in you. A song about the morning after a passionate love making, a song about longing, a song about love.. Vaibhav Modi did indeed make a super wise decision by not letting Papon compose and sing this song with anyone else but him. This is for Papon. I must have heard it over 200 times since its release in mid-September. Khumaar- My song of the year.