Tuesday, December 29, 2009

My favorite songs of 2009 : Concluding Part

Previous posts about this list: Intro, Part 1 (24-25), Part 2 (18-23), Part 3 (12-17), Part 4 (6-11)

The top 5. This will probably feel more like a countdown unlike the 6-songs-crowded-on-the-podium feel of previous 3 posts. I still can't separate the top 2 songs (and the next 2), but then there is no reason to! Who says one HAS to choose between songs that bring you equal pleasure.

First, a recap... full list till now...

#24. Aaj Din Chadhheya and Dev-Chanda themes

#18. Dhhol Yaara Dhhol; Himalaya Theme; Rahi Re; Sheher; Tu Jaane Na and Ye Dooriyaan

#16. Chor Bazaari and Fikraana

#12. Aaj Dil Gustaakh Hai; Aisi Sazaa; Bhoola Tujhe and Raat Ke Dhhaai Baje

#6. Delhi 6; Genda Phool; Go Charlie Go; Kaminey; Man Chandre and Pehli Baar Mohabbat

Phew! So.. ladies and gentlemen... I give you... my top 5 hindi songs of 2009

#5. Dhan Te Nan from Kaminey.

Remember that first promo of Kaminey? The one that instantly made Kaminey the most awaited movie of the year for everyone? Well, it worked for a lot of reasons, specially the dialogue - "तीन फ़ाल फ़े... फ़कल भी नहीं देखी मैंने उफ़्की", "अब कहाँ गयी तुम्हारी स.... स.... साइंस! होम साइंस!", "तो क्या rape किया मैंने तुम्हारा?!!", "मैं फ़ को फ़ बोलता हूँ...", "अबे फ़ को फ़ नहीं तो क्या ल बोलेगा?" - but not the least of those reasons was the PulpFictionesque trumpet in the background that explodes at the perfect moment with the song that must surely be a shoo-in for the most popular song of the year!
What an idea it was to take that quintessential bollywood action movie sound "Dhan Te Nan" and turn it into such a wonderful song for the dance floor! And, with Kaminey, it goes without saying (I'll say it nevertheless :P ) that the way it is used in the movie is purrrrfect! High on drugs and anticipation of a gloriously fun-filled life ahead, celebrating the biggest success of their lives on a dance floor, what will the two friends sing BUT "Dhan Te Nan!" :)
Sukhwinder does what he normally does with such songs, but he actually doesn't get into the mood nearly as well as Vishal Dadlani does! As for lyrics, Gulzar does his usual Gulzargiri, of course..

"आजा आजा दिल निचोडें
रात की मटकी तोडें
कोई goodluck निकालें
आज गुल्लक तो फोडें!"

"कोई चाल ऐसी चलो यार अबके,
समंदर भी पुल पे चले
फिर तू चले उसपे, या मैं चलूँ,
शहर हो अपने पैरों तले!
कहीं खबरें हैं, कहीं कबरें हैं,
जो भी सोये हैं कबरों में, उनको जगाना नहीं"

All I can say is that Gulzar only needs to be kept away from Subhash Ghai! He writes some of the most enjoyable lyrics in hindi movies almost effortlessly.

#3. Paayaliya> from Dev.D and Rehna Tu from Delhi-6.

Dev.D isn't an easy album to like on the first hearing. A lot of the songs are just so unlike "movie songs" that one gets a little uneasy listening to the first 4-5 songs of the album. And then comes "Paayaliya". You don't know what to make of it what with all the "अरज अरज करी, करज करजवा को करे हर पल बेचैन", "नींदें बिसर कर दे" etc lyrics and the voice that sings the first line giving it a rustic feeling, yet the instruments and the actual singing voice and style (not to speak of the backing vocals saying "By God" etc) make it sound so modern. And yet, nothing really sounds 'inconsistent'. You might not know what to make of it, but you like it nevertheless. This is one song where lyrics just don't matter to me at all! She could've sung this in aramaic and I'd still have liked it! Amit Trivedi got everyone's attention with Aamir last year and amazed people with the sheer range of music in Dev.D, but it took THIS song to convince me that we really are looking at someone special. The songs starts well, but it is really the tune of the stanzas that make me love this song so much. I mean the tunes for "अरज अरज करी, करज करजवा को करे हर पल बेचैन" and then later for "हो! जिया पे छाये, जिया पे छाये, छाये छाये छाये छाये रे!" The lyrics, as I said, are there just as convenient space-fillers. The might mean something, but honestly, I really never feel like thinking about them when the song is going on. And if I try to think about the lyrics later, I invariably get sucked into listening to the voice in my head that is singing the song and forget all about the lyrics again! What a song! :)

ARR seems to always keep the best (or one of the best) song of the album for himself to sing, doesn't he? :) Or perhaps it is something to do with the combination of his singing AND the genre of songs that he sings that just makes me love them.
It is a sign of a great album that your favorite song of the album keeps changing for a long time before possibly settling in on one (sometimes that stage never arrives. Every time I listen to a song from Dil Se, THAT song suddenly seems to be the best in the album). Delhi-6 is one of ARR's better albums of last 5-6 years, and yet, it took me a long time to look beyond 'Rehna Tu' when I thought about my favorite song of the album. ARR's soothing vocals, SUCH a nice melodious tune and Prasoon Joshi's romantic lyrics, wow! All we needed was a great video to go with it, but Rakesh Mehra let us down. :( I think they were going for the same thing that they did with Rang De Basanti - using the songs in completely unexpected places (no one would've expected Luka Chhupi and Roobaroo to be used the way they were). It sort of worked for a lot of people in RDB (Roobaroo didn't work for me though... I mean the picturization, not the song), but it just didn't work at ALL for Rehna Tu and Dil Gira Dafatan here. Sigh! अब क्या कर सकते हैं? We can keep listening to the song and try to keep the accompanying visuals away from our mind. That isn't all that difficult actually. Specially when the song ends with that long continuum keyboard piece, one doesn't think of any visual at all, and just listens! If I had to choose one piece of instrumental magic for this year, it has got the be the last 1 min of Rehna Tu!

Which brings us to my two songs of 2009!

#1-2. Arziyaan from Delhi-6 and Iktaara from Wake Up Sid.

Last year all year-end reports mentioned Benny Dayal as the newcomer singer of the year, whereas the REAL find was the voice of Javed Ali. Smooth as - pardon the cliché - silk. Had you asked me before I listened to 'Arziyaan' whether a song of qawwali/sufi genre would suit Kailash Kher's voice or Javed Ali's I'd have chosen Kher. Yet, every time I hear any part of this unusually long song in my mind, it is ALWAYS in Javed Ali's voice, not Kailash Kher's. Not to say that Kher doesn't do justice to his lines. Just that Javed Ali absolutely OWNS this song.
Did I say Javed Ali owns this song? That's just in terms of singing, of course. As for the rest, I don't think I even need to talk about ARR here because, after all, we anyway expect him to do wonders in this genre. Forget doing wonders, has anyone else even composed anything in that genre in last 5-10 years? The fast paced, dance floor friendly qawwali songs, yes, but not anything with a slow, soothing, sufi touch.
So, there you go, Rahman did what Rahman does - be a genius. Nothing new there. Actually, it is Prasoon Joshi who REALLY owns the song. This is a long song and the lyrics are good throughout, but seriously speaking he didn't really need to write anything beyond "दरारें दरारें हैं माथे पे मौला, मरम्मत मुकद्दर की कर दो मौला " and I'd have been sold anyway.

"प्यास लेके आया था, दरिया वो भर लाया,
नूर की बारिश में भीगता सा तर आया "

"एक खुशबू आती थी, मैं भटकता जाता था,
रेशमी सी माया थी, और मैं तकता जाता था....
जब तेरी गली आया, सच तभी नज़र आया,
मुझमें ही वो खुशबू थी, जिससे तूने मिलवाया..."

As I mentioned, it was actually 'Rehna Tu' that was my favorite song of the album for the longest time and while that song didn't go down in my estimation over time, Arziyaan went through all the familiar stages of those songs of ARR that stay with you the longest. From "hmm... nice sounding song, but perhaps a bit too generic" to "hmmm.. this is actually pretty nice.. Javed Ali sounds so good!" to "that maula-maula bit is pretty addictive, though perhaps the song goes on for too long" to "WOW! what lyrics! marammat muqaddar ki and all!!" to, finally, "too long? I could listen to this for hours!!! How long have I been continuously singing this for, again? 2 days perhaps!" :) Song of the year, without doubt.

It's that voice. Kavita Seth's voice has something in it that gives Iktaara that extra punch. From the first line of the song "ओ रे मनवा तू तो बांवरा है... तू ही जाने तू क्या सोचता है, बाँवरे" to the way she pronounces बूँद-बूँद and मूँद-मूँद... she just elevates the song so much!
As for the song itself, Amit Trivedi has outdone himself here! He thought of this song for a background piece in the movie?! THIS song?? It carries the whole album! In an year when Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy were particularly lacking in inspiration, I'm sure this song from Amit Trivedi got played more times than all S-E-L songs from this year, let along from this whole album. I think I'll wait for one more album from Amit Trivedi, and if it is nearly as good as Aamir, Dev.D or this song, I'll probably start saying that he is to hindi film music what Vishal Bhardwaj and Raju Hirani are to hindi films! :) Meaning, I'll wait for every album by Amit Trivedi as much as I now wait for Vishal's and Hirani's movies. There is always the danger of a new composer running out of all of the great songs in his mind after the first few albums, but we shall keep hoping.

That concludes this list. Up next, albums and composers of the year. And then the usual list of movies of the year (and maybe decade).

No comments: