Author Archives: Param

Anand Bakshi’s Generation-Spanning Work

[Starting this week, we’ll re-publish here the Bollywood Retrospective series published in DNA blogs.]

This post is based on a question posed a few years ago on Twitter by film historian Pavan Jha, a passionate follower and chronicler of films and film music. The question – “Name the 5 pairs of father-son composers for whom Anand Bakshi has written lyrics”. It’s a fantastic question because it gives us a sense of how extensive Anand Bakshi’s career was. Anand Bakshi’s long career is indicative of compromises he had to make along the way (quality may have suffered at the expense of quantity) but more importantly, it speaks to his ability of connecting with the common man over several generations and his success in adapting himself to changing times.

Here are my pick of Anand Bakshi’s songs for the five father-son composers he worked with out of the 3000+ songs he wrote for Hindi films:

S.D. Burman and R.D. Burman

Anand Bakshi had debuted in 1958 and proven his mettle earlier with films like “Jab Jab Phool Khile” (1965) and “Devar” (1966), but he had to wait till 1969 for an opportunity to work with S.D. Burman. It is well known that R.D. Burman played an important role in the music of “Aradhana” (1969) – he was credited as Associate Music Director – and one wonders if the younger Burman had anything to do with picking Anand Bakshi for the first time for S.D. Burman. Anand Bakshi went on to work with S.D. Burman in many other films including “Jugnu” (1973), “Prem Nagar” (1974) and “Chupke Chupke” (1975), but couldn’t quite match Aradhana’s success. My pick from Aradhana – “Kora Kagaz Tha Yeh Man Mera”:

Anand Bakshi’s body of work with R.D. Burman is far richer than that with his father. It contains bona fide classics like “Kati Patang” (1970), “The Train” (1970), “Amar Prem” (1971), “Hare Rama Hare Krishna” (1971), “Namak Haram” (1973), “Aap Ki Kasam” (1974), “Ajanabee” (1974) and “Mehbooba” (1976. I consider “Amar Prem” to be the pinnacle of their partnership. Although I am in awe of the powerful lyrics of “Chingari Koi Bhadke”, my pick from the film is “Kuchh To Log Kahenge” because of the deftness with which Bakshi saab took a song of compassion and transformed it into an unflattering commentary on society.

Roshan and Rajesh Roshan

Roshan was one of the big-name music directors to work with Anand Bakshi early on in his career but they worked together on just a handful of films. “Devar” (1966) was the only film in which the two enjoyed a measure of success. My pick from “Devar” is “Baharon Ne Mera Chaman Loot Kar” because it’s one of the few songs in which Anand Bakshi challenges the average Hindi film music listener with limited knowledge of Urdu, while keeping his trademark simple core intact.

Rajesh Roshan’s only Filmfare Award came in a film for which Anand Bakshi wrote lyrics, “Julie” (1975). My pick though is from a film which came the next year “Tumhari Kassam” (1978).  “Hum Dono Milke Kagaz Pe Dil Pe” belonged to a category of Hindi film songs Anand Bakshi did very well in – the conversational romantic duet. As with other songs in this category penned by him, Anand Bakshi keeps the lovers’ exchange light-hearted, flirtatious and very real.

Kalyandji – Anandji and Viju Shah (son of Kalyanji)

After almost a decade of a rather unremarkable career, it was Kalyanji – Anandji who gave Anand Bakshi a blockbuster hit record with “Jab Jab Phool Khile” (1965), and almost overnight transformed him into the industry’s leading lyricist. I am not particularly fond of the album, but clearly I am in the minority. The film’s music was very popular and with its range of themes and genres, it had something for everyone. My pick from the film is “Ek Tha Gul Aur Ek Thi Bulbul”. Contrived as the situation is, I think Anand Bakshi does a masterful job of telling the film’s story in three verses.

In terms of popularity, “Mohra” (1994) and “Gupt” (1997), would surpass anything else Anand Bakshi wrote for Viju Shah. At the age of 64, Bakshi saab managed to write something as juvenile (some may say crass) as “Tu Cheez Badi Hai Mast Mast”. We could see the song’s lyrics as an unnecessary compromise by a senior lyricist or we could marvel at an old man’s ability to read the pulse of a generation far removed. My favourite Viju Shah – Anand Bakshi coming together, however, happens in the lesser heard “Tere Mere Sapne” (1996) with its two outstanding romantic duets “Kuchh Mere Dil Ne Kaha” and “Mere Piya Maine Jise Yeh Dil Diya”.  My pick – “Mere Piya Maine Jise Yeh Dil Diya”.

Chitragupt and Anand – Milind

There isn’t a lot to choose from when it comes to Anand Bakshi’s lyrics for Chitragupt – just six songs from two obscure films “Aadhi Raat Ke Baad” (1965) and “Angaaray” (1975). In fact, I came upon those songs only while writing for this post. My pick is Lata Mangeshkar’s ghazal from “Aadhi Raat Ke Baad” – “Mera Dil Baharon Ka Woh Phool Hai“.

Anand – Milind did 10 films with Anand Bakshi but nothing really clicked. The duo could not really get the best out of the aging lyricist. My pick of this combination is an OK melody but to be honest, I picked it for the resplendent Madhuri Dixit. The song – Kumar Sanu and Sadhna Sargam’s “Kitna Pyar Karta Hoon” (“Phool”, 1993).

Nadeem – Shravan and Sanjeev – Darshan (sons of Shravan Rathod)

Nadeem – Sharavan did just two films with Anand Bakshi. Bakshi saab’s advancing age and the disruption in Nadeem – Shravan’s career due to Nadeem’s legal troubles (he was named accused in T-Series’ Gulshan Kumar’s murder) meant that they didn’t work together after “Pardes” (1997). But what an album “Pardes” was! The film had many good songs and deservedly won Nadeem – Shravan a Screen the award for Best Music Director. My pick is the mellow love ballad sung by Kumar Sanu, “Do Dil Mil Rahe Hain”.

Anand Bakshi’s work for Sanjeev – Darshan came in the last two years of his life when he was a spent force, although still prolific and with the ability to produce a sporadic good song. I’d rather not pick a Sanjeev – Darshan song.

Instead, I will end the post with a song Anand Bakshi wrote for his most significant collaborators, Laxmikant – Pyarelal. About half of all the film songs Anand Bakshi ever wrote were for LP. Theirs was a hit making team as they churned out one chartbuster after the other – “Do Raaste” (1969), “Aan Milo Sajna” (1970), “Mehboob Ki Mehndi” (1971), “Bobby” (1973), “Anurodh” (1977) and “Karz” (1980) – to name just a few. My pick is “Aadmi Musafir Hai” (“Apnapan”, 1977) which won Anand Bakshi the Filmfare award for Best Lyricist and is an apt song to revisit the beautiful memories the people’s poet left behind.

 

2016 Bollywood Music Review and Top 20 Songs

2016-collage

As in the past, critics were not happy with the state of Hindi film music in 2016. The charge – yet again – was that it Hindi films were using an “assembly line” approach to create songs using multiple composers and re-packaging hit songs from the past. One thing is certain – music is no longer crucial to the film’s storytelling. This is not an entirely new phenomenon. A spurt of action films in 1970s/1980s had also rendered film music insignificant for a period. Increasingly, music is being seen as a means to promote the film. To the surprise of film audiences, songs that top the charts, end up being abridged in the film or part of the film’s background score. Some don’t even make it to the film.

That said, 2016 did have some bright spots. Towering above the rest was Shankar – Ehsaan – Loy’s “Mirzya”. Given a free rein by Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra, S-E-L packed the album with uninhibited experimentation. “Mirzya” pushed the boundaries of film music and then some. The other highlight of the year was Amit Trivedi’s comeback after the brilliant, but commercially disastrous, “Bombay Velvet” (2015). He had three superb albums ins 2016 – “Udta Punjab”, “Fitoor” and “Dear Zindagi”. Pritam also did quite well in 2016 with “Ae Dil Hai Mushkil” and “Dangal” after a relatively lukewarm 2015. At the end of this post, we list the year’s 20 top-rated songs. Here is a longer list of 2016’s best Hindi film and non-film songs.

Some brilliant artists bode us farewell in 2016 – lyricist Nida Fazli, composers Ajit Varman and Omi (of Sonik – Omi), singer Mubarak Begum and Carnatic musician and vocalist M. Balamuralikrishna.

Some notable debuts in 2016 were:

Bollywood made 150 films with 872 songs between them in 2016.

The most prolific composers of the year were:

  1. Vishal – Shekhar – 5 films, 34 songs
  2. Amit Trivedi – 3 films, 24 songs
  3. Clinton Cerejo – 3 films, 20 songs

Vishal – Shekhar compensated for their dry spell in 2015 (they didn’t score any film that year) by being the most prolific composers in 2016. Unfortunately, the quality of their output didn’t match the quantity. Amit Trivedi won 2016 with his consistency, creating 3 albums that won the hearts of music lovers. After staying in the sidelines for years, Clinton Cerejo finally had the spotlight shining on him with 3 films as solo music director (although “Jugni” did have one song by A.R. Rahman, I think it’s fair to slot it as a solo Clinton album). It’s interesting to note that Mithoon and Ankit Tiwari, who followed closely with 18 songs each, had more films to their credit in 2016 than the top 3 most prolific composers. It turns out that they happen to be part of multi-composer albums quite a lot.

The most prolific lyricists of 2016 were:

  1. Kumaar – 27 films, 74 songs
  2. Manoj Muntashir – 16 films, 55 songs
  3. Amitabh Bhattacharya – 5 films, 21 songs
  4. Javed Akhtar – 5 films, 21 songs

Kumaar has been on the most prolific list for some years now. It’s amazing how little we know about a lyricist who’s been as prolific as him. Manoj Mutashir’s presence on the list was a surprise as well, with big name lyricists like Amitabh Bhattacharya and Javed Akhtar relegated to the third spot.

The most prolific male singers of 2016 were:

  1. Arijit Singh – 48 songs
  2. Vishal Dadlani – 23 songs
  3. Armaan Malik – 18 songs

Unsurprisingly, and in my opinion, deservedly, Arijit Singh dominated the male singers list with more than double the number of songs sung by the next most prolific singer.

The most prolific female singers of 2016 were:

  1. Sunidhi Chauhan – 22 songs
  2. Palak Muchhal – 19 songs
  3. Neha Kakkar – 18 songs

For some reason, two of my most favourite singers were conspicuously low key in 2016 – Shreya Ghoshal and Neeti Mohan. I hope they come back with a bang in 2017.

Based on the ratings of their 2016 songs, here are the best-rated artists of the year:

  1. Composers: Amit Trivedi, Vishal – Shekhar, Clinton Cerejo
  2. Lyricists: Amitabh Bhattacharya, Swanand Kirkire, Shellee
  3. Male Singers: Arijit Singh, Vishal Dadlani, Amit Trivedi

And the top 20 songs of 2016:

  1. Channa Mereya (Ae Dil Hai Mushkil)
  2. Aave Re Hichki (Mirzya)
  3. Dugg Duggi Dugg (Jugni)
  4. Hass Nach Le (Udta Punjab)
  5. Taareefon Se (Dear Zindagi)
  6. Haminastu (Fitoor)
  7. Pashmina (Fitoor)
  8. Hota Hai (Mirzya)
  9. Chitta Ve (Udta Punjab)
  10. Da Da Dasse (Udta Punjab)
  11. Ikk Kudi (Udta Punjab)
  12. Ud-Daa Punjab (Udta Punjab)
  13. Ae Dil Hai Mushkil (Ae Dil Hai Mushkil)
  14. Titli (Bollywood Diaries)
  15. Love You Zindagi (Dear Zindagi)
  16. Kaaga (Mirzya)
  17. Bulleya (Sultan)
  18. Rootha (Te3n)
  19. Tu Hi Hai (Dear Zindagi)
  20. Hone Do Batiyan (Fitoor)

Thoughts On Amit Trivedi’s “Bombay Velvet”

This is not a review of Amit Trivedi’s Bombay Velvet. I loved the album to bits and wanted to share a few things that stood out for me as I was listening to it:

  1. It struck me as a rare album in that it is so thematically consistent. We hear Neeti Mohan’s voice in six of the fourteen songs and other than two songs, the album is based on jazz music with a few modern embellishments in places. We have had this kind of consistency in Hindi film albums before, of course, but such albums have been few and far between. Also, this is the first time a Hindi film album has dedicated itself to jazz-based genres. We must commend Anurag Kashyap for his vision and guts to stick to his vision and Amit Trivedi for delivering to the vision in style. Guts? Yes, guts because when was the last time you heard an album that did not mix up an assortment of pop, Sufi, a variety of folk and light classical sounds with a base of “filmi” music? Heck, if a music director doesn’t deliver all those sounds in an album, he/she runs the risk of being seen as using “templatized” music. Bombay Velvet runs the same risk. Also, guts because jazz-based music is far from mainstream and may not be an average Indian listener’s cup of tea.
  1. I think it’s time to officially declare Neeti Mohan a diva. What a voice! Smoking hot texture, incredible range and although it ought to be a given for singers at this level – boy can she hold a tune! I am surprised that people continue to look at her as an up-and-coming singer. For example, when we reported that she was the most prolific female singer of 2014 with 42 songs, a common reaction was “Really?!”. It’s high time we acknowledge her as a premier singer in the Hindi film industry. I’ve heard parallels drawn between Mohit Chauhan/Rockstar and Bombay Velvet/Neeti Mohan but in my opinion, that comparison is unfair to Neeti. Neeti makes Bombay Velvet her own in a way that Mohit Chauhan could not with Rockstar, which was an A.R. Rahman album all the way. (Highly subjective opinion. I would understand and accept vehement disagreement.)
  1. There have been rumblings of the sameness of Amit Trivedi’s music in the past few albums. I countered those criticisms here. His out-of-tune singing has also been criticized. This is a fair criticism, although his signing, at least on recorded songs, has not annoyed me as much as it has others. Perhaps he’s heard criticism of his singing and other than a couple of harmonies (I think it’s him), he’s not sung in the album! With this tour de force of an album, my guess is that complaints about the sameness of his music will ease. For some time.

“Song Templates” And Innovation In Hindi Film Music

This post is prompted by a conversation I had yesterday on Twitter regarding a lovely new song that had just come out – the Amit Trivedi composed, K. Mohan sung Kinare (Queen, 2014).

There were other such comparisons of Queen’s soundtrack with Amit Trivedi’s prior work including Dev.D, Lootera (comment above), Udaan, Isahqzaade and Kai Po Che. Within these comparisons is a critique (not always explicit) of Amit Trivedi’s work – that he is not experimenting enough or that he’s using “song templates” that are making his work predictable. In this post, I intend to present an alternate view.

But before that, here is an observation that most will agree with  – that Amit Trivedi has a sweet spot in terms of genres – Pop/Rock, and Pop/Rock fused with semi-classical or folk music. So then the question becomes if his sweet spot takes away from his music. My opinion is that it does not. Trivedi’s sweet spot is not a spot, it’s really a large, multi-dimensional kaleidoscopic canvas. Considering that history has produced great artists who’ve spent their entire careers on a single genre of music, even if Amit Trivedi restricts his music to a combination of only Pop/Rock/Semi-classical/Folk – he will still be able to produce a rich, solid body of work, provided he keeps producing the kind of stellar tracks that he has till date. My personal belief is that he will do that and more.

Now my take on the “song template” criticisms.

A lot of the time, when people talk about “templates” or “hangover” in the context of music, I believe they’re referring to the artist’s signature or style – a pattern for structuring and arranging songs. Pancham’s was one such, easily identifiable signature. For me, the signature is not necessarily a bad thing. It is possible for the signature to be used in several different songs and still stay fresh. The appeal of Pancham’s signature thrived across not just many Pancham songs, but also songs composed by other composers, eg: Ulfut Mein Zamane Ki (composed by Sapan – Jagmohan) and Vaada Karo Jaanam (composed by Basu – Manohari).

In the instance of Kinare (Queen), Shikayatein (Lootera) and Naav Hai Teri (Udaan), in addition to Amit Trivedi’s signature, there are additional elements of similarity – the singer – K. Mohan – and the general theme/mood of these songs. It appears to me that for some people, a combination of these similarities is distracting enough to appreciate what are really very different songs. I draw consolation from the fact that even A.R. Rahman, has not escaped the “song template” criticism – a song as lovely as “Aise Na Dekho” (“Raanjhana”) had people disapprovingly talking about how similar it sounded to “Tu Bole Main Boloon” (“Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na”).

Progress in Hindi film music has been incremental for the most part. There are very few music directors who have been innovative enough to change the course of music in Hindi films. There are two who come to my mind in terms of the biggest impact – R.D. Burman for his experiments with instruments and arrangement and A.R. Rahman for experiments with the song structure. However, depending on your taste in music, you may like the work of other composers more than R.D. Burman’s or A.R. Rahman’s – and that’s all right. In other words, our taste in music isn’t determined by how innovative the artist is – it is quite simply what sounds good to our ears. Innovation in music is great as an aspiration but doesn’t always make for songs we like. In fact, experiments may not always have the desired effect – I felt that Raanjhana’s music was cluttered and Milliblog’s verdict on Highway -“occasionally accessible”. Conversely, there are several composers through history who may not be known for their experimentation but are considered great nevertheless. Therefore, I believe it is as meaningless to exhort musicians, who make good music otherwise, to experiment more as it is to pull good composers down if their experiments don’t work. They all play a role in the music ecosystem and I believe we should encourage and support them.

And to seal the argument, here is a video that proves that all hit pop songs are really the same. (Kidding!)

PS: Plagiarists and truly unimaginative music directors (you know who they are) are out of the scope of this discussion.

What Are Your Most Favorite Non-Film Songs Of 2013?

A couple of weeks ago, we wrote a post about the best Bollywood songs of 2013. Since then, the top 10 rankings have change significantly. I am not surprised and my guess is it may change some more over the next few weeks. If you haven’t already rated already, please do.

Which brings us to the best non-film songs of 2013. Now this is a lot broader category than Bollywood, so what we’re talking about is the non-film songs on MySwar – which is mainly Hindi/instrumental tracks. Coke Studio dominates this list but this year also had some other significant albums, my favorites being Vasuda Sharma’s Attuned Spirits, Raghu Dixit’s Jag Changa and Jagjit Singh’s The Voice From Beyond. Here is the listing of the most popular, non-film songs of 2013 (as of now), and here’s our list of non-film albums released in 2013.

At this time, the top 10, non-film songs of 2013 are:

  1. Aao Balma (Coke Studio)
  2. Zindagi Jaisi Tamanna Thi (The Voice From Beyond)
  3. Khuda Ke Vaaste Apna Hisaab (The Voice From Beyond)
  4. Barsan Laage Nain (Attuned Spirits)
  5. Giridhar (Attuned Spirits)
  6. Jaagi Jaagi Raina (Attuned Spirits)
  7. Laagi Lagan (Attuned Spirites)
  8. Kyun Naa (Coke Studio)
  9. Phir Le Aaya (MTV Unplugged)
  10. Kodagaana Koli Nungitha (Jag Changa)

Please do rate your favorites. We will finalize this list by mid January.

MySwar.Com – अब हिन्दी में

If you can’t wait to check it out, go right ahead to MySwar.Com in Hindi. If you’re interested in the backstory, carry on.

For some time now, we have felt the need to provide a Hindi version of MySwar. For a website about Hindi films songs, that seems kind of obvious. However, we’ve been guilty of staying in our comfort zone – English – for various reasons (excuses?), the primary being higher priority features we needed to get implemented.

Over time though, we realized that by publishing only in English, we are excluding a large segment of music lovers from our website. Seeing “wrongly” transliterated search keywords in English (through search engines and on the website) gave us an understanding of the difficulties people from this segment face in English-only websites. This interview with Google India’s MD Rajan Anandan, gave us the nudge we needed to kick-start this project. In the interview, Rajan talks about how the dearth of content in regional languages is holding back internet penetration and that he expects the next 300 million users of Google India to use regional languages.

Thejesh’s experience using the Google Transliteration API helped but the extent of changes ensured that we had to put in a lot of effort into the project. A combination of the Google Translate API run on our database helped automate the transliteration effort to an extent but we did have to mark about 50% of the transliterated text for manual verification. The manual verification was required because the same word in English script could be written in different ways in Hindi. For example, “bahar” could be बाहर or बहार; “to” could be either तो or टु. We also had to spend some time translating the static pages, literals and messages but that was a piece of cake compared to the database.

The other significant work was of course the extensive code changes as well as positive and negative tests.

This implementation leaves some English text behind – including artist bios and trivia – but we believe that this version is enough to make the website a lot easier to use for those more comfortable with Hindi. I hope you like this update as much as we do.

Songless Hindi Films

When we set out to build MySwar as a comprehensive catalog for music from Hindi films, we didn’t pay a lot of attention to films that didn’t have any songs. This became apparent during the discussion on Twitter, that followed when we published this trivia:

Thanks to the “demands” of a few music lovers (!), we decided to give a shot at listing all Hindi films without any songs. For now, this blog post will serve as the repository for this list. These films are catalogued on MySwar as well but not highlighted in any of the listings. This list is not perfect – some of these films may not truly belong here and we may be missing some. For example, Pushpak was a silent film and others like The Perfect Murder and Parzania are not Hindi films. If you know of any film that we should add to this list, let us know in the comments section.

Anyway, here goes:

  1. Naujawan (1937) – MUSIC: Master Mohammed
  2. Munna (1954) – MUSIC: Anil Biswas
  3. Kanoon (1960) – BACKGROUND SCORE: Salil Chowdhury
  4. Bhuvan Shome (1969) – MUSIC: Vijay Raghava Rao
  5. Ittefaq (1969) – BACKGROUND SCORE: Salil Chowdhury
  6. Rakhi Rakhi (1969) – BACKGROUND SCORE: B.M. Chandavarkar
  7. Sara Akash (1969) – BACKGROUND SCORE: Salil Chowdhury
  8. Uski Roti (1970) – SANTOOR: Ratan Lal
  9. Aashaadh Ka Ek Din (1971) – BACKGROUND SCORE: Jaidev
  10. Maya Darpan (1972) – MUSIC: Bhaskar Chandavarkar.
  11. 27 Down (1973) – MUSIC: Bhuban Hari (Bhubaneshwar Misra and Hariprasad Chaurasia)
  12. Achanak (1973) – BACKGROUND SCORE: Vasant Desai
  13. Duvidha (1973) – FOLK MUSICIANS: Ramzan Hammu, Saki Khan, Latif.
  14. Ankur (1974) – BACKGROUND SCORE: Vanraj Bhatia
  15. Mrigayaa (1976) – MUSIC: Salil Chowdhury.
  16. Arvind Desai Ki Ajeeb Dastan (1978) – MUSIC: Bhaskar Chandavarkar
  17. Chirutha (1980) – BACKGROUND SCORE: Salil Chowdhury
  18. Satah Se Uthta Aadmi (1980) – MUSIC: Ustad Zia Fariduddin Dagar
  19. Plot No. 5 (1981) – BACKGROUND SCORE: Salil Chowdhury
  20. Sadgati (1981) – BACKGROUND SCORE: Satyajit Ray
  21. Sazaye Maut (1981) – MUSIC: Vanraj Bhatia
  22. Shodh (1981) – MUSIC: Shantanu Mohapatra
  23. Ardh Satya (1983) – BACKGROUND SCORE: Ajit Verman
  24. Godam (1984) – MUSIC: Dilip Chitre
  25. Holi (1984) – MUSIC: Rajat Dholakia
  26. Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro (1984) – BACKGROUND SCORE: Vanraj Bhatia, ASSISTANT: Kersi Lord
  27. Kanoon Kya Karega (1984) – BACKGROUND SCORE: Salil Chowdhury
  28. Khandhar (1984) – MUSIC: Bhaskar Chandavarkar
  29. Mohan Joshi Hazir Ho (1984) – BACKGROUND SCORE: Vanraj Bhatia
  30. Party (1984) – No information
  31. Aghaat (1985) – MUSIC: Vanraj Bhatia
  32. Andhi Gali (1985) – MUSIC: Buddhadev Dasgupta
  33. Damul (1985) – MUSIC: Pt. Raghunath Seth.
  34. Ek Ruka Hua Faisla (1986) – BACKGROUND SCORE: Basu Chakraborty
  35. Genesis (1986) – MUSIC: Pandit Ravi Shankar
  36. Maati Manas (1986) – BACKGROUND SCORE: T.R. Mahalingam
  37. Massey Sahib (1986) – MUSIC: Vanraj Bhatia
  38. New Delhi Times (1986) – BACKGROUND SCORE: Vanraj Bhatia
  39. Rao Saheb (1986) – BACKGROUND SCORE: Bhaskar Chandavarkar
  40. Zevar (1986) – MUSIC: Salil Chowdhury
  41. Pestonjee (1987) – MUSIC: Vanraj Bhatia
  42. Pushpak (1981) – BACKGROUND SCORE: L. Vaidyanathan
  43. Andhaa Yudh (1988) – MUSIC BY: Ajit Varman
  44. Salaam Bombay (1988) – MUSIC: L. Subramaniam
  45. Susman (1988) – BACKGROUND SCORE: Vanraj Bhatia
  46. The Perfect Murder (1988) – MUSIC: Richard Robbins
  47. Raakh (1989) – MUSIC: Ranjit Barot
  48. Salim Langde Pe Mat Ro (1989) – MUSIC: Sharang Dev
  49. Ek Din Achanak (1990) – BACKGROUND SCORE: Jyotishka Dasgupta
  50. Kamla Ki Maut (1990) – BACKGROUND SCORE: Salil Chowdhury
  51. Naya Zamana Nai Kranti (1990) – BACKGROUND SCORE: Navin Sharma
  52. Nazar (1990) – MUSIC: Vikram Joglekar, D Wood
  53. Dharavi (1991) – MUSIC: Rajat Dholakia
  54. Diksha (1991) – MUSIC: Mohinderjit Singh
  55. Ek Doctor Ki Maut (1991) – MUSIC: Vanraj Bhatia
  56. Ek Ghar (1991) – MUSIC: L. Vaidyanathan
  57. Kasba (1991) – MUSIC: Vanraj Bhatia
  58. Antarnaad (1992) – MUSIC: Vanraj Bhatia
  59. Purush (1992) – BACKGROUND MUSIC: Milind Chitnavis, Tushar Bhatia
  60. Raat (1992) – MUSIC BY: Mani Sharma
  61. Sardar (1993) – MUSIC: Vanraj Bhatia
  62. Woh Chhokri (1993) – MUSIC: Sapan Jagmohan
  63. Aranyak (1994) – No information
  64. Tarpan (1994) – MUSIC: Rajat Dholakia
  65. Drohkaal (1995) – MUSIC: Vanraj Bhatia, Anjan Biswas, Sunil Kaushik, Taufiq Qureshi
  66. Naseem (1995) – MUSIC: Vanraj Bhatia
  67. Jaya Ganga (1996) – MUSIC: Vanraj Bhatia
  68. The Making Of The Mahatma (1996) – MUSIC: Vanraj Bhatia
  69. Char Adhyay (1997) – MUSIC: Vanraj Bhatia
  70. Rui Ka Bojh (1997) – MUSIC: K. Narayan
  71. Hyderabad Blues (1998) – MUSIC: Dr. Bunty
  72. Kairee (2000) – MUSIC: Bhaskar Chandavarkar
  73. Chandni Bar (2001) – BACKGROUND MUSIC: Raju Singh
  74. Ek Chhoti Si Love Story (2002) – MUSIC SCORE: Arvind Nirmal
  75. Kali Salwar (2002) – MUSIC: Ved Nair
  76. Chokher Bali (2003) – BACKGROUND SCORE: Debojyoti Mishra
  77. Ek Din 24 Ghante (2003) – BACKGROUND SCORE: Sanjay Chakravarthy
  78. Hawa (2003) – BACKGROUND SCORE: Surendra Singh Sodhi
  79. Ab Tak Chhappan (2004) – BACKGROUND SCORE: Salim – Sulaiman
  80. Hum Kaun Hain (2004) – MUSIC: Sanjoy Chowdhury
  81. Vaastu Shastra (2004) – MUSIC: Amar Mohile
  82. 15 Park Avenue (2005) – MUSIC: Jyotishka Dasgupta
  83. Maine Gandhi Ko Nahin Mara (2005) – MUSIC: Bappi Lahiri
  84. Matrubhoomi: A Nation Without Women (2005) – BACKGROUND SCORE: Salim – Sulaiman
  85. Naina (2005) – BACKGROUND SCORE: Salim – Sulaiman
  86. Being Cyrus (2006) – MUSIC: Salim – Sulaiman
  87. Gafla (2006) – MUSIC: Kartik Shah
  88. Parzania (2007) – MUSIC: Zakir Hussai, Taufiq Qureshi
  89. The Pool (2007) – MUSIC: Didier Leplae, Joe Wong.
  90. Phoonk (2008) – MUSIC: Bapi – Tutul
  91. Shoot On Sight (2008) – MUSIC: John Altman
  92. Blue Oranges (2009) – MUSIC: Ajay Panchal
  93. Siddharth – The Prisoner (2009) – MUSIC: Sagar Desai
  94. The President Is Coming (2009) – MUSIC: Siddhartha Khosla (Goldspot)
  95. Harud (2010)
  96. Pairon Talle (2010)
  97. Phoonk 2 (2010) – BACKGROUND SCORE: Dharmaraj Bhatt, Rahul Pandirkar
  98. Rokkk (2010)
  99. The Waiting Room (2010)
  100. Dhobi Ghat (2011) – MUSIC: Gustavo Santaolalla
  101. Kshay (2011) – MUSIC: Siddharth Bhatia, Karan Gour
  102. Gangoobai (2013) – MUSIC: Ved Nair
  103. Horror Story (2013)
  104. The Lunchbox (2013) – MUSIC: Max Richter

Interesting information about some of these films:

  • When Naujawan (1937) was released, there was a bit of a backlash and the producers of the film were accused of cheating audiences by not including songs.
  • Rajat Dholakia won the National Film Award for Music Direction for the film Dharavi (1991) – a rare instance of a film with no songs winning a National Film Award for music.
  • Holi did have this song – “Na Koi” – but this film has been included in the songless list since the song is really part of the film and does not have characteristics of a typical, recorded song. Amir Khan, Ashutosh Gowrikar and other actors can be seen in this song.

[Update : Removed “Current” (1991)  from the list. Per @kaurvaki, it had this song – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SGTjyP6QxpE.]

[Update: Added The Pool, via Ronak Sanghvi.]

[Update: Based on inputs from @p1j – Added Naujawan and Munna. Removed Ek Haseena Thi, Paroma, Suraj Ka Satvan Ghoda and Sanshodhan. They have one or more songs. Songs will be identified and added on MySwar.]

[Update: Numbered. Add interesting info.]

[Update: Added Holi (1984) and Raat (1992) based on input by @FagunB. Added interesting info about Holi.]

[Update: Added Andhaa Yudh (1988) and Ab Tak Chhappan (2004) based on input by @FagunB.]

[Update: Added The Lunchbox (2013).]

[Update: Added hyperlinks to MySwar. Added Damul (1985). Also added a number of other albums based on input from @abhisek_s, @singh_dr@hims_negi, @mpmainka.]

Custom Playlists On MySwar

Many of you have asked about being able to create your own playlists and I’m glad to report that we have rolled out custom playlists now on MySwar.

Custom playlists works pretty much as you would expect them to – All across the website, you’ll see a + sign against songs, provided a YouTube video is available. Clicking the plus sign lets you add the song to a queue (temporary) or lets you add it to a playlist (saved). Adding songs to a playlist requires you to be a registered user. The saved playlists are public and available to anyone who has the playlist URL, so you can share your playlists with friends. One advantage of a MySwar Playlist is that even if a YouTube video disappears, the song stays on the list (just doesn’t get played) and when we add another video back for the song, which we do periodically, your playlists remains intact.

Other than custom playlists, we have also put together a massive package of pre-built playlists of well-rated songs based on a number of things. You have a list of all the songs on MySwar with a rating of three and above – All-time Popular Songs. There is a list of well-rated songs that have released recently – Popular New Releases. A list of well-rated songs by year – one list for every year from 1941 to the present. A list of popular songs by decade. We have a whole bunch of playlists by artists – singers, composers and lyricists. And finally, playlists by genres.

Something to remember about the pre-built, popular playlists – these are shuffle playlists of 25 songs. So even if the actual list has a large number of songs, the packaged playlist will consist of 25 randomly picked songs. You can always get a fresh set of 25 songs by clicking the Shuffle button.

And the first custom playlist on MySwar? My own Kishore Favorites.

Why Lootera Is A Better Music Album Than Raanjhanaa

Before I delve into the post, let me state two things:

  • I’d rather not make comparisons but I saw the albums being compared on social media and was disappointed at how dismissive some people were about Lootera – as if it did not even deserve to be compared with Raanjhanaa! I thought it was important that someone present an alternate view.
  • This is not a comparison between A.R. Rahman and Amit Trivedi. I have the deepest respect for both and love their music. I completely agree with Amit Trivedi when he says “there can’t be another Rahman”. Based on the music he has made so far, I also believe there can’t be another Amit Trivedi.

Now, on to why I believe Lootera is a better album. The answer to that lies partly in why I like Raanjhanaa less. Many have used words like textured and layered to describe Raanjhanaa’s music and they are right, except that I found Raanjhanaa’s music to be too textured. There is a LOT going on and many of those individual elements are brilliant (like the sitar in Banarasiya and how he’s used the KMMC Sufi Ensemble in Piya Milenge), but put together the music feels cluttered. The whole is less than the sum of parts. For example, Ay Sakhi uses the following percussion instruments – tabla, ghatam/matka, drum sticks, dafli, dhol and maybe others that my ears did not catch. It’s overwhelming and not in a pleasant way. The second issue, I have with Raanjhanaa is a very basic one – except for two or three of songs (my favorite being Tu Mun Shudi), I found the songs “unhummable”. A lot has been said about Rahman defying norms (like not using traditional song structures with mukhda/antara) but it isn’t this that makes his music work. It makes his music interesting and it gives his music that unique ARR character. But, what makes his music really work – for me – is the underlying melody. I found Raanjhanaa’s music lacking in this regard.

On the other hand, I love Lootera because it is a collection of simple and beautiful songs. After Barfi, it’s the first album that I liked after a single listen (although it took a few listens for me to get over Sawar Loon’s percussions). Every song is extremely melodic, the singers do a superb job (Monali Thakur, Amitabh Bhattacharya, Amit Trivedi, K. Mohan, Swanand Kirkire and Shilpa Rao will all count Lootera amongst their best work as singers) and I can easily see myself listening to and humming these songs for years to come. A key strength of the album is it’s no fuss, no frill approach. I am not sure if all great things are simple but Lootera’s music certainly supports the adage.

That said, I encourage everyone to buy both these albums – for both albums deserve to be heard – and form their own opinion. I don’t agree with people who wring their hands and claim that the music today ’s music isn’t as good as it used to be. Every generation says that and that’s nostalgic bullshit. I think we’re lucky to be living in the times of composers like A.R. Rahman and Amit Trivedi. It is a privilege to have both of them release albums within days of each other and it is as good a time as any to be a music lover.

MySwar Updates

We shipped a few cool updates to MySwar this morning:

  • Flipkart’s digital music service, Flyte, is now available as a purchase option on the MySwar website. At the album level, you will now see iTunes, Flipkart (for audio CD) and Flyte as options and at the song level iTunes and Flyte. This is subject to availability on iTunes and Flipkart. Currently, we have updated these links for the albums released in 2013 and 2012. We will make links available for the rest of the albums over the next few weeks.Purchase Options
  • Song previews are now available for Indian users. The previews are sourced from iTunes.
  • The Advanced Search results page now displays the number of songs.Advanced Search Result Count
  • Ability to Refresh recommendations in the Discover page (logged in users). We also tuned this page to load faster.
  • Also a number of other improvements and bug fixes.

Hope you like these improvements. Also, if you still haven’t downloaded our mobile app yet, please consider yourself gently nudged to do so. You can find the download links here.