Category Archives: Music

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.

 

1930s Hindi Film Music – Now Available on MySwar

We had promised in February to complete the task of cataloguing the first decade of Hindi film music, starting with “Alam Ara” (1931), by April. We’re happy to report that the task is done right on time. MySwar now lists all the films released between 1931 and 1940 and their songs.

At this point, the data for film names, song listings and music related credits is complete to the extent that we have information for them. We have updated credits for directors, actors, banners for some of the films but this remains a work in progress. The task of linking to YouTube and iTunes (where available) is also in progress.

We hope you find this effort useful and invite any feedback you may have.

MySwar Updates

We’ve been busy making MySwar better these past few months and although we’re far from done, it’s a good time to review two of these updates:

  1. A few months ago, we started entering information for Hindi films released between 1931 and 1940. In a first pass, we entered the most important films released in this decade – films like “Alam Ara” (1931), “Devdas” (1935) and “Street Singer” (1938). In a second pass, we started filling in information for the remaining films. As of now, we’re done with the filmography for the period 1931 to 1936. Work on the period 1937 and 1940 is currently in progress. We expect this work to be done by April.
  2. MySwar now provides listing of albums by Label and listings of films by Banner/Production house. Labels displayed on album listing pages and on album pages are now hyperlinked. So is the Production company displayed on the album page. One cool thing about these listings are that we have linked related labels and production houses to provide a consolidated listing. For example, Polydor and Music India labels were merged into Universal and so clicking on either of the three gives the same consolidated listing. Same for NFDC and National Film Development Corporation Of India.

Please check out these updates and share any feedback you may have.

2016 Bollywood Music Review and Top 20 Songs

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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)

Change in MySwar domain

Earlier this week, some of us observed that myswar.com was inaccessible. We had recently moved to a new hosting provider and our first thought was that it was an issue at their end. Further investigation, however, revealed that we were most likely the target of a court order that had ISPs blocking our website. The court order is backed by Section 169A of the IT Act, 2008. We’re not the first website to have been subjected to this arbitrary and draconian law. Websites like Vimeo, Github and Mouthshut have been subjected to such blocks in the past.

One of the biggest issues of such blocks is that the targets have no idea who initiated the block and why. While we will explore legal options to remove the block, with our limited resources, this is going to be extremely difficult.

To work around this issue in the short term, we have moved our domain to http://myswar.in. This comes at great cost to us in terms of our branding and the goodwill of users who’ve encouraged us through the years. Unfortunately, this appears to be our best option for now. The block has also resulted in our apps not working. We’re working to publish the updated versions of the apps by next week.

As experts have noted, copyright owners are increasingly using court orders to mass block torrents and piracy sites around the time major films are released. Unfortunately, this process unfairly sweeps up legal, smaller websites like ours. In an attempt to address this problem, we will defer publishing of film albums to after this period.

We sincerely regret the inconvenience caused to our users and hope that they’ll stay with us while we figure out a long term solution.

The Top 100 Hindi Film Songs Of 2015

As 2015 draws to a close, it is time to revisit the best songs of the year. This is the first draft of the year’s top 100 songs based on rankings on MySwar. We will finalize the rankings in a few weeks. This list excludes singles released recently for which the album will likely not be released in 2015. It also excludes multiple versions of songs (only the top rated version is considered). Please login on MySwar and rate your favorite songs to make your opinion count. For the complete list of film albums released in 2015, head here.

The top 100 Hindi film songs of 2015:

  1. Aaj Ibaadat (Bajirao Mastani)
  2. Dhadkanen Goonjti Dhadaam Dhadaam (Bombay Velvet)
  3. Ho Gaya Hai Pyar Tumse (Tanu Weds Manu Returns)
  4. Bas Darwaze Pe Ek Darbaan Hai (Bombay Velvet)
  5. Agar Tum Saath Ho (Tamasha)
  6. Gulaabo (Shaandaar)
  7. Judaai / Chadariya Jheeni Re Jheeni (Badlapur)
  8. Albela Sajan (Bajirao Mastani)
  9. Mohe Rang Do Laal (Bajirao Mastani)
  10. Sapna Jahan (Brothers)
  11. Moh Moh Ke Dhaage (Dum Laga Ke Haisha)
  12. Shaam Shaandaar (Shaandaar)
  13. Matargashti (Tamasha)
  14. Jee Karda (Badlapur)
  15. Aayat (Bajirao Mastani)
  16. Pinga (Bajirao Mastani)
  17. Aam Hindustani (Bombay Velvet)
  18. Mohabbat Buri Bimari (Bombay Velvet)
  19. Sylvia (Bombay Velvet)
  20. Saanware (Phantom)
  21. Bezuban (Piku)
  22. Deewani Mastani (Bajirao Mastani)
  23. Le Chal Mujhe (Reprise) (NH 10)
  24. Piku (Piku)
  25. Banno (Tanu Weds Manu Returns)
  26. Jeena Jeena (Badlapur)
  27. Meri Zid (Bangistan)
  28. Tu Koi Aur Hai (Tamasha)
  29. O Sathi Mere (Tanu Weds Manu Returns)
  30. Maula (Bangistan)
  31. Dum Ghutta Hai (Drishyam)
  32. Khoya Khoya (Hero)
  33. Main Jo (NH 10)
  34. Sooraj Dooba Hai Yaaron (Roy)
  35. Main Ghani Bawri (Tanu Weds Manu Returns)
  36. Main Tujhse Pyar Nahin Karta (Baby)
  37. Tu Jo Mila (Bajrangi Bhaijaan)
  38. Zindagi (Reprise) (Bajrangi Bhaijaan)
  39. Behroopia (Bombay Velvet)
  40. Naak Pe Gussa (Bombay Velvet)
  41. Janam Janam (Dilwale)
  42. O Tan Mein Sooiyan Sooiyan Si (Guddu Rangeela)
  43. Hamari Adhuri Kahani (Hamari Adhuri Kahani)
  44. Dekhe Meri Aankhon Mein Jo (Main Aur Charles)
  45. Journey Song (Piku)
  46. Raita Phail Gaya (Shaandaar)
  47. Chali Kahani (Tamasha)
  48. Old School Girl (Tanu Weds Manu Returns)
  49. Ab Tohe Jane Na Doongi (Bajirao Mastani)
  50. Jaata Kahan Hai Deewane (Bombay Velvet)
  51. The Bombay Velvet Theme (Bombay Velvet)
  52. Gerua (Dilwale)
  53. Carbon Copy (Drishyam)
  54. Prem’s Theme (Dum Laga Ke Haisha)
  55. Turram Khan (Hawaizaada)
  56. Chori Chori (Hunterrr)
  57. Ove Janiya (Katti Batti)
  58. Woh Toh Yahin Hai Lekin (Main Aur Charles)
  59. Dusokute (Margarita With A Straw)
  60. Tu Kisi Rail Si Guzarti Hai (Masaan)
  61. Naina Tose Laage (Male) (Meeruthiya Gangsters)
  62. Chhil Gaye Naina (NH 10)
  63. Khoney De (NH 10)
  64. Teri Meri Baatein (Piku)
  65. Life’s A Bitch (Detective Byomkesh Bakshy!)
  66. Bachpan (Hunterrr)
  67. Ye Naa Gade (Hunterrr)
  68. Mat Ja Re (Tanu Weds Manu Returns)
  69. Tere Bin (Wazir)
  70. Subah Ka Aaghaaz (Once Upon A Time In Bihar)
  71. Sun Saathiya (ABCD: Any Body Can Dance 2)
  72. Hawaizaada Dil (Hawaizaada)
  73. Jab We Met (Hero)
  74. Sau Aasoon (Katti Batti)
  75. Piddly Si Baatein (Shamitabh)
  76. Khulne Lagi Zindagi (The Perfect Girl)
  77. Oh Jaaniya (Wedding Pullav)
  78. Lazfe Bayaan (Barkhaa)
  79. Tu Itni Khoobsurat Hai (Barkhaa)
  80. Baat Ek Hai (Guru Dakshina)
  81. Bezubaan Phir Se (ABCD: Any Body Can Love 2)
  82. Chunar (ABCD: Any Body Can Love 2)
  83. If You Hold My Hand (ABCD: Any Body Can Love 2)
  84. Hogi Kranti (Bangistan)
  85. Conspiracy (Bombay Velvet)
  86. Ka Kha Ga (Bombay Velvet)
  87. Tommy Gun (Bombay Velvet)
  88. Byomkesh In Love (Detective Byomkesh Bakshy!)
  89. Chase In Chinatown (Detective Byomkesh Bakshy!)
  90. Jaanam (Detective Byomkesh Bakshy!)
  91. Premika (Dilwale)
  92. Tukur Tukur (Dilwale)
  93. Hansi (Male) (Hamari Adhuri Kahani)
  94. Dil-E-Naadan (Hawaizaada)
  95. Maazaa My Lord (Hawaizaada)
  96. Hunterrr 303 (Hunterrr)
  97. Naina (Hunterrr)
  98. Lip To Lip (Katti Batti)
  99. Mar Jaayein (Lovesshuda)
  100. I Need A Man (Margarita With A Straw)

You can find the Top 100 Bollywood songs of the last few years here – 2012, 2013, 2014. For a journey back in time, here’s our list of popular songs by year or by decade.

[Updated Jan 4: Rankings updated to reflect additional user ratings.]

MySwar Mobile Web Version Now Available

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Over the last few weeks, we rolled out mobile web updates to the MySwar website. When you access myswar.in from a mobile device, you’ll see an easy-to-navigate, mobile-friendly version. Almost every feature available available on the desktop website is available in the mobile web version. While the UI is different, the flow is very similar to the flow of the desktop website. The mobile website is intuitive but do take time out the check out the feature-rich, context-sensitive Settings option. Depending on what page you are in, the Settings pop-up provides you options to do various things including starting a playlist, filtering lists, logging in, changing the display language and switching to the destop UI. We hope you enjoy this update.

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.

MySwar App Now Available In Hindi

Updated on Mar 12, 2015: The MySwar Android app is also available in Hindi now.

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A little more than a year ago, we had announced the availability of content on MySwar in Hindi in addition to English. We finally got to roll out an update that makes Hindi content available on the MySwar iOS app and the MySwar Android app as well.

Pretty much all content on the app, artist bios and trivia being exceptions, is now available in Hindi. Just go to Settings -> Language -> Choose “हिन्दी में” and Voila! As in the website, regardless of the Language setting in the app, you can search for songs/albums/artists by typing in either English or Devanagari.

Here’s a quick view of how the language setting works:

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2014 Bollywood Music Review

2014

2014 was not a great year for Hindi film music. The Indian Express carried a bleak piece discussing the death of Hindi film music in 2014. We have observed the rise of multi-composer albums and albums riding on one or two item songs for a few years now. This trend continued in 2014. The other thing that happened in 2014 was that there were fewer solid, single-composer albums to offset the mediocre ones. For example, while 2014 had only Queen, Haider and Highway as the hit-the-ball-out-of-the-park albums, 2013 had Lootera, Kai Po Che, Raanjhana, Aashiqui 2, Yeh Jawani Hai Diwani, Bhaag Milka Bhaag and D-Day.

Moving on, to digging deeper into the year. 2014 saw the release of 142 films with 982 songs between them.

The year saw the passing away of Chandrashekhar Gadgil, Juthika Roy, Raghunath Seth and Sitara Devi. It also saw influx of new talent. Some of the notable debuts of 2014 were:

The most prolific composers in 2014 were:

  1. A.R. Rahman – 7 films, 68 songs
  2. Himesh Reshammiya – 4 films, 46 songs
  3. Shankar – Ehsaan – Loy – 4 films, 24 songs
  4. Vishal – Shekhar – 3 films, 24 songs

Since Rahman’s list includes 2 Hollywood films (“Million Dollar Arm” and “The Hundred-Foot Journey”) and 3 Tamil films dubbed in Hindi (“Kochadaiiyaan”, “Lingaa” and “I”), we have included 4 composers in this list instead of the usual 3.

The most prolific lyricists in 2014 were:

  1. Kumaar – 22 films, 60 songs
  2. Irshad Kamil – 9 films, 55 songs
  3. Amitabh Bhattacharya – 8 films, 39 songs

Kumaar tops the lyricist list again. As we had mentioned last year, the disconnect between how much he gets talked about and the volume of his work output is stark. Other than Irshad Kamil and Amitabh Bhattacharya switching spots, this list is the same as last year’s. The stability of this list gives us an indication of how much value Bollywood places on these three lyricists.

The most prolific male singers of 2014 were:

  1. Arijit Singh – 62 songs
  2. Mika Singh – 37 songs
  3. Himesh Reshammiya – 22 songs

If 2013, with Aashiqui 2, was Arijit Singh’s breakout year, 2014 was the year he established his dominance. With 62 songs, he ruled the charts and the airwaves. Despite murmurs of “over-exposure”, Arijit has managed to appeal to both the masses and the critics. Mika Singh’s presence on this list shows Bollywood’s continued and, for us, inexplicable, fascination for his voice and/or the genre he represents. Singer Himesh Reshammiya can thank music director Himesh Reshammiya for all the songs he got to sing in 2014.

The most prolific female singers of 2014 were:

  1. Neeti Mohan – 42 songs
  2. Shreya Ghoshal – 32 songs
  3. Shalmali Kholgade – 21 songs

The careers of Neeti Mohan and Shalmali Kholgade continue to be on the rise and deservedly so. Shreya Ghoshal is still placed comfortably although she seems to have lost a bit of her sheen. It is very clear that Sunidhi Chauhan is getting fewer offers, although, as you’ll see below, the songs she does sing are well-liked.

Finally, based on a combination of ratings and number of well-rated songs in 2014, the most popular artists of 2014 were:

  1. Most popular composers: A.R. Rahman, Shankar – Ehsaan – Loy, Vishal – Shekhar, Pritam
  2. Most popular lyricists: Amitabh Bhattacharya, Gulzar, Irshad Kamil
  3. Most popular male singers: Arijit Singh, Vishal Dadlani, Papon
  4. Most popular female singers: Shreya Ghoshal, Neeti Mohan, Sunidhi Chauhan