Planet Bollywood
High Notes of 2005
- Aakash Gandhi           Let us know what you think about this feature article

Musically, 2005 has heard some fine creations. More importantly, it witnessed the emergence of some promising new talents. Apart from the on and off commercial success of the industry, we have heard some critically remarkable scores, some of which were praised, and some of which were forgotten.

As far as new talents are concerned, we witnessed two top-notch singers make impressive forays into the world of music direction. First it was Adnan Sami who wowed us with his soulful melodies in Lucky- No Time For Love. Then, Sonu Nigam transformed himself in a very lively pop album, Chanda Ki Doli.

On the flip side, we finally heard the awesome sufi voice of Himesh Reshammiya in Aashiq Banaya Aapne, which took the industry for a ride in August. Also, we felt a touch of the Golden Era in Indian music, as Naushad took the musical reigns in Taj Mahal – An Eternal Love Story.

Another unique feature of 2005 was the re-ignition of Instrumental/Musical Scores. As you will read, many soundtracks feature thematic scores filled with vibrancy, color, and grace. So, without further adieu, I would like to present to you the top twenty soundtracks of the year 2005.

Note: This list comprises of the soundtracks that released during 2005, not the films.

20) DUS

Music: Vishal-Shekhar and Ranjit Barot

Vishal-Shekhar took the nation by storm with their very explosive Dus Bahaane. It was safe to say that these two men were sitting high on the pedestals of the Industry. Saamne Aati Ho and Chham Se were another two numbers that made waves. Although this year hasn’t been as good as last year for V-S, Dus is a great way to start off this countdown of the top twenty soundtracks of 2005.

19) RANG DE BASANTI

Music: A.R. Rahman

It’s safe to say that Rang De Basanti was once of the year’s most anticipated soundtracks. Did it live up to expectations? I guess a little bit more than Mangal Pandey did. Nonetheless, RDB features some powerful tracks, the most noteworthy and historic being Lukka Chuppi, which features the Nightingale Lata Mangeshkar and A.R. Rahman side by side once more. The music is by no means Rahman’s finest, but usually his mediocrity is the Industry’s gem.

18) ZEHER

Music: Roop Kumar Rathod. Re-created by Anu Malik, Mithun Sharma, Naresh Sharma and DJ Suket

It was very interesting to see how this album was credited. We’re still unsure of who to give the credit to! But as far as the music is concerned…the Bhatt’s deliver yet again! However one thing’s for sure: The best track is Woh Lamhe Woh Baatein, and the Bhatt’s never get credit to the Pakistani group “Jal,” who is responsible for the fantastic number. All plagiarism aside, the soundtrack features a very melodious Agar Tum Mil Jao and Aye Bekhabar. Let this enchanting soundtrack play itself over and over again in your hearts.

17) LUCKY-NO TIME FOR LOVE

Music: Adnan Sami

Yes! Adnan Sami finally composes for a filmi soundtrack and wows! Arguably the best track Jaan Meri Jaa Rahi, is one of the best romantic pieces of recent times. His trademark dholaks and passionate vocals cast themselves all over this one. Whether it’s Shaayad Yehi To Pyaar Hai, Chori Chori, or Sun Zara, Sami impresses big time! Let’s just hope he signs more projects in the near future.

16) MAIN MERI PATNI AUR WOH

Music: Rajendra Shiv, Mohit Chauhan and Nayab-Raja

One of the many ignored soundtrack of the year, Main Meri Patni Aur Who boasts of a few fresh composers and some wicked-cool tunes. Doob Jaana by Rajendra Shiv was shot down before anybody even knew it existed. This is one of those tunes that takes mere seconds to grow on you. Mohit Chauhan’s Guncha and Paintra are as different as black and white but both are ingenious. Lyrics are a huge plus to this soundtrack as well. It earns itself a very well-deserving entrance to the list at No. 16.

15) SEHAR

Music: Daniel B. George

Adding to the list of disregarded albums is Sehar. George is a fresh addition to composing group, as he comes up with a different group of songs. Most notably we have Alka Yagnik’s beautifully rendered Sapno Ka Sheher Ho and Palkein Jhukaao Naa, which thankfully appears in two versions! Neelam Jain and Swanand Kirkire do wonders in their version. Shubha Mudgal makes a rare appearance in filmi soundtracks with Nakhredaar. George’s composing style could be compared to that of Rahman. Swanand Kirkire and Nilanjana Kishore write some very impressive lyrics as always. Sehar is one of the year’s best.

14) U BOMSI N ME

Music: Deepak Pandit, Niraj Sridhar (Bombay Viking) and Josh

U Bomsi N Me has a balanced mix of romance, bhangra, and pop. Now in how many soundtracks can you get such a nice mix? The best piece would have to be Josh’s namesake number, Josh Naal, which simply rocks this album! Dil Kahin Kho Gaya and Tu Kaha Kho Gaya are a pair of beautiful romantic pieces and Niraj of Bombay Vikings comes up with a piece from their most recent album Chod Do Aanchal Zamana Kya Kahega. A group of fresh tunes from a group of hot composers.

13) HOME DELIVERY

Music: Vishal-Shekhar

Vishal-Shekhar make their second appearance on this year’s list with their most recent full-fledged offering, Home Delivery. One term comes to mind when describing HD: Breezy. The soundtrack is so smooth, every piece carries with it the same consisten quality, freshness, and flavor. Chand Ki Roshni, Khushboo Churaati and Kaash are a few remarkable tracks by the duo, who have an even brighter future ahead. Here’s to a prosperous and rewarding career for the two “hip-hop fakers.”

12) TAJ MAHAL – AN ETERNAL LOVE STORY

Music: Naushad

Instrumental Value: 9 pieces

Naushad himself takes on the task of composing for this “Eternal Love Story.” This goes to show that it’s hard to compete with the music of the golden era. Ajnabi Tehro Zaraa and Ishq Ki Daastaan are a pair of splendid tunes. This is where the Instrumental/Thematic Score permeates into the music scene. Taj Mahal was distributed in 2 CDs, one with the songs and one with the theme tracks. The instrumental score by Naushad is equally impressive, as you know they played a huge role in the background of the film. Bravo to Naushad for teaching the new generation a little about traditional filmi music, and giving the older generation a taste of nostalgia. Bravo.

11) PAHELI

Music: M.M. Kreem

When M.M. Kreem’s name is on the cover of an album, you know it’s going to be special. Paheli is no different, as it featured Rajasthani folk like we’ve never heard it before. Dheere Jalna could easily be one of the greatest pieces of the year. This Kreem soundtrack played a huge role in the success of the film and let’s see if it plays a huge role in getting Paheli a nomination at this year’s Oscars.

10) KASAK

Music: M.M. Kreem

M.M. Kreem makes back to back appearances on the list with Kasak. Once again, you can add this to the pile of forgotten soundtracks. Kreem reverts to his normal ways with some innovative sounds and catchy melodies. But what was most surprising about this album was lyricist Sameer. It’s hard to imagine how and why Kreem picked Sameer over his normal greatrs like Neelesh Mishra and Sayeed Qadri. But surprisingly, Sameer lives up to the task and compliments Kreem’s compositions nicely. Oh and by the way, Lucky Ali lends his envied voice in Kasak as well. I don’t think you have a reason not give this soundtrack a try!

9) YAHAAN

Music: Shantanu Moitra and Nizami Bandhu

After Kreem and Moitra battled it out earlier this year with Parineeta and Paheli, they take it to round 2, as Yahaan and Kasak battle for placement on the list of the years finest offerings. Shantanu Moitra is no stranger to the industry anymore and Yahaan proves why this man is a major force to reckon with. Shreya Ghoshal should gain recognition for her renditions in Naam Adha Likhna, Urzu Urzu Durkut, and Mele Chaliyan. All three of these pieces are amazing! Gulzar makes a rare appearance and wow’s with his words in Naam Adha Likhna among others. Nizami Bandhu shares with us a couple of purely classical tunes that will yield mixed results. All in all, this is an inspiring album by Mr. Shantanu Moitra.

8) KALYUG

Music: Anu Malik, Suhail Hyatt, Faisal Rafi and Gohar Mumtaz (Jal)

Besides Nazar, the Bhatt’s are virtually flawless when it comes to choosing music to go with their film. Kalyug not only breaks boundaries cinematically but musically as well, as they borrow the rights of Pakistani band “Jal”’s Aadat. Aadat is by far the best track in the soundtrack and appears in multiple versions. It’s a Bhatt film, please go and get this soundtrack.

7) HOLIDAY

Music: Ranjit Barot

The Bhatt’s strike again. But this time, we’re raising the bar. Let’s zero in on Ms. Pooja Bhatt. Is there any other film personality who has a better taste in music? First it was Jism. Then it was Paap. And now it’s Holiday. Ranjit Barot has not had much scope in the industry. It could be because he’s too busy hiding behind Anu Malik. Whatever the reason, he’s making a huge mistake because his talents are extraordinary. Holiday is a great soundtrack and features some very energetic, as well as touching pieces. The fact that it is a Pooja Bhatt film should be enough for you to go to the store and pick yourself up a copy of Holiday.

6) BLACK FRIDAY

Music: Indian Ocean

Indian Ocean is an independent music group that has had success with their previous offerings. For those of you who are not familiar with Black Friday; it is supposed to be a fascinating documentary on the ’93 bombay blasts that rocked the entire nation. Although the film awaits approval from the Higher Court to release the music has released with a bang! If the film is half as good as the music, then we’re in for a treat. Indian Ocean comprises of four men with a vengeance. Black Friday is a haunting score that tells an even darker story…

5) MY BROTHER...NIKHILMusic: Vivek Phillip and Josh

My Brother…Nikhil is a touching soundtrack that tells tragic tale of an AIDS victim. Phillip’s score is remarkable in many ways. Not only are his compositions soft, they’re lyrics by Amitabh Varna are almost as touching as the story itself. Le Chale is arguably the year’s best song, which is rendered in three different versions by Shaan, K.K., and Sunidhi Chauhan. The soulful instrumentals give a sense of the silenced pain the victim has suffered. Josh makes an incredible contribution to the soundtrack with Kabhi. Listen to My Brother…Nikhil, and be touched in ways you’ve never been touched before.

4) BOSE- THE FORGOTTEN HERO

Music: A.R. Rahman

Instrumental Value: 13 pieces

This might as well have been titled “Bose – The Forgotten Film and Music.” It’s sad to see how the distributors toyed with Mr. Benegal by giving him virtually no promotion and no distribution. Naturally, the music is going to suffer as well. Rahman has already mentioned his disappointment but he should be proud of the brilliant score that he created regardless of if it gets any attention. Bose has so many incredible pieces I don’t even know hwere to begin. From Azaadi, which is eerily similar to his Vande Mataram piece, to Ekla Chalo, all the scores are so pure in nature. Sonu Nigam gets my award for best singer for his valiant effort in Desh Ki Mitti. With Bose is where the dosage of instrumentals comes strong. All in all there are thirteen instrumentals. These aren’t just any instrumentals; they go back in time and travel across the world to give us a brilliant thematic score. Rahman outdo himself once again, finding new and innovative ways to present us with stunning melodies and captivating compositions.

3) WATER

Music: Songs: A.R. Rahman Score: Mychael Danna

Instrumental Value: 15 pieces

If you’re an A.R. Rahman fan, then this was the one soundtrack you’ve been waiting for for over 5 years, and it finally released this past December. Unfortunately, entire soundtrack is banned in India, just as the film is. Anyhow, Rahman rates this as his only composition for which he would give a 10 on 10. His five songs are of class and dignity. With a couple of ghazal/classical pieces, one rapid tune, and another Holi piece, Water is a nice assortment of sorts. However, the true hero of Water is Mychael Danna, who passes with flying colors. His knowledge of Eastern/Indian classical is uncanny, as you would never guess a westerner could compose such music. His use of the santoor, sitar, flute, and strings are superior and his score of fifteen pieces is nothing short of a masterpiece. A very moving score to accomplish a very moving film. It’s just a shame that the project is banned in the country it serves to enlighten.

2) BLACK

Music: Monty

The relationship a director has with his composer is a fascinating one at times. This isn’t the first time Monty ha worked with Sanjay Leela Bhansali, as they’ve hooked up for the background score in Devdas and Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam as well. Here we have a score filled with instrumentals, except for one song by Gayatri Iyer. Every single piece invigorates your soul with the eternal melody of BLACK. The touching tale of Michelle and Debraj Sahai is one that has awakened millions of people. It’s safe to say that the film wouldn’t nearly have had the same effect if it wasn’t for Monty’s masterpiece of a score to fill itself behind ever set. Words will do no justice to the awe-inspiring music by Monty.

1) PARINEETA

Music: Shantanu Moitra

We’ve finally reached the No. 1 soundtrack of the year and it’s hard not to choose Shantanu Moitra’s Parineeta. This was definitely one score that was noticed for its breezy melodies and beautiful renditions; not to mention the fresh lyrics of Swanand Kirkire. When it’s nearly impossible to pick a favorite, you know you have yourself something special, as is the case with Parineeta. Actually, I’m not even going to try to pick a favorite. Just listen to anyone and you’ll know the essence of the soundtrack. Chitra should receive an award for her remarkable rendition in Raat Hamari To, as should Sonu Nigam for his rendition in Soona Mann Ka Aangan. With Yahaan and Parineeta, Shantanu Moitra has carved himself a nice place in the filmi music scene. Parineeta is nothing short of splendor, and Shantanu Moitra is nothing short of an exceptional composer.

Here’s a list of some other soundtracks that just missed the list: Bluffmaster, Chocolate, Garam Masala, Hanuman, The Film, Managal Pandey, Kuch Meetha Ho Jaaye, Shikhar and Dil Jo Bhi Kahey.

It’s sad to see the close of a great musical year, but we can always look forward to 2006 to bring us more vibrant and more unique music. There are some huge projects hitting the floor next year so you never know what can happen – Hey, it’s Bollywood!


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