MY FAVOURITE A.R. RAHMAN SONGS (PART 1: 1992-1999)

So, I had asked my followers on Twitter which composer they would like me to make a list on about my favourite songs by that composer. The options were A.R. Rahman, Jatin-Lalit, Anu Malik and Nadeem-Shravan, four of the most prominent Bollywood composers in the 90s. Of course, only one of them is just as relevant now as he was then, and that is Mr. A.R. Rahman, and maybe that’s the reason he ended up winning this poll.

My Favourite A.R. Rahman Songs from 1992-1999

But then I thought, How am I ever, ever going to cover my favourite ARR songs in one post? The man has so far had a very illustrious career in the music industry, ranging from Tamil to Hindi and even making us proud by composing entire soundtracks for so many Hollywood feature films! So I thought of splitting my post about him into four parts. Or maybe three. Let’s see. Also I’m sure I can’t limit myself in number of songs in such posts, so for whatever composer it may be, I will list as many songs as I feel, really deserve to be listed! So let’s get started with my favourite songs of A.R. Rahman from 1992 to 1999!

P.S. The following list is in order of release of the movies.

P.P.S: Including dubbed Hindi versions of the songs as well, because there are some real gems in those albums. 🙂

Here’s the Saavn playlist so you can listen along.

Song titles listed in pink have been added on 15/7/2019 — a few songs I missed in 2018 and had to add now that I have caught up on them. They have been added on the Saavn playlist as well 🙂


1. Chhoti Si Asha (Roja; 1992)

Singer: Minmini, Lyrics by: P.K. Mishra, Music Label: Magnasound Media Pvt. Ltd.

Well, Wikipedia tells me that initially, Alka Yagnik was going to sing this song, one of my most favourite songs from when I was a child, but due to date issues, it had to be sung by Minmini, who sang the original Tamil version as well. And little did I know then that this song marked the debut of a young composer who would later on be so influential and bring a sound revolution to Bollywood! This song’s composition is like a dream realised in the mode of a song, and the lyrics, even though they’re dubbed, resonate in some way with each and every one of us! And that iconic opening flute just fills you with happiness whenever you hear it. Enjoy!

2. Yeh Haseen Vaadiyaan (Roja; 1992)

Singers: S.P. Balasubrahmanyam & K.S. Chithra, Lyrics by: P.K. Mishra, Music Label: Magnasound Media Pvt. Ltd.

Another classic from the historic debut album of the maestro, this one is a lilting romantic number that gives me goosebumps everytime I listen to it. SPB and Chithra complement each other oh so well, and the song really reaches its peak when the singers sing “Mere jaane jaan…” The sensuous composition by Rahman and the digital beats that accompany it, are well managed, and Mishra’s lyrics are spot on!

3. Roja Jaanemann (Version 2) [Roja; 1992]

Singer: Hariharan & Sujatha Mohan, Lyrics by P.K. Mishra, Music Label: Magnasound Media Pvt Ltd.

I promise, the 26 years late ‘Roja’ madness will be over; this is the last one! But I love them all so much, especially this one and especially one of the songs I’m cutting out (Bharat Humko) and just had to insert this one here because… It’s so good!! Deliberately listing the Hariharan version because hey, his aalaaps are goosebumps-inducing and also, SPB got his Roja song on this list. Sujatha Mohan’s haunting humming throughout the song is just 😍.

After that he did a number of Tamil films, which definitely were dubbed in Hindi, but I’ve heard only some of those songs, and I like even fewer.

4. Muqabala Muqabala (Hum Se Hai Muqabala; 1995)

Singers: Mano & Swarnalatha, Lyrics by P.K. Mishra, Music Label: Venus

This has become a dance anthem, thanks to Prabhudheva’s moves in this song, and the beats are just as worthy of making this song so popular. The quirky (though bad) lyrics help the song sound silly but likeable, and Rahman’s tune is really catchy — the song isn’t so famous for nothing!

5. Sun Ri Sakhi (Hum Se Hai Muqabala; 1995)

Singer: Hariharan, Lyrics by P.K. Mishra, Music Label: Venus

Rahman experiments a lot with strings and tablas in this one, a beautifully charming romantic number that melts your heart by sweetness. Hariharan gracefully renders Rahman’s just as sweet tune, and it results in a song that I’d listen to for years to come.

6. Kehna Hi Kya (Bombay; 1995)

Singer: K.S. Chithra, Lyrics by Mehboob, Music Label: Universal Music India Pvt. Ltd.

I don’t think I know a soul on this planet who has heard this song and doesn’t like it, except for the 567 souls who have disliked it on YouTube. God bless their ears. This song is a showcase of Rahman’s versatility, composing such a heart touching composition and adorning it with splendid tablas, santoor (I believe) and the Qawwali part which he sings (again, I believe) is so beautiful. Chithra’s voice us as sweet as honey, and the way she pronounced “Unhe” is adorable. The most iconic portion of the song is probably the rushed female chorus, awkwardly trying to fit Mehboob’s lyrics into Rahman’s tune that goes too fast, but it’s an immortal classic by now and we all enjoy it so, nothing more can be said!

 7. Tu Hi Re (Bombay; 1995)

Singers: Hariharan & Kavita Krishnamurthy, Lyrics by: Mehboob, Music Label: Universal Music India Pvt. Ltd.

Now don’t tell me you came here looking for my favourite Rahman songs and didn’t expect me to include this gem. Yes, it’s highly popular and it’s quite surprising to see such craze for a dubbed Hindi song! I mean, the recent dubbed albums by Rahman almost went unnoticed! Rahman’s lilting composition gives me the goosebumps everytime and Hariharan’s silky smooth voice is the USP of the song, coupled with Kavita Krishnamurthy’s strong “Aayi re..” followed by a whole stanza sung by her. The plucked strings give the song its necessary haunting touch, and that high portion in the antara is composition at its best.

8. Hai Rama (Rangeela; 1995)

Singers: Hariharan & Swarnalatha, Lyrics by: Mehboob, Music Label: Tips Music

Yet again, another song you should have expected to feature here even before clicking the link. Indian Classical music is one of the best pacifiers in the world, and in ‘Hai Rama’, Rahman creates a very sensuous atmosphere with the opening music itself — a Bandish from the Raaga Puriya Dhanashree starts the song off supported by the ever faithful tanpura, followed by addictive percussion (Thavil?) and again, immersive strings. The melody only starts and makes things even better. Here, Hariharan sounds quite different from what he did in his previous songs with Rahman, all the gentle qualities shed off and he assumes more of a bold voice here, while Late Swarnalatha does wonders with her voice. 😍 The interludes in this song are amazing, again relying on percussion, flutes and low pitched vocals that are so haunting. The sound Rahman has introduced with this song should have been utilised more by other composers, but I somehow think they would never have accomplished it and hence, didn’t try.

9. Pyaar Yeh Jaane Kaisa Hai (Rangeela; 1995)

Singers: Kavita Krishnamurthy & Suresh Wadkar, Lyrics by Mehboob, Music Label: Tips Music

Now this song is a showcase of Rahman’s splendid work with strings. The same string loop plays repeatedly in the background, never sounding tedious, but making the song more inmersive and accentuating the melody along with enhancing the listening experience. The thumping sounds Rahman included alongside that violin loop, are great and the interludes yet again, are a class apart, especially the violin solo from 2:40 to 3:10 in the video below. And what can one say about Kavita Krishnamurthy’s voice? The great Suresh Wadkar himself, with all due respect to him, fizzles out in front of her. Rahman must make such songs again!

10. Tanha Tanha (Rangeela; 1995)

Singer: Asha Bhosle, Lyrics by Mehboob, Music Label: Tips Music

Again, splendid work with strings and flutes makes this song stand out. With a distinct oriental sound, this one is a great song to listen to when you want to chill out. Asha Bhosle’s naughty voice makes her sound younger than she ever had before, and every time I listen to the song, she reminds me why she is my favourite Mangeshkar sister. I’ve spoken less about Rahman with this song, because the maestro very graciously sits back and let’s Asha ji do her thing while he adds mere digital beats during her vocal portions, and steps forward for the mind blowing prelude and interludes.

11. Yaaron Sun Lo Zara (Rangeela; 1995)

Singers: Udit Narayan & K.S. Chithra, Lyrics by Mehboob, Music Label: Tips Music

Hey, stop complaining about this whole list being about ‘Rangeela’! It is my favourite album from the 90s and I’ve no qualms in including all the songs from it on the list (don’t worry, I won’t!) Also how can I ignore Aamir Khan? All the others have been picturized on Jackie Shroff. This song is one of my favorites for a reason — the upbeat composition by Rahman doesn’t impend him from adding cool stuff with strings, especially in the interludes, where the entire orchestra pitches in. And that quirky sound at the beginning is so iconic! Again, Chitra sounds so cute with her Hindi pronunciation, and Udit Narayan as always sounds young. He still does. That doesn’t mean we should remake this song, Bollywood.

12. Telephone Dhun Mein (Hindustani; 1996)

Singers: Hariharan & Kavita Krishnamurthy, Lyrics by P.K. Mishra, Music Label: Tips Music

One of the most exemplary songs when it comes to bad Tamil to Hindi dubbing, this one actually has a strong and catchy ‘Dhun’, and it seems like a sign for things to come as Rahman would compose something similar five years later for ‘Lagaan’ in the song ‘Ghanan Ghanan’. Hariharan again, changes all preconceptions about him, and sings wonderfully even in a calm but fun dance number. Rahman does his job great with the nice percussions.

13. Awaara Bhanwre (Sapnay; 1997)

Singers: Hema Sardesai & Malaysia Vasudevan, Lyrics by Javed Akhtar, Music Label: Saregama 

Thankfully this dud of a movie had good music. This song is an ode to nature of sorts, and Rahman’s catchy composition is so beautiful. Sadly, my friends think that this song is an original song from the Pears (or was it Ponds) TVC. Rahman’s inclusion of the hill tribe folk music in the interludes is engaging, as are the catchy but minimalistic beats which the melody is based on. Hema Sardesai sounds a lot better here than she does in Anu Malik songs.

14. Chanda Re (Sapnay; 1997)

Singers: Sadhana Sargam & Hariharan, Lyrics by Javed Akhtar, Music Label: Saregama

If this list were in the order of my favourite song to my least favourite song, this one would be somewhere at the very top. The beautiful santoor tune that follows the hook line each time, is goosebumps-inducing, and Hariharan singing the high notes along with Sadhana Sargam’s beautiful voice, are a treat to listen to. The composition of ‘Inn dhundhli dhundhli..” is so ravishing! Javed Akhtar’s lyrics are heart warming as well.

15. Shabba Shabba (Daud; 1997)

Singers: Ranu Mukherjee, Sonu Nigam & Neeraj Vora, Lyrics by Mehboob, Music Label: Tips Music

This song is just as addictive as the characters in the film find whatever it is they’re drinking. I’ve never heard of the singer Ranu Mukherjee, but I commend ARR for finding her because her voice is so perfect for this song. Sonu Nigam seems to be struggling to create a husky voice texture, but Rahman’s addictive tune and wonderful tribal folksy music makes up for it. And don’t miss interlude 2, with an amazing, amazing violin portion!

16. Yeh Jaan (Daud; 1997)

Singers: Kavita Krishnamurthy & Vinod Rathod, Lyrics by Mehboob, Music Label: Tips Music

Another one along the lines of ‘Pyar Yeh Jaane Kaisa’ (Rangeela), this one is another sensuous romantic song. This time though, substituting the strings that repeated in that song, is a low pitched tuba, that sounds just as majestic. The legendarily low pitched Vinod Rathod complement Krishnamurthy well, and the slow and haunting tune by Rahman works wonders. Also, is it just me or does the tube remind you of ‘Roja Jaanemann’ too?

17. Ajooba (Jeans; 1998)

Singers: Hariharan & Sadhana Sargam, Lyrics by Javed Akhtar, Music Label: T-Series

One of my childhood favourites, this song is as beautiful as whatever the most beautiful thing you can think of is. Name it, and this song is more beautiful if not as beautiful, as it. With that impressive flute melody, you cant really go wrong. And Hariharan. And Sadhana Sargam. What can go wrong? And nothing seems to have, even in the picturization. Aishwarya Rai. The seven wonders of the world. What else can you ask for! 😍

18. Tauba Tauba (Jeans; 1998)

Singers: Hariharan & Anuradha Sriram, Lyrics by Javed Akhtar, Music Label: T-Series

Yet another song that looks as wonderful as it sounds, with Rahman doing a great job with the percussion and the intermittent Qawwali touches. Hariharan obviously sounds great; by the end of this list it’ll probably be 1000 times I say it. Again, great work with the folksy sounds that Rahman has produced for the song, especially the Dandiya and the claps etc. The female chorus is wonderful and Anuradha’s haubting humming is a nice addition. Javed Akhtar’s lyrics make it all the better!

 

19. Kehta Hai Mera Yeh Dil (Jeans; 1998)

Singer: Kavita Krishnamurthy, Lyrics by Javed Akhtar, Music Label: T-Series

This one being based on a Carnatic raaga, it is, I believe, Rahman’s forte. And right from the vocal rhythm by Krishnamurthy, to the flute, to the melodious composition, this song is brilliant. There is some funky stuff going on in the video, what with two Aishwaryas, skeletons and whatnot. But the song as a song, is something I’ve loved since childhood. A pure Carnatic song.

20. Jiya Jale (Dil Se; 1998)

Singers: Lata Mangeshkar & M.G. Sreekumar, Lyrics by Gulzar, Malayalam Lyrics by Girish Pulthenchri, Music Label: Venus

Now this is where the actual Rahman magic actually starts, for me. Picking a singer who was almost towards the end of her career, and giving her a boost by making her sing a song with the essence of Kerala in its beats, and knowing it would do so well, I wish every composer had brains like Rahman. While others composers during this period were miscasting Lata Mangeshkar and making her sound too old for the songs she sung, Rahman skillfully managed to create this song in such a pitch that the songstress wouldn’t have to sound strained. And what can I say about Sreekumar’s Malayalam portions? They’re heavenly! And probably the only Malayalam most Indians know. Gulzar’s poetic lyrics (I believe a first for Rahman) served the song well, and wow. Just wow. This song is wow.

21. Ae Ajnabi (Dil Se; 1998)

Singers: Udit Narayan & Mahalakshmi Iyer, Lyrics By Gulzar, Music Label: Venus

If this list seems generic, it’s because it is. Nobody can ignore these songs when it comes to talking about the best Rahman songs! ‘Ae Ajnabi’ is one of those, complete with its haunting classical melody, especially in the antara, where Udit Narayan goes mind bogglingly high, and manages to pull it off effortlessly. Rahman equips a minimalistic duff rhythm in the backdrop, which has been heavily overused these days when composers want to evoke pathos. But some things work only once.

22. Satrangi Re (Dil Se; 1998)

Singers: Sonu Nigam & Kavita Krishnamurthy, Lyrics by Gulzar, Music Label: Venus

The Arabic influence in this song is spectacular, and Sonu Nigam’s vocals, spot-on. The little nuances in his voice are wonderful to listen to, while Kavita’s haunting whispery portions send chills down your spine. Rahman creates a catchy tune, with the accordion (?) that plays the Arabic tune over and over again throughout the song. This song is goosebumps.

23. Dil Se Re (Dil Se; 1998)

Singers: A.R. Rahman, Anuradha Sriram, Anupama & Febi Mani, Lyrics by Gulzar, Music Label: Venus

The iconic title song for ‘Dil Se’ was I believe, Rahman’s singing debut in Hindi (@phanishankar reminds me his Hindi singing debut is ‘Mangta hai Kya’ from ‘Rangeela’), and the man did sing as well as he composed. The way this song goes from soft to loud in a fraction of a second, is worthy of compliments, and especially the classically inclined bits like ‘Piya piya…’ are beautiful. Again, the composer has done amazing work with strings, percussions and made the song sound grand. The song starts with minimalistic bass doing the whole job but goes on to include some really cool percussion.

24. Chhaiyya Chhaiyya (Dil Se; 1998)

Singers Sukhwinder Singh & Sapna Awasthi, Lyrics by Gulzar, Music Label: Venus

Yeah, that’s pretty much the entire album of ‘Dil Se’ I have on this list, but I couldn’t help it! No introductions for this song, just sit back and groove to that irresistible groove that Rahman has equipped it with. And of course, the vocal powerhouses that Sukhwinder and Sapna are!

25. Taram Pum Taram Pum (Doli Saja Ke Rakhna; 1998)

Singers: Babul Supriyo & Srinivas, Lyrics by Mehboob, Music Label: T-Series

A fun song, but Rahman never compromised melody in his songs, so in this song, we get a strong, actually, very strong, melody that not only is catchy, but also melodious. Babul Supriyo and Srinivas have a blast singing it, but the melodious portions in the second stanza onwards are the best. Rahman’s percussion again, is mind blowing and the flute is beautiful. This was one of my favourite songs as a child!

26. Bol Sajni Mori Sajni (Doli Saja Ke Rakhna; 1998)

Singers: Sonu Nigam & Kavita Krishnamurthy, Lyrics by Mehboob, Music Label: T-Series

Now this is a song I discovered a year or two ago, and immediately fell in love with it, making it one of my favourite Rahman songs ever. The way he starts the song with a trademark Kathak portion, complete with Bola and Tablas, and switches over to an immersive romantic melody, decorated with his signature flutes, is commendable. Sonu Nigam has delievered one of his best renditions, and Kavita Krishnamurthy takes control of the song because her portions are quite louder and higher pitched than Sonu’s, making them stand out among the calm rest of the song.

27. Kissa Hum Likhenge (Doli Saja Ke Rakhna; 1998)

Singers: Anuradha Paudwal & M.G. Sreekumar, Lyrics by Mehboob, Music Label: T-Series

The first time T-Series maanaged to ‘let’ Rahman use the melodious voice of Ms. PaudwalThe first time T-Series managed to ‘let’ Rahman use the melodious voice of Ms. Paudwal (I’m just glad they haven’t managed to do so with today’s equivalent of Ms. Paudwal, as of now) resulted in a beautiful romantic song. The lilting composition was supported very well by addictive tabla beats, and the flute in the first interlude, and the orchestra with the veena in the seocnd, are worthy of high praise, as are the old-world-charm lyrics by Mehboob. The male singer could’ve been better, though;my only grouse with the song.

28. Tu Hi Tu (Kabhi Na Kabhi; 1998)

Singers: M.G. Sreekumar, K.S. Chithra, Lyrics by Javed Akhtar, Music Label: Shemaroo

A pacy romantic song in Tamil-movie Rahman style, it was probably the first time such an experiment was heard in Bollywood. It starts like a cranked up version of ‘Yeh Haseen Vaadiyaan’ (Roja), and goes on to a haunting melodious piece delivered meticulously by Chithra against the tanpura’s magical sound. Again, the male singer could’ve been replaced by somebody else. The magic Rahman does with strings (both Western and Indian classical) in this song, is remarkable!!

29. Tum Ho Meri Nigaahon Mein (Kabhi Na Kabhi; 1998)

Singers: Hariharan & Sujatha Mohan, Lyrics by Javed Akhtar, Music Label: Shemaroo

The waltzy start to thustsong instantly plugs you back to two songs that have already been listed on this list — ”Sun Ri Sakhi” (Humse Hai Muqabala) and “Bol Sajni” (Doli Saja ke Rakhna). The flute and strings provide a playful start to the song, and Hariharan’s silky voice is a delight to listen to as always. The interludes too, are delightful with the strings. Sujatha’s aalaap in the second interlude is lovely! This is a song to cherish.

30. Mil Gayee Woh Manzilein (Kabhi Na Kabhi; 1998)

Singers: Alka Yagnik & Kumar Sanu, Lyrics by Javed Akhtar, Music Label: Shemaroo

This goes down in history as Kumar Sanu’s only song with A.R. Rahman, a big thing because both were so huge and prominent in that decade, one would expect more! Still, I remember this song more for the pleasant melody by the maestro, and Alka’s sweet-as-sugar voice (her first released song for Rahman, am I right?), than for anything by Sanu. This could’ve been sung by Hariharan and I wouldn’t have minded, obviously. There is a lot going on in the flutes section in the song, even though the beats backing the main melody are standard 90s beats. The antara has a beautiful tune that harks back to ‘Tanha Tanha’ (Rangeela). Turns out I knew this song but never knew the name or movie, and so in my mind it was an Anu Malik song. 😂

 31. Ishq Bina (Taal; 1999)

Singers: Sonu Nigam, A.R. Rahman, Anuradha Sriram & Sujatha, Lyrics by Anand Bakshi, Music Label: Tips Music/Zee Music Company/Mukta Audio

Here comes the Titan of a soundtrack, Taal, but don’t worry, I won’t include all 12 songs on the list. The most popular song from ‘Taal’, and it truly deserves to be that. Rahman fuses Qawwali elements with other Indian sounds like ‘Manjeeras’, instruments you’d normally hear in bhajans and the like. But this is a Rahman song and nothing is demarcated within rigid rule barriers. Anuradha takes the female lead quite charmingly, but it is Sonu towards the end who takes the song away, and Rahman with his Qawwali portions, provides a nice break from the repetitiveness (not in a negative way) of the female part. The bass in the female part accentuates the composition, while the violin before Sonu Nigam’s part is wonderful. And who cannot notice Anand Bakshi’s metaphorical lines? 👌

32. Nahin Saamne (Taal; 1999)

Singers: Hariharan & Sukhwinder Singh, Lyrics by Anand Bakshi, Music Label: Tips Music/Zee Music Company/Mukta Audio

This song. This song. This song. What can I even say? Probably the best use of piano and sitar (in a non classical song, of course) in any Bollywood song till now. And the beautiful humming, that haunting portion, that goosebumps-inducing portion, and Hariharan’s silky voice, never faltering even one bit, and that beautiful antara. Sorry if that was incoherent. It was, but, I can’t gather ny thoughts about this song just yet. NOTE: Sounds best when heard when it’s raining.

33. Taal Se Taal Mila (Taal; 1999)

Singers: Alka Yagnik, Udit Narayan & Sukhwinder Singh, Lyrics by Anand Bakshi, Music Label: Tips Music/Zee Music Company/ Mukta Audio

Another quite obvious choice, another rain song, another song where Sukhwinder is relegated to the background but does an amazing job. In this song he is the harbinger of the entire song, singing that classical portion before the song starts, before the female chorus starts, backed by Rahman’s wonderful Indian beats comprising matkas and whatnot, the sounds of raindrops, paayals, ghungroos, how beautiful the soundscape of this song is! And then that BEAUTIFUL flute! The rhythm of the song is really passionate, so befitting for a rain song. And that SARANGI, Wow! Listening to it after so long, in the monsoon season itself, is such an experience! Alka Yagnik (isn’t it her first with Rahman?) sounds cute to say the least, while I just keep waiting for Udit’s part to play, because it is one of my favourite portions of the song, when I could see Akshaye Khanna on screen,an actor I somehow sensed was a good actor, in my childhood. 😂 Even if I write 1000 more words on this song, they won’t do justice to the song. So listen to it yourselves. And also, special shoutout to the Western Version of the song — another auditory “sight” to behold.

34. Kahin Aag Lage Lag Jaaye (Taal; 1999)

Singers: Asha Bhosle, Aditya Narayan & Richa Sharma, Lyrics by Anand Bakshi, Music Label: Tips Music/Zee Music Company/Mukta Audio

A spectacular song in all fronts, this one has the same passion that is carried in the title song, but this time, not in so pronounced of an Indian way, if that makes sense. Sure,there are those very adorable Aditya Narayan interactions and tribal portions throughout the song, but it really hinges upon the symphonic arrangements by Rahman — the orchestra, African drums and whatnot. Not that he doesn’t include a lot of Indian music elements. And of course, once they had Asha Bhosle on board, other composers sat back and relaxed, but Rahman has clearly not taken it for granted.

35. Kariye Na (Taal; 1999)

Singers: Sukhwinder Singh & Alka Yagnik, Lyrics by Anand Bakshi, Music Label: Tips Music/Zee Music Company/Mukta Audio

Another recent acquisition for me wih respect to favourite Rahman songs,this song was very badly overshadowed because of the popularity of the other songs. Again,Rahman uses many Indian music elements like the Matka to make the song sound beautiful,abd Sukhwinder’s voice amongst that minimal background is a must-hear. And Alma’s Punjabi portion is so cute! Anand Bakshi’s lyrics though, are the highlight of the song for me.

36. Ruth Aa Gayee Re (1947 Earth; 1999)

Singer: Sukhwinder Singh, Lyrics by Javed Akhtar, Music Label: T-Series

The Sukhwinder-ARR collaboration was going really strong in the 90s. This song is yet another example of how beautiful the two were together. Here, Rahman takes a typical Qawwali-ish rhythm and composes a motivating song around it, very Indian in its sound, and Sukhwinder’s booming vocals do the rest. No wonder this song became so popular!

37. Dheemi Dheemi (1947 Earth; 1999)

Singer: Hariharan, Lyrics by Javed Akhtar, Music Label: T-Series

The song starts with a piano piece interlaced with Hariharan’s beautiful humming, joined by a beautiful flute portion, and as the melody starts, you can see how the Rahman of ‘Roja’ and the Rahman that was yet to come — say, of ‘Swades’ and ‘Saathiya’, kind of come to a confluence in this song! The composition is so addictive, with the piano arpeggio going on throughout the song, along with the flute!

38. Rang De (Thakshak; 1999)

Singer: Asha Bhosle, Lyrics by Sukhwinder Singh & Tejpal Kaur, Music Label: Saregama

This song is the quintessential Bollywood grand dance number. Rahman has included everything that is necessary for a hit number, in this song. Asha Bhosle going into the low notes quite effortlessly and sensuously, a captivating tune harking to folk music, engaging arrangements and a wonderful backing chorus. And who knew Sukhwinder Singh was the lyricist for this song? I didn’t! The percussions in this song are marvellous, and so is that flute in the interludes. Ah, sweet memories. If only Tabu could dance better.

39. Ae Nazneen Suno Na (Dil Hi Dil Mein; 1999)

Singer: Abhijeet Bhattacharya, Lyrics by Mehboob, Music Label: Sony Music 

Disclaimer: I knew the songs from ‘Dil Hi Dil Mein’ even last year when I did this feature. Maybe I thought the film is a 2000 film, so I hadn’t included them back then. This one is magical. Abhijeet’s first with Rahman, this one is a soaring love song, the word used because of the soaring strings that kick it off. When the rhythm kicks in you can’t help but groove along to it. The antara is splendidly composed, lots of twists in the melody, and Abhijeet renders it beautifully — probably the perfect choice for the song. The Duff rhythm throughout the song is addictive.

40. Imtihaan Hum Pyaar Ka Deke (Dola Dola) [Dil Hi Dil Mein; 1999]

Singers: Srinivas & Swarnalatha, Lyrics by Mehboob, Music Label: Sony Music 

This is a trademark Rahman composition, and the duet by Srinivas and Swarnalatha is astounding, especially the breathless parts in the antara. The Qawwali-esque arrangements are astonishing, with the claps and flute dominating the soundscape, and a beautiful flute and violin interlude. The haunting composition, as mentioned before, is trademark Rahman, and this has been a song I’ve loved since childhood, so can’t dissect it technically and start unloving it now!


Those were my favourite Rahman songs from 1992 to 1999! I hope I wasn’t too obvious and you got to learn some new songs. If not, you’re already an encyclopedia that contains all the knowledge about every Rahman song ever. Stay tuned fir the next part of the series, where I’ll cover songs from 2000 onwards (most probably till 2008)! And thanks for reading such a long post! 😁

SURRENDER YOUR EARS TO THIS ALBUM!! (BADRINATH KI DULHANIA – Music Review)

Music Album Details
♪ Music by: Amaal Mallik, Tanishk Bagchi, Akhil Sachdeva & Bappi Lahiri
♪ Lyrics by: Shabbir Ahmed, Kumaar, Akhil Sachdeva, Indeevar, Ikka & Badshah
♪ Music Label: T-Series
♪ Music Released On: 14th February 2017
♪ Movie Releases On: 10th March 2017

Badrinath Ki Dulhania Album Cover

Badrinath Ki Dulhania Album Cover

 

To hear the full songs of this album on Saavn CLICK HERE

To buy this album on iTunes CLICK HERE


Badrinath Ki Dulhania is an upcoming Bollywood rom-com starring Alia Bhatt and Varun Dhawan. The film is directed by Shashank Khaitan and produced by Karan Johar, Hiroo Yash Johar and Apoorva Mehta. So we had a film in 2014 named ‘Humpty Sharma ki Dulhania’, which was a bit of a sleeper hit, and the cast and crew behind it happens to be the same that is behind this one. But according to the makers, it has no connection to the film except that the director, the producers and even the actors, are exactly the same. This film continues the ‘Dulhania’ franchise (If we can call it a franchise with just two films) in U.P., contrary to the setting in Punjab in the first film. Anyway, over to the musical department. Karan Johar has always delivered back-to-back hit soundtracks, and this should be no exception. I still feel guilty that I misjudged the ‘Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania’ album terribly when it released. After a month or so, it started growing amazingly. And now I love it. So I’ll be careful this time around not to make that mistake again. Here, we get a trio of composers, starting with Bollywood’s newest hit-machine, Amaal Mallik, who has composed two songs. Next up is a newcomer named Akhil Sachdeva, with one song, which hopefully is strong enough to bag him a debutant award this year, and lastly is young talent Tanishk Bagchi, who has been composing for so many multicomposer albums here and there that I’ve lost track. Both Amaal and Tanishk have delivered good songs in the past, and with Karan Johar both have a hit record, so I can’t expect anything more than catchiness (sticking to the rowdy look of the movie’s posters and all) in their tunes. As for Akhil, I hope he has something great in hand! So let’s jump right into this soundtrack!


1. Aashiq Surrender Hua

Singers ~ Amaal Mallik & Shreya Ghoshal, Music by ~ Amaal Mallik, Lyrics by ~ Shabbir Ahmed

“Arey bhagyawaan, maan bhi jaa, ladna befizool hai,
Pyaar dikhe na kya, aankhon mein padi dhool hai?
Pyaar dikhe na kya, aankhon mein padi dhool hai!!
Taj Mahal banvaana Shah Jahan ki bhool hai,
Uske paas paisa, apne haathon mein toh phool hai!
Tune gusse mein phone mera kaata toh aashiq surrender hua!”

– Shabbir Ahmed

The rowdiness starts from the very first song. And who better to get the catchiness in that rowdiness right than Amaal Mallik, who I believe is following Pritam’s footsteps in this regard? The song is an enjoyable chhed-chhad number, the type of which Bollywood’s music records of the past abound in. But very few fit the bill and actually get everything in the right place. And though this one isn’t PERFECT, it definitely gets you grooving. Amaal’s composition doesn’t rely on complicated turns and meanders for it to get famous. Instead, it takes a very heard-before but enjoyable tune, and carries it forward to make a song that impresses with its simplicity and innocence! The tune is of a type we Indians love to dance to; play it in any wedding and people will dance like crazy even if they don’t know it! And the song will propagate just like that! People will play it somewhere, it will catch on to someone else, and then to someone else, and someone else and someone else. Like a viral fever, but a good one. :p The antaras have been composed very playfully and one cannot miss that overlying South Indian flavour that the beats infuse into the song. That brings us to the arrangements. The aforementioned beats are full of heavy percussion (Dipesh Verma and team) following a kuthu rhythm, which has been laid down by Dipesh Verma, Keyur Barve and Omkar Salunkhe. As of that was not enough, the composer decides to let his assistant Krish Trivedi go all-out with the whistles. The noises with which the song starts off are just so instantly gripping! The occasional brass instruments really bring an Indian-wedding touch to the song. Other digital beats really decorate the song, which would otherwise sound like a recording from a wedding at a village. The song aptly ends with that quintessential ‘play-the-hookline-on-brass-instruments’ trick. Vocals are perfectly enjoyable and help the song to get through to the listener. The composer himself takes the mic and sings the song very efficaciously and mischievously. But of course, nobody sings such songs as well as Shreya Ghoshal, who was a great decision for it, considering that she isn’t getting too many songs like this these days! In her short one-stanza cameo, she does very well, while Amaal carries the rest of the song on his shoulders! Shabbir Ahmed’s lyrics are a clever kind of rowdy, and at least they’re decipherable and their meaning comes out clearly! Rowdy but classy!

Rating: 4/5

 

2. Roke Na Ruke Naina

Singer ~ Arijit Singh, Music by ~ Amaal Mallik, Lyrics by ~ Kumaar

“Haathon ki lakeerein do, milti jahaan hain,
Jisko pata hai bata de, jagah woh kahaan hai..
Ishq mein jaane kaisi yeh bebasi hai,
Dhadkanon se milkar bhi dil tanha hai,
Doori main mitaaoon kaise, jaane na manaaoon kaise, tu bataa?
Roke Na ruke naina, teri ore hai inhe rehna..”

– Kumaar

Next up is a pathos-filled romantic song composed by Amaal. And Amaal has composed this one in one of my favourite styles of composition for sad songs — rustic and earthy. Quite recently we heard ‘Naina’ from Pritam’s ‘Dangal’. Quite similar to that in that the song is a sad song with a traditional tune and traditional instruments. The song starts with a heart-rending sarangi piece, and gets to your heart right away. The composition by Amaal has to be one of his maturest compositions in this genre. The mukhda does a nice job in making the ambience damp and melancholic. The soothing piece is followed by an ethereal hookline, something that isn’t blurted out by the singer and forced onto the listener, but proceeds quite calmly. The antaras have yet some more beautiful notes strung together to make a heard-before but engaging stanza. Amaal treads over both high and low octaves with the antaras, and that one odd line in the antara which is made of high notes, just finds its way directly to your heart. The arrangements do half of Amaal’s work in making listeners teary-eyed. Of course the aforementioned sarangi brings in the Indian part of the pathos, as do the wonderful tablas and the oh-so-majestic flute. But Amaal cleverly tops it with acoustic guitars (Ankur Mukherjee) and drums (Debashish Banerjee), in a kind of soft rock template. When the drums interrupt out of nowhere in the till-then very traditional arrangements, I just couldn’t help but remember ‘Kabira’ (Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani). And then Amaal also puts to use nice oriental instruments like the mandolin (Tapas Roy) which sends chills down your spine when they play. The vocals are top-notch; Arijit infuses the rustic touch to them. He splendidly covers both low and high notes impeccably, as always. Kumaar has penned one of his finest lyrics for this song. A beautiful sad song, which excels in the instrumentation department!

Rating: 5/5

 

3. Humsafar

Singers ~ Akhil Sachdeva & Mansheel Gujral, Music by ~ Akhil Sachdeva, Lyrics by ~ Akhil Sachdeva

“Jitni haseen ye mulakatein hain, unse bhi pyari teri baatein hain
Baaton mein teri jo kho jaate hain, aaun na hosh mein main kabhi
Baahon mein hai teri zindagi, haaye
Sun mere humsafar, kya tujhe itni si bhi khabar?”

– Akhil Sachdeva

The new composer Akhil Sachdeva enters the album next, with his sole song, a romantic ballad, the type of which we haven’t not heard before in Bollywood. The composition follows the familiar template of Pakistani romantic songs, but nevertheless manages to tug at your heartstrings. The song starts with a nice Punjabi couplet rendered by Mansheel Gujral in her strong voice. The mukhda itself gets you swaying to the song, and it actually makes you feel happy. The hookline here too, is quite subtle, but you still get that forced feel. The antara is soothing, with its low notes, again, making you fall in love with them. But overall, there is nothing innovative in the composition. It kills with its simplicity. The arrangements are basically acoustic guitar (Veljon) riffs and digital beats that don’t really leave any scope for anything else. However, the newcomer adds a wonderful harmonica that magically uplifts the mood whenever it plays. The vocals by the composer are fine, not excellent. At places he sounds a lot like Atif Aslam, but doesn’t get the prolonged notes as right as Atif does. Also, his pronunciation needs a lot of improvement. He needs to work on his ‘jh’ sounds, which come across as ‘zzzzh’. I say this not in a demeaning manner though. On a whole, his rendition is soulful. Mansheel has more of a backing vocalist role here, but stuns in her parts. Akhil himself has written the lyrics here, and he uses all the possible Bollywood romance clichés in one song — ‘sunn mere humsafar’, ‘baahon mein teri kho jaate hain’, ‘tujhe maan loonga khuda‘ and whatnot. Nevertheless, the song makes for a good listen.

Rating: 4/5

 

4. Badri Ki Dulhania (Title Track)

Singers ~ Dev Negi, Neha Kakkar, Monali Thakur & Ikka, Additional Vocals ~ Rajnigandha Shekhawat, Music by ~ Tanishk Bagchi, Lyrics by ~ Shabbir Ahmed, Rap By ~ Ikka

“Khelan kyun na jaaye, tu hori re rasiya,
Khelan kyun na jaaye, tu hori re rasiya,
Poochhe hain tohe saari guiyaan kahaan hai Badri Ki Dulhania?”

– Shabbir Ahmed

And Tanishk makes a grand entry with the next song, which happens to be the title song of the movie. The song is an enjoyable one with a folksy rhythm and whose upbeat tempo makes you dance and sing along. The song starts with a wonderful folksy line, composed playfully. After that and a rap, Tanishk’s mukhda to the song begins, and it has all the required spunk for a successful Bollywood dance track. And then when we come to the hookline, he cleverly incorporates the tune of the folk number ‘Chalat Musafir’ to Shabbir Ahmed’s lyrics. (Or maybe Shabbir wrote it after he composed. Any which way, both of them went about it very cleverly!) The antara is a short stanza that efficiently carries forward the naughtiness and catchiness in the composition. Tanishk has to be commended for this composition, because I’ve never heard such a good song of this genre from him after ‘Banno’ (Tanu Weds Manu Returns) and that was what he composed with his friend Vayu. So hats off to him. The arrangements are amazing. The percussion (Dipesh Verma) is topnotch with a strong U.P. flavour to it, and the harmonium (Pradip Pandit) is another star of the song. The song is a holi song, and so the quintessential dhols (Deepak Bhatt) do the needful. The vocals are the strong point of the song. If someone doesn’t like the composition, they’ll fall in love with the song anyway, because of the vocals. Dev Negi, at his exuberant best, renders the male portions spot-on, while the three female vocalists all impress with their respective portions. Neha Kakkar, who takes the major chunk of the female portions, sounds cute, naughty and funny. The way she sings ‘muniya re muniya‘ is enough to melt your heart. Monali, whose ‘Cham Cham’ (Baaghi) is still on the majority of Indians’ playlists, and whose ‘Dhanak’ (Dhanak) is still on mine, renders the antara with ease, but doesn’t sound quite the innocent girl she always sounds, here! It is surprising that Neha sounds more innocent in this song! 😀 And when Neha takes over from Monali in the antara, I couldn’t even recognize Neha the first time I heard the song, and that’s saying something! The third lady vocalist is classical singer Rajnigandha Shekhawat, who sings the introductory folksy lines so beautifully, I’m in love with them. Ikka raps here, and his rap isn’t as irritating as it could have been. Maybe he toned it down a bit. He suits the rustic environment of the song, and doesn’t really rap anything odd. Shabbir Ahmed’s lyrics here are functional, if not good. An apt title song!

Rating: 4.5/5

 

5. Tamma Tamma Again

Singers ~ Bappi Lahiri & Anuradha Paudwal, Chorus ~ Dattatray Mestry, Archana Gore, Arun Ingle, Aparna Ullal, Mandar Apte, Mayuri Patwardhan, Nitin Karandikar, Deepti Rege, Voice-over ~ Ameen Sayani, Original Composition by ~ Bappi Lahiri, Music Recreated by ~ Tanishk Bagchi, Original Lyrics by ~ Indeevar, Rap by ~ Badshah

“Been bajaati hui…. NAAGIN!”

– Ameen Sayani

And Tanishk, with his second song, also closes the album, with another remake. If the previous song was a remake, then this one is definitely a remix. The makers have decided to rehash ‘Tamma Tamma’ (Thanedaar) for the movie. And thankfully, they retain the original track and just construct other additional around the sample. The composition by Bappi Lahiri (which was also ‘inspired’ by Mory Kante’s ‘Tama Tama’) was a rage in India when it released and the portion sampled in this song is the mukhda, hookline (obviously!) and one antara. Tanishk has rehashed this so well, I almost disliked it at first. He has used the song-break technique by stopping the song multiple times before actually getting to the hookline, something else which we hardly get to hear completely twice or thrice (or maybe more. I didn’t count!) But then, I realised that I had started liking the song. It happened spontaneously. One moment I was all about ‘Remakes are bad!’ and the next moment I was a freak dancing to a remake. Because it has been done very diligently, not to mention cleverly. Club beats have been added that really enhance the disco touch of the song, and the original voices have been muffled in such a way that actually does make the old song sound ‘old’! Tanishk has added very efficient beats to the hookline, like the electronic tabla. And the interlude, besides containing another interruption by Badshah, also contains a wonderful mandolin solo by Tapas Roy. The only tampering Tanishk has done with the original track is, he has added a new chorus to sing the hook, and it sounds pretty good too. Badshah’s rap does sound agitating at first, but Tanishk has enhanced that too with his nice electronic tabla beats. Ameen Sayani, the RJ of Binaca Geetmala, has done a voiceover, and the “been bajati hui naagin” part is particularly INSANE!!! Tapas Roy’s mandolin returns to play the hookline at the end of the song, and it sounds awesome then! An efficient remake!

Rating: 4/5


Badrinath Ki Dulhania is yet another feather in the cap of so many people. First of all, the composers, two relative youngsters doing so well in the competitive industry, Amaal and Tanishk, who have made two stellar songs each, and one newcomer, Akhil, who plays it safe in his debut. Next, the singers, who have really outdone themselves with their singing in this album! Dev Negi and Amaal Mallik for instance. After that, Karan Johar, because his productions always have enjoyable music, and he gets yet another successful album. Here is an album I would happily surrender my ears to. It is a kind of antidepressant album!

 

Total Points Scored by This Album: 4 + 5 + 4 + 4.5 + 4 = 21.5

Album Percentage: 86%

Final rating for This Album: सा < रे < ग < म < प < ध < नी < सां

Note: The letter which is underlined is the final rating.

Recommended Listening Order: Roke na Ruke Naina > and then any order you like

 

Remake Counter
No. Of Remakes: 04 (from previous albums) + 02 (from Badrinath Ki Dulhania) = 06

 

Which is your favourite song from Badrinath Ki Dulhania? Please vote for it below! Thanks! 🙂