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! 😁

5 SONGS THAT SHOULD NEVER HAVE BEEN REMADE!! (MUSICAL LIST #1)

So today marks the start of a new section in the blog — The “LISTS” Section, where I’ll be listing songs based on one particular theme, depending on what theme I’m feeling like listing songs about. :p

What better way to start this section off, than doing it in collaboration with one of my close blogger friends, Jemma Rajyaguru from the Girl At The Piano blog! Her blog is full of random musical thoughts, lists of songs, throwbacks to the Golden Era of Bollywood music, and new releases by new and upcoming artists!

Today, we will both be listing five songs each, which we wish would never have been remade! And yes, after reading my list, be sure to read Jemma’s, as her song choices are just as exciting, if not more exciting, than mine!! Correction: they definitely are more exciting!😁 So let’s get started with my five songs so you can check her list out! 🙂 If you want to check it out now though, here it is!

P.S.: I believe no song should be remade, but these are the ones where I just don’t agree with the remake!

P.P.S: These are in no particular order; it isn’t a Top5 list 🙂


1. Mere Rashke Qamar (Pop Song by Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan)

• Original Song Details:

Music by Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Lyrics by Ustad Qamar Jalalvi, Sung by Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, First Performed in 1988, Music Label: Hi-Tech Music

• Remake Details:

Music recreation by Tanishk Bagchi, Lyrics by Fana Buland Shehri & Manoj Muntashir, Sung by Rahat Fateh Ali Khan & Tulsi Kumar, Used in 2017 Bollywood film ‘Baadshaho’, Music Label: T-Series

One would think that nephew Rahat Fateh Ali Khan would object to mauling his uncle’s gem of a qawwali, but instead, he helps maul it even more, with loud and screechy vocals that would even make the laziest person cringe. Tanishk Bagchi’s constant mandolin hook doesn’t help when it keeps repeating itself all the time amidst the din of Rahat and the backing vocalists shouting.


2. Dum Maaro Dum (Hare Rama Hare Krishna; 1971)

• Original Song Details

Music by R.D. Burman, Lyrics by Anand Bakshi, Sung by Asha Bhosle, for the 1971 Bollywood film ‘Hare Rama Hare Krishna’, Music Label: Saregama

• Remake Details

Music recreation by Pritam Chakraborty, New Lyrics by Jaideep Sahni, Sung by Anushka Manchanda, for the 2011 Bollywood film ‘Dum Maaro Dum’, Music Label: T-Series

One of the party songs I doubt Pritam is proud of making, ‘Dum Maaro Dum’ stands high as a song that ruined the original for me big time. Yes, a lot of cool stuff is going on in the music, but the major letdown is Anushka Manchanda’s vocals, where they create a mess of what Asha Bhosle ji and R.D. Burman actually created in the 70s. And don’t even ask me about the rap.


3. Tu Cheez Badi Hai Mast (Mohra; 1994)

• Original Song Details

Music by Viju Shah, Lyrics by Anand Bakshi, Sung by Udit Narayan & Kavita Krishnamurthy, for the 1994 Bollywood film ‘Mohra’, Music Label: Venus Music

• Remake Details

Music recreation by Tanishk Bagchi, New Lyrics by Shabbir Ahmed, Sung by Udit Narayan & Neha Kakkar, for the 2017 Bollywood film ‘Machine’, Music Label: T-Series

Probably the best remake on the list, but again, Tanishk stuck to his mandolin template here, where he kept repeating the hook of the song on mandolin, and though Neha Kakkar sounds passable, Udit Narayan seems to be the saving grace of the song, sounding younger than ever. The awkward dubstep mid way through the song is just *awkward*!


4. Pal Pal Dil Ke Paas (Blackmail; 1973)

• Original Song Details

Music by Kalyanji-Anandji, Lyrics by Rajendra Kishan, Sung by Kishore Kumar, for the 1973 Bollywood film ‘Blackmail’, Music Label: Universal Music

• Remake Details

Music recreation by Abhijit Vaghani, Lyrics by Rajendra Kishan retained, Sung by Arijit Singh, Tulsi Kumar & Neumann Pinto, for the 2016 Bollywood film ‘Wajah Tum Ho’, Music Label: T-Series

Arijit himself wasn’t happy with the way Abhijit Vaghani programmed his voice in this one; and I can’t help but agree! How would you like it if you got to remake a song by the legendary Kishore Kumar, and get your voice all destroyed by electronic touches? To complement Arijit’s bad voice, we had Tulsi Kumar, who surprisingly sounded better!


5. Waqt Ne Kiya Kya Haseen Sitam (Kaagaz Ke Phool; 1959)

• Original Song Details

Music by S.D. Burman, Lyrics by Kaifi Azmi, Sung by Geeta Dutt, for the 1959 Bollywood film ‘Kaagaz Ke Phool’, Music Label: Saregama-HMV

• Remake Details

Music recreation by Rohan-Vinayak, Lyrics by Kaifi Azmi retained, Sung by Amitabh Bachchan, for the 2018 Bollywood film ‘102 Not Out’, Music Label: Saregama

The most recent remake on the list. One would think Amitabh Bachchan ji would be a bit more sensitive when singing old classics as these, but sadly, he drones the song out in such a way, that you wonder “Waqt ne Kiya, kya Haseen sitam”. Rohan-Vinayak literally do nothing but stand and watch as they treat the listeners to almost six minutes of that torture without any enjoyable music in the background either!!


Well, all in all, I feel recreations were fine until they started to be blown out of proportion and being forced into every single album that Bollywood produced. Thanks to Jemma for giving me the mauka and dastoor to vent out my feelings about remakes; I hope you guys enjoyed our collaboration, and please make sure to check out Jemma’s list (it’s amazing)!

Thanks for reading, and stay tuned for more such lists about varied topics! 😁

NOVEMBER 2017 ROUND-UP #2 (QARIB QARIB SINGLLE, TUMHARI SULU, AKSAR 2 & DIL JO NA KEH SAKA – Mini Music Reviews)

NOVEMBER ROUND-UP #2

November 2017 Round-Up #2

This Round-Up covers the rest of the albums of the November 2017 releases. Due to ‘Padmavati’s withdrawal from the 1st December release date, ‘Firangi’ and ‘Tera Intezaar’, have moved their dates to 1st December, so they will be included in the December Round-Up. The albums featured in this post are:

1) Qarib Qarib Singlle – (Music: Vishal Mishra & Rochak Kohli)
2) Tumhari Sulu – (Music: Tanishk Bagchi, Guru Randhawa, Rajat Nagpal, Amartya Rahut & Santanu Ghatak)
3) Aksar 2 – (Music: Mithoon)
4) Dil Jo Na Keh Saka – (Music: Shail-Pritesh)



♦ Qarib Qarib Perrfect: QARIB QARIB SINGLLE Music Review

♪ Music by: Vishal Mishra, Rochak Kohli & Ali Merchant
♪ Lyrics by: Raj Shekhar & Hussain Haidry
♪ Music Label: Zee Music Company
♪ Music Released On: 10th November 2017
♪ Movie Released On: 10th November 2017

Listen to the songs: Saavn
Buy the songs: iTunes


Relative newcomer Vishal Mishra gets two songs in the film, and I must say, these two songs are definitely going to consolidate his place in the industry, even though I think it had been consolidated right from the moment he debuted (that spark that a good debutant possesses is always discernible). I say so because both his songs can be counted as his Bollywood career’s best music as yet. The opening track, Khatam Kahani, is outright hilarious, putting to great use the Nooran Sisters’ folksy voices to concoct a song with a strong Rajasthani folk element, and still having an amazing melody. Harmonium, khartals and dholaks provide us with the required expense to travel to the land of kings. Raj Shekhar’s comic lyrics enhance the listening experience, and they are quite comparable to the lyrics of ‘Haanikaarak Bapu’ (Dangal), when the lovers agree to kill each other. 😃 After the delightful and upbeat folksy number, Vishal puts in extra effort to create a sad song that is just as soulful as the first song is peppy. Jaane De, though nothing that we’ve not heard before — the seven-beat rhythm, on Atif’s sugar-sweet vocals — is a treat to listen to, mostly thanks to Mishra’s amazing composition, not to mention Raj Shekhar’s excellence that reflects in the lyrics. The words have such a poetic twinge to them, it just calms the soul. Arrangements are soulful too — the guitars and tabla being most prominently beautiful. A nice Spanish guitar interlude is a perfect interval from the melancholia.
Rochak Kohli also gets to present two songs, the first a journey-based one, again with amazing lyrics by Hussain Haidry. The unexpected twist midway through the song really puts one off guard, but it is really innovative. The composition of the rest is quite pleasant, with a nice and groovy lilt to it, and Rochak Kohli presents it with a nice drumbeat. {He is quite good with drum beats — ‘Rozana’ from ‘Naam Shabana’ earlier this year was another song where he presented great drum work!} Papon’s feathery voice is perfect for the song. Rochak’s second song Tanha Begum, is at the peak of experimentation, and is probably the most experimental song I’ve heard this year so far, which is at the same time so entertaining. It is a clever take on Nawab Wajid Ali Khan’s classical song, ‘Baabul Mora’, which was also remade earlier this year in ‘Poorna’ by Salim-Sulaiman. This time though, Hussain Haidry’s lyrics give it a modern twist. Actually, the modern lyrics are interspersed with some very old-school lyrics, and the contrast is brought out even better with Antara Mitra handling the old-school parts with an amazing imitation of Suraiya, while Neeti Mohan handles the modern portions with an amazing rock template supporting her. Rochak’s composition for the whole song is different, and quote innovative: only the lyrics of the hook from the Nawab’s old song have been taken.
Ali Merchant steps in last moment to make a hastily-made Qarib Qarib Singlle Mashup, which is probably the worst track on the album. Also, it is just a mashup of ‘Khatam Kahani’ and ‘Tanha Begum’. The beats are mismatching and don’t fit in with the folksy vibe of the songs. These two songs don’t even REQUIRE a remix!


An enjoyable album from two young composers, where both of them bring out the best in them! The album is (barring the mashup) Qarib Qarib Perrfect!

 

Total Points Scored by This Album: 4.5 + 5 + 4 + 4.5 + 1 = 19

Album Percentage: 76%

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: Jaane De > Khatam Kahani = Tanha Begum > Tu Chale Toh > Qarib Qarib Singlle Mashup

 

Remake Counter:
No. Of Remakes: 40 (from previous albums) + 01 (from Qarib Qarib Singlle) = 41

{Will have to count ‘Tanha Begum’ as a remake since I had counted ‘Baabul Mora’ (Poorna) as one}



♦ Light-Hearted Album Where the Mellow Song Scores High! : TUMHARI SULU Music Review

♪ Music by: Tanishk Bagchi, Guru Randhawa, Rajat Nagpal, Amartya Rahut, Santanu Ghatak, Laxmikant-Pyarelal & Haji Springer
♪ Lyrics by: Guru Randhawa, Javed Akhtar, Vayu Srivastava, Siddhant Kaushal & Santanu Ghatak
♪ Music Label: T-Series
♪ Music Released On: 4th November 2017
♪ Movie Released On: 17th November 2017

Listen to the songs: Saavn
Buy the songs: iTunes


Remake specialist Tanishk Bagchi leads the album, with two out of the five songs. Since he is the currently in-demand remake specialist, it would be treason not to demand yet another rehash from him. This time, the song chosen is Mr. India’s ‘Hawa Hawai’, which has been named Hawa Hawai 2.0. If I’m not wrong though, this is Hawa Hawai 3.0 because Mikey McCleary remade it already in 2011. 😆 The song itself is peppy, and a perfect celebratory number. Kavita’s vocals being retained is the best part of the song, while I can’t figure out where Shashaa’s voice is. The composer plays around with technology and cleverly copies and pastes the gibberish bits into different parts in the song, creating an overall whimsical and enjoyable effect. His second song too, is, coincidentally, based on the metaphorical flying. Manva Likes To Fly is the standard Tanishk experimental song, where the composer plays around with technology to merge electronic sounds and Indian classical sounds. The classical instruments in particular here, sounds beautiful. Shalmali’s voice is perfect for the uplifting nature of the song, and Vayu Srivastava as usual writes positive lyrics that make you smile by default.
Next up is the much overrated, in my opinion, Ban Ja Rani, in which Guru Randhawa represents his pop song composed by Haji Springer, in a way that it doesn’t fit into the movie’s setting at all — but since when has that mattered? The whistling is the catchiest part in this song. Amartya Rahut too, in his song, Farrata, tries to create a nice and upbeat song complete with a children’s chorus (Adithyan leads and sounds very cute) and enjoyable ukuleles. However, the song fails to create an impact. Armaan Malik fails to make the song sound better, and the composition is many notches lower than what Amartya offered in the recent ‘Tu Hai Mera Sunday’.
What really grabbed my attention is newcomer Santanu Ghatak’s Rafu, a beautiful semiclassical number, which really gave me the goosebumps. Written as soulfully as it has been composed, and sung just as beautifully by Ronkini Gupta, who has sung previously in ‘Aankhon Dekhi’ under the music direction of Sagar Desai. She is a voice to counter Kaushiki Chakraborty’s classical singing prowess.


This blend of music directors manages to provide the film it’s required happy-go-lucky touch, although very superficial. It is ironically the most mellow song, by debutant Santanu, that steals the show.

 

Total Points Scored by This Album: 3.5 + 4 + 3 + 3 + 4.5 = 18

Album Percentage: 72%

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

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

Recommended Listening Order: Rafu > Manva Likes To Fly > Hawa Hawai 2.0 > Ban Ja Rani = Farrata

 

Remake Counter:
No. Of Remakes: 41 (from previous albums) + 01 (from Tumhari Sulu) = 42


♦ Aksar Sune Huye Gaane: AKSAR 2 Music Review

♪ Music by: Mithoon
♪ Lyrics by: Sayeed Quadri
♪ Music Label: Tips Music
♪ Music Released On: 7th November 2017
♪ Movie Released On: 17th November 2017

Listen to the songs: Saavn
Buy the songs: iTunes


The only song from the album that stands out right away is Aaj Zid, a wonderful romantic song with a groovy techno rhythm. Mithoon proves he is not only able to just make addictive romantic songs, but also club numbers. Well we knew that if you remember ‘Woh Ajnabee’ from his earlier days. Arijit sings wonderfully, and it is all in all a very nice and upbeat song, without letting go of the sensuality that should be a part of such a film’s music. The other two songs are the usual pathos-filled Bhatt-ish songs I have started to get afraid of hearing nowadays. Jaana Ve is so crybaby-ish, it is sad, and Arijit’s voice being auto tuned in the hookline is sad too, because he is a singer who doesn’t need autotuning! The antara of the song gives signature Mithoon goosebumps though! About Tanhaiyaan, the lesser said, the better. Pakistani pop is one genre which composers never experiment with, and present it as it is every single time. Here too, the fake emotions fail to penetrate our eardrums and touch the heart. The album is not even magnificent lyrically, which I would usually expect from a Sayeed Quadri-written album! But he seems to have moulded in with the stereotypical Bhatt setting as well.


An album which we have ‘Aksar’ heard. Definitely not as good as Himesh’s album to the first film.

Total Points Scored by This Album: 4 + 3 + 2 = 9

Album Percentage: 60%

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

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

Recommended Listening Order: Aaj Zid > Jaana Ve > Tanhaiyaan



♦ Shail-Pritesh Sarbjit Mein Jo Kar Sake, Yahaan Nahin Kar Sake!: DIL JO NA KEH SAKA Music Review

♪ Music by: Shail-Pritesh
♪ Lyrics by: A.M. Turaz, Devshi Khanduri & Sandeep Singh Kamboj
♪ Music Label: T-Series
♪ Music Released On: 7th November 2017
♪ Movie Released On: 17th November 2017

Listen to the songs: Saavn
Buy the songs: iTunes


With the title track of Dil Jo Na Keh Saka, I find that Shail Hada has lost that magic touch that used to be present in his voice until ‘Sarbjit’; he sounds terribly off tune in some places, while his co-singer, Shreya Ghoshal has been terribly miscast, and tries to fit into the mould of the song but fails. Shail-Pritesh’s composition is quite the typical 90s romantic song, and so fails to create much impact. However, the duo gets it amazingly right in the much more breezy and pleasant Bandh Khwabon Ki, in which Shail Hada thankfully returns to normal, barring some places. The composition here is thankfully, more contemporary and relatable. The finger snaps are really enjoyable, and the guitars are refreshing too.
Going to the retro portion of the album, Khwabon Ko Ankhon Mein is an enjoyable jazz number, and soulful too. The piano is splendid, as is the brass portion, because if the brass in jazz is bad, then it isn’t jazz. Aditi Paul sings beautifully too, touching the high notes effortlessly. The last romantic song on the album, Tanha Tanha Ghum Ke Dhunde Dil, is a pleasant and breezy love ballad, again, a bit more inclined towards the previous decade than the current. Nevertheless, it provides for a fun couple of listens, after which its beauty kind of wears off. Jubin handles the vocals well, and with the 90s-ish composition and his voice, it sounds like a runaway song from ‘Kaabil’. The guitars are good here too, and very simple. Aditi Paul has less to do here, so she pales in comparison to Jubin. Obviously.
Out of the upbeat songs, Band Viyah Da Baje, builds on Shail-Pritesh’s earlier ‘Tung Lak’ (Sarbjit), but still manages to turn out enjoyable — Divya Kumar & Pratibha Baghel with their energetic voices infuse life into the complicated composition — surprisingly the first really complicated tune on the album, and intricacy is the thing Shail-Pritesh and their mentor Sanjay Leela Bhansali are known for! The ‘Tung Lak’ hangover stays till the end though, especially in the female portions. The second upbeat song, Nadaniyan Kar Jaati Hai, is a youthful club song with a very avoidable composition and just as avoidable vocals. It turns out to be the worst on the album!


Shail-Pritesh can do much better than this, but I guess they are much, much better at those classical melodies like they presented in ‘Sarbjit’, and they must stick to that!

 

Total Points Scored by This Album: 2.5 + 3.5 + 3.5 + 3 + 3.5 + 1.5 = 17.5

Album Percentage: 58.33%

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

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

Recommended Listening Order: Bandh Khwabon ki = Band Viyah Da Baje = Khwabon ko Aankhon Mein > Tanha Tanha Ghum Ke Dhundhe Dil > Dil Jo Na Keh Saka > Nadaniyan Kar Jaati Hai



So that’s it for November, stay tuned for the Monthly Awards, which will be up in a moment!