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! 😁

NOT QUITE BLACK SHEEP ANYMORE!! (BAA BAAA BLACK SHEEP – Music Review)

Music Album Details
♪ Music by: Superbia (Gourov-Roshin-Shaan), Jaidev Kumar, Sajid-Wajid & Abhijit Vaghani
♪ Lyrics by: Sunil Sirvaiya, Rajesh Manthan & Jalees Sherwani
♪ Music Label: T-Series
♪ Music Released On: 13th March 2018
♪ Movie Released On: 23rd March 2018

Baa Baaa Black Sheep Album Cover

 

Listen to the songs: Saavn

Buy the songs: iTunes


Baa Baaa Black Sheep is a Bollywood comedy film starring Maniesh Paul, Manjari Fadnnis, Anupam Kher, Kay Kay Menon Annu Kapoor in lead roles. The film is directed by Vishwaas Pandya and has music by Superbia, which is Gourov-Roshin-Shaan’s band. They have given one full album in the past (‘Coffee with D’) which was terrible, but this one seems to be slightly better! Let’s see!


Superbia’s stint in music composition continues after the cringeworthy album to “Coffee With D” (2017). This time, they start the album off with much more promise, recreating a sort of medley that T-Series calls ‘Mixtape’. They recreate Abhijit Vaghani’s recreation/amalgamation of Galla Goriyaan/Aaja Soniye, the two original songs respectively by Harbhajan Mann (a pop single) and Sajid-Wajid (from ‘Mujhse Shaadi Karogi’). I must say, the song works to whatever effect the makers wanted. It is an enjoyable Punjabi club number rendered surprisingly enjoyably by Mika Singh, and Kanika’s voice is as always, addictive. I just wish ‘Aaja Soniye’ had more parts in the song than it does. Harbhajan Mann’s composition to ‘Galla Goriyaan’ does the rest of the work, making this an enjoyable dance song.
Heer, the romantic song, is also surprisingly well sung by Mika Singh, who has sung such numbers in the past, and should sing them more often. Not that it is a soulful number, but still softer than the songs he’s known to sing, like the previous song on the album. Mahalakshmi Iyer is heard after a long, long time, and is pleasant to the ears. The only fault if any, in this song, is the irritating repetition of the hookline, which almost demolishes whatever fun we were having listening to it. The arrangements are nice, with amazing guitar work, but not never-heard-before. Lyrics are functional.
The song that tries to be its own “Ek Do Teen” (Tezaab/Baaghi 2), except this time, counting age instead of days, is Angelina, a typical 2000s type of song sung very 2000s-ishly by Sonu Nigam. The effect of the Latino touch in songs has been wearing off these days, and it just makes them sound dated. The vocal onomatopoeia is just cringeworthy, too.
Then there are two songs that up the quirk quotient, except one does it the right way and the other, the bad way. Baa Baaa Black Sheep is as cringeworthy as a title song can get, sounding contrived at every note. Shaan sings like he had no choice, and the female backing vocalist just sounds weirdly happy singing whatever lines she’s given. The lyrics are just bad, so there’s no point of talking about them.
Ram Leela, on the other hand, had me in splits when I heard it for the first time, especially because of the hilarious “dhikichyaoun” after every hookline. 😂 This one has to be heard to understand, and all I can tell you is that it’s kind of a spoof of the Ramayana with enjoyably funny lyrics.


Superbia’s second full album turns out to be balanced between bad and good, but largely just an album that you’ll forget after listening to it, if at all you stumble upon it!

 

Total Points Scored by This Album: 7.5 + 6.5 + 5 + 4 + 6 = 31

Album Percentage: 58%

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: 
Galla Goriyaan / Aaja Soniye > Heer > Ram Leela > Angelina > Baa Baaa Black Sheep

 

Which is your favourite song from Baa Baaa Black Sheep? Please vote for it below! Thanks! 🙂

 

Remake Counter:
No. Of Remakes: 15 (from previous albums) + 02 (from Baa Baaa Black Sheep) = 17

THE PANCHRATNA HAVE KILLED DIL YET AGAIN!! (KILL/DIL – Music Review)

Music Album Details
♪ Music by:- Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy
♪ Lyrics by:- Gulzar
♪ Music Label:- YRF Music
♪ Music Released On:- 9th October 2014
♪ Movie Releases On:- 14th November 2014

Kill/Dil Album Cover

Kill/Dil Album Cover

 

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

To buy this album on iTunes CLICK HERE


Kill/Dil is an upcoming Bollywood action film, directed by Shaad Ali, and produced by Aditya Chopra. It stars Ranveer Singh, Ali Zafar, Parineeti Chopra and Govinda in the lead roles. The film is the story of Dev (Ranveer) and Tutu (Ali Zafar) who were nurtured by Bhaiyaji (Govinda) who trained them to be killers. The film follows the Western Spaghetti genre with a classic Desi twist to it. The music is composed by Shaad Ali’s regulars (his last two films had music by them), Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy. This year, they had given a soundtrack full of variety for ‘2 States’, and I expected a LOT from them, because a) They are back in Bollywood and are here to stay forever now (I hope!) and b) because when it is Shaad Ali plus them, there is no doubt that the music will be mind-blowing! Lyrics are by Gulzar, who had written for Shaad in ‘Saathiya’, ‘Bunty Aur Babli’, and ‘Jhoom Barabar Jhoom’ as well. So, read on to find out how good the music of ‘Kill/Dil’ is! 🙂


1. Kill Dil
Singers ~ Sonu Nigam, Shankar Mahadevan & Gulzar

Gulzar kicks off the title track, with not such a BANG! as expected, but with some lines in shaayari form which I frankly found rather irritating (I know I shouldn’t be starting off the review to a Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy-Gulzar-Shaad Ali collaboration like this, but trust me, this chap is gonna come and irritate many more times in the album, so I’ll just tell you that you can edit out his portions at the start of the song for each song). But what follows is so wonderful and awesome, that I can very well ignore the irritation (and that goes for all the other songs which he speaks in as well 😂) Okay, back to the song. The song has been composed in a purely Western classic style, complete with the grand instrumentations and all. Starting with the brass horns, it really grabs your attention, and the waau waau sounds that follow help to keep you literally hooked to the song. The whistling, drums, guitar, all just increase the likability of the song. Once Shankar kicks in with his heavy vocals, everything gets even better, and when Sonu with his smooth and silky voice enters, awesomeness is at its peak! The high notes are very easily touched by both singers, and they complement each other very well! The hookline is one of the catchiest title song hooks of recent times. If you thought ‘Bang Bang Title Track’ was awesome, then you’re in for a better surprise with this track. The antara has an awesome tune as well, somewhat resembling the 80s sound of Bollywood. Again, high notes are touched with utmost ease in the antara. Well, I think I’ve said enough! This title track is one of the best in recent times, and best sung as well! Try it out for further information! However I can give you one more clue: #5StarHotelSong!!

 

2. Happy Budday
Singers ~ Sukhwinder Singh & Shankar Mahadevan

The name being the desi Punjabi variant of ‘Happy Birthday’, one would expect a lot of weirdness and craziness in this track. It starts with the drone of a tanpura, which was not at all expected going by the name of the song. Also, the sitar has also been used in the first one minute of the song, and in that one minute, I decided that this song is something different! It is one of those songs that grow on you more and more each time you hear them. The tune is very catchy, and the arrangements have been done very innovatively, with the use of sitar in every little unexpected place. The tinak dhin vocals in the background grab your attention instantly. The hookline is also very catchy. Though the song does not have any meaning if you consider it as a birthday song, it instead comes across as a romantic dance song. The lyrics are humorous though! Sukhwinder has sung flawlessly–these type of songs come to him naturally, it seems. Though he doesn’t pronounce ‘birthday’ as ‘budday’, but rather something like ‘birdday’! 😂 Shankar has a negligible part in the background, with some raps. The dhols in the hookline are brilliantly placed, and so is the brass trumpet which plays in the hookline! I keep replaying the song to hear that trumpet piece! Again, a beautiful interlude is witnessed in the song, and the antara is again very unusual yet sounds great! The last time the hookline is repeated, a wonderful, to-die-for type sitar piece can be heard! This fusion deserves a hats-off Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy triumph in a genre which very rarely gives scope for something new and something different! Don’t miss this one either! Definitely another #5StarHotelSong!!

 

3. Sajde
Singers ~ Arijit Singh, Nihira Joshi-Deshpande & Gulzar

You are free to edit out the first thirteen seconds (yeah, it’s the lines narrated by Gulzar) but only if they get TOO irritating, because believe me, you have no idea what’s in store for you! Remember ‘Mast Magan’ from ‘2 States’? Well, it created history (yeah, I know its only been like eight months, but still, let’s follow convention and say these stupid things, okay? 😝) when it released, and it was also the first Bollywood song that Arijit had sung for this rocking trio. In their next album itself, he got a chance to prove himself to them even more, with this very song. Okay, let’s get back to Arijit later, because I always have so much to write for him, so let’s save it for the end. Well, this track, starts with a beautiful Punjabi couplet written by none other than Gulzar and sung very dynamically by Arijit, followed by soothing aalaaps by Nihira, who had sung for Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy in ‘Bunty Aur Babli’ and ‘Salaam-E-Ishq’ as well. The composition is a fusion of classical and rock music, and you guys knows how much I love semi-classical melodies! They’re my favourite after..well, after classical melodies! 😜 The sound of water dripping is just brilliant! The guitar plucks sound awesome, too! The tune of the song is brilliant, and it is something that is instantly likeable. Nihira does a decent job, but I would have preferred Chinmayi to sing this song. The rock guitar is one of the main attractions of this song, and so is the awesome way that the drums have been played. The violins have been used very grandly, and the tablas are just waah! When Arijit repeats the lines which Gulzar says at the start, but this time with a tune, they seem to jump to life, all because of his attractive voice. The lyrics of the song are beautiful, and that was expected from Gulzar! Now, let’s move on to Arijit. “Yay!” is what all the girls must be shouting 😝 He has surpassed all his previous songs (except “Laal Ishq” from “Ram-Leela”, that is just DIVINE!) with this song, and sings with exceptional beauty and ease. The hookline is fully dependent on his energetic and dynamic vocals. And he delivers exactly what is needed. He seems to be the perfect choice for this song. The rhythm of the song is so beautiful and it is so hard to sing, that Arijit and Nihira deserve a standing ovation, a kya baat, kya baat Mithun-da style, and what not! They have done exceptionally well! Of course, half the credit goes to the trio and the lyricist, for creating such a spellbinding melody to some beautiful lines and infusing it with such wonderful fusion. Time to fall in love with Arijit’s voice yet again! A must-listen; one of Arijit’s best performances, and PERFECT composition, lyrics and arrangements! What more could you ask for!? #5StarHotelSong!!

 

4. Bol Beliya
Singers ~ Siddharth Mahadevan, Sunidhi Chauhan & Shankar Mahadevan

Starting with a dynamic drumroll and old-fashioned 80s trumpet fanfare, the mood switches to a very dark and sinister one with this next track on the soundtrack. Siddharth starts with the required punch and dynamics. He seems to be always getting songs in which he has to shout at the top of his lungs! Time to hear him in a romantic track now! Anyways, the song is full of groovy rhythmic beats and dynamic percussion. The two lead vocalists are both vocal powerhouses, and they both perform very well, and take the song to a different level. The very catchy ‘bol beliya’ vocals in the background, probably by Shankar, sound awesome! In places, it sounds a lot like ‘Hulla Re’ from ‘2 States’, but still sounds awesome. The characteristic sinister tone that the song carries is very intriguing. The other interesting part to this song is that it has to be used in two different places and two different situations, but it still makes sense if heard as a separate song. Kudos to Gulzar for achieving this! Sunidhi is the queen of such songs, and she sings both the high and low pitched parts wonderfully. The two singers complement each other perfectly. The dhols which have been used provide an awesome groovy beat to the song, and they reflect the signature style of the trio. One of the catchiest, scariest (okay, I don’t mean ‘Paranormal Activity’ type scary 😝) songs of the year! Great performance by the singers! #5StarHotelSong!

 

5. Sweeta
Singer ~ Adnan Sami

Before starting about this song, let me ask one single question to Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy and Shaad Ali. Why, oh why did you have to make this sweeeeeet track so short?? I demand the answer! 😜 Yes, this beautiful song is just two minutes long! 😞 So I’ll review it however I can for such a small track. But even though it is so small, I have so much to say about it (relatively). Adnan Sami, of whom we haven’t heard much these days, croons this one flawlessly. The brilliant Italian style melody has been decorated with wonderful accordion and violin instrumentations and mindblowing percussion, most probably the bongo-congo drums. Again, the retro style is observed in this song as well. The strings and Adnan’s vocals are the main attraction in this song. His silky voice just suits the composition perfectly well. The lyrics by Gulzar are quirky and not ordinary, but funny. It is a short track with two stanzas having the same tune, and I wish Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy had made it longer, so we could enjoy it even more. Because now the listener’s situation is like cherish it till it lasts! Nevertheless it deserves to be a #5StarHotelSong!

 

6. Daiyya Maiyya
Singers ~ Udit Narayan, Shankar Mahadevan, Jaaved Jaaferi & Rasika Chandrashekhar

Well, it starts in a rather impressive Qawwali manner, and immediately grasps your attention, and everything going fine. Brass horns followed by beautiful tabla beats sound awesome as a start. Then an impressive harmonium tune after which we hear Udit Narayan singing some Qawwali lines, accompanied by Shankar Mahadevan. All is going perfectly fine, until some utterly ridiculous auto-tuned Udit Narayan’s voice takes over to sing a totally unimpressive and unfitting hookline,which is totally devoid of any catchiness or sensibility whatsoever. I couldn’t believe it was by Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy at all! What an abrupt turn in the tune of the song! Plus, it sounds like a line from ‘Maahi Ve’ from ‘Kal Ho Naa Ho’. Jaaved Jaaferi (I don’t know why he has been pulled in, when they have a perfect rapper in Ranveer Singh himself) utters even more stupid rap, and then the title track, features in this song after the rap, and it has also been spoilt; they have destroyed it completely! A little temporary relief is brought by Rasika Chandrashekhar. She doesn’t do that good a job, either, but her part has a likebale tune. Her nasal voice is supposed to humorous, and it works a bit. By the way, just for your information, her voice has been disturbingly auto-tuned as well. :/ The main attraction of this song, however, has to be the lyrics by Gulzar, which provide at least some, if not a lot of, comic relief. The only unsatisfactory track in this album. Still, do hear it for the weirdness!

 

7. Baawra
Singers ~ Shankar Mahadevan, Nihira Joshi-Deshpande, Gulzar & Loy Mendonsa

Again, Gulzar starts with some lines, but in this song, his lines suit the ambience and he, contrary to irritating like the first songs, helps to gain interest in the starting of the song. It is a very unusual sad composition, and Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy have succeeded in making a beautiful and emotional one, at that. The piano notes at the start which diminish and fade away are just magical. Also worth mentioning is the touch of rock that the trio has infused into this semi-classical melody. Shankar, is as his best in such songs, and he probes once again that he is the king of classical songs. Nihira does better than she did in the other song, too! The tune of the song is instantly likeable and unforgettable. The hookline from “Zindagi uljha hua sauda hai…” to “…main baawara” is just awesome. That line has the capacity to attract many listeners. And it would also be the line which will get most famous in the song. The aalaaps and sargam have been sung by Shankar so effortlessly. It truly seems like heaven when he does such variations. The guitars by Loy sound first-class. Flute has also been used in huge proportions. The second antara which Nihira starts, has a very sweet and pretty tune. The tablas in that part are just breath-taking. Her rendition is no less breathtaking. She has sung it very beautifully, and I guess that she is very comfortable singing with her master instead of Arijit. 😁 The lyrics by Gulzar are very beautiful and innovative. Listen closely for references to ‘Sweeta’. Also, look for the genius line, “Dil waali naukri ne maara”. 👌 A composition with class written all over it! Another Muat-listen and another #5StarHotelSong!

 

8. Nakhriley
Singers ~ Shankar Mahadevan, Ali Zafar, Mahalakshmi Iyer & Gulzar

The next and last song on the soundtrack is an old-fashioned 80s-style Qawwali number. This time, the trio has gone the full way with the old-fashionedness of the song. They have made a song, which you would find it difficult to identify as from 2014. Rather like 1994 or something. Nevertheless, I found it very nice. In this song, Gulzar irritates, so you can cut that part out if you need. 😜 The strings, and tablas and traditional Qawwali instruments have been used very efficiently. When I first heard it, I could only picturise Shahrukh Khan and Kajol dancing in ‘Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge’ or ‘Kabhie Khushi Kabhi Gham’. It seriously sounds like it is from that era. Anyways, the jugalbandi of Shankar and Ali Zafar is fun to hear, but Mahalakshmi’s voice doesn’t quite fit in well. Sunidhi would have been the ideal choice over here. Nevertheless since she performs well, we can’t blame the trio for choosing her. It is a surprise to hear Ali Zafar doing harqatein and variations all of a sudden, and he does them beautifully. Shankar, well, he’s the badshah of all this, so no use to try to find any mistake there. 😜 The conclusion of the song, which may seem like a second antara, is very, very interesting to hear. The tempo changes have been done very smoothly, but sometimes even I get confused as to how they have been done! This song is very likable, and even if it doesn’t appeal to you in the first listen, it will surely do so in the subsequent listens! You might argue that it is too old-fashioned, but, umm I don’t think that’s a problem, is it? Maybe the situation is like that. 😊 Beautiful Qawwali composed in the traditional style!  #5StarHotelSong!


Kill/Dil is another masterpiece album by the trio and Shaad Ali with Gulzar’s lyrics. One song, ‘Daiyya Maiyya’ is below expectations, but the others efficiently meet all expectations. I would say that the ‘Panchratna’ (Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy + Gulzar + Shaad Ali) have killed ‘Dil’ once again!! 

 

Final Rating for This Album:- सा < रे < ग < म < प < ध < नीसां

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

 

Which is your favourite song from Kill Dil? Please vote for the same below! 🙂

 

Next “dish”:- Happy Ending, Chefs:- Sachin-Jigar