Friday, December 25, 2009

Hindi Film Songs: Best of 2009

Here’s the sixth edition of the list of my best Hindi film songs from the year (previous lists: 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008).

Reiterating the disclaimers:
1. The songs aren't listed in any particular order. I have just listed them in the order in which I came across them.
2. I try to listen to each new album that comes out at least once. However, there are simply too many new movies and too many songs to follow. It is possible that some may have been omitted.
3. I am going to attempt to limit the number of songs per movie to three. That does not imply that there aren’t any more on the movie’s list that I like. I follow that rule under most circumstances just to keep the length of the list in check.


Here’s the year end assessment: The quality of music in Hindi film music continues to go downhill, at least in my perspective. Music directors are not creating melodies that I can quote a year down the line. It is almost like songs are made with a few fixed hooks, with no role in really pushing a movie’s story forward, with singers whose names I can’t possibly recall, the need for gayaki in music is going down because beats are the major constituent of a song and a certain ‘voice’ is a substitute for actual training in singing. I could almost count on my fingertips the number of soundtracks that were good this year, and if you take out Rehman, who is consistently producing some really quality music, there are fewer music directors whom could you count on producing great music (the Pritams and the Shankar/Ehsaan/Loys are doing a higher volume with mixed results). And pray tell me if the songs are in Hindi or in Hinglish: why on earth do we need English lyrics in every song? Is it required? Does it enhance the quality of the song? I don't believe so. I think I am a little disillusioned by the results and am wondering if this is the last edition I will produce on this topic. Let’s just leave the decision to next year. I am open to suggestions on songs that you think should be on the list but are missing. I am also open to debates on my choices but as is the nature of blogging, one who owns the blog has the final say. Hope you enjoy it.

I am off to India in a few days so I am publishing the list in advance and if you don’t hear from me on your responses, apologies in advance. I’ll get back to you once I get back.

Song : Aasma Odh Kar
Movie Name: 13 B
Singer : Shankar Mahadevan, Chitra
Music Director : Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy
Lyrics : Neelesh Misra
Why is it on the list? : Surprising to find such a refreshing melody in what is a movie in the horror/thriller genre. Chitra sounds especially sweet rendering this song.


Song : Delhi Destiny
Movie Name : 99
Singer : Raja Hasan
Music Director : Ashu
Lyrics: Vaibhav Modi
Why is it on the list? : Sweet amalgamation of western sounds, Indian alaaps, Raja Hasan’s crisp vocals and good lyrics.


Song : All Izz Well
Movie Name : 3 Idiots
Singer : Sonu Nigam, Shaan, Swanand Kirkire
Music Director : Shantanu Moitra
Lyrics : Swanand Kirkire
Why is it on the list? : The movie is just releasing but I can already see this as a campus anthem. Sample the lyrics that make it thus: 'Confusion hi confusion hai, Solution kuch pata nahin, Solution jo mile toh saala question ka ab pata nahin'


Song : Give Me Some Sunshine
Movie Name : 3 Idiots
Singer : Suraj Jagan, Sharman Joshi
Music Director : Shantanu Moitra
Lyrics : Swanand Kirkire
Why is it on the list? : IITs must be torture chambers, or at least that’s what I make of the rather morose outlook on a life in education. The sentiment for obtaining a simpler childhood is well expressed.


Song : Chiggy Wiggy
Movie Name : Blue
Singer : Kylie Minogue, Sonu Nigam
Music Director : Rehman AR
Lyrics : Abbas Tyrewala
Why is it on the list? : The combination is quite unique though the output could have been better. It is on the list primarily because of the rarity factor.


Song : Rehnuma
Movie Name : Blue
Singer : Shreya Ghoshal, Sonu Nigam
Music Director : Rehman AR
Lyrics : Abbas Tyrewala
Why is it on the list? : There is a little bit of James Bond in this song. One of the better compositions of what was a below par score from Rehman.


Song : Rishte Naate
Movie Name : De Dana Dan
Singer : Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, Suzanne D’Mello
Music Director : Pritam Chakraborty
Why is it on the list? : Nice and easy melody for Pritam. Surprising choice of singer: one would have expected someone like Shaan to have rendered this song instead.


Song : Baamulaiza
Movie Name : De Dana Dan
Singer : Domnique Cerejo, Mika Singh, Style Bhai
Music Director : Pritam Chakraborty
Why is it on the list? : It’s the calypso with singers ranging from Mika Singh to Style Bhai (remember him?) Catchy.


Song : Masakali
Movie Name : Delhi 6
Singer : Mohit Chauhan
Music Director : Rahman AR
Lyrics : Prasoon Joshi
Why is it on the list? : Now this is what I call an album. Outstanding music by Rehman and the Prasoon/Rahman team served up some really good melodies. Mohit Chauhan is presented in a very different light by Rahman and he shines. Rehman’s orchestration takes this song to the next level.


Song : Arziyan
Movie Name : Delhi 6
Singer : Javed Ali, Kailash Kher
Music Director : Rahman AR
Lyrics : Prasoon Joshi
Why is it on the list? : Javed Ali and Kailash Kher complement each other very well in this song. Prasoon though shines through the best. ‘Daraarein Daraarein Hai Maathe Pe Maula, Marrammat Muqaddar Ki Kar Do Maula’. Nicely done.


Song : Bhor Bhaye
Movie Name : Delhi 6
Singer : Shreya Ghoshal, Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan
Music Director : Rahman AR
Lyrics : Prasoon Joshi
Why is it on the list? : What an outstanding achievement this. A bandish composed in Gujri Todi, the overlaying of the recording of Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan with Shreya’s recital is quite subtly done. Shreya did very well here.


Song : Emosanal Attyachaar (Brass Band Version)
Movie Name : Dev D
Singer : Bony Chakravarthy
Music Director : Amit Trivedi
Lyrics : Amitabh Bhattacharya
Why is it on the list? : Here’s another good album for this year. In terms of taking the story forward, only a few of them have any role to play, but we are going the way of Hollywood movies now. I am going to pick this song for the use of the brass band, whose unique use makes this song so likeable.


Song : Nayan Tarse
Movie Name : Dev D
Singer : Amit Trivedi
Music Director : Amit Trivedi
Lyrics : Amitabh Bhattacharya
Why is it on the list? : The music director doubles up as the singer for this song, which starts off slowly and becomes a full blown rock track towards the end and you will find yourself nodding your head vigorously to the beats as it progresses.


Song : Yahi Meri Zindagi
Movie Name : Dev D
Singer : Aditi Singh Sharma
Music Director : Amit Trivedi
Lyrics : Amitabh Bhattacharya
Why is it on the list? : Some scope for female singers now. Aditi’s voice and her rendition suit the mood and message of the song really well.


Song : Ishq Hi Rab Hai
Movie Name : Dil Bole Hadippa
Singer : Sonu Nigam, Shreya Ghoshal
Music Director : Pritam Chakraborty
Lyrics : Jaideep Sahni
Why is it on the list? :Dissapointing album from the Yash Raj stable. This one’s sort of ok. Jaideep Sahni’s comparing India to jhappis is interesting.


Song : Aarambh
Movie Name : Gulaal
Singer : Piyush Mishra
Music Director : Piyush Mishra
Lyrics : Piyush Mishra
Why is it on the list? : Piyush Mishra, the actor, was a surprise as a singer/lyricist/music director. His first attempt has been really good. This song is a call to arms and the chaste Hindi is a pleasure to here.


Song : Aisi Sazaa
Movie Name : Gulaal
Singer : Shilpa Rao
Music Director : Piyush Mishra
Lyrics : Piyush Mishra
Why is it on the list? : Shilpa Rao does a commendable job carrying this song with a lot of pathos and very little support from the instruments.


Song : Ranaji
Movie Name : Gulaal
Singer : Rekha Bhardwaj
Music Director : Piyush Mishra
Lyrics : Piyush Mishra
Why is it on the list? : How many Hindi film songs are going to have a reference to Bush, Afghanistan, beer all at one go? Rekha Bharadwaj seems to be enjoying herself in this song.


Song : Bebo
Movie Name : Kambakkht Ishq
Singer : Alisha Chinai
Lyrics: Anvita Dutt Guptan
Music Director: Anu Malik
Why is it on the list? : For old times’ sake. This is the kind of song that the Anu Malik/Alisha Chinai combination spewed with alarming regularity in the 90s.


Song : Lakh Lakh
Movie Name : Kambakkht Ishq
Singer : Neeraj Sridhar
Lyrics: Anvita Dutt Guptan
Music Director: Anu Malik
Why is it on the list? : Foot-tapping number with the right choice of singer.

Song : Pata Hi Na Chala (Sad)
Movie Name : Lottery
Singer : Abhijeet Sawant, Santosh Singh
Music Director : Santosh Singh
Why is it on the list? : Remember Abhijeet Sawant, the first Indian Idol? Apparently he made his movie debut with this movie, which I confess I hadn’t heard off until I came across its music. There are perkier version of this song, but I liked this one.


Song : Sapnon Se Bhare Naina
Movie Name : Luck By Chance
Singer : Shankar Mahadevan
Music Director : Shankar Ehsaan Loy
Lyrics : Javed Akhtar
Why is it on the list? : Farhan Akhtar is by most counts always going to get movies with excellent music in them, and Luck By Chance was no different. The song conveys the urgency and ambition of the protagonist effectively.


Song : Yeh Zindagi Bhi
Movie Name : Luck By Chance
Singer : Loy Mendonsa, Shekhar Ravjiani
Music Director : Shankar Ehsaan Loy
Lyrics : Javed Akhtar
Why is it on the list?: Another par for the course song from the movie


Song : Dil Todnewale
Movie Name : Mere Gharib Nawaz
Singer : Kavita Krishnamurthy
Music Director : Ghulam Ali
Lyrics : Suroor Lucknow
Why is it on the list?: Probably the most obscure movie of 2009 for me. This is an old-style ditty but Kavita makes a rare appearance and impresses. The music is purportedly by Ghulam Ali and I am assuming it is THE Ghulam Ali, but I haven’t confirmed that yet.


Song : Hai Junoon
Movie Name : New York
Singer : Kay Kay
Music Director : Pritam Chakraborty
Lyrics : Sandeep Shrivastava
Why is it on the list?: A refreshing song in an otherwise disappointing soundtrack.

Song : Janeman
Movie Name : Radio
Singer : Himesh Reshammiya, Shreya Ghoshal
Music Director : Himesh Reshammiya
Lyrics : Subrat Sinha
Why is it on the list?: Himesh is back with a vengeance with some good songs on this soundtrack. He holds centerstage in this song with minimal intrusion by instruments. Shreya gives good company to Himesh in the song.


Song : Teri Meri Dosti Ka Aasman
Movie Name : Radio
Singer : Himesh Reshammiya, Shreya Ghoshal
Music Director : Himesh Reshammiya
Lyrics : Subrat Sinha
Why is it on the list?: Beautifully paced song with clean arrangements again. Himesh does a good job as a composer and also with his ‘new’ voice.


Song : Mareeze Mohabbat
Movie Name : Short Kut - The Con Is On
Singer : Hrishikesh Kamerkar, Kirti Sagathia, Nikita Nigam, Shankar Mahadevan
Music Director : Shankar, Ehsaan, Loy
Lyrics : Javed Akhtar
Why is it on the list?: Has the Salaam-E-Ishq hangover but is equally catchy.

Song : Kal Nau Baje
Movie Name : Short Kut - The Con Is On
Singer : Alka Yagnik, Sonu Nigam
Music Director : Shankar, Ehsaan, Loy
Lyrics : Javed Akhtar
Why is it on the list?: I am amused and pleased by the inventive lyrics. Co-ordinating a date over the moon. Nice melody.

Song : Haafiz Khuda
Movie Name : 8 x 10 Tasveer
Singer : Mohit Chauhan, Tulsi Kumar
Music Director : Salim Sulaiman
Lyrics : Irfan Siddiqui
Why is it on the list?: A lot was expected from this movie that turned out to be a complete dud. Mohit Chauhan does a good job with this soft number.

Song : Tu Jaane Na
Movie Name : Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani
Singer : Atif Aslam
Music Director : Pritam Chakraborty
Lyrics: Irshad Kamil
Why is it on the list?: It always amazes me how a singer like Atif manages to be so successful. He is an ordinary singer, but somehow the uniqueness of the voice is all is required in today’s day and age. This song strikes a chord with the listener due to its tune.

Song : Haan Main Jitni Martaba
Movie Name : All The Best
Singer : Kay Kay, Yashita
Music Director : Pritam
Lyrics : Kumaar
Why is it on the list?: Kay Kay infuses a lot of energy in this hummable ditty from Pritam


Song : Khudaya Khair
Movie Name : Billu Barber
Singer : Akriti Kakkar, Monali, Soham
Music Director : Pritam
Lyrics : Gulzar
Why is it on the list?: Soham of the ‘In Dino’ fame makes an appearance here and carries the breezy song well.


Song : Jaoon Kahan
Movie Name : Billu Barber
Singer : Raahat Fateh Ali Khan
Music Director : Pritam
Lyrics : Sayeed Quadri
Why is it on the list?: Rahat has the right voice for this song and Sayeed Quadri does a good job with the lyrics. Very non-Pritam song from Pritam.


Song : Tere Naina
Movie Name : Chandni Chowk To China
Singer : Shankar Mahadevan
Music Director : Shankar Ehsaan Loy
Lyrics : Rajat Arora
Why is it on the list?: The only bright spark in what was a hugely disappointing album.


Song : Zulfaen Khol Khal Ke
Movie Name : Do Knot Disturb
Singer : Sonu Nigam, Anuradha Sriram
Music Director : Nadeem-Shravan
Lyrics : Sameer
Why is it on the list?: Oh Boy! This is a blast from the past. A Govinda movie with music by Nadeem-Shravan and music by Sameer. This is here for nostalgia’s sake.


Song : Ummeed
Movie Name : Firaaq
Singer : Rekha Bharadwaj
Music Director : Rajat Dholakia
Lyrics : Gulzar
Why is it on the list?: Rekha’s voice carries the hopelessness of the situation very well. Gulzar’s lyrics hit the mark.


Song : Tu Hai Rab Mera
Movie Name : Jugaad
Singer : Krishna
Music Director : Sachin Gupta
Lyrics : Rohit Sharma
Why is it on the list?: Wouldn’t have expected anything out of this movie, but I came across this excellent melody. As is the norm, this song has a good Sufi flavor.


Song : Dhan Te Nan
Movie Name : Kaminey
Singer : Sukhwinder Singh, Vishal Dadlani
Music Director : Vishal Bhardwaj
Lyrics: Gulzar
Why is it on the list?: Need I say anything?


Song : Kaminey
Movie Name : Kaminey
Singer : Vishal Bhardwaj
Music Director : Vishal Bhardwaj
Lyrics: Gulzar
Why is it on the list?: This is a triumph for the Vishal-Gulzar duo. How do you take a cuss word like Kaminey and manage to weave a song around it so beautifully?


Song : Pehli Baar Mohabbat
Movie Name : Kaminey
Singer : Mohit Chauhan
Music Director : Vishal Bhardwaj
Lyrics: Gulzar
Why is it on the list?: The first notes on the piano set the theme for the song that instantaneously bring a sense of soothing calm further enhanced by Mohit Chauhan’s voice. Gulzar writes breezy inventive lyrics:’Yaad hain, peepal ke jiske ghane saaye mein. Humne gilahari ke jhoothe mutter khaaye the’


Song : Shukran Allah
Movie Name : Kurbaan
Singer : Sonu Nigam, Shreya Ghoshal
Music Director : Salim-Sulaiman, Salim Merchant
Lyrics : Prasoon Joshi
Why is it on the list?: Salim-Sulaiman are back to their patented style of using Arabic phrases in their songs (they did it ‘Mar Jawaan’ in Fashion) and the result is a nice breezy melody with the Sonu-Shreya pair in full flow


Song : Ali Maula
Movie Name : Kurbaan
Singer : Salim Merchant
Music Director : Salim-Sulaiman
Lyrics : Prasoon Joshi
Why is it on the list?: The second best song of the movie is a situational set-up. Salim takes to the mike himself in rendering this song. Also makes me wonder if ‘Maula’ is the word of the year with so many movies with at least one song with Maula in the title.


Song : Khanabadosh
Movie Name : London Dreams
Singer : Mohan
Music Director : Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy
Lyrics : Prasoon Joshi
Why is it on the list?: Following Rock On, this was a movie based on SEL had to give music for and they did a good job by not attempting to repeat the formula. This is a good foot-tapping number that Ajay Devgan uses to establish himself as a singer in the movie.

Song : Khwab Jo
Movie Name : London Dreams
Singer : Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, Shankar Mahadevan
Music Director : Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy
Lyrics : Prasoon Joshi
Why is it on the list?: A soft number, an excellent male duet and a well-written song.

Song : Ajj Din Chadheya
Movie Name : Love Aaj Kal
Singer : Rahat Fateh Ali Khan
Music Director : Pritam Chakraborty
Lyrics : Irshad Kamil
Why is it on the list?: Pritam gets a shot to repeat his success with Imtiaz Ali and Rahat gets a song to suit his voice.

Song : Chor Bazari
Movie Name : Love Aaj Kal
Singer : Neeraj Shridhar, Sunidhi Chauhan
Music Director : Pritam Chakraborty
Lyrics : Irshad Kamil
Why is it on the list?: Song that addresses an interesting situation yet manages to stay a lot of fun.

Song : Ye Dooriyan
Movie Name : Love Aaj Kal
Singer : Mohit Chauhan
Music Director : Pritam Chakraborty
Lyrics : Irshad Kamil
Why is it on the list?: Seems like you can’t get a hit movie score without a song by Mohit Chauhan. Nice ditty.

Song : Khudaya Ve
Movie Name : Luck
Singer : Salim Merchant
Music Director : Salim-Sulaiman
Lyrics : Shabbir Ahmed
Why is it on the list?: Salim Merchant lifts the song with his vocals, which was the one bright spark in an otherwise disappointing album.

Song : Mudhi Mudhi Ittefaq Se
Movie Name : Paa
Singer : Shilpa Rao
Music Director : Ilayaraja
Lyrics : Swanand Kirkire
Why is it on the list?: Ilayaraja rarely composes movies for Hindi film songs but it is always good to hear songs from him. Shilpa Rao does a good job in handling the jumbled lyrics Swanand serves up.

Song : Maahi
Movie Name : Raaz - The Mystery Continues
Singer : Toshi
Music Director : Sharib-Toshi
Lyrics : Sayeed Quadri
Why is it on the list?: Toshi rides on Sayeed’s lyrics and makes an impact with the song. The best composition of the movie.

Song : Dhoop Ke Sikke
Movie Name : Sikandar
Singer : Shankar Mahadevan, Anusha Mani
Music Director : Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy
Lyrics : Prasoon Joshi
Why is it on the list?: Prasoon Joshi gets a chance to write about the innocence of children once again and SEL do a good job doing justice to the lyrics.

Song : Tum Mile (Rock)
Movie Name : Tum Mile
Singer : Shafqat Amanat Ali
Music Director : Pritam
Lyrics : Sayeed Quadri
Why is it on the list?: The rock version of the song gets a shot in the arm with Shafqat Amanat’s vocals.

Song : Iktara
Movie Name : Wake Up Sid
Singer : Kavita Seth
Music Director : Amit Trivedi
Lyrics : Amit Trivedi
Why is it on the list?: Amit Trivedi (of Dev D) is the guest composer for this song which turns out the best song of the movie. Kavita Seth, who has sung few song in Bollywood thus far brings freshness and charm to this song.

Song : Wake Up Sid
Movie Name : Wake Up Sid
Singer : Shankar Mahadevan
Music Director : Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy
Lyrics : Javed Akhtar
Why is it on the list?: I love the way ‘Wake Up Sid’ comes in at the end of the mukhda. All Sids everywhere would be wise to wake up listening to this song.

Song : Bikhri Bikhri
Movie Name : Whats Your Raashee
Singer : Sohail Sen
Music Director : Sohail Sen
Lyrics : Javed Akhtar
Why is it on the list?: There were a lot of expectations from this movie in terms of its music, but I have picked up a couple of songs that I liked. This is one of them.

Song : Jao Na
Movie Name : Whats Your Raashee
Singer : Sohail Sen
Music Director : Sohail Sen
Lyrics : Javed Akhtar
Why is it on the list?: The song uses the guitar very effectively to set the rhythm for the vocals to follow suit and Soham does a good job with it.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Dissent

“You have to stand for something!”,
She yelled;
Hot streaks of aggression
Flitting across her pacifist face.

“You spineless coward!”,
She finished
With all the spite
She could muster

He shifted uncomfortably
Gazed at his shoe-laces
And with his mystical powers
Of cynicism
Made her vanish from his very presence

It’s as if
Ghosts of conscience spoke
To deaf ears of reality

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Flash Backwards

I was watching the highlights of the day one of the test match at Brabourne being played between India and Sri Lanka and felt instantly nostalgic. The last time I was in there was in the year 1989 watching Australia play Pakistan in the Nehru Cup. 1989!! Given that there is a twenty year gap between a strong memory I possess and today, I must be growing old. I remember going into the match with my father, with the heightened expectation of seeing my cricketing hero in flesh and blood: Allan Border.

Imran Khan, Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis and Abdul Qadir formed a formidable bowling line-up for the Pakistanis and it was always going to be an engaging battle. These were the days when one-day scores weren't of the run-a-ball variety seen today. Pakistan went into bat first and scored over 200. Several times, Border ran back to the boundary to chase the ball and I jumped up and down in excitement. Wasim Akram hit a couple of huge sixes towards the end of the innings and I was pretty certain one of them was going to come in and hit me on my head. Thankfully, nothing of that sort happened and I spent the entire lunch excited in the anticipation of the run chase. Turns out the excitement was to end there. Imran Khan bowled exceptionally well and won the match for Pakistan. When the second Australian wicket fell, my heart lept in pride when the section of crowd I was in started chanting "Border, Border". To my rather limited worldview then, it was heartening to know that my favorite cricketer had other fans too. I joined in the chorus to the best that support my lungs could provide. Unfortunately, it was not to be the day I got to watch him rescue Australia. He pittered and pottered around for a while and ultimately got caught in the gully of Imran's bowling. When you don't watch a match from behind the bowler's arm, you lose out on so much of the details. In those days, there were no big screens on the ground and it was only after I got home and saw some highlights in the news on TV that I realised how much prodigious swing Imran had managed to extract from that pitch. It was not a match that had India in it, but I could hardly be called neutral.

There is something about that ritual: of waking up early in the morning to go to a cricket stadium, of a father taking a son along, partaking in the excitement and curiosity of the young one, creating memories that fire up after so many years. It is a rite of passage, a bonding ritual, a tender lesson. Here's to the hope that someday there will be at least one more trip to Brabourne, by a father and son with the last name Pandya. Perhaps twenty years after that, that son might reminisce the occasion as fondly.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Color Me Grey

One man’s nectar is another man’s poison. Water drowns some but is the lifeline for others. The air we breathe slowly saps the life out of us. We live, in a slow march towards death. In life, everything is good and the same is bad. Good can be evil as much as evil can be good. If it’s all about context in which things exist, why is life painted in simplistic tones of black and white? Color me grey. It’s the color of the clouds on the horizon. It’s the harbinger of the night and the limpid pools of refreshment that splash on the thirsty earth. Color me grey. It is wisdom and decay, youth and old age, a little bit of my past and a sampling of my future. Color me grey. Black and white find sanctuary in it.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Jigsaw Puzzle

They hunched their backs in unison,
And contemplated the carelessly strewn pieces.
A thousand tiny bits of the puzzle,
Asking to be arranged.

Striving to reach the previous perfection;
The fragile harmony;
That existed on a box cover:
A happy home bathed in sunlight.

As they picked up the pieces,
A bitter-sweet thought escaped them,
There’s such joy in metaphors.

Friday, October 30, 2009

From My Mind To Yours

Thoughts approximated;
Turn to feeling.
Feelings approximated;
Appear as words.
Words approximated;
Form reading material.
Reading approximated;
Forms subjective opinion.


With such levels of indirection,
Is it a surprise that
so much gets lost in translation?

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Where in the world is Parth?

What a liberating feeling to finally have something written in this space! The last month has been a roller-coaster of gargantuan proportions. There were several times I started writing something but then rescinded it at the stage of drafting it. I guess it was an instructive lesson on the creative process. There’s only a certain level of chaos within the boundaries of which I can create something fresh. So, what exactly has Parth been upto the last month? A big part of it has been the travails of the offspring with daycare: the difficulties with adjusting to the daycare followed by an interminable set of illnesses which had him and us in all kinds of stress. The months of October and November are supposed to be the worst for infections and we are bearing the brunt of it. Your child’s firs t major illness is an experience that will stress you out and teach you a lot at the same time. Thankfully, things seem to be settling down a little but right now. In between the stresses, our family (yes, baby included) made it to the finals of AID Antakshari, which was a lot of fun. Then came around the India Quiz, a feature that is becoming a part of the annual quiz calendar in Seattle. As a lead up to the India quiz, a friend and I were running a mini-contest called AQAD (A Question A Day) to stir up interest for the event. That took up a couple of weeks of my time. Ultimately, the event came and it turned out to be an evening to remember. With all due humility, I accept your congratulations! You are talking to the one half of the India Quiz winning team J This was such a sweet comeback after failing to even qualify last year. To top it all, I finally have a trophy for a quizzing event despite all these wins through college and beyond, which were a lot of cash prizes and certificates. Something to show my little boy when he grows up. In the midst of all the craziness was one of the busiest phases at work. Managing work amidst the new constrained schedule involving the predictable nature of daycare and the unpredictable nature of illnesses is a new challenge we are getting used to. That being said, I think the only way this blog will continue is if manage to carve out special time to do this unlike previously where time was more readily available, whether at work, or at home. Will make that attempt. See you around: here, and your blogs too!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

The First Nine Months Of Parenting

There is no school that can teach you parenting. You can farm the web for tips and tricks, you can get heeded and unheeded advice from your parents and your peers, or, you can quote this blog post going forward. Being a parent, I am exercising my sense of entitlement and projecting my thoughts on this fairly new role.

There are some caveats to this thought blurb:
1. You will hear me generalize all my statements as if each of these is a truism that applies to all kids. However, I have experience with only one: my own.
2. It is also true that no two kids are the same. Hence, if any of my statements don’t seem accurate, I am still right.

Nine months have passed since the birth of my son. When I compare the 18 months of his existence, the post-interval period seems to be as exciting and as mysterious as it was when he kicked and tossed and turned in his mother’s tummy. These are some thoughts from the time he first let out a cultured cry as a means of introducing himself to the world. Life is brilliant as a parent, but there are a lot of changes too. Here are some reflections, tips and tricks from the first nine months.

· Time becomes an inconsistent entity after the birth of a baby. It flies when you are in the midst of the feeding/cleaning/sleeping cycle. It is this unending cycle of consumption and creation that makes you realize why people regard food as so critical to their existence when they grow up. On the other hand, it slows to an extreme trickle in the middle of the night when the baby decides it’s time to wake up.
· You are engaged in psychological warfare with your kid. It is on, and it is the hardest fight you will be in. One that you are bound to lose. You may not believe it, but the kids are playing you; all the time
· Grandparents are fantabulous. They are a great blessing. They play with the kid through the day and then get equally excited watching his pictures the same night. Three sneezes amount to a cold and imply that the baby will be quarantined and given extra cuddling. They are there for the most important baby hand-off: at 5.30 am. You also see glimpses of how fondly they remember your childhood and visit it in flattering detail at this time.
· Grandparents are also your biggest curse. There is a saying in Gujarati that ‘The interest is always dearer than the principal’. They love this interest, and they spoil it rotten. They make you believe that handling the kid will be easy with work, and you don’t realize the magnitude of it till it hits you square in the face. They will have given the baby a taste of the good life, with undivided attention and extra pampering, which of course is impossible to sustain once they are gone.
· Putting your child in daycare is a tough call. It is the inescapable part of modern day immigrant existence in the United States where both parents are making a living. We try to delay it as much and attempt to rationalize the decision, but what stings ultimately is the loss of control. Handing off your baby to total strangers takes a leap of faith.
· Mothers should be banned from going to dropping off kids at the daycare. It is absolute heartbreak for them, and no logical reasoning can help resolve that. It isn’t that fathers find it a cakewalk, but they find it easier to rationalize.
· You suddenly wonder why you invested in so much furniture for the house, when your child needs all the space he can to crawl around
· Babies will crawl to the exact places you don’t want them to and touch the exact things you want them to avoid
· Parenting peer pressure is far more than any other kind you have faced till date. Everywhere you look, everyone is attempting to be a super-parent, and unlike other contests, this is one you don’t want to be trailing
· You will seek signs that will convince you that your child is a prodigy. I mean, you kid has your genes, and while you may never advance beyond being Joe the Software Plumber, surely your kid would have jumped up the evolutionary ladder!
· Watching a movie in a theater will sound like a dream come true, and you start preferring lunch meetings with friends rather than dinner
· Bachelors only hang out with bachelors and married people do the same with other married folks. That is a true fact. An extension to this dictum: you will seek other parents will babies similar in age to your child.
· The baby industry in this country is mind-boggling. There are a million choices for everything and they will convince you that each one of them is required. No wonder both parents need to earn good money here! Baby clothes cost almost as much as adult clothes do, with the shortest shelf-life possible.
· Someone had once told me that once you are a parent, be prepared to be embarrassed. Truth is, once you are in a restaurant with a baby who will make you stand head over heels to pacify him and feed him, that’s the last thing that will cross your mind. As parents, you will do and say things you never thought you were capable of. If you are not a good entertainer, you have trouble on your hands
· Remember the person who cursed the people with babies in an airplane who just couldn’t keep them quiet? Yes, that was you. Blank your mind to the thought that someone is thinking the same thing about you on this seemingly interminable flight.
· You need to carry your whole house with you when you travel with your baby. And be certain that you would have forgotten something behind
· Wildly reset your expectations on what you can achieve on an outing. It will take three times the amount of time to do the simplest thing.
· You start digging up yours and your spouse’s childhood photos to figure out resemblances. The question ‘whom does he look like?’ will have a new answer every week.
· The most annoying thing that can happen when trying to pacify a howling baby is four other people converging and asking, “What happened? Why is he crying?”
· You will know all the nursery rhymes (Karadi Tales in our case) by heart. In fact, you will be making up new songs as you go.
· Ban the car seat. Seriously. I understand the need for safety, but when a baby treats it like a prison, you have had it.
· You will need extra storage space for the million pictures and videos that you will take. You will document anything and everything and surprisingly enough, maintain that rhythm as time progresses. It also helps if your baby looks like he should be on the cover of a magazine.
· Your heart beams with parental pride so often and so quickly. Your baby gets compliments, he rolls over, he crawls; anything can get that going.
· You will call your spouse Mummy and Daddy as it applies, and being called that makes your heart glow.
· Babies have no sense of morality. No right or wrong. No convoluted biased decision making with an ulterior motive. It is funny how we strive all our lives to achieve the sense of purity we already had when we were so little
· Babies can make softies out of baby-agnostic people. They really do. Treasure them and spend time with them having unbridled fun, while they let you. Remember, as they grow older, they become you :)

Exhaustive and exhausting list? The latter may be true but the former is not. Who knows how different the next set of thoughts may be, if I wait another year to jot them down? Signing off as an exhausted, exhilarated and blessed parent.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Annus Moviebilis

There was Bradman and then there's me. Let's leave that statement while I digress my way to a long story. Statistics appeal to me. They jump out to me from real life. I blame my parents for that. When I was a kid, summer vacations were all about spending time in Surat. One way my parents kept me engaged through train journeys was to keep a tab of how many stations the 'Flying Ranee' would pass by between Andheri and Surat. That was the simplified version of noting the station names down too. So yes, statistics interest me. The number of stairs to get to my office, the number of cars that passed by when I wait to cross like an obedient pedestrian, how many runners did I run past in the half marathon, how many Indians work on my team etc. They are a good way to stave of boredom when it arrives and provide a semblance of structure to chaos. My favorite area though is cricket statistics. Everything comes a distant second. Statsguru in cricinfo is my friend.

The second digression arriveth. I watch a lot of movies. Always have. Not sure when I got to that stage not having had a VCR at home during the oppressive 80s, but movies have my attention. So yes, I watch a lot of movies. My wife knows that and gives me gentle reminders once in a while. But how many movies did I really watch? Was there a difference in perception and reality? There was only one way to find that out. I started a project last year on the 29th of August. This wasn't meant to be a public project, but now that I am at the anniversary, I thought: why not? I listed every movie I saw in the last year. Here's the list in reverse chronological order


Kinsey
Kaminey
Short Kut - The Con is On
Last of the Mohicans
99
New York
Becoming Jane
27 Dresses
Brick Lane
Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince
Burn After Reading
Wall-E
Mamma Mia
Kung Fu Panda
Blue Lagoon
Trainspotting
Month Python and the Holy Grail
Monty Python and the Life of Brian
Gulaal
Little Zizou
Aa Dekhen Zaraa
Eastern Promises
Tropic Thunder
Angels and Demons
39 Steps
Wanted
Crimes and Misdemeanours
Highlander
The Jane Austen Book Club
The Visitor
Strangers on a Train
Walmart: The High Cost Of Low Price
Super Size Me
The Stoneman Murders
Vantage Point
Dil Kabbaddi
National Treasure: Book of Secrets
Persepolis
The Elegy
Dev D
Iron Man
Billu
The Other Boleyn Girl
Victory
Goya's Ghosts
Superbad
Outsourced
Manhattan
Indian Jones and Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
The Reader
Sex and the City
Annie Hall
Wolf
Luck by Chance
Hancock
Maharathi
Dasvidaniya
Revolutionary Road
The Last Castle
Rocky IV
Lions for Lambs
Charlie Wilson's War
Sorry Bhai
Jumper
Ghajini
Oye Lucky Lucky Oye
Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi
Into The Blue
Yuvraaj
Ramchand Pakistani
Slumdog Millionaire
Fashion
Dostana
Quantum of Solace
Golmaal Returns
Kidnap
Drona
Welcome to Sajjanpur
Ferris Bueller's Day Off
A Wednesday
Hijack
Naked Gun 2 & 1/2
Mumbai Meri Jaan
Spy Game
Phoonk
Amu
The Notebook
There Will Be Blood
Bachna Ae Haseeno
Thoda Pyaar Thoda Magic
Moby Dick
GhostBusters
Love Story 2050
Groundhog Day
Kismet Konnection
The Lives Of Others
The Great Train Robbery
Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na
Sarkar Raj



Not a bad number of movies given the fact that this was the 'most happening' year of my adult existence. I can't imagine what the number would have been in a 'normal' year. Of course, my tolerance for movies is infinitely more than most people, so you may see movies that you might find hard to survive. In an alternate life, I would have been a movie critic, if I had the heart to criticize movies :)

There's the temptation to drill down and analyze this list some more, but I will resist. One thing is certain: this excercise will not be repeated anytime soon. Wouldn't want to compete with myself, would I? :) On second thoughts, if I were to do this excercise for the books I read in a year, it would be a short and sweet excercise.


That leaves the mysterious start to this post: There was Bradman and then there's me. The number of movies on the list: 99!

Thursday, August 06, 2009

A Ray Of Light Heads For Earth

Go yonder starlight;
Infinity beckons.
Let mortals remain
Forever trapped
Between gravity and grave

Go yonder starlight;
Don’t pierce the blue sky.
Let us earn first
Our light, Our shadows
Our air, Our breaths

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Taking a Michelle

Today has been five years to the dot since I started this space. It has been a slow last year, but I am going to convenience myself by referencing the dictum: quality is better than quantity. In the age of T20, my blog is hitting sixers (a.k.a. posts) with a frequency seen in test matches.

To continue with my cricketing analogy and to explain the title of the post, when bowlers take five wickets in an innings, it is called a five-for (which sounds similar to Pfeiffer, hence the reference to Michelle Pfeiffer). You are welcome :)

Thanks for being part of the journey. Looking forward to the next year!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Solar Eclipse

What dark deeds abound,
As the umbra of the moon’s shadow
Hides the sun away from us?

Are they using the syzygy
To swap our beloved sun?
Pulling a con on us
In broad daylight?

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Decadent

Sometime in the midst of this month’s bedlam is wrapped a day that would purportedly mark a significant milestone in my life as well as a whole bunch of others who journeyed the same time as me. I am not sure it really is significant enough, but I am raising the bar on it. In some ways, it is as important as a 30th birthday or a five year anniversary at a job: it means something if you want it to. The event I am talking about: completion of ten years since graduation; since I bade goodbye to my alma mater that mattered: SPCE (Sardar Patel College of Engineering). This post won’t be an exercise in reminiscing. There’s just so much history in the days gone by and the place that was that it would be patently unfair to try and summarize that in a few paragraphs. I see flashes of that era littered around me: photographs on Facebook, the college magazines stocked and piled in my house, a quiz club that is still active since its inception when I was in my second year, friends who are a click away, among others. Those hard evidences abound and most likely still will be there for a while to come. There’s enough ammunition to make one misty-eyed and smile into empty spaces when the mind wanders or a song jogs up old memories.

What makes the ten year anniversary significant is that it serves as a good assessment point: step back, look at yourself, look and appraise the universe around you, look back at what you had wanted and where you are with it. Perhaps you could call it the early-mid-life crisis, or an impending reality check. I suppose its a little less pressure when you weren’t marked for greatness, and I say that in the utmost bitter less manner possible. For us, the bar is a fluctuating line that varies from discovering your potential, to fulfilling it; from realizing that some dreams were out of reach, but others are within the grasp of effort and reality; that there’s joy in reveling and marveling at the success of your peers and satisfaction at realizing that you are making a decent impact too. There’s joy in marveling at how you couldn’t have predicted where you’d be in ten years, who you’d be with, and that your best creation till date will be a study in flailing arms and unintelligible warbles. Ultimately, this is an occasion to smile at the glorious uncertainties of life: if you couldn’t predict accurately how the last ten years were going to be, chances are your image of what happens ten years hence will also be imperfect. So, here’s to the class of 1999: toast to yourself and the joy that is life; You’ve done well!

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

A Midsummer Night's Arrival

The sun arrives
And refuses to leave
Until the wee hours of the night

The climax is sudden
Like curtains drawn
On a performance gone awry

Light emanates
From the corners of the curtains
A daily eclipse

An hour in the making

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Less Face Book, more Face Time!

I understand this blog is fast slipping into oblivion. Not the place I intend it to go, so I am renewing my commitment to post more regularly. They say you need talent to write. I say you need discipline (and for some people, a spell-checker). This first paragraph is to assure the few loyal readers left that I will try and locate the necessary self-persuasion.

We lead extremely distracted lives, especially if you are of my ilk who sit in front of a computer close to ten hours a day. I am not even going to talk about the movie watching and the TV watching I do, but pure and simple, the time that the digital world is consuming. There was always the internet and instant messaging, and it would actually need some extra focus to block everything out and stay on the job. But at least that was limited to the time spent at work after which I would go home and like a good boy, slouch in a couch and watch the idiot box. Nothing precedes the explosion in the past year or two for me. First came the blogs, then youtube, orkut, then came my smartphone and then came Facebook, and there I was, completely submerged into the digital realm.

There’s always something happening on Facebook in someone’s lives, and the deeper you get into this social quicksand, the harder it is to extract yourself. And it doesn’t leave you when you leave it sitting alone locked behind the screen of your crusty computer. There’s the smartphone, that doesn’t let me disconnect from the internet. It is waiting, silently calling me out to log on and check scores on cricinfo, or when an e-mail at work has arrived at 9.34 pm in the night and the glow of the screen draws me into knowing if one of these three important things have conspired: 1. Did I get fired? 2. Have I done anything that will get me fired? 3. Did someone send an invite for a morale event? Then of course, I have to check my yahoo account for the odd chance that some e-mail is waiting for me. Not to overlook my hotmail account, where there ARE e-mails sitting to tell me that something has happened on Facebook that I should know about. It reminds me of an organizer at a dandia event I once went, telling people: ‘please assemble in concentric circles, one inside the other!’

Internet itself has mushroomed. I follow more blogs, I read more news, I see more videos and I hear more music. In essence, an entire day can be spent doing nothing else but keeping ‘in sync’ and it would still be a drop in the ocean. The more I try to optimize what I see and hear, the more there seems to be out there that needs to be seen and heard.

How ironic that the very same tools that should empower and enrich end up distracting me in the process! In an effort to make my life simpler, I have made my life more complex. It requires a special kind of discipline, an almost ascetic bent of mind to resist the temptation to devote endless hours to this smorgasbord of options out there to spend time on. But wait: now I have the perfect excuse to explain my absence from blogging. Everytime I am on a PC or my smartphone, highlights from yesterday’s cricket match to the latest articles on New York Times (and the endless comments) call out to me among other things. There you have it; I finally found someone to blame for my absence from this blog. I’d go on, but I think a friend of mine just updated his status to let everyone know that he is having lunch!

P.S> BTW, I am still not on Twitter. My last stance against digital drowning is still on.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Annual Performance Review

I submit to judgment,
My past year’s follies.
Wrapped in truth,
Blurred in perception.
An eloquent eulogy to efforts past
Neatly organized in bullet points.
Promises I made, promises I kept;
In optimistic synchrony,
Designed to please
The review Gods

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

T20 is DLF (Destined to Last Forever) Maximum?

These mornings seem a little quieter with the IPL having completed its second version in South Africa. For the past month or so, I had IPL being relayed to my television set at home for my father to enjoy watching some cricket in between breaks of taking care of his grandson, and also at TV monitors across the Microsoft Redmond campus, where one could catch a few glimpses of the game while getting some coffee or heating some food.

I have not been fully convinced by the twenty twenty format, but I am at least fully convinced that it is here to stay, with the IPL 2 also having completed its edition successfully. This year was more interesting than the last because the bowlers actually had a say, unlike the first edition where a bowling machine would have served the very same purpose. At least some batting skill was required, which allowed ‘test players’ like Dravid and Kallis to display their wares and actually make it to the final.

I won’t go into details on how the tournament went. There are reams of paper and online space devoted to it. Some things that stood out for me was the repeat success of an Australian captain, supposed oldies playing so well, the fake IPL player blog providing more entertainment than the cricket at times, the unbearable level of commentary and Tendulkar’s destiny to never succeed as a captain.

With talks of two IPL editions in the same year, a T20 world cup to follow with hardly any breathing space, a champion’s trophy for T20 teams at the end of the year and the seemingly unstoppable momentum of the different cricket boards in adopting T20, the fears for the health of test cricket are well and truly alive. As Rob Steen pointed out correctly in this Cricinfo article what motivation do players have to play for their nation when they could be earning big sums of money for a few good games a year? Andrew Flintoff already screwed himself and the English cricket team ahead of the Ashes by playing for money. How much more time before we have T20 specialists who have no ambition to play either test cricket or any other form of cricket for their country? How much more time before the FTP (Future Tours Program) is abandoned by the ICC? How much longer before test cricket will cease to exist beyond the top four teams or series might have not more than two test matches?

There are two parties involved here who will call the shots: the administrators (a.k.a. Lalit Modi and the ilk) and the players (including Bravo and Flintoff with altered priorities) in deciding the direction cricket will take in the future. Administrators can focus on preparing dead pitches to ensure no one is interested in test cricket, and players can keep choosing T20 tournaments over playing in a bilateral test series. Aiding and abetting are the consumers thirsty for instant gratification, the curse of our generation. The dwindling minority with people like me will fume and fret and blog about it and in another decade resort to watching old recordings of Tendulkar’s 155 not out against Australia in Chennai or Warne’s ball of the century. C’est la vie.

Friday, May 01, 2009

And Then There Was Light

Rays of light
Break through the cloud.
Rummaging the earth
Like words scrambling,
In search of a metaphor.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Saga Of Severance

The prologue: Their ephemeral love affair
The epilogue: A vapid life with new beginnings
Scribbled in between was a never ending story: The myth of their separation

Friday, March 27, 2009

Epiphanies From A Newbie Parent

What does one say for three month old brats? The ones that make you get up at two in the night with a near-silent whimper, twist and turn their arms and feet to signal the ending of an enterprising dream, and then unleash the deadliest weapon of mass meltdown possible: the smile. What do you do with these little critters? Those that have woken up at two and smiled at you and effortlessly extracted a smile back despite all your exhaustion; those that then flail their arms and legs in joyous celebration.

How does one outwit these master manipulators? Those that know that the expressions on their face and the sound of their crying are signals their caretakers can’t ignore and use that to the maximum effect. Those that walk you around the house for hours at a stretch while leading you to believe that you are the ones walking them. Those that are leading you to a state of stability and focus while you spend hours servicing their needs.

What do you with these master magicians? The ones that make you speak in a garbled language you never knew before, the ones who have you thinking of them through the day, the one who want to make you get back home in the evening as soon as possible, the ones who turn your baby-agnostic self to a child-loving persona.

What do you teach these masterful teachers? Those that have the confidence to completely submit themselves to you. Their minds are clear, their faith is total, and when one rests on your chest with his arms stretched finding the warmest reaches of your embrace and feet curled up like a little ball as he wriggles his head to find a spot of total comfort, you know that it is you who needs to learn to repay their faith. The ones who are so effortlessly intimate with you when you hold them, that you find yourself letting your guard down as the layers that we build to survive adult life simply peel off in the steady gaze of those truthful eyes.

What do you do with them indeed? Cherish them, count your blessings and enjoy the ride.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Rear Window

The crescent moon hides more than it reveals. Above the glistening arc lies a veil of secrecy. The arc stretched one corner of his eye to the other as he peered at it through the telescope. As promised, the last of the month had brought with it clear skies. It was balancing the books, making up for the obfuscations that cloud covers brought, often hiding the source of lightning as it struck from up above.

A chance encounter had got him invited to this party. His offer of help to shift a sofa two flights up in a building across him had landed him a bottle of beer in his hand and five introductions as he sifted through the kitschy music blaring out of a refurbished CD player. It was a world away from his plush penthouse just across the road, and he wondered again why he was there. It wasn’t his scene, it wasn’t, he guiltily thought, in his class. But the novelty of it all had been too much to resist, as was the faux-urbane charm of the couple he was helping. Why, they were also into astronomy, those geeks.

Bored with the luminescence of the moon, he drifted across the sky identifying the few constellations he could name. Just then, a drunk reveler stumbled into him pushing his elbow and shaking the telescope. He spent some time wiping the spilt beer of his coat and decided to assess the displacement of the fine-tuned instrument. His eyes met a strange sight at the other end of that lens. A building that looked familiar. His own. A terrace that he recognized. His own. Two figures clad in black climbing down the pipes from that terrace with contents of a broken safe. His own. A sickening feeling overwhelmed him as the CIO of a Fortune 500 company stared at his company secrets going down the drain, literally. Beware of strangers bearing gifts of free beer!

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Untitled

What is a memory?
Fingers intertwined, eyes closed, sea hushing the two of us.
What is love?
Memories intertwined, eyes closed, mouth shaping into a smile.
What is life?
Love intertwined, eyes closed, arms enveloping warm bodies

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The Child Is The Father Of Man

He gazes at that small serene face
And marvels at life's great irony:
A man of thirty years
Searching himself
In a boy of thirty days.

P.S> I had warned you about parenting posts. Here's one.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Hindi Film Songs: Best of 2008

In continuance of an annual tradition, I am back with the fifth edition of the list of my best Hindi film songs from the year (previous lists: 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007).

Reiterating the disclaimers:
1. The songs aren't listed in any particular order. I have just listed them in the order in which I came across them.
2. I try to listen to each new album that comes out at least once. However, there are simply too many new movies and too many songs to follow. It is possible that some may have been omitted. In particular, I have not followed any of the December releases well since I was busy with the birth of my son. Hence, Raaz 2 and Chandni Chowk to China will be reviewed in next year’s list.
3. Some of the movies will be releasing next year but since their songs have released this year before I decided to clamp down on the list, I am including them. Similarly, movies that released in 2008 were covered in the 2007 list if their music was out then
4. I am going to attempt to limit the number of songs per movie to three. That does not imply that there aren’t any more on the movie’s list that I like. I follow that rule under most circumstances just to keep the length of the list in check.

I have included links to each of the songs on the list. Caution: I have noticed that musicindiaonline tends to be very flaky at times, so if the link doesn’t work, scoot over to other sites, but do listen to the songs.

Adding a year end assessment this time round: It has been a mixed year for Hindi film music with a lot of music directors like Pritam and Mithoon producing nothing of substance. Overall, the year belonged to A. R. Rehman. He produced as varied as Jodha-Akbar and Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na. However, his best work was not for a Hindi film (which is why it isn’t on this list). Slumdog Millionaire has an absolutely brilliant sound track and you absolutely must hear it and then hear it again when you watch the movie to realize its quality. As I write this, the Golden Globes and Oscars aren’t out and I am hoping he wins both. However, the best Hindi film OST of the year was Rock On without a doubt. The setting was very unique for a Hindi film and the success of the soundtrack lies in its ability to fit in effortlessly with the theme. Even the lyrics in Hindi never seemed awkward. The Mangeshkar sisters weren’t heard much, Sonu Nigam had a good song or two and Alka Yagnik came in and impressed intermittently. Sunidhi and Shreya continue their challenge for the top spot while the male singers don’t have any such contention going on. There’s too many of them and none of them are getting stand out songs bar maybe Sukhwinder. Lyrically too, nothing substantially outstanding either from Gulzar, Javed Akhtar or Prasoon Joshi like the previous year. I guess while there were one or two good songs in different films, there weren’t that many great albums one could point to. Overall, it wasn’t the best of years, nor was it the worst of years.

I am open to suggestions on songs that you think should be on the list but are missing. I am also open to debates on my choices but as is the nature of blogging, one who owns the blog has the final say. Hope you enjoy it.

Song : Vaada Tumse Hain Vaada
Movie Name : 1920
Singer : Parveen Sultana
Music Director : Adnam Sami
Lyrics : Sameer
Why is it on the list? : You rarely get to hear this fine singer in Hindi films. Sole reason why this song is on the list. Interestingly, Adnan seems to get amazing singers to sing his songs. There is another version of this song by Pt. Jasraj, but it didn’t register with me. Adnan needs to up the ante on his compositions to do justice to the singers he gets to sing them.

Song : Ek Lau
Movie Name : Aamir
Singer : Amitabh , Shilpa Rao
Music Director : Amit Trivedi
Lyrics : Amitabh
Why is it on the list? : Beautifully written and rendered composition. Seems appropriate for the victims of the Mumbai terror, doesn’t it?

Song : Ha Raham (Mehfuz)
Movie Name : Aamir
Singer : Amit Trivedi, Amitabh, Murtaza Qadir
Music Director : Amit Trivedi
Lyrics : Amitabh
Why is it on the list? : Another lilting composition from this rather unconventional movie.

Song : Khuda Jaane
Movie Name : Bachna Ae Haseeno
Singer : Kay Kay, Shilpa Rao
Music Director : Vishal-Shekhar
Lyrics : Anvita Dutt Guptan
Why is it on the list? : Best song of the movie. Kay Kay and Shilpa Rao shine in this song.

Song : Ahista Ahista
Movie Name : Bachna Ae Haseeno
Singer : Lucky Ali, Shreya Ghoshal
Music Director : Vishal-Shekhar
Lyrics : Anvita Dutt Guptan
Why is it on the list? : Reminds me in part of Khuda Haafiz from Yuva, but that may also be influenced by Lucky Ali’s presence.

Song : Desi Girl
Movie Name : Dostana
Singer : Shankar Mahadevan, Sunidhi Chauhan, Vishal Dadlani
Music Director : Vishal-Shekhar
Lyrics : Anvita Dutt Guptan
Why is it on the list? : Yes, Yes. As a true blue desi boy, I whole-heartedly agree with the lyrics!

Song : Khabar Nahi
Movie Name : Dostana
Singer : Amanat Ali , Shreya Ghoshal, Vishal Dadlani
Music Director : Vishal-Shekhar
Lyrics : Anvita Dutt Guptan
Why is it on the list? : Amanat does a good job with this composition that doesn’t particularly rise above the ordinary

Song : Bandagi
Movie Name : Drona
Singer : Roop Kumar Rathod, Sunidhi Chauhan
Music Director : Dhruv Ghanekar
Lyrics : Vaibhav Modi
Why is it on the list? : Gem of a composition on an otherwise ordinary album. Sunidhi and Roop Kumar are fantastic here.

Song : Guzarish
Movie Name : Ghajini
Singer : Javed Ali
Music Director : A.R. Rahman
Lyrics : Prasoon Joshi
Why is it on the list? : Prasoon/Rahman team up after RDB for an album that doesn’t aspire to be very different. This is a conventional composition but well executed by Rahman and his current favorite Javed Ali.

Song : Latoo
Movie Name : Ghajini
Singer : Shreya Ghoshal
Music Director : A.R. Rahman
Lyrics : Prasoon Joshi
Why is it on the list? : Catchy composition (how can you argue with the word Lattoo being used?). I like Shreya’s energy in this song. Typically, you’d expect this song to go Sunidhi’s way.

Song : Jaane Tu Mera Kya Hai
Movie Name : Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na
Singer : Runa Rizvi
Music Director : Rahman AR
Lyrics : Abbas Tyrewala
Why is it on the list? : I actually liked this rendition more than Sukhwinder’s version. The new singer has done a fine job with this. I believe they shot a video for this and played it in theaters once the movie picked up.

Song : Kabhi Kabhi Aditi Zindagi
Movie Name : Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na
Singer : Rashid Ali
Music Director : Rahman AR
Lyrics : Abbas Tyrewala
Why is it on the list? : Breezy, light, goes with the mood of the film.

Song : Pappu Can’t Dance
Movie Name : Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na
Singer : Anupama Deshpande, Benny Dayal, Blaze, Darshana, Mohd Aslam, Satish Subramanium, Tanvi
Music Director : Rahman AR
Lyrics : Abbas Tyrewala
Why is it on the list? : I believe this has been written for me and many others that I know

Song : Jashn E Bahaara
Movie Name : Jodhaa Akbar
Singer : Javed Ali
Music Director : Rahman AR
Lyrics : Javed Akhtar
Why is it on the list? : Rahman has had a prolific year and this soundtrack heralded it. Not sure why he didn’t go with Sonu for this track, but Javed Ali did a very good job. Even though he was part of ‘Kajrare’, this was his breakthrough song.

Song : In Lamhon Ke Daaman Mein
Movie Name : Jodhaa Akbar
Singer : Madhushree, Sonu Nigam
Music Director : Rahman AR
Lyrics : Javed Akhtar
Why is it on the list? : Very well sung and the chorus has been used to very good effect to vary the tempo of the song.

Song : Aai Paapi (Tu Hai Meri Soniye)
Movie Name : Kismat Konnection
Singer : Neeraj Shridhar
Music Director : Pritam
Lyrics : Shabbir Ahmed
Why is it on the list? : I love the use of trumpets at the start of the song. One of those foot-tapping numbers where the lyrics make little sense.

Song : Bakhuda Tumhi Ho
Movie Name : Kismat Konnection
Singer : Alka Yagnik
Music Director : Pritam
Lyrics : Sayeed Quadri
Why is it on the list? : I especially liked Alka in this song. You can see that Aziz Mirza misses having Jatin Lalit as his composers. This is something you’d expect from them.

Song : Meelon Ka Jaisa Tha Fasla
Movie Name : Love Story 2050
Singer : Kay Kay
Music Director : Anu Malik
Lyrics : Javed Akhtar
Why is it on the list? : When you have a debut movie with so much money poured in, great music is a must, especially if your main hero is attempting to copy Hrithik Roshan. The music disappointed and Anu missed a golden chance to get back in the big league again. This was a decent composition.

Song : Mausam Achanak Ye Badala Kyu
Movie Name : Love Story 2050
Singer : Shaan, Alka Yagnik
Music Director : Anu Malik
Lyrics : Javed Akhtar
Why is it on the list? : The other good melody from the movie.

Song : Haule Haule
Movie Name : Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi
Singer : Sukhwinder Singh
Music Director : Salim-Sulaiman
Lyrics : Jaideep Sahni
Why is it on the list? : A song that gradually grows upon you on multiple hearings. It certainly did on me. The beauty of the song is enhanced with the picturization, done in all of three shots.

Song : Tujh Mein Rab Dikhta Hai
Movie Name : Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi
Singer : Roop Kumar Rathod
Music Director : Salim-Sulaiman
Lyrics : Jaideep Sahni
Why is it on the list? : Perplexed by the choice of singer, but Roop Kumar does a decent job with a good melody.

Song : Alvida
Movie Name : Dasvidaniya
Singer : Kailash Kher
Music Director : Kailash Kher
Lyrics : Kailash Kher
Why is it on the list? : Kailash Kher dons all three hats and you can see how the composition reminds you of his hugely successful ‘Teri Deewani’ from his private album. The song is in sync with the theme of the movie and holds you from the start to the finish.

Song : Zindagi Ye
Movie Name : Dil Kabaddi
Singer : Rahat Fateh Ali Khan
Music Director : Sachin Gupta
Lyrics : Virag Mishra
Why is it on the list?: A song with an addictive rhythm. Rahat owns the song.

Song : Race Saanson Ki
Movie Name : Race
Singer : Neeraj Sridhar, Sunidhi Chauhan
Music Director : Pritam Chakraborty
Lyrics: Sameer
Why is it on the list?: A number that grabs you from the start and does not let go. The movie was entertaining with all its twists and turns and Pritam comes up with a power-packed number to best represent the movie. The guitar pieces in the song are used effectively

Song : Pehli Nazar Mein
Movie Name : Race
Singer : Atif Aslam
Music Director : Pritam Chakraborty
Lyrics : Sameer
Why is it on the list?: Atif excels in his usual full throated style in a number created for him

Song : Phir Dekhiye
Movie Name : Rock On
Singer : Caralisa Monteiro
Music Director : Shankar Ehsaan Loy
Lyrics : Javed Akhtar
Why is it on the list?: The best soundtrack of the year, hands down. Rahman had a productive year for sheer versatility but SEL hit the jackpot with the perfect soundtrack for an unusual setting. I like almost all the songs of this movie (barring Zehreelay), but for the purposes of the list, I am going to pick my favorite three. This one tops the list. What dreamy lyrics for a simple composition.

Song : Pichle Saat Dinon Mein
Movie Name : Rock On
Singer : Farhan Akhtar
Music Director : Shankar Ehsaan Loy
Lyrics : Javed Akhtar
Why is it on the list?: Hard to imagine Javed Akhtar writing lyrics for this and an untrained singer like Farhan rendering it. But they do, and we have an anthem.

Song : Sinbad The Sailor
Movie Name : Rock On
Singer : Farhan Akhtar, Raman Mahadevan
Music Director : Shankar Ehsaan Loy
Lyrics : Javed Akhtar
Why is it on the list?: Again, unusual lyrics by Javed Akhtar and great arrangement by the composers.

Song : Tashan Mein
Movie Name : Tashan
Singer : Saleem, Vishal
Music Director : Vishal Shekhar
Lyrics : Piyush Mishra
Why is it on the list?: One of the most anticipated movies and biggest debacles of the year had music that was good in fits and starts. The arrangement for this song was good and the choice of Saleem and Vishal as singers for this song gave it the stand out effect it needed.

Song : Dil Haara
Movie Name : Tashan
Singer : Sukhwinder Singh
Music Director : Vishal Shekhar
Lyrics : Piyush Mishra
Why is it on the list?: Very good lyrics rendered with gusto by Sukhwinder. The way the drums up the tempo at the end is fantastic.

Song : U Me Aur Hum
Movie Name : U Me Aur Hum
Singer : Shreya Ghoshal
Music Director : Vishal Bhardwaj
Lyrics : Munna Dhiman
Why is it on the list?: After Omkara, I was expecting another smash-hit score from Vishal, but was disappointed. This was the only tune that really stayed with me. Perhaps he needs Gulzar to get the best out of him?

Song : Mastam Mastam
Movie Name : Yuvvraaj
Singer : Alka Yagnik, Benny Dayal, Naresh Iyer, Sonu Nigam
Music Director : Rahman AR
Lyrics : Gulzar
Why is it on the list?: The Gulzar-Rahman combo has set such high standards that it must be getting to near impossibility for them to repeat it. Yuvraj was one such score which, while being good, isn’t Dil Se. I like the gypsy style music arrangement of this song. Catchy.

Song : Tu Muskura
Movie Name : Yuvvraaj
Singer : Alka Yagnik
Music Director : Rahman AR
Lyrics : Gulzar
Why is it on the list?: This should put Alka Yagnik in contention for a Filmfare this year. She is fantastic in this beautifully written and composed song.

Song : Tu Meri Dost Hain
Movie Name : Yuvvraaj
Singer : Benny Dayal, Rahman AR, Shreya Ghosal
Music Director : Rahman AR
Lyrics : Gulzar
Why is it on the list?: This song just makes it to the list, because of the lyrics. I have mixed feelings for Rahman as a singer, and this song does nothing to tilt me either way. The tune is hummable.

Song : Dhoom Tere Ishq Ki
Movie Name : Karz
Singer : Himesh Reshammiya
Music Director : Himesh Reshammiya
Lyrics : Sameer
Why is it on the list?: An annual list without Himesh? Even the worst critic has to grant him some leeway for this song.

Song : Lambi Judai
Movie Name : Jannat
Singer : Richa Sharma
Music Director : Pritam
Lyrics : Sayeed Quadri
Why is it on the list?: The guitar piece sets the tempo for the song and Richa does a good job with the rendition.

Song : Mar Jawaan
Movie Name : Fashion
Singer : Shruti Pathak, Salim Merchant
Music Director : Salim-Sulaiman
Lyrics : Irfan Siddique
Why is it on the list?: I like Shruti Pathak’s voice in this song. No other song from Fashion really hit it home for me.

Song : Shabad Gurbani
Movie Name : Halla Bol
Singer : Sukhwinder Singh
Music Director : Vanraj Bhatia
Lyrics : Mehboob Kotwal
Why is it on the list?: Sukhwinder does a fantastic job and I particularly like the harmonium. You could have been hearing this in a gurudwara.

Song : Mannata
Movie Name : Heroes
Singer : Sonu Nigam, Kavita Krishnamurti
Music Director : Sajid Wajid
Lyrics : Jalees Sherwani
Why is it on the list?: Rare appearance by Kavita Krishnamurti. Good composition, light on the years.

Song : Phir Wohi Raastey
Movie Name : Ramchand Pakistani
Singer : Shafqat Amanat Ali, Shubha Mudgal
Music Director : Debajyoti Mishra
Lyrics : Anwar Maqsood
Why is it on the list?: Remember the songs of Raincoat? Haven’t heard anything else from the music director until now. Good songs in the movie overall, and this one in particular stood out for me.

Song : Teri Ore
Movie Name : Singh Is Kinng
Singer : Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, Shreya Ghoshal
Music Director : Pritam
Lyrics : Mayur Puri
Why is it on the list?: The only soft song in the movie. Everything else was bombastic. Easy melody.

Song : Jee Karda
Movie Name : Singh Is Kinng
Singer : Labh Janjua, Suzie Q
Music Director : Pritam
Lyrics : Mayur Puri
Why is it on the list?: I debated between choosing this or having Snoop Doggy Dog on the list. I am going with the former for its catchy tune. Grant it to Katrina and Akshay for continuing to shoot in 45 degree temperatures in Egypt and surviving sessions of fainting on the sets.

Song : Bheeni Bheeni Mehki Mehki
Movie Name : Welcome To Sajjanpur
Singer : Krishna Kumar, Shreya Ghoshal
Music Director : Shantanu Moitra
Lyrics : Swanand Kirkire
Why is it on the list?: The melody reflects the lyrics so well. Swanand is in fine form in this song. The team returns to give Shyam Benegal a very fresh soundtrack to work with.

Song : Jugni
Movie Name : Oye Lucky Lucky Oye
Singer : Des Raj Lachkani
Music Director : Sneha Khanwalkar
Lyrics : Dibakar Banerjee
Why is it on the list?: Female music director turns in a fantastic soundtrack for a very well made movie. You have to watch the movie to know how well it blends with the milieu of the movie’s characters.

Song : Mere Khuda
Movie Name : Sorry Bhai
Singer : Kay Kay
Music Director : Gaurav Dayal
Why is it on the list?: Reminds you of ‘Bas Ek Pal’. Same combination. Good, but not in the same class as that effort.

Song : Manzar
Movie Name : Sunday
Singer : Earl Edgar
Music Director : Raghav Sachar
Lyrics : Aditya Dhar
Why is it on the list?: I was surprised to see Raghav Sachar’s name in the music director’s column. Could do without the English lyrics, but its hard to find a song these days without them.

Song : Lazy Lamhe
Movie Name : Thoda Pyaar Thoda Magic
Singer : Anusha Mani
Music Director : Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy
Lyrics : Prasoon Joshi
Why is it on the list?: So much was expected of this album, but it was a rare disappointment from SEL and Prasoon Joshi. This is a good foot-tapping number. Like the phrase ‘Lazy Lamhe’ as well.