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Top 10 Film Albums of 2015

2015 was not a good year for Hindi film music listeners. While there were a few soundtracks that impressed, a large number of films had substandard music. The number of albums in which each and every track worked was scarce. While Amaal Mallik rose like a phoenix and proved that he was a talent to watch out for, uncle Anu Malik delivered a respectable soundtrack as a solo composer after quite some time in ‘Dum Laga Ke Haisha’. Amit Trivedi unleashed a wave of rock music with ‘Bombay Velvet’ and Sachin-Jigar continued to climb up the hierarchy of Hindi film music by composing some memorable tracks for ‘Badlapur’ and ‘ABCD 2’. They also left a mark with their contribution to the soundtrack of ‘Hero’. On one hand, we got a very un-Bollywood album in ‘Detective Byomkesh Bakshy!’ and then there was Himesh Reshammiya’s ‘Prem Ratan Dhan Payo’ which had a quintessential Indian sound to it. Here is a list of my favourite film albums of 2015. One hopes 2016 offers better music.

Click on the film title to read the full music review.

1. Bombay Velvet

Anurag Kashyap had narrated the script of ‘Bombay Velvet’ to Amit Trivedi while they were working on the soundtrack of ‘Dev D’. Amit started creating tunes for Kashyap’s period drama which finally saw the light of the day in 2015. The music did not become as popular as it should have because of two major reasons – (a) Hindi film music listeners are not used to listening to jazz music and (b) the film bombed badly at the box office. The album was filled with several jazz based tracks carrying different moods. For jazz music lovers, the album was gold. Even though you are not a fan of jazz music, do give Amit Trivedi’s labour of love a chance.

2. Hero

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Nikkhil Advani has a terrific sense in music. Period. Right from ‘Kal Ho Naa Ho’ to ‘D-Day’, all his films had boasted of good music. This time, he had Subhash Ghai and Salman Khan backing him up too. Sachin-Jigar, Amaal Mallik, Meet Bros Anjjan and Jassi Katyal put together a hardcore Bollywood album that had a contemporary sound to it. The album had a good mix of romantic (“Main Hoon Hero Tera”, “Khoya Khoya”), sad (“Yadaan Teriyaan”, “O Khuda”), peppy (“Jab We Met”) and dance (“Dance Ke Legend”) numbers. Consisting of songs that had tremendous repeat value to them, ‘Hero’ was an almost complete album.

3. Badlapur

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Even with just three original tracks (the other two being a remixed and unplugged version each), ‘Badlapur’ scored as the music was high on quality. While “Jeena Jeena” was a highly melodious love ditty, “Jee Karda” and “Judaai” showed Sachin-Jigar’s range as composers. There was another promotional track “Badla Badla”, which was not a part of the album but one you should definitely check out.

4. Phantom

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Pritam gave director Kabir Khan a high on quantity but low on quality album in ‘Bajrangi Bhaijaan.’ While the music of the Salman Khan – Kareena Kapoor Khan starrer was far from being memorable, Pritam did deliver a good soundtrack for Kabir’s other film ‘Phantom’. This one, like ‘Badlapur’, had just three original tracks but each and every song was a winner. “Afghan Jalebi” was a highly addictive dance number and the other two tracks “Saaware” and “Nachda” tugged at your heartstrings with their sombre tune.

5. Hawaizaada

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Hawaizaada did not have a ‘breakout’ song as such but the soundtrack was consistently engaging. The best track of the lot was Mangesh Dhakde’s “Udd Jayega”, which was based on Saint Kabir’s poem ‘Udd Jayega Hans Akela.’ From a relative newcomer like Rochak Kohli to a seasoned composer like Vishal Bhardwaj, the album had a number of composers leaving their imprint on it.

6. Prem Ratan Dhan Payo

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There was a time when Rajshri Productions’ films were known for their music. The last few films produced by the production house did not really have good music to offer. Though the music of ‘Prem Ratan Dhan Payo’ is not in the league of Sooraj Barjatya’s earlier films, it still works to a good extent. The album had a rich traditional Hindi film sound to it which worked well with the theme of the film. This is one of the best albums by Himesh Reshammiya till date.

7. Tamasha

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‘Tamasha’ is probably the weakest album that A R Rahman and Imtiaz Ali have produced as a team. ‘Rockstar’ was one of the best Hindi film soundtracks to have arrived in the last ten years and ‘Highway’ had some interesting songs which grew on one after a while. Songs like “Matargashti” and “Heer Toh Badi Hai” easily get on your lips but the rest could take a long time to grow on you. The songs made a better impact when one viewed them on the screen as they gelled in effortlessly with the narrative.

8. NH10

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The film had barely any song but had a terrific album to boast of. The ‘NH10’ album is a good example of how theme driven songs can work big time as audio entities rather than just being enjoyed on screen. Most of the tracks in the album remained faithful to the plot of the film and yet, tuneful enough to be played on a loop. The star of the soundtrack was the Bann Chakraborty composed “Le Chal Mujhe”, sung by Shilpa Rao. The highly evocative number had three other versions too.

9. Tanu Weds Manu Returns

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Guest composers Tanishk and Vayu’s “Banno” towered above all the songs in the album but Krsna Solo did a good job too. Barring “Banno”, all the songs were written by Raj Shekhar, one of the most underrated lyricists around. The album mostly had songs with a strong Indian flavour to them but there was also a jazz track (“Old School Girl”) sung by Anmol Malik. And, what a delight it was to hear Sonu Nigam flex his vocals about “O Saathi Mere”, a semi-classical number.

10. Roy

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One expects good stuff from the soundtrack of a film which has been produced by T-Series. Roy, produced by T-Series, had three tracks “Sooraj Dooba Hain”, “Chittiyan Kalaiyaan” and “Tu Hai Ki Nahin” that had chartbuster written all over them. The other two tracks “Boond Boond” and “Yaara Re” were not bad either. One of the earliest albums to have arrived this year, it also remains to be one of the most popular soundtracks of the year.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author.

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