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Musically, this was a typical year for Bollywood, a few good releases by A.R.Rahman, Shankar Ehsaan Loy and some good newcomers.
Best Film Album (OST)
This was a tough one, but I think I’ll go with Amit Trivedi for the music of Aamir. Let me defend now.
Jodha Akbar was complex, grand and multi-layered, Slumdog Millionaire was something different from Rahman, Rock On was one of the best albums I heard in quite some time (and if not for Aamir would have been an easy choice), Welcome to Sajjanpur was really melodious but very situational at times and Khuda Ke Liye was a great album overall.
About Aamir, it was earthy, it was simple, it was melodious. Heck, at some points it was so raw that it would make an A.R. Rahman cringe at the sound ! But it was very good music, it was different, it was experimental. I still listen to the songs of Aamir almost daily. The sufi number Ha Raham, the folk and earthy Chakkar Ghumyo, the fast Phas Gaya, the experimental Haara and of course the philosophical Ek Lau, which assumed great significance in the aftermath of the Mumbai terror attacks (lyrics and translation here).
You might also want to listen to this song composed by Amit Trivedi for the Mumbai victims.
Best Non-Film Album
This was me was a contest just between Sonu Nigam’s Classically Mild and Rabbi Shergill’s Avengi Ja Nahin, and it was easy to choose Rabbi (review here). His first album was undoubtedly more catchy but Avengi Ja Nahin was deeper. Every song in this album deserves a proper listen and understanding !
Best Song : Bilqis (Jinhe Naaz Hai) (review here).
I do not think anyone would dispute this. This song is one of the reasons why music can be powerful yet subtle.
Best Singing Male : Sonu Nigam in Soona Soona (song here).
Sonu Nigam came back with some brilliant singing in a classical album this year and still managed to hold fort as one of the best singers we have.
Best Singing Female :
I really liked Dominique in Ye Tumhari Meri Baatein from Rock On but I think I will go with Madhushree in Ek Meetha Marz from Welcome to Sajjanpur. I haven’t heard a female playback voice sweeter than hers and you just have to listen to the way she sings this song (that too just one stanza).
Re-posting this with a quick update : The official video of Bilqis (Jinhe Naaz Hai) is out : Link
We couldn’t have expected a better video, which implies so subtly yet so strongly. You might have to read some news articles about Bilqis Rasool, Satyendra Dubey, Manjunath and Navleen Kumar to appreciate the song. On the review front, after Bilqis, I am currently at Pagrhi Sambhal Jatta, the song is an urging to the warrior clan by presenting their glorious history. To understand it better, be prepared to google every name that comes up in the song [:)].
P.S. : Incidentally, the word Unees actually occurs nineteen times.
Nothing spoils the fun of listening to a good album than another album coming along that is even better.
Rabbi Shergill is out with Avengi Ja Nahin.
With an unparalleled mastery over his music and his pen. He doesn’t write songs, he writes ballads.
How many songs that you heard made you “think” ? If not, you probably haven’t heard of Rabbi. In his latest album, he does that again with Bilqis (Link – Just listen to the audio there, lyrics are here). If not anything else, this song will make us accept that fact that we belong to the country where Bilqis Yakub Rasool was brutally gang-raped and her daughter killed before her eyes, where Manjunath and Satyendra Dubey lost lives for the truth, where Navleen Kumar was stabbed 19 times for voicing her opposition (simply loved the line Maza nav ahe Navleen Kumar ). This song is a masterpiece. You can buy this album only for this song. And every Indian probably deserves to hear this.
Rabbi takes us back to that era when songs used to be written to convey stories, thoughts, ideas and philosophies.
I still cannot find myself going beyond Bilqis. Other song reviews later.