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Sunday, December 18, 2011

Top 10 Bollywood Songs of 2011

Shahrukh Khan in Chammak Challo from "Ra.One" )
As 2011 draws to a close, it’s time to pick the best and worst of the year. It was an interesting 12 months of Bollywood music–some have argued quality is a thing of the past–with no shortage of high and low points in Hindi, English and that ever painstaking Hinglish. We tried to round up our personal favorites, ranging from genuinely soulful to shamelessly painful. In no particular order, we present you with our Top 10 Bollywood Songs of 2011.
1. Kolaveri DiThat’s right. A Tamil song has officially made the list, even if it doesn’t quite qualify as “Bollywood”. “Kolaveri Di” earned over 18 million views in only three weeks, and we’re still confused as to how 18-year-old music composer Anirudh Ravichander molded butchered English and Tamil (“Tanglish”) into a song that actually has a complete melody with true dimension. The innovative use of beats and piano and that odd clarinet-sounding instrument is unique, fun and addicting. How can you not love it? The song is for the soup boys. (We don’t get it, either)
2. Chammak Challo (Ra.One)Akon. Singing in Hindi. Yes, please! We were skeptical of Vishal and Shekhar’s choice to use Akon’s voice, but the music composer duo created yet another smash hit right on the heels of “Sheila Ki Jawani”. Who else noticed that Akon had better Hindi pronunciation than some of our current playback singers?
3. Isq Risk (Mere Brother Ki Dulhan)Composer Sohail Sen absolutely struck gold with this album. Creating mainstream but also quality music is a rare note to strike these days, and “Isq Risk” is the perfect example of how to do it right. Using harmonium, tablasqawwali singing and sarangi all while staying mainstream and relevant? We’re impressed. Beyond impressed. Have a listen to the rest of the soundtrack, too. They are definitely all worth your time.
4. Thug Le (Ladies vs Ricky Bahl)Brother composer duo Salim-Suleiman sample Edward Maya’s “Desert Rain” to create a song that is gaining quick traction in the music charts. One of the better dance numbers of the year, the fun Battle of the Sexes lyrics along with the intriguing violin sample make this an undeniably toe-tapping listen.
5. Sajh Dhaj Ke (Mausam)Alright, we’ll admit it. One of the main reasons this particular song beat out the others from the movie is because whenever we hear it, we picture Shahid Kapoor looking more adorable than usual (as if that was possible), while dancing his cute little heart out. Mika Singh somehow manages yet again to sing a hit with Pritam’s typical addicting music to accompany him. These two should just stick together from now on and crank out infectious Punjabi songs for a living.
6. Sadi Gali (Tanu Weds Manu)You can thank low-key film “Tanu Weds Manu” for bringing back this number and making it the most danced-to mehndi song this year (or of all time). Originally an RDB song, it just keeps proving that this is one song with immense staying power. Just thinking about the song has us bouncing our shoulders up and down, bhangra style.
7. Laung da Lashkara (Patiala House)We cannot seem to figure out what it is about this song that makes an otherwise simple composition so very special. Technically speaking, it has nothing going for it–horrible English rap sections from Hard Kaur and that incessant use of autotune throughout. But something about the simplicity of the song just makes you smile and want to hit rewind over and over again.
8. Character Dheela (Ready)You read that right. A song called “Character Dheela” made the list. It’s a fun song. Deal with it.
9. Sadda Haq (Rockstar)This perhaps became the youth anthem of the year. Mohit Chauhan grew so much in this album that he is fast on his way to becoming one of the most unique singers of our generation. It would be a crime to not mention the other songs in this album, especially “Hawwa Hawwa” and the instrumental “Tango for Taj”. The complexity and involvement in those two songs is almost unheard of in modern Bollywood, and you can count on A.R. Rahman to deliver such perfection. If this was a list of “Top 10 Quality Songs of 2011” then “Tango for Taj” and “Hawwa Hawwa” would have been at the very top.
10. Teri Meri (Bodyguard)One of the biggest songs of the year, Himesh Reshammiya came back strong with this number. Aside: it was reported that Reshammiya copied the song from Cleopatra Stratan, a nine-year-old girl from Moldova (random much?). While technically this song should be disqualified from the list for this sole reason, it was a huge hit and has a place here. We’ll just give credit to Stratan for creating the haunting and unforgettable melody that Shreya Ghoshal and Rahat Fateh Ali Khan’s vocals delivered upon so effortlessly.
Honorable Mentions:
Jalebi Bai (Double Dhamaal): A song that was desperately trying to be the next “Munni” or “Sheila” but not anywhere near the caliber of either of the two songs.
Desi Boyz: All of the songs from this movie are fun–albeit not very unique–but they will definitely rise to the top of the music charts.
What were your favorite Bollywood songs of 2011? Tell us in the comments section below!


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