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The Best Hindi Songs of 2015

December 25, 2015 Leave a comment

As the year draws to a close, it is time for us to look back towards the best music that Bollywood offered us in 2015 and had us all humming. It was yet another stellar year for good music, which shone, despite the cacophony and club-based remixes that seem to have become the flavor of the month.

So pour yourself a cup of tea/coffee, huddle around with your family, create this playlist and celebrate the holidays with these songs playing in the background. Trust me…you won’t be disappointed.

1.) Tu Kisi Rail Si Guzarti Hai – MASAAN

The best song of the year also comes from the best movie of the year. And sung with a heart by Indian Ocean. You can catch glimpses of the fantastic film, along with the flavor of small-town India, in the video.

2.) Agar Tum Saath Ho – TAMASHA

Deepika Padukone killed all competition for possibly years to come with this song playing in the backdrop. This is the stuff that turns actors into potential legends. And Irshad Kamil’s lyrics capture heartbreak just appropriately, with AR Rahman composing and Arijit Singh giving company to…yes…Alka Yagnik!!

3.) Judaai – BADLAPUR

One of the most poignant and heartbreaking songs I have ever heard, this one is sung with equal anguish and pain by Arijit Singh and Rekha Bharadwaj. It gives me the goosebumps every time I hear it. What a lovely composition about loss of loved ones.

4.) Jaanam – DETECTIVE BYOMKESH BAKSHY

A killer soundtrack to a film which eventually turned into a lost opportunity. The songs are mostly eclectic but this one, which plays as the opening credits roll, is sung with just the right amount of gusto needed to announce what Byomkesh is about to experience. Check out the lyrics and you will get immersed into it…

5.) Moh Moh Ke Dhaage – DUM LAGA KE HAISHA

Varun Grover is magical here with words and dialogues in this feel-good movie of the year. But one cannot help giving credit to the one and only Anu Malik, who proves that he still has a spark…or two…left in him. Monali Thakur’s rendition is also absolutely gorgeous. Feel the song. Don’t just hear it.

6.) Dhadaam Dhadaam – BOMBAY VELVET

Ah, the heartbreak that Bombay Velvet caused upon its release. There was universal disappointment across the board, especially when such big names were associated with the film. The lyricist/composer duo of Amitabh Bhattacharya / Amit Trivedi however still didn’t disappoint. This was an epic soundtrack, seeped in Jazz, capturing the early era of music. But this song itself was a total blast. And usage of the words “Malaal mein”…simply delicious!

7.) Lamhe Guzar Gaye – PIKU

Forget the “motion” discussions. Piku was a winner all the way, led by a phenomenal acting turn by Deepika Padukone (yet again!) and an unforgettable musical score by Anupam Roy, where every song was a total keeper! It was hard to pick a favorite. I simply decided on this one because it also happens to be liked by my 12-year old son.

8.) Ho Gaya Hai Pyar Tumse – TANU WEDS MANU RETURNS

Sigh! If only the film was even remotely close to how beautiful the soundtrack was, this would have been a different story altogether. Tanu and Manu’s return was turned into a slapstick comedy, instead of retaining some of the sensitive and emotional elements of the original. The songs, however, were a hoot and this one captures feelings for a loved one, with just the right amount of TLC.

9.) Pehli Baar – DIL DHADAKNE DO

What a rollicking song, composed by those masters Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy! And it is not an easy song to give music to, if one carefully listens to Javed Akhtar’s twisted lyrics. Zoya Akhtar, however, brought it to life on the screen with the just the right amount of spunk. Of course, with the help of that wonderful pair of Ranveer Singh and Anushka Sharma, who hardly disappoint together.

10.) Chhil Gaye Naina – NH10

A song that captures anger through its raw energy and superb lyrics, this was an outstanding piece from an ultra-violent film…one that gets elevated by a brave performance from Anushka Sharma. Hard to believe that it is sung by the Babydoll-singer, Kanika Kapoor. Bravo indeed!

11.) Hasi – HAMAARI ADHURI KAHAANI

This was a surprisingly lousy film from Emraan Hashmi-Vidya Balan, who had given us the eccentric GHANCHAKKAR and THE DIRTY PICTURE earlier. The songs were also in the same generic vein as anything and everything being composed by Ankit Tiwari-Jeet Ganguly these days. This one, however, had a strange magical feel to it and with the help of some excellent lyrics, turned out to be winner on an otherwise average soundtrack.

12.) Tu Jo Mila – BAJRANGI BHAIJAAN

KK’s version of this song was the most moving, in a strangely entertaining film from Salman Khan. Maybe it was the cuteness of Harshali Malhotra that did the trick but this song, composed by Pritam, was amongst the best on an overall decent soundtrack. (The link here is for the Javed Ali version.)

13.) Chori Chori Teri Meri – HUNTERR

A complete die-hard romantic song from one of the raunchiest and funniest movies of the year. However, for those who pay close attention to the lyrics, this song is not just about love but about forbidden love…and was perfect for a movie that was about nothing but exactly that! :-))

14.) Move On – TANU WEDS MANU RETURNS

I would have picked “Banno” here simply due to the usage of the word “Swagger” in those wonderful lyrics…but what won me over for “Move On” was the attitude with which Sunidhi Chauhan has sung the song. Add to that Kangana’s priceless reactions and you suddenly see a whole new meaning to “O Re Pyaare Khiske Saare Dard Bhare Naghme….Ab Rap-Vap Sa, Rock-Vock sa…Bajtaa rag-rag Mein..” What a song indeed about actually moving on.

15.) Heer To Badi Sad Hai – TAMASHA

And I end here with the most positive take on sadness/loneliness, written to a mesmerizing effect by Irshad Kamil and sung with gusto by Mika Singh. (Rahman no longer requires a mention here for the fabulous music…it is a given!). Imtiaz Ali said in an interview how he had the choice of showing Tara’s state of mind through a sad song but decided to put a folksy and upbeat spin to it. And the effect is nothing short of magical. Amazing indeed!

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Categories: Bollywood, Movies

The Best Hindi Films of 2015

December 24, 2015 Leave a comment

Ever been in a situation when you sit down to make a Top 10 list and, while you breeze through numbers Ten to Six, the real fun starts once you reach number Five? You are unable to decide which one to pick over the other as all five are equally applause-worthy! That is the precise dilemma I ran into when selecting my list of ten best movies of 2015.

And what a year it has been for Bollywood yet again! While Salman Khan cracked the so-called 300-crore club to join Aamir Khan, the last I heard, Shah Rukh Khan was struggling to even make it to 100 Crores at the box-office with his latest release. For me, however, what matters is not how much money a film made but how long it stayed with me after the credits rolled. And based upon that criteria, here is a list of the best ten films that I saw this year….in no particular order. Let me know if any of your favorites made (or didn’t make) the cut too!!

DIL DHADAKNE DO

As much pretentious as its story sounded at times, Zoya Akhtar’s Cruising-With-the-Mehras won my heart simply because of the sibling camaraderie wonderfully portrayed on screen by Priyanka Chopra and Ranveer Singh. The two carried the entire film on their shoulders and turned it into an overall entertaining outing for the entire family. Farhan Akhtar’s  short but highly relevant speech on feminism was another highlight of the film.

HUNTERR

Not too many people either heard about or even saw this underrated sex-comedy that boasted of witty dialogues and terrific performances by Gulshan Devaiah, Sai Tamhankar and the ever-delightful Radhika Apte. The movie remains focused throughout, seldom losing its track and was one of the best guilty pleasures one could get to watch this year.

TALVAR

Overall I found Talvar to be a bit manipulative, considering the fact that of the three police investigations shown in the film, only one of them had a known actor (Irrfan Khan) playing an investigation officer, thus clearly showing the director Meghna Gulzar’s bias and the team she wanted us all to root for. However, this was an excellent depiction of a clinical investigative process adopted by the law enforcement agencies in India…one that kept me hooked on, despite its obvious twists and turns and a story that still finds a place in the Indian media today, after so many years.

NH10

Another case of a performance-based film, where the basic plot somehow got lost amidst excessive violence, gore and shock-quotient. But what still prevented Navdeep Singh’s second directorial venture (after “Manorama Six Feet Under”) from falling apart was a crackling performance by Anushka Sharma. Her remorseless facial expressions towards the end of the film when she wreaks havoc on her wrongdoers was itself worth the price of admission. A brave and gut-wrenching performance that warrants a viewing by all cinemagoers.

DUM LAGA KE HAISHA

Ah, the ultra-sweet, ultra-genuine and ultra-delightful romantic dramedy, which moves you to tears on multiple occasions and you cannot help cheering for every single character in the movie. Varun Grover’s ethereal dialogues, seeped in the rustic small-town language, are worthy of multiple “seetis” and elevate the film to even higher levels. This was THE feel-good movie of the year, with chapters and situations taken straight out of our lives. And the odd pairing of Bhumi PednekarAyushman Khurrana did not disappoint either.

TITLI

One of the hardest films to watch this year, Titli is a film that stays with you for a long time and you cannot help admiring its bitter sadness and the bleak reality that it introduces us all to, through its five characters. Much has been said about Ranvir Shorey’s performance as the eldest brother of the family but every single actor, despite this being the first film for some of them, shines equally. This is a film for serious moviegoers and has a plot that simply sucks you in…one that has to be seen to be believed.

PIKU

Aww come on!! How could one criticize the discussions about Amitabh Bachchan’s bowel movements and not take any notice of the absolute simplicity of the story, the mesmerizing music, the wonderful camerawork, the superb ensemble acting and the stunning performance by the inimitable Deepika Padukone? Piku was a pure delight to watch once…and then again…and again throughout the year. Yet another memorable directorial effort by Shoojit Sircar.

TAMASHA

Few films force me to introspect. And Imtiaz Ali’s underappreciated and often misunderstood Tamasha was one of them this year. Imtiaz is now officially one of my favorite directors and while his thoughts may sometime confuse us as an audience, the journeys that he takes us on, through his characters, are what great films are all about. In addition, when one has Irshad Kamil to give lyrics to your thoughts, the magical AR Rahman to add melody to them, the impeccable Ranbir Kapoor as your lead actor and that seriously outstanding Deepika Padukone as your lead actress, the end product can be expected to be nothing short of memorable.

BADLAPUR

If Tamasha forced me to think, Badlapur disturbed me the most this year. A raw, brutal, unflinchingly violent and yet poetic film about loss of loved ones, revenge and remorse, Sriram Raghavan’s adaptation of Massimo Carlotto’s original story blew my mind when it first came out back in February. And I still haven’t stopped thinking about it since. It is hard to say who gave a better performance out of the two – Varun Dhawan or Nawazuddin Siddiqui. But the pain and anguish brought out by both characters made this film a mesmerizing and yet harrowing watch. Truly one of the very best of the year.

MASAAN

And finally we have a gem called Masaan, with a simplistic story that restores your faith in life and the true meaning of love, despite the trials and tribulations that every one of us has to go through. This beautiful film was filmed primarily in Banaras and introduces us to some genuinely heartwarming and yet true-to-life characters from one of the rather smaller but fairly significant towns of India. A film that one wishes never ends and which engulfs you with its bitterly harsh yet genuinely moving setting, Masaan was hands down the Best Film of the Year and an absolute must-see for everyone. Thank you, Varun Grover (once again!) and Neeraj Ghaywan for a genuinely unforgettable experience!

(Honorable mentions go to Salman Khan’s BAJRANGI BHAIJAAN, Akshay Kumar’s BABY, Kalki Koechlin’s MARGARITA WITH A STRAW and Sushant Singh’s DETECTIVE BYOMKESH BAKSHY, which tried hard but couldn’t quite make it to my final list.)

Categories: Bollywood, Movies