Sure, the music is not always perfectly done. Sometimes you find that the soundtrack just does not fit the movie – they are out of sync somehow. They are on totally different pages – hate when that happens. Sometimes the music is decent but the movie is so bad that it distracts you from enjoying the songs. Sometimes the music is just so forgettable, it sounds like a million things you’ve heard before. Sometimes, it’s not the music but the choreography and movement that fails – and it just doesn’t flow (hate that as well, but love it when it works). Sometimes it’s just plain ol’ flat-out bad music. Which can be a shame, ’cos even a good movie can be semi-sabotaged by bad songs.
BUT WHEN IT’S HOT, IT’S HOT… and I absolutely LOVE it. When the music rocks, and is right for the movie, it’s a beautiful thing. Here are some of my favourite Bollywood soundtracks. I’ve put 25 of my favourites (in no particular order) here. This is just 25 of my favourites off the top of my head, so I’m sure some of my faves haven’t made it on here just because they’ve skipped my mind at the moment. Still love them, though, whatever they are (I'm sure I will be hitting myself for skipping some of my favourites later).
This is a tribute to the great, super-talented and super-creative composers, lyricists, instrumentalists and playback singers of Bollywood (who I know will never read this). I love you all (really – I’m not just saying that), your music makes me happy (or sad, but in a good way). You rock my world (even though a lot of the time I don’t know what you’re talking about – I always love it when they remember to subtitle the songs – wish they would always do that!).
VEER ZAARA: A rich, beautiful and evocative soundtrack that completely and perfectly complements the movie. My personal favourites are ‘Do Pal’ and ‘Tere Liye’, but I would happily listen to the entire album over and over again without skipping a single track.
UMRAO JAAN: The poetry is beautiful. The music is beautiful. Asha Bhonsle (thanks, Carla) sings like an angel (albeit a very seductive one). Nothing else to ask for, really.
MERA SAAYA: One of those soundtracks when you really only remember one song from it, but somehow it’s enough. I love the theme song ‘Mera Saaya’, and honestly can’t remember the other ones, but… it’s still on my hot list. The song ‘Mera Saaya’ is haunting, mysterious, and somehow a bit quirky – perfect for a ‘60s mystery movie. Love it.
MUQADDAR KA SIKANDAR: Three words: ‘O Saathi Re’. Again, I love this soundtrack just for one song – ‘O Saathi Re’ is just beautiful to me and is amazingly sung (by Kishore Kumar, I think). It’s just terrific. I could listen to this for hours.
THE BURNING TRAIN: Three songs from this soundtrack make me love it – ‘Teri Hai Zameen, Tera Asmaan’, ‘Pal Do Pal Ka’ and my personal favourite ‘Pehli Nazar Mein Humne’. ‘Teri Hai Zameen…’ is kinda cheesy, but sweet and even inspiring, ‘Pal Do Pal Ka’ is a 15-minute orgy of music that just makes you feel happy; and I just have a special place in my heart for ‘Pahli Nazar…’. ‘Wada Haan Ji Wada’ and ‘Meri Nazar Hai Tujhpe’ are also very good songs.
BLUFFMASTER: A great soundtrack, just perfect for the film and guaranteed to make you wanna dance. ‘Bure Bure’, Sabse Bada Rupaiyya’ and ‘Say Na Say Na’ are my favourites. Very memorable.
LAAWARIS: Another fun soundtrack from one of Amitabh Bachchan’s earlier movies. ‘Jis Ka Koi Naheen’ is almost deliriously defiant and brilliant, and the other songs are delicious and indulgent.
SHOLAY: Another soundtrack that was perfect for the film. Great songs all around, I like the folksy, off-kilter ‘Mehbooba Mehbooba’ (Helen rocked it out in the movie); but ‘Yeh Dosti’ has to be my favourite.
KABHI KHUSHIE KABHIE GHAM: A number of good songs are on this soundtrack, but I never get tired of watching the video for ‘Suraj Hua Maddham’ and listening to the song. Love it! ‘Shava Shava’ is fun and ‘Bole Chudiyan’ is even more fun. And the title song is sweet.
DUSHMAN: You wouldn’t expect a thriller about a serial rapist-murderer to have such a great soundtrack. It’s surprising, and therefore brilliant. I particularly love ‘Awaz Do Humko’, but ‘Pyar Ko Ho Jane De’ is good too. The one where they go ‘kabhi nahin, kabhi nahin’ is nice too.
MAIN HOON NA: Ah, ‘Main Hoon Na’. Great music. I love the title song, but I think my favourites are ‘Chale Jaise Hawaein’ and ‘Tumse Milke Dil Ka’ (particularly the latter). ‘Gori Gori’ is fun too.
HUM SAATH SAATH HAIN: The major reason I love the Bharatya (I'm not sure I spelt that right) family musicals, like this movie and HAHK, is the music. It’s just awesome. This is a great soundtrack, from the title song to ‘Maiyya Yashoda’, to ‘Mhare Hiwda’, to ‘Yeh To Sach Hai Ki Bhagwan Hai’, to ‘Sunoji Dulhan Ek Baat Sunoji’. Even the cheesy-oh-so-cheesy ‘ABCDEFGHI’ song gets my thumbs up.
DEVDAS: ‘Devdas’ as a movie was (for me) visual overload, so the songs had to live up to that. I think they succeeded. My favourites are ‘Silsila Yeh Chaahat Ka’, ‘Hamesha Tumko Chaha’ and ‘Dola Re Dola’.
DILWALE DULHANIA LE JAYENGE: I’m sentimental about this film so it just had to be on this list. But the songs really are great - absolutely delectable music. I particularly love ‘Tujhe Dekha To Yeh Jaana Sanam’ (I'm sure I didn't spell that right), ‘Mehndi’ and ‘Ho Gaya Hai Tujhko To Pyar Sajna’.
HUM AAPKE HAIN KOUN: Another Bharatya film with a fantastic soundtrack. Love the title song, so sweet. Love ‘Waah Waah Ramji’, ‘Joote Dedo’, and Dhiktana Dhiktana’. Even ‘Chocolate Lime Juice’ which is a bit silly, sounds good.
BUNTY AUR BABLI: A fun soundtrack with a few cringe-y moments. Overall, it’s very very good. I love ‘Dhadak Dhadak’ most of all, it always makes me feel good, but I also like ‘Kajra Re’ (Ash rocked it out), ‘Nach Baliye’, ‘Chup Chup Ke’ and even (aww shucks), the title song.
KUCH KUCH HOTA HAI: Whenever I hear that unmistakable ‘Tum Pas Aiye’, my body involuntarily starts to move. When I was watching ‘Mujhse Dosti Karoge’ and this song came up in the medley, I was singing like a madwoman. This is a great soundtrack, infectious, instantly recognizable, and perfect for the film. Other highlights for me are: ‘Koi Mil Gaya’, ‘Ladki Badi Anjani Hai’, ‘Raghupati Ragav Raja Ram’ and ‘Tujhe Yaad Na Meri’.
YES BOSS: This is a chilled out, goofy movie – and the soundtrack is equally chilled-out and goofy. Some of the songs are duds, I have to say, but I think ‘Main Koi Aisa Geeta Gaoon’, and a few of the other numbers, make up for them.
MAIN TULSI TERE AANGAN KI: Who woulda thought you could make such a great title song out of such a long title? It works, it absolutely works. To hear this song is to love it, and it’s mostly in the way it was sung (can’t remember if it was Lata or Asha who did the honours). Whichever of the sisters did it, it was beautifully done.
JUNGLEE: ‘Yahoo!’ I absolutely love this soundtrack. The title track is totally right for the film, and I also love ‘Kashmir Ki Kali’ and the oh-so-sweet song that has ‘Tumse Mohabbat Hoge Hum Mujhe’ in it (can’t remember the title but it’s my favourite song from the film). The soundtrack complements the film beautifully.
THE RISING – THE BALLAD OF MANGAL PANDEY: I love the way this soundtrack was done. It’s very creative and moving, it tells a story, it conveys the feeling and tone of the film, and I just think it rocks.