Top 10 Bollywood Music Albums of 2016 – #4

Pritam excited everyone with the Ae Dil Hai Mushkil teaser as the title track sounded really in sync with a proper Bollywood romantic drama, but the overall album was a letdown in a lot of ways. However, he has more than made amends with his other venture this year in Dangal. The movie has been heavily anticipated, and the music has been massive in ensuring the same. I haven’t heard Pritam sound so good since Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani if I’m lenient, and Barfi! if I hold him to a high standard.  Amitabh Bhattacharya has penned the lyrics of the album and together, their production has been top notch. An unusually earthy album from the composer, Dangal sits in the fourth spot in our countdown, and we want to hear more such compositions from India’s hit-machine.

The album starts with the enjoyable Haanikarak Baapu sung by Sarwar Khan and Sataz Khan Barna. The young debutants, two children from Rajasthan’s Manganiyar community, do an excellent job keeping the energy of Pritam’s composition intact and Bhattacharya’s lyrics over here are fantastic and fun. Their execution of the words is crude, raw and believable. It’s meant to be a more situational song in the wrestling-themed movie, but kudos to Pritam on making it likeable enough to ensuring it can be played otherwise as well. It’s a great year for rap in Bollywood evidently. In Dhaakad Pritam has given us one of the best Hindi rap songs. The composer got rapper Raftaar to do the job here, and the song has a charming Haryanvi rap style. It starts with folk instruments (Ravantha and Been), and then the song suddenly gets the more techno beat which gives it a modern and fashionable vibe. The bridge of the song is particularly intriguing, and the use of Tabla is also impressive. The brew of folk and electronic music in this song is stunning, and Raftaar’s rapping is equally impressive and his desi swag is definitely on display here. Amazingly enough, there is an Aamir Khan Version of the song as well, and it astounded me how good Aamir Khan was here. Considering it’s a rap and is tuneless in that sense, it was a safe bet for the composer and everyone else involved, but Khan excels in his rapping and takes the Perfectionist tag to another level, almost giving Raftaar a run for his money here. What can’t he do? Jonita Gandhi is hot property in Bollywood music right now, and Pritam gives her Gilheriyaan, a song that finally takes you away from the Haryanvi setting of the film. A ballad, it’s a light and feel-good track that used few instruments and the melody is sweet, mild and memorable. Songs like this one deserve to be sung right, and Jonita does a fantastic job.

Finally, the song that gave us goosebumps when the trailer of Dangal came out: the title track. Dangal has been sung by the master, Daler Mehndi, himself. His powerful voice is the best fit for the song in a film that is all about the robust sport. It sums up the movie and Bhattacharya’s lyrics motivate and empower you, which is exactly the point of the song. The song will sound more fun in the film with the visuals to fall back on and not separately as an audio track where it could get slightly verbose. But Pritam has done a great job with the composition and the arrangement.

I thought we could get through one mainstream movie’s soundtrack without hearing Arijit Singh’s voice. While I enjoy his vocals and his voice is mighty pleasing, it almost feels like a compulsion now. Pritam gives him Naina in this film which is again a ballad. It picks up from where Channa Mereya left in ADHM. It might be a good song but carries that heard-before sound, which is enhanced since its Arijit Singh crooning here. I’d be remiss, however, if I don’t mention the lovely, rather soothing chord-change where the soft percussions kick in that stands out beautifully in the song. Idiot Banna is the final song on the album sung by the Nooran Sisters. It almost felt weird not to have a song by the two in a movie set in Haryana. Amitabh Bhattacharya’s lyrics are once again fun and endearing, delivered expertly by Jyoti and Sultana Nooran; you’ll be hearing this a lot in the ongoing wedding season!

A highly impressive album, Pritam’s Dangal surprised us very pleasantly. Pritam is a hit machine but has not given such an impressive soundtrack where there is almost no miss. It’s a great album for Pritam to end a busy year on and equally and surprisingly, a great mainstream Bollywood album (assuming we don’t see anything come out in the next ten days) for Bollywood to do the same. Hopefully, the composer who has another big year in 2017 with six Bollywood albums lined up, manages to deliver at least one similar one. My bet is on Jagga Jasoos. 

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