Bollywood 2010 — A Playback

As another year comes to a close, we bring you our second annual round-up for Hindi film music. Like 2009, 2010 was also a wonderful year for Bollywood music, a lot of memorable music coming the audience’s way, divided almost equitably among the seasoned composers, the relatively new ones and the absolute newbies. Like we did last year, the analysis shall be presented composer-wise for the prominent ones, in decreasing number of quality songs produced.

Amit Trivedi

2010 Hindi film music quite clearly belonged to this man. Starting with the one song for Striker and then producing a spate of awesome music with amazing consistency — Udaan, Aisha, Admissions Open and finallly No One Killed Jessica, Amit was in top form in 2010. Not to forget bagging the National award for Dev.D. Here’s hoping that he produces a lot more beautiful music in 2011 too — there’s Onir’s I am and Vikas Bahl’s Chillar Party for sure as he told us in his interview, and hopefully the Anurag Kashyap-Danny Boyle project — and goes a step further towards cementing his place among the best composers India has ever seen.

Vishal Shekhar

After going on a long sabbatical post their sole 2009 offering Aladin, the duo was suddenly all over the music charts in the latter half of 2010, spinning off hits after hits — while I Hate Luv Storys and Break Ke Baad followed a similar youthful romantic rock-based template, Anjaana Anjaani, their best soundtrack of the year, presented a wide range of genres in a mind-blowing manner. And the one song for the crossover movie Walkaway was a very good listen. Though they hit their minor dip on the album front with Tees Maar Khan, they managed to produce one of the biggest chartbusters of the year in Sheila Ki Jawani. 2011 looks to be a busy year for them with at least five on the cards, including part 2 of Dostana which had featured some entertaining tracks.

Shankar Ehsaan Loy

The composers had a patchy streak in 2010, failing to produce the perfect soundtrack despite doing six. Each score did have its high points, but in entirety the albums kept getting bogged down by the repetitive element in the arrangement. Even with Farhan Akhtar, they didn’t manage to come out at their best Nevertheless the trio did produce some good songs in each soundtrack including the gems like Sajda, Uff Teri Ada and Hey Ya. And the reason they feature as no. 3 on my list is coz of the number of good songs they produced in their six soundtracks — My Name Is Khan, Karthik Calling Karthik, Hum Tum Aur Ghost, Housefull, Tere Bin Laden and We Are Family. Like V-S, SEL too have a busy 2011 with over six soundtracks, including the Don sequel, a Zoya Akhtar project and a Farhan Akhtar production. Hope SEL bounce back in 2011.

A R Rahman

Like last year, the maestro scored for just two Hindi films in 2010 — Raavan for his mentor Mani Ratnam, and Jhootha Hi Sahi. The man was more active outside of Bollywood, producing a couple of scores in Tamil, one in Telugu, 127 Hours in Hollywood and a horde of signature tunes — Etios theme, Tamil Nadu & Gujarat anthem and CWG anthem being a few of them. But even with those two albums he produced his share of good music, though Raavan wouldn’t be counted among the best that Mani-ARR combo has produced. 2011 the man has three or four lined up in Hindi, the one in the news being Rockstar. But thing most fans would be looking forward to in 2011 would be for a Rahman encore at the Golden Globes and Oscars with 127 Hours!


The composer continued his tradition of being the man with the most soundtracks this year too, composing for not less than fourteen soundtracks, eight of them his solo works! And courtesy such a huge number of soundtracks he as usual produced his usual mix of a few good songs and quite a few useless songs! While his best works of 2010 came in Once Upon A Time In Mumbai, Action Replayy, Aashayein and Crook, the worst ones were Hello Darling and No Problem. And what is Pritam without plagiarism.. the man made his mark quite indelibly on that front too in 2010! 🙂

Sandesh Shandilya

The perpetually under-rated composer made best use of the three soundtracks he got to work on — Dus Tola, Tum Milo To Sahi and Yamla Pagla Deewana, the first two being solo works against his convention — producing good music in all three. However owing to the movies themselves at least for the first two, almost all the songs went unheard. When will this man’s bad luck end I wonder!

Salim Sulaiman

Though not as productive a year as 2009, the Merchant brothers did produce some engaging tracks in the four movies they worked on, the best being Pal Mein from Aashayein. On the soundtrack front their best work came for Band Baaja Baaraat.

Sohail Sen (& Simaab Sen)

His debut for Ashutosh Gowariker didn’t turn out a very memorable one with just a couple of good songs in an otherwise tedious soundtrack. Hence there was a lot of skepticism when Gowariker chose Sohail Sen again for Khele Hum Jee Jaan Sey, especially given the scale of the project, and the fact that his similar projects in the past had been scored by ARR. But Sohail did a wonderful job along with Simaab Sen, creating a wonderful period soundtrack.

Monty Sharma

Post his decent debut in Saawariya which was marred only by its long playlist, Monty Sharma has been on a flop streak churning forgettable soundtracks one after the other. But this year he seemed determined to turn the table around, and partly succeeded too, Right Yaa Wrong and Mirch, his only two scores this year, both having some really enjoyable songs. Hopefully he will truly get into the positives in 2011.


With the one album he composed in 2010, the brilliantly crafted Lamhaa, Mithoon proved again why he is among the most promising composers in Hindi film music today. As he said in his interview with us, he has four soundtracks lined up for next year including Onir’s I Am. Bring them on I say! 🙂

Vishal Bhardwaj

Ishqiya and one song in Striker. That was all that Vishal Bhardwaj composed in 2010. And that was enough to prove the man’s class, Dil to Bachcha Hai Ji to me being one of the best songs of the year and one of Rahat Fateh Ali’s best renditions in recent times. I look forward to his Saat Khoon Maaf in 2011.

The debutants

This year saw quite a few composers make their debut in Bollywood. The most promising debutant to me was Vasuda Sharma, the Aasma girl, giving some really good songs for Shahrukh Bola Khoobsurat Hai Tu. It was her misfortune that the movie went down like it did. The other big debut came from Sanjay Leela Bhansali for his Guzaarish, though technically it wasn’t really a debut as he revealed as having had a part in the scores of his past movies too. And the fact did reflect in the orchestral soundtrack being reminiscent of older SLB movie songs. And this one too had its tedium going against an otherwise decent soundtrack. Hanif Sheikh, Manish J Tipu and Dev Sikhdar were the other commendable debutants. R Anandh didn’t perform as expected with his solo Bollywood debut, Lafangey Parindey turning out to be a just-about-average soundtrack for the high standards he has maintained with his ads, in South, and with Agosh. Singer Srinivas opened his Bollywood composing account with the song Dangal for Kushti, which was a decent song, but given the fate of the movie didn’t get any exposure whatsoever.

The rest

The rest of the pack was a mixed bag. While some veterans like Himesh Reshammiya (Kajra Re, Milenge Milenge) and Anu Malik had a not-so-great year (ok, bad in Anu Malik’s case!), others like Rajesh Roshan (Kites) and MM Kreem (Lahore) proved with the little work they did that they still have got it in them. Shantanu Moitra’s Well Done Abba and the one item song in Raajneeti got wearisome with repeated listens coz of the similarity to his past tunes, a problem he seriously needs to get over soon. It would be sad if he were to get wasted after such a spectacular debut. Sneha Khanwalkar proved her reliability with soundtracks that are a bit hatke, producing a total entertainer for Love Sex Aur Dhokha. I look forward to her reported Anurag Kashyap project. Sachin-Jigar have been an under-rated composer duo, getting undone each time only by the quality of the movies they have been doing. Their unlucky run continued this year too with another impressive work of theirs getting lost in the crowd coz the movie happened to be Krantiveer. Sachin Gupta produced a Pritam-esque soundtrack for Prince, but not in an equally captivating manner. Gourov Dasgupta co-composed two dreadful soundtracks before ending on a relatively high note with a marginally engaging soundtrack in Knockout. Sajid-Wajid produced their staple share of mediocre soundtracks in 2010, the only couple of standout tunes coming in their mainstay Salman Khan’s Dabangg. Shailendra Barve did two songs for Striker, impressing big time with Cham Cham. Meet Bros. Anjan had two albums, the relatively better one being Rajshri’s Isi Life Mein. Ram Sampath was fully into folk this year, producing two for Walkaway and one for Peepli Live, all pleasantly engaging owing to the folk element. Sagar Desai, after two wonderful soundtracks last year, had a relatively quiet 2010 with just three tunes in Walkaway. Which I loved by the way, especially the Tamil-French Bonds Fell Apart. And Wayne Sharpe proved his way with composing majestic theme songs, doing it in style for Raajneeti and Lahore.

And finally, there were a few one-song wonders this year. The first name would obviously have to be Lalit Pandit of Jatin-Lalit for his Munni Badnaam which has become the chartbuster of the year! Though there was the plagiarism allegation casting a shadow over his success, hats off for the wonderfully engaging arrangement. Then there was another old-timer, Aadesh Shrivastava, producing an uncharacteristically haunting classical-oriented track in Raajneeti, Mora Piya. Pakistani composer Nouman Javaid continued the practice of presenting his talent a-song-a-year, with the single folksy tune Charha De Rang in Yamla Pagla Deewana. Lyricist Swanand Kirkire and Blaaze did a song apiece for Striker, both engaging works. And finally, Piyush Mishra, who blew us away with that brilliant composing debut in Gulaal, produced the single addictive qawwali O Re Bande in Lahore which so beautifully employed Rahat Fateh Ali Khan and Shilpa Rao’s voices. A pity that the soundtrack didn’t get the exposure it deserved.

That finishes our 2010 Bollywood music roundup. Seeing that this writeup is really long already, we shall have our list of top 25 songs for 2010 as a separate article. Which is on its way as we speak. 🙂

Sunny says:

Enjoyed reading the breakdown of the men behind the song…..