Top 10 Bollywood Playback Singers of 2011

I know it is a bit late to be coming out with this list, but since I have been getting multiple suggestions to compile a list of singers I decided to go about it anyway. So here you go: the top 10 playback singers of Bollywood in the year 2011 – male and female. Hope to make this too an annual affair from here on. The choice of songs has been more on quality – both of the rendition, and of the song – than on the number of songs. And considering just this year of course, with no bias towards the artist’s general repute. For each singer I have also provided the link to one fav song of his/hers from the year.

Top Male Singers

1. Mohit Chauhan – One word: Rockstar. The man who owes his first inning in Bollywood to ARR who gave him that lovely song in Rang De Basanti, was of late being extremely typecast with the regular melody tracks. And once again ARR appeared to deliver him salvation, casting him as the voice of Ranbir Kapoor for the movie. The choice worked big time, Mohit delivering the songs with finesse and giving us the soundtrack of the year. But apart from Rockstar the singer had other songs too, in Tanu Weds Manu (Yun Hi), Aarakshan (Achcha Lagta Hai), Chillar Party (Chatte Batte) to name a few. Hence he is our top singer of the year. Fav Song: Jo Bhi Main (Rockstar)

2. Vishal Dadlani – As composer Vishal had a so-so 2011, just the one standout soundtrack being Ra One, but as playback singer this was quite a productive year for the man – in at least four soundtracks the best song was delivered by Vishal. There was Aitbaar (No One Killed Jessica), Aadat Hai Woh from Patiala House, Ek Junoon in Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara and a handful of other songs, including that ultra whacky Dheaon Dheaon where the singer was almost unrecognizable! Good enough for the number 2 spot. Fav songAitbaar

3. Roop Kumar Rathod – Roop Kumar has been extremely choosy when it comes to Bollywood songs.  As a result he has had an almost 100% strike rate in terms of quality. This year too he sang just two songs (I have not considered the brilliant O Saiyya from Agneepath due to release date) – Piya for Tanu Weds Manu and Saaware in Shor In The City, but both of them were mindblowingly awesome. Ergo, he is our singer no. 3 for 2011. Fav song: Piya

4. Papon – The Assamese singer with his “dhaai kilo ka voice” made his Bollywood debut this year in Dum Maaro Dum, and then went on to sing two more songs for MPKK in Soundtrack. Excellent consistency he has displayed so far, and his pop album, though I am yet to hear it, is apparently a musical treat. So here is looking forward to much more from Papon in 2012. Fav song: Jiyein Kyun (Dum Maaro Dum)

5. Mohan – Agnee’s frontman had made his Bollywood debut in 2010, singing two wonderful songs for SEL and Amit Trivedi, last year he followed it up with two more top quality songs – Shor (Shor In The City) and Saaye Saaye (I AM). Neither got noticed much, which was unfortunate, but we noticed, and that is the reason Mohan is no. 5 on our list. Fav song: Shor (Shor In The City)

6. KK – KK had quite a few songs in 2011. Not everything worked, but due to sheer numbers he had a fair share of good songs across genres to make it to no. 6 on our list. Some prominent ones were Bhojhal S3 and Issi Baat Pe (I AM), O Mama (7 Khoon Maaf), Yaadon Ki Album (My Friend Pinto) etc. Fav song: Bhojhal Se (I AM)

7. Kirti Sagathia – Kirti too had a good 2011, getting some prominent songs in soundtracks like Delhi Belly and Shaitaan, songs that utilized his classical background quite well. Hence, no. 7. Fav song: O Yaara (Shaitan)

8. Rahat Fateh Ali Khan – In 2010 he floored us with just that one song in Ishqiya. 2011 didn’t yield a song as impactful as that, but Teri Meri (Bodyguard) and Isq Risk (Mere Brother Ki Dulhan) were fairly entertaining with the singer displaying his trademark soulfulness in the renditions. Fav song: Isq Risk (Mere Brother Ki Dulhan)

9. Shahid Mallya – Another prominent debutant from the year, Shahid sang some good numbers in Yamla Pagla Deewana, Mausam and Mere Brother Ki Dulhan. There is a slight risk of getting stuck in the genre given the voice and style, but hope he gets more variety in 2012. Fav song: Rabba Main To Mar Gaya (Mausam)

10. Shafqat Amanat Ali Khan – Not many songs Shafqat got to sing in 2011, and even among the ones he sang very few did justice to the kind of singing prowess he has. Nevertheless he becomes our last entry on the Male Playback singers list, coz I quite liked his Dildara and Chhayee Hai Tanhayee. Fav song: Chhayee Hai Tanhayee (Love Breakups Zindagi)

Top Female Singers

1. Shreya Ghoshal – It was just a matter of deciding between Shreya and Sunidhi as to who should be given the top spot, both had such diverse spread of music last year! In the end I chose Shreya coz of the slight lead in terms of classical-based songs. From the beautiful Kaun Si Dor from Aarakshan to Ooh La La from Dirty Picture to Saibo in Shor In The City to Mehki Mehki from The Game, the lady was on fire in 2011. Even in other languages she gave some brilliant songs but that is not for this post. Fav Song: Saibo (Shor In The City)

2. Sunidhi Chauhan – So like I said above, even Sunidhi had a lovely set of songs added to her repertoire in 2011, Tu (My Friend Pinto), Ishq Sufiyana (The Dirty Picture) and Mannu Bhaiyya (Tanu Weds Manu) being my favs. Just because Shreya edged her out by a slight lead, she occupies the second spot on our list. Fav song: Tu (My Friend Pinto)

3. Rekha Bhardwaj – Mrs. Vishal Bhardwaj had four songs, Darling (7KM) and I Love To Love You (Saheb Biwi Aur Gangster) had the singer take on a flippant avatar, while in Yeshu (7KM) and Saye Saye (I AM) Rekha was at her sublime best – Saye Saye being the prize catch. And the primary reason for her being the no. 3 entry. Fav song: Saaye (I AM)

4. Suman Shridhar – One of the most unique voices I have heard in recent times, the singer made waves with the only two songs she rendered in Bollywood this year, both coming in the same movie, Shaitan, both highly imaginative remixes from Mikey McCleary. She did sing a couple more for his album The Bartender, but the reason she is no. 4 on this list are Khoya Khoya Chaand and Hawa Hawaii. Fav song: Khoya Khoya Chaand (Shaitan)

5. Aditi Singh Sharma – A lady whose career graph has been on a steady high since her debut in 2009 with Dev D, 2011 was definitely her best year so far, the singer getting to sing some major chartbusters. Dilli Dilli, Dheaon Dheaon, Choomantar and Kaun Hai Ajnabi were the best among the lot. Hoping that 2012 sees her continue on that upward trend. Fav song: Dilli Dilli (No One Killed Jessica)

6. Harshdeep Kaur – Just one prominent song the young sufi exponent sang last year, but a gem of a song. A song where Harshdeep brought out the playful side of Heer way way better than Nargis Fakhri did on screen. And that song is enough for us to put her at No. 6. Fav song: Katiya Karun

7. Shilpa Rao – Though the biggest achievement of the singer in 2011 happened outside of Bollywood, in the form of the album Rewind – Nine Lost Memories from her band The Band Called Nine comprised of Neelesh Misra and Amartya Rahut, Shilpa had quite a rewarding stint at Bollywood too. Uh Oh from Mujhse Fraaandship Karoge and Jazba from Ladies vs Ricky Bahl were quite engaging, Shilpa doing an uncharacteristically lively rendition in both cases. But the clincher was Yeh Pal for Amit Trivedi, a composer with whom she has always had memorable songs. Hence our Fav song: Yeh Pal (No One Killed Jessica)

8. Nandini Srikar – Like Harshdeep, Nandini too is on this list for just one song – the best song of Ra One, the classical-rock fusion song Bhare Naina whose high point was undoubtedly the impeccable rendition. Hope to hear more of her in 2012 and ahead. Fav song: Bhare Naina (Ra One)

9. Usha Uthup – After a long hiatus the pop legend returned to the Bollywood scene this year. Two songs – the energy-packed Darling from 7 Khoon Maaf and the sinister Hai Ye Maya which was the saving grace of the Don 2 soundtrack. Quite a comeback, no? Age has done little to the power of that voice, it was adequately proven with these songs. According to wiki she has one lined up for 2012, here’s wishing her more in the coming years. Fav song: Darling (7 Khoon Maaf)

10. Hamsika Iyer – Chhammak Chhallo might have been one of the biggest hits of 2011 and all that, but I hated it. For most part, that is. The only part I marginally liked in it was the brief Tamil portion, that too mostly owing to the singer – Hamsika Iyer. Apart from that cameo she had just one other song last year, a beauty from Amole Gupte for Stanley Ka Dabba called Jhoola Jhool. Listen to that and you will agree with me she is one of the most under-rated singers in the industry today. Fav song: Jhoola Jhool (Stanley Ka Dabba)

And that will be all. Your comments are most welcome.

sagar says:

kk is the best among them all

Sam says:

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