This past decade has been important for Indian cinema for several reasons. One could almost map the main shift within the way we make and consider films now, in comparison to 2010. One aspect of Bollywood where this paradigm shift is clear is in music.
Earlier, one movie would have one composer. Now, it’s an ensemble cast of composers. This also means all is a smaller amount concerned about how his or her song fits into the movie’s tone, and more worried about dropping the large hit.
Still, there are many that are fighting the system to produce sounds that return to the roots of music — meaningful lyrics with innovative beats and Indie music are not any longer as unusual as they were at the beginning of the decade, when the likes of Shaitan, Love Sex Aur Dhokha and Gangs of Wasseypur were the exception to the rule.
It’s extremely hard to list just 10 songs out of such an eventful decade that were memorable in good or bad ways, but here is an attempt.
Songs that make us cringe:
Ek Do Teen (Baaghi 2, 2018): This remix of the first superhit starring Madhuri Dixit was a travesty for more than one reason — it had been jarring and badly composed, and therefore the dance video that went along with it just made it worse. Jacqueline’s performance, too, was an insult to the classic that made India fall crazy with Madhuri.
Fevicol Se (Dabangg 2, 2012): it had been the year of sexism because this gaudy song became a major hit despite its problematic lyrics and rudimentary beats. The lyrics literally commodify the lady singing it, with lines like, “Main toh tandoori murgi hoon yaar, gatkale saiyan alcohol se.” the very fact that even young children were singing and dancing this song set off alarm bells and therefore the filmmakers faced severe backlash, especially post the 2012 bus gang rape in Delhi, which set off a wider conversation about the role of popular culture in creating rape culture.
Ice Cream Khaungi (THE Xpose, 2014): A deadly combination of Himesh Reshammiya and Yo Yo Honey Singh makes for a confusing, nonsensical and downright strange number that you simply would do anything to forget. The music is (badly) inspired by ’60s music and has Reshammiya sporting a suit and a serious expression, while a lady sings, “Ice cream khaungi/Kashmir jaaungi/Sholon mein bhadke jiyaa.” While the absurdity of the whole number is often laughed off, it’s astounding that such a lot of money was put into producing such sub-standard work.
Caller Tune (Humshakals, 2014): “Mujhe bana le caller tune…Every time I see you, I am over the moon…Tujhe chahun summer, winter, monsoon, soniye!”
Possibly the worst song from the worst film of 2014, this song will make a five-year-old’s lyrics look Grammy-worthy. While the ‘comedy’ film had many issues, its music, composed by Reshammiya, the song makes no sense, adds no value to the film and just perpetuates Bollywood’s love for white extras.
Tinku Jiya (Yamla Pagla Deewana, 2010): Ah, a 60-year-old drunk man creepily trying to romance a lady 40 years his junior — classic Bollywood. The lyrics literally tells you to ‘rub the toothpaste of love’ — “Pal pal na maane tinku jiya, Haan tinku jiya / Isak ka manjan ghisey hai piya.” Can it get more gross? We don’t think so.
What you ought to hear instead
Gulon Mein Rang Bhare (Haider, 2014): Taken from the famous ghazal by Faiz Ahmed Faiz, this song acts as a soothing balm for a broken heart. The lyrics become even more meaningful once you consider the context it’s set in — a Shakespearean drama with Kashmir because of the backdrop. the combination of Vishal Bhardwaj’s composition and Faiz’s lyrics elevates the relationships explored within the film also — between Haider and his mother and between Haider and Arshia.
O Womaniya (Gangs Of Wasseypur, 2012): This quirky, underrated number may be a great song for several reasons — it’s unconventional, funny and empowering. The song is used to show the transition of Faizal Khan and Mohsina’s relationship — which is equally unconventional. to not mention, the song does administered good advice.
Ikk Kudi (Udta Punjab, 2016): Sung by Shahid Mallya, this Punjabi song went viral because of its beautiful lyrics and equally beautiful rendition. based on a poem by Punjabi poet Shiv Kumar Batalvi, the soulful number acts sort of a missing persons ad for love. within the film, it also symbolizes hopelessness and therefore the struggle to interrupt through.
Patakha Guddi (Highway, 2014): An upbeat song, this feminist number not only plays up the ‘boisterous’ girl but also evokes imagery of powerful women. within the film, Alia Bhatt’s character is defined by this song as she is defiant and powerful even in times of crisis and abuse. Composed by A. R. Rahman and sung by the Nooran sisters, the song dominated the charts in 2014.
Kabira (Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani, 2013): While this became an anthem for the broken-hearted, it’s actually a thought-provoking song that spells frustration and hopelessness. It demands responsibility, compassion, and groundedness from a devotee. Sung by Rekha Bhardwaj and Tochi Raina, it had been the defining song of the film — which was a box-office hit.