2014 was not a great year for Hindi film music. The Indian Express carried a bleak piece discussing the death of Hindi film music in 2014. We have observed the rise of multi-composer albums and albums riding on one or two item songs for a few years now. This trend continued in 2014. The other thing that happened in 2014 was that there were fewer solid, single-composer albums to offset the mediocre ones. For example, while 2014 had only Queen, Haider and Highway as the hit-the-ball-out-of-the-park albums, 2013 had Lootera, Kai Po Che, Raanjhana, Aashiqui 2, Yeh Jawani Hai Diwani, Bhaag Milka Bhaag and D-Day.
Moving on, to digging deeper into the year. 2014 saw the release of 142 films with 982 songs between them.
The year saw the passing away of Chandrashekhar Gadgil, Juthika Roy, Raghunath Seth and Sitara Devi. It also saw influx of new talent. Some of the notable debuts of 2014 were:
- Composers: Saurabh Kalsi, Shashi Suman, Mathias Duplessy, Adnan Dhool, Rabbi Ahmed, Badshaah
- Lyricists: Rashmi Singh, Ravinder Randhawa, Abhishek Kumar, Shashank Kunwar, Neha Saraf
- Male Singers: Mir Mukhtiyar Ali, Hriday Gattani, Rupesh Kumar Ram, Haricharan, Ritu Raj
- Female Singers: Nooran Sisters, Kanika Kapoor, Suchismita Das, Shraddha Kapoor, Alia Bhatt, Yashika Sikka, Garima Aneja, Malabika Brahma, Mansheel Gujral
The most prolific composers in 2014 were:
- A.R. Rahman – 7 films, 68 songs
- Himesh Reshammiya – 4 films, 46 songs
- Shankar – Ehsaan – Loy – 4 films, 24 songs
- Vishal – Shekhar – 3 films, 24 songs
Since Rahman’s list includes 2 Hollywood films (“Million Dollar Arm” and “The Hundred-Foot Journey”) and 3 Tamil films dubbed in Hindi (“Kochadaiiyaan”, “Lingaa” and “I”), we have included 4 composers in this list instead of the usual 3.
The most prolific lyricists in 2014 were:
- Kumaar – 22 films, 60 songs
- Irshad Kamil – 9 films, 55 songs
- Amitabh Bhattacharya – 8 films, 39 songs
Kumaar tops the lyricist list again. As we had mentioned last year, the disconnect between how much he gets talked about and the volume of his work output is stark. Other than Irshad Kamil and Amitabh Bhattacharya switching spots, this list is the same as last year’s. The stability of this list gives us an indication of how much value Bollywood places on these three lyricists.
The most prolific male singers of 2014 were:
- Arijit Singh – 62 songs
- Mika Singh – 37 songs
- Himesh Reshammiya – 22 songs
If 2013, with Aashiqui 2, was Arijit Singh’s breakout year, 2014 was the year he established his dominance. With 62 songs, he ruled the charts and the airwaves. Despite murmurs of “over-exposure”, Arijit has managed to appeal to both the masses and the critics. Mika Singh’s presence on this list shows Bollywood’s continued and, for us, inexplicable, fascination for his voice and/or the genre he represents. Singer Himesh Reshammiya can thank music director Himesh Reshammiya for all the songs he got to sing in 2014.
The most prolific female singers of 2014 were:
- Neeti Mohan – 42 songs
- Shreya Ghoshal – 32 songs
- Shalmali Kholgade – 21 songs
The careers of Neeti Mohan and Shalmali Kholgade continue to be on the rise and deservedly so. Shreya Ghoshal is still placed comfortably although she seems to have lost a bit of her sheen. It is very clear that Sunidhi Chauhan is getting fewer offers, although, as you’ll see below, the songs she does sing are well-liked.
Finally, based on a combination of ratings and number of well-rated songs in 2014, the most popular artists of 2014 were:
- Most popular composers: A.R. Rahman, Shankar – Ehsaan – Loy, Vishal – Shekhar, Pritam
- Most popular lyricists: Amitabh Bhattacharya, Gulzar, Irshad Kamil
- Most popular male singers: Arijit Singh, Vishal Dadlani, Papon
- Most popular female singers: Shreya Ghoshal, Neeti Mohan, Sunidhi Chauhan