Category Archives: Pop culture

Music Directors Who Sang For Other Music Directors

This post documents the work of music directors who have sung Hindi film songs for other music directors. I’ve limited the scope of this exercise by considering only those music directors who meet the following criteria:

  1. They are relatively well known.
  2. They are known mainly for their work as music directors even though they have sung songs.

As a result, I’m not including artists like Shankar Mahadevan, Hemant Kumar and Vishal Dadlani who are music directors in their own right but have sung extensively for others. The list includes only one song for each MD-singer pair even if they have collaborated on more than one song. I’ve also excluded recreations, If MD1’s song is recreated by MD2 and the recreated song is sung by MD1, it is not counted. The MySwar Advanced Search featured can be used to further explore artist collaborations.

Aadesh Shrivastava for

Ajay Gogavale (Of Ajay-Atul) for

Amit Trivedi for

Anand Raj Anand for

Anil Biswas for

Anu Malik for

A.R. Rahman for

Bappi Lahiri for

Bulo C. Rani for

C. Ramchandra for

Chitragupt for

Gyan Dutt for

Hridaynath Mangeshkar for

Jagmohan Bakshi (Of Sapan-Jagmohan) for

Jatin Pandit (Of Jatin-Lalit) for

Jigar Saraiya (Of Sachin-Jigar) for

Khayyam for

Khemchand Prakash for

Lalit Pandit (Of Jatin-Lalit) for

Manohar Lal Sonik (Of Sonik-Omi) for

Omi (Of Sonik-Omi) for

Pankaj Mullick for

Ram Sampath for

Ravi for

Ravindra Jain for

R.D. Burman for

Sachin Sanghvi (Of Sachin-Jigar) for

Sajid Khan (Of Sajid-Wajid) for

Salim Merchant (Of Salim-Sulaiman) for

S.D. Burman for

Shankar Singh Raghuvanshi (Of Shankar-Jaikishan) for

Shekhar Ravjiani (Of Vishal-Shekhar) for

Shyamal Mitra for

S.N. Tripathi for

Sneha Khanwalkar for

Snehal Bhatkar for

Sudhir Phadke for

Usha Khanna for

Vasant Desai for

Vishal Bhardwaj for

Wajid Khan for

Relatives Collaborating In Hindi Film Songs

This blog post started as a Twitter thread. The idea was to create a list of Hindi film music artists who are related in real life and share credits in a song. There were many artists who were related but didn’t share credits in any Hindi film song. These artists were not included in the list. The post focuses on just the three main music credits – Singer, Music Director, and Lyricist. Relatives who collaborated in roles beyond these are not in this exercise’s scope. The intent was not to create an exhaustive list of songs in which relatives shared credits. Instead, it was to share as comprehensive a list of relationships as possible using the fewest number of songs.

I focused only on “close relationships” which I defined as direct relatives – Father/Mother, Husband/Wife, Son/Daughter, and Siblings; and their direct relatives – Grandfather/Grandmother, Grandson/Granddaughter, Uncles/Aunts, Father-in-law/Mother-in-law, Brother-in-law/Sister-in-law, Son-in-law/Daughter-in-law, and Nephews/Nieces.

I used MySwar’s Advanced Search feature to identify these associations. This feature can be used to further explore the breadth (roles in a song) and depth (number of songs for a given combination) of the relationships listed here.

The original list featured about 100 posts. The list has expanded considerably since then thanks to the inputs from the members of the RMIM music group as well as from Twitter acquaintances. I have added an Addendum at the end to list a few examples of artists who are related and share credits in non-film songs. The Addendum is not intended to be comprehensive.

  1. Umrazia Begum sang Tum Bin Naiya Mori Kaun Tarave (Swarg Ki Seedhi, 1935) for her husband Ghulam Haider.
  2. Brothers K.L. Saigal and Mohinder Saigal sang Nis Din Barsat Nain Hamare (Bhakta Surdas, 1942). This was probably Mohinder Saigal’s only Hindi film song.
  3. The debut Hindi film song of playback singer Manna Dey (born Prabodh Chandra Dey) was composed by his mentor and uncle KC Dey – Jaago Jaago Jaago Aayi Usha (Tamanna, 1942)
  4. Parul Ghosh, nee Biswas sang Papiha Re Mere Piya Se Kahiyo Jaye (Kismet, 1943) for her brother Anil Biswas.
  5. Parul Ghosh sang Aaj Pehloo Mein Dard Sa Kya Hai (Sawaal, 1943) composed by her husband Pannalal Gosh.
  6. Kalyani Das sang for her husband Kamal Dasgupta in Papiha Papiha Tu Piyu Ko Pukar (Zamin Asman, 1946)
  7. Husband-wife Arun Kumar Ahuja and Nirmala Devi sang Naa Maaro Ji (Sehra, 1948). Film actor Govinda is their son.
  8. Ashalata Biswas had a few spoken words in Aagre Ko Ghaghro Mangwa De Raja (Ladli, 1949). She produced the film and her husband Anil Biswas composed its music. They divorced later and Anil Biswas married singer Meena Kapoor.
  9. Brothers Husnlal and Bhagatram Batish formed the first music director duo in Hindi films, Husnlal – Bhagatram. Husnlal sang Ae Chaand Zara Sun Le (Pyar Ki Manzil, 1950), a Husnlal – Bhagatram composition.
  10. Before meeting success with Boond Jo Ban Gayee Moti (1967), Satish Bhatia composed the music of obscure Maldar (1951). His sister Usha, a well-known AIR singer, sang a few songs in the film including Aji Hamari Pehli Mulaqat Ban Gayi Prem Kahani
  11. Premlata sang Yeh Raat Chandni Badi Suhani (Ghazab, 1951) composed by her husband Nashad (Shaukat Dehlvi).
  12. Aayi Bahar Kiye Solah Singaar (Nav Durga, 1953) was possibly the only Hindi film song sung by sisters Geeta Dutt and Laxmi Roy.
  13. Lalita Phadke, nee Deulkar sang Hisab Zara Sunte Jana Ji (Pehli Tarikh, 1954) composed by her husband Sudhir Phadke.
  14. Kaumudi Munshi sang Baansuriya Bajaye Re Saanwariya (Teen Tasveeren, 1954) composed by her husband Neenu Majumdar.
  15. OP Nayyar’s wife Saroj Mohini Nayyar wrote the lyrics of his song Preetam Aan Milo (Mr. & Mrs. ’55, 1955). OPN had originally recorded it as a non-film song sung by C.H. Atma.
  16. Geeta Dutt sang Yeh Rut Yeh Raat Jawan (Sailaab, 1956) composed by her brother Mukul Roy.
  17. Laxmi Roy, the sister of Geeta Dutt and Mukul Roy, sang Baje Dil Ki Taar Kare Yeh Pukar (Sailaab, 1956) composed by Mukul.
  18. Duniya Mein Hum Hain To (Mother India, 1957) was sung by the Mangeshkar sisters Lata, Meena and Usha.
  19. Sulochana Vyas sang Maalik Ki Marzi Ke Aage (Bhakt Raj, 1960) for her husband Avinash Vyas.
  20. Brothers Shankar and Shambhu Qawwal sang Nigah-E-Naaz Ke Maaron (Barsaat Ki Raat, 1960)
  21. Sabita Chowdhury sang Chand Kabhi Tha Baahon Mein (Sapan Suhane, 1961) composed by her husband Salil Chowdhury.
  22. Mujhe Tumse Mohabbat Hai (Bachpan, 1963) was composed by Sardar Malik and written by his brother-in-law (wife’s brother) Hasrat Jaipuri. Lesser heard beauty!
  23. Sisters Suman Kalyanpur, nee Hemady and Shyama Hemady sang Jhankti Hai Meri Aankhon Se Qaza (Dooj Ka Chaand, 1964)
  24. Jagjeet Kaur sang the lovely Tum Apna Ranj-O-Gham (Shagoon, 1964) composed by her husband Khayyam.
  25. Meena Kapoor sang Kuchh Aur Zamana Kehta Hai (Chhoti Chhoti Baten, 1965) composed by her husband Anil Biswas. This was his last film as a music director. He focused on his career in All India Radio after that.
  26. Bela Mukherjee sang Ae Deendayal Daya Do Hamen (Faraar, 1965), a bhajan composed by her husband Hemant Kumar.
  27. Manohar Lal Sonik aka Master Sonik partnered with his nephew Om Prakash Sonik to form the music director duo of Sonik – Omi. The title song of Dil Ne Phir Yaad Kiya (1966) is probably their best-known work.
  28. Brothers Kishore and Anoop Kumar sang a song composed by Kishore – Do Dino Ki Hai Kahani (Hum Do Daaku, 1967)
  29. Music directors Kalyanji – Anandji were brothers. Anandji was credited as a singer in this chorus song composed by them – One Two Three Four Everybody Go (Parivar, 1967)
  30. Ranu Mukherjee sang Ab To Muskuraiye Zara (Do Dooni Chaar, 1968) composed by her father Hemant Kumar.
  31. Hum Jiyen Ya Maren (Harishchandra Taramati, 1970) was composed by Hridaynath Mangeshkar and sung by his sisters Lata, Asha and Usha.
  32. Raina Soyi Soyi Naina Jaage Jaage (Ye Gulistan Hamara, 1972) was the only Hindi film song in which father and son S.D. Burman and R.D. Burman were credited as singers. The song was composed by S.D. Burman.
  33. Brothers Rajan – Nagendra composed Aisa Gaana Gaaoon (Miss Chalbaaz, 1972). Miss Chalbaaz was the Hindi-dubbed version of the Kannada film Kulla Agent 000 (1972).
  34. Four brothers, collectively called the Sharma Bandhu, sang the Doordarshan favourite Jaise Suraj Ki Garmi Se (Parinay, 1974)
  35. Jane Kahan Gaye Tum (Aaja Sanam, 1975) was composed by Usha Khanna and its lyrics were written by her father Manohar Khanna, who used the pen name M.K. Javed in this film.
  36. Gitanjali Singh wrote the lyrics for Kyon Hum Tum Rahen Akele (Kadambari, 1975) which was sung and composed by her husband Ajit Singh.
  37. Ram Shankar, the son of Shankar of Shankar-Shambhu, was credited as a singer in Yeh Khuda Wale Mustafa Wale (Hind Ke Wali, 1975) which was composed by the qawwal duo.
  38. Husband-wife A.V. Ramanan and Uma Ramanan sang the Hindi film song Haay Ek Buddhu Chhora (Play Boy, 1975)
  39. Winnie Paranjpe sang lyrics penned by her mother Sai Paranjpe in Achhe Bachche Nahin Jaagte (Sikandar, 1976). She was credited as Vinita Joglekar in it.
  40. Bansari Lahiri sang Bhool Gaye Hum Sab Kuchh (Tere Pyar Mein, 1977) composed by her son Bappi Lahiri.
  41. Antara Chowdhury sang Teri Galiyon Mein Hum Aaye (Minoo, 1977) composed by her father Salil Chowdhury.
  42. Sisters Padmini Kolhapure and Shivangi Kolhapure (Shakti Kapoor’s wife and Shraddha Kapoor’s mother) sang Masterji Ki Aa Gayi Chitthi (Kitaab, 1977). Gulzar’s quirky lyrics mention “agarbatii Kachhua chhaap” and “VIP underwear banian”.
  43. Saraswati Rane sang Mondar Baaju Re (Bhumika, 1977) with her granddaughter Meena Phatarpekar.
  44. Siblings Yogesh and Rachana, the children of playback singer Meena Khadikar (nee Mangeshkar), sang Chanda Chhode Chandni (Khel Kismat Ka, 1977)
  45. Amit Kumar sang Daur-E-Khizan Tha Dil Ke Chaman Mein (Shabash Daddy, 1978) his father Kishore Kumar’s composition.
  46. Buddhe Teri Chaal Buddhe (Ek Baap Chhe Bete, 1978) credited father-son Mehmood and Lucky Ali as singers (Lucky had a few spoken words at the end of the song). The film, directed and written by Mehmood, was apparently autobiographical and featured Mehmood along with his family members, including Lucky.
  47. Usha Khanna and Saawan Kumar Tak were married for about 7 years between the mid-70s and early 80s. The song O Jaani Jaani Tum Roothe Roothe (Saajan Bina Suhagan, 1978) was composed by Usha Khanna and written by Saawan Kumar.
  48. Pandit Jasraj’s daughter Durga Jasraj acted in the film Raja Raneeko Chahiye Paseena  (1978) and was also credited as a singer. The film’s songs were composed by her brother Sharang Dev. Atkan Chatkan –
  49. Bansari Lahiri sang Nahin Maane Jiyara Hamaar (Subhash Chandra, 1978) for her husband Apresh Lahiri. Music director Bappi Lahiri was their son.
  50. Sagarika, playback singer Shaan’s sister, debuted at the age of 9 with a song composed by her father Manas Mukherjee – Khushboo Hoon Main Phool Nahin (Shaayad, 1979)
  51. The song Saqiya Tu Koi Shayar Nahin Hai (Sansani, 1981) was composed by Hemant Bhosle and sung by his mother Asha Bhosle and his sister Varsha Bhosle.
  52.  Anu Malik showed early promise in Poonam (1981) with songs like Mohabbat Rang Layegi Janab Ahista Ahista. This song was written by his uncle/mama Hasrat Jaipuri.
  53. Babla struck out on his own with Khara Khota (1981) after assisting his brothers Kalyanji-Anandji for many years. His wife Kanchan sang Achha Hai Tera Nishana Toh Kya in his debut film.
  54. Laxmikant Kudalkar’s daughter Rajeshwari was the child’s voice in Laxmikant – Pyarelal’s Hey Raju Oh Daddy (Ek Hi Bhool, 1981)
  55. Sisters Sulakshana, Vijayeta and Rashi Pandit sang Tum Jo Hamen Itni Pyari Lagti Ho (Raaz, 1981)
  56. Chandrani Mukherjee sang Koi Bhi Dil Mein Naa Aaya Tha (Laparwah, 1981) composed by her brother-in-law (sister Chitrani’s husband) Bappi Lahiri.
  57. Amitabh Bachchan sang Rang Barse Bheege Chunarwali (Silsila, 1981) whose lyrics were credited to his father Harivansh Rai Bachchan.
  58. Husband and wife Jagjit and Chitra Singh sang Tum Ko Dekha To Yeh Khayal Aaya (Saath Saath, 1982)
  59. Sulakshana Pandit sang Tere Bina Jiya Naa Lage (Dil Hi Dil Mein, 1982) composed by her brothers Mandheer-Jatin. Mandheer-Jatin lasted only a few films. After they parted ways, Jatin Pandit partnered with younger brother Lalit to form the Jatin-Lalit duo. Nazia and Zoheb Hassan sang Jaana Zindagi Se Na Jaana (Star, 1982)
  60. Real-life couple Parveen Sultana and Dilshad Khan were credited as singers (along with others) in Shubh Ghadi Aayi Re (Razia Sultan, 1983)
  61. Anu Malik sang Khushiyon Ke Kuch Pal Aise Hain (Nigahain, 1983) composed and written by his father Sardar Malik. The shelved film Nigahain involved the senior Malik, his three sons Annu, Abbu and Krish/Daboo and his brother-in-law Hasrat Jaipuri in various capacities.
  62. Naushad’s son Raju Naushad composed the song Dil Kyun Hai Beqarar (Yahan Se Shahr Ko Dekho, 1983) whose lyrics were written by his father-in-law Majrooh Sultanpuri. Raju Naushad was married to Majrooh’s daughter Saba.
  63. Bhaj Man Ram Naam (Prerana, 1984) was sung by Moti Sagar with his daughters Preeti Sagar, Namita Sagar, and Niti Sagar in the chorus.
  64. Husband and wife Rajendra and Nina Mehta not only sang Taj Mahal Mein Aa Jana (Yahan Wahan, 1984) but also appeared on screen for it. The song first appeared in their 1980 non-film album Humsafar.
  65. Brothers Rajan and Sajan Mishra were credited as singers in the songs of Sur Sangam (1985), a remake of Sankarabharanam. However, some point out that one can hear the voice of only one singer in each of these songs. Aaye Sur Ke Panchhi Aaye  –
  66. Vijayeta Pandit sang Ek Dil Mera Kanwara (Bhai Ka Dushman Bhai, 1986) with brother Jatin. The song was composed by her brothers – Mandheer – Jatin. (The song will remind you of a Jatin-Lalit song).
  67. The lyrics of Saat Phere (Wahem, 1987), Vishal Bhardwaj’s debut Hindi film song as a music director, were written by his father Ram Bhardwaj.
  68. Sonali Jalota sang Haathon Pe Mere Mehndi Lagi Hai (Jhuke Jhuke Naina, 1987) composed by her husband Anoop Jalota. She divorced him later and got married to Roop Kumar Rathod.
  69. Pandit Jasraj sang Jheeni Jheeni Beeni Re Chadariya (Susman, 1987) composed by his son Shaarang Dev.
  70. Leena Ganguly, née Chandavarkar sang Naa Re Naa Mujhse Door Na Jaana (Mamta Ki Chhaon Mein, 1988) for her husband Kishore Kumar.
  71. R.D. Burman composed Seeli Hawa Chhoo Gai (Libaas, 1988) sung by his sister-in-law Lata Mangeshkar.
  72. R.D. Burman composed Dhak Dhak Jiya Kare (Joshilaay, 1989) sung by his wife Asha Bhosle and sister-in-law Usha Mangeshkar.
  73. Brothers Anu Malik, Abu Malik and Daboo Malik (Krish Malik) sang Dushman Kya Maarega Humko (Zordaar, 1989). The mukhda’s tune was taken from It’s A Sin by Pet Shop Boys.
  74. Anjaan and his son Sameer were jointly credited as lyricists in Paap Ka Ant (1989)Saari Raat Hum Tum Dance Karenge –
  75. Siblings Shaan and Sagarika sang in two versions of Kitni Hai Pyari Pyari (Parinda, 1989)
  76. Anuradha Paudwal sang Mere Liye Zaroori Pyar Tera (Meera Ka Mohan, 1992) for her husband Arun Paudwal.
  77. Shravan Rathod of Nadeem – Shravan was the brother of singers Vinod and Roop Kumar Rathod. The popular Nadeem-Shravan song Aisi Deewangi Dekhi Nahin Kahin (Deewana, 1992) featured Vinod Rathod’s voice.
  78. Dilip Sen collaborated with his nephew (brother Shambhu Sen’s son) Sameer to form a music director pair. Dilip Sen – Sameer Sen composed Goriya Re Goriya Re Mera Dil Chura Ke Le Ja (Aaina, 1993)
  79. A.R. Rahman had his nephew G.V. Prakash Kumar (son of sister Raihanh) sing the title track of Chor Chor (1993)
  80. Actress Bhagyashree’s father Vijay Singh, the king of the erstwhile princely state of Sangli, was a music director and filmmaker. He had his daughter Purnima Patwardhan sing Chidiya Bole Chun Chun Chun (Ghar Aaya Mera Pardesi, 1993)
  81. Brothers Neeraj and Uttank Vora teamed up to compose the music for the film Pehla Nasha (1993). Aaj Raat Bas Mein Nahin Dil –
  82. Music director Pandit Shivram’s sons got together to form the music director duo of Jugal Kishore – Tilak Raj. Their sister Jayshree Shivram sang Jhoomta Gaata Mausam (Birjoo, 1993) composed by them.
  83. Anuradha Paudwal sang Dhadkanon Ko Khabar Na Hone Di (Aajaa Sanam, 1994) in which her daughter Kavita Paudwal was credited as the music director.
  84. Udit Narayan sang the title song of Akele Hum Akele Tum (1995) with his son Aditya Narayan.
  85. The Indian Sabri Brothers, Aftab and Hashim Sabri, sang Nahin Hona Tha (Pardes, 1997)
  86. Vijayeta Pandit sang Jab Se Mile Do Dil (Deewana Hoon Pagal Nahin, 1998) composed by her husband Aadesh Shrivastava.
  87. Jaswinder Singh sang Saanu Aa Mil Yaar Pyareya (Train To Pakistan, 1998) with his father Kuldeep Singh, who also composed the song.
  88. The Punjabi lyrics in Sukhwinder Singh’s Thayya Thayya (Dil Se, 1998) were written by his wife Tejpal Kaur.
  89. Sanjeev-Darshan, the sons of Shravan Rathod (of Nadeem – Shravan), composed Mera Mann Kyun Tumhen Chahe (Mann, 1999)
  90. Kamal Haasan shared singing credits with daughter Shruti Haasan in the title song of Hey Raam (2000)
  91. Preeti Uttam sang Musafir Jaane Wale (Gadar – Ek Prem Katha, 2001) for her father Uttam Singh.
  92. Brothers Vinod Rathod and Roop Kumar Rathod sang Ho Aaj Mazhab Koi (Censor, 2001). (Does it remind you of another Jatin-Lalit song – just a bit?)
  93. Sisters Shraddha and Shweta Pandit sang Hansaata Hai Rulaata Hai (Soch, 2002) composed by their uncles Jatin – Lalit. Their father Vishwaraj Pandit aka Mandheer is Jatin and Lalit’s elder brother.
  94. Hum Hain Indian (Mission Mumbai, 2003) was sung by the married couple Roop Kumar and Sonali Rathod.
  95. Franco Simon sang Kya Takdir Likhi Hai Likhne Wale Ne (Freaky Chakra, 2003) for his uncle (mother’s brother) Ouseppachan.
  96. Sons of Ustad Ghulam Mustafa Khan, Murtuza and Qadir Mustafa, sang Noor-Un-Ala-Noor (Meenaxi: A Tale Of Three Cities, 2004)
  97. Brothers Ahmed Hussain and Mohammed Hussain sang Aaya Tere Dar Par (Veer Zaara, 2004)
  98. Father and daughter Ajoy Chakrabarty and Kaushiki Chakraborty sang Vaishnava Janato (Water, 2005)
  99. Shobha Gurtu sang her son Trilok Gurtu’s composition Expression Of Love. The track was originally released in the album Remembrance and later included in the film Dor (2006).
  100. Bappa Lahiri used the voices of his father Bappi Lahiri and sister Rema Lahiri in the song Khoka (C Kkompany, 2008)
  101. Father-son Kishore Kumar and Sumit Kumar were credited as singers in Bachna Ae Haseeno (Bachna Ae Haseeno, 2008). Kishore Kumar’s lines from Bachna Ae Haseeno (Hum Kisise Kum Naheen, 1977) were mixed with newly recorded lines by Sumit Kumar.
  102. Farhan Akhtar sang Tum Ho Toh (Rock On, 2009) with lyrics by his father Javed Akhtar.
  103. Salim Merchant and Sulaiman Merchant of the Salim-Sulaiman duo are brothers. Salim sang Pankhon Ko (Rocket Singh – Salesman Of The Year, 2009) composed by Salim – Sulaiman.
  104. Bhavatharini sang this well-known tune composed by her father Ilaiyaraaja – Gumm Summ Gumm (Paa, 2009)
  105. Jolly Mukherjee, the playback singer, and his wife Romilla were credited as the music directors of Detective Naani (2009). Romilla also wrote the songs’ lyrics, wrote/directed the film and co-produced it with her husband. Jolly Mukherjee was also credited as a singer in its title track Hey Nani.
  106. Antara Chowdhury sang Zindagi Uljhano Se Bhari (Suno Na: Ek Nanhi Aawaz, 2009)composed by her brother Sanjoy Chowdhury. Antara and Sanjoy are music director Salil Chowdhury’s children.
  107. Father and daughter Loy Mendonsa and Alyssa Mendonsa got singing credits in Oh Girl You’re Mine (Housefull, 2010). Loy probably just sang the chorus lines. He’s part of the Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy trio who composed the song.
  108. Rekha Bhardwaj sang Ab Mujhe Koi Intezar Kahan (Ishqiya, 2010) for her husband Vishal. Ishqiya was the only instance of a husband and wife winning National Film Awards in the music category. Vishal Bhardwaj won the National Film Award for Best Music Direction (Songs) and Rekha Bhardwaj won it for Best Female Playback Singer.
  109. Hrithik Roshan sang Kites In The Sky (Kites, 2010) for his uncle Rajesh Roshan (brother of his father Raakesh Roshan).
  110. Abhishek Bachchan performed rap in this song sung by his father Amitabh Bachchan – Go Meera Go (Bbuddah Hoga Terra Baap, 2011)
  111. RDB (short for Rhythm, Dhol, Bass) was a UK-based band comprising brothers Kuldeep, Manjeet and Surjeet Ral. Saadi Gali (Tanu Weds Manu, 2011) is probably their best-known work in Bollywood.
  112. Brothers Puranchand Wadali and Pyare Lal Wadali are brothers. The Wadali Brothers sang Ae Rangrez Mere (Tanu Weds Manu, 2011)
  113. Husband-wife Kunal and Gayatri Ganjawala, nee Iyer sang Take It Easy (My Friend Pinto, 2011)
  114. Brothers Sangeet and Siddharth Haldipur, sons of music director Amar Haldipur, composed the song Aa Zara Kareeb Se (Murder 2, 2011)
  115. Gurdeep Mehndi composed the song Dil Ne Maana (Meri Shadi Karo, 2012), co-wrote its lyrics with his mother Nikki, and sang it with his sister Ajit. (Gurdeep also starred in the film, which was produced by his father Daler Mehndi).
  116. Swanand Kirkire not only wrote the lyrics for Navrai Maajhi (English Vinglish, 2012) but also sang it along with his mother Neelambari.
  117. Anmol Malik sang Suno Suno (Gali Gali Chor Hai, 2012) composed by her father Anu Malik.
  118. Sisters Neha Kakkar and Sonu Kakkar sang Good Boys Bad Boys (Mr. Bhatti On Chutti, 2012) composed and written by their brother Tony Kakkar.
  119. M.M. Kreem had his son Kaala Bhairava record Sapnon Ki Ek Duniya Hai (Makkhi, 2012)
  120. Brothers Daler Mehndi and Mika Singh sang Chal Hand Uthake Nachche (Besharam, 2013)
  121. Sona Mohapatra sang Ambarsariya (Fukrey, 2013) composed by her husband Ram Sampath.
  122. Sonu Nigam not only composed the title song of Singh Saab The Great (2013) but also sang it with his sister Teesha.
  123. Preeti Pillai sang and wrote the lyrics for Ishq Ki Ada (Sixteen, 2013) composed by her brother Prashant Pillai.
  124. Shankar Mahadevan sang the chorus in Bol Beliya (Kill Dil, 2014) sung by his son Siddharth. The song was composed by Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy.
  125. Palak Muchhal sang Tu Hi Hai Aashiqui (Dishkiyaoon, 2014) composed by her brother Palash.
  126. Sisters Jyoti and Sultana Nooran sang Patakha Guddi (Highway, 2014)
  127. Madhuri Dixit sang Rangi Saari Gulabi (Gulaab Gang, 2014) with her mother Snehalatha Dixit.
  128. Brothers Harmeet Singh and Manmeet Singh sang Selfiyaan (Sharafat Gayi Tel Lene, 2014). Harmeet & Manmeet are Meet Bros. Selfiyaan was composed by Meet Bross Anjjan, the brothers’ collaboration with Anjjan Bhattacharya.
  129. Brothers Sajid – Wajid composed Joganiyan (Tevar, 2014)
  130. Daboo Malik composed Aana Nahi (W, 2014) sung by his sons Armaan and Amaal.
  131. A.R. Rahman sang with his sister Raihanah in his song Aye Jawaan (Kochadaiiyaan, 2014)
  132. Kavita Krishnamurthy sang Vaishnava Janato (Gour Hari Dastaan, 2015) composed by her husband L. Subramaniam.
  133. Bindu Subramaniam sang and wrote the lyrics for Right Now (Gour Hari Dastaan, 2015) composed by her father L. Subramaniam.
  134. Priya Saraiya nee Panchal is married to Jigar of Sachin-Jigar. She sang and wrote the lyrics for Sachin-Jigar’s Sun Saathiya (ABCD: Any Body Can Dance – 2, 2015)
  135. Husband-wife Clinton and Dominique Cerejo sang Iss Tarah (Meri Pyaari Bindu, 2017)
  136. Mujtaba Aziz Nazan sang Chadhta Sooraj Dheere Dheere (Indu Sarkar, 2017), a qawwali that was originally sung and composed by his father Aziz Nazan.
  137. Brothers Ajay and Atul Gogavale sang their own composition Zingaat (Dhadak, 2018), the Hindi version of a song they had originally composed for the Marathi film Sairaat (2016).
  138. When playback singer Akriti Kakar made her Hindi film debut as a music director for the song Jobless (Milan Talkies, 2019), she roped in her sisters Sukriti and Prakriti to sing with her. Akriti also wrote the song’s lyrics.
  139. Shankar Mahadevan sang Rezgaariyaan (Mere Pyare Prime Minister, 2019) with his son Shivam.
  140. Sachin Sanghvi, of the music director duo Sachin-Jigar, had his daughter Tanishka sing Ek Zindagi Meri Sau Khwahishan (Angrezi Medium, 2020)
  141. A.R. Ameen recorded Never Never Say Goodbye (Dil Bechara, 2020) for his father A.R. Rahman.
  142. Arijit Singh composed the songs of Pagglait (2021) and used his sister Amrita’s voice in a few songs in it. He also sang the film’s title track with her.
  143. Khatija Rahman sang Tum Bhi Raahi Hum Bhi Raahi (Mili, 2022) for her father A.R. Rahman.
  144. Rangi Saari Gulabi Chunariya Re (Jugjugg Jeeyo, 2022) was sung and jointly composed by Kavita Seth and her son Kavish.
  145. Palak Muchhal sang Yun Tere Hue Hum (Salaam Venky, 2022) composed by her husband Mithoon.
  146. Neha Bhasin sang Yeh Jo Sang Ho Rahin Hain Tafriyan (Jogi, 2022) composed by her husband Sameer Uddin.
  147. Brothers Altamash and Shadab Faridi sang the qawwali portions in Tere Vaaste (Zara Hatke Zara Bachke, 2023)
  148. Sunidhi Chauhan sang Yeh Raat Hi Subah Bulayegi (Zwigato, 2023) composed by husband Hitesh Sonik.

Addendum: Collaborations in non-film/unreleased songs

  1. Meera Dev Burman sang Daali Daali Phool Khile (1947) for her husband S.D. Burman.
  2. Kalyanaji – Anandji recorded Hey Re Dayamay for the film Ghar Ghar Ki Kahani (1970) but the song was not used. It is probably the only song in which Mukesh sang with his son Nitin Mukesh.
  3. Husband-wife Bhupinder and Mitalee Singh sang Aaj Ki Raat (Aao Aise Mohabbat Karen, 1984).
  4. Trilok Singh Loomba composed the music for his daughter Raageshwari’s debut pop album Duniya (1997).
  5. Norah Jones sang Traces of You (2013) co-written by her half-sister Anoushka Shankar. They are daughters of the sitar maestro Ravi Shankar. Anoushka performed the sitar in the song.

Rise Of Recreated Songs

[This is an excerpt from the chapter “2011 – 2020: Review of a Decade of Hindi Film Music” from the e-book BollySwar: 2011 – 2020.]

The Hindi film industry had tried to come up with new ways of mass-producing hit songs ever since the 1990s. In the 1990s, they experimented with Jhankaar Beats and in the 2000s with remixes. The objective of both these strategies was to leverage film songs to produce dance numbers. Plagiarism became a mainstream trend during this period as the industry tried to overcome the constraints placed by the finite amount of creativity available to it. Studio recordings, that had started giving way to digitally mixed and produced songs in the 2000s, became a thing of the past in the 2010s. Songs were now produced by assembling voice and instrumental recordings with music samples and programmed beats and loops. The trend of recreated songs in the 2010s was a part of this larger phenomenon. As the decade progressed, canned remixes fell out of favour and cover versions of previously recorded songs gained popularity.

The terms remix, recreations and covers are often used interchangeably. In this section, we will use the term remix only to refer to the process of mixing an existing recording with newly produced music, usually electronic music. Let’s define some terms precisely:

The decade produced more than 250 recreated songs – over 3 percent of all the Hindi film songs recorded during the period. The trend of recreated songs saw an uptick in 2016 and rose steadily after that. It peaked in 2019 with over 50 recreated songs – almost 8 percent of the songs recorded that year. The label and producers of “Luka Chuppi” (2019) went all the way. All five songs in the film were recreations – 1 of a Hindi film song, 1 of a Hindi non-film single, and 3 of hit Punjabi songs. The Filmfare Award for Best Music Album for “Gully Boy” (2019), a film with 5 recreated songs, was another indicator of the industry’s acceptance of this phenomenon. The trend’s dip in 2020 was perhaps the result of fewer film and music releases following the COVID-19 pandemic.

Covers formed the bulk of recreated songs and came in many flavours. Conventional cover songs retained the tune and lyrics of the original song and differed only in the treatment. Mikey McCleary’s “Khoya Khoya Chand (The Bartender Mix)” (“Shaitan”, 2011) re-imagined S.D. Burman’s classic from “Kala Bazar” (1960) while retaining its essence. However, such covers were exceptions in the 2010s. The most common cover version took only the tune and lyrics of its hook line from the original song – the rest was newly created. Chirantan Bhatt’s “Har Kisi Ko Nahin Milta” (“Boss”, 2013), for example, used the mukhda of Kalyanji – Anandji and Indeevar’s original song from “Janbaaz” (1986) as its hook line but had newly written lyrics by Manoj Yadav for its antaras.

An analysis of the original versions of recreated songs revealed that R.D. Burman continued to remain one of the most influential yesteryear composers in the industry. 25 recreated songs produced in the 2010s were based on R.D. Burman songs. He was followed by Laxmikant – Pyarelal with 18 recreated songs, Kalyanji – Anandji with 15, Bappi Lahiri with 13, and Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and Anand – Milind with 9 each.

As expected, a vast majority of recreated songs – more than 60 percent – used Hindi film songs of the past as their source material. In the second half of the decade, Punjabi non-film music also became a favourite hunting ground of music labels and producers. Around 15 percent of the recreated songs were sourced from popular Punjabi artists like Malkit Singh, Sukhbir, Dr. Zeus, Guru Randhawa, Garry Sandhu, and Badshah among others. Hindi and Pakistani non-film songs were other significant starting points of recreated songs.

Recreated songs derived inspiration from almost every decade of Hindi film history but seemed to be most partial to the songs of the 1980s and 1990s. Together, these two decades were represented in about half the recreated songs recorded between 2011 and 2020.

More than a hundred music directors produced recreated songs during the decade but there was none as prolific as Tanishk Bagchi. With more than 50 recreated songs to his credit, he contributed to about 20 percent of all the songs in this genre. He was so prolific in this niche that he had only a dozen more original compositions than recreated songs to his credit. His credential as the go-to composer for recreated songs catapulted Bagchi to becoming one of the most discussed Hindi film artists of the decade, although it was often in unflattering terms. He ended the decade as one of the top 10 most prolific Hindi film composers.

The rise in the number of recreated songs resulted in a spurt of copyright infringement lawsuits. There were legal cases filed over “Pyar Mein Dil Pe Maar De Goli” (“Tamanchey”, 2014)“Bhar Do Jholi Meri Ya Muhammad” (“Bajrangi Bhaijaan”, 2015)“Pichhe Ho Ja Soniye Saaddi Rail Gaddi Aayi” (“Tutak Tutak Tutiya”, 2016)“Tu Cheez Badi Hai Mast Mast” (“Machine”, 2017), and “Amma Dekh Dekh Dekh Tera Munda Bigda Jaye” (“Nawabzaade”, 2018) among others. Some cases were settled out of court and others resulted in the withdrawal of the songs from the films and music albums. The lawsuits pushed the music labels to use songs from their own catalogue for recreations. When a song from a different label was used, the recreated version was often released as a single by the other label. For example, while “Queen” (2014) was released by T-Series, the sampled cover in the film “Hungama Ho Gaya (Remix)” was published separately by Saregama.

The trend of recreated songs polarised the Hindi film industry in more than one way. The phenomenon was universally condemned by the artists. After Tanishk Bagchi recorded “O Saki Saki Re” (“Batla House”, 2019)based on Vishal – Shekhar’s “Saaki (Psychedelic Insomnia Mix)” (“Musafir”, 2004), Vishal Dadlani threatened to sue filmmakers and musicians if their songs were used without their permission going forward. Pritam walked out of “Raabta” (2017) when T-Series insisted on including in the film a recreated version of a song composed by another music director. Ram Sampath quit working for Hindi films altogether after “Raees” (2017) for which he was forced to record a recreated version of Kalyanji – Anandji’s “Laila O Laila” (“Qurbani”, 1980). The voices against recreated songs attained crescendo when Tanishk Bagchi recreated A.R. Rahman’s much-loved “Masakali” (“Delhi-6”, 2009) for a music video featuring the actors of the film “Marjaavaan” (2019). Without any reference to the recreation, Rahman posted a link to his song on Twitter along with a message – “Enjoy the original #Masakali”. He further elaborated in an image in the tweet – “No short cuts, properly commissioned, sleepless nights, writes and re-writes. Over 200 musicians, 365 days of creative brainstorming with the aim to produce music that can last generations. A team of a Director, a Composer and a Lyricist supported by actors, dance directors and a relentless film crew.”. Prasoon Joshi and Mohit Chauhan, Rahman’s co-creators in the song, also supported the composer’s stand. However, the music labels saw nothing wrong in trawling their back catalogues for easy hits. T-Series’ Gulshan Kumar was an outspoken backer of this trend and even held music directors responsible for it. When told that Amit Trivedi had blamed music labels for the trend of recreated songs, Kumar responded, “Tell him to make songs that work with public.”.

Listeners also seemed to be divided on the issue. On one hand, the trend was periodically run down by music lovers on social media. On the other, recreated songs consistently found a place on the music charts. The Mirchi Top 20 of 2019, for example, featured as many as 7 recreated songs – “Coca Cola” and “Duniya” from “Luka Chuppi” (2019)“The Jawaani Song” (“Student Of The Year 2”, 2019)“O Saki Saki Re” (“Batla House”, 2019)“Bala Bala Shaitan Ka Saala” (“Housefull 4”, 2019)“Meri Gully Mein” (“Gully Boy”, 2019), and “Ankhiyon Se Goli Maare” (“Pati Patni Aur Woh”, 2019).

The public reaction to recreated songs was delightfully captured in two Hindi film songs. In “Aankh Maarey” (“Simmba”, 2018), a recreated version of a song from “Tere Mere Sapne” (1996), co-producer Karan Johar made a cameo appearance to make a tongue-in-cheek remark, “Oh God! One more remix?!”. He made a similar appearance again in the song “Chandigarh Mein” (“Good Newwz”, 2019), this time with the line “Oh my God! This is original?”.

[Get the BollySwar e-book for more such analysis: Amazon India, Amazon US, Amazon UK]

BollySwar: 2011 – 2020 is now available

As you may be aware, four volumes of the BollySwar e-book have been released so far – BollySwar: 1971 – 1980 (Volume 5), BollySwar: 1981 – 1990 (Volume 6), BollySwar: 1991 – 2000 (Volume 7), and BollySwar: 2001 – 2010 (Volume 8).

I am happy to inform you that the new volume – BollySwar: 2011 – 2020 (Volume 9) – is now available on Amazon.

This volume has been, by far, the most challenging yet. While working on the previous volumes, one of the main challenges was the difficulty in getting information about the films and songs of those decades. The problem while working on this volume was that – thanks to the age of the internet and social media – there was too much information available! It took more than a year to sift through all this information and make sense of it.

If you appreciate our work on MySwar, please do consider buying this book and the previous volumes. The BollySwar book series has information available on MySwar and a lot more (trivia, trends, milestones, stats, etc) – information you can now access offline. Each purchase goes a long way in keeping MySwar up and running. I would love to hear your thoughts on the book if you purchase it.

Links for BollySwar: 2011 – 2020 (Volume 9):
Amazon India
Amazon US
Amazon UK

(The e-book is available in Amazon stores of other countries as well – just search for BollySwar. You can read the e-book on a Kindle device or on the Kindle app available on various platforms.)

Film Music’s Shift from Melody to Sound Design

Music composer Kaushal Inamdar recently posted an insightful Twitter thread about how film music had changed in recent decades. The crux of the point he made was that technological advances in music production had shifted the focus of music directors from music composition to sound design. He argued that creating interesting sounds was becoming more important than creating beautiful compositions. The singer’s voice, which traditionally delivered the main melody in film songs, had become just another element in the sound the composers were looking to create. As Inamdar described it – “More and more singers sang less and less”.

A few years ago. I had talked about these concepts a little bit while comparing the music of the films “Raanjhanaa” (2013) and “Lootera” (2013). I had found A.R. Rahman’s music for “Raanjhanaa” (2013) to be more textured and intricate but had enjoyed Amit Trivedi’s “Lootera” (2013) more since it was more melodic and hummable. To borrow Inamdar’s words, while “Raanjhanaa” (2013) had more interesting sounds, the composition was better in “Lootera” (2013). For me, “Lootera” (2013) has stood the test of time significantly better than “Raanjhanaa” (2013).

The shift from a melody-centric to a sound-centric music-making process was enabled by technological advancements in music production. Synthesizers and software programs made it easy for music directors to create new sounds (even those mimicking live musical instruments, like the sarod in “Mitwa” (“Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna”, 2006)), use newly recorded or pre-recorded samples and loops, and manipulate and assemble them into a song. Recording songs live in a studio with singers and session musicians coming together became obsolete. Composers increasingly channeled their creativity in creating catchy hooks and danceable rhythms that drew listeners in. Melody – the crucial element of film songs that creates a lasting impact – took a back seat. Music production became less organic and reminiscent of assembly-line productions. 

The use of technology to improve the sound of film music is not a new phenomenon. The celebrated “Been” theme of “Nagin” (1954) created by Kalyanji Virji Shah (of Kalyanji – Anandji) on a keyboard instrument called clavioline is among the earliest uses of electronic music in Hindi films. Kalyanji – Anandji (and their brother Babla) went on to push the boundaries of film music with their use of synthesizers. The use of the mini Korg synthesizer in “Yeh Mera Dil Yaar Ka Deewana” (“Don”, 1977) was a significant milestone and made electronic instruments more popular than ever before. R.D. Burman was another music director who embraced technological innovations in music production. His efforts to use technology to improve the sound quality of his recordings set him apart from his peers.

However, the biggest technological shift in music production happened in the 1990s with the rise of A.R. Rahman. As sessions musician Shankar Indorkar points out in Gregory Booth’s book “Behind the Curtain: Making Music in Mumbai’s Film Studios” – “He’s the one who changed [the sound and the production process of film music] because if you see Roja [1993], there’s hardly any acoustic instrument and hardly any Indian instrument also. And that was his first picture.”. Rahman’s pioneering use of sampling in music production was poignantly described by Indorkar through a personal experience:

It is important to note that Rahman himself cannot be held responsible for the erosion of melody from film music. While his sound design gave him an edge, his biggest strength was always his ability to create exquisite melodies. Lesser composers could emulate Rahman’s use of technology to produce music but could not match his music-making genius. Technology became a crutch for them. The changing tastes of music listeners also caused sound design to be prioritized over melody. As attention spans of music listeners reduced, the demand for instant gratification increased, leading to the proliferation of songs with repetitive and catchy hooks. In the 2010s, as songs started losing their place as storytelling devices in films, melodies were replaced by dance numbers that could be used to promote the film. The rise of hip-hop also served to extricate melody from Hindi film songs.

A.R. Rahman himself lamented about the disappearance of melody from film songs in a 2014 interview. On being asked to comment about Amit Trivedi and Sneha Khanwalkar as “offshoots of the ARR movement”, the maestro said – “They have their own sound, I like what they do but it’s also important to have that classic film melody in your repertoire. That’s missing nowadays, which is sad. Like something Laxminkant-Pyarelal employed or what Nadeem-Shravan did. The bread and butter songs.

While melody has been the soul of Hindi film music since its inception, it cannot necessarily be equated with quality. Even the “classic” era of Hindi films had plenty of terrible songs. Also, musical genres like hip-hop and electronic music are not melodic but are enjoyed by millions of listeners across the globe. It follows that the loss of melody does not represent a loss of quality; it represents a change in the character of film music. There is no denying the fact that this shift is leaving many Hindi film music lovers disappointed. However, it can be argued that their disappointment stems not from the poor quality of today’s music as some of them claim but from a misalignment between their tastes and what’s on offer. While many melodic songs have been recorded in the past decade – “Phir Le Aaya Dil” (“Barfi!”, 2012), “Sawaar Loon” (“Lootera”, 2013), “Yeh Moh Moh Ke Dhaage” (“Dum Laga Ke Haisha”, 2015), “Agar Tum Saath Ho” (“Tamasha”, 2015), and “Ae Watan Watan Mere Aabad Rahe Tu” (“Raazi”, 2018) to name a few – there has also been an rising number of songs that may not be bad but are not very melodic, like “Chaar Baj Gaye Party Abhi Baaki Hai” (“F.A.L.T.U”, 2011), “Teri Keh Ke Loonga” (“Gangs Of Wasseypur”, 2012), “Abhi Toh Party Shuru Hui Hai” (“Khoobsurat”, 2014), “Kar Gayi Chull” (“Kapoor & Sons (Since 1921)”, 2016), “Aisi Dhaakad Hai Dhaakad Hai Aisi Dhaakad Hai” (“Dangal”, 2016), “Coca Cola” (“Luka Chuppi”, 2019), and the songs of “Gully Boy” (2019).

It remains to be seen if this shift is permanent or if melody stages a comeback at some point in the future. Also, will Hindi film music listeners warm up to this trend eventually or move on to greener pastures (non-Hindi film music or independent music)?

For more on this topic, check out this video:

MySwar References

One of the things we love on MySwar is the trivia – the story behind the music and the musicians. We source the trivia from books we read and from the World Wide Web. While we stored these source references, we didn’t have a way to show them to our users. Not anymore. We just rolled out the display of references from which we derive these trivia. Now, you will see a reference link next to trivia items (where applicable). Book references are listed together on one page and other references are listed right there on the song or album page.

Special mention must be made of the Hindi Film Geet Kosh compiled by Mr. Harmandir Singh ‘Hamraaz’. The Hindi Film Geet Kosh, a collection of 5 book volumes cataloguing Hindi films from 1931 to 1980, is not just the source of trivia for MySwar but also the foundation of our data from this period. It’s not a coincidence that it’s listed at the top in our list of references.

Anand Bakshi’s Generation-Spanning Work

[Starting this week, we’ll re-publish here the Bollywood Retrospective series published in DNA blogs. This post was originally published here.]

This post is based on a question posed a few years ago on Twitter by film historian Pavan Jha, a passionate follower and chronicler of films and film music. The question – “Name the 5 pairs of father-son composers for whom Anand Bakshi has written lyrics”. It’s a fantastic question because it gives us a sense of how extensive Anand Bakshi’s career was. Anand Bakshi’s long career is indicative of compromises he had to make along the way (quality may have suffered at the expense of quantity) but more importantly, it speaks to his ability to connect with the common man over several generations and his success in adapting himself to changing times.

Here are my picks of Anand Bakshi’s songs for the seven father-son composer pairs he worked with out of the 3000+ songs he wrote for Hindi films:

S.D. Burman and R.D. Burman

Anand Bakshi had debuted in 1958 and proven his mettle earlier with films like “Jab Jab Phool Khile” (1965) and “Devar” (1966), but he had to wait till 1969 for an opportunity to work with S.D. Burman. It is well known that R.D. Burman played an important role in the music of “Aradhana” (1969) – he was credited as Associate Music Director – and one wonders if the younger Burman had anything to do with picking Anand Bakshi for the first time for S.D. Burman. Anand Bakshi went on to work with S.D. Burman in many other films including “Jugnu” (1973), “Prem Nagar” (1974), and “Chupke Chupke” (1975), but couldn’t quite match Aradhana’s success. My pick from Aradhana – “Kora Kagaz Tha Yeh Man Mera”:

Anand Bakshi’s body of work with R.D. Burman is far richer than that with his father. It contains bona fide classics like “Kati Patang” (1970), “The Train” (1970), “Amar Prem” (1971), “Hare Rama Hare Krishna” (1971), “Namak Haram” (1973), “Aap Ki Kasam” (1974), “Ajanabee” (1974) and “Mehbooba” (1976. I consider “Amar Prem” to be the pinnacle of their partnership. Although I am in awe of the powerful lyrics of “Chingari Koi Bhadke”, my pick from the film is “Kuchh To Log Kahenge” because of the deftness with which Bakshi Saab took a song of compassion and transformed it into an unflattering commentary on society.

Roshan and Rajesh Roshan

Roshan was one of the big-name music directors to work with Anand Bakshi early on in his career but they worked together on just a handful of films. “Devar” (1966) was the only film in which the two enjoyed a measure of success. My pick from “Devar” is “Baharon Ne Mera Chaman Loot Kar” because it’s one of the few songs in which Anand Bakshi challenges the average Hindi film music listener with limited knowledge of Urdu while keeping his trademark simple core intact.

Rajesh Roshan’s only Filmfare Award came in a film for which Anand Bakshi wrote lyrics, “Julie” (1975). My pick though is from a film which came the next year “Tumhari Kassam” (1978).  “Hum Dono Milke Kagaz Pe Dil Pe” belonged to a category of Hindi film songs Anand Bakshi did very well in – the conversational romantic duet. As with other songs in this category penned by him, Anand Bakshi keeps the lovers’ exchange light-hearted, flirtatious, and very real.

Kalyandji – Anandji and Viju Shah (son of Kalyanji)

After almost a decade of a rather unremarkable career, it was Kalyanji – Anandji who gave Anand Bakshi a blockbuster hit record with “Jab Jab Phool Khile” (1965), and almost overnight transformed him into the industry’s leading lyricist. I am not particularly fond of the album but I am clearly in the minority. The film’s music was very popular and with its range of themes and genres, it had something for everyone. My pick from the film is “Ek Tha Gul Aur Ek Thi Bulbul”. Contrived as the situation is, I think Anand Bakshi does a masterful job of telling the film’s story in three verses.

In terms of popularity, “Mohra” (1994) and “Gupt” (1997), would surpass anything else Anand Bakshi wrote for Viju Shah. At the age of 64, Bakshi Saab managed to write something as juvenile (some may say crass) as “Tu Cheez Badi Hai Mast Mast”. We could see the song’s lyrics as an unnecessary compromise by a senior lyricist or we could marvel at an old man’s ability to read the pulse of a generation far removed. My favourite Viju Shah – Anand Bakshi coming together, however, happens in the lesser heard “Tere Mere Sapne” (1996) with its two outstanding romantic duets “Kuchh Mere Dil Ne Kaha” and “Mere Piya Maine Jise Yeh Dil Diya”.  My pick – “Mere Piya Maine Jise Yeh Dil Diya”.

Chitragupt and Anand – Milind

There isn’t a lot to choose from when it comes to Anand Bakshi’s lyrics for Chitragupt – just six songs from two obscure films “Aadhi Raat Ke Baad” (1965) and “Angaaray” (1975). In fact, I came upon those songs only while writing for this post. My pick is Lata Mangeshkar’s ghazal from “Aadhi Raat Ke Baad” – “Mera Dil Baharon Ka Woh Phool Hai“.

Anand – Milind did 10 films with Anand Bakshi but nothing really clicked. The duo could not really get the best out of the aging lyricist. My pick of this combination is an OK melody but to be honest, I picked it for the resplendent Madhuri Dixit. The song – Kumar Sanu and Sadhna Sargam’s “Kitna Pyar Karta Hoon” (“Phool”, 1993).

Anil Biswas and Utpal Biswas (part of Amar – Utpal)

Anand Bakshi worked with Anil Biswas when he had yet to make a mark and the composer’s career had begun to wane. They collaborated for less than ten songs. My pick is a chirpy, big-band song sung by Geeta Dutt – “Aa Dil Ki Baazi Laga” (“Jasoos”, 1957).

The roles were reversed when Bakshi worked with Amar – Utpal, consisting of Amar Haldipur and Anil Biswas’s son, Utpal Biswas. Bakshi was one of the most sought-after lyricists at the time and Amar – Utpal were struggling. Their first collaboration together, “Shahenshah” (1988), went on to become their most memorable work. My pick from the film is its title song – “Andheri Raaton Mein Sunsaan Raahon Par”.

Shiv – Hari and Rahul Sharma (son of Shivkumar Sharma)

Shiv – Hari worked with Anand Bakshi in 5 of their 8 film albums, including the hit soundtracks of “Chandni” (1989) and “Darr” (1993). My pick is from their last film together – “Tu Mere Samne” (“Darr”, 1993).

Rahul Sharma, a santoor player like his father Shivkumar Sharma, worked as a music director for only one film – “Mujhse Dosti Karoge” (2002). It was perhaps inevitable that he collaborated with the legendary lyricist – “Mujhse Dosti Karoge” (2002) was produced by Yash Raj Films, the banner that trusted Shiv – Hari with as many as 6 films, 3 of which featured Anand Bakshi. Unfortunately, Rahul Sharma couldn’t meet the high standards set by Shiv – Hari. My pick from the film – the lovely duet by Udit Narayan and Lata Mangeshkar – “Andekhi Anjaani Si”.

Nadeem – Shravan and Sanjeev – Darshan (sons of Shravan Rathod)

Nadeem – Sharavan did just two films with Anand Bakshi. Bakshi Saab’s advancing age and the disruption in Nadeem – Shravan’s career due to Nadeem’s legal troubles (he was named accused in T-Series’ Gulshan Kumar’s murder) meant that they didn’t work together after “Pardes” (1997). But what an album “Pardes” was! The film had many good songs and deservedly won Nadeem – Shravan a Screen the award for Best Music Director. My pick is the mellow love ballad sung by Kumar Sanu, “Do Dil Mil Rahe Hain”.

Anand Bakshi’s work for Sanjeev – Darshan came in the last two years of his life when he was a spent force, although still prolific and with the ability to produce a sporadic good song. I’d rather not pick a Sanjeev – Darshan song.

Instead, I will end the post with a song Anand Bakshi wrote for his most significant collaborators, Laxmikant – Pyarelal. About half of all the film songs Anand Bakshi ever wrote were for LP. Theirs was a hit-making team as they churned out one chartbuster after the other – “Do Raaste” (1969), “Aan Milo Sajna” (1970), “Mehboob Ki Mehndi” (1971), “Bobby” (1973), “Anurodh” (1977) and “Karz” (1980) – to name just a few. My pick is “Aadmi Musafir Hai” (“Apnapan”, 1977) which won Anand Bakshi the Filmfare award for Best Lyricist and is an apt song to revisit the beautiful memories the people’s poet left behind.

[Updated on 21/7/2021: The original article featured five father-son pairs who worked with Anand Bakshi. This post adds two more pairs – Anil Biswas and Amar – Utpal, and Shiv – Hari and Rahul Sharma.]

2016 Bollywood Music Review and Top 20 Songs


As in the past, critics were not happy with the state of Hindi film music in 2016. The charge – yet again – was that it Hindi films were using an “assembly line” approach to create songs using multiple composers and re-packaging hit songs from the past. One thing is certain – music is no longer crucial to the film’s storytelling. This is not an entirely new phenomenon. A spurt of action films in 1970s/1980s had also rendered film music insignificant for a period. Increasingly, music is being seen as a means to promote the film. To the surprise of film audiences, songs that top the charts, end up being abridged in the film or part of the film’s background score. Some don’t even make it to the film.

That said, 2016 did have some bright spots. Towering above the rest was Shankar – Ehsaan – Loy’s “Mirzya”. Given a free rein by Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra, S-E-L packed the album with uninhibited experimentation. “Mirzya” pushed the boundaries of film music and then some. The other highlight of the year was Amit Trivedi’s comeback after the brilliant, but commercially disastrous, “Bombay Velvet” (2015). He had three superb albums ins 2016 – “Udta Punjab”, “Fitoor” and “Dear Zindagi”. Pritam also did quite well in 2016 with “Ae Dil Hai Mushkil” and “Dangal” after a relatively lukewarm 2015. At the end of this post, we list the year’s 20 top-rated songs. Here is a longer list of 2016’s best Hindi film and non-film songs.

Some brilliant artists bode us farewell in 2016 – lyricist Nida Fazli, composers Ajit Varman and Omi (of Sonik – Omi), singer Mubarak Begum and Carnatic musician and vocalist M. Balamuralikrishna.

Some notable debuts in 2016 were:

Bollywood made 150 films with 872 songs between them in 2016.

The most prolific composers of the year were:

  1. Vishal – Shekhar – 5 films, 34 songs
  2. Amit Trivedi – 3 films, 24 songs
  3. Clinton Cerejo – 3 films, 20 songs

Vishal – Shekhar compensated for their dry spell in 2015 (they didn’t score any film that year) by being the most prolific composers in 2016. Unfortunately, the quality of their output didn’t match the quantity. Amit Trivedi won 2016 with his consistency, creating 3 albums that won the hearts of music lovers. After staying in the sidelines for years, Clinton Cerejo finally had the spotlight shining on him with 3 films as solo music director (although “Jugni” did have one song by A.R. Rahman, I think it’s fair to slot it as a solo Clinton album). It’s interesting to note that Mithoon and Ankit Tiwari, who followed closely with 18 songs each, had more films to their credit in 2016 than the top 3 most prolific composers. It turns out that they happen to be part of multi-composer albums quite a lot.

The most prolific lyricists of 2016 were:

  1. Kumaar – 27 films, 74 songs
  2. Manoj Muntashir – 16 films, 55 songs
  3. Amitabh Bhattacharya – 5 films, 21 songs
  4. Javed Akhtar – 5 films, 21 songs

Kumaar has been on the most prolific list for some years now. It’s amazing how little we know about a lyricist who’s been as prolific as him. Manoj Mutashir’s presence on the list was a surprise as well, with big name lyricists like Amitabh Bhattacharya and Javed Akhtar relegated to the third spot.

The most prolific male singers of 2016 were:

  1. Arijit Singh – 48 songs
  2. Vishal Dadlani – 23 songs
  3. Armaan Malik – 18 songs

Unsurprisingly, and in my opinion, deservedly, Arijit Singh dominated the male singers list with more than double the number of songs sung by the next most prolific singer.

The most prolific female singers of 2016 were:

  1. Sunidhi Chauhan – 22 songs
  2. Palak Muchhal – 19 songs
  3. Neha Kakkar – 18 songs

For some reason, two of my most favourite singers were conspicuously low key in 2016 – Shreya Ghoshal and Neeti Mohan. I hope they come back with a bang in 2017.

Based on the ratings of their 2016 songs, here are the best-rated artists of the year:

  1. Composers: Amit Trivedi, Vishal – Shekhar, Clinton Cerejo
  2. Lyricists: Amitabh Bhattacharya, Swanand Kirkire, Shellee
  3. Male Singers: Arijit Singh, Vishal Dadlani, Amit Trivedi

And the top 20 songs of 2016:

  1. Channa Mereya (Ae Dil Hai Mushkil)
  2. Aave Re Hichki (Mirzya)
  3. Dugg Duggi Dugg (Jugni)
  4. Hass Nach Le (Udta Punjab)
  5. Taareefon Se (Dear Zindagi)
  6. Haminastu (Fitoor)
  7. Pashmina (Fitoor)
  8. Hota Hai (Mirzya)
  9. Chitta Ve (Udta Punjab)
  10. Da Da Dasse (Udta Punjab)
  11. Ikk Kudi (Udta Punjab)
  12. Ud-Daa Punjab (Udta Punjab)
  13. Ae Dil Hai Mushkil (Ae Dil Hai Mushkil)
  14. Titli (Bollywood Diaries)
  15. Love You Zindagi (Dear Zindagi)
  16. Kaaga (Mirzya)
  17. Bulleya (Sultan)
  18. Rootha (Te3n)
  19. Tu Hi Hai (Dear Zindagi)
  20. Hone Do Batiyan (Fitoor)

2014 Bollywood Music Review


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:

The most prolific composers in 2014 were:

  1. A.R. Rahman – 7 films, 68 songs
  2. Himesh Reshammiya – 4 films, 46 songs
  3. Shankar – Ehsaan – Loy – 4 films, 24 songs
  4. 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:

  1. Kumaar – 22 films, 60 songs
  2. Irshad Kamil – 9 films, 55 songs
  3. 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:

  1. Arijit Singh – 62 songs
  2. Mika Singh – 37 songs
  3. 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:

  1. Neeti Mohan – 42 songs
  2. Shreya Ghoshal – 32 songs
  3. 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:

  1. Most popular composers: A.R. Rahman, Shankar – Ehsaan – Loy, Vishal – Shekhar, Pritam
  2. Most popular lyricists: Amitabh Bhattacharya, Gulzar, Irshad Kamil
  3. Most popular male singers: Arijit Singh, Vishal Dadlani, Papon
  4. Most popular female singers: Shreya Ghoshal, Neeti Mohan, Sunidhi Chauhan

“Song Templates” And Innovation In Hindi Film Music

This post is prompted by a conversation I had yesterday on Twitter regarding a lovely new song that had just come out – the Amit Trivedi composed, K. Mohan sung Kinare (Queen, 2014).

There were other such comparisons of Queen’s soundtrack with Amit Trivedi’s prior work including Dev.D, Lootera (comment above), Udaan, Isahqzaade and Kai Po Che. Within these comparisons is a critique (not always explicit) of Amit Trivedi’s work – that he is not experimenting enough or that he’s using “song templates” that are making his work predictable. In this post, I intend to present an alternate view.

But before that, here is an observation that most will agree with  – that Amit Trivedi has a sweet spot in terms of genres – Pop/Rock, and Pop/Rock fused with semi-classical or folk music. So then the question becomes if his sweet spot takes away from his music. My opinion is that it does not. Trivedi’s sweet spot is not a spot, it’s really a large, multi-dimensional kaleidoscopic canvas. Considering that history has produced great artists who’ve spent their entire careers on a single genre of music, even if Amit Trivedi restricts his music to a combination of only Pop/Rock/Semi-classical/Folk – he will still be able to produce a rich, solid body of work, provided he keeps producing the kind of stellar tracks that he has till date. My personal belief is that he will do that and more.

Now my take on the “song template” criticisms.

A lot of the time, when people talk about “templates” or “hangover” in the context of music, I believe they’re referring to the artist’s signature or style – a pattern for structuring and arranging songs. Pancham’s was one such, easily identifiable signature. For me, the signature is not necessarily a bad thing. It is possible for the signature to be used in several different songs and still stay fresh. The appeal of Pancham’s signature thrived across not just many Pancham songs, but also songs composed by other composers, eg: Ulfut Mein Zamane Ki (composed by Sapan – Jagmohan) and Vaada Karo Jaanam (composed by Basu – Manohari).

In the instance of Kinare (Queen), Shikayatein (Lootera) and Naav Hai Teri (Udaan), in addition to Amit Trivedi’s signature, there are additional elements of similarity – the singer – K. Mohan – and the general theme/mood of these songs. It appears to me that for some people, a combination of these similarities is distracting enough to appreciate what are really very different songs. I draw consolation from the fact that even A.R. Rahman, has not escaped the “song template” criticism – a song as lovely as “Aise Na Dekho” (“Raanjhana”) had people disapprovingly talking about how similar it sounded to “Tu Bole Main Boloon” (“Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na”).

Progress in Hindi film music has been incremental for the most part. There are very few music directors who have been innovative enough to change the course of music in Hindi films. There are two who come to my mind in terms of the biggest impact – R.D. Burman for his experiments with instruments and arrangement and A.R. Rahman for experiments with the song structure. However, depending on your taste in music, you may like the work of other composers more than R.D. Burman’s or A.R. Rahman’s – and that’s all right. In other words, our taste in music isn’t determined by how innovative the artist is – it is quite simply what sounds good to our ears. Innovation in music is great as an aspiration but doesn’t always make for songs we like. In fact, experiments may not always have the desired effect – I felt that Raanjhana’s music was cluttered and Milliblog’s verdict on Highway -“occasionally accessible”. Conversely, there are several composers through history who may not be known for their experimentation but are considered great nevertheless. Therefore, I believe it is as meaningless to exhort musicians, who make good music otherwise, to experiment more as it is to pull good composers down if their experiments don’t work. They all play a role in the music ecosystem and I believe we should encourage and support them.

And to seal the argument, here is a video that proves that all hit pop songs are really the same. (Kidding!)

PS: Plagiarists and truly unimaginative music directors (you know who they are) are out of the scope of this discussion.