Mumbai — The year was not very good in music, matching the box-office scenario, and the former could be called a major cause of the latter effect. The greatest b-o. winners, “Kick” and now “PK,” had the kind of music scores that added to their appeal, but “Happy New Year,” “Bang Bang!” “Holiday,” “Singham Returns” and “Jai Ho!” all underperformed vis-a-vis their big potential because of the below-par songs, even though the first two had a hit track each.

The scores of “2 States” and “Ek Villain,” the remaining 100-crore films, had important roles in their big success, while a large chunk of the success of films like “Gunday,” “Main Tera Hero,” “Heropanti,” “Ragini MMS2” and “Yaariyaan” had to do with some winning tracks, never mind the vast differences in their lyrical and musical caliber.

The rider, however, was that music alone, as always down decades, was never enough to make a film work, proof of which was the score of “Citylights” on the one hand, while on the other hand, films as strong as “Queen” or “Holiday” never needed good songs to hit the high road of business.

Analysis of Trends and Toppers

While no composer really stood out, lyricists Amitabh Bhattacharya and Mayur Puri led among the songwriters. Bhattacharya showed his versatility from awesome to awful and was busiest along with Irshad Kamil (whose worked too varied from a brilliant “Toone Maari Entriyaan”/ “Gunday” and “Indiawaale”/“Happy New Year” to esoteric stuff in “Highway”).

Puri (whose dialogues in “Happy New Year” lifted the film) wrote a spectrum of verse — from the deeply sublime “Tu Hi Tu” in “Kick” to the hilarious “Johnny Johnny”/“It’s Entertainment” and “Tauba Main Vyaah Karke Pachhtaya”/“Shaadi Ke Side/Effects.” Swanand Kirkire (“Bobby Jasoos,” “PK”), Manoj Muntashir (“Rang Rasiya”) and Rashmi Singh (“Citylights”) scored. Kausar Munir, though prolific, wrote largely mediocre verse.

However, there was much to lament about Gulzar’s substandard work in “Haider” and the dubbed “Lingaa,” besides his lyrics literally butchering all the rich compositions of “Kill Dil” except for the super “Bol Beliya.”

And the less said about the contemporary (sic) written “worse” like “Chaar Botal Vodka” and “Baby Doll” (“Ragini MMS 2”),  “Aata Maazhi Satakli” (“Singham Returns”), “Alcoholic” and “Ishq Kutta Hai”(“The Shaukeens”) and “ABCD” and “Sunny Sunny”(“Yaariyaan”) the better. The references to alcohol and other adult pleasures becoming catchphrases for children were especially objectionable. The worst was “Kudiyon Ka Lagaa Hai Buffet/Chaahe Jo Kar Lo Choose” (Choose any from this buffet spread of girls), which was part of a Bhattacharya-written “antara” in the song “ABCD” from “Yaariyan,” a film directed by a woman!

In fact, many “writers” and their equally Hindi- and Urdu-illiterate associates (composers, filmmakers, actors) flaunted grammatical errors, often to enhance phonetics, though ignorance of the language was a distinct possibility.

One such example was “Hai Saaz Tu/Tera Tarz Main” instead of “Teri Tarz” in the song “Meherbani” in “The Shaukeens” (lyrics by Arko).

New Talents Shone in 2014

The year belonged to upcoming singer Arijit Singh with a bevy of hits, and though he was soulful and skilled, his diction (especially with words beginning with the soft “T” like “Tu”) needs a lot of improvement that can only come from committed composers. Neeti Mohan (“Tu Hi Tu,” “Toone Maari Entriyaan,” “Darbadar”) was the best among the rising females. 

Shreya Ghoshal emerged as the finest singer of the year, as always closely followed by Sunidhi Chauhan. KK and Sonu Nigam led on the male side. Vishal Dadlani, Mika and Yo Yo Honey Singh refused to evolve, but Benny Dayal (“Raja Natwarlal,” “Main Tera Hero”), Divya Kumar (“Finding Fanny,” “Shaadi Ke Side/Effects,” “Happy Ending”), Shalmali Kholgade (“Main Tera Hero,” “Daawat-E-Ishq” and more) showed growth.  The old and new imports from Pakistan in music, lyrics and vocals ranged from mediocre to average.

Actors Step to the Mike

An unusual trend was of actors taking to the microphone rapidly. Led qualitatively by Priyanka Chopra’s superlative lori “Chauro” in “Mary Kom,” the list included Shraddha Kapoor (“Ek Villain, “Haider”), Alia Bhatt (“Highway,” “Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania”), Madhuri Dixit-Nene (who had sung earlier in “Devdas”) with mom Snehalata Dixit (“Gulaab Gang”), Jaaved Jafferi (“Kill Dil,” in which he did not even act!), Salman Khan (three songs in “Kick”), Varun Dhawan (rap in “Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania”) and Farhan Akhtar returning to singing with “Shaadi Ke Side/Effects.” In a unique case, Jackky Bhagnani co-wrote a song in “Youngistaan.” In fact, Sonakshi Sinhatoo rendered a promotional song for a 2015 film this year.

In another unique case, while Himesh Reshammiya sang “Photocopy” in “Jai Ho!” under Sajid-Wajid, the Himesh-composed Salman Khan songs in “Kick” were taught to the actor by the duo!

The Best Scores

“Citylights”: Jeet Gannguli, getting a full film after a long time, that too with the Bhatts in charge, delivered the most mellifluous score of the year that got respect but lost in popular appeal. The crème-de-le-crème were Neeti Mohan’s magnificently rendered “Darbadar Phiroon” and Arijit Singh’s sonorous “Soney Do.” A highlight was the moving and intense verse by Rashmi Singh.

“PK”: Shantanu Moitra scored brilliantly in one of the finest songs of the year, “Chaar Kadam” (Shaan-Shreya Ghoshal) with two more lovely numbers, Shreya’s “Nanga Punga Dost” and Sonu-Shreya’s “Love Is A Waste of Time.” Ajay-Atul’s solo composition “Tharki Chhokro” (Swaroop Khan) led the rest. Swanand Kirkire’s “Chaar Kadam” and Amitabh Varma’s “Love Is a Waste of Time” led for lyrical excellence.

“2 States”: Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy kept up the “Bhaag Milkha Bhaag”-“D-Day” high of 2013 by giving us a wonderful score, led by the Arijit Singh-Chinmayi Sripada number “Mast Magan.” Akriti Kakar-Shahid Mallya’s “Locha-E-Ulfat” was also a winner. Amitabh Bhattacharya wrote really apt and youthful lyrics.

“Ek Villain”: This was the only time a cocktail of music makers scored high this year. Technically the biggest album of the year in popularity, it had the cult “Galliyan” written and sung by Ankit Tiwari alongside the musically superior Arijit Singh-rendered “Humdard” and the Mohd. Irfan-sung “Banjaara,” both composed and written by Mithoon. “Zaroorat” (by Mithoon) and “Awari” (Pakistan’s Soch The Band) were not bad either.

“Rang Rasiya”: Against the trend, this long-delayed film had weighty compositions (Sandesh Shandilya) with meaningful lyrics (Manoj Muntashir), and the highlight was “Kaahe Sataaye” sung by Roopkumar Rathod and Sunidhi Chauhan. Excellence pervaded both composition and sound, be it “Anhad Naad Jagaa De” (Kailash Kher-Anwar Khan and party), “O Kamini” (Sonu Nigam) or the title-track by Sunidhi Chauhan.

Scores where almost all or more than half the songs were of above-average quality were Sajid-Wajid’s “Main Tera Hero” and “Daawat-e-Ishq,” “Heropanti” composed by Sajid-Wajid, Manj Musik and Pakistan’s Mustafa Zahid-Bilal Saad, “Kick” (where the interesting songs were composed by Himesh Reshammiya, including the beautiful “Tu Hi Tu” and we also had Yo Yo Honey Singh’s “Yaar Naa Miley”), Himesh Reshammiya’s “Action Jackson” and “The Xpose,” Shashi-Suman’s and Shivam’s “Mary Kom,” Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy’s “Kill Dil,” Sachin-Jigar’s “Happy Ending” and Sohail Sen’s “Gunday.”

Standout Singles

We are not talking popularity at all when we mention these standout numbers, though some of them (written in bold font here) shot up the hit charts. Here is a list (in alphabetical order):

  1. “Arziyaan” / Bobby Jasoos / M: Shantanu Moitra / L: Swanand Kirkire / Shreya Ghoshal & Papon
  2. “Ashq Na Ho” / Holiday / M: Pritam / L: Irshad Kamil / Arijit Singh
  3. “Baarish” / Yaariyan / M & L: Mithoon / Mohd. Irfan & Gajendra Verma
  4. “Daingad Daingad” / Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania / M: Sachin-Jigar / L: Irshad Kamil / Udit Narayan, Divya Kumar, Pratibha Baghel, Niharika & Deepali
  5. “Dil Aaj Kal” / Purani Jeans / M: Ram Sampath/ L: Prashant Ingole / KK
  6. “Heera” / Highway / M: A.R. Rahman / L: Irshad Kamil / Shweta Pandit
  7. “Hum Na Rahe Hum” / Creature 3D / M & L: Mithoon /Benny Dayal
  8. “Indiawaale” / Happy New Year / M: Vishal-Shekhar / L: Irshad Kamil / Neeti Mohan, KK, Shankar Mahadevan & Vishal Dadlani
  9. “Johnny Johnny” / It’s Entertainment / M: Sachin-Jigar / L:Mayur Puri / Priya Saraiya, Jigar & Madhav Krishna
  10. “Kabhi Aayine Pe Likha Tujhe” / Hate Story 2 / M: Rashid Khan / L:Tanveer Ghazi / KK
  11. “Manchalaa” / Hasee Toh Phasee / M: Vishal-Shekhar L: Amitabh Bhattacharya / Shafqat Amanat Ali (Pakistan) & Nupur Pant
  12. “Mohabbat Barsa Dena Tu” / Creature 3D / Music and Lyrics: Tony Kakkar / Arijit Singh
  13. “Prabhu Mere Ghar Ko” / Super-Nani / M: Harshit Saxena L:Sameer Anjaan / Shreya Ghoshal
  14. “Sawaalon Mein” / Samrat & Co. / M: Ankit Tiwari / L: Sandeep Nath / Shreya Ghoshal
  15. “Tu Kuja” / Highway / M: A.R. Rahman / L: Irshad Kamil / Sunidhi Chauhan
 Biggest Hit Singles (Besides the three songs above)
  1. “Aaj Phir” / Hate Story 2 / Original composition by Laxmikant-Pyarelal and lyrics by Aziz Quaisi / Re-Created by Arko / Arijit Singh & Samira Koppikar
  2. “Abhi To Party Shuru” / Khoobsurat / M & L: Badshah / Badshah & Aastha
  3. “Baby Doll” / Ragini MMS 2 / Music: Meet Bros. Anjjan, Dr Zeus / L: Kumaar / Meet Bros Anjjan – Kanika Kapoor
  4. “Chaar Botal Vodka” / Ragini MMS 2 / M & Vocals: Yo Yo Honey Singh / L: Ustad Bhagdarh Ali Khan
  5. “Chaar Kadam” / PK / M: Shantanu Moitra / L: Swanand Kirkire / Shaan & Shreya Ghoshal
  6.  “Galliyaan” / Ek Villain / M and Vocals: Ankit Tiwari / Ankit-Shraddha Kapoor / L: Manoj Muntashir
  7. “Jumme Ki Raat” / Kick / M: Himesh Reshammiya L: Kumaar  & Shabbir Ahmed / Mika/Salman Khan & Palak Mucchal
  8. “London Thumakda” / Queen / M: Amit Trivedi L: Anvita Dutt / Labh Janjua, Sonu Kakkar & Neha Kakkar
  9. “Love Is A Waste Of Time” / PK / M: Shantanu Moitra / L: Amitabh Varma / Sonu Nigam & Shreya Ghoshal
  10. “Mast Magan” / 2 States / M; Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy / L: Amitabh Bhattacharya / Arijit Singh-Chinmayee Sripada
  11. “Party To Banti Hai” / Bhoothnath Returns / M: Meet Bros. Anjjan / L: Kumaar / Meet Bros. Anjjan-Mika-Palash Mucchal
  12. “Patakha Guddi” / Highway /M: A.R. Rahman / L: Irshad Kamil / A.R. Rahman / Sultana & Jyoti Nooran
  13. “Samjhawan” / Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania / Original composition: Jawad Ahmed (Pakistan) and lyrics by Ahmed Anees (Pakistan) / Re-Created by Sharib-Toshi and Kumaar / Shreya Ghoshal-Arijit Singh
  14. “Sunny Sunny” / Yaariyan / M. & L: Yo Yo Honey Singh/ Yo Yo Honey Singh & Neha Kakkar
  15. “Suno Na Sang-e-marmar” / Youngistaan / M: Jeet Gannguli / L: Kausar Munir / Arijit Singh
  16. “Toone Maari Entriyaan” / Gunday / M: Sohail Sen / L: Irshad Kamil / Bappi Lahiri, Vishal Dadlani, KK & Neeti Mohan
  17. “Tu Meri” / Bang Bang! / M: Vishal-Shekhar / Lyrics & Vocals: Vishal Dadlani

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