This is the fifth installment of RMIM Puraskaar (which almost makes us feel like veterans on the web's age-scale). After a process that lasted around two months, we bring you the results of our blood, toil, tears, and sweat in judging 2010's Hindi film music (some jury members would insist that they had fun but that's only because they are nice people).
Interesting year, 2010 was. As is always the case, our jury members did not agree on everything. One thing that they seem to have agreed upon though is that 'dil to bachchaa hai jii' is an awesome song in all respects. There was some exasperation with a large number of songs sounding like qawwaaliis and a suggestion that the Sufi sub-genre has arrived at a point where it needs to be given some rest (ironically it happened in an year when Rahman, the usual "culprit", didn't have any such song in the list). Anyway, let's see how the individual categories of music, lyrics, and singing fared.
Amit Trivedi, who surprised us with Aamir and then knocked us out with Dev D, cemented his place in no uncertain terms this year. He dares to sound unconventional and thinks outside the drums. Vishal-Shekhar also showed up with an impressive number of good to excellent songs on the list. And the lambii race kaa gho.Daa who did only one full album this year and yet kept everyone singing his tunes was Vishal Bhardwaj.
Among singers, Rahat ruled the microphone. Nobody else even came close to him in either numbers or the general quality. OTOH, most jury members were disappointed by Sonu and felt he needs to rethink his singing style (and he is quite capable of that). While Shreya kept serving mishrii-like sweetness consistently, and in a more reasonable amount, Sunidhi showed her mettle in various flavors. She was spread throughout the year in a nice mix of songs to clinch the 'Female Singer of the Year' title back from Shreya after three years. The singer who found a special place in the hearts (and music players) of our judges was, however, Rekha Bhardwaj. She was absolutely stunning in whatever she did last year.
The most interesting category was that of the lyricists. Gulzar had it fair and square. I will not even talk about him. But in general too, this category was consistently high on quality and featured excellent writing from several other lyricists. Apart from Javed Akhtar and Irshad Kamil, there were Swanand Kirkire, Prasoon Joshi, Piyush Mishra, Sayeed Qadri, Turaz, Mir Ali Husain, Niranjan Iyengar and some others with very competent and inspiring work. But the lyricist who really impressed this year was Amitabh Bhattacharya. His innovative, unpretentious, and unconventional writing was refreshing. Overall, with such a blooming talent on horizon and the veterans still showing the path, I remain hopeful for the future of lyrics writing in HFM. Come to think of it, we haven't had such a pool of talented lyricists writing for mainstream HFM since 1960s.
A special mention goes to the earthy, raw, and "real" folk rendition finding its way into Hindi films in the form of 'ma.Nhgaaii Daayan khaay jaat hai'. This rather impromptu folk composition by Brij Mandal of Bhadwai was much appreciated amidst all the polish of regular songs. The group, Raghuveer Yadav, and the makers of Peepli Live need to be commended for it. Another special mention goes to the adaptation of Noon Meem Rashid's famous poem 'zi.ndagii se Darate ho' by Indian Ocean for, again, Peepli Live. Literature has been severely under-represented in our film music, especially of late. I hope this shows a path for a few more.
So that's it. I have made a couple of important changes in the presentation this year. You can now see individual scores (in all categories, on a positive-only scale of 0-5) of every song. You can also add your comments on each song. Please make use of it and add to the jury's voices or better still, confront them if you don't agree with them. So, go ahead, click on the language (हिंदी, English) you want to see the results in.
Considering the plight of our jury, we have to keep the nominated short-list to a reasonable length, because we ask them to listen to every single song. Again, if they already have. That sometimes means that some worthy songs get left out from being rated. They are there in the "other nominated songs" list. Do not forget to check it.
Thanks to all who have been associated with the exercise in any way, but most of all to all the jury members. See you next year!