RMIM Puraskaar

16th RMIM Puraskaar (2021)

पिछले बरस भी बोई थीं लफ़्ज़ों की खेतियाँ
अबके बरस भी इसके सिवा कुछ नहीं किया
-इक़बाल साजिद

Covid-19 continued to inflict havoc all around the world in 2021, but probably nowhere more so than in India. The spring and summer of '21 saw devastation across the country, on a scale that few of us have witnessed before. The excess mortality estimates indicated millions of deaths. Before the year was over, the Omicron variant started raging and causing further loss of lives and livelihoods.

The Indian film and music industries continued in the scaled-back mode like last year. Despite the challenges, however, several films and music albums found their way to the audiences. The films were mostly released on streaming platforms. The audio releases have largely shifted to digital streaming already for some time. The digital distribution of entertainment media helped creators in keeping things moving and at least have a semblance of normalcy.

Results and Trends

The year on the music front saw Rahman ruling the charts. Despite his domination though, two "new" music directors pleasantly surprised audiences and jurors alike. Justin Prabhakaran, a well-known name in the southern music industry debuted his first Hindi film album 'Meenakshi Sundareshwar', which was almost universally liked. The other pleasant surprise was the composer avatar of Arijit Singh. He made a stunning debut with a showcase-like 'Pagglait'.

Despite the fact that works by both of them were novel to the Hindi audiences, we are not considering them for the 'New Artist of the Year' award. We are presenting the award to two lyricists - Navneet Virk and Puneet Sharma.

Irshad Kamil is our 'Lyricist of the Year' but Neelesh Misra and Amitabh Bhattacharya were not too far behind. Raj Shekhar's work in 'Meenakshi Sundareshwar' was widely appreciated by the jury. So was the solo shortlisted song by Hussain Haidry from 'Sherni'. On the Non-film side, Gulzar dominated the top spots on the strength of his work in the album 'Bole Naina'. Varun Grover also made his mark with songs for the series 'Grahan'.

Shreya and Arijit continued their dominance in the singing space. Pratibha Singh Baghel showed up on both film and non-film sides with some appreciated works. She is also our 'Non-film Artist of the Year'.

'Atrangi Re' and 'Pagglait' both get 'RMIM Sammaan' this year and join the list of all-time great albums.


The participants in the Puraskaar process are what makes this whole thing work. Whether they are people who send nominations, or the jury members who do maathaa-pachchii and kaanaa-pachchii with the songs for about a month, or even folks who spread the word. Thanks to everyone involved. You all make the exercise worthwhile.

This year was especially challenging as many of our jurors were impacted in one way or another by the ongoing Omicron wave and its side-effects. But we made it in time. This wouldn't have been possible without our jurors' persistence and patience with my nagging. Salute!

Wish you all a safe year ahead.

Keep listening...


  giitaayan at gmail dot com. February 2022.