Best of 2011 – Top Songs

Hey guys, the below songs are my personal favourites. In a sense, it essentially means that I would prefer listen to these 10 songs than any other song from a Hindi movie this year. Do post your top list as well! Essentially, Other than the last 2 entries, I have refrained from ranking , as just the top 3 really matter 🙂

Format – Song [ Music Director, singer, movie, lyrics]

Tere Bin (Reprise) [Pritam, Naresh Iyer, DTBHJ, Neelesh Mishra] – The Reprise version by Naresh Iyer is better than the Sonu Nigam normal version. It is a typical Pritam melody, easy on the ears and very melodious. Naresh’s vocals take the song to another level altogether. His rendition is full bodied and makes you feel one with the emotions. Lyrics are simple & soulful. Best line – “Jo Paas hai tu to yakeen apne hone pe hota hai”. Below link for the Reprise as it was not in the movie.

Teri Meri Prem Kahani [HR, Rahat/Shreya, BG, Shabbir Ahmed] – This is an instantenoulsy addictive song. The lyrics are unusual (“Do lafzon mein yeh bayan naa ho paye”) and arrangements are grand. Probably the best song by HR in a long long time. The highlights are the vocals by Shreya & Rahat. While Shreya sings at low pitch, Rahat compliments wonderfully with high pitch & “aaaa..” in between. The song triumphantly conveys the emotions of the protagonists and elevates the movie. Definitely the best thing in BG. Best line: Har ehsaas mein tu hai har yaad mein tera afsana, do lafzon mein yeh bayaan naa ho paaye.

DK Bose [Ram Sampath, Ram Sampath, DB, Amitabh Bhattachrya] – Probably the best different song to come out of Bollywood this year. It’s like any song you have heard this year. It’s pacy, whacky, expletive, zany, cool & addictive. The lyrics are just amazingly refreshing. A triumph for Ram Samath and worthy of a nomination at the very least. Best Line: Sabun ki shakal mein beta to nikla keval Jhaag.

Te Amo (Duet) [Pritam, Ash King/Sunidhi, DMD, Jaideep Sahni] – Pritam again with what he does best – extremely melodious flowy ode to love. This time Ash King towers above all with the different voice and is the highlight of the song. Jaideep Sahni’s choice of “Te Amo” instead of I Love You elevates this song considerably. Best Line: “Kabhi lage chhuoon tumhe yuhin khayalon mein, kabhi lage nahi nahi chori nahi”. Again, the song is the best part of the movie.

Rabba Main to Mar gaya re [Pritam, Rahat & Shahid, Mausam, Irshad Kamil] – Well Pritam yet again! This is a stock Pritam tune, in the league of “Teri Ore”, but more soulful with the music arrangement. Mostly classical instruments are used throughout. The starting music peace (like ambulance sound) itself hooks you to the song, and it only gets better with Rahat’s vocals and heartfelt poetry by Irshad Kamil (words like Shaddai, mehram are hardly used in hindi songs). Again the best thing in the movie. Also, hats off to Shahid for matching up to Rahat in the other version. Best line: Mere pyaar ka mausam bhi hai lage meri mehram bhi hai, jane kya kya do aankhon mein padh gaya main.

Ishq Sufiyana [Vishal Shekhar, Kamal Khan, TDP, Rajat Arora] – A very Pritamish song from Vishal-Shekhar. Full of melody and soulful lyrics, and simple lilting arrangements. The highlight though is the awesome rendition by a novice Sa-re-ga-ma-pa 2010 contestant Kamal Khan, what a great find. Great future ahead for this talent. Best line/hook: Rab ki qawali hai ishq koi…subah ki lali hai ishq.

Isq Risk [Sohail Sen, Rahat, MBKD, Irshad Kamil] – Good to see Sohail Sen being given the rightly deserved break in the big league with YRF. Extremely talented composer, as evident in What’s your Rashee, Sohail composes a sufiyana qawalyish jugalbandi-type perfect fusion song. The use of “Isq” instead of “Ishq” is a masterstroke as it gives an earthy feeling to the song. Rahat as usual does complete justice. It is amazing to see Rahat excel in all types of songs. Easily the best song from all YRF films this year. Best line: Kaisa yeh isq hai, ajab sa risq hai (Very different indeed by Irshad Kamil, just compare to the previous song in the list, what a u-turn!)

Kyun Main Jagoon [SEL, Shafqat, PH, Anvita Dutt] – An underrated gem of a song in an undderrated movie. It is one of the best songs by SEL in recent times. Shafqat croons soulfully to some heartfelt lyrics by Anvita Dutt (whos she, damn really touchy words). It is the perfect sad song full of pain, anguish, depression, anger. How one wishes SEL would produce more such gems. Cant single out any best line here, the entire song is incredible. The unplugged version is great too. The link for unplugged is below.

Dildara [Vishal-Shekhar, Shafqat, Ra.one, Kumaar] – Brilliant inspiration & reworking of a classic song by Vishal Shekhar. And lovely soulful rendition by Shafqat. Definitely the best song in the movie. Perfect fusion of the original “Stand by me” with melody, rapping, classical touch & modern arrangements. Words are awesome too, “Tu manzil hai aur tu hi us manzil ke aage ka rasta”, “rehbara”.  The classical chorus along with the “Stand by me” hook is masterstroke.

Saathiya [Ajay Atul, Shreya, Singham, Swanand Kirkire] – again it’s a typical Pritamish song but composed by Ajay Atul. Melody, simplicity, soul & lovely singing. Instantly likeable and sugary sweet. Best Line/hook: badmaash dil to thag hai bada…badmaash dil meri sune na zid pe ada.

Tum Ho & Nadaan Parindey [A.R.Rehman, Mohit Chauhan & ARR, Rockstar, Irshaad Kamil] – Awesome, enough said. Words cant describe these songs. Second best this year. Best line: Kagar Kagar mori itni araj tose, chun chun khaiyo maas, arajiya re khaiyo naa tu naina more, do naina more, piya ke milan ki hai ehsaas (Nadaan Parindey) ; Tum Ho’s background music arrangement is the most soulful this year.

Phir Mohabbat & Aye Khuda [Mithoon, Mithoon & Kshitij Tarey/ Mohammed Irfan, Arijit & Saim Bhat, Murder-2, Mithoon] – These are my personal favs of this year. I can listen to these songs over and over again and more than any other song this year. I wont describe these, listen for yourself and comment!

As evident, all the songs above are love songs – as I prefer love songs above all other dhin-chak songs! Some of the good other genre tracks I liked are Chhammak Chhallo & Criminal from Ra.one, Bodyguard Title track, Ooh Lala from TDP, Dhunki from MBKD, YPD title track, Laung Da Lashkara from PH, Saada Haq from Rockstar, Singham Title song, Ek Manzil & Ruk Jana Nahi (well done reprise) from Soundtrack.

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Don 2 – My Review

I will get straight to the point – Don 2 is pretty good action thriller, where the hero is the script (very rightly so). Screenplay is engaging, never letting you breathe, and there is no point of restlessness. You watch each and every frame with attention, because you know some of this will be the answer to the twist which might come later. It is this anticipation of the twist and turns which is very important to engage any viewer, that keeps Don 2 always engrossing. And there are twists galore, most of which are unexpected. The climax twist is also unexpected till the very last scene, just before the end.I watched in 2D, and may watch 3D in coming days.

Story is basically the same as Don. Don wants to now save himself from the Europeun mafia who are after his life as he is ruining their business from Asia. The rest of it is better not told. The film gets you engaged right from the beginning, and the basic plot is quickly established. Don’s introductory scene is awesome and sets the mood & tone for the rest of the movie. The sole song is in the first 30 mins & gels with the movie, Lara looks amazingly HOT!

The movie then shifts from Asia to Europe, Don’s look changes and Europe serves as a fresh & scenic backdrop for another adventure. The other characters are introduced quickly and Hrithik’s cameo is very well thought. He’s doing what he does best, look godly, dance amazingly & behave mysteriously. A masterstroke from Farhan & his team of writers, to their credit, the cameo doesn’t appear gimmicky and is actually very well woven into the narrative. There are many action scenes, car chases which are really very executed and lavishly done. You actually feel that Don 2 is costlier than Ra.one!!

All the standard ingredients of a good engrossing thriller are present – blackmail, double crossing, chases, gadgets, heists, etc. Farhan has managed to rightly mix all these and come up with a good concoction. It is not something novel, but it is all well integrated and smartly done. The movie is Smart, which Indian thrillers rarely are, and it really keeps the audience guessing and watching every scene with the intention to figure out the big picture, the twists. And the movie still manages to surprise at regular intervals.

Of course, it is not the perfect film. There are flaws, like Lara’s character is totally wasted! She hardly has one song and 10 mins of dialogues. Kunal’s character is not well-etched and his motives are not really explained. Om Puri is given unintentionally funny dialogues to speak, his character is more of a caricature. But as these characters are sidekicks, the flaws are not noticable. The main characters, Don, Vardhaan, Jabbar, Roma do well enough. Aly Khan is also good.

SRK is the life of the film and his performance was the highlight for me. He looks really good after a long time, and his dialogues are witty, charming and cool. He plays the role with such nonchalance that you can’t help but root for him. His voice modulations, mannerisms, and expressions are apt and Farhan has managed to bring out the best in SRK as an action hero. Boman Irani is the surprise package and he shines. His role is the second most important in the film (yes, it is not Priyanka’s), and he does complete justice to it. His scene with the German expert doctor is awesome, making you laugh even while something tense is going on parallely. Priyanka Chopra does well with whatever is given to her. She is confused about her feelings for Don, and she portrays it convincingly enough. She could have looked better, but I beleive her look is more realistic compared to her character here. Nawaaz Shah does well, and I hope we see him more in villanous roles. Kunal Kapoor’s character is not well etched, but he performs with sincerity.

To sum up, Farhan outperforms himself with Don 2. While Don was a good movie only because it managed to fool the audience till the end, Don 2 is a slick & well executed complete package with continuously engaging screenplay and unexpected twists & turns. There are points where the movie slows down a little, but its followed by an adrenalin rush scene immediately to boost. The best action in the movie is undoubtedly the Car chase scene between SRK & Priyanka, and the most classy and well executed mysterious part is the Hrithik scene. Although the basic premise is of heist, the bigger picture is something else, and heist is used as means to achieve that goal. Don 3 might be on the way!

Guys, have a blast with your wives, gf, kids. I say guys, because this is completely a guy’s movie (and young girls). If you have loved MI, Bourne, Ocean’s etc., now enjoy Don-2.

PS: I think Don-2 is going to break this year’s opening records in UAE. It is having the max no. of shows I have seen this year. A single multiplex (Sahara Center in Sharjah) was showing 7 shows between 9.30pm & 10.30pm (Ra.one had 3 shows, BG had 4), and all were fully booked in advance when I checked 3 hours prior to the 22.30 show I wanted to go (except for first 2 rows!). I then called another newly opened theater which is normally always somewhat available, as it is situated far away from major population and is not an old big chain (Cinemacity @ Arabian Center). They had their 11pm show full and had just added another show at 10.25pm, and thankfully I got the last row seats for that show.  My show was almost full, except for the first 2 rows.

Ra.one Movie – My Views (Spoilers)

Being an SRK fan is really hard these days. While his comptetitors have created history repeatedly, all SRK has managed is MNIK, apart from some really bad productions (AKK for example) & guest appearances. While MNIK was salvaged by the Overseas numbers, as an SRK fan, it was saddening to see so much potential in a movie squandered by a couple of instances of ridiculous screenplay. The consolation was that SRK outshone everyone & rose above the movie, and Johar was blamed for the lapses. MNIK managed to barely standup to the monstrous hits of other stars due to the overseas gross and a good opening.

To say that Ra.One carried the hugest burden on its shoulders would be an understatement. Ra.One was the 3rd Lifeline for SRK (4th & last being Don-2) as an Actor, and the biggest gamble by SRK the producer. With Screenplay credits also being shared by SRK, it was also a test for SRK the writer. Hence, as an SRK fan, it was scary because you could not blame anybody if the story, screenplay or visuals would be bad. But even that could not deter me from FDFS of Ra.one (good that it was Diwali, I had a reason for skipping Office!) with my entire family. It was also heartening to see 40-50 odd people in the theater on a Wednesday morning in Sharjah (UAE). Of course, I avoided 3D because I wanted to watch the original vision, not the converted commercial version. My philosophy is simple, if its 3D, it has to be shot in 3D. Its hard to ask that from Bollywood, but to take the 3D risk with my huge expectations was too much for me as an SRK Fan. I chose to play safe, specially considering my family too.

So the movie started with Shahana Goswamy laying the foundations with the virtual reality mumbo-jumbo which would make the basic premise of Ra.one believable (somewhat at least!). The very next scene was awesome. Although the SFX was subpar here compared to Hollywood, it was still good for Bollywood.  Khalnayak, Desi Girl & Li-trio made the scene worthwhile. Everyone laughed in the theater. Felt a sigh of relief as an SRK fan. First round was won!

Then came the first instance of Vulgarity. The teacher being shown as an S&M addict, and how the hell did SRK’s kid have access to the video? Why coudnt this have been replaced by a cleaner & more kiddish funny video to prove the point that the kid is a wizard? No excuse, SRK is the screenplay writer as well. Felt somewhat embarrassed with my mom sitting beside. The only silver lining was that the Vulgarity was short-lived. Somehow consoled myself that NRI audiences ke liye this might have been there – even though being one myself, I dint like it!

The dinner scene was funny and had emotional quotient. You could feel a father trying hard to get his son’s love & respect. It was weird though that the Son loved villains. Odd kid, they should have had some background for that. But I consoled myself – who the hell cares? There are always exceptions, and specially in movies! Then came another instance of Vulgarity, and this time it was worse than the previous one. Damn, why the key had to fall in the cleavage? Why not in a bald man’s wig instead? It would have been funnier and less vulgar. Another bout of sadness as an SRK fan. The worst part were the dialogues in the scene.

Thankfully after the above scenes the movie went on smoothly till Ra.one came out of the Game. Comedy worked, SRK as Shekhar charmed with the “aiyyo” tamil, and Kareena looked gorgeous. The Kid was restrained and natural. Tom Wu and his mom brought some laughs with the Jackie Chan portions. Ra.one & G.one formation was well explained, and the Game details animation was good.  One crucial thing was missed here. The powers of G.one & Ra.one were not explained at all. Like whether they could fly, what was behind their strength, any special powers, etc. This is a big mistake, I told myself. How can you have a superhero when you don’t know what makes him super? How can you have a bad-ass villain if the evil powers are not explained! It wasn’t enough to just state that Ra.one could take any human form, although I admit it was cool and novel. Come one man, there are more details on Ra.one website and they could have shown some of it! HART concept was nice, the same device would give you powers & make you mortal. Criminal song was nice. Although the big booties close-ups could have been avoided. All in all, it went quite well till Ra.one came out, but there was nothing so extraordinary yet.

Then came the extraordinary part, which took the film to another level. The 20 odd mins with Ra.one coming out, and killing Shekhar and taking the form of Akashi after killing him was thrilling and chilling. The action was awesome, SFX topnotch. The Funeral was well shot too with the nice song. Then came the best part of the movie (well it aint good if the best comes before interval). The  entire chase scene and G.one’s entry and the scenes thereafter took the film to an all time high. At interval, I was happy. Not ecstatic, because the couple of instances of vulgarity had dampened some of it.

Post interval, was surprised to see Rizwan Khan in G.one. Not a good sign this, I told myself. Thankfully, only an SRK Fan will notice it, I consoled myself. Then came the worst vulgarity in the movie, the gay scene. The blatant nipple display, the cheap expressions on the security guard’s face, damn it! They could have just seen KHNH, it had Gay jokes in abundance but wasn’t vulgar. I told myself, maybe the single screen crowd will love this, so the commercial angle might have forced this scene. You understand how a Fan’s mind works by now, don’t you!

The fight scene at the Airport was the second best scene in the movie. It was funny, entertaining and the Taxi driver’s antiques got some loud applause. But Robot-Chitti’s scene could have been better. Having said that, it was definitely good and this scene sustained the momentum of Interval. The portions after that were good timepass. But coming after the breathtaking pre-interval portions, they just couldn’t sustain the momentum. But my family and the crowd in general loved these scenes. G.One managed to make us all laugh with his antics. But kept reminding me of Rizwan constantly. One glaring loophole here, how come Shekhar’s death was forgotten so easily by the kid? How did the grief disappear so fast? G.one could not have done that for sure, I told myself. But hey, who cares, after all G.one is what matters when the movie is Ra.one. Shekhar’s mourning period was covered by that funeral song anyways, the fan in me replied. The karva chauth scene was cute.

Then came the two highlights of the movie. One, when Ra.one is reborn (or rebuilt?). Amazing VFX, surely the best in Bollywood ever and easily matching any Hollywood film. But I also wondered, why did Ra.one take so long to be reborn? They should have explained the catalyst behind Ra.one’s rebirth. No timeframe, no reason, no funda there. Hell, how does it matter, the fan in me said, just enjoy the best SFX in Bollywood man. Any how the hell did Ra.one travel to India? If they could show G.one acting all gay at airport, they should have shown Ra.one acting all brawny as well. Hell, at least some SFX could have been used to show how Ra.one used his evil powers to muscle his way to the flight by destroying the Heathrow Airport. Better still, they could have shown Ra.one taking the form of a sweet air-hostess and acting all lesbian with another air-hostess to take her place in the flight? That could have been awesome, G.one gayish and Ra.one lesbianish! But guess lesbian isn’t a tried and tested formula considered funny in Bollywood! Bet it would have been good for single screens though!

The second highlight, or course is the Chhammak Chhallo song. How come G.one started dancing all of a sudden? Maybe Shekhar had programmed it or some video might have been left in the “Shekhar folder” inside G.one? Nevermind, the fan in me said, this is THE CHHAMMAK CHHALLO! Then came the only genuine twist/surprise in the movie with Kareena becoming Ra.one (or the other way round, as your prefer). Masterstroke that. Then came what could & should have been the best action scene in Bollywood ever (it had immense potential). The train scene was really amazing, but I wish Anubhav had some more imagination, or for that matter, any one out of the 5 writers had used some imagination. The way the other passengers were saved by simply cutting off the link was an anti-climax. And why did SRK run along the train if he could just fly? Maybe they could have shown some fire coming out of G.one’s feet and shown him having a jet-propulsion to the driver’s room. That’s why I rued earlier, there ought to be some superpowers in superheroes. Running, jumping, etc. is common. We have seen that before. What was missed here was something novel, imaginative like Robot’s climax. SFX were great, but the only real bit of imagination came in the destruction scene of the Station. That was great, but not extraordinary. The SFX could have been more polished. It is of course unfair because I am comparing to Hollywood, for Bollywood it is by far the best even SFX. No two words on that. Still, for a movie to have spent 150 crores and not having the best SFX for the only really novel scene is CRIMINAL! The fan in me popped up again: for most of the Indian audiences, this is more than enough. But then why did the promotions promise so much? The fan said, thats what Promotion is for, to make promises such that you are lured to the theaters. Overall, 8/10 for this scene. The third best for sure.

What really killed the fan in me and made it silent was the Climax fight. Complete downer. And let me say this, worst possible final fight for any superhero movie ever made (Havent’ seen DRONA, so please don’t give that example). I mean seriously, what the fuck were they thinking after that almost awesome train scene? Or did they run out of money. Tacky Set piece, unimaginative hand to hand combat, really tacky 10 Ra.ones, and both shooting “Aag ka golaas” at each other. come on man, you cant forgive that. How on earth can Anubhav as a director have this scene, he’s had better scenes in Cash & Dus. The bullet flying slowly (gotta admit though that identifying the correct Ra.one was another surprise, dint see it coming!), isnt it all seen before umpteen times? This was the platform to showcase really cool one-to-one superpower battles and all they showed was hand combat? Fizzzzzzzzz.

All is well that ends well. Well Ra.one did not end well. Did I forgot to mention Satish Shah, Dalip Tahil and Mushtaq Sheikh? Duh, the fan in me never cared for them anyways, and I couldnt remember them while writing the above review because these characters were just props.

Sorry SRK, but fan in me is extremely disappointed. And this time, I cannot blame Johar, scriptwriters, whoever etc. SRK, you must take the blame this time for the sheer disappointment that is Ra.one. The only silver lining here was your vision, and your belief in the movie. Sadly though, the belief was on the wrong screenplay and bad climax. Still hats off to you for even attempting this, and matching Hollywood at places. Pretty good for any Indian action movie. Sadly, not good enough to be SRK’s dream.

Guzaarish – Movie Review

Guzaarish is the story of a quadriplegic who has fought for 14 long years, has been a source of inspiration for all with his book “Learning to Fly”, runs a Radio channel called Radio Zindagi from his 16 x 20 room. It is his quest to die with dignity in the same way that he has fought and lived with dignity. It is the story of a magician whose magic cannot cure him, whose charms bewitch everyone around him, and whose life after being paralyzed is nothing short of magic itself. Guzaarish is Sanjay Leela Bhansali (SLB)’s most understated work till date, devoid of any melodrama (well, almost), without any clap-trap emotional cliches, and probably his most heartfelt film.  Guzaarish works, and it makes you feel the pain of a quadriplegic without actually highlighting or exploiting his disability.

Guzaarish works primarily because of 3 reasons. Humour, Performances & Positivity. Although the basic premise is of negativity (of killing oneself), the positivity is that even to kill himself, the protagonist chooses the right path of Mercy-killing with court approval. He does not take the easy way out (simply dying and letting someone else’s life be destroyed), he fights for his death in a positive and compelling manner. Disability is possibly the biggest curse in life, yet SLB treats it with respect and does not try to emotionally manipulate the viewers by obvious sympathetic situations. The protagonist has attitude, wit, humour, and above all, acceptance of his condition. Of course, he has realized after 14 years of fight that slowly his body is deteriorating and before it completely gets damaged, he wants to exit with flying colors. Hrithik’s character really inspires. He cracks jokes on himself, he exudes warmth and love, he laughs when sad, and he cries when alone. His character is a magician throughout the movie. Before disability, he performs magic with his body; after disability, hes magical with his words and attitude. You can feel his zest for life, and his quest for death at the same time. He wants to die not because he’s given up on himself, but because his body cant support his undying spirit. His liver and kidneys are almost damaged, and he will soon need a respirator as well. He does not want that situation to arise, hence the need to die.

Hrithik lives and breathes Ethan. I cant imagine any other actor playing this role. He expresses a lot through his eyes, his smile, and his voice modulations. His character rubs off on the viewer. He flirts, he jokes, he loves, he cares, he teaches, he sacrifices, but above all, he inspires. He sings very well too.  His chemistry with Aish is electrifying. Every scene between them is awesome. Aish complements Hrithik beautifully. Her character has sacrificed everything for Hrithik and been with him for 12 years. She loves him, nurses him, expresses his anger, fights with him, and supports him even though she does not want him to die. The only thing I did not like about her was the dark red lipstick shade. Seriously, it distracts. SLB has always made her perform well, this time she surpasses SLB’s previous films with her. Aditya Roy Kapoor is effervescent, charming, and performs well. The rest of the cast too play their parts well. Hrithik’s lawyer played by Shernaz Patel stands out. Nafisa Ali as his mother really touches your heart in the few scenes she’s in.

Technically, I am happy to say that Blue is not omnipresent this time. It is there, but not so much that it overshadows everything else. Music by SLB is soulful and gels well with the film. Songs are well woven with the narrative, and complement the movie wonderfully. Special mention for the song Udi by Sunidhi Chauhan. Aish & Hrithik are wonderful in this song. Hrithik’s own song is also melodious and he sings with all his heart. Camerawork is as usual great, although the movie is mostly shot indoor. The magic scenes are very well captured.

To sum it up, Guzaarish is SLB’s redemption after the overtly melodramatic Black and blue-blob Saawariya. He redeems himself with subtlety, humour, positivity and class. There are several scenes which remain etched in your memory. But above all, it is the triumph of Ethan the character, and Hrithik the actor, that elevates this movie. Of course, there are flaws, and it is by no means a classic, but an extremely honest and sincere attempt. Some might not accept and identify with the basic premise of the movie, but even then, it cant be denied that it not only treats quadriplegics with dignity, but also inspires normal human beings. Although the ending is somewhat predictable, it is still positive. Guzaarish implores you to always be positive and make the best of what God has bestowed you with, and thats where it succeeds.

Delhi – 6 Movie Review

I am unable to decide whether I Love the movie or not! Honestly, after a long time I have come across such a movie, where there is an abundance of absolute brilliance coupled with really sad cliches. I think overall, I will say that its a very different, engrossing, exhilarating, yet ultimately unsatisfying movie.

The film starts off brilliantly, and the camerawork is the best I have seen in a long long time! Delhi has been captured like never before; in fact, that itself makes this movie worth a watch. The first half is really exhilarating, very pacey, and its a sheer joy to watch Delhi in its myriad hues. The problem here is that Abhishek is hardly there in the first half. There are so many better etched characters around him that he’s completely overshadowed! Sonam looks ravishing, and is an absolute natural in front of the lens. The interval raises your expectations, and that proves to be the undoing of the movie actually!

It seems that Mehra did not know how to really weave some story around Delhi, and thats where the movie fails in the second half. The central plot is cliched, and I wish Mehra would have chosen something different here. Still, Rehman’s music and the realistic ambiance keeps you hooked. I wouldn’t give away the main plot which unfolds in the second half, all i would say is that Mehra should not have chosen this path. The climax is somewhat better compared to the second half, but still leaves a lot to be desired. I am sure there could have been a better culmination to the movie. that said, there are magical moments scattered here and there throughout!

The songs are a real treat, and utilized well. “Dil dafatan” song is one of the best picturized songs I have ever seen, and this movie can be watched just for that song. Take a bow for that Song Mehra!

Ramleela scenes get on the nerves after a while, and specially during the climax. Honestly, I could not decipher the intention of the final Ramleela scene during the climax!

My biggest complaint against the movie is the character of Abhishek, and the way he has been utilized. In fact, he is the weakest link here by far. He is really miscast as an American desi. Also, many of his dialogues are not audible and unclear. When you watch the movie, you don’t feel that you are watching an Abhishek movie. The movie’s real hero is Delhi city, and Abhishek is relegated to the backseat till the climax. There are the typical NRI scenes, but they are expected and cliched. Only the climax sees him in form. His outburst with Waheedaji, and the finale stands out for me.

Overall, I would give this one a 7.5/10. 4.5/5 for the first half, 2/5 for the second half, and +1 for the song Dil dafatan. Do watch it once!

Year End Round-up 2 – Top 10 Bollywood Music Albums

1. Rang De Basanti – From the rocking Pathshala to the euphoric Title track, to the haunting Tu Bin Bataye, to the raunchy Khalbali, this album weaves the magic of AR Rehman yet again. But the real gem is Lukka Chhupi, the melcancholic touching poetry about mother-son relationship. Lata Mangeshkar and Rehman at their best! The best score hands down!

2. Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna – Most of you hate this movie, and hence the music too, but this is a complete score, with the soulful title track, to the discoish Wheres the Party Tonight, to BIG B’s rocking Rock n Roll Soniye. Again the hidden underrated gem is Tumhi Dekho Naa, a song which owns you more and more with every hearing. SEL at their best in this song, and Alka Yagnik deserves nominations (if not awards) for the amazing rendition fo this beautiful number.

3. Omkara – Nothing was expected from this album, and it is completely different from other Film Music. But nonetheless, it works big time! The raunchy Bipasha items numbers, Beedi and Namak are a rage, and pretty addictive. The haunting O Saaathi Re is a lyrical and musical jewel. But the title track takes the cake. Sukhwinder Singh sings with authority and passion, with the perfect rustic accent, and great command. The chanting of “Omkara, He Omkara” remains with you forever onece you have heard it.

4. Woh Lamhe – If you want soulful, painful, melodious, emotional, and a song for your first/Nth date, this is the album. It has the entire gamut of emotions one goes through when he loves someone. Happiness, sorrow, ecstacy, pain, dissapointment, solitude, theres everything here. The best of the lot has to be Jawad Ahmed’s Bin Tere Kya Hai Jeena, posted here . Pritam rehashes KYa Mujhe Pyar hai perfectly from soem Indonesian tune, James rocks with passion and love in Chale Chale (listen here ), Glen John explores solitude and sorrow perfectly in Tu Jo Nahin Hai.

5. Ankahee – One of the rare albums which flopped despite every song being a gem. I was hard pressed to put it right at the top, but then decided otherwise! Actually nowadays, its promotion only which decides on the saleability of the album! Anyways who cares for soulful, emotional songs. But I just loved this album. Each and every song had a feeling, a raw emotion, and it touched myriad chords in your heart. Try this different and refreshing Tumse Yoon Milenge here . Ek Pal Ke Liye by KK summed up the way to live in the best possible manner. But the best song, which I heard most this year was Aa Paas Aaa. Here I have posted it below. Hear it and decide!

[odeo=http://odeo.com/audio/4628223/view]

6. Jaaneman – Anu Malik returned to his best with this one. Humko Maloom Hai in typical Rehman style even surpassed Rehmans style and Gulzar’s innocent lyrics made it an instant classic. Ajnabi Shaher showed Sonu Nigam’s amazing repertiore and brilliance, and Jane Ke Jane Naa was another good Qawwali after Main Hoon Naa’s Tumse Milke. But the best of the lot was Sau Dard Hain. Wont say much about it, makes me emotional all the time! Just hear it!

7. Gangster – Naa Jane Koi was a rage the moment it was aired. And why not, it marked the debut of James, who can croon only after drinking potfuls! But Gangster offered a lot more than that, though Pritam again plagiarised to perfection with Tu hi Meri Shab Hai. Heck, the song still rocks! Abhijeet showed his prowess in Lamha Lamha, and Guitara’s popular Ya Ghali was sung to perfection by Zubin as Ya Ali in the garb of Sufi Rock! Well I dont care for originality as long as it sounds lovely! A must have!

8.Aksar – Himesh Bhai makes a late entry, mainly because there was too much of him in too little time, and only this one stood out as an album! Jhalak Dikhlaja is the second best song of Himesh the singer till date after Aashiq Banaya Aapne. Perfect Sufi Rock! Soniye was a typical love duet in trademark HR style! Lagi Lagi Lagi, another Sufiyana song, was nice timepass, and Janabe Jaaniya was painful for the ears! But overall, a deserved place in my humble opinion.

9. Don – Ok so what if the remixes were not so good, the original tracks, including the title track, Aaj Ki Raat, Moriya, and the theme by Medeival Punditz made sure that this album found a place in the top 10. Talking of the remixes, Yeh Mera Dil was pretty good, and SRK”s rendition in Khaike was a nice change. But it was Shaan’s Main Hoon Don which was addictive. The theme by Medieval Punditz is one of the best techno lounge tracks to have come in recent times!

10. Lage Raho Munnabhai – Pal Pal was lifted from somewhere, Bande Mein Tha Dum wasnt original either, but they were still lovely. Aane Char Aane by Karunya (remember Indian Idol 2 runner up?) inspired your soul, while the title track was fulltoo timepass and brought a smile to your face. Similarly Samjho Ho Hi Gaya, with the conversation between Munna n Circuit was just howlarious and feel good! Nice Album overall!

I dont know why, but I just liked two tracks in Fanaa, so I have not included it in my list. I am sure it will be there in most lists.

Some Good Numbers: Koi Tumsa Nahi from Krissh, Touch Me form Dhoom 2, Tere Bin from Bas Ek Pal, Salam Karne Ki Aarzoo from Umrao Jaan, Kaabul Fiza from Kabul Express, Ahista Ahista from the same movie, Chand Sifarish & Mere Haath Mein from Fanaa.

I did not consider Guru and Salam-e-Ishq since the movies are releasing next year, otherwise they would be in the list too!

Year End Roundup – Top 10 Bollywood Movies 2006

Another year ends, giving way to a new one, with new hopes, new dreams, new resolutions, and a new beginning. I am just doing the 2006 round up of Bollywood, my favorite topic!

1. Lage Raho Munnabhai – I am sure this is the top movie in the lists of all the aficionados. A simple, humble, believable yet heartwarming and meaningful movie. Seldom comes a movie like LRM, which makes us believe in the inherent goodness and nobility of humans, and while doing so, makes us smile and cry aplenty. A timeless and ageless movie, which can be watched with the same fervor and smile always. Munna & Circuit topped with Gandhiji, what more can you ask for??

2. Omkara – You can either love this movie or hate it, you cant be in between. I love it for the sheer intensity and honesty of it. Dark and brooding setting, intensely human characters and jaw-dropping realism. A gritty movie with a lifetime performance from Saif, ably supported by the ever reliable Ajay Devgan. Kareena looked better sans makeup than any of her glamorous roles. Vishal Bharadwaj adapts Othello to perfection to a typical Hindi heartland. This movie ultimately breaks your heart, but registers itself nonetheless strongly.

3. Rang De Basanti – Path breaking concept and novel execution, topped with rocking music and awesome performances, sums up RDB. Flawed at places, at times boring too, but overall gut wrenching and touching at the same time. Damn those bastard politicians, paint it yellow! Masterpiece from Rakesh Mehra. Another feather in Amir’s cap.

4. Krishh – Stand up for the Desi Superhero folks, and who else than Hrithik can do it??? Hrithik found a new fan in me with this movie (and Dhoom 2 just increased it!). Hrithik all the way in this one, intense yet childish, brawny yet mellow, grand yet subtle. First half bores, except for Hrithik’s scenes, 2nd half entertains. Action, dance, emotions, double role, give this guy anything, and he comes out triumphant. Hail Krishh!

5. Vivah – Honest, simple, graceful, soulful, and touching, that’s Vivah for you. Earnest, emotional, natural, and traditional, that’s Vivah for you. Sooraj Barjatya emerges triumphant yet again, after the mishmash Main Prem Ki Diwani Hoon. Simplicity was never so beautiful, traditions were never so identifiable, characters were never so believable!

6. Woh Lamhe – One of the least talked about films of the year, this is one of the most soulful films to grace the big screen in recent times. Starring newcomers Shiny Ahuja & Kangana Ranaut, by a new director Mohit Suri, this movie based on the life of actress Parveen Babi and her relationship with Mahesh Bhatt, gives you goose bumps all the time. Music is just amazing, and performances are amongst the best of 2006. You feel like you are part of the movie, and the movie succeeds there.

7. Don – This will be surprising to many, but heck, I loved this one (maybe becoz I am a diehard SRK fan). Nothing comparable to the BIG B, but swashbuckling nonetheless. Master twist, great performance from SRK and funky music, make Don an entertainer from start to finish. Takes time to build up and engulf you, but once you are in, Don se bachna mushkil hi nahi, namumkin hai!

8. Golmaal – Arshad Warsi, Ajay Devgan, Sharman Joshi, and Tushar Kapoor, and just one babe Rimi Sen. Add Paresh Rawal, and serve up hot, and you have a fresh laughathon about 4 male friends looking to make ends meet and trying to con an elderly couple. Rollicking and original fresh comedy, with some nice spoofs of famous movies (like Black) and spiffy music thrown in, this movie makes you laugh everytime you see it. A great stressbuster by director Rohit Shetty.

9. Gangster – Boring at times, and extremely emotional at places, ultimately this movie hits you hard. Love story of a Gangster, who transforms in love, story of an innocent girl deceived in love who ends up killing her love and herself. Slow, but haunting, that sums up Gangster. Music uplifts the film to a great extent. Performances again stand out, with the Woh Lamhe couple and Emran Hashmi taking all the honors.

10. Bhagam Bhaag – Saw this movie yesterday, and was laughing for 80% of the movie! Great laughathon from the master of comedies Priyadarshan himself. Starring Akshay Kumar, Govinda, Paresh Rawal, Lara Dutta, Rajpal Yadav and other Priyan usuals, this movie is a mindless laugh riot with some suspense thrown in. Akshay Rocks, while Govinda should really lose weight now!! Paresh Rawal is wasted kinda, and the ending is awesome! Must watch!

Just Missed It – These movies just missed my list. KANK (for lack of any soul stirring emotions, but great performances and music), DHOOM 2 (For Hrithik, Uday and Aish I mention this movie, nothing else here), KABUL EXPRESS (Amazing Afghanistan, honest portrayal, but a tad slow, just loved Arshad and the Paki guy here), ANKAHEE (amazing music, sincere and real emotions, needed better actors), JANEMAN (Salman n Akshay n Preeti rock, music rocks, but somewhere misses the bus), FANAA (highly formulaic, but KAJOL rocks, and so does the music and the 2nd half)

Please fee free to comment/post your list too, my music list will follow soon! Also in line are the disappointments of the year, and my awards.