Sunday, January 10, 2016

PK to Piku - Top 10 Songs of 2015

at No. 10 is Chaar kadam from PK:

PK is technically not a 2015 movie. It was released in December 2014. But I saw it in 2015 and Amir Khan managed to keep himself in the news through 2015 and the song is good even if the movie was bad. So I guess it is okay to include it here.

My liking for Amir Khan ebbs and flows with his good and bad movies and songs. From his very first movie and the song that made him famous papa kehate hai, where I thought he was a good new actor. Then Aati kya khandala with Rani Mukhrjee from the movie Ghulam, which I saw mostly in clips shown on the Sunday morning Indian TV shows in New York, was a cute and different song from most we see in hindi films. I didn't like Lagaan despite all the hype and hoopla that surrounded it and never understood why Amir Khan craved an Oscar for that movie so much. Then came Three Idiots which was the first hindi movie my son ever saw and he loved it. Taare Zamin Par was not bad either even though like PK that was a overtly "message" movie.

But PK is a boring film. If you have to explain what you are doing in the movie to the audience like Amir Khan does repeatedly in PK ( "phir hum idhar gaya - udhar gaya", "hamane yeh dekha, woh dekha") to an average viewer like me it says that either the script needs more work or you are trying to cram too many episodes of Satyamev Jayate into one film. OMG starring Paresh Rawal and Akshay Kumar - made probably with a much smaller budget - I thought conveyed a similar message equally effectively and in a lot more entertaining manner than PK.

It' reminded me of a black and white hindi movie I saw on Doordarshan years ago wherein there was a scene where the hero was climbing the stairs and at the same time explaining in the background voiceover (to the audience?) phir mai sidee chadhake upar gaya. And even as a young girl I thought - I can see what you are doing, why are you telling me that tum sidee chadhake upar gaya. PK is like that scene - there is too much of phir mai sidee chadhake uppar gaya type of explaining in that movie.

There was another movie that came out in 2015 that had a character explaining the story to the audience. This time the character was a dog (in PK it was Amir Khan as an alien from outer space) . The movie was Dil Dhadakane Do. And I don't know if it is just an odd coincidence but the voice of the dog explaining the story of Dil Dhadakane Do to the audience is that of Amir Khan's.

at No 9 is Gerua from Dilwale:

Some shots in this video reminded me of the song Kismat se from Pukar - Madhuri Dixit in a pale sky blue (what looks like a beautiful chiffon) saree and Anil Kapoor in a dark overcoat and nothing else but a barren snow-covered landscape stretched beyond horizon behind them made for some stunning visuals in that video.  Gerua is nowhere near as serene as Kismat Se - too many rapid changes in scenery, locales, costumes and colors in a 4 minute video assault your senses. But I wondered if shots of kajol in a clinging plain pastel with pallu flying in the air were not inspired by Madhuri Dixit in  Kismat Se.  

In Bajirao Mastani, which was released around the same time as Dilwale, Bhansali seems to have been inspired by his own movie Devadas. Watching the Pinga song from his new film, I couldn't help but notice the similarities between it and his Dola re song from Devdas. First of all aren't the situations similar - two women - in Bajirao Mistani it's kashibai, the wife and Mastani, the lover of Bajirao dancing happily together. In Devdas its Paro and Changdramukhi - the two women in Devdaas's life dancing happily together. Bhansali has toned down the colors and the gaudiness of Dola re in Pinga, but to me the two songs still look more similar than different.

When I saw the song and dance Malhari and heard Bajirao singing the words "dushmanki ... waat lavali",  I almost expected him to mouth, somewhere in the movie, dialogue akin to, "aata majhi satkali". Mercifully, that did not happen! But Malhari with its  filmed -indoors - all -male- dance doesn't look ny different from any of the bar songs we have seen in hindi films over the years.

at No 8 is Hamari adhuri kahani:

The basic premise of this movie makes sense- a woman abandoned by her husband is so trapped in tradition that she is unable to break herself free off the shackles of her non-existent marriage when she meets a man who loves her and wants to be a father to her son. What doesn't make sense is the story of the husband - where does he go, how does he get involved with the naxalites, is he a good or a bad guy- that part of the story feels confused and confusing. But the title song is good - even though this video looks as jumbled up as the story of the husband. Also to me Emran Hashmi and Vidya Balan as a romantic pair seemed even more of a mismatch than Deepika Padukone and Irfaan Khan in Piku. And as an aside, in Mumbai there is a well known college called  Ruparel  (रुपारेल) College, so when Vidya Balan addresses Hashmi as Mr Ruprel ("मिस्टर रुप्रेल, मिस्टर रुप्रेल") in the movie,  I wondered if she was mispronouncing the name Ruparel.

at No 7 is Shaam Shaandaar from Shaandaar:

If it were up to me this song would not have made it to the top 10 list.  It's my son's choice. And since his contribution to the post in invaluable, I have to include his choice here. He wanted this to be at No 1 but I couldn't place it at the top. I think the video is pretty bad.

at No 6 is the Journey song from Piku:

Piku is a nice, funny movie. I could totally relate to Amitabh Bachchan's character. It reminded me of my grandmother who suffered from the same malady as Bachchan does in the movie.  For some older members of my family, the biggest concern of the morning used to be आज पोट साफ झालं कि नाही झालं? Or होणार कि नाही होणार? On most days the answer would be नाही झालं and the rest of the morning would then be devoted to turning that नाही झालं into झालं as it is in the movie..  There are several natural remedies recommended in the movie by Irfan's character to turn नाही झालं into झालं as were discussed in my family. The "chair" part looked familiar too.

at No 5 is Afghan jalebi from Phantom:

at No 4 is Zindagi kuch to bata from Bajarangi Bhaijaan:

Bajarangi Bhaijaan is also a "message ' movie in a way but sugar coated with pure light -hearted entertainment.

at No 3 is Bhardo Jholi from Bajarangi Bhaijaan:

at No. 2 is Sapna Jahan from Brothers:

at No 1 is DJwaley babu:

This isn't necessarily the best song but it is different from the other seriously romantic songs. And I like the way an english word DJ is indianised here. Like in India a milkman might be called dudhwaley babu or vegetable seller - bhajiwaley babu, in this song a DJ is called DJwaleybabu. The video is average - not too bad. Is that a real TATA truck or just a prop used in the video, I wonder...

To sum up the year - we saw total 8 hindi movies in 2015. I'd rate them as follows:

Bajarangi Bhaijan

Hamari Adhuri Kahani
Dil Dhadakane Do
Welcome Back

Not sure (neither good nor bad):
Manjhi - the mountain man
Bajirao Mastani

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