Vishal Dadlani and Shekhar Ravjiani. These two names will evoke different feelings in different people. However, for many, these two names are the definition of music in the last 20 years. The film which marked their first music collaboration, ‘Pyaar Mein Kabhi Kabhi’, marks 20 years since release today, thus marking two decades since the musical duo first worked together, forming the music directing duo, better known as Vishal-Shekhar.
Their music literally needs no introduction and they have given some chart-busting and unforgettable music in the last 20 years, mainly in Hindi but also in Telugu and Marathi. And anyone who has seen them perform live, including myself, will know that their energy is unmatchable as is the way they work the audiences who are familiar with so many of their compositions. I want to focus on just five of the albums they’ve composed together – five albums that are my personal favourites – to highlight their genius in the world of Hindi cinema music. And genius it really is!
The first album of my choice is 2005’s ‘Salaam Namaste’. This was around five years since they formed their duo and it was a film which needed peppy, up-beat and seemingly everlasting sound. Over the years, my favourite song from this album has changed and this is a great sign that all the songs are evergreen. I’ve finally settled on my favourite of them all and it’s Tu Jahan. However, for a melody that was soulful and luring, the album also featured the catchy My Dil Goes Mmmm…, the foot-tapping title track and also the ever popular What’s Going On. As an overall album, it ticked all the boxes and gave music-lovers a set of songs that sound just as fresh now, 14 years since the film’s release.
2007’s ‘Om Shanti Om’ is the second album I want to place some spotlight on. It was one of the biggest releases of the year and with Shah Rukh Khan as the lead actor and the introduction of Deepika Padukone, the film commanded some pretty awesome music and that’s exactly what Vishal-Shekhar composed. This is another album where it’s difficult to choose just one song which tops them all. However, what strikes you about this soundtrack is the melody and the way the compositions evoke certain feelings. In particular, the dramatic Daastaan-E-Om Shanti Om is stunning, especially for the way it comes into the narrative during the climax scene. The love song in the album are also annoyingly memorable… I say annoying because I can listen to Main Agar Kahoon once and be humming it for days on end. If this isn’t the sign of a fabulous composition, I’m really not sure what is!
‘Anjaana Anjaani’ (2010) upped the game once more and I can put my hand on my heart and say it is still one of my most favourite albums of all time. Whether it’s the extremely soul-stirring Tujhe Bhula Diya, the passionate Hairat, the uplifting Aas Paas Khuda or the effervescent title track, Vishal-Shekhar literally gave life to entire feel of the film. Although it didn’t do too well at the box office, this soundtrack has already stood the test of time and will continue to do so in the years to come.
Just two years later, ‘Student of the Year’ came along and gave the audiences yet another full album of songs which would be on repeat for some time. Coming with many expectations, Vishal-Shekhar managed to deliver a chart-busting soundtrack, which once again, is still popular a whole seven years after release. Radha gave an earthy, traditional sound new life, Kukkad is the ultimate party track and let’s not forget the revival of Disco Deewane as The Disco Song. With every note, this album was just what it needed to be – youthful, peppy and unforgettable.
The last on my list was a tough one, because the compositions the duo have come up with in the last few years have hit it out of the park. The one I choose – because it’s the whole album that wowed us – is ‘Bang Bang!’ (2014). It’s almost a given that with Hrithik Roshan leading the cast, the music had to be great because he is such a fabulous dancer and personality. As such, the album of this film is one that stands out because of the character it creates for itself. The title track has, by far, been one of my favourite ever since it released. However, Tu Meri, Meherbaan and Uff make it one to remember in its entirety. The composers have created a sound which is fresh but familiar. It’s a sound that is hummable, like much of their music, but it’s also slick. And this is what puts the icing on the cake. It makes you feel good and when you feel good, everything is great!
So that brings my tribute to my favourite composer duo, Vishal-Shekhar, to an end. The above albums are by far just a speck of their 20-year illustrious musical career. They have so many songs to their collective name that it’d be unfair to think the above is the best of the best. It would also be absolutely ridiculous not to look forward to these sounds these music maestros will be sharing with us in the coming years.
On behalf of all of us at BizAsiaLive.com, I’d like to congratulate Vishal-Shekhar on this milestone… and here’s to another decade of great music!
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