I got this tweet earlier today from the charming Anmol (yes-her-dad-is-Anu) Malik and I thought it was just darling. She was also lightening fast at writing up this blog of her 10 favorite songs by daddy, just in time to say Happy Birthday in the most unforgettable way :) xoxo
The problem with choosing your 10 favorite songs from 350 movies is probably quite obvious. An all-you-can-eat-buffet with a plate the size of your knee!
1) Mere Humsafar/Panchi Nadiya [Refugee, 2000]
I can tell you which raag or taal this song is in, but it wouldn’t matter, because I know when he composed it the technical terms never crossed his mind. All he wanted was a tune that shut out the city for a bit. Listen to even 10 seconds of it and it will catch your attention. The lyrics, the voices, the orchestral pieces, so uniquely and delicately put together. Fittingly, a national award winning album.
2) Roshni Se Bhare Bhare [Asoka, 2001]
The first time I heard this track was late at night. I had sneaked into his music room and heard it through headphones in the darkness, afraid that he would catch me. I had been curious about it all day. But nothing prepared me for this ravishing masterpiece, I wanted the song to go on forever. I couldn’t believe someone could create something so lilting, perfect, everything melting into each other like molten gold. The quality of the song was so rich, so chiseled, and it made me acutely aware of my wildly beating heart.
Maine samay rokh ke, tera pata poocha hain.
3) Aate Jaate [Har Dil Jo Pyaar Karega, 2000]
One word. Adorable. Sure Bollywood propagates unrealistic expectations of love, but show me one person who doesn’t like to indulge. That’s what this song is to me, pure indulgence. Spin around the room with a silly smile, dreaming of an epic romance. I’ll believe it, at least for 4 minutes and 5 seconds.
4) Tera Rang Balle Balle/Mehfil Mein Baar Baar [Soldier, 1998]
Confession time, I liked ALL the songs from Soldier. He loves his harmonium and has used it heavily throughout the album. A lot of the pieces are harmonium based even though other instruments have played them out.
5) Sau Dard Hai/Ajnabi Shehar [Jaan-E-Mann, 2006]
Both songs were composed on the piano, consequently the texture and construction of the tracks were very different from his earlier works. The sound was very clean, and the simplicity struck me. The best part was I never knew what to expect as the song progressed. And yet it flowed smoothly, taking comfortable turns on its way, leading into a neat finish.
6) Kya Pyaar Karoge Mujhse? [Kucch Toh Hai, 2003]
Mellow flutes-soft-sudden pulsating violins-stop-a breath – Dil mera pooch raha hai tujhse…
What can you do with a heart that is already in love? With each word the tune climbs a higher note, a little like the desperation that creeps into a plea. The song oscillates between shades of hope and uncertainty.
7) Kathai aankhon wali ek ladki [Duplicate, 1998]
I truly miss the 90s, and to me Duplicate was a really underrated album. Especially this song. Why do I like it? I hope ‘I just do’ is an acceptable answer.
8) Sohni Meri Sohni [Sohni Mehiwal, 1984]
The song earned him his first ever Filmfare nomination and truly made people notice him. He would finally win the award in 1990 for Baazigar, but the song always reminds me of a young man struggling for his big break and in the process churning out a truly stellar product.
9) Raah Mein Unse [Vijaypath, 1994]
As a kid this song never made much sense to me. I was happier with a Kaali Kaali Aankhein. But now- Mix the words (Raah mein unse, mulquat ho gayi, jise darte the, wahi baat ho gayi.) with that haunting melody. You know that rare moment that connects you to a work of art, where you feel it was written solely for you?
That’s a very difficult bond to break.
10) Chann Chann [Munnabhai M.B.B.S, 2003]
The album was dominated by other fun songs. Subah Ho Gayi Mamu, Munnabhai, Dekh Le. And yet this mellow song makes it to the list because it’s quintessentially Anu Malik. I see it as a thread of the wonderful album Kareeb.
Ek Garam Chai Ki Pyaali, What Is Mobile Number, Oonchi Hai Building, yes he has made these songs too. But to me this is only a sliver of his talent. Bus rides from Juhu to Tardeo, a one in a million chance to make it, a million and one rejections, sheer grit and a harmonium. Happy birthday dad, you’ve come a long way. Not many know your story. But I do, and I’m proud to be your daughter.