Ok, so I made this totally amazing discovery today and I can't sleep tonight unless I have stuck a big fat notice on the bar's noticeboard about this.
Remember the last time when all the songs of a Hindi movie used to be good? No? Frankly speaking, me neither. Okay, how about the time when almost all songs of a Hindi movie used to be good? Somewhat? I'm thinking Parineeta, Jism, etc. Yeah, so that doesn't happen anymore. (Several folks recommended Talaash and Barfi to me, but I didn't find it all that loop-worthy after a few times. I was also very disappointed with Rockstar - both the music and the movie.) These days, I consider myself lucky if I like one song in the album. One song that is not gimmicky or 'designed' to be a chartbuster. One song with some proper lyrics, if not poetry in it, one song that does not say inane things like ishq wala love (I still maintain that the tune is lovely though) or talk about Munni's/Sheila's/Chameli's assets and abilities. There have been flashes in the pan like 'Saibo' and 'Mora piya' but they don't come by often.
Though I'm still in touch with what new movies are in the pipeline, lately I've stopped following music albums of new movies. I don't know what's out there anymore and I don't care. The last time I listened to the weekly top 15 in the hope of finding just one good new song, I was disgusted. Seriously. Sample these songs - Totey ud gaye, Punjabiyan di battery, babli badmaash, main senti hoon, lat lag gayee. (Check it out yourself if you don't believe me; these songs are still in the top 15 of several charts).
Now don't get me wrong. I'm not being a Bollysongsnob here. I like my 'Soni de nakhre' kind of songs as much as the next guy, and I am all for them in the gym, but some days I just want to lie back and be consumed by a song, totally soaked in it, the music and lyrics washing over me, the song in its entirety actually moving me (and by moving me, I don't mean head-bobbing to kaindi ponnn ponnn ponnn). And I don't find anything. Yes, I often go back to the oldies, but a nice new surprise every now and then would be so nice, wouldn't it? Especially one that has no video associated with it in your head yet, just the song itself and nothing else.
So I was writing this chapter explaining electromagnets to 10-year-olds when I realised that I needed some music to cheer me up (electromagnets get depressing after exactly half an hour). And I don't know why, but I went to check out new movie albums, something I hadn't done in a while. Boy, am I glad I did. I saw the poster of Aashiqui 2, and said to myself - why not? As the first strains of the first song 'Tum hi ho' filled the room, I sat up. Electromagnets be damned, this was an actual good song. Holy cow. Imagine my total shock when the next song 'Sun raha hai' turned out to be even more mind-blowing. Was this possible? Two good songs in one movie? A movie following the pathetic trend of unrelated sequels? Surely this was a practical joke? A very cruel one at that. Maybe the file names were wrong? So I googled 'Aashiqui 2' music review. And it turns out I'm not the only one who loves the songs. Of course, I am aware that I could be over-gushing as a result of the 'Bhikhari ko bheek, jo bhi miley theek' syndrome, but I have to say I have not played an album on loop all day for a very very long time now. And I did that today. Almost all the songs are great, and I won't nitpick too much on minor details (e.g. some songs sound too Pritam-ish and I hope they are not lifted off Korean tunes, and the inconsistent use of pronouns - 'Hum tere bin ab reh nahin sakte, tere bina kya wajood mera', and the song 'Hum mar jayenge' which is quite meh. And oh, I just can't my head around 'Apne karam ki kar adaayein'. Something doesn't seem right. It should be 'ataayein', shouldn't it?).
The truth is - I felt good listening to Bollywood music. Real good. After a very long time. (I even went and checked out the movie's trailer. Vidya Balan's devarji looks promising, but I'm not too sure about Shakti Kapoor's daughter. She might be all right; I figure I just can't get the 'auuu' out of my mind. Might do an SSSK post on the movie at some point.)
It's a bit hard to describe what the songs did to me. The closest would be the kind of feeling songs like 'Is tarah aashiqui ka asar' or 'Pehla nasha' or 'Tere dar par sanam chale aaye' did to us in our teenage years. Now they may make us shake our collective heads and laugh, but back then, those songs made us feel something. They enveloped us. Made us more alive. Filled our hearts with something that we did not realise would probably never come back to us when we were older.
So there. There is still hope in the world. All is not lost. If you want some of the sunshine I soaked in today, click here now.