Best Shot Song Sequences of the Decade
The Hindi film industry puts up quite a show when it comes to music and dance. At one time it was a belief that if your film’s songs were a hit, the film was a hit. But over the years songs have taken a different turn. Filmmakers today have used music not only to entertain people but also to convey emotions that are hard to communicate through dialogues. In several instances songs help take the story forward and speak to the audience directly.
Here are some of the songs from the last decade that have stood out for their innovative treatment.
One of the first such songs is ‘Pihu Boley’ from the 2005 film Parineeta. The well-placed song shows us the intensity of the relationship between the two characters. It travels through time to tell us exactly what we need to know about the protagonists in just four and half minutes. Shreya Goshal and Sonu Nigam are the voices behind the song, which made it one of the most melodious numbers of the year.
The year 2006 saw the release of Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra’s iconic film Rang de Basanti which brought with the beautifully picturised song ‘Luka Chuppi’. Centered around the death of R Madhavan’s character, this song had me and almost everyone in tears. The song doesn’t address the fact that a mother has lost her son but is actually a conversation between a mother and a son where she is telling him to come back and he is telling her that he is happy and at peace. Only about three minutes of the entire song are part of the film. The song works as a touching background number for the death procession of Madhvan’s character.
The following year saw Sanjay Leela Bhansali introducing Ranbir Kapoor and Sonam Kapoor with Sawariya. Though it didn’t do very well as a film or a script but the sets and the artwork of the film was commendable. A particularly aesthetically shot song from the film is ‘Masha Allah’ that takes you through the set as Sonam Kapoor’s character moves from location to location. The DOP has captured it beautifully and the editor made the sequence look seamless. The lyrics of the song coupled with the cool colors used in the visuals have a calming effect making it a great morning song.
2008 saw a completely different form of music come to the fore in Bollywood. Rock On! brought with it rock music that became a club favorite for the youth. ‘Sinbad the sailor’, the final song of the film is one of my favorites for it creates the feel of a live show. The song has perfectly balanced shots of the audience and the band performing. The lyrics of the song is a complete story in itself and manage to keep the audience engaged for seven whole minutes. Considering the attention span of Indian audiences, this is quite an achievement.
My favorite in the year 2009 may startle you a little but stay with me. It’s ‘Hichki Hichki’ from Paa. This song captures a child’s perspective about his dilemma. And they manage to convey the dilemma with simple shots of Auro roaming and spending time with his father. This one wins my heart with just its fuss-free simplicity.
Ravaan failed at the box office but it had sequences and scenes that got you thinking. The song sequence that caught my eye was ‘Behne de’, which is a track that comes at an important point during the relationship of the lead actors. You can see the anger in Aishwarys Rai’s eyes and the madness and confusion in Abhishek Bachchan’s expressions. These emotions go well with the locations that Mani Ratnam has chosen for the song. The director brings out the anger evoked by the pain and suffering that Raavan has caused with minimal dialogues. The shots of Aishwarya Rai climbing mountains and taking dives are surreal and shot with finesse.
2011 saw Bejoy Nambiar deliver a dark thriller through Shaitaan. The film uses the old, iconic song ‘Hawa Hawai’ from Mr.India. A song known to be chirpy and happy was given a different twist. This song is the perfect example of how visuals can give a completely different meaning to a song. The song was shot with just enough lighting to make you slightly uncomfortable yet completely hook you. It is placed in the beginning of the film where the characters are still being established and this number helps in demonstrating the dynamic of the group, around which the film revolves.
‘Bhaag D.K. Bose’ rules the 2012 charts for me. Delhi Belly was a fun ride and the songs were bold with ‘Bhaag D.K. Bose’ taking the cake. This movie was very true to its genre. It didn’t show pain in the conventional sense, it showcased emotions blatantly and left people rolling with laughter. This song brings out the emotions of a man running for his life in the truest sense.
In the year 2013, D-Day, an edge-of-the-seat action thriller was released. The song sequence that caught my eye is called ‘Alvida’. (SPOILER ALERT!) This song comes right after Arjun Rampal’s love interest played by Shruti Hassan get murdered. It begins with a shot of her dead body and as he goes up the stairs to his room, we see the murder as it is playing in his head. This video has been perfectly edited and contrasted with a beautiful song that stays with you.
Then came the great adaptation of Hamlet with the Shahid Kapoor starrer Haider. ‘So Jao’ from this Vishal Bhardwaj directorial is my absolute favorite. The song is dark on multiple levels. It shows Shahid Kapoor’s character running for his life and hiding in a graveyard. The song also shows three gravediggers digging graves and in the middle of the song you find them in the grave, which goes to say so much about the safety of Kashmir.
And lastly, this year, on of the most uniquely shot song sequences was a part of Zoya Akhtar’s Dil Dhadakne Do. It is ‘Gallan Goodiyan’, the anniversary song shot on the cruise. The unique aspect about this song is that it was shot in one go. If you closely look at the song you realise that the actors are following the camera and not the other way round. The actors turn around to face the camera, which calls for great choreography and planning.
It has been quite an interesting decade and we hope that the coming years see more Indian filmmakers convey stories through songs.
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