2008 - A Musical Round-Up

Author: Dr. Mandar V. Bichu

It just seems like yesterday when we all woke up groggily late in the morning after a night-long celebration to welcome the brand new year 2008 and now, here we are trying to look back at that very year, which seems to have literally flown away. Bollywood music has had a mixed year in 2008; there have been more failures than successes in the final countdown but some of the successes have been spectacular and even path-breaking in their own way.

So here’s a quick recap of the musical happenings in 2008

The year of Rahman

Letting go of his habit of working on just a couple of major Bollywood scores per year, A.R. Rahman whetted the appetites of legions of his fans with 5 varied and versatile soundtracks. His music in Jodha Akbar, Ada, Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na, Yuvvraj and Ghajni showed that he is still a cut above the rest. His command on melody, rhythm and recording technique is simply amazing and he seems to have perfectly understood the pulse of contemporary popular music. With international accolades coming in for his music in the British production Slum-dog Millionaire, this modern musical genius is undoubtedly the top-gun of 2008!
Other composers

Vishal-Shekhar capped a busy year with a hit score in Dostana. With big banners like Yashraj and Dharma Productions in their kitty, this talented duo is definitely gunning for the top spot. Even when films like Tashan and Bachna Ae Haseeno did not do too well on the box-office, Vishal-Shekhar’s soundtracks for them became popular. Another duo- Salim- Sulaiman have also started making the right moves with high profile successes like Fashion and the year-end superhit Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi.

If duos can be successful, then why not trios? Shankar-Ehsan-Loy’s Thoda Pyar Thoda Magic music had just a few Lazy Lamhen- (read modest success!) but their out of the blue Rock On proved a chartbuster on Indian and international circuits. This out-and-out western Rock music with pure Hind lyrics shook the purists off their perch but found a huge fan following in the urban audiences. But their best work this year was Taare Zameen Par- a contemporary album with heart and soul! (Even though technically it was released in the dying days of 2007, the TZP music made most of its impact in 2008!)

Composers like Shantanu Moitra (Welcome to Sajjanpur), Vishal Bhardwaj (U Me Aur Hum), Himesh Reshmmiya (Karzz), Pritam (Singh is Kking, Kismat Konnection), Monty Sharma (Chamku) and Anu Malik (Love Story 2050) came up with interesting soundtracks with varying degrees of success on the popularity meter. Some of the non-mainstream films like Aamir (Amit Trivedi), Dasvidaniya (Kailash, Paresh, Naresh) and Rubaroo had excellent music but few takers, thanks to these films’ low box-office profiles.


Rapidly one fact is emerging clearly that current musical scene is not about a few major singers getting plum songs and hogging all accolades. Who could have imagined a year where industry’s top singers Shaan, Sonu Nigam and Shreya Ghoshal hardly made waves on FM charts? Sunidhi Chouhan still managed to get a few item-song hits under her belt and her Dance Pe Chance Maar Le is currently the flavour of the month. Alka Yagnik salvaged a forgettable year with a late year-hit Tu Muskura.

On the other hand, success of unconventional voices like Farhan Akhtar augurs well for a host of new singers waiting in the wings. Composer-singers are doing well in their limited singing assignments and success of Shankar Mahadevan’s Maa, Taare Zameen Par and Desi Girl; Reshmmiya’s Tanduri Nights and Vishal Dadlani’s Jaane Kyun proved that.

So thus went off 2008- ushering in some new trends and talents! Let’s see what 2009 has to offer!
Top 5 soundtracks

Taare Zameen Par

Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na


Rock On


Top 5 Songs

Maa from Taare Zameen Par

Pappu Can’t Dance Saala from JTYJN

Khuda Jaane Ke from Bachna Ae Haseeno

Haule Haule Ho Jaayega Pyaar from RBBDJ

Socha Hai from Rock On


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