In a discussion with friends on a mailing list, we were talking of the return of the Golden Age of music. Most people, when asked about Hindi film music, immediately go into a chant about the ’50s and ’60s and the Golden Age. Much true of course. There was a big nadir in the ’80s and early ’90s with the likes of Laxmikant Pyarelal, Nadeem Shravan, Anand Milind making those raucous melodramatic romantic scores with the nasal Kumar Sanu doing the honours.
However, the last 15 years has seen some transformation and one can say this is truly a new Golden Age again. AR Rahman has been a big influence obviously. But so has Shankar Ehsaan Loy, Jatin Lalit, Salim Suleiman and when he is in the mood of doing something original Pritam.
In the singers list, probably one of the best singers of all time, Sonu Nigam has maintained a high standard of performance. And maintaining and often going beyond is one of my favourite singers of all time Sukhwinder Singh. I had blogged earlier about how some of his most popular songs have contributed catch phrases that are part of our modern pop culture.
The music of Kaminey has reinforced that. The near-cult song Dhan Ta Nan gets Sukhi in great form. In an interview, Vishal Bharadwaj gives a really deep insight into his singing. He says that Sukhi gets into each word, each labz. He gets into the spirit of each word and when he sings the entire meaning comes out in tune.
Here are some of my favourite Sukhi solo numbers (besides the popular cult numbers like Chaiya Chaiya, Jai Ho, et al)
- Rut Aa Gayee Re (1947 – Earth)
- Phir Raat Kati (Paheli)
- Omkara (title track)
- Pagdi Sambhal Jatta (The Legend of Bhagat Singh)
- Jaane Tu Meri Kya Hai (Jaane Tu Ya Na Jaane)
In the old days we had Mohd Rafi, Kishore Kumar and Mukesh. But behind all of them was Manna Dey who would come in for one song in the film and it would always be the most evocative song of the album. Sukhi brings that today, sitting with Sonu, Shankar Mahadevan, KK and Shaan.