because sometimes, it's the time to disco

BBC Asian Network's poll of the top 40 soundtracks of all time is such an interesting read - and listen. My inner librarian loves how there are clips, background info, context, and often interviews for every entry.

The thing about music, of course, is that there's no accounting for whims and tastes, and I haven't yet agreed with myself about the fair way to think of soundtracks. Do they stand independently of the film? Should they? Or the more intertwined, the better? My favorites do both, and music is one of the two major pulls that Bollywood has on me. (The other is wholeheartedness, but that's a topic for another day.) As I write this, I'm trying to figure out how to explain why I like, or would label as good, the ones I do. What I can say confidently is that they're just delightful, whether for fun or big emotion or good driving music or whatever. Let's just say these are the ones that lodge in my head completely independently of watching the movie.

Tied for first are Taal and Main Hoon Na. I saw Taal on the big screen and was alternately riveted and dancing in the aisles (in my head, anyway - I was actually a volunteer at the film festival where it was showing, so there may have been something in the handbook about not dancing in the aisles, what with the line of sight of the patrons and all). Main Hoon Na also finds me dancing around but half doubled-over (would that be singled-over?) with giggles. The music is funny. The movie is funny. The dancing is funny. I can't help it.

Next come Lagaan and Dil Chahta Hai (despite the dolphin song - yech). Both just really go with their movies. They do what they're supposed to do - and I thrill. I'm sure my opinion is not at all influenced by memories of Aamir Khan dancing in both. And let us not forget to mention the best picturization ever, "Woh Ladki Hai Kahan," which is so brilliant that there's a nudge-nudge joke about it before it even starts. Not even sweat stains can sink it. It soars on happy flapping wings. (I know, I know, the picturization is a separate entity from the song. Sort of.)

Then Bunty aur Babli. It's pink. It's sparkly. It's a hoot (except when "Chup Chupke is tugging on my heartstrings or "Kajra Re" has turned me into the kind of temptress who sends men flying with a flick of the hip and inspires them to a truly silly dance move that I call "the walrus"). There you go.

After that, it's a big muddle, with particular songs standing out but less impression of the whole. And there are certainly movies I love whose soundtracks I don't (yes, you, Hum Tum), yet because of my love of the movie I feel bad not liking the music. Complex hai.

* In keeping with what I infer to be the rules of the game - the list is all Hindi movies, hai na? - Kandukondain Kandukondain must be omitted, which is a pity, becuase it's way, way up on my list.


Obi Wan said…
The songs in my meomory are divided into two broad categories: Radio Songs - the songs of 50s-80s that I used to hear on radio when I was a kid, and hence there wasn't too much visual/film association with them; and Video songs - the songs that I find difficult to separate from the movie! Also, each of my favorite songs has unique memories associated with it, so I can usually remember if a particular song/movie was released in 1988 or 1996 (for example)!
Buy the way, I have serious issues with the BBC list. By the very design of the research, it is heavily biased towards trecent tracks, since net users (and voters) will logically, be the younger lot. E.g. a K3G cannot possibly be in the top 3 soundtracks of all time, by any definition!
Hey Obi Wan - I am 100% with you about K3G. Blech. I was also surprised by how many newer things were listed. I am very, very ill acquainted with anything before the late 1990s, so I can only imagine what the BBC poll and I are missing! Then again, any poll is going to outrage some of us (a recent national election comes to mind...). I wonder what proportion of the respondents to that one were in the UK. That would shape it too, I imagine.
Any list is bound to be baised. I think there needs to be timeframe for a certain album to be declared eligible for a list. Because recent songs are the ones with most recall value, so they are ones which the audience will remember first. And it is with time that we know which songs will linger and which will vanish. For example, RDB songs are playing in my head for sometime now (I do like it) but for sure who knows if it will be around say next year? But I do remember songs from the 50s, 60s, 70s and know that I will continue to hum them next year as well.
Anonymous said…
That dolphin song from Dil Chahta Hai really is terrible. I always fast forward through it, but there's one moment of randomness that I always have to pause for: the extreme close-up on Akshaye's modernist portrait of Dimple, where you can see that he has painted tiny, parachuting teddy bears in the background. What the hell is that about?
I'm going to go find that tomorrow night - yes, another big Friday night here in east central Illinois - because it's too awful to be believed. But obviously you would not taunt me about my FPMBF doing something so awful.

Gorilla's Lament says Sid is secretly a ten-year-old girl. I think GL is on to something.

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