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.