Saturday December 26, 2015

Milliblog Annual Music round-up 2015

Posted by Karthik

A version of this post was published in The Hindu.

This happens to be the 8th annual music round-up in Milliblog, in a year where Milliblog completed 10 years! This list is for soundtracks released between December 15, 2014 to December 15, 2015.

And remember, it is perfectly justifiable to have reactions like, ‘How can *that* be so high on the list?’, or ‘Where is *that* song? C’mon!’. This is one man’s list – just mine. Your list should/would vary. Because! Do let me/other readers know your favorite songs so that it presents other perspectives of best songs of 2015.

Also, YouTube has, unfortunately, removed the feature to add a start and end time in videos embedded inside a playlist. See: Google Groups discussion. As a result, some of the additions in the playlists below are full jukeboxes without the ability to make them play just one song that I had in mind.


The Hindi film music scene in 2015 chugged along without any transformative innovation. If I was to point to a specific trend, it may be about the minor resurgence of jazz, or filmy-jazz, to be specific. There’s the entire Bombay Velvet soundtrack by Amit Trivedi, Old school girl in Tanu Weds Manu Returns, Drishyam’s Kya pata (by Vishal Bhardwaj), Margarita With A Straw’s I need a man (by Mikey McCleary) and Dil Dhadakne Do’s Girls like to swing (by Shankar Ehsaan Loy) to account for this trend.

Amit’s labor of love, Bombay Velvet, got the short end of the stick courtesy the film’s fortunes, which in turn was connected to how loudly it was promoted. But, as a soundtrack, it delivered and how! The variety of tunes recreating the Bombay (Bollywood, to be precise) of yore demonstrated aptly about the kind of ambition Amit set for himself, and he got some phenomenal singers to deliver the tunes for him. Krsna had produced stellar music in Tanu Weds Manu. For the film’s sequel, he created a fitting follow-up that was musically very Indian and rich. Rounding off the top 3 is Rahman’s Tamasha, a thematic soundtrack that so beautifully weaves through Imtiaz’s narrative.

Ilayaraja, Balki’s regular (and only) composer made a grand comeback in Hindi this year with Shamitabh. Ignore the film’s fate and you hear a fantastic, and often nostalgic, tapestry of sounds from the veteran. Prolific Pritam was less active this year, though he had some delightful tunes across Phantom, Bajrangi Bhaijaan and Dilwale. Anupam Roy’s long-awaited Hindi debut, Piku, was a welcome note, while the trio, Shankar Ehsaan Loy produced better output in Marathi (Katyar Kaljat Ghusli) than in Hindi, though their music was very-Zoya in Dil Dhadakne Do. Amaal Malik takes the top honors in the songs list though, with his incredibly infectious and enthusiastic techno sound in Sooraj dooba hai! Sanjay Leela Bhansali finally got his musical tuning right in Bajirao Mastani, while Ram Sampath and Sachin-Jigar continue to produce genuinely interesting new-age music with films like Bangistan and Badlapur, respectively.

Hindi composer of the year: Amit Trivedi

Top 3 Hindi soundtracks of 2015
01. Bombay Velvet (Amit Trivedi)

02. Tanu Weds Manu Returns (Krsna)

03. Tamasha (A R Rahman)

Top 10 Hindi songs of 2015
01. Sooraj dooba hai – Roy (Amaal Malik)
02. Piddly si baatein – Shamitabh (Ilayaraja)
03. O sathi mere – Tanu Weds Manu Returns (Krsna)
04. Mohabbat buri bimari – Bombay Velvet (Amit Trivedi)
05. Afghan jalebi – Phantom (Pritam)
06. Gulaabo – Shaandaar (Amit Trivedi)
07. Wat wat wat – Tamasha (A R Rahman)
08. Pehli baar – Dil Dhadakne Do (Shankar Ehsaan Loy)
09. Zindagi kuch toh bata (Jubin Nautiyal) – Bajrangi Bhaijan (Pritam)
10. Jee karda – Badlapur (Sachin-Jigar)

Top 11-20 Hindi songs of 2015
11. Saturday night – Bangistan (Ram Sampath)
12. Sun saathiya – ABCD2 (Sachin Jigar)
13. Bezubaan – Piku (Anupam Roy)
14. Mohe rang do laal – Bajirao Mastani (Sanjay Leela Bhansali)
15. Matargasthi – Tamasha (A R Rahman)
16. Ho gaya hai pyar tumse – Tanu Weds Manu Returns (Krsna)
17. Sapna jahan – Brothers (Ajay-Atul)
18. Kya pataa – Drishyam (Vishal Bhardwaj)
19. Tu chahiye – Bajrangi Bhaijan (Pritam)
20. Sooiyan – Guddu Rangeela (Amit Trivedi)

Top 21-30 Hindi songs of 2015
21. Raitaa phail gaya – Shaandaar (Amit Trivedi)
22. Yeh moh moh ke daage – Dum Laga Ke Haisha (Anu Malik)
23. Agar tum saath ho – Tamasha (A R Rahman)
24. Kinna sona – Bhaag Johnny (Mithoon)
25. Old school girl – Tanu Weds Manu Returns (Krsna)
26. Ishq-e-fillum – Shamitabh (Ilayaraja)
27. Jaanam – Detective Byomkesh Bakshy (Peter Cat Recording Co.)
28. Journey song – Piku (Anupam Roy)
29. Main tujhse pyar – Baby (M.M.Kreem)
30. Khulne lagi zindagi – The Perfect Girl (Soumil, Siddharth)

Playlist on Saavn (with available songs):


For the audaciously inventive and bold musical style in Uttama Villain, Ghibran deserves the composer of the year tag. It is an attempt as ambitious as Amit Trivedi’s Bombay Velvet in Hindi, though the style and genres are vastly different. But there’s another composer who deserves that tag along with Ghibran and that is Anirudh. He produced decent stuff in Maari and Vedalam, but where he hits it out of the park is in Naanum Rowdy Dhaan – it is a mesmerizing series of superb tunes one after the other!

The other young composer who gets to rank alongside these 2 to round off the top 3 soundtrack is Justin Prabhakaran. He comes on his own with a nuanced and beautiful 5-song set in Oru Naal Koothu. The young debutant of the year, Leon James packs a good punch too, across two sequels – Kanchana 2 and Ko 2, while the Hip Hop Tamizha duo of Adhi and Jeeva produced great ear-candy in Aambala.

Imman, who had a prolific output in 2013, seemed a bit muted this year too, like 2014, though he had a great album in Romeo Juliet. Rahman and Harris Jayaraj had their respective highlights in O Kadhal Kanmani and Yennai Arindhaal, while last year’s star, Santhosh Narayanan was content with just a middling 36 Vayadhinile.

Tamil composer(s) of the year: Ghibran & Anirudh

Top 3 Tamil soundtracks of 2015
01. Uttama Villain (Ghibran)

02. Naanum Rowdy Dhaan (Anirudh)

03. Oru Naal Koothu (Justin Prabhakaran)

Top 10 Tamil songs of 2015
01. Thangamey – Naanum Rowdy Dhaan (Anirudh)
02. Thoovaanam – Romeo Juliet (D.Imman)
03. Eppo varuvaaro – Oru Naal Koothu (Justin Prabhakaran)
04. Kannamma – Ko 2 (Leon James)
05. Don’u don’u – Maari (Anirudh)
06. Vaaya veera – Kanchana 2 (Leon James)
07. Uthaman arimugam + Uttaman kadhai + Mutharasan kadhai + Iranian naadagam – Uttama Villain (Ghibran)
08. Parandhu sella vaa – O Kadhal Kanmani (A R Rahman)
09. Mazhai vara pogudhae – Yennai Arindhaal (Harris Jayaraj)
10. Vaa vaa vaa vennila – Aambala (Hip Hop Tamizha)

Top 11-20 Tamil songs of 2015
11. Neeyum naanum – Naanum Rowdy Dhaan (Anirudh)
12. Adiye azhagae – Oru Naal Koothu (Justin Prabhakaran)
13. Idarkuthaane aasapattaai – Romeo Juliet (D.Imman)
14. Naanal poovai – Kirumi (K)
15. Jodi nilave – Thangamagan (Anirudh)
16. Mutham kodutha – Trisha Illana Nayanthara (G.V.Prakash Kumar)
17. Motta paiya – Kanchana 2 (Thaman S)
18. Mental manadhil – O Kadhal Kanmani (A R Rahman)
19. Unakkenna venum sollu – Yennai Arindhaal (Harris Jayaraj)
20. Kalakkattu kannaala – Kathukutty (Aruldev)

Top 21-30 Tamil songs of 2015
21. Ammanae – Ayirathil Iruvar (Bharadwaj)
22. Loveaa loveaa – Uttama Villain (Ghibran)
23. Ethanai kavignan – Savaale Samaali (Thaman S)
24. Rasathi – 36 Vayadhinile (Santhosh Narayanan)
25. Parapara – Yatchan (Yuvan Shankar Raja)
26. Neeyum adi naanum – Vil Ambu (Navin)
27. Kurunthogai – Idam Porul Yaeval (Yuvan Shankar Raja)
28. Oru vidha aasai – Maari (Anirudh)
29. Silukku marame – Paayum Puli (D.Imman)
30. Kanjaadai – Anjala (Gopi Sundar)

Playlist on Saavn (with available songs):


It’s not often a non-Telugu composer gets 2 fantastic soundtracks in the same year. A R Rahman perhaps did it in the beginning of his career, but Malayalam composer Gopi Sundar pulls off this trick in 2015. His music in Bhale Bhale Magadivoy and Malli Malli Idi Rani Roju take him right to the top of the pile, as composer of the year… in a year when old stars like Devi Sri Prasad and Thaman lost some of the shine, and others like Sunny M.R. gathered more steam.

But the composer to swoop in the 3rd spot in the top 3 soundtracks list late in the year is none other than Ilayaraja, with a lively, youthful album for Abbayitho Ammayi! Last year’s star, Ghibran had just one soundtrack in Telugu this year- Jil, while Keeravani’s music in Baahubali worked in tandem with the film’s historic box-office potential. Veteran Manisharma’s son, Saagar Mahati made a decent enough debut in Jaadugadu, while Keeravani’s severely under-rated brother Kalyan Koduri continues to show promise in films like Bandipotu and Hora Hori.

Telugu composer of the year: Gopi Sundar

Top 3 Telugu soundtracks of 2015

01. Bhale Bhale Magadivoy (Gopi Sundar)

02. Malli Malli Idi Rani Roju (Gopi Sundar)

03. Abbayitho Ammayi (Ilayaraja)

Top 10 Telugu songs of 2015
01. Bhale bhale magadivoy – Bhale Bhale Magadivoy (Gopi Sundar)
02. Kanulu kalanu pinche – Abbayitho Ammayi (Ilayaraja)
03. Varinche prema – Malli Malli Idi Rani Roju (Gopi Sundar)
04. Manohari – Baahubali (M.M.Keeravani)
05. Jil jil jil – Jil (Ghibran)
06. Naavaadai – Mosagallaku Mosagadu (Manikanth Kadri)
07. Punnami puvai – Rudramadevi (Ilayaraja)
08. Bhale manchi roju – Bhale Manchi Roju (Sunny M.R.)
09. Nuvve nuvve – Kick 2 (Thaman S)
10. ABC – Jaadugadu (Saagar Mahati)

Top 11-20 Telugu songs of 2015
11. Marhaba – Malli Malli Idi Rani Roju (Gopi Sundar)
12. Dheevara – Baahubali (M.M.Keeravani)
13. Motta madatisari – Bhale Bhale Magadivoy (Gopi Sundar)
14. Maya O Maya – Courier Boy Kalyan (Karthik)
15. Maatallo cheppaleni – Abbayitho Ammayi (Ilayaraja)
16. Suryudne chusoddhama – Tanu Nenu (Sunny M.R.)
17. Kerintha – Kerintha (Mickey J Meyer)
18. Jenda pai kapiraju – Kick 2 (Thaman S)
19. Anandham anandham – Tungabhadra (Hari Gaura)
20. Beautiful zindagi – Yevade Subramanyam (Radhan)

Top 21-30 Telugu songs of 2015
21. Yenno yenno – Malli Malli Idi Rani Roju (Gopi Sundar)
22. Bye bye bye – Beeruva (Thaman S)
23. Pori masala pori – Jil (Ghibran)
24. Endaro – Bhale Bhale Magadivoy (Gopi Sundar)
25. Evari roopo – Bhale Manchi Roju (Sunny M.R.)
26. Pilla nee kallakunna – Lion (Mani Sharma)
27. Vaddura mama – Tiger (Thaman S)
28. Neetho aithe – Kundanapu Bomma (M.M.Keeravani)
29. Oho sundari – Mosagallaku Mosagadu (Manikanth Kadri)
30. Edo mayalle inade – Bandipotu (Kalyan Koduri)


Note: The version of this list in The Hindu (for Malayalam) has the soundtrack of Ennu Ninte Moideen as the 2nd best soundtrack of 2015, because I had to send it in advance. Given the incredibly lethargic and annoyingly staggered release of all 7 of Charlie’s songs (hope that’s it and there’s no more… please!), I’m forced to bump it in place of Ennu Ninte Moideen. Because… the soundtrack (and Gopi) deserves it, simple.

Malayalam films produced some of the finest music for any film industry, in 2015. The sheer variety of music from Kerala this year was a delight! Composer Bijibal was perhaps at his prolific best, producing a bewildering array of tunes across films like 32aam Adhyayam 23aam Vaakyam, Nellikka, Pathemari, Rani Padmini, Rajamma@Yahoo, Su Su Sudhi Vathmeekam, She Taxi, KL10 Pathu and Jilebi, though a complete standout soundtrack eluded him. Gopi Sundar, who shares the composer of the year tag with Bijibal, also had a scattered assortment of great tunes from films like Ennu Ninte Moideen, Charlie, Oru Second Class Yathra, Mili, Ivan Maryadha Raman, Two Countries, Saaradhi, Jamna Pyari, Ivide and Lailaa O Lailaa. Unique to Malayalam soundtracks is the relatively lesser number of songs per film – usually 3 – that leads to a less rounded soundtrack. But, even with lesser number of songs, Roby Abraham’s lone soundtrack, You Too Brutus deserves the top spot in the 3 soundtracks of the year, for the kind of vibrant music it delivered.

The year’s biggest blockbuster, Premam, has a middling soundtrack at best, though much of its popularity was on the back of the film’s success. It did have the delightful, released-later song, Malare, though! The top honor in the songs easily goes to Prashant Pillai’s ear-worm from Chandrettan Evideya, Vasanthamallike! Shaan Rahman (with Oru Vadakkan Selfie and Adi Kapyare Kootamani), Govind Menon (with 100 Days of Love) and Viswajith (with Rudrasimhasanam) round off the top 10.

Malayalam composer(s) of the year: Bijibal and Gopi Sundar

Top 3 Malayalam soundtracks of 2015
01. You Too Brutus (Roby Abraham)
Listen to the songs on SoundCloud.

02. Charlie (Gopi Sundar)

03. Oru Vadakkan Selfie (Shaan Rahman)

Top 10 Malayalam songs of 2015
01. Vasanthamallike – Chandrettan Evideya (Prashant Pillai)
02. Chiriyude pinnil – You Too Brutus (Roby Abraham)
03. Ummarathe – Ivan Maryadaraman (Gopi Sundar)
04. Malare – Premam (Rajesh Murugesan)
05. Arike pozhiyum – 100 Days of Love (Govind Menon)
06. Ninnale innen – Rudrasimhasanam (Viswajith)
07. Mukkathe penne – Ennu Ninte Moideen (Gopi Sundar)
08. Enne Thallendammaava – Oru Vadakkan Selfie (Shaan Rahman)
09. Thalavara kurippu pusthakam – 32aam Adhyayam 23aam Vaakyam (Bijibal)
10. Pularikalo – Charlie (Gopi Sundar)

Top 11-20 Malayalam songs of 2015
11. Ambaazham Thanalitta – Oru Second Class Yathra (Gopi Sundar)
12. Azhalinte – You Too Brutus (Roby Abraham)
13. Manjupeyume – Mili (Gopi Sundar)
14. Ee kadalinu – Mariam Mukku (Vidyasagar)
15. Swapnachirakil – Nellikka (Bijibal)
16. Malarvaga kombathu – Ennum Eppozhum (Vidyasagar)
17. Kaikkottum Kandittilla – Oru Vadakkan Selfie (Shaan Rahman)
18. Kankankalil – Madhura Naranga (Sreejith-Saachin)
19. Ee thanutha – Anarkali (Vidyasagar)
20. Hemanthamen – Kohinoor (Rahul Raj)

Top 21-30 Malayalam songs of 2015
21. Saarangiyil – You Too Brutus (Roby Abraham)
22. Choolamittu – Ivan Maryadaraman (Gopi Sundar)
23. Pulari manjin – Lavender (Deepak Dev)
24. Ende maavum poothe – Adi Kapyare Kootamani (Shaan Rahman)
25. Thumba poove sundari – Kunjiramayanam (Justin Prabhakaran)
26. Kaanal kaatte – Haram (Thaikkudam Bridge)
27. Kaattummel – Salt Mango Tree (Hesham Abdul Wahab)
28. Oru makaranilavay – Rani Padmini (Bijibal)
29. Kannondu chollanu – Ennu Ninte Moideen (M.Jayachandran)
30. Chantham thelinju – Utopiayile Rajavu (Ouseppachan)


V.Harikrishna dominated last year’s rankings along with Arjun Janya, but in 2015 he seems to have evolved better on his own! His soundtracks for Boxer and Kendasampige easily earn him the composer of the year tag, while Manikanth Kadri rounds off the top 3 with Jaathre. Arjun seems to have lost some of his sheen this year, thanks to his style getting repetitive and predictable.

Harikrishna’s domination in the top 10 list is incredible, with 6 of the 10 songs! Mickey J Meyer, Manikanth Kadri, Arjun Janya and Anup Bhandari pick the other 4 spots. But yes, Kannada cinema lacked a big, inventive soundtrack like last year’s Ulidhavaru Kandante.

Kannada composer of the year: V.Harikrishna

Top 3 Kannada soundtracks of 2015
01. Boxer (V.Harikrishna)

02. Kendasampige (V.Harikrishna)

03. Jaathre (Manikanth Kadri)

Top 10 Kannada songs of 2015 01. Raja rani – Raate (V.Harikrishna) 02. Ee gulaalu – Boxer (V.Harikrishna) 03. Kannalle – Buguri (Mickey J Meyer) 04. Nenape nithya mallige – Kendasampige (V.Harikrishna) 05. Jeene laga – Jaathre (Manikanth Kadri) 06. Kelho haage – Minchaagi Nee Baralu (V.Harikrishna) 07. Suri suri – Rx Suri (Arjun Janya) 08. Akka pakka – Rangitaranga (Anup Bhandari) 09. Ninnalle – Endendigu (V.Harikrishna) 10. Neene neene – Ranavikrama (V.Harikrishna) Top 11-20 Kannada songs of 2015 11. Maleye maleye – Male (Jassie Gift) 12. Neenu banda mele – Ramleela (Anup Rubens) 13. Kanasalli nadesu – Kendasampige (V.Harikrishna) 14. Kaanadaa nalividu – Plus (B.J.Bharath) 15. No problem – Vajrakaya (Arjun Janya) 16. Kareyole – Rangitaranga (Anup Bhandari) 17. Maya jinke – Jaathre (Manikanth Kadri) 18. Goli hodi – Vascodigama (Poorna Chandra Tejaswi) 19. Simply met her – Vaastu Prakara (V.Harikrishna) 20. Raktha pumpu maado – Prema Pallaki (Vineeth Raj) Marathi I do not listen to every soundtrack produced from the Marathi film industry, so this list is at best a snapshot. Shankar Ehsaan Loy had a stupendous and massive soundtrack in Katyar Kaljat Ghusli. It outdid anything the trio produced in Hindi! Ajay-Atul continue to enthral in soundtracks like Neelkanth Master, with gems like the Shreya Ghoshal sung Adhir mann jhale, that easily deserves to be the song of the year in Marathi. Yug Bhusal’s work in Chitrafit 3.0 is the other notable highlight of the year in my view. Marathi composer(s) of the year: Shankar Ehsaan Loy Top 3 Marathi soundtracks of 2015 01. Katyar Kaljat Ghusli (Shankar Ehsaan Loy)

02. Nilkanth Master (Ajay-Atul)

03. Highway Ek Selfie Aarpar (Amit Trivedi)

Top 10 Marathi songs of 2015
01. Aadhir mann jhale – Nilkanth Master (Ajay-Atul)
02. Sur niragas ho – Katyar Kaljat Ghusli (Shankar Ehsaan Loy)
03. Yeh dil – Chitrafit 3.0 Megapixel (Yug Bhusal)
04. Samjena – Runh (Sangeet Siddharth)
05. Kalandar – Highway Ek Selfie Aarpar (Amit Trivedi)
06. Dil ki tapish – Katyar Kaljat Ghusli (Shankar Ehsaan Loy)
07. Partuni yena – Nilkanth Master (Ajay-Atul)
08. Jai malhari – Chitrafit 3.0 Megapixel (Yug Bhusal)
09. Man mandira – Katyar Kaljat Ghusli (Shankar Ehsaan Loy)
10. Sobane soyanire – Carry On Maratha (Shail-Pritesh)


Top Indipop albums of 2015
01. The Music Room – Sonu Nigam and Bickram Ghosh (Listen)
02. Shukriya & Malanga – Gulraj Singh (Listen + Listen)
03. Filament – Shankar Tucker (Listen)
04. Navarasam – Thaikkudam Bridge (Listen)
05. And A Half – Arka (Listen)
06. Silence Is Bliss – Naveen Kumar (Listen)
07. Ananthaal – Clinton Cerejo, Bianca Gomes & Vijay Prakash (Listen)
08. Indosoul – Karthick Iyer Live (Listen)




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