Milliblog Annual Music round-up 2018

Prelude: This is the 11th year of my annual music round-ups. In case you are curious, here are the previous editions 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008

2018 was a landmark year for Indian film music in a way that it almost completely and confidently eroded the value of a ‘soundtrack’, or what most people call an ‘album’. There is no need or pretense of a soundtrack or an album anymore. The 2 directors who held on to that definition and went on to score very big, either musically or dramatically (on screen) using music as a co-creator—Shankar and Mani Ratnam—gave up on that notion with 2.0 and Chekka Chivantha Vaanam, respectively, this year. Shankar had 3.5 songs in 2.0 (all of them were severely underwhelming, in my opinion) while Mani Ratnam released, almost apologetically, his A R Rahman-composed soundtrack of Chekka Chivantha Vaanam on the day of the film’s release.

It’s not that soundtracks or jukeboxes on YouTube don’t happen anymore. It’s just that nobody expects them—all that predictably—anymore. It seems fine to have a loosely connected set of singles for a film, and have them perform the film’s weekly/monthly marketing.

Telugu film industry seems to be only one that still holds soundtrack with some sanctity, but I don’t think that would last anymore. It’s already doing what Hindi cinema adopted—multi-composer soundtracks—in films like Lover and Hushaaru.

Malayalam and Kannada cinema have gone further into the limited number of songs per film mode – 3-4 songs seems like the new norm everywhere.

Given all this, I’m doing away with calling out the top 3 soundtracks per year, starting 2018. Top 30 singles seem to suffice!

Beyond film music, I thought Indipop was very, very big this year. A lot of non-film pop music surfaced even beyond stronghold languages like Punjabi where it is the norm (against Punjabi film music), led by digital medium, primarily YouTube and the streaming platforms. Another small start is the music composed for TV series. I observed pretty good music for series like ALTBalaji’s Broken and VIU’s Banned. I’m assuming this will catch on, given the number of web-series and OTT/streaming series that are being made and released across languages, and that we will have a lot more soundtracks for these too, besides films. It’s great in one way – another avenue for music artists to find an occupation and express themselves musically.

And yes, as usual, just remember – every top 10/20/30 list of songs or movies or books is a function of two things – your unique views and opinions, and the total number of that piece of art you have listened/seen/read/consumed. You, as a casual listener, may not have listened to a lot of music, but I do. Week after week. On an average, I listen to at least 50+ new songs from across India and outside. And this is not including those songs I listen to more than once or twice because I’m drawn to them based on my tastes. My long-list for each language is easily about 200+ songs, which, I have to use only my personal tastes and preferences, to reduce to just 30. So, you could very easily start an argument by isolating one song you haven’t heard or liked from the top 30 and ask, ‘Is that song better than XYZ?’.

For example, “Is Meri Nimmo’s Yeh Bhi Beet Jaayega better than Chaav Laga from Sui Dhaaga?”, or “Is Jarugandi’s Yaaradi Nee better than Chekka Chivantha Vaanam?”, or “Is Brand Babu’s Inthe Prema better than all the songs of Devadas?”, or “Is Kinavalli’s Chalamelara better than Odiyan’s Kondoram?”, or “Trataka’s Manase better than all/any song from The Villain?”.

There are no answers for such questions simply because, as I mentioned earlier, each top 30 list is a finite list of 30 songs. And that 30 is like a fingerprint, unique to each person. If all our lists are identical, that’d be a very boring world. It is because our lists are different that we discover new songs, learn from each others’ experiences and tastes and expand our horizons. Let’s enjoy and celebrate that diversity in opinions.

If you wonder how I/we create our own lists and end up liking specific songs among so many, read Milliblog’s Three Laws of Music Appreciation Multiverse.

As always, these lists are in my order of preference, not any random order. And yes, I make these lists primarily for my own listening. They are not meant to pander to some market forces or some star/composer’s whims or fancies – that would be a massive waste of my time. So, these lists are to answer my own question, “There are SO MANY songs to listen to. What should I listen to?“. I’m solving my own music discoverability problem given a profusion of songs throughout the year. The only reason I also share them online is to help others with the same discoverability problem and possibly help some of the lesser known/heard songs that deserve a listen.

Happy listening!


No single composer dominated the release cycle or in terms of quality in 2018, in my opinion. Last year, it was a close call between Pritam and Tanishk Bagchi, but in 2018, Pritam was completely absent, while Tanishk continued to run riot with many singles that were also clever recreations, a technique he has totally owned by now. Amit Trivedi came close, with an ambitious and sprawling soundtrack for Anurag Kashyap’s Manmarziyaan, and followed it up with a very good Andhadhun. But he had spotty music elsewhere – Raid, Blackmail, Bhavesh Joshi Superhero, PadMan, Helicopter Eela and Kedarnath. That’s a lot of films in one year, though… and it shows, why many of them were spotty with only occasional highlights.

Veterans Shankar Ehsaan and Loy scored very well with both Raazi and Soorma, while Ajay-Atul made deeper inroads into Hindi cinema with Dhadak, Thugs of Hindostan and Zero, even as they hold on to their roots with films like Mauli. But their big-ticket films like Thugs of Hindostan and Zero seem more like them using the respective director/producer’s soundscape a lot more than their own.

My favorite soundtrack of the year is Laila Majnu. Between Niladri Kumar (getting back to Hindi, after his 2016 Hindi debut in Shorgul and his Kannada debut in Niruttara, in 2017) and Joi Barua, the music they produce is mindbogglingly good, and this is one soundtrack that perhaps deserved a better film, and hence better commercial success/viability. It proves that Imtiaz Ali’s musical sense is intact no matter how he chooses to engage in the film.

There were a lot of other composers who were good on a one-off basis. That list doesn’t include Tanishk Bagchi, of course, who has made a career out of recreations, despite being known for good original music, like last year’s Shubh Mangal Saavdhan. But I’d argue that some of his recreations are definitely good and don’t deserve the generic write-off they end up getting. That list includes Dil Juunglee’s Gazab Ka Hai Din, Raid’s Nit Khair Manga, Fanney Khan’s Jawan Hai Mohabbat, Mitron’s Chalte Chalte, KGF’s Gali Gali and Simmba’s Aankh Maare. Long list, huh?

Among the other composers who surprised with very good work this year sporadically, Sandesh Shandilya (Daas Dev), Vishal Bhardwaj (Pataakha), Abhishek Arora (October), Anurag Saikia (Karwaan), Clinton Cerejo (3 Storeys), Krsna Solo (Meri Nimmo) and A R Rahman (Sanju) top my list. The only woman composer in my top 30 is Akanksha, of Samuel-Akansha who composed for Jalebi.

Other composers who didn’t make it to the top 30 but deserve a mention include Sohail Sen (Aashiyana – Love Per Square Foot), Sameer Uddin (Jive With Me – Kaalakaandi), Mannan Shah (Tere Liye – Namaste England), Anurag Saikia, despite his presence in the top 30 with Karwaan, also had Prabhu Ji from High Jack, Jeet Ganguli (Mirza Ve (Male) – Marudhar Express), Rochak Kohli (Lae Dooba – Aiyaary), Rana Mazumdar (Yeh Kya Hua – Broken But Beautiful), Jasleen Royal (Khol De Par – Hichki), Sundeep Gosswami & Surya Vishwakarma (Dil Beparwah – Phamous), Anu Malik (Chaav Laaga – Sui Dhaaga: Made In India and Gold Tamba – Batti Gul Meter Chalu), Rachita Arora (Mushkil Hai Apna Meil Priye, Bahut Hua Samman, Chhipkali – Mukkabaaz) and Sachin-Jigar (Kamariya, Nazar Na, Milegi – Stree; De De Jagah, Shubh Din – Parmanu).

Composer of the year: Amit Trivedi

01. Daryaa – Manmarziyaan (Amit Trivedi)
02. Aahista – Laila Majnu (Niladri Kumar)
03. Challa Chaap Chunariya – Daas Dev (Sandesh Shandilya)
04. Title Song – Dhadak (Ajay-Atul)
05. Soorma Anthem – Soorma (Shankar Ehsaan Loy)
06. Naina Da Kya Kasoor – Andhadhun (Amit Trivedi)
07. Theher Ja – October (Abhishek Arora)
08. Naina Banjare – Pataakha (Vishal Bhardwaj)
09. Tum Se – Jalebi (Samuel & Akanksha)
10. Bhare Bazaar – Namaste England (Rishi Rich & Badshah)

11. Dilbaro – Raazi (Shankar Ehsaan Loy)
12. O’Meri Laila – Laila Majnu (Joi Barua)
13. Hallaa – Manmarziyaan (Amit Trivedi)
14. Chogada – Loveyatri (Lijo George – Dj Chetas)
15. Chota Sa Fasana – Karwaan (Anurag Saikia)
16. Paintra – Mukkabaaz (Nucleya)
17. Raat Youn Dil Main Teri – Daas Dev (Sandesh Shandilya)
18. Qaafirana – Kedarnath (Amit Trivedi)
19. Ruby Ruby – Sanju (A R Rahman)
20. Nazarbattu – Yamla Pagla Deewana Phir Se (Sachet – Parampara)

21. Mere Naam Tu – Zero (Ajay-Atul)
22. Bas Tu Hai – 3 Storeys (Clinton Cerejo)
23. Tafreeh – Bhavesh Joshi Superhero (Amit Trivedi)
24. Yeh Bhi Beet Jayega – Meri Nimmo (Krsna Solo)
25. Tareefan – Veere Di Wedding (Qaran)
26. Grey Walaa Shade – Manmarziyaan (Amit Trivedi)
27. Pardesiya – Soorma (Shankar Ehsaan Loy)
28. Badhaaiyan Tenu – Badhaai Ho (Tanishk Bagchi)
29. Hafiz Hafiz – Laila Majnu (Niladri Kumar)
30. Monobina – Gold (Tanishk Bagchi)

Hindi Top 30 playlist on YouTube | Saavn


Tamil film music easily belongs to Govind ‘Menon’ Vasantha, in 2018. The composer, from Thaikkudam Bridge, had been roped in as the composer for his Tamil film long before 2018 in Oru Pakka Kathai, Kalidas Jayaram’s debut vehicle. Last year, the film’s crew released one single and Govind’s musical single debut fizzled out in Tamil. But this year, the man bounced back incredibly with his full album debut (Asuravadham, with 2 fantastic songs), the towering soundtrack for 96 and closing the year with a stupendous Seethakaathi.

But Santhosh Narayanan doesn’t let Govind take the center stage alone! He had a stupendous year too, with brilliant music in Kaala, Pariyerum Perumal and VadaChennai! It’s great to have this healthy and exciting flow of music from 2 fantastic music makers, in the same year!

The 3rd composer who comes close in terms of what Govind or Santhosh produce, but still fell short is Yuvan Shankar Raja. Between Pyaar Prema Kaadhal and Peranbu, he sure seems like having a great time!

About the rest. I expected a whole lot more from A R Rahman – after all, he had his films with 3 directors for whom he produces brilliant music, in 2018 – Shankar, Mani Ratnam and Rajiv Menon. I was completely underwhelmed with both 2.0 and Chekka Chivantha Vaanam, and from whatever I have heard from Sarvam Thaala Mayam, I found it functional and good, not in line with the combo legendary form (Minsara Kanavu and Kandukonden). Anirudh had a great Kolamaavu Kokila and good pop singles like Julie, though I thought his big-ticket Rajini, Petta, was strictly middling.

Darbuka Siva’s story is quite sad, since it seems tied to the will-it-ever-release Enai Nokki Paayum Thotta that is almost like the slow-motion bullet from Matrix… it is still in the air, flying. But, he showcased excellent music in Nimir, thankfully. Between Iravukku Aayiram Kangal, Diya and Mr. Chandramouli, Sam had a pretty good year, while Dhibu Ninan Thomas followed up Maragadha Naanayam’s debut with a good Kanaa. D.Imman continues to produce a lot of familiar and similar music, but for the occasional spark, like in Tik Tik Tik and Seemaraja.

Vishal Chandrashekar’s Telugu form seems better than Tamil for now, given his great music in Padi padi Leche Manasu, though his one single from Kalidas is very good too. I expected a lot more from Sooraj S Kurup’s Tamil debut Vandi, but given the movie’s fate the music faded too. Others like Premgi, Joshua Sridhar, Bobo Shashi and Arun Raj round-up the top 30 confidently, with the occasional good output, even as I missed Ghibran, despite limited work like Aan Devathai, Vishwaroopam 2 and Ratchasan.

Other composers who deserve a mention but missed their place in the top 30 because, well, it IS a top “30” include, Ajaneesh B.Loknath (Nenjil Mamazhai – Nimir), Premgi Amaren (despite his Party song featuring in the top 30) with Adiye from R K Nagar, Ved Shanker Sugavanam (Yaaradi, Kannala – China), Dharan Kumar (Idhu Varai Naan – Zhagaram), Santhosh Dayanidhi (Neethane En Thoovanam – Lisaa), Arrol Correlli (Mayakkuraane – Annanukku Jey), Girishh G (Thallipora – Pakshi), N.Kannan (Kalavarame – Tamizh Padam 2), Hiphop Tamizha (Kadhalikathey – Imaikkaa Nodigal), Vivek-Mervin (Seramal Ponal – Gulaebaghavali), Siddharth Vipin (Koottippo Koodave – Junga), Thaman S (Kanave Kanave – Sketch), Achu Rajamani (Pondattee – Golisoda 2, Thirudathey – Marainthirunthu Paarkum Marmam Enna), V.V.Prassanna (Kedaya, Yaaradhu – Kalari), Balamurali Balu (Azhukku Jatti Amudhavalli – Iruttu Araiyil Murattu Kuthu), M S Jones Rupert (Vidiyarkaalai Nilave – MamaKiKi) and Javed Riaz (Pora Pora – Yaar Ivargal).

Composers of the year: Santhosh Narayanan and Govind Vasantha

01. Pottakaatil Poovasam – Pariyerum Perumal (Santhosh Narayanan)
02. Anthaathi – 96 (Govind Vasantha)
03. The Journey of Ayya – Seethakaathi (Govind Vasantha)
04. Kaarkuzhal Kadavaiye – VadaChennai (Santhosh Narayanan)
05. Kalyaana Vayasu – Kolamaavu Kokila (Anirudh)
06. High On Love – Pyaar Prema Kaadhal (Yuvan Shankar Raja)
07. Geedhaara Kiliye – Nimir (Darbuka Siva)
08. Alathi Anbai – Asuravadham (Govind Vasantha)
09. Dhooramaai – Peranbu (Yuvan Shankar Raja)
10. Naan Yaar – Pariyerum Perumal (Santhosh Narayanan)

11. Yaenadi – Nimir (Darbuka Siva)
12. Karuppi – Pariyerum Perumal (Santhosh Narayanan)
13. Yedhedho Aanene – Mr. Chandramouli (Sam C.S.)
14. Kannamma – Kaala (Santhosh Narayanan)
15. Mazhai – Kaalidas (Vishal Chandrasekhar)
16. The Life of Ram – 96 (Govind Vasantha)
17. Varum Aana Varaathu – Seemaraja (D.Imman)
18. Vaayadi Petha Pulla – Kanaa (Dhibu Ninan Thomas)
19. Ulagam Ennai – Vandi (Sooraj S Kurup)
20. Konjali – Diya (Sam C.S.)

21. Kodi Mangani – Party (Premgi Amaren)
22. Vilagaadhe Enadhuyirae – Oru Kuppai Kathai (Joshua Sridhar)
23. Ayya – Seethakaathi (Govind Vasantha)
24. Maya Maya – Sarvam Thaala Mayam (A R Rahman)
25. Yaaradi Nee – Jarugandi (Bobo Shashi)
26. Bhoomi Bhoomi – Chekka Chivantha Vaanam (A R Rahman)
27. Rowdy Baby – Maari 2 (Yuvan Shankar Raja)
28. Maadila Nikkura Maankutty – VadaChennai (Santhosh Narayanan)
29. Inayae – Thadam (Arun Raj)
30. Tik Tik Tik – Tik Tik Tik (D.Imman)

Tamil Top 30 playlist on YouTube | Saavn


The Telugu film industry produced a lot of good, interesting music across the year that went far beyond what conventionally passes for musical templates in Telugu films. With 5 of his films represented in the top 30, I’d easily rate Gopi Sundar as the top composer of the year in Telugu. And this includes the best song of the year, from Geetha Govindam. But, I’m also acutely aware of the allegations against the composer in the #MeToo saga, so let me add that context even as I anoint him as the composer of the year for the incredible quality of music he produced in Telugu.

I’m glad to see Jakes Bejoy taking confident strides outside Malayalam in 2018, even as his Tamil repertoire was middling. His Taxiwaala fared much better including the best song of the soundtrack at my No.2. Tune-machine Devi Sri Prasad impressed with occasionally with good tunes from Rangasthalam and Bharat Ane Nenu, while Anirudh’s Telugu was a very good one! Vivek Sagar had 2 great soundtracks in Ee Nagaraniki Emaindi and Sammohanam, and Kannada composer Ajaneesh Loknath’s original Telugu debut (not counting the remake Kirik Party) in truly Nannu Dochukunduvate was excellent.

Hindi Remix-Raja Tanishk Bagchi makes a surprising entry into the Top 10 of Telugu with an original composition that also beautifully touches a quasi-classical note! The return of Sandeep Chowta in Mehbooba was fairly okay, but one song does stand out, easily. Debutant Chaitan Bharadwaj had a stupendously successful film in RX100 to let his music reach a wide audience, and Vishal Chandrashekar produced a whopper of a soundtrack towards the end of the year, and has 2 songs in my top 30 from it.

Other noteworthy composers include Keeravani’s brother who now goes by the name Kalyana Ramana, with his lone winner in Ammammagarillu; Thaman, who produced a lot of music but the only thing that worked for me is a song from Tholi Prema, his best in ages; JB, on whom I continue to place a lot of hope; Prashanth R Vihari, who has been steadily rising his profile and finally culminates it all in both Chi La Sow and particularly in Antharisksham 9000 KMPH, Mickey J Meyer, who had minor highlights in Mahanati and Srinivasa Kalayanam; and last year’s toppers, Radhan and Shravan Bharadwaj producing very limited music in Hushaaru and Manchukurisevelalo.

Few of the other composers who missed the top 30 include Hiphop Tamizha (Dhaari Choodu – Krishnarjuna Yudham), Sharreth (Chiniki Chiniki, Nijama Manasa – Naa Nuvve), Ankit Tiwari (Anthe Kada Mari – Lover), Suresh Bobbili (Naaloni Nuvvu Neeloni Nenu, Edo Jarige – Needi Naadhi Oke Katha), Srinivasa Sarma Rani (Kougillalo, Avuna Nena – Ala) and Zenith Reddy (Arey Arey – Pedavi Datani Matokatundhi).

Composer of the year: Gopi Sundar

01. Inkem Inkem Inkem Kaavaale – Geetha Govindam (Gopi Sundar)
02. Maate Vinadhuga – Taxiwaala (Jakes Bejoy)
03. Rangamma Mangamma – Rangasthalam (Devi Sri Prasad)
04. Gaali Vaaluga – Agnyaathavaasi (Anirudh)
05. Oohalu Oorege Gaalanthaa – Sammohanam (Vivek Sagar)
06. Inthe Inthena – Nannu Dochukunduvate (Ajaneesh B.Loknath)
07. Adbhutam – Lover (Tanishk Bagchi)
08. Saiyaan – Mehbooba (Sandeep Chowta)
09. Pillaa Raa – RX 100 (Chaitan Bharadwaj)
10. Padi Padi Leche – Padi Padi Leche Manasu (Vishal Chandrashekar)

11. Chala Chala – Ammammagarillu (Kalyana Ramana)
12. Okadhaari Lona – Nannu Dochukunduvate (Ajaneesh B.Loknath)
13. Baitikochi Chuste – Agnyaathavaasi (Anirudh)
14. Ninnila – Tholi Prema (Thaman S)
15. Yenti Yenti – Geetha Govindam (Gopi Sundar)
16. O My Lovely Lalana – Padi Padi Leche Manasu (Vishal Chandrashekar)
17. Vachaadayyo Saami – Bharat Ane Nenu (Devi Sri Prasad)
18. Pelli Pandhiri – Shailaja Reddy Alludu (Gopi Sundar)
19. Kanulalo Thadigaa – Sammohanam (Vivek Sagar)
20. Vagachi – Amala (Gopi Sundar)

21. Inthe Prema – Brand Babu (JB)
22. Mellaga Mellaga – Chi La Sow (Prashanth R Vihari)
23. Andhamaina Chandhamaama – Tej I Love You (Gopi Sundar)
24. Samayama – Anthariksham 9000 KMPH (Prashanth R Vihari)
25. Madhilo Unna Prema – Jamba Lakidi Pamba (Gopi Sundar)
26. Manchukurise Vela – Manchukurisevelalo (Shravan Bharadwaj)
27. Savyasachi – Savyasachi (M.M.Keeravani)
28. Undiporaadhey – Hushaaru (Radhan)
29. Collegee Agelona – Ee Nagaraniki Emaindi (Vivek Sagar)
30. Mooga Manasulu – Mahanati (Mickey J Meyer)

Telugu Top 30 playlist on YouTube | Saavn


From 1 song in Kismath and 2 songs in Ezra, composer Sushin Shyam has definitely come a long, confident way with stellar pieces of music in Maradona and Varathan. But for this 2 soundtrack win, I’d have picked Rex Vijayan for Mayaanadhi, as the composer of the year. I continue to place my bets on Rahul Raj, though the man gets low key every year – but his music in both Kaly and Vikadakumaran were definitely noteworthy.

The most promising relatively-newer composers this year were Mujeeb Majeed and Ranjin Raj; the latter in particular was very impressive in Joseph. The other big surprise, like Jakes Bejoy’s lateral movement to Tamil and Malayalam, was singer Sachin Warrier, who not only impressed with Kannada, but also had 2 fantastic songs in Malayalam. John P Varkey and Kailas Menon, another pair of relatively new composers round off the top 10 in style.

I missed Bijibal the most in 2018, but he did produce the very-Bijibal score in Oru Kaatil Oru Paykappal that I loved. Last year’s toppers, Gopi and Shaan, fared relatively poorly this year, though their Aravindante Athidhikal, My Story, Oru Adaar Love, Mazhayathu, Kaamuki, Kammara Sambhavam and Captain did have the occasional great songs worth getting into the top 30. Deepankuran’s Thattumpurathu Achuthan was an above average effort, enough to make look forward to his music, while Vishnu Mohan Sithara did something similar in Ottakkoru Kaamukan.

Other one-off winners include Hindi composer Vishal Bhardwaj with Carbon, Arunraj with Oru Pazhaya Bomb Kadha, Stephen Devassy with Neerali, M.Jayachandran with Ente Mezhuthiri Athazhangal, Tony Joseph Pallivathukal with Mohanlal, Mangal Suvarnan with Kinavalli, Sayonara Philip with Kuttanpillayude Sivarathri and Sreejith Edavana with Shikkari Shambhu.

The other composers who did not make it the top 30 but definitely deserve a mention in the year-end list (and they did feature in the Weeklies during the year) include, Sithara Krishnakumar (Poomathe Ponnamma – Udalaazham), Jassie Gift (Mylanchi – Masterpiece), Jecin George (Neelashalabame – Charminar), Ashwin and Sandeep (Tanka Takkara – Naam), Jakes Bejoy (Pathiye – Ranam, Doore Vazhikalil – Swathandriam Ardharathriyil, Saare Njangal – Queen), Dawn Vincent (Bum Bum Bum – Iblis), Rajesh Murugesan (Paravayai, Payunne Mele – Thobama), Ousepachan (Thullimazha – Ennaalum Sarath..?), Vinu Thomas (Drama – Pandaarand), Deepak Dev (Panimathiye – Vallikudilile Vellakkaran), Nahoom Abraham (Venmukilukal – Jeevitham Oru Mukhammoodi), Viswajith (Kannaanthalir – Velakkariyayirunnalum Neeyen Mohavalli), Prakash Alex (Mazhamukile – Kalyanam), Athul Anand (Vanolam – Kala Viplavam Pranayam), Girish Narayan (Nenjin Ninave – Angarajyathe Jimmanmar), Hariprasad R (Thoo Manju, Mazha Megham – Krishnam), Arun Ashok (Mayathennum – Mayathennum), Raghu Dixit (Aararo – Koode), Nadirsha (Varika Rasika – Panchavarna Thatha), Jibu Sivananda (Mazhayil Nanayum – Kaitholachathan) and Jubair Muhammed (Oru Poovithal – Old Is Gold).

PS: Malayalam is the only other language where the first 2 songs belong to the same hero – Tovino Thomas, like Telugu, where Vijay Devarakonda features in the top 2 songs. Incidentally, Sid Sriram sings both the songs in Telugu.

Composer of the year: Sushin Shyam

01. Kaadhale – Maradona (Sushin Shyam)
02. Uyirin Nadhiye – Mayaanadhi (Rex Vijayan)
03. Poo Poothuvo – Kaly (Rahul Raj)
04. Aaha – Orayiram Kinakkalal (Sachin Warrier)
05. Kanne Kanne – Mandharam (Mujeeb Majeed)
06. Jeevamshamayi – Theevandi (Kailas Menon)
07. Karineela Kannulla – Joseph (Ranjin Raj)
08. Suhara Song – Shibu (Sachin Warrier)
09. Mizhi Niranju – Eeda (John P Varkey)
10. Kannum Kannum – Vikadakumaran (Rahul Raj) [not available in the Saavn playlist]

11. Kiliye – Mayaanadhi (Rex Vijayan)
12. Mangalakaaraka – Thattumpurathu Achuthan (Deepankuran) [not available in the Saavn playlist]
13. Rasathi – Aravindante Athidhikal (Shaan Rahman)
14. Aaro Varunnathai – Mazhayathu (Gopi Sundar)
15. Kaattin Saarangi – Carbon (Vishal Bhardwaj) [not available in the Saavn playlist]
16. Maanathe Chandirane Pole – Ottakkoru Kaamukan (Vishnu Mohan Sithara)
17. Kaayal Olam Enthino Kothichuvo – Oru Kaatil Oru Paykappal (Bijibal)
18. Nee – Varathan (Sushin Shyam)
19. Kurumbi – Kaamuki (Gopi Sundar)
20. Njano Ravo – Kammara Sambhavam (Gopi Sundar) [not available in the Saavn playlist]

21. Moovandan Manchottil – Oru Pazhaya Bomb Kadha (Arunraj)
22. Azhake – Neeraali (Stephen Devassy)
23. Mizhi Mizhi – My Story (Shaan Rahman)
24. Neela Neela Mizhikalo – Ente Mezhuthiri Athazhangal (M.Jayachandran)
25. Va Va Vo – Mohanlal (Tony Joseph Pallivathukal)
26. Chalamelara (Raveguru) – Kinavalli (Mangal Suvarnan) [not available in the Saavn playlist]
27. Naadottukku – Kuttanpillayude Sivarathri (Sayonara Philip)
28. Mazha – Shikkari Shambhu (Sreejith Edavana)
29. Paalthira Paadum – Captain (Gopi Sundar)
30. Manikya Malaraya Poovi – Oru Adaar Love (Shaan Rahman)

Malayalam Top 30 playlist on YouTube | Saavn


Compared to 2017, I thought the Kannada film music output in 2018 was far superior. Last year’s hold-outs like Ajaneesh Loknath had a very good year, while last year’s star Judah Sandhy continued his impressive form almost all through, till soundtracks like Thayige Thakka Maga caught up.

I have always hoped a lot from multilingual composer Manikanth Kadri and I’m glad to see he produced a really good soundtrack in Naduve Antaravirali, while Sachin Warrier’s Kannada debut was a super surprise since he seems to be getting truly multilingual too! Charan Raj had a good year since his long-awaited Jeer Jimbe released finally, though it was Tagaru that was his best work in the year.

The most prolific Kannada composer Arjun Janya, who took on that mantle from V.Harikrishna, was busy all through the year, and his Raaga (2017) equivalent wholesome soundtrack happened in Kannadakkagi Ondannu Otti. Sunaad Gowtham was the surprise entry this year in the top 10, with a confident set of songs in Ananthu V/s Nusrath.

The trio, Kartik, Pradeep, Ganeshan, made themselves heard in Trunk, while Anand Rajavikram, who I had pinned some hopes based on last year’s Lee, had one very good song in Relax Satya. Nobin Paul’s Anukta, Vasuki Vaibhav’s Sarkari Hi. Pra. Shaale, Kasaragodu, Amit Anand’s Gultoo and Chandan Shetty’s Gaanchali complete the rest of the top 30. As for Thaman, who plays peekaboo in Kannada, he had one decent outing in Orange.

Veteran Gurukiran’s Nee Yaaro Nanage from Amma I Love You, a couple of songs from Arun Suradhaa’s Trataka, Oo Deva from Poornachandra Tejaswi’s Fortuner, Sridhar V Sambhram’s Kannugale from Iruvudellava Bittu, Ashic Arun’s Mugulunage from Edakallu Guddada Mele and Kiran Ravindranath’s Sogasaagi from Krishna Tulasi are some of the other composers who missed the top 30, but deserve a mention.

Composer(s) of the year: Ajaneesh B.Loknath and Judah Sandhy

01. Hosa Padmavathi – Johny Johny Yes Papa (Ajaneesh B.Loknath)
02. Mental Ho Jawa – Tagaru (Charan Raj M.R)
03. Dheemtha – Katheyondu Shuruvagide (Sachin Warrier)
04. Shaakuntle Sikkalu – Naduve Antaravirali (Manikanth Kadri)
05. Nana Mele Nanageega – Kannadakkagi Ondannu Otti (Arjun Janya)
06. Jaleela – Ambi Ning Vayassaytho (Arjun Janya)
07. Rangeride – Vaasu Naan Pakka Commercial (Ajaneesh B.Loknath)
08. Jeevana Kali (Sagu Sagu) – Idam Premam Jeevanam (Judah Sandhy)
09. Haniye Haniye – 8MM Bullet (Judah Sandhy)
10. Eega Thaane Jaariyagide – Ananthu V/s Nusrath (Sunaad Gowtham)

11. Ontharadali Ella Hayagide – Bruhaspati (V.Harikrishna)
12. Jeeva Sakhi – Tagaru (Charan Raj M.R)
13. Daariya Kaledukondide – Katheyondu Shuruvagide (Sachin Warrier) [not available in the YouTube playlist]
14. Romanchana – Trunk (Kartik, Pradeep, Ganeshan)
15. Kshana Kshana – Relax Satya (Anand Rajavikram)
16. Ee Saniha – Anukta (Nobin Paul)
17. Kuttu Kuttu – Viictory 2 (Arjun Janya)
18. Yenammi Yenammi – Ayogya (Arjun Janya)
19. He Sharade – Sarkari Hi. Pra. Shaale, Kasaragodu (Vasuki Vaibhav)
20. Manase – Trataka (Arun Suradhaa)

21. Saalaagi – Gultoo (Amit Anand)
22. Arare Arare – Idam Premam Jeevanam (Judah Sandhy)
23. Bhoomi Baana Kaadambari – Katheyondu Shuruvagide (Sachin Warrier) [not available in the YouTube playlist]
24. Ardha Chandra – 8MM Bullet (Judah Sandhy)
25. Ele Vayasina – Naduve Antaravirali (Manikanth Kadri)
26. Yaaro Yaaro – Orange (Thaman S)
27. Dadda Song – Sarkari Hi. Pra. Shaale, Kasaragodu (Vasuki Vaibhav)
28. Title song – Kannadakkaagi Ondannu Otti (Arjun Janya)
29. Yaako Yeno – Jeerjimbe (Charan Raj M.R) [not available in the Saavn playlist]
30. Usire Usire – Gaanchali (Chandan Shetty)

Kannada Top 30 playlist on YouTube | Saavn


I started tracking Indipop very diligently in 2018 and it helped me very well. The sheer range of multilingual pop music all through the year was staggering. Particularly worth mentioning is 7UP’s Madras Gig set of songs that were consistently good. The other series worth highlighting is Gautham Vasudev Menon-blessed Ondraga Originals, which had music by singer Karthik and lyrics by Madhan Karky. Like my note on Gopi Sundar in the Telugu top 30’s introduction, it is only fair to add the context of #MeToo allegations against singer Karthik while talking about how good his music was.

3 bands that were really consistent with the quality of their output were Agam, Sona Mohapatra and Ram Sampath, and The Yellow Diary. Agam’s sophomore album released as a series of singles in 2018 even as the full album hasn’t released yet. But the 2nd album was a true work of art, with a staggering showcase of fantastic music and imagination! Sona and Ram continue to produce eclectic and delightfully Indian music together. The Yellow Diary, across 2 EPs (Izafa and Marz) were very, very impressive.

Ananthaal’s loss was the Shor Police’s gain – missing Vijay Prakash, but the other 2 continued the good music in the new band. Of the others in the Tamil pop variety, Anirudh’s Julie, BP Collective’s Kannil Mazhai, Ashwin Vinayagamoorthy’s Maiyitta Mayile, Thayir Sadam Project’s Crazy Little Thing Called Chakravakam, Funktuation’s Oora Paaru, Ranjith’s Pachondhi deserve a special mention.

01. Manavyalakinchara (Mist of Capricorn) – Agam
02. Koova – Ondraga Originals
03. Siddaiah Swamy Banni – Folk Fusion
04. Anjaana – Shor Police
05. Marz – The Yellow Diary
06. Julie – Anirudh Ravichander
07. Mulla – Hope Project
08. Aaya Na Tu – Arjun Kanungo, Momina Mustehsan
09. Kannil Mazhai – BP Collective
10. Tum Jo Mile – Maati Baani

11. The Celestial Nymph (Manassi Dussaham) – Agam
12. Maiyitta Mayile (feat. Kausthub Ravi) – Ashwin Vinayagamoorthy
13. Tori Surat – Sona Mohapatra, Ram Sampath
14. Crazy Little Thing Called Chakravakam – Thayir Sadam Project
15. Tere Jeya Hor Disda – Izafa, The Yellow Diary
16. Oora Paaru – Funktuation
17. Cloud 8.9 – Uplift [not available in the YouTube playlist]
18. Kanne Kanne – Madras Gig (Leon James)
19. Thee – San Jaimt
20. Cheluvayya Cheluvo – Folk Fusion

21. Saalaikal – Thaikkudam Bridge
22. Rangapura Vihara – Agam
23. Kaadhal Thozhi – Vidya Vox, Madhan Karky & Shankar Tucker
24. Ab Dil Zara Zara – Devika Bandana
25. Sunset Malkauns – Harmony with A.R. Rahman [not available in the YouTube playlist]
26. Pachondhi – Ranjith
27. Anhad Naad – Sona Mohapatra, Ram Sampath
28. Maayera – Raghav
29. Orasaadha – Madras Gig (Vivek Mervin)
30. Ki Ae Yaar – Karan Sehmbi

Indipop Top 30 playlist on YouTube | Saavn


My Marathi song listening continues to be small and sporadic, mainly because the sources of music are limited. I largely get them via Saavn and Apple Music, and discoverability is a big problem on YouTube since they are uploaded by many different players – smaller record labels, production houses etc. Within what I heard (which is a very small universe unlike my listens in Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada or Malayalam), this is my pick for the top 10.

01. Konte Naatey – Aamhi Doghi (Mangesh Dhakde)
02. Luklukle Swapna – Truckbhar Swapna (Shreyashh)
03. Saye – Youngraad (Hriday Gattani)
04. Jau De Na Va – Naal (AV Prafullachandra)
05. Dheemi Dheemi – Cycle (Aditya Bedekar)
06. Banjaara – Bogda (Siddharth Mahadevan & Soumil Shringarpure)
07. Iskoot Zaala – Chitthi (Onkarswaroop Bagde)
08. Kuni Yenar Ga – Mumbai Pune Mumbai 3 (Nilesh Moharir)
09. Dhuvun Taak – Mauli (Ajay-Atul)
10. Title song – Chumbak (Amar Mangrulkar)

Marathi Top 10 playlist on YouTube | Saavn