The best of 2013

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While Lungi Dance basked in the spotlight for a while, Bollywood’s album of the year was definitely Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani

What’s up party people! Happy New Year and best wishes for 2014. I’d like to start by reviewing some of the musical highlights of last year and the good news is there were plenty. To begin with, this publication Indian Sun launched, bringing a fresh new perspective to Indian media in Australia. Melbourne girl Pallavi Sharda made history by becoming the first Australian Indian to play the lead role in a Bollywood movie (Besharam). Her breakthrough came alongside superstar Ranbir Kapoor and legends Rishi Kapoor and Neetu Singh. We had lots of live shows including AR Rahman, Shah Rukh Khan and Holi celebrations with Mika Singh in Melbourne. It’s already been announced that Sunidhi Chauhan will be coming this year.

There were some good soundtracks out of Bollywood. Plenty with one or two hit songs including Tum Hi Ho (Aashiqui 2), Titli (Chennai Express), Lat Lag Gayee (Race 2), Nagada Sang Dhol (Ram-leela), Saree Ka Fall Sa (R…Rajkumar), Kamli and Malang (Dhoom 3), Gore Mukhde Pe Zulfa Di Chava (Special 26), Ambarsariya (Fukrey), Raanjhanaa, Ye Tune Kya Kiya (Once Upon A Time In Mumbaai Dobara) and two versions of Duma Dum Mast Kalander (D-Day and David). Yo Yo Honey Singh was a busy man with appearances on Lungi Dance, Party All Night, Party On My Mind, Ethir Neechal (Tamil) and Punjabiyaan Di Battery. That last one featured on Mere Dad Ki Maruti, which also saw Panjabi MC making his Bollywood debut with the tune Haaay. RDB returned with Tamanche Pe Disco (Bullett Raja) as did Rishi Rich with Maxi Priest on Kabhi Jo Baadal (Jackpot).

As far as individual songs go, Lungi Dance was probably the most requested. Unusually it featured at the end of the film but not on the actual soundtrack. In terms of the biggest all round scores it’s a different story. Shankaar Ehsaan Loy produced some amazing beats for Bhaag Milkha Bhaag with Maston Ka Jhund, Zinda and the qawwali hits Mera Yaar and O Rangrez. Besharam by Lalit Pandit, Shree D and Ishq Bector was excellent with songs like Tere Mohalle, Besharam, Aare Aare, Dil Ka Jo Haal Hai and Chal Hand Uthake Nachche. A fitting album for Australia’s first Bollywood star. But the clear winner was Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani. To go with the box office success of the film, Pritam put together catchy and popular music that dominated the dance floor with Badtameez Dil, Balam Pichkari, Dilliwaali Girlfriend and Ghagra, not to mention slow songs like Kabira.

The bhangra scene had its moments. There were lots of individual releases including Boliyan Paavan (DDS, Bikram Singh), Puth Jattan De (Tru Skool) and Desi Beat (Malkit Singh, DJ Vix). PBN continued his good work releasing singles Superstar and Go Crazy featuring Miss Pooja. He also introduced a new female artist Bambi on Zalma. Jaz Dhami followed up High Heels with Meh Punjabi Boli Ah and Zulfa which was the Christmas number one in the UK. Benny Dhaliwal’s Ghora 2 was a solid album. Diljit kept up the good vibes on Jatt and Juliet 2. My pick of the bunch is AS Kang’s The Maestro. After a long absence, this pioneer and legend of Punjabi music returned with an album which showcased his hits of the past Aashiq Tera, Lambran Di Nau Nachdi and Gidhian Di Rani complemented with a trademark Maestro Boliyan. In doing so his contribution to our music now spans across five decades, a fantastic achievement.

The year’s best pop releases included a beautiful soulful rendition of Gulabi Ankhen by Raghav Sachar, San2‘s Nayo Lagda Dil (qawwali style) and O Heeriye by Ayushmann Khurrana. There were smooth urban flavours from RDB and T-Pain (Daddy Da Cash), Honey Singh (Blue Eyes), Imran Khan (Satisfya), Jazzy B (Feem), Intenso (Tere Utte Dil Ageya), Roach Killa (Akhiyan Da Nasha, Baby Girl), RaOol (Meri Rani, Dhuwan), Mavi Bains (Dirty Love) and Jay Sean (Back To Love Candlelight Hindi). Apache Indian released a new album It Is What It Is featuring a collaboration with Raghav (Celebrate). Aussie rapper L-Fresh the Lion’s One was a hit on Triple J. Melbourne’s Bobby Beebob and NZ Shriram reunited lovers with Aaja Phir Se (One More Try). Meanwhile, The Bombay Royale continued their march to glory taking Europe by storm and appearing at Glastonbury, Womad UK and BBC TV (singing an original number Henna Henna). Next, America.

There was plenty of house and electronica to keep us moving. Pitbull teamed up with the beautiful Priyanka Chopra on Exotic. Tigerstyle were busy in the studio unleashing Kali Kitey Takre, Boss, Gora Rang, Dhi Punjab Di and Zulfaan Di Naag. Hard to stand still to that Naag one! Jeeti and Ravi Duggal were in the house with Electro Nach. Swami’s Scream and Shout Mashup of Back It Up was irresistible whilst Surinder Rattan continued his Punjabi club influence on Dil Tera, Tere Pichay and Hemi’s Boliyan. Finally, if you’re into something more mellow, Nirinjan Kaur’s From Within was a winner in the new age category (especially I Am). It was also great to see Anoushkar Shankar teaming up with Norah Jones on her album Traces Of You, beautiful fusion including the opener The Sun Won’t Set. Thank you 2013, bring on the new year and more great music.

That’s it for this month! For more on the latest in the scene, check out my weekly radio show Mumbai Masala at www.pbsfm.org.au (available on demand online or live in Melbourne on 106.7 PBS FM, Monday evenings 7pm-8pm). You can also listen using TuneIn app or PBS Radio’s iPhone and Android apps. Get in touch with me on Twitter and Facebook. I’d love to hear your feedback on this column and the show via my website www.richimadan.com, info@richimadan.com. Peace out.

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