Now that Sa Re Ga Ma Pa is off the air and my gujju brother is focusing on his acting career - opportunities to enjoy the music of Himesh Reshammiya have become limited. This has saddened me immensely because I remain a monster fan of Himanshu's music and an even bigger fan of his manic personality.
Sure Himesh gets a lot of flack from industry insiders and outsiders alike. But the fact that his ability to connect with the masses is held against him riles me to a certain degree. What!? The people who make money off the masses are too sophisticated to be liked by them now? Is Bollywood becoming so incestous that only insider taalis count?
At times like this, in order to deal with my Himesh withdrawal, I fall back on tried and tested play lists such as this one to tide me through until the next Himesh darshan.
12. O Soniya - Ishq Hai Tumse (2004)
Singers: Udit Narayan, Alka Yagnik
Bipasha Basu + Himanshu = Drift Heaven. I was so obsessed with House Music at the turn of the millennium that I stopped listening to Hindi music altogether. Years later, I picked up the soundtrack to Ishq Hai Tumse on a friend's recommendation. I heard this song. I was hooked! Bollywood had found its perfect cheesy match.
11. Aashiq Banaya Aapne - Aashiq Banaya Aapne (2005)
A year later Himesh decides "Enough is enough!" and unleashes his unique sufi voice on an unsuspecting public. It was House Sufi well before music companies in India saw Harsdeep Kaur win Junoon and realized they were sitting on top of a largely untapped market.
10. Aapki Kashish - Aashiq Banaya Aapne (2005)
Singers: Himesh, Ahir
The first of many Himesh hits that Bollywood super starlet Tanushree gyrated to. A triumph for Himesh, Aashiq vaulted him into the play lists of anya clubs and into the hearts of rickshawallahs all over the nation.
9. Sarfaroshi Meri - Tom, Dick And Harry (2006)
Singer(s): Himesh, Tulsi Kumar
Quintessential Himesh - surrounded by women, hairline protected by his cap, funky faux-American accent, Tulsi somewhere nearby and a bunch of photogenic B-movie actors embroiled in a dance-drama.
8. Masha-allah - Karzzzz (2008)
Often if you hear someone other than Himesh sing his compositions, you become acutely aware of their beauty. Masha-allah is one of those songs - delicately gorgeous and romantically reverent.
7. Yeh Tera Mera Milna - Aap Ka Surroor (2007)
Singer: Himesh, Shreya Ghoshal
Himesh stunned everyone with his debut film, which chomped through box office receipts like there was no tomorrow. Of his many hits from the movie - most of which leave me cold - this song never fails to get my attention. Himesh's formula of composing even ballads on top of mid-tempo beats works really well here. Himesh sings this romantic song essentially like an anthem to heart break - thus giving the song a unique sense of doom.
6. Prem Rog - Maine Pyar Kyun Kiya (2005)
Singers: Kamaal Khan, Alka Yagnik
Himesh keeps himself out of this song - but then goes and casts Alka Yagnik and Kamaal Khan. It's like sparing the rod but poisoning the child. Still, Prem Rog remains a terrific composition and its a great chance to watch Sushmita Sen mount a serious challenge to the title of Greatest Indian Overactor.
5. Meri Chandi Tu - Silsiilay (2005)
Singers: Sunidhi Chauhan, Suzanne Dmello, Kailash Kher
One of Mum's favorite songs - so it has to make the list. Himesh made one of his most foot tapping songs, but strangely gave it so little programming love that it's not complex enough to last in one's memory. Its Himesh's little song that could. Plus, I'm sure it probably features prominently on Kailash's resume.
4. Tutiya - Shaadi Se Pehle (2006)
Singers: Daler Mehndi
Built entirely around Daler's bravura singing, Tutiya is the essential heart break song in any Himesh collection. Many of Himesh's weaknesses - too much synth, over-reliance on percussion break beats, spare production that drags at times - are plainly in sight. But because Himesh can put together a great tune, he creates a memorable song.
3. Jumme Raat - Phir Hera Phir (2006)
Easily one of my favorite songs. Composed around delicate tablas, a sarangi lick and tambourine percussion - Jumme Raat is superbly infectious. It's propulsive melody took me entirely by surprise when I first heard it. It still continues to surprise me.
2. Shabe Firaq - Chup Chup Ke (2006)
Singers: Himesh, Tulsi Kumar
One of Himesh's defining songs, although it doesn't get enough recognition. Listen closely and you'll see how his uncanny ability to compose a lilting tune rescues him over the most mundane of beats. Also on display: his ability to use mix instruments with panache and drama. But then he had to go and sing it.
1. I Wanna Make Love - Aitraaz (2004)
Singer: Sunidhi Chauhan
Purely for entertainment value, nothing beats this song. Terrific tune, great musical arrangements and Priyanka wrapping herself alternately around Akshay Kumar and the floor in one uncut, whirling shot. And the fun began after that. Often performed on reality shows - much to the inexplicable chagrin of the judges - this song is known on the Drift as the Asha Bhonsle Mood Buster.
Pappu adds the following to Himesh's best
Aawan Akhiyan Jawan Akhiyan - Ahista Ahista
Ishq Ne Tere Ishq Ne - Ahista Ahista
Kitna Pyar Karte Hain - Banaras
Kamal says this song is probably's Himesh's best
Main Jahaan Rahoon - Namastey London