I may have mentioned this a few dozen times before, but Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy are my all time favorite composers. They have been since I first heard the Lakshya album when I was 19. And they have a new album out!!!! Mirzya full songs are available on Saavn, which presumably means they are available on itunes, spotify, and all the other websites the kids these days use.
When I was 19, my grandmother had a massive heart attack. Wait for it, the story gets happier! Anyway, the whole family moved into her house, all 8 of us children and grandchildren and in-laws sleeping on the floor and where ever else we could find space and commuting back and forth to the hospital. This was right when my sister and I had just discovered Indian movies, and were total addicts. Plus, we really really needed a distraction. So we got out the phone book and tracked down the Indian neighborhood near her house based on finding multiple Indian named businesses listed within the same one mile radius. And then we rented/bought a ton of movies. And on a whim, I picked up a CD of the Lakshya album, based on a fuzzy youtube video someone had shown me of “Main Aisa Kyon”. And then for the next week, my sister and I blasted those songs in the car as we drove back and forth to the movie rental stores, the hospital, the grocery store, and all the other depressing stressful errands. And a few weeks later, my grandmother was well on the way to recovery, and I had fallen in love with Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy soundtracks.
Once you know that Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy are even a thing, you start discovering that their music is everywhere! They aren’t promoted the same as Vishal-Shekhar or Pritam or Rahman. I mean, they are known and win awards and stuff. But you don’t necessarily see their names above the title for their films. And I haven’t heard anybody (besides me) talk about a “classic Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy” song. For one thing, they each have their own independent careers and probably don’t want to get too locked in to their group identity.
(For instance, Shankar is still widely known for his amazing “Breathless” song, composed by himself without collaborators. Also, check out Javed Sahib;s little shoulder wriggle!)
And they aren’t nearly as prolific as some other composers. They have their busy years, but also their years when only one or two films have their name. But they have quietly been bringing out hit album after hit album since the early 2000s.
Their first big turning point hit was the Dil Chahta Hai album.
After that, they started signing a string of so-so films, with albums I love. Like, Kuch Naa Kaho! It wasn’t a huge hit, but you mention it to people, and they just start smiling. And a lot of that is because of the unassuming but excellent songs.
Or, Armaan! They had a lot to live up to with this one, because it is a remake of Dil Apna Aur Preet Parai, which introduced the world to the all time classic “Ajeeb Dastaan Hai Yeh” (I just mentioned that song in my review of Jacobinte Swaragarajyam, where it was sampled in one scene). There are plenty of good songs in Armaan, but this one is definitely my favorite.
Bunty Aur Babli, Kal Ho Na Ho, Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna, all of them hit albums. And Don, of course. And Lakshya, already mentioned. Everyone knows the big hits, but I think even the forgotten songs for the forgotten film Kyun! Ho Gaya Na are wonderful.
I’m on record as loving Jhoom Barabar Jhoom, including the songs. Salaam-E-Ishq, I am a little on the fence, but I mostly love it. Heyy Babby, again I am on record as loving the music. And then there’s Tara Zameen Par, Rock On!, Luck By Chance, Johnny Gaddar, the arty movies like that. But here’s one everyone has forgotten about, which I happened to see in theaters only because Jaane Tu…Ya Jaane Na was sold out. It’s not that great of a movie, but this one song is just crazy catchy!
I can’t go through their whole career after this (I mean, I could, but that would be a very long post). But here are some of my personal random highlights, the songs I always get happy about when they pop-up on my Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy Saavn station.
(I should really watch this movie sometime, I like the song so much)
Another Farhan collaberation. Not that great of a movie, but awesome soundtrack, as always when they work with Excel.
Like I said, always good when they work with Farhan!
I could do another Farhan song, the Bhaag Milkha Bhaag soundtrack is one of my favorites, right up there with Lakshya. But the song of 2013 from them, for me, is this one from D-Day.
(There could be a whole other post about Nikhil Advani’s direction. Notice how perfectly he pulls off that same “there but not there” trick in this video that he does in the “Kal Ho Na Ho” song video)
I could talk about Dil Dhadakne Do here, of course that had a great album, it was another big budget Farhan movie. But what about Ghayal Once Again! A movie everyone forgot about, I didn’t even manage to see it in theaters (although it did inspire me to finally watch Ghayal). But Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy still came through with a wonderful joyful youth anthem for it.
And now Mirzya! Which, having listened to 3 times since I woke up this morning, I can confirm is another home run album all the way.