Oh boy, Pritam! I have total faith in my ability to find at least 40 great songs from his playbook in honor of his birthday. In fact, I am going to shoot for 43, giving me a total of 50 reasons.
1. I love you because you have a unique musical background, your father being a casual music teacher, followed by a degree in sound engineering from FTII, followed by playing in a band, and then finally being hired as a film composer. Not the usual “spent my whole childhood learning classical music and then jumped to film” background.
2. I love you because you are wise enough to know when to work hard for a job and when not, your filmography is very long, but a mixture of complex brilliant pieces and light uninteresting songs.
3. I love you because you are not afraid to “sample” work from other artists, even when we all make fun of you for it.
4. I love you because you make public appearances, becoming a minor celebrity in your own right, a familiar face in a way that not all composers are.
5. I love you because you aren’t too proud to turn down work, in anything from the punishingly complex soundtrack challenge of Jagga Jasoos to the really pretty dumb soundtrack of Holiday.
6. I love you because you discovered and fostered the talent of Arijit Singh, one of the most promising young male playback singers in years.
7. I love you because you are continuing to pay that mentorship forward with the founding of a project/group “JAM8”, which will allow young artists to work together under your membership until they are ready to move out on their own.
8. Now, songs!!!! I love you for your very first big breakthrough album, Dhoom. Especially this song which is my favorite and I’m not even sure why (“Shikdum”)
9. Still good in Dhoom 2!!! This time it is the remix of your own title song from the last movie that I like best (“Dhoom Again”)
10. Speaking of remixes, this is the song that always goes through my head whenever the Hare Krishnas walk by me (“Bhool Bhulaiyaa”)
11. And then there was Jab We Met. The album I bought the first time I went to India and listened to over and over again as I lay in bed deathly ill (because I was in India). I like every song, but this is my first favorite (“Tum Se Hi”)
12. And this is my second favorite (“Nagada Nagada”)
13. And then another winner in the “Margaret’s favorite soundtracks” stakes, Race!!!! Every song is good, but the one that really stands out above the rest is this one (“Pehli Nazar Main”)
14. Well, and also this one, but that’s mostly for Katrina’s fringe dress. WANT! (“Zara Zara Touch Me”)
15. Kismat Konnection is really not a great movie, but you delivered wonderful songs for it! My go to “cheer up, it’s all okay” songs. (“Bakhuda Tumhi Ho”)
16. This was your golden era, every soundtrack is another “oh, I LOVE that one!” Billu, for instance. This was one of the first songs I bought from itunes (“Khudaya Khair”)
17. I never saw the movie New York, and probably never will, but I still really love this song for evoking the freedom and happiness of college summers in the city. (“Hai Junoon”)
18. Love Aaj Kal! A reunion with Imtiaz after Jab We Met, and another great soundtrack. But I am going to limit myself to just one song, the oddest and most distinctive one. (“Twist”)
19. Dil Bole Hadippa! It was a cute movie even if no one else watched it. The songs were so-so, but the end credits song is perhaps the sexiest Shahid and Rani have ever looked, and that is an important accomplishment. Oh, and the music was good too. (“Hadippa-Remix”)
20. Tum Mile, a ridiculous movie that has (justifiably) faded into obscurity. But the title song is an all time classic (“Tum Mile”)
21. Now the big one! Once Upon a Time in Mumbaii. I love this movie in general, but the soundtrack is really something special. I am tempted to just put up every song, but I will start with my favorite (“Pee Loon”)
22. Next favorite! It’s really too bad Ajay Devgan will never work with Kangana again, they had great chemistry. (“Tum Jo Aaye”)
23. Oh heck, one more and I will finish out the soundtrack! Your perfect mixing together of two RD Burman classics. (“Parda”)
24. And then you remixed RD again, with the really kind of odd sounding but still catchy title song from Dum Maro Dum.
25. But my favorite from that soundtrack is “Te Amo”. Plus, gave us all a glimpse of hot Rana before Bahubaali brought him back to our attention.
26. By this point, your soundtracks were getting so good that they sometimes overwhelmed the movie. For instance, this film really didn’t need a sweet love song at this moment (“Subha Ho Na De”).
27. This film, on the other hand, absolutely needed a friendship anthem to send it over the top, and you delivered (“Tumhi Ho Bandhu”)
28. This film needed a high energy song to reintroduce us to all our characters, and OH BOY did you bring it! (“Badtameez Dil”)
29. But then this silly comedy probably didn’t need a really sweet love song thrown into the middle of it. It’s so beautiful that I will forgive you. (“Mere Rang Sharbotan”)
30. And then you started getting a little cheeky, throwing in a romantic love anthem to a silly action scene, just because (“Raabta”)
31. This seems like a perfectly fine little coming of age film, but for some reason you throw in a super happy catchy song that has rapidly become one of my favorites (“Love Me Thoda”)
32. Not a very good movie, Holiday, but by golly this song is amazing. (“Shaayraana”)
33. Bajrangi Bhaijaan is a very very good movie, and your theme song for it captured the feeling of it perfectly. (“Tum Jo Mile”)
34. And then there’s Ae Dil Hai Mushkil. Which has 3 separate songs of such high quality that I can’t pick just one. The title song of course (“Ae Dil Hai Mushkil”)
35. And “Channa Mereya”
36. Personally I like “Alizeh” next best, but I think “Bulleya” is more impressive (despite the “sampling” involved) because it is such a dramatic shift from the other songs.
37. And then you remixed yourself! Another version of “Raabta” for the movie that took the title from the song.
39. And then you hit your first brilliant soundtrack of 2017, Jagga Jasoos. I didn’t like the movie AT ALL, but I can appreciate the challenge in creating a light opera style soundtrack and how you rose to that challenge. And I am very angry at Basu for dropping and changing your songs at the last minute and disrespecting all the work you put in.
40. And your second brilliant soundtrack of 2017, with a film to match it (well, for me and others like me who appreciated it). I’m just going to have to do every song in order, because they are all too good to be left out. Starting with the first one that perfectly introduces us to our lead character (“Safar”)
41. Followed by a reintroduction of him, as a man on the prowl (“Parinda”)
42. And then the greatest achievement of the film, the perfect combination of character, performance, camera work, and song, “Radha”.
43. Followed by my favorite song just to listen to, so light it makes me feel like I am going to float away (“Hawaiyein”)
44. And then a complete change of tone, “Beech Beech Main”, disco fun.
45. You collaborated with “Diplo” on this song, but the strong backbone is your initial melody, his remixing was just sprinkled on top. (“Phurr”)
46. Electronica to fado, is there any composer or any soundtrack that has achieved this kind of leap before? (“Yaadon Main”)
47. Followed by another twist, fado to Bhangra. (“Raula”)
48. And then to a simple lament, strangely similar to the opening song but slowed and sad (“Ghar”)
49. Followed by a bursting forth of restored happiness, another Bhangra song but so much stronger and happier and more confident than the first (“Butterfly”)
50. And finally, number 50 of my reasons to love you and the 43rd song, this beautiful simple lament that weaves in and out and around the whole film.
Okay, I can’t end on that downer not! I think we can all agree, this is your greatest achievement, perfect melding of melody and visual and deep meaning (so deep!).