Celebrating 15 Years of Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy

I didn’t quite know how I would begin this post, dedicated to one of the most successful musical trios of my time. Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy have given, by far, some of the most memorable soundtracks to Indian cinema over their 15-year stretch. If I put my hand on my heart, I can honestly say that I can’t imagine the Bollywood industry without them. Whether it be their appealing ability to bring together the modern with the classical or simply to mirror a film’s heart and soul, this threesome are pros beyond belief. I love their music for the soulful melodies and compositions which will always stay my firm favourites. Here’s a look at SEL soundtracks which I deem as their best of the BEST!

Dil Chahta Hai‘s fresh style of music is something that still seeps through even today. I can listen to the title track and find myself humming it for the whole day. This is the magic created by SEL. Janne Kyun is also a great song with a very up-beat yet meaningful set of lyrics to accompany. It captures the male and female perspectives to a tee when touching on the subject of love. Each song in the album can be stand-alone but yet all the songs together make for such varied and impressionable listening. A huge thumbs up… even 10 years after the movie first saw light of day! Now that’s what I can musical legacy!

Another great album by the trio is Kal Ho Naa Ho. The title song of this movie, sung by my favourite Sonu Niigaam, will always remain very close to my heart. I’m sure many people around the world will feel the same. In contrast, the soundtrack also includes very up-beat dancey tracks such as Pretty Woman and Maahi Ve. All in all, I would say Kal Ho Naa Ho’s music is very rounded and hits the spot when watching the movie. It’s not overpowering of the film and sits perfectly within.

A film with a name inspired by lyrics itself, Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna‘s soundtrack was very melodious and the slow songs such as the title track and Tumhi Dekho Na contains the kinds of music that one will go on to cherish in the years to come. It seems to hit you right in your heart. The  presence of stalwart Amitabh Bachchan in the movie meant it needed a song like Rock ‘n’ Roll Soniye in order to appeal to the audiences. To see the two Bachchans boogie together is something else and it’s also what you remember about the picturisation of the song whenever you hear it. To conclude, KANK’s music almost grabs the essence of what SEL represent: soulful, contemporary and hummable.

Wake Up Sid needed a certain kind of treatment music-wise, in my opinion. In all honesty, I don’t think any of the industry’s current music composers could’ve have given the movie the youthful yet down-to-earth feel through it’s music that SEL managed to achieve. It creates an impact but is totally uncomplicated… and it can be described as a breath of fresh air. To accompany the sweet but somewhat extraordinary bond between the two characters played by Ranbir Kapoor and Konkona Sen, the sounds needed to be full of fusion to portray their personalities individually and together. Iktara and Kya Karoon make you want to almost want to sing out loud… and, for some reason, the songs always evoke good memories and images in my mind. Way to go SEL!

The final soundtrack in my list is probably the one which has the most songs that I can personally identify with; Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara. Whether I touch on the flutters of Senorita, the heart-hitting Khaabon Ke Parindey or the danceable Sooraj Ki Baahon Mein, every song in this movie is simply exquisite. I often find myself listening to the album wondering how compositions and arrangements (including singers and the visual treatments given to the songs) can be so… perfect. There’s not much more I can say apart from… I’m not sure I will be able to put my hand on my heart and say that I love an album as much as I love ZNMD’s. However I sincerely hope that SEL will prove me wrong in the years to come.

As the trio celebrate a decade and a half in an industry they have very much conquered… I want to know what they have to offer in the future. I can’t live without music and I don’t think Bollywood can live with SEL… here’s to 15 more years of brilliant music and memorable compositions, even though I feel I will be loving the music they’ve given us up until now FOREVER.

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