In the song-centric cosmos of Hindi film music, instrumental pieces are rare. From the few that found place in a Hindi film album, here’s a list of five memorable ones:
‘RDX’ by Indian Ocean, ‘Black Friday’ (2007)
The aalap from Bandeh, a grim cry for humanity filtered through a raga, forms the central melody of this piece. It sounds more haunting today—given that it is sung by former Indian Ocean member, late Asheem Chakravarty. The true surprise though is the velvety saxophone that seems to belong to another world, but blends perfectly with the film’s setting.
‘The Dance Of Envy’ by Uttam Singh, ‘Dil Toh Paagal Hai’ (1997)
This is the only song in the list from the 1990s, but Dance of Envy stands the test of time. The pre-CD sound is part of the appeal, as also the retro notes of the synthesizer. It plays out in our memories of the movie.
‘Dev-Chanda Theme 2’, Amit Trivedi, ‘Dev D’ (2009)
The solitary whistle takes unexpected, melodious turns as the orchestral crescendo catches up. The surreal and incredibly loop-worthy track conjures up images of a noir-drenched fairytale.
‘Dichotomy of Fame’, AR Rahman, ‘Rockstar’ (2011)
The rich, addictive sound of the shehnai (Pandit S. Ballesh) oozes pain, while the guitars (by Kabuli) are comforting, complementing each other. This is jugalbandi—filmed on Shammi Kapoor and Ranbir Kapoor—at its sublime best.
‘Khel Khel Mein’, Advaita, ‘Wazir’ (2016)
One of fusion band Advaita’s earlier (and best) numbers Mo Funk from The Silent Sea is paired with a recitation by Amitabh Bachchan in Bejoy Nambiar’s latest film. A trippy fusion of electronic beats and Hindustani classical, plus the Bachchan baritone.