I was wondering if 2012 has been one of the better years for Bollywood music in recent times. The 21st century has been witness to some excellent numbers – new voices, new music directors, experiments with fusion music, mixing genres, all sorts of stuff. As I was going through my playlist since 2000 – I felt this year indeed had some classic melodious numbers of different genres and albums with good variety.

In the last 12 years, every year had its stand out one or two movie albums. I thought 2009 was a fantastic year in terms of the albums released – Delhi 6, Dev D, Wake Up Sid, 3 Idiots, Kaminey, Love Aaj Kal, and the odd song or two from Rocket Singh (Pankho Ko),  Kurbaan(Shukran Allah) , Raaz 2 (Soniyo),and New York ( Tune Jo na Kaha)

As 2012 comes to an end I can’t help but think that this year probably matched  2009 in terms of the variety on offer and the new voices as well as music directors that trumped the charts. This despite the fact that the most awaited album that had the winning A R Rahman-Gulzar partnership was one of the worst to come out this year.

The entire albums of Ek Main aur Ek Tu, Ishaqzaade, Barfi, Cocktail (crap movie but good songs), Kahaani, English Vinglish and Talaash. I never got hooked onto the Gangs of Wasseypur phenomenon but guess it would be injustice to not mention the album and the only female music director Sneha Khanvilkar who created her own cult of followers.

The odd song or two from Ferrari Ki Sawari ( Maara Rebecause every time this song plays only Sachin’s image comes to mind), Agent Vinod ( Raabta – 4 versions of it and all equally delightful), the underrated song from London, Paris, New York (Voh Dekhne Main ) ,  the sensitive song Paani Da from Vicky Donor which took Ayushman to top of the popularity charts and the two lovely numbers to come out of Aamir Khan’s show Satyameva Jayete ( O Ri Chiraiya and Ghar Yaad Ata Hain Mujhe)

Amit Trivedi definitely stood out among all music directors without a doubt! 5 albums this year and 3 hits!

Among the male singers I’d pick Arijit Singh as my absolute favourite singer this year! 4 soothing, romantic, tender, passionate numbers – Raabta from Agent Vinod, Yaariyan from Cocktail, Saawli Si Raat Ho and my favourite of the lot – Phir Le Aaya Dil. He made the song his own – as painful, as stirring as Rekha’s rendition but yet having a different identity. In a year where he had his biggest hits – he seemed to have matured into a fantastic singer with this number.

Not able to pick my favourite female singer at all this year – not even venturing there. Who would you pick?

Shreya dazzled in Jhallah Wallah – she stepped out of her comfort zone so beautifully singing this rustic, sensuous , mujrah number that I’ve listened to it a million times and am still not able to get over her voice. And those 4 lines at the end of the Ishaqzaade title track – that bit where you realise how gifted she is and makes you want to take a bow.

Shalmali for that recklessly fallen-in-love rendition of Pareshaan in Ishaqzaade – don’t lie to me – all that you wanted to do when you first heard the song was to run to the rooftops and sing your heart out! Not to forget her other hit – the delightful Daaru Desi from Cocktail.

Rekha Bhardwaj for that soulful , heart wrenching Phir Le Aaya Dil – a song about love lost, a song about wanting that love back.

Shilpa Rao – For Aahatein cause it got me all teary-eyed every time I listened to it and Gustakh Dil –  because her voice haunts you – the agony of love, the dilemma that comes along with it and her calm, deep, unconventional voice that echoes in your head long after the song is over.

Sona Mohaptra – For that touching rendition of Ghar Yaad Ata Hain Mujhe and showing further sparks of brilliance in that classical-modern fusion song Jiya Lage Na from Talaash.

Sunidhi Chauhan – How can she miss out ? Yaariyan from Cocktail and then the endearing Navrai Majhi from English Vinglish which had a fine mix of voices – of the old granny, of the American accented Hindi gal, of Swananand Kirkire  and yet Sunidhi shone. Her diction of the Marathi words in the song was flawless and she made that song her own!

My pick of the year – actually all the albums and songs mentioned because they played endlessly in a loop on my iPod this year. Anyways I’m now going to be a bit biased and pick one – it was heartening to see Amit Trivedi and Swananda Kirkire produce a classic Marathi number in Hindi. The beats, the tune, the sounds, the dholkis, the words, the classic rhythm of most Marathi folk songs – perfect picture perfect! It is going to be the most loved wedding song for years to come. It was the one that I danced to the most while listening to it. I simply can’t wait for my cousins to get married soon; so that I can deck up and dance my heart out even more, just like Sridevi and the Deshpandes and their multi-cultural gang did! Bring on all the dhol-tasha, sanai !