Over the last few years, Bollywood's music industry has had a score of music composers, lyricists and singers who gave us many soulful melodies. Unfortunately, their names are not as well known as they should be, perhaps because they haven’t been adequately promoted. Moreover, each of these musical talents is a humble genius; they prefer to keep a low profile and let their work speak (or sing) for itself. Among these talents are Amaal Malik, Armaan Malik, Arijit Singh, Ankit Tiwari and Manoj Muntassir — who have made a place for themselves in the industry with their work. Here’s a look at some of those lesser known lights who have made equally sweet music:
Sohail Sen (music director/singer)
Hailing from a musical family, Sohail inherited the musical traits of his grandfather Shambhu Sen and father Sameer Sen (of Dilip Sen-Sameer Sen fame). He has composed music for films like Sirf, The Murderer, What’s Your Rashee, Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Sey, Mere Brother Ki Dulhan, From Sydney with Love, Ek Tha Tiger and Gunday, to name a few.
The USP of Sen’s music lies in its authenticity. Neither are any of his songs replicas of each other, nor do they remind us of other songs and influences.
His best-known compositions include “Dhunki”, “Kaisa yeh Ishq hai” (Mere Brother Ki Dulhan), “Banjaaraa”, “Saiyyaraa” (Ek Tha Tiger), “Tune Maari Entriyaan”, “Jashn e Ishqa” (Gunday).
Hanif Shaikh (music director/singer/lyricist)
With a few films like Micky Virus, Paathshala, Bubble Gum, Uvaa… Hanif Shaikh has carved a niche for himself in the music industry. His most popular composition is “Aye Khuda” — sung by Salim Merchant — from the film Paathshaala. Other songs like “Teri Marzi aye khuda”, “Khushnuma”, “Bekaraar" and “Mujhe Teri” from the same film also earned critical acclaim. His songs “Tose Naina” sung by Arijit Singh and “Aankhon hi Ankhon ne” sung by Mohit Chauhan and Palak Muchhal are an absolute treat for the ears.
Recently, his song “Vande Mataram” from the film Uvaa received a pretty good response. The anti-rape song composed with a blend of Indian raagas has been treated beautifully with the invocation of Sanskrit shlokas in the beginning.
Arko Pravo Mukherjee (singer/lyricist/music composer)
The multi-talented Arko has composed and written songs for films like Jism 2, Hate Story 2, Tamanchey, The Shaukeens, Kuch Kuch Locha hai, Bhaag Johny, Jazbaa and Kapoor & Sons. His songs do indicate a Western influence, which is probably why they are so popular with the youth.
His songs "Paani wala dance” (Kuch Kuch Locha hai), “Aaj phir tum pe pyar aya hai” (Hate Story 2), “Allah Waariyaan” (Yaariyaan), “Dildaara” (Tamanchey), are among his better known. He has also received several prestigious awards for his work on Yaariyaan and Hate Story 2.
Anupam Roy (singer/lyricist/music composer)
Anupam Roy, a well known name in West Bengal, forayed into Bollywood with Piku, which got him the Filmfare Award for the Best Background Score. His songs have earned him not only commercial success but also the more elusive critical acclaim.
Justin-Uday (music directors)
Justin Yesudas and Udaykumar Ninjoor are a music composer duo who began their journey in the advertising world, where they composed jingles for leading brands. The duo has a commercial fusion band called the Fuzitives. They have also composed the music for Hindi films like Hijack and Sikandar and also for south Indian films — among them being Khaidi, in Kannada.
There is freshness to their music which makes their songs so interesting. The music composed by them for private albums and singles is quite popular like “The Free Spirit” and “Manwaa”.
Amjad-Nadeem (music director/lyricist)
Amjad-Nadeem, the nephews of Sajid-Wajid (the famous music director duo) have composed for films like Welcome to Karachi, Mumbai Mirror, Angel, Angry Young Man, Barkha, Benny & Baboo, Chintuji, and Jazbaa. Their best-known track is “Bandeyaa” from the film Jazbaa.
Vishal Khurana (music director)
An innovative composer, Vishal has films like Well Done Abba and Neerja to his credit. All the songs of Neerja, especially “Jeete hain chal”, “Gehra Ishq”, “Aisa kyun Maa”, are soul stirring.
Tochi Raina (playback singer)
This singer from Patiala with a power-packed voice created ripples in the industry with his soulful rendition of “Bulleshah” (A Wednesday). He went on to have hits like “Pardesi” (Dev D), “Iktara” (Wake up Sid), “Gal Mithi Mithi” (Aisha), “Mallo Malli” (Mausam), “Saibo” (Shor In The City) and the souful “Kabeera” (Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani). His spirituality reflects in his Sufi songs.
Dharam Bhatt-Sandeep Patil (music directors)
This duo created innovative and experimental music in big banner films like Department, Rakta Charitra, Gang of Ghosts and Rakta Charitra 2. The songs “Dan Dan Chini”, “Kammo” (Department), “Nahin Dungi”, “Jayen To Jayen Kahaan” (Gang of Ghosts) are eminently hummable. Interestingly, they used special mantras for the music of Rakta Charitra.
Abhishek Ray (music director/singer)
He started with the background score of Haasil and Ahista Ahista and went on to work with the iconic Gulzaar Saab on the album Udaas Paani. Being a naturalist, he is known to adopt music from nature. He scored music for Paan Singh Tomar, Saheb Biwi aur Gangster, Shagird, I am Kalam, Welcome Back, Life is Good, among others.