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15 romantic anthems by Pritam — birthday special

As the composer celebrates his 46th birthday today (14 June), we take a look at the best of his romantic compositions through the years.

Photo: Shutterbugs Images

Shriram Iyengar

Over a span of one-and-a-half decade, Pritam has emerged as one of the most successful, and vibrant composers of Hindi film music.

With Jagga Jasoos, Pritam Chakraborty returns with a splendid inventive sound that has already become popular among fans. Since his early days, the composer has sought to invent and push the boundaries of Hindi film music. Whether it was the heavy rock influence in Life...In A Metro (2007) or the wonderfully light Barfi! (2012), Pritam's compositions stand out for their ability to touch their audience.

As the composer celebrates his 46th birthday, we take a look at some of the unforgettable romantic ballads that he composed through his career.

1. 'Tu Hi Meri Shab Hai' — Gangster (2006)

Though he made his debut with the forgettable Tere Liye (2001), it was Anurag Basu's Gangster that really put the composer on the map. This beautiful composition sung by KK stands out for its passion. The rock based composition adds a new dimension to Sayeed Quadri's oh so romantic lyrics.

2. 'Baatein Kuch Ankahee Si' — Life In A... Metro (2007)

The composer saves his best for Anurag Basu, apparently. For fans of Pritam, Life In A... Metro was a revelation. It was one of the most inventive and refreshing albums to arrive in the new millenium. This beautiful ballad captures the exhilarating experience of love's first moments, and the mellow composition only enhances its effect.

3. 'Tum Se Hi' — Jab We Met (2007)

While he is often accused of plagiarism, the composer was at the peak of his powers in 2007. For Imtiaz Ali's wonderful romance, Jab We Met, he composed this beautiful rain song that is every bit a celebration of the muse as an inspiration.

4. 'Pehli Nazar Mein — Race (2008)

An Abbas-Mustan thriller does not offer much space for a romantic track. However, the composer delivered some stunning chartbusters like 'Zara Zara Touch Me' and 'Race'. But it is this beautiful, and sultry, song that takes its place on the list.

5. 'Bakhuda' — Kismat Konnection (2008)

Vidya Balan and Shahid Kapoor were not exactly the pair fans looked for in a romantic film, but the music for Aziz Mirza's film was another matter. Atif Aslam's voice soars through this Pritam composition delivering an emphatic declaration of love.

6. 'Zara Sa' — Jannat (2008)

With this song, Emraan Hashmi has everything going for him to be a romantic hero. Sayeed Quadri's lyrics express the sincere plea that might make a woman go weak in her knees. Add the haunting musical score, and Hashmi, and you got a winning soundtrack.

7. 'Teri Ore' — Singh is Kinng (2008)

Atif Aslam was not the only neighbourhood talent that Pritam managed to capture, Rahat Fateh Ali Khan is another popular choice. The composer gave the brilliant singer one of his biggest chartbusters in this Akshay Kumar-Katrina Kaif comedy. Few singers have the range and pitch of this protege of the great Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, and Pritam's music allows it free range.

8. 'Tu Jaane Aa' — Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani (2009)

If ever there was a list of songs that best express unexpressed emotions, this song will make it to the top 10. While the visuals of the beautiful Katrina Kaif and a very sombre Ranbir Kapoor capture your attention, it is Atif Aslam's voice backed by a very simple, but effective, composition that really hits home.

9. 'Aaj Din Chadheya' — Love Aaj Kal (2009)

Imtiaz Ali and Anurag Basu are definitely the two directors who have made the most of this composer. Ali's Love Aaj Kal captured the complexity of love through all its nuances, and was backed by a soundtrack as nuanced as the film itself. This beautiful ballad, sung again by Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, was based on a couplet by the late poet Shiv Kumar Batalvi and modified by Irshad Kamil. But even the late poet would have fallen for the serene nature of the song.

10. 'I Love You' — Bodyguard (2011)

Forget the sight of an adorable Salman Khan goofing on screen. The magic of this track from Bodyguard lies in Pritam's ability to manipulate sounds to create something so effortless and hummable that it sticks to memory.

11. 'Yaariyan' — Cocktail (2012)

This song is a favourite of the nawab, Saif Ali Khan, himself. The film won composer Pritam his 8th Filmfare nomination for Best Music, and deservedly so. It is easy to lose yourself in the slow hypnotic strumming of the guitar, and the mellow bass of K Mohan's voice.

12. 'Phir Le Aaya Dil' — Barfi! (2012)

The soundtrack of Barfi! was a true gem. One of the composer's finest works, it won him two Filmfare awards (Best Background Music and Best Music Director). While it is difficult to pick one romantic song from the film, this particular ghazal is the pick for the tenderness with which Pritam's composition allows the verse to flow. For anyone accusing the composer of being influenced by Western music, this song provides the answer.

13. 'Subhanallah' — Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani (2013)

This was one soundtrack that was filled with the right cocktail of retro and pop. Though 'Kabira' and 'Ilahi' are two melancholic tracks that are the perfect balms for broken hearts, this beautiful song is the perfect romantic song set in the mountains.

14. 'Channa Mereya' — Ae Dil Hai Mushkil (2016)

If Pritam could woo, he could also break hearts. Add Arijit Singh to the mix, and people will cry a river. For Ae Dil Hai Mushkil, Singh delivered this aching message of unrequited love that has since become the caller tune for every broken hearted boy across the country.

15. 'Gilehriyaan' — Dangal (2016)

The blockbuster that was (and probably is) Dangal carried a sprinkling of inspirational and soaring tracks that laid the foundation for its brilliant plot. However, the pick of the lot is this beautifully skippy song sung by Jonita Gandhi. It is too good to miss.