It is a herculean task to wrap up the best of music over an entire decade, even if its only of one language. Telugu film industry has been teeming with fresh talent year after year, with composers conjuring melodies beyond the EDM and percussion-heavy monotony.
Here, we highlight movie albums that stood out for the diversity of the music and for the beauty of the entire album.
Harris Jayaraj’s Orange OST complemented its progressive storyline. Karthik’s lilting ‘Chilipiga’ to Shahil and Chinmayi’s hippy 'Rooba Rooba' to Naresh’s reflective ‘Nenu Nuvvantu’, every song in Orange was an emotion. Ye Maaya Chesave’s OST was another gem, one of AR Rahman’s best.
If Karthik and Shreya’s ‘Vintunnava’ is soothing, Benny Dayal and Kalyani Menon’s ‘Kundanapu Bomma’ is trippy.
The folk-rock hit ‘Aaromale’ sung by Alphons Joseph, and Suzanne D’Mello, Blaaze, and Vijay Prakash’s ‘Ee Hridayam’, with a blend of hiphop, soft rock and pop influences, lend the Gautham Menon movie a magic for eternity.
In Mahesh Babu starrer Dookudu , with music by SS Thaman, if Rahul Nambiar’s ‘Guruvaram’ is melodious, Ranjith and Divya’s ‘Dethadi’ and Shankar Mahadevan’s ‘Dookudu’ are peppy.
Oh My Friend composed by Rahul Raj had heavy rock influences and new sounds. Karthik’s title track and Benny Dayal’s ‘Nuvvu Nenu Jattu’ are outstanding. Devi Sri Prasad’s Mr. Perfect OST is another wonderful album with beauties like Priyadarshini’s ‘Mora Vinara’ and Gopika Poornima’s ‘Aggipulla’.
With Yeto Vellipoindi Manasu , Ilayaraja shows why he’s the maestro. Shaan’s ‘Yedhi yedhi’ touches the deepest corners of your heart. ‘Ardhamayindi’s rock belted out by Yuvan Shankar Raja, Ramya’s ‘Inthakalam’ and Karthik’s ‘Yethentha Dooram’ make this a well-rounded album.
Devi Sri Prasad’s mass hit Gabbar Singh boasted of Baba Sehgal’s deep and rhythmic title track along with Shankar Mahadevan’s melodious ‘Akasam Ammayaithe’ and Karthik and Shwetha Mohan’s ‘Dil Se’. Mamta Sharma and Kushi Murali’s ‘Kevvu Keka’ rounds off the album with its folk touch.
‘Andala Rakshasi’s OST composed by Radhan is among the underrated soundtracks of the decade. Haricharan’s ‘Yemito’, Bobo Shashi’s ‘Ye Mantramo’ and Ranjith’s ‘Vennante’ are all heart-touching.
DSP’s Attarintiki Daaredi will stand out with the Carnatic fusion track ‘Deva Devam’ by Palakkad Sreeram and Rita, the peppy ‘Kirraaku’ by David Simon and Narendra, the anthem of the year, ‘Aaradugula Bullet’ by Vijay Prakash and MLR Karthikeyan, and DSP’s sleepy funk ‘Ninnu Chudagane’.
Then there is Mirchi by DSP with mesmerising tracks such as Vijay Prakash and Anitha’s ‘Idhedho Bagunde’, Mika Singh’s ‘Yahoon Yahoon’ and Kailash Kher’s ‘Pandagala’.
The runaway hit of the year, Swamy Swamy Ra Ra was another OST that rocked the trends, making you wonder why more people haven’t heard of MR Sunny. One can never be tired of the rock-based title track, and Arijit Singh’s ‘Adhento Okkasari’.
Thaman’s Race Gurram had his signature percussion and rock combo. Rabbit Mac and Siddharth Mahadevan’s Sweety, Simha, Divya and Ganga’s folk rock-based ‘Cinema Chupista’, Dinesh Kanagaratnam and Mega’s ‘Gala Gala’ and ‘Boochade’ sung by Rahul Nambiar, Naveen Madhav and Shreya Ghoshal were all bumper hits.
Melody lovers would have really appreciated Kalyani Koduri’s Oohalu Gusagusalade , with its dulcet and calming tunes.
Equally delicious were Ghibran’s compositions in Run Raja Run , an album with urbane sounds, especially Chinmayi Sripada’s ‘Vadhantune’.
Bhale Manchi Roju doesn’t get the credit it deserves as a movie and for its OST, both reflecting new age brilliance and some funky experimentation. Sunny MR’s album boasts of a retro title track, Arijit Singh’s quietly motivating ‘Ningi Needera’ and the offbeat but rhythmic ‘Evari Roopo’ and Amit Trivedi’s (yes, he sang for it) ‘Dol Dolre’.
The other big album of the year is the unmissable Baahubali , with MM Keeravani at the helm.
Two wonderful albums stand out in 2016 — AR Rahman’s Sahasam Swaasaga Sagipo is delectable with Sid Sriram’s ‘ Vellipomakey’, Vijay Prakash’s ‘Taanu Nenu’ and Haricharan and Chinmayi’s ‘Kannula Munde’.
Hiphop Tamizha gave us an album to remember with Dhruva , whether it was the tangy ‘Choosa Choosa’ sung by Padmalatha and Sniggy, the deeply resonant ‘Pareshanura’ or the foot-tapping ‘Neethoney Dance’.
Vivek Sagar’s meteoric rise was sparked by Pelli Choopulu ’s popularity, amply aided by its soundtrack. The 70s feel of ‘Merise’ by Haricharan and Pranavi, the fusion track ‘Aanandamayenu’ by Ranjani Sivakumar and Amritavarshini's ‘Chinuku Taake’ enhanced the charming and offbeat romcom.
Gopi Sundar’s Ninnu Kori was a pretty album (which jilted lover would ever forget Sid Sriram’s ‘Adiga Adiga’), but the one that was lost in the dunes of time was Shravan Bharadwaj’s lilting, melodious Malli Raava OST, with the magical title track sung by Shravan Bharadwaj and its female reprise sung by Suneetha.
The big one though was Arjun Reddy , whose OST composed by Radhan has more variety than most movie OSTs. Alphons Joseph’s progressive-rock track ‘Emitemitemito’ and Sameera’s classical fusion track ‘Madhuram’ are proof of the spectrum of this captivating OST. Another lilting album was that of Fidaa , with bucolic sounds composed by Shakthikanth Karthick.
This was probably the best year for music lovers.
Agnaathavasi’s OST showed Anirudh’s musical prowess, with romantic tracks like ‘Baitikochi Chuste’ and ‘Gaali Valuga’, both sung by him. Niranjana Ramanan’s ‘Swagatham Krishna’ was a delight too
Thaman’s Tholi Prema was another versatile album. Armaan Malik sang ‘Ninnila’, while Kaala Bhairava (making a name off late) sang the title track. But Shreya Ghoshal’s ‘Allasani’ was the best of the lot.
There were the two runaway hits that showed us the newbie talents on offer. Chaitan Bharadwaj’s RX 100 was the OST of the year. Anurag Kulkarni gave us the unforgettable ‘Pillaa Raa’, while Haricharan and Uma Neha gave us the lilting ‘Manasunapatti’.
Sammohanam’s dreaminess showed Vivek Sagar’s potential while Geetha Govindam made sure Gopi Sundar got his due. Devi Sri Prasad’s Rangasthalam was magical, the musician himself singing the folksy ‘Yentha Sakkagunave’. Rahul Sipligunj’s title track and Manasi’s ‘Rangamma’ were equally powerful.
Hiphop Tamizha’s Krishnarjuna Yuddham with Penchal Das’s folksy ‘Dhaari Choodu’, Revanth and Sanjith Hegde’s ‘I wanna Fly’ and Raghu Dixit’s rock ballad, ‘Urime Manase’ is a lovely album. Radhan gave us Hushaaru to round off an amazing year for music.
Vivek Sagar’s Brochevarevarura was the surprise package this year with tracks like ‘Vaale Chinukule’ by Sooraj Santhosh and the experimental ‘Vagalaadi’ sung by Vivek Sagar, Balaji Balaji Dake and Ram Miriyala and Manisha. Mickey Meyer’s Oh Baby was cool, with Mohana Bhogaraju’s ‘Naalo Maimarapu’ haunting you for a while. Nutana Mohan’s ‘Aakasam Lona’ might move you to tears on a quiet day.
Justin Prabhakaran too deserves a pat for the comforting tracks of Dear Comrade.
‘Sada Nannu’ (sung by Charulatha Mani , composed by Mickey Meyer for Mahanati )
‘Evaro’ (sung by Hemachandra and Shweta Mohan, composed by Shravan Bharadwaj for Kalki )
‘Hoyna’ (sung by Inno Genga and Anirudh who composed it for Gang Leader )
‘Samayama’ (sung by Yazin Nazir and Harini, composed by Prashanth Vihari for Antariksham )
‘Manavi Alakincharadate’ (sung by Pradeep Kumar) and ‘Oohale’ (sung by Shaktisree Gopalan) both composed by Prashanth Vihari for Mental Madilo
‘Endaro Mahanubhavulu’ (arranged by Gopi Sundar and sung by Runeka Arun for Bhale Bhale Magadivoy )
‘It’s your love’ (sung by Sreeram, composed by Mickey Meyer for Life is Beautiful )
‘Adento Gaani’ (sung and composed by Anirudh for Jersey )
‘Aagi aagi’ (sung by Anurag Kulkarni and Manisha Eerabathini, composed by Vivek Sagar for Ee Nagaraniki Emi Aindi
‘Aasha Pasham’ (sung by Anurag Kulkarni, composed by Sreekar Agasthi for C/o Kancharapalem ).
Yazin Nazir with tracks like ‘Na Gundello’ in Majili , ‘Meghalu Lekunna’ in Kumari 21F , ‘O Vasumathi’ in Bharat Ane Nenu and ‘Naalo Chilipi Kala’ deserve a special mention too.
Other movie albums that deserve a mention: Leader (2010, Mickey Meyer), Oosaravelli (2011, DSP), Businessman (2012, Thaman), Seethamma Vakitlo Sirimalle Chettu (2013, Mickey Meyer), Guru (2017, Santhosh Narayanan), Naa Peru Surya, Naa Illu India (2018, Vishal-Shekhar) and Aravinda Sametha Veera Raghava (2018, Thaman).