15 Epic Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy Albums That Will Go Down in History For Their Epicness

Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy is, for those of you living under a rock (you should be ashamed), an Indian musical trio. Consisting of Shankar Mahadevan, Ehsaan Noorani and Loy Mendonsa, this trio has, for almost 30 years now, made our movie-watching experience greater and fuller. Creating music that is always fresh, young, the perfect blend of classical and modern, of jazz and contemporary, of Hindustani and rock, of the old and the new, Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy are one of the greatest music groups of all time.

This list was horribly, horribly difficult to make, but we chose some of our favourite music albums by the iconic trio that we are sure will be century-defining music.

Dil Chahta Hai

I think it’s fair to call this album the album of the 21st century. Released at the cusp of the 2000s, Dil Chahta Hai broke all earlier, outdated rules of film and gave the Indian audience something new, something young, something relatable.

Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy created a musical soundtrack that will def go down in history for being one of the catchiest collections of great music. From hit, party songs to love ballads, duets, songs capturing the idiosyncracies of youth, the pain of loving and losing, this album has it all. Who doesn’t remember ta-nana-nanana-na-nanana from the theatre song, Amir-Preity’s love song banter and the irreverance of Koi Kahe? Plus, Dil Chahta Hai is 100% on every roadtrip playlist. I can bet money on that.

Rock On!!

Again, Rock On!! gave us a musical journey that nobody in Bollywood tread on before. Tapping into India’s super talented and growing rock music audience, Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy really went all out on this album. From dance hits like Sinbad the Sailor to concert numbers like Pichle Saat Dinon Mein, to gorgeous love songs like Tum Ho Toh, Rock On!! is a vibe for every mood. What I really appreciate about this album is that the composers never once compromised on authenticity for the movie’s plotline. Each song fit in seamlessly.

Wake Up Sid

If you haven’t cried, thought about your crush, or dramatically gotten wet in the rain while listening to Iktara, are you even desi? Wake Up Sid is another iconic youth-oriented film and Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy gave us yet another music album for it that’s full of life and pomp and love and hope. Hope, above all. Yes, it’s got love songs and heartbreak songs, but more than anything, this album is all about hope. Just like the film. Listen to these songs when you’re feeling down, and trust me, you’ll find answers in the music.

Aalavandhan

For an action-packed thriller like Aalavandhan, music is everything. This movie has it all: Kamal Haasan laughing manically, fighting people, serpents tattooed on his body, terrorists, tourists, hostages, hallucinations, pregnancies…yeah. Everything. To amplify the audience’s watching experience is not an easy one, and music plays a big role in it. Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy proved with this album that they don’t only excel at making blues and rock; they can make thrilling, bone-chilling soundtracks in all languages and all genres.

Taare Zameen Par

Taare Zameen Par‘s music album is exception for many reasons, but the most striking one is the absolute tenderness of it. Made from this fantastical, imaginative world of childhood and innocence, the songs capture beauty and profundity in the most simplistic, relatable ways. Each song in this album is a specimen, from Bum Bum Bole making kids and adults dance and question the world around them, to Jame Raho which captures the ratrace that children and adults are both stuck in, to Maa, which is the most heartbreaking song of all time (call your mothers!). The background score is pure magic, reminiscent of the Willy Wonka score: pure, gorgeous and truthfully noticing the smallest beautiful things about life.

Bunty Aur Babli

Bunty Aur Babli is the epitome of a fantastically cinematic, masala movie. And Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy hand-tailored each song for this film to fit each moment perfectly. From Rani’s and Abhishek’s opening number, the train-inspired Dhadak Dhadak to the romantic Chup Chup Ke to Aishwarya’s sizzling (yet classy) Kajra Re, the Nach Baliye dream sequence, each song was a hit back then and remains evergreen even today. This album fully captures the crazy Bonnie+Clyde duo of the movie that goes around thieving the country, the hunger for a good life and the indo-western musical genre.

Kal Ho Naa Ho

Need I say more? Thought so. Kal Ho Naa Ho was made to represent the NRI folks and the music aptly represents that world. A blend of western and Bollywood styles, Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy really intensified every emotion we felt while watching this movie. Also, no Sangeet in the world is complete without “Maahi Ve.” Or G-U-J-J-U.

Dil Dhadakne Do

Capturing Punjabi energy and enthusiasm with complex family relationships and undertones, Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy created a super fun, full of life album with songs for all seasons. Dil Dhadakne Do‘s soundtrack has probably the first and most fun hookup song (ever) in Pehli Baar, the perfect family party song in Galla Goodiyan and introduced us to swing music in Girls Like To Swing. It’s everything that was 2015: fresh, original music with purpose.

Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna

The reason why the Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna album stands out is because it is full of heart. Overflowing with heart, actually. Rich in love and loss, this musical album is filled with some of Bollywood’s greatest love ballads of all time. Who doesn’t love SRK spreading his arms wide in NYC whilst lip-syncing a song sung by Shankar Mahadevan? I know I do.

Luck By Chance

Luck By Chance was wayyy ahead of its time. The music of the film represents both the insider and outsider perspectives of Bollywood. The inside perspective is full of chaos and circus-esque performative music, full of pomp and show and display. The outsider music is ridden with heartache, lyrics that speak to struggles and songs that are all about people who keep moving forward. At the end of the day, both types of music are about dreams: coming true, falling apart and the act of dreaming itself.

Karthik Calling Karthik

Shankar, Ehsaan and Loy created totally different music for Karthik Calling Karthik. It is symbolic of everything the movie stands for: the rut of daily routines, youth letting loose, falling in love and having fun, and the confusion of life when it falls apart. Our favourites from this album are Uff Teri Adaa and Hey Ya!

Raazi

With Gulzar penning the lyrics and Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy composing the music, Raazi‘s songs are just beautiful. They are especially important in 2020 because they break all stereotypes. From using a Kashmiri folk song at a wedding to a patriotic song about loving one’s country sung by children in both India and Pakistan, Raazi‘s music really makes us think about how music is such a great unifier of people, and an important instrument to express ourselves.

Lakshya

Lakshya is a movie that touched millions of hearts. It was an emotional rollercoaster, and the music is to be equally thanked for the whole experience. Shankar, Ehsaan and Loy made an album that was crazy fun, full of life to dance and sing to, but also had really intense, strong ballads that straight attacked our hearts. Main Aisa Kyun Hoon will never not be relatable and Agar Main Kahoon is probably one of the most fun love duets, like ever.

Don 2

Slick, sexy and staying true to the ethos of the Don franchise, the Don 2 soundtrack by Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy is an epic one. They pay their respects to the original 70s Don film through Yeh Mera Dil and Khaike Paan Bana Raswalla, slightly modified to fit the modern listener. We love the Don 2 album because it uses electronic music really well to make sexy dance numbers and includes a background score that makes every scene of this movie that much more exciting to watch. Who else but this trio could have made such a rich album?

Zindagi Na Milegi Dobaara

Another youth-filled vacation album, the ZNMD soundtrack is fantastic for its originality. Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy really took inspiration from every location, soaked in the culture, the food, the song and dance of each place and fuelled them into these songs. Senorita is spontaneous, hilarious, yet authentic to the Spanish genre of music. Khwabon Ke Parindey is tender and tugs at all our hearts; Sooraj ki Baahon Mein makes us want to rent a car and just drive to the nearest beach/hill station; Ik Junoon takes us to vibrant European life and cities; and Dil Dhadakne Do is a reminder for us to live and love.

What better way to do that than by listening to the fantastic library of music that Shankar, Ehsaan and Loy and built for us, over the years?

Did we miss out on any of your favourite Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy music? Tell us on contactus@mirchiplay.com
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