Have been thinking about writing a post on this topic for a long time now. There are so many songs in our films which are absolutely brilliant, but are ruined by terrible and embarrassing visuals on screen. This is a post compiling such songs from Hindi, Tamil and Malayalam. And the most number of such instances has occurred to songs by the country's most prolific composer AR Rahman.
1. Rehna Tu (Delhi 6 - Hindi)Now, this had to top the list. It is certainly a crime if you cant do justice to one of AR Rahman's all-time best compositions. A masterpiece in all means, be it music, lyrics, vocals or orchestration, this song could have done wonders for the movie. But one gets shocked when this song plays out in the movie. It has visuals of Rishi Kapoor taking Abhishek Bachchan to his snooker parlour, them playing snooker and chilling with a couple of beers. Now, is that a way to shoot such a marvellous piece of music?? Especially when the director is someone who did wonders with Rahman's songs on screen in Rang De Basanti? I was heartbroken to see such a beautiful song go wasted in such a situation. I can never forgive Rakeysh Mehra for this sin.
2. Veera Veera (Raavanan - Tamil)Mani Ratnam, who is considered to be one of the best directors in India, and THE best when it comes to picturizing songs, makes a shocking entry to this list with this song. Another fabulous composition by Rahman royally wasted during the title sequence of the movie. This song could have made a fantastic introduction and theme song for the Raavanan character that Vikram played. Mani Ratnam himself wrote lyrics for this song and yet ended up doing injustice to it. The song looked great in trailers, but when the movie came, it was played only during the title graphics which had stills of Vikram and his different faces. Even a small montage sequence with visuals of Vikram and his activities could have done wonders since this was such an amazing song. Never expected Mani Ratnam to do injustice to a song, that too an AR Rahman song.
3. Ezhu Swarangalum (Chiriyo Chiri - Malayalam)This song is one of master composer Raveendran's best compositions, utilizing the full potential of the magical voice of KJ Yesudas. Deeply rooted in classical Carnatic music, this song could have had a grand picturisation in its video. An extremely tough song to sing, this song is also famous for the drastic variations in pitching within the same sentence. But sadly, what we see in the video is a rugged looking Balachandra Menon, looking every bit like a goonda singing this song as casually as he is singing some nursery rhyme. And when the heroine dreams about him, he appears in similar costumes and does a 'madakkikuthu' (the act of folding and unfolding the mundu/dhoti - every Malayali's favorite pastime) and you cant help but feel sad thinking what this song could have been. Balachandra Menon himself expressed grief recently that he ruined this song completely in its visualization when he directed the movie in 1982. It still stands an embarassment to one of the greatest songs ever made in Malayalam film music.
4. Theekkuruviyaay (Kangalal Kaidhu Sei - Tamil)
Another AR Rahman masterpiece wasted. The song is picturized like its in some big-budget soft porn movie. Something totally unacceptable from a director of Bharathiraja's stature. Bad sets, random foreign locations, gawdy costumes, weird choreography, disastrous editing, a funny looking hero and an awkward Priyamani make matters worse. A little known fact about this song is that veteran Malayalam composer Johnson sang the chorus portions of this song while the lead vocals were by Mukesh and Harini. The whole album has some great songs but they have horrible videos, out of which this has to be the worst.
5. Mayiliragae (Anbe Aaruyire - Tamil)
Looks like this list is gonna be full of AR Rahman songs alone. Another wonderful song, disastrously picturized. With the beautiful vocals of Madhushree and Naresh Iyer, Mayiliragae is one of the best romantic songs Rahman has done in this decade. But the video has the super-good looking [:P] hero SJ Suryah with the Simran look-alike Nila, in florescent blue costumes, doing random things inside a graphically created temple, palace and such other places. Other than bearing SJ Suryah (which itself is an enormous task), you have to endure the horrible graphics. Even the skin show by Nila doesnt help the terrible video. There are other great songs in the movie with bad videos too, like - Anbe Aaruyire, Tharugiray and Thazhuvuthu Nazhuvuthu.
6. Marudhaani (Sakkarakkatti - Tamil)
Yet another AR Rahman song murdered. [:(] This time from an epic disaster called Sakkarakkatti. Vocals again by Madhushree, along with AR Rahman himself. A beautiful song about heartbreak, the song has visuals of the hero walking and has computer generated asteroids striking the mountains where he is walking, tornados following him and what not. I felt like weeping seeing the atrocity the director and the CG artists did to this beautiful song. The horrible acting by the hero and heroine dont help either. This movie would be an embarrassment for AR Rahman. And an insult to his talent and the hard work he put in for the movie. I hope this is the last AR Rahman song in this list.
7. Neeyoru Puzhayaay (Thilakkam - Malayalam)
A sensuous, romantic melody with out of the world vocals by Jayachandran, this song was out of place in the movie itself. In the movie, Dileep plays a mad man and Kavya plays his childhood friend. This song appears randomly in between a lot of hilarious comedy sequences. So such a song looked totally out of place in a movie like that. It should have been given to some pure, romantic movie (such movies hardly come in Malayalam though). And then, in the video, Dileep and Kavya walk around random locations in some hill station. And what were nuns, burqa-clad women, Muslim men, Sardarjis and Buddhist monks doing walking around them? There's even a shot of a water droplet falling on the bald head of a monk. :O And halfway through the song, Dileep comes wearing shades along with a violet kurta. Kavya's costumes are marginally better than Dileep's. They have decent chemistry between each other but this song needed something else. Thankfully the actor wasnt lip-syncing the song.
8. Maambullikkaavil (Katha Parayumbol - Malayalam)
A beautiful song composed by M Jayachandran and sung by Vineeth Sreenivasan and Shwetha, this song showed a movie within a movie. One glance at Mammootty in that hideous wig would put you off instantly. I'm clueless as to why such a handsome person like him would even agree to wear such a wig in such a nice song. Not jut one, but all wigs worn by him in this song are disastrous. Only a certain part where he comes in his Pazhassiraja look is watchable in this song. Even the North Indian model looks out of place in such a song. The costumes are bad as well. A bad video of a great song in a great film.
9. Ariyathe Ariyathe (Ravanaprabhu - Malayalam)
After Mammootty, its Mohanlal's song which makes an entry into this list because of the hideous costumes and wigs he sported in the song. One of the most beautiful romantic tracks ever created in Malayalam, Ariyathe Ariyathe had a terrible video where Vasundhara Das was dressed as different princesses and Mohanlal as different emperors. It had horrible clothes, weird back-up dancers and bad art direction. Vasundhara Das had a single expression throughout, but still managed to look cute. Mohanlal appeared in embarrassingly bad costumes, the worst one being the one resembling Alexander (or whomever it was supposed to be), and looked like he was very uncomfortable as well. . Only towards the end, he comes in a normal attire and thats the only good part in the video of this song. A shame to Mohanlal who makes even the worst songs worthwhile with his performance alone.
10. Maalai Neram (Aayirathil Oruvan - Tamil)
I think the worst fate for a song among this entire list would have been for this song. It never got picturised itself. The music of Aayirathil Oruvan released some 5-6 months before the movie released. And the track that was unanimously loved by everyone was Maalai Neram sung by Andrea. Perhaps GV Prakash's best song ever, this song deserved a lovely video. The movie, a confused epic, had no place for this song in it. I have no idea why such a beautiful song which is totally irrelevant to the subject of the movie was even composed for it. Otherwise, GV Prakash could have given this beautiful song to some other better movie. Andrea's voice is haunting and so is the song. I sincerely hope they allow some other director to take this song in his movie for a good situation as it has not yet appeared on the big screen.
Thats a list I could compile as of now. Suggest more such songs if you can think of any. :)