1. Kannukkul Pothi Vaippen (Thirumanam Enum Nikkah)
A man who has shown tremendous promise since his debut in 2011, composer Ghibran had three fabulous soundtracks this year (2 in Tamil, 1 in Telugu), and the best of the lot was undoubtedly this movie, and this classical-oriented song. Written by Parvathy and sung by Charulatha Mani, Vijay Prakash, Sadhana Sargam and Dr. R. Ganesh.
2. Yaarumilla (Kaaviya Thalaivan)
In what has been his busiest year in a long time (nine albums in total), A R Rahman produced some of his choicest compositions in this period drama. And in this melodic piece penned by Pa. Vijay he gets two seasoned singers Shweta Mohan and Srinivas to pull off a fine job.
3. English Notes (Ramanujan)
Kaaviya Thalaivan was not the only period film that came out in Tamil this year; this biopic of Srinivasa Ramanujan too had some brilliant music by Ramesh Vinayakam, possibly his career-best effort. This song isn’t Tamil, but to me is the best song of the soundtrack for the masterful way in which the composer has adapted Muttiah Bhagavathar’s Carnatic composition.
4. Manasula Soora Kaathey (Cuckoo)
Another composer who has consistently produced impressive music since his 2012 debut, Santhosh Narayanan had four fabulous soundtracks in 2014, and Cuckoo qualifies as the topper, albeit by a slight margin. RR and Divya Ramani sing this particular track written by Yugabharathi.
5. Oru Vela Raavinnakam (Swapaanam)
The best Malayalam soundtrack of 2014 is unfortunately one that very few Malayalis might have listened to. Director Shaji N Karun explores a musical theme in Swapaanam and composer Srivalsan J Menon produces a beautiful classical-themed set of songs for him. This Naasikaabhushani raga based track sung by Lekha R Nair and written by poet Manoj Kuroor is one of those.
6. Ethu Kari Raavilum (Bangalore Days)
Plagiarism-related controversies aside, few would disagree that Bangalore Days was one of the most entertaining Malayalam soundtracks of 2014. The songs and the visuals that director Anjali Menon produced for them contributed majorly to the success of the movie. Composer Gopi Sunder himself had a manically busy year, being part of about 25 movies and producing quite a lot of good songs. This song was penned by Rafeeq Ahammed and sung by Haricharan who had a majorly successful year himself, across languages.
7. Raave (Iyobinte Pusthakam)
In a year that saw many indie musicians foray into the film space across South India, Neha Nair and Yakzan Pereira were among the most notable ones (discounting the one song they did last year for 5 Sundarikal). The song is sung by Neha herself, alongside Haricharan, with Rafeeq Ahammed’s lines.
8. Vadhantune (Run Raja Run)
Tamil composer Ghibran’s Telugu debut had his trademark stamp all over it, none more so than this track which even had Chinmayi on vocals, a person with whom he has had some brilliant compositions in the past too. The lyrics were penned by Ramajogayya Sastry.
9. Adiginde (Maine Pyar Kiya)
Another of the impressive indie-musician-turned-film-composer debutants, though V Pradeep Kumar has been active as a playback singer for a while now, Maine Pyar Kiya (no connection to the Hindi movie that I am aware of) had a well-rounded soundtrack and this particular song was sung by his long term musical associate (and life partner) Kalyani Nair along with Abhay Jodhpurkar.
10. Kaakig Banna Kanta (Ulidavaru Kandanthe)
Director Rakshit Shetty’s tribute to Quentin Tarantino had a largely outlandish soundtrack, and composer Ajaneesh Loknath matched the expectations spot on, combining Kannada folk sounds with world music elements most adeptly. This song sung by Shreya Ghoshal is a good sampler.