Music Album Details
♪ Music by: Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy
♪ Lyrics by: Amitabh Bhattacharya
♪ Music Label: YRF Music
♪ Music Released On: 2nd November 2021
♪ Movie Releases On: 19th November 2021

Bunty Aur Babli 2 Album Cover

Listen to the songs: Spotify | JioSaavn | Gaana

Buy the album: iTunes

Bunty Aur Babli 2 is an upcoming Bollywood comedy film starring Rani Mukerji, Saif Ali Khan, Siddhant Chaturvedi and Sharvari Wagh. The film is directed by Varun V. Sharma and produced by Aditya Chopra. The film, which is a sequel to the 2005 hit film ‘Bunty Aur Babli’, revolves around a new pair of con artists who call themselves Bunty and Babli, and the reaction of the original Bunty and Babli to these new con artists. The music composers from the first movie, Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy have been retained for the sequel as well, and going by their great work in the preceding film, one expects a lot from the album of this film. However, the absence of Gulzar and Shaad Ali might be cause for a little tone-down in expectations. Lyrics are still in the trustworthy hands of Amitabh Bhattacharya, however, and going by the quirky tone of the film’s trailer, he seems to be the perfect choice for the film. Though comparisons to the original album are inevitable, I do understand that the world and the Bollywood music scene has changed a lot in these 15 years, and hence, I would try my best to refrain from such comparisons in my review. The fact that we are getting original music is huge in itself. Without further ado, let us see what this album has in store for us.

Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy’s talent for making seemingly lacklustre tracks become earworms couldn’t be more evident than in Tattoo Waaliye. The song at first creates a terrible impression, but I couldn’t help but warm up to it with every subsequent listen. That said, the composition is weak, and being the promotional song that this is, the composers were probably asked to make a ‘hip’ and youthful number. For no fault of theirs, they deliver. They even rope in Neha Kakkar (for the first time in their musical career?) to make the song more attractive towards today’s audience. What I enjoyed most about the song, however, were the strong vocals by Pardeep Sran, a singer not uncommon on Pritam’s albums around 2016-2017. He sings the song with the required spunk, and elevates it to a level it might not have reached without his voice. Another plus point is the slick programming by DAWgeek (who also programmed for the trio in ‘Bandish Bandits’ last year). Yes, some of the beats are typical Punjabi pop beats, but I enjoyed the programming in the phrases just before the hookline. The only place the song remotely sounds like a Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy, is the antara, with the dholak, harmonium and the male background chorus. Amitabh Bhattacharya has written quirky Punjabi lyrics, but nothing we haven’t heard before. Keeping aside all comparisons to the first movie, all I would say is that we have grown so accustomed to expect instant catchiness from certain songs (including recreations), that when composers try to give something original, we fail to give it another chance. However, thanks to Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy’s pristine reputation in this regard, this song got another chance from me, and I’m glad I gave it that.

As soon as the rap beat for the next song, Luv Ju, starts off, you know that this another attempt from the trio to create something that fits in with today’s soundscape. As such, it is assumed that the song probably follows the escapades of the younger set of Bunty and Babli. People who are going gaga over Arijit’s rapping (and rightly so) might not have caught his rap in his independent single ‘Rihaa’ from last year, so a quick shoutout for that song as well. Moving on with ‘Luv Ju’, the song starts off sounding quite weird and experimental, but again, it takes a few listens to get fully accustomed to, after which it becomes an earworm. The “Baahon mein aa bhar le” melody lifts the song up immediately, and the “Luv ju” hook is quite addictive. Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy’s stamp is evident in the second antara, where they go back to their signature sinister Punjabi folk-esque mode, especially in the line “Ni baliye I luv ju“. I could even imagine Shankar singing that line, but leave it up to Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy to give Arijit the most eclectic variety of songs. Amitabh Bhattacharya’s lyrics are more enjoyable here thankfully, and there are more lyrical takeaways from this song than the last. Most amusing was “Chaand jalaakar dinner karaange“, as opposed to the usual candlelight dinner. The gangster theme and sound is captured well by the trio and Amitabh, but one can’t help but wish the lyrics were the plain and simple “Love you” instead of the irritating “Luv Ju”, which sounds contrived. Once again, programming by DAWgeek is sleek, and perhaps his programming is what is causing all the acoustic differences in these songs, because I could not initially believe that this was Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy’s sound. All in all, this one is an Arijit show all the way!

Of course, if YRF makes sequels, they also include remakes of the theme/title songs (a la ‘Dhoom’) and here too, Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy give us a title song named (very creatively) Bunty Aur Babli 2. Siddharth Mahadevan becomes one of the two singers from the first album to have a song in the sequel, but Siddharth was a child artist in the first album. There too, he sang in the title song, but here he takes over as lead singer, joined by Bohemia who presents a passable rap portion. All in all, the song too, is passable. The vocals by Siddharth being energetic as they are, the song lacks clear structure and fails to hold the listener’s attention except for the hookline from the original song. There is a very loud drop in the song that acts as a major drawback for the song. To be honest, the club treatment does not suit the composition of this song. The song sounds like a hodge-podge of various elements that just haven’t managed to fuse together properly. Loud and tough to sit through.

As mentioned in the previous song’s review, there is another singer from the original film, who has returned in this film too. And she is Sunidhi Chauhan. Dhik Chik happens to be quite an enjoyable dance track led by Indian rhythms and a Qawwali treatment a la ‘Kajra Re’ from the first film, or ‘Saiyaan’ from Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy’s ‘Salaam-E-Ishq’, but sans the adlib, the filmy interludes and the overall grand sound. That said, this song is catchy in itself, partially thanks to the lead singers, Mika and Sunidhi, the latter returning to Bollywood films after quite long. Here too, one can hear DAWgeek trying to add modern touches to the song with digital beats, but the song is predominantly led by the harmonium and dholak-tabla combination, which makes for a refreshing listen. The hookline is really basic, but somehow palatable. Apart from Sunidhi’s fun rendition, Amitabh Bhattacharya’s nok-jhonk lyrics also add to the quirky quotient of the song, and also hint that it may be picturised on the older Bunty-Babli couple. The short length of the song makes sure it doesn’t overstay its welcome, because there’s only so much one can do with such a minimalistic sound — the choice of keeping the length short was an astutely made one.

Bunty Aur Babli 2 might just be one of the worst albums of Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy’s career as music directors. However, that is not to say that it is an entirely worthless album. The composers have tried their best to fit the music with the milieu and tone of the film, and the zany, comic caper that it is, it probably called for such a nonsensical vein throughout its soundtrack. The innovation quotient is obvious in songs like ‘Luv Ju’, while the quirkiness is evident in that song as well as ‘Dhik Chik’. Their attempt at catering to the youth, as failed as it is, comes across in ‘Tattoo Waaliye’ and the title track, and to be honest, we cannot blame them. There is only so much a Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy can do without a Shaad Ali or a Gulzar saab.

Total Points Scored by This Album: 6 + 7 + 4 + 6.5 = 23.5

Album Percentage: 58.75%

Final Rating for This Album: सा < रे < ग < म < < ध < नी < सां

Note: The letter which is underlined is the final rating.

Recommended Listening Order: Luv Ju > Dhik Chik > Tattoo Waaliye > Bunty Aur Babli 2

What is your favourite song from Bunty Aur Babli 2? Please vote for it below! Thanks! 🙂


Music Album Details
♪ Music by: Justin Prabhakaran
♪ Lyrics by: Raj Shekhar
♪ Music Label: Sony Music
♪ Music Released On: 1st November 2021
♪ Movie Releases On: 5th November 2021

Meenakshi Sundareshwar Album Cover

Listen to the songs: Spotify | JioSaavn | Gaana

Buy the album: iTunes

Meenakshi Sundareshwar is an upcoming Bollywood romantic comedy starring Sanya Malhotra and Abhimanyu Dassani. The film is directed by Vivek Sonni and produced by Karan Johar, Apoorva Mehta and Somen Mishra. The film revolves around a couple that has to face the problems thrown at them by a long-distance marriage. The most interesting thing about this film for me, is that its music has been composed by Justin Prabhakaran, a promising composer from the South, who has composed for films like ‘Dear Comrade’, an album which I had loved. The lyrics to this album have been written by Raj Shekhar, who has written quirky and catchy lyrics for movies like ‘Tanu Weds Manu’, ‘Tanu Weds Manu Returns’, ‘Qarib Qarib Singlle’, ‘Hichki’ and ‘Saand Ki Aankh’. I am eager to check out what Justin has to offer in his debut Bollywood outing, and I am expecting nothing but the best, and probably an album full of South Indian folk influences, given the setting of the film.

Justin opens the album with a number that represents the film’s wedding vibe beautifully in a classical and folk-themed romantic song. Mann Kesar Kesar, led by Shashwat Singh and Aanandi Joshi (who is singing in Bollywood after quite some time) is a very Rahman-like composition, and not just the composition, but the arrangements too, sound like they are straight out of Rahman’s book, what with the classical-based female chorus (hands-down the highlight of the song for me), the awe-inspiring shehnai and ethnic percussions. Justin adds quirky touches like the Carnatic vocals and the guitar-shehnai fusion that make for a pleasant listen. The Tamil phrases interspersed throughout the song increase the authenticity of the number, but phrases like “Suno kanmani” take some time getting used to; it took us 15 years and still counting to get accustomed to Hinglish, so a Hindi-Tamil fusion would take time to get used to, I suppose! Midway, the song breaks into a typical Bollywood-sounding dholak-tabla beat, against which Aanandi sounds amazing singing her part. The shehnai-led “khanak khanak” refrain soon reclaims the song, however, landing it to a very smooth ending all in all. Raj Shekhar weaves magic into the already heavenly sounding song with his phrases like “Baandhani se khwaab“, and “Ek kosa kosa sapna maddham maddham jaage re“. While we are at that latter phrase, it is a beauty how Raj repeats some words twice, giving the lyrics a very nice and catchy phonetic touch — “Kesar kesar“, “Champai champai“, “Resham resham” — the overall effect is ethereal to say the least.

Following the same folksy vein is Tittar Bittar, a fun track sung by an ensemble of singers. I believe Justin loves to produce these ensemble-singer tracks and they are a common occurrence in his South albums too. In this song, we have Romy, Goldie Sohel, Prince Bhatra, Mohana Bhogaraju, Hemambiga, Chitralekha Sen, Swati Sharma, Yajat Garg and Justin and Raj themselves. Though song predominantly takes a Tamilian folk sound, Justin adds various different detours throughout the song, such as the jazz digression or the Carnatic classical one. The hookline is enough to get the listener hooked, though, and so is the melodic “Dil kameena” portion that repeats many times throughout the song. Justin employs many sound effects to make the song sound alive, and they all fit together as a whole. The ensemble of singers reminds me of Ajay-Atul’s ‘Basanti No Dance’ from ‘Super 30’, another fun-filled track led by many singers. Unfortunately, the only voice I could discern out of the large group of singers, was that of Romy, who gets a whole verse (the “Katti batti” verse) to himself, accompanied by staccato strings and vocal beats, probably by Justin. The song then moves to a piano-led jazzy portion, sung by a young child. As mentioned before, this portion is followed by a strong Carnatic classical portion, complete with Thavil. However, what holds the song together is the “Tittar Bittar” hook, which is supported very ably by the folk percussions. Raj Shekhar’s lyrics seem to be about various comedic incidents about failed love in various people’s lives. Again, the man gets the phonetics right with neologisms like “Tragediyaa“. Overall, this song is a fun track, both lyrically and musically.

While still in the upbeat territory of the album, we encounter Vaada Machaney, a funky song sung by Benny Dayal and Romy. Romy is tasked with the responsibility of opening the song with a comic adlib, supported by old-fashioned santoor and veena, and the man and his nose, together brilliantly deliver a performance that the song would be remembered by. However, the song takes a turn from that adlib to a funky dance number high on the bass quotient. The bass line is infectious in its energy, and coupled with Benny’s (as-usual) electrifying rendition, it took me back to Rahman’s 90s days. Again, Raj Shekhar spins up very quirky lyrics with a mix of Tamil, Hindi and new words like “fikram“, which are bound to get the audience intrigued. Sample this: “Dil ko na kill kije, thoda sa chill kije!” Justin’s composition and arrangements deserve a lot of praise solely for putting together such an upbeat number, in today’s times where composers struggle to compose original dance pieces that manage to hold the attention for longer than the mukhda of the song. However, Justin has embellished this song with an abundance of bass guitar pieces, trumpets, drums and the very strong basic beat of the song. There is even an interlude with the veena, making for very interesting fusion. Once again, the backing vocals have been used exquisitely, while Benny is kept at the head of all proceedings throughout the song. A very interesting Western-oriented dance number in a Hindi film after a long time.

To begin with the dulcet, melodic and romantic part of the album, Tu Yahin Hai, is another brilliant showcase of Justin’s calibre as a composer, what with the beautiful melody supported by strings and woodwinds. The waltzy saccharine melody is propped on a melodic piece that repeats throughout the song, first on a clarinet, then on strings. The melody is in itself so strong, and Madhushree’s voice only enhances the effect. Abhay Jodhpurkar, in another of his once-in-a-blue-moon appearances in Bollywood songs, gives us enough material to listen to on loop until his next song (who knows how long that will take). The vocal beats by Resmi Sateesh provide a nice folksy touch to the song, and coupled with the percussions, it adds another layer to the song altogether, which otherwise would remain a waltzy romantic melody. The antara brings the melody back, this time wonderfully accompanied by a tabla, jingles and guitars. I especially loved the “jugnu jugnu” line, and yet again, Raj Shekhar weaves phonetic magic with his repetition of words. It seems to be a deliberate common thread throughout the album. His lyrics for the antara portray the feelings of a couple in a long-distance marriage as charmingly as can be expected form a Bollywood song — Humein subah se iska intezaar hai, ki jaldi jaldi shaam ho, ki poore din ke kisse hum batayenge, tasalliyon se raat ko” or “Yeh doori hai dil ka veham, sang mere hai tu har dum“. The song concludes with an encore of the mukhda, this time steeped in magical, lilting strings, and finally concluding with a trumpet and drumroll flourish, in a very grand Ajay-Atul / Disney-esque manner. The song is worth listening to on loop, only to catch that opulent finale each time around!

Juxtaposed against ‘Tu Yahin Hai’, is Abhay Jodhpurkar’s second song in the album, Ratti Ratti Reza Reza, a melancholic romantic number on which he shares credit with the wonderful Shreya Ghoshal (for the second time after their song ‘Sapna Hai Sach Hai’ in ‘Panipat’). This song too, starts with wind instruments, but the mellow scene is set with the first note, and one can immediately discern the difference in tone. Justin’s strong melody, coupled with Raj Shekhar’s provocative words — “Jaana agar hai toh jaa, mujhe kuchh nahin kehna“, “Kya hi kahe, jab pyaar hi naa raha“, make for a very thought-provoking and emotional listen. As if consciously trying to allay some of the heaviness of the song, Justin props the melody on a basic guitar riff and does not choose to crowd the song with too many instruments as in the previous songs, but that only brings the raw emotions more to the forefront. The violins make for wonderful companions to the simple guitar riff in the song. The antara is also led by piano, a hit on the cymbals, and guitars, but I loved the fact that the song is mostly led by its melody, which is so rare in today’s time of excessive production. The singers also carry Justin’s strong melody aptly, bringing forth the emotions impeccably in their rendition and touching the high notes brilliantly. Abhay and Shreya’s voices complement each other well too. Raj Shekhar’s lyrics get straight to the point, and with no stalling whatsoever, he captures the passive-aggressive nature of humans perfectly in this piece — “Ratti ratti, reza reza, jo hai tera, le jaana / Yaadein, baatein, din aur raatein, sab le jaa tu“.

To break the awkward Tamil+Hinglish mixture of the album, Thalaivaa is a completely Tamil song inserted into the album — probably a tribute to Rajinikanth as Sanya’s character in the film is a fan of him. Despite my limited knowledge of Tamil films songs, I can ascertain that this song is like the quintessential kuthu song in almost any Tamil film starring a big superstar. The melody is strong and catchy, and Anthony Dassan, a name who is extremely famous down South for such songs, delivers it with panache. Justin makes sure to add melodic pieces into the song, and that reminds me of Rahman when he makes such songs, a la ‘Aalaporan Thamizhan’ (Mersal). The horns and drums create an energetic atmosphere that is suitable for the song. I enjoyed the inclusion of the horns in the background around 1:21. It anchored the song for me. Overall, a fun song for anyone who enjoys kuthu songs.

The six vocal songs of the album make way for an instrumental / BGM portion of the album, with six tracks that enhance the quality and depth of the album. First up comes a very peculiar song called Down and Dirty, which is a reggae song led by the scatting of Bjorn Surrao, complete with the Caribbean flavour and percussion. Lavita Lobo accompanies Surrao, and overall, the song is quite repetitive, but makes for a good exposure to world music as it has all the characteristics of a Caribbean folk song — trumpets, percussions and bass, not to forget the scatting! Also by Lavita Lobo is Looking at the Moon, which is a piano and flute-led instrumental version of ‘Tu Yahin Hai’, making for a heavenly listen. The lounge treatment done to Lavita’s vocals is interesting, and I loved the way the song breaks into a Carnatic classical piece halfway through, with the shehnai and Violin leading it, set to a lilting rhythm on the drums. As with its vocal version, even this song ends with an extravagant strings and chorus portion, that sounds transcendental. The violin though, is the star of the track.

Another track that is led by the piano, flute and strings, is Waltz with Meenakshi, and I presumed that it would also feature the melody of ‘Tu Yahin Hai’, but Justin has put together a new piece altogether. Quite like the music of Disney movies, this track lets you drown in the peaceful music, and it would be a treat to listen to this in the movie. The Budapest Orchestra has done a brilliant job in this track, in both the slow strings portions and the playful, staccato portions. Of course, the flute features as an able support to the piano and strings.

The naughty and playful vibe we heard in ‘Tittar Bittar’ re-enters the soundtrack with First Kiss, my favourite instrumental from the album. Starting off with a tribal-sounding vocal rhythm coupled with a sweet flute tune, ethnic strings and percussion, the song becomes a mischief-infused track with the chorus taking the front foot with their vocals, but not for long. The peak of the song is touched after the 1:20 mark, when booming percussions take over, let by a beautiful, and I mean beautiful, flute composition that (yet again) reminds me of A.R. Rahman’s school of music. The chorus’ humming still remains prominent, and it sounds so playful, as if teasing somebody. Once the song ends, the flute tune is bound to play in your head on loop!

A surprise in store for the listeners arrives with the last track of the album, Meenakshi Sundareshwar Theme, where Sadhana Sargam and the film’s director Vivek Sonni, have been roped in to hum a song. Very rarely has it occurred in Bollywood that top singers are called in just to hum in an instrumentally led track. However, Justin arranges this track beautifully, with Sadhana’s vocals merging seamlessly with the chorus’. The structure of the humming is similar to the humming from ‘Nahin Saamne’ (Taal); this album just abounds in Rahman references, doesn’t it? Later on in the song, Vivek Sonni hums the tune of ‘Ratti Ratti Reza Reza’, until he is joined by Sadhana Sargam and ethnic drums to make for a splendorous finale to the album!

Meenakshi Sundareshwar delivers just as expected, and more. A debut from a promising young composer of the South, an eleven-track album, and seasoned singers featuring on many of the tracks, what more could one ask for? On top of that, the lyrical beauty of the songs makes it score even higher on the scale of repeat value and playlist life. These songs are keepers, meaningful melodies and enjoyable dance numbers, accompanied by some wonderful background music pieces that one might revisit even after watching the movie. The album acts as the saving grace of Hindi film music, at a time when even the biggest Bollywood composers are stuck in a rut of lack of creativity and innovation. Justin Prabhakaran and Raj Shekhar act as superheroes, who deliver a strongly refreshing and original commercial album, one that will definitely stay with the public for long. I hope other Bollywood producers are paying attention, and realize the talent that Justin possesses. I cannot help but wonder, can this album be for Justin, what Rangeela was to Rahman?

Total Points Scored by This Album: 9 + 8.5 + 9 + 9.5 + 10 + 8 + 7.5 + 8 + 9 + 10 + 8.5 = 97

Album Percentage: 88.18%

Final Rating for This Album: सा < रे < ग < म <प < ध < नी < सां

Note: The letter which is underlined is the final rating.

Recommended Listening Order: The order of the track listing 🙂 Do not miss the instrumentals!

What is your favourite song from Meenakshi Sundareshwar? Please vote for it below! Thanks! 🙂


Music Album Details
♪ Music by: Vijay Verma, Sajjad Ali Chandwani & Harpriet Singh Vig
♪ Lyrics by: Rajesh Manthan, Shakeel Azmi, A.M. Turaz & Pooja Saini
♪ Music Label: Zee Music Company
♪ Music Released On: 5th March 2021
♪ Movie Released On: 12th March 2021

Mera Fauji Calling Album Cover

Listen to the songs: JioSaavn | Gaana

Buy the album: iTunes

Mera Fauji Calling is a Bollywood action drama starring Sharman Joshi, Ranjha Vikram Singh, Bidita Bag, Mahi Soni, Mugdha Godse and Zarina Wahab. The film is directed by Aaryan Saxena and produced by Vikram Singh and Ovez Shaikh. The film, inspired by the Pulwama attacks of 2019, revolves around the family of a soldier who loses his life in the attacks, and how they manage to make ends meet after the incident. The film has a music album put together with the songs by three composers, the lead composer being Vijay Verma, someone who we have heard before in albums like ‘Ishq Ke Parindey’, ’31st October’ and ‘Chakravyuh’. The composer has proved his mettle in classical and folk-based melodies in these albums, and I’m expecting something similar in this album. The other two composers are Sajjad Ali, who also featured with Vijay Verma in ‘Ishq Ke Parindey’, and a newcomer Harpriet Singh Vig. Expecting it to be full of emotion and classical music given the setting and premise of the film, and with this note let’s start the music review of ‘Mera Fauji Calling’!

The album starts off with newcomer Harpriet Singh’s composition, Peer Meri Piya Jaane Na, a beautiful classically-steeped melody with aptly arranged music. The song evokes a feel of Coke Studio, and right from the beginning, the fusion has the listener in awe. The guitars (Sanjoy Das) start off the song magnificently, coupled with the piano and strings. The lead singer, Rabbani Mustafa Khan, who we have heard once long ago as part of an ensemble of singers in Tanishk Bagchi’s ‘Allah Hu Allah’ (Sarbjit), shines as he carries the entire song on his shoulders this time. With a vocal quality that is slightly reminiscent of Shadab Faridi’s, his classically-trained voice forms a perfect fit for the composition, a beautifully flowing one with numerous aalaaps that decorate it. The ‘Aye ri sakhi mangal gao ri…’ refrain is particularly one of the best moments in the song. There is a wonderful female chorus performed by Nihira Joshi and Meenal Jain, and you cannot help but wish that they had an entire stanza to sing, such is the beauty of their harmony, ably supported by an amazing ethnic percussion portion. The female chorus seamlessly joins back to the main melody with a beautiful harmonium-led portion. Naveen Kumar’s flutes are beautiful as always, and the composer tries to accommodate it in numerous places throughout the song, and one can see how the flutes have uplifted the composition and brought out the happiness in the lyrics by Pooja Saini, which beautifully depict the euphoric feeling felt when a loved one (who has been fighting in a war!) returns home. The line ‘Aye ri sakhi kajal laao ri, mohe kaala teeka lagaao ri…’ is especially heart-touching. This song is probably one of the best classical melodies we have heard in recent times, and marks a power-packed debut for Harpriet Singh Vig!

The second guest composer, Sajjad Ali, steps in with Hum Apne Watan Pe Mar Gaye, an intermittently-engaging patriotic soldier anthem from the Anu Malik-J.P. Dutta genre of music, with a heavy dafli rhythm coupled with ennui-inducing strings and an equally tiresome composition. If there is anything remotely interesting about the song, it has to be the interludes, which showcase a beautiful mixture of flutes and classical instruments, much like the type of music Ismail Darbar is known for. The song is tailor-made for Divya Kumar, and the composition steers close to Anurag Saikia’s ‘Khudaara’ (Mulk) in some places, but all in all, the song falls flat. A.M. Turaz writes apt lyrics for the situation, from the point of view of the soldiers fighting in a war.

The part of the album composed by Vijay Verma starts off with a mellow semi-classical number, Bheeni Bheeni Si, which appears in two versions. The Male Version is take care of by the ever-reliable Sonu Nigam, who traverses the intricate nuances of the composition effortlessly, with some really interesting expressions. A tinge of casual singing can be heard in certain parts of the song (The way he sings “Pyaare lamhon…“) which gives an added layer of nonchalance to the song. Verma’s composition is strong, and it is a pleasure to listen to such a classically strong melody in today’s time. The use of flutes is always dominant in Vijay Verma’s songs and here too, Naveen Kumar’s flute assortment has been used exquisitely, along with an amazing showcase of tablas. Rajesh Manthan writes apt lyrics, an emotional romantic song from the soldier’s wife’s point of view. The Female Version is basically the same track, but rendered by Pratibha Singh Baghel, who makes the composition her own. Her classical prowess has already been established, and she consolidates that yet again with this song. Both versions of the song are splendid, and I would not mind listening to them one after the other due to Verma’s strong composition and the wonderful programming by Anamik Chauhan.

Starting off as a racy rock number, Aa Zindagi Tujhe Zara Sa Ji Toh soon digresses into a retro-sounding club number a la ‘Aaj Ki Raat’ (Don). While the song has nice use of piano and rock guitars in its arrangement, and although Hariharan puts his all in rendering the composition with the nice classically trained voice of his, you somehow cannot help but feel a discord between the arrangement and the melody. The rock treatment just did not go well with the song. By way of fusion, we have heard much more seamless fits in recent times, that this one falls flat due to over-production. The result is an awkward and clumsy number that seems confused due to its disparate elements that do not fit well together.

The last song on the album is Mera Aasmaan Hai Papa, a dulcet number from a daughter’s point of view. The song starts off perfectly, with soft humming (probably by Vijay Verma), until it progresses into a lilting number replete with strings and soaring high notes, gracefully rendered by newcomer Shalini Prateek Sinha. The lyrics (Shakeel Azmi) do touch your heart, and it is hard not to get moved by them. The tempo of the song might be a letdown for some, but personally, I found that to be an added advantage that works in favour of the song. The orchestral brilliance set up in the arrangements by Anamik Chauhan is commendable.

Mera Fauji Calling is an album that has its share of ups and downs, but for the most part, it ends up to be a pleasant surprise, with classical-based melodies that are impressive due to their compositions, vocals and arrangements. The quality of production is also top-notch, in keeping with the times. Usually, classical based songs are given dated arrangements but that is not the case with this album. Harpriet Singh Vig makes a very promising composing debut in this album, while Vijay Verma scores in three of his four songs, making the album one that I would definitely revisit in the future.

Total Points Scored by This Album: 9 + 6 + 8 + 8 + 5 + 6.5 = 42.5

Album Percentage: 70.83%

Final Rating for This Album: सा < रे < ग < म <प < < नी < सां

Note: The letter which is underlined is the final rating.

Recommended Listening Order: Peer Meri Piya Jaane Na > Bheeni Bheeni Si (Both Versions) > Mera Aasmaan Hai Papa > Hum Apne Watan Pe Mar Gaye > Aa Zindagi Tujhe Zara Sa Ji Toh

What is your favourite song from Mera Fauji Calling? Please vote for it below! Thanks! 🙂


Music Album Details
♪ Music by: Sachin-Jigar, Emanuele Marascia & Alessandro Murru
♪ Lyrics by: Amitabh Bhattacharya, Emanuele Marascia & Alessandro Murru
♪ Music Label: Sony Music
♪ Music Released On: 5th March 2021
♪ Movie Released On: 11th March 2021

roohi album art

Roohi Album Cover

Listen to the songs: JioSaavn | Gaana

Buy the album: iTunes

Roohi is a Bollywood horror-comedy, directed by Hardik Mehta, produced by Dinesh Vijan and Mrighdeep Singh Lamba, and starring Janhvi Kapoor, Rajkummar Rao and Varun Sharma in lead roles. The film is the second such horror-comedy produced by Maddock Films, after Amar Kaushik and Raj-DK’s 2018 runaway hit ‘Stree’. The special part about this film is, that it is the first ‘big’ film to release in theatres after the whole disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Coincidentally, it was a Maddock Films production, ‘Angrezi Medium’, too, which was the last film to release in theatres back in March 2020 when the pandemic had started off. ANother similarity between the two films, are the music composers, Sachin-Jigar. While their full album for ‘Angrezi Medium’ never released, they had a very rocky 2020, what with ‘Street Dancer 3D’ being hijacked by other pop artists from the music label, and the other movie ‘Shakuntala Devi’, not really getting promoted the way they would have wanted. Fortunately, the music of the film ‘Roohi’, has been promoted quite excessively, and they must have been satisfied by the promotions. They join up with lyricist Amitabh Bhattacharya once again, and one expects quirky outcomes from this trio of Maddock, Sachin-Jigar and Amitabh. So, let’s dive into the music album right away!

‘Roohi’s first song instantly brings back memories of ‘Stree’, with Sachin-Jigar going the familiar way in PanghatThe shehnaai-like loop starts off the song alluringly, but the song soon digresses into a loop of familiar digital beats a la ‘Aao Kabhi Haveli Pe’. The refreshing part of this song though, are the lyrics by Amitabh Bhattacharya, where the former song was highly lacking. Asees, too, infuses the song with a seductive layer, and Sachin-Jigar program her voice well, superimposing two tracks of it, one high-pitched and one lower. Though the antara doesn’t boast of much substance lyrically or musically, Asees renders it with oomph (“Butterflyiaan”, “Haiyya”, “Daiyya”) and it ends up picking up soon enough. The composition of the hookline, one of the most key parts of these Bollywood dance songs, is aptly catchy and so is the vocal programming done by the duo around the “Pan pan pan panghat ki” part. The rap by Mellow D is the only part where I felt like Badshah in ‘Aao Kabhi Haveli Pe’ was much, much better, to say it mildly. The other song which is sure to draw memory of the ‘Stree’ album, is Bhootnia Mika Singh-led quirky number about falling in love with a ghost. Right from the beginning, it sends you back to ‘Milegi Milegi’ from ‘Stree’, which, honestly, was much more better mixed and programmed. The song sounds unusually loud; Sachin-Jigar’s programming is usually sleek, and this was unexpected. Mika drawls out Amitabh’s enjoyable lyrics in his characteristic style, but other than the few and far-apart funny lines in the lyrics and the “zoo zoo zoo” refrain, (again, you can literally feel the ‘Milegi Milegi’ vibe there) this song is purely for comic relief in the movie and has issues surviving as an independent song. Getting another comic relief situational song out of the way, Bhauji sounds like a spoof of Bhojpuri numbers, a wedding number reminding one of Sachin-Jigar’s own ‘Tequila’ (Bala), but not even half as zanily impressive. Divya Kumar is at the top of his game as he usually is in such songs (remember ‘Raita Phail Gaya’ from ‘Shaandaar’ and the aforementioned song from ‘Bala’?), and Sachin-Jigar’s intentionally loud and muffled sound infuses the song with some peppiness. The band baaja is peppy, but again, this song flounders out of the movie.

Moving on to the more impressive part of the album, first off, we have Nadiyon Paar (Let The Music Play Again), a very skilled recreation of Shamur’s ‘Let The Music Play’, a pop song that was all the rage in the latter part of the 2000s. The seemingly gibberish Punjabi loop fits in perfectly with Sachin-Jigar’s reimagined Middle-Eastern soundscape — the drums being one of the main attractions in the song. Rashmeet Kaur, winner of Amazon’s ‘The Remix’, makes her Bollywood debut (?) and sounds a lot like Kanika Kapoor, but her rendition is strong, especially in the antara, where she sings the new verse added by the composers. The song as a whole is very well-produced, but slightly lacking in the bass, as lovers of the original would immediately notice and find disconcerting. IP Singh’s additional lyrics are functional, but his rap is wonderful and doesn’t feel extraneous like the rap in ‘Panghat’. The transition from “Bhej de naiyya” to the “Nadiyon paar sajan da thaana” loop with the “Ohhhh” is really seamless and well-done. Small elements throughout this track make this a really impressive track overall.

The last song, and the song that sounds entirely on a different vein as the rest of the album, is Kistona vaudevillian-esque romantic song that showcases Sachin-Jigar using the flutes and strings heavily, creating a dreamlike symphony, the genre that Ajay-Atul have time and again reserved as their own. This song particularly reminds one highly of ‘Jugraafiya’ (Super 30), but it does have its own merits. The singing by Jubin Nautiyal is one of the best renditions by the man; he almost did not sound like himself the first time I heard the song — he sounds a lot like Abhay Jodhpurkar in this song. The way he hits those high notes, and the 90s touch he brings to his voice, brings a gentle edge to the song, and conveys the timidity of the protagonist very well. The lyrics by Amitabh Bhattacharya in this song, are what we have been waiting for from him throughout the album, and thankfully, he delivers at least now. The entire song is a warning not to fall into love all at once, but to lose yourself in instalments (kishton, pronounced as kiston in this song to fit in with the rural setting). The “pagle” by Jubin is endearing and acts like a cherry on top of such a sweet and mature melody.

Overall, Roohi is one of the weakest albums out of the Maddock-Sachin-Jigar combination, with more than half of the album designated to situational comedic situations arising within the film. Such songs were present even in ‘Bala’ and ‘Made in China’, but they did not feature in the album. They played in the background music of the movie, and hence, we enjoyed them. Here, the makers seem to have included songs in the music album just to increase the quantity. I think the three opening songs Panghat, Nadiyon Paar and Kiston would have been sufficient in this album.

Total Points Scored by This Album: 6 + 4.5 + 5 + 7 + 7.5 = 30

Album Percentage: 60%

Final Rating for This Album: सा < रे < ग < म < < ध < नी < सां

Note: The letter which is underlined is the final rating.

Recommended Listening Order: Kiston > Nadiyon Paar (Let The Music Play Again) > Panghat > Bhauji > Bhootni

Which is your favourite song from Roohi? Please vote for it below! Thanks! 🙂

TEESRA KAUN (Immortal Gems by Pancham #5)

If you’re here for the first time, please read this post.

Teesra Kaun (1965)

Music Album Details
♪ Music by: R.D. Burman
♪ Lyrics by: Anand Bakshi
♪ Music Label: Saregama

Listen to the songs: JioSaavn | Gaana

Buy the album: iTunes

After the Titan album, “Padosan”, Miraya and I felt like going back to an album which we had skipped, a lesser-known album from R.D. Burman’s career, Teesra Kaun. The film itself seems to have been a washout, a B-grade thriller starring Feroz Khan, Kalpana and Shashikala. The album sees many firsts, seeing as to how it is only the third album in Pancham’s career. It is his first collaboration with lyricist Anand Bakshi, and also contains the first collaborations of Pancham with singers like Mukesh and Suman Kalyanpur. But the most fruitful collaboration borne out of this album has to be that of Pancham and Asha. This album consists of two songs by Asha Bhosle, and we are all aware of how significant her role in his career was! So thanks to this album, this partnership started that was to go on for thirty more musical years!

The album’s most popular song, Pyaar Ka Fasaana happens to be a Mukesh-Lata duet, the first song which Mukesh recorded with Pancham da. It starts in a very striking Pancham way, with bongos starting off an upbeat rhythm, and accordion joining in eventually. The vivacious strings help set the chirpy mood for the song, and in comes Pancham’s guitar to work its magic. The melody is light and fluffy as expected, a frothy romantic melody that freshens the mood. The frothy nature of the song is contradicted by Mukesh’s straightforward and flat rendition, which we felt could have been with more efficacy by Rafi. Especially the line “aisa na ho baagon se…” felt like it needed a little more oomph, because when Lata repeats the line after Mukesh, the difference in their levels of expressions, is palpable. Mukesh and Lata prove to be a great combination nevertheless and, their subtle voices complement each other beautifully. Maybe because the movie’s protagonist needed that kind of innocence that Mukesh brought to the table. The feathery voice which Mukesh puts on during those low notes is really beautiful. Pancham ably supports them with a just as exciting musical arrangement. A kind of enticing Caribbean rhythm takes over the interludes, and in the antara, after the singers sing the aforementioned ‘Aisa na ho…‘ line, Pancham plays the same spirited tune on the guitar while the singers pauses with respect to let him pass. It just sounds marvellous and something to experience by listening very carefully. The song somewhat reminds me of ‘Aaj Hua Mera Dil Matwala’ from ‘Chhote Nawab’ which we have already covered in our series, the only difference being that this song is more inspired by Western music. Pancham’s first collaboration with Anand Bakshi also yields some sweet fruits, what with Bakshi sahab writing lines like “Chhoti si hai aaj ki hamari mulaqaat, yeh na ho ki jee mein reh jaaye jee ki baat, jaane phir kab koi dekhe humein saath!”

Coming back to Rafi after a long time in our series, Meri Jaan Tu Khafa Hai Toh Kya Hua is a classic Rafi-Pancham number which falls into the same category as ‘Deewana Mujhsa Nahin’ (Teesri Manzil). The little shararat, nok-jhok and beautiful, melodious antaras. We’ve seen this in earlier albums too, and just for that reason, this did not have much recall value for us, though we have to credit Rafi for making sure it is entertaining to the core. The song starts off with a lovely guitar riff before the very expressive “Ohhhhh…. Meri jaan!” from Rafi saab! The tablas and the dholaks that follow aptly support his voice. And the orchestra is as  grand as an R.D. Burman orchestra can get with a mélange of instruments coming together seamlessly — similar to what we heard in ‘Pyaar Karta Ja’ (Bhoot Bungla). The flutes in particular steal the show in the interludes of this song. The melody beautifully slows down in a very Shammi Kapoor-esque manner in the antaras, and I wonder whether this song would’ve been more popular if it had gotten a Shammi Kapoor film as its vehicle. The softness or the pause before the antara highlighting the beauty of the words is also very beautiful. And Rafi saab’s vocals add sheer beauty to it, with the way he expresses and vocalizes words like “khuda“. The “hai” in the song seems to be the inspiration for the “hai” of Sonu Nigam in ‘Tumse Milke’ (Main Hoon Na). Overall, it’s a number that showcases just how expressive Mohd. Rafi’s singing was. 

The first collaboration between R.D. Burman and Suman Kalyanpur happens in the form of Meri Saheliyan Byahi Gayi Saari, a ladies’ sangeet number with all the typical Bollywood sangeet tropes — dholaks, lyrics by Anand Bakshi that support the theme (while also subtly inserting a message about colour discrimination) and a sweet voice carrying forth Pancham’s light melody. Suman’s voice is so similar to what Lata sounded at that time, it was no wonder she has been mistaken for Lata in many songs! Pancham uses a shehnaai, mandolin and dholak opening to the song, until it gives way to the main melody, a song which seems like a precursor to all those YRF sangeet songs from ‘Silsila’, ‘Chandni’ and the like. The arrangements are mainly propped by the dholaks and flutes, and not much else happens. The song might be the weakest of the album, but a well-done wedding number just the same!  

The song that marks the beginning of the R.D.-Asha collaborations, Achha Sanam Kar Le Sitam is a traditional flamenco number as we know it today, but it was probably one of the first such numbers that the Indian audience were treated with. We have already seen ‘Matwaali Aankhon Wali’ in ‘Chhote Nawab’. One can only imagine how many new avenues were opened after the Indian audience started to get this type of music in their films; the next wave of Western influence was incoming. Pancham sets the rhythm well, with his percussionists and guitarists working well to recreate a Spanish flamenco-ish rhythm. We especially loved the guitar pauses that sort of highlight the underlying rhythm by giving it a wonderful break. The flutes provide upbeat interludes throughout the song, and the strings provide fillers that add to the sinister sound of the song. It is, however, Asha’s show all the way. In a number that would otherwise be tailor-made for Lata all the way, Pancham uses Asha’s versatility to command the listeners’ attention. Also, her husky voice adds to the sinister sound quite well. The songstress uses her low notes to seduce the audience as the actress in the film would be doing on screen. The antaras are especially beautifully, the way Asha sings “Gham bhi sehna hoga...” and the high-pitched line “Par yaad rahe...” is a delight to listen to. Anand Bakshi’s lyrics are apt for such a number, and small touches throughout the lyrics bring out the situation well, where the heroine is talking about how she would’ve been better off without loving the man — “Kaash na tumse pyaar kiya hota“. Also, she gives out a warning in the form of “Par yaad rahe, iss bulbul ko udd jaana bhi aata hai!” 

The second Asha Bhosle song in the album, O Dilruba, starts off with a beautiful cadence of flute and guitars, with the castanets thrown in (signifying another Bollywood flamenco) and Asha’s vocals – “O Dilruba…” The notes are of a sad song, though the tempo of the song and the beats are pretty fast. The wording of Anand Bakshi’s lyrics is impeccable; talk of the longing and sarcasm of the leading lady as she criticizes the hero for not caring enough. But R.D. Burman prevents it from being too mellow as he mixes it up with a very fast upbeat rhythm – the typical cabaret that defined Pancham’s sound. The guitars and brass instruments in the interlude remind us of the same. The most interesting part of the first interlude is the xylophonic sound towards the start of the antara. The phrase – “teri bala se” spoken by Asha adds the right angsty tone. The antaras too, have an overarching emotional touch to them, both in the tune and the lyrics, and the melody of the antara gets stuck in the listener’s head easily! Overall this upbeat spin on a sad song that Pancham gives purely because the heroine in the song is a cabaret dancer is interesting, and it is only Asha’s vocals and the lyrics and the intermittent violin pieces that hint towards this song being a sad/angsty one.

At first glance, Teesra Kaun seems to be a very typical, run-of-the-mill album, and it might still be so. However, the different interesting elements that Pancham da manages to infuse in this album too, are a testament to his creativity and musical prowess. The first collaborations between Pancham and Asha bear good results too, and our intentions to find good music from the yesteryears seems to be getting fulfilled by albums like these!

Miraya’s favourite from the album: Meri Jaan Tu Khafa Hai Toh Kya Hua

Music Mastani’s favourite: O Dilruba

Please let us know which song from Teesra Kaun is your favourite? 😊

PADOSAN (Immortal Gems by Pancham #4)

If you’re here for the first time, please read this post.

Padosan (1968)

Music Album Details
♪ Music by: R.D. Burman
♪ Lyrics by: Rajendra Krishan
♪ Music Label: Saregama

Listen to the songs: JioSaavn | Gaana

Buy the album: iTunes

The next edition in the ‘Immortal Gems by Pancham’ series is one that marks a milestone in Pancham da’s career. This was one of the most popular Bollywood comedy films of the 60s, which has achieved cult status by now. It was the first collaboration of Pancham da with lyricist Rajendra Krishan, and his fourth film starring Mehmood! (We have covered two of the initial three, the third being “Pati Patni”). The S.D. Burman influence was apparent in this album, and R.D. did not do much to Westernise the songs, as became his habit after achieving a strong hold in the industry. While starting off, he seemed to have been going with the flow and trying to make strong Indian melodies, as is apparent in this album. Let us start with our revisit of Padosan!

Padosan was one album which brought out the craziness of Kishore Kumar like no other. It also further consolidated the relationship between Kishore da and Burman saab that has gone down in history as one of the best singer-music director combinations ever. Kehna Hai, the only Kishore track which is soft and romantic from this album gives you a facet of his personality and shows you just how versatile he was. How easily he switched off the craziness to become the quintessential voice of romance in a heartbeat. The song begins with just a solo of his voice before the music starts off slowly with just the characteristic Pancham bongo-congo beats giving it kind of a hummable rhythm. The trumpets and organs follow like all R.D. Burman arrangements we have seen so far, but the grandness of the orchestra is subtle enough that the voice and the lyrics shine through. Here Pancham da too veers off his characteristic oomph, and opts for a more subtle show. The violins that are interspersed throughout the line “Tum hi toh laayi ho jeevan mein mere, pyaar, pyaar, pyaar” really accentuate the romantic feeling in that line. The second interlude sees Pancham returning to familiar territory, what with those frenzied Latin American-style guitar strums, coupled with wind instruments and strings. Burman follows with this subtlety even in his composition — the antara is especially wonderfully composed, and my favourite line happens to be the detour line at the end of the antara, where the song slows down and a slight mellow touch creeps into the tune. The lyricist Rajendra Krishan works for the first time with R.D. Burman in this album and I particularly loved his lyrics in the first antara – “Tumse, kehne wali, aur bhi hain pyaari baatein….” This is probably the most typical Bollywood romantic song in the album, and much of that can be attributed to Krishan’s lyrics. With a flourish of creativity, the man writes “Aaj magar, bas itna hi karna hai iqraar” and reconnects it to the “Tum hi toh laayi ho” refrain is a master touch. It conveys the feelings of a first proposal beautifully and one can’t help but thinking how perfectly the lyricists of the past captured such moments. The simple way in which Kishore da expresses these lyrics hits hard. I feel like this tune is classically simple and sweet, and could have gotten lost in this grand album if not for this simplicity of the way Kishore Kumar expresses the lyrics making this song everlasting and memorable

With Mere Saamne Wali Khidki, we come to the section of the album that, probably every Indian child is introduced to within 5 years of their life. The zany and crazy mood of the film seeps into the music from this song onwards, and one can hear it right from the beginning, with Kishore Da’s humming and Burman saab’s ingenious rubbing of a comb on another surface, creating a very unique and definitely novel kind of sound effect. The throw and heaviness in Kishore da’s voice right from the beginning reels one in effortlessly, and the simplicity in his vocals helps us connect as listeners. This fact is proved yet again in the lack of too many harkats and nuances in the singing – the common population could just as well join in and sing along! As the lilting melody starts off, the composer adds more layers to the arrangements like his characteristic guitar, strings and a rhythm on the dholak. The interlude again veers into familiar Pancham territory, quite similar to the previous song. The two songs kind of go hand-in-hand, with this one depicting the flirtatious courtship period, while that one takes on a more mature appearance. The composition is evergreen; we all are familiar with the wondrous high notes in the antara, rendered with the appropriate gusto by Kishore da. The lyrics by Rajendra Krishan also paint very well that bubbly picture. The way R.D. Burman has sort of muted the arrangements during the line “Afsos yeh hai...” is a nice touch; it reflects the upset nature of the protagonist, and the dismay is audible in Kishore Da’s voice as well! 

The next song, Bhai Battur, is a Lata Mangeshkar solo, and begins with a soft humming by Lata Mangeshkar followed by xylophone and santoor sounds that are interspersed between the bouts of humming. Since this song kind of characterises the heroine’s first foray into romance, the music also begins softly like it’s peeping into a world of unabashed love but cannot shed its inhibitions all at once. One particularly can’t help but marvel at the playful camaraderie shown by the xylophone and santoor in the beginning, until Pancham da cranks up the tempo and sets it on its course. Rajendra Krishan helps make the song enjoyable and entertaining. The lyrics “Dar laage kya hoga, Peeche koi chor hoga, Chhoti umariya, safar bada, Main thak kar hogayi choor..” also complement the central ideology of this song when the heroine is timid or scared but at the same time excited about all these new feelings that are now forming within her mind. This song reminds us of another song sung by Lata Mangeshkar, “Chocolate Lime Juice” (Hum Aapke Hain Koun). The nightingale also croons the song with all the right emotions. The excitement in the voice is tangible, and the amazing nuances employed by the singer are mind-blowing, especially in the antaras. Pancham complements it well with more guitars, comb-on-rough-surface sound effects and sounds of horses trotting, placing the song in very familiar O.P. Nayyar territory by way of its rhythm. Throughout the song, playful xylophones and woodwinds prop the song up and make it a light and frothy melody. All in all, a decent hummable song that adequately conveys the apprehension as well as excitement of first love.

The Western influence that had taken over Pancham da’s musical compositions is very, very obvious in the next song, where he brought together the two most popular female singers together for an ebullient duet, Main Chali Main Chali. Lata Mangeshkar and Asha Bhosle were always thought to have exclusive domains that could never overlapped, but Pancham pops the bubble of that myth with this song. As soon as it starts, we know that an upbeat and energetic song is awaiting us. Pancham’s masterful job on the harmonica and guitars makes us ready for the cheer and mirth that is to follow. Both sisters first have a showdown of humming, and the juxtaposition of their so different voice textures sounds amazing, especially the way Lata sounds so calm and adorable, while Asha brings in the bold and mischievous touch to the song. The accordion bridges the gap between the humming and the mukhda, where Lata, Asha and their female chorus “sahelis” sing an enjoyable ballad of warning the heroine not to get distracted by love. Rajendra Krishan’s lyrics for Asha’s portions are particularly fun to listen to, the way the ever-wary best friend tries to warn her friend in different ways. Asha, too, delivers those warnings in such a spunky and “I-told-you-so” way. The “Pyaar ka lootera loote na, meri jaan” refrain especially has a ring to it that is unmistakably adorable. Lata’s repartees also follow with the 60s equivalent of gaslighting — “Tu hai abhi naadaan, zara soch meri jaan“. Pancham’s composition is fluffy and enjoyable, harking back to “O Mere Sona Re” (Teesri Manzil) in the beginning of the antara, but drifting away soon enough. The song again ends with a humming showdown between the two singers, probably hinting that the heroine is never going to mend her ways and is off without taking heed of her friend’s warnings — “Main Chali, main chali!”

The second Lata Mangeshkar solo in the album, and her third track in the album overall is Sharm Aati Hai Magar, a song with a beautiful ghazal-like composition that tugs at your heart. The romance between the two characters at this point has shifted from playful and fluffy, to something more serious and mature. Pancham carries this idea forward through the composition. Even though the ghazal revolution of Bollywood hadn’t yet set in, Pancham da showcased a great example of a ghazal with this song.  Even his choice of instruments brings across this shift magnificently. Throughout this series, this is the first instance we have been able to hear R.D. Burman use instruments like the Sitar, Sarangi, Santoor and Shehnaai so gratuitously in his music, and all in one song! Backed up wonderfully with his trademark guitars and strings, the song makes for a complete package in terms of musical arrangements. The genius of Pancham da did not just lie in the wonderful blend of musical instruments that he created, but also in the fact that he could blend two different emotions effortlessly through his music. Initially as the song starts, the xylophone, flute and Santoor music makes us anticipate a feel-good song, but as soon as the melody starts, the listener realises that it is more of a melancholy and sombre affair going on. Lata’s voice and tone is aptly melancholy too, her voice quavering as she starts off. As she reaches the high notes in the antara, you realise why Pancham must have gone for her to sing this song.  The emotions she conveys through her rendition are enough to convey the contrite and sorry feelings that the heroine is feeling for behaving the way she did with her lover. The mood of the song is properly described by Rajendra Krishan’s lyrics, where the ambivalent feelings of the heroine are captured perfectly.

The next song on this album happens to be Mere Bhole Balam, the song which was given a new lease of life around 4 years ago when ‘Meri Pyaari Bindu’ hit theatres. Another comedy song with a strong classical base, it has Kishore Kumar’s character teaching Sunil Dutt’s Bhola about the intricacies of love. The Baul rhythm on which the song is propped immediately sucks you in as a listener, and if you watch the video along with the song, (as it happens to be one of those situational beauties) you’re in for a fun ride! The camaraderie between Kishore da and Sunil Dutt onscreen translates well into the audio too, and you can imagine their playfulness as you listen to the song. The tips and tricks which Kishore Da’s character gives Sunil Dutt’s character of Bhola, are hilarious: “Bangdu“, “Kehnaaa… Kehnaaa…“, as are Sunil Dutt’s innocent interjections and of course the softness with which Kishore Kumar sings “Meri Pyaari Bindu...” gives an added flavour to the song. Now, legend has it that these lyrics and the composition was conceived by Kishore Kumar on the sets while filming, spontaneously. The Baul rhythm harks back to many S.D. Burman songs, and since Kishore da and S.D. Burman collaborated so many times, it is no surprise that he could have based this song on S.D.’s favourite rhythm. The lyrics too, are situational, but hilarious if you pay attention. the final “Bindu Re…” with the characteristic Kishore Kumar throw of voice is sheer beauty and caps off the song well. 

With the final two songs on the album, we enter the crazy, comedic and absurd part of the album, with Mehmood’s character voiced by Manna Dey. Mehmood and Pancham da’s collaborations have always been great, as we saw in the previous two instalments in this series (‘Chhote Nawab’ and ‘Bhoot Bungla’) and are bound to see in more albums to come (‘Pati Patni’ being the immediate successor). People say it is difficult to make people cry through music, but if that is difficult, then making them laugh would be even more difficult! Moreover, to do it in a mock Carnatic style of singing would have been considered an impossible feat if not for Manna Dey! Long since touted as the best Carnatic singer in the popular music scene, he makes it look very easy in this song Aao Aao Sawariya, and pulls it off effortlessly. The initial blowing of the nose, followed by the “Vaanga“, and “Aiyaiyo“, adds to the humour in the song. Interestingly, the song then takes a detour to a Hindustani classical melody in Raag Hamsadhvani instead of the expected Carnatic classical melody. It reminds one of the tune of Pancham’s later-to-release “Piya Bawari” (Khubsoorat). Manna Dey’s vocal nuances during the antara, in the “Tu kya jaane piya” portions, sound hilarious. Although the song focuses on Mehmood’s character (who is a vocal coach) trying to gain the attention of Saira Banu’s character, R.D. Burman makes it sound endearing with ample support from the classical instruments like tablas, sitar, mridangam and ghunghroos. The sargam portion from 3:35 onwards is a sheer beauty. We keep coming across the run-of-the-mill romantic numbers like ‘Kehna Hai’, to give an example from this album itself, but it is rare gems like this which cleverly infuse the classical with a comic touch, that must be cherished. 

Probably the most popular song from this album, widely referenced in Bollywood pop culture, and overused in every Indian singing reality show, Ek Chatur Naar is the Titan of a song which both of us were very wary of writing about, and hence, left it till the very end out of sheer intimidation. Now, this song was originally sung by Ashok Kumar in the 1940 film “Jhoola” (the YouTube link has been pasted below),and Pancham has reworked it to suit the showdown or singing challenge situation in this film. The harmonium and strings start off the song, along with Manna Dey as Mehmood’s comic antagonist character, producing a mock nasal twang in his rendition. A wonderful sargam follows, until Kishore Kumar enters and showcases his weird but endearing vocal gibberish. The singing actually sounds like he was chewing paan during the recording, and produces quite a genuine effect. Rajendra Krishan writes an amusing sing-off between both characters with Mehmood’s character saying “Ek chatur naar karke singar” to Sunil Dutt saying that “No, the girl is smart enough to understand who is what – ek chatur naar badi hoshiyar”. This jugalbandi of vocal prowess goes on throughout the song, with Manna Dey singing a beautiful sargam and contradictorily Kishore Kumar singing gibberish words in perfect sur trying to confuse the character of Mehmood. And you cannot help but laugh when Mehmood endearingly goes – “Ye sur badal diya… Yeh humko bhatka diya!” R.D. Burman aptly supports it with classical instruments including tablas, harmonium, dafli, and mridangam. The interjections by Mehmood are enjoyable, and though they may not be viewed as funny in today’s times, Pancham da has nevertheless added some comic sound effects like the “Wau wau wau” sound. Towards the end is one of the most legendary rap battles in the history of cinema, and as Manna Dey tries to find level ground among Kishore Da’s out-of-syllabus tune, we end up laughing. Mehmood’s angry rant “Yeh kya re ghoda chatur ghoda chatur? Yek pe reh na?” is the last straw. At this point the song is no longer a musical piece but an audio show, which we can envision in our minds. With this song, the album ends on a hilarious high! And we are once again reminded that even comedy songs can give us a musical high!

As we have seen through this revisit, the Padosan album was one of sheer beauty, with eight songs that are situational, but have still stood the test of time. It was a delight to revisit each and every one of these songs, and it makes us equal parts sad, because, seeing as to how the music albums of rom-coms in Bollywood have evolved (rather, devolved) from something like a ‘Padosan’, to some mediocre albums that pass as rom-com albums, one wishes that the innocence and delight of it all returns. Anyway, R.D. Burman’s second super-hit album after ‘Teesri Manzil’ has been ticked off the checklist, and we are both still recovering from the sway it holds over us with its immensely catchy and hummable melodies.

Miraya’s favourite from the album: Sharm Aati Hai Magar

Music Mastani’s favourite: Sharm Aati Hai Magar

Please let us know which song from Padosan is your favourite? 😊

BHOOT BUNGLA (Immortal Gems by Pancham #3)

If you’re here for the first time, please read this post.

Bhoot Bungla (1965)

Music Album Details
♪ Music by: R.D. Burman
♪ Lyrics by: Hasrat Jaipuri
♪ Music Label: Saregama

Listen to the songs: JioSaavn | Gaana

Buy the album: iTunes

The next edition in the ‘Immortal Gems by Pancham’ series brings us to Bhoot Bungla, an album that is remembered as Pancham’s first ‘hit’ album. Before writing this article, Miraya and I both, only knew about ‘Aao Twist Karein’, so it was interesting to find out what other songs Pancham’s first hit album constituted of. Now, the film was a horror comedy, and as we know, even today, horror comedies have less scope for music. Mehmood, impressed with R.D.’s work in “Chhote Nawab” (we can definitely see why), decided to rope him in even for this film, and what’s more, the film was Pancham’s first (and only) collaboration with lyricist Hasrat Jaipuri, who was known as a lyricist who wrote deep shaayari-esque lyrics! Certainly, an odd combination, but we are stoked to see what Pancham had to offer! Another interesting fact is that Pancham was offered a small acting cameo in the film too!

Aao Twist Karein is undoubtedly the most popular song from ‘Bhoot Bungla’ even today. And rightfully so — it is a very peppy and upbeat number, perfect for onstage performances. The first time the legendary Manna Dey worked with Pancham, and Pancham made him sing a song that was entirely opposite to his usual songs in those days! The song was a party number, not a solemn semiclassical number as Manna Dey was known to sing. The hookline of the song itself has been lifted from Chubby Checker’s “Let’s Twist Again”, but Pancham has given it some proper Bollywoodisations, and has built a lot based on that base. The drums, guitars and brass instruments, as well as the backing chorus, all help make the song sound aptly Western; I’m guessing the composer was trying to bring a bit of a Western touch into the album with this song. The song also features some crazy audience interaction bits where Mehmood talks to the audience and even gets responses from them. (Achieving what ‘Karz’ did much before ‘Karz’ released!) Hasrat Jaipuri too, known to write very meaningful and poetic lyrics, had tried his chance at writing a party anthem — “Parwaano, dilwaalo, aa aao, masti ki saazon pe gaa gaao!” The party becomes more lively towards the end, when Pancham cranks up the beat on the drums, and a nice trumpet+woodwinds combination brings the song to its end. All in all, this is a situational number that is better watched than just heard.

The next song O Mere Pyaar Aaja begins with just Lata ji’s vocals and the majority of the song is dominated with just that along with the sound of Tablas and dholaks. R.D. uses very little instruments in this one, but one is mesmerised by the calming use of the occasional strings, and wind instruments. The melody is a gorgeous one, simple and elegant, and he allows it to remain such with just the tabla, the piano, the strings and the wonderfully sharp vocals by Lata di making up most of it. The way she sings “Paaun na chain haaye” with small nuances every time, perfectly coveys the longing in the song which Tanuja too, aptly enacts. The lyrics are simple and make it very easy to connect, thank Hasrat Jaipuri for moulding his lyrics according to the film’s requirements. The song has two antaras, but still short and crisp. And although this song is a quintessential longing song, still the melody is pleasant and not overly sad or drawn out. Overall, the song is a splendid listen, quintessential Bollywood golden era romance.

Following ‘Aao Twist Karein’, Pyaar Karta Ja happens to be Manna Dey’s second song for R.D. Burman. This song is one of the best songs of the album and one of our personal favourites. This song begins with his deep voice calling out “hey, hey… ho ho…” and then a brass instrument pretty much mimics that tune in a haunting way, followed by the flute and then one instrument after the other keeps getting added till the whole melody explodes in a flourish of orchestral grandeur – in a quintessential R.D. Burman way… This is hands-down the best prelude that we have witnessed thus far in this series! He uses the claps and the vocals to create melody and the classic echo effect is brought about not by machines like today, but by the vocalist singing a few steps away from the mike. The first few lines befit a horror movie more, before the tune becomes peppier and more romantic. The smorgasbord of instruments (there’s the classic dholaks, strings, bongo drums, flutes and guitars but also the more unimaginable instruments such as the glass tinkling, the resso-resso, the accordion and the mandolin-like one in the interludes) used in this song kind of blows your mind away. But, to top that, there’s also the characerstic “uh-huh-uh-huh” of Burman which creates a vocal instrument as if the available weren’t enough, but it all comes together quite fascinatingly and doesn’t sound like a mishmash of odd sounds, in the process creating a melody that is amazing. The use of chorus somewhat anticipates how R.D. Burman is going to use the chorus in ‘Main Inpe Marta Hoon’ a year later in ‘Teesri Manzil’. In the antaras, the song gets philosophical courtesy lyricist Hasrat saab — “Chhota bada, ab jo bhi ho, apne liye sabhi ek hai, yeh kya dharam hai!” The hook lyrics are wonderful — “Pyaar karta jaa, dil kehta hai, kaanton mein bhi gul khila!” Such positivity is highly lacking in today’s music. Manna Dey does an amazing job delivering the upbeat number, and it is a delight to listen to his little variations throughout the song, they are refreshing, but grounded and composed, at the same time.

The Bhoot Bungla theme (Main Bhookha) starts off sounding (intentionally) comical, with a very Bengali accented “Bhoooooot bongola” followed by Pancham creating his sinister tunes with the help of brass instruments, piano, and sound effects of laughing. A kind of mystery ‘Pink Panther’-esque rhythm starts around the middle of the song, where the actual lyrics start (and end right away). The song is the first song R.D. Burman lent his vocals to, and he is supported by Mehmood and Suresh, probably in the backing vocals. Well, one can’t expect much more creativity than this for the theme song of a horror comedy film. 

The first of the Kishore-Pancham era, Jaago Sonewaalo begins with a flamenco prelude followed by Kishore Kumar’s high-pitched voice and his characteristic yodelling. The music is characteristically scary with violins giving you an eerie feel and a simple rhythm on the bongos and resso-resso. Pancham ably supports it with flutes and Spanish guitars in the interludes. The music is very characteristic of many Kishore Kumar songs composed by Pancham, and now we know where it all started! It’s a warning to the people from the protagonist, to learn from what he has gone through and not make the same mistakes as him. The antaras are sung in a lower pitch and the music changes before the antara making it more sinister and ominous, and like most R.D. Burman songs, this is the real medium conveying the darker mood of the song. The entire song is a warning and a plea to the people to really understand what is going on. With words like, “Hansne lage, duniyaa ke log, koi huaa barbaad” and “Yeh unch neech duniyaa ke beech, aakhir yeh kyun bolo koi / jo hai bhala, woh kyun bura, hum toh na samjhe yeh raaz!” we know what Hasrat Jaipuri saab is warning us against. If the social commentary in ‘Pyaar Karta Ja’ motivates you, the social commentary in this song sends chills down your spine, and is probably the only song in this horror movie that actually talks about the horrors in the world, though metaphorically. The thing that really gives the listener the chills though, is the “ta ra re ra ra re ru” which is in contrast to the dark theme, almost like the vocals are mocking him (which is quite a theatrical device to be used here) while he says to wake up and realise what’s most important. The third stanza is more painful with him questioning “insaaniyat kahaan hain?” and really, the music beautifully rises in a crescendo-like manner churning all sorts of emotions in you, like fear and pain and guilt and hope, which is what the aim is, before it drops and only the vocals of Kishore da are audible, softer here, more imploring as they say – “jaago sone walo…” until it reaches the end. The whole song, with the music and lyrics and the voice is pretty much impeccable in nailing the narrative. Yes, it has us convinced – and awakened to it – by the end of the song. 

Another song from ‘Bhoot Bungla’ that hinges on audience interaction, and catering to the young audience, Ek Sawaal Hai is a fun and peppy number that ends the album off as Kishore Kumar sings his second song for the composer. The tune is classic Pancham — you can hear the jazzy groove and rhythms from ‘O Haseena Zulfonwali’ and ‘Aaja Aaja Main Hoon Pyaar Tera’ in this song — and the camaraderie between the guitars and drums most prominent. Kishore da obviously delivers the song with utmost performance skills. The way he modulates his voice to different styles, the way he creates tabla rhythms with his mouth after singing “Tabley ki thaap ho“, the way he laughs musically, the way he talks to the children throughout the song — this song has it all to be played to any child who would have been afraid and not just of ghosts, but the ingenious Jaipuri saab makes sure the song is universal — “Duniya ki raahon mein, darte ho kyun bhala?” The song is not just about driving the fear of ghosts away, but the fear of everything in the whole world! Close on the heels of the previous song with its social commentary, Hasrat saab writes “Roohein hawa ke jhonke, hamare dil ke sunehre dhokhe, insaan se badhkar koi na zaalim!” Pancham’s tune is aptly upbeat, making the song palatable to young ones too, the target audience. I wonder why this song isn’t as popular as ‘Aao Twist Karein’. Maybe that one was the ‘instant hit’. 

All in all, the album that started off quite mildly, and initially had us wondering whether there would be anything to learn from it, actually ended up having quite some enjoyable numbers. With the amazing orchestration Pancham has done in ‘Pyaar Karta Ja’, we now learn how he was able to do the ‘Teesri Manzil’ songs so brilliantly, and with the promise of melody he shows in ‘O Mere Pyaar’ and ‘Jaago Sonewaalo’, we can understand that his melodies were quite strong even in a horror comedy film. The album was his first commercial success, and we can see why. Also, unlike ‘Chhote Nawab’, the album has no hangover from S.D. Burman’s or Shankar-Jaikishan’s works – it sounds like a true-blue Pancham musical – his niche has been carved and we cannot wait to see how he develops it further!

Miraya’s favourite from the album: Pyaar Karta Ja

Music Mastani’s favourite: Pyaar Karta Ja

Please let us know which song from Bhoot Bungla is your favourite? 😊