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
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 <प < 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! 🙂