ROCHAK’S Ph.D IN PUNJABI FOLK! (KHANDAANI SHAFAKHANA – Music Review)

Music Album Details
♪ Music by: Rochak Kohli, Tanishk Bagchi, Badshah, Payal Dev, Jasbir Jassi, Shyam Bhateja & Anand-Milind
♪ Lyrics by: Tanishk Bagchi, Mellow D, Shabbir Ahmed, Kumaar, Badshah, Gautam G Sharma, Gurpreet Saini, Davinder Khandewal & Deepak Chaudhary
♪ Music Label: T-Series
♪ Music Released On: 26th July 2019
♪ Movie Released On: 2nd August 2019

 

Khandaani Shafakhana Album Cover

Listen to the songs: JioSaavn | Gaana

Buy the songs: iTunes


Khandaani Shafakhana is a Bollywood comedy film starring Sonakshi Sinha, Varun Sharma, Badshah and Annu Kapoor. The film is directed by Shilpi Dasgupta and produced by Bhushan Kumar, Mahaveer Jain, Mrighdeep Singh Lamba, Divya Khosla Kumar and Krishan Kumar. The film revolves around a woman who has to take over her uncle’s infamous sex clinic. The music of the film has been given by the remake expert Tanishk Bagchi, the rapper who is acting in the film Badshah, Rochak Kohli, fresh from the success of his brilliant work in ‘Music Teacher’ earlier this year, and Payal Dev, Who is surprisingly debuting as a composer, making it another mainstream female singer doing so after Kanika Kapoor last year with ‘Chhod Diya’ (Baazaar). So let’s see how this multicomposer album to this film turns out to be.


Music promotions for any film these days start with remakes, and ‘Khandaani Shafakhana’ makes sure it isn’t the norm-breaker. Tanishk Bagchi’s interpretations of old Bollywood super hit songs and/or Punjabi pop songs are a norm these days: another norm this album shies away from breaking.
The album hence starts with Koka, a Tanishk Bagchi remake of Jasbir Jassi’s pop song ‘Koka Tera Kuch Kuch’ from the album ‘Just Jassi’. Tanishk does add his own composition to the hookline from Jassi and Shyam Bhateja’s original, and manages to present us with a catchy and groovy remake. Badshah’s presence in the film warrants a rap from him, while Jasbir Jassi is called to dub the rest of the vocals, and he delivers them in top form. Dhvani Bhanushali, taking the support of oodles of autotune, however, sounds odd; not that singing prowess matters so much in a dance track like this. The beats are catchy, and there’s also a T-Series advertisement thrown in very abruptly in the beginning. If that’s your kind of thing, ‘Koka’ is for you.
Tanishk’s second remake happens to be that of a 90s Bollywood song. Sheher Ki Ladki is a highly unimaginative, though still attractive, recreation of Anand-Milind’s ‘Shehar Ki Ladki’ (Rakshak), with Badshah donning the singer’s cap, obviously coming nowhere close to the original singer Abhijeet Bhattacharya in doing so. His ‘Hi, how are you?’ and ‘How do you do’ sounds so bland as compared to Abhijeet’s (which also features in this song as a bonus addition, I guess, as Tanishk likes to sample the original singers’ voices like Kumar Sanu in ‘Aankh Maarey’ from ‘Simmba’ and Kavita Krishnamurthy in ‘Hawa Hawai 2.0’ from ‘Tumhari Sulu’). Chandana Dixit too, gets her original line featured behind an extremely loud and high-pitched Tulsi Kumar. The latter gets her own original verse too, sounding not as bad! Badshah’s rap is more irritating here than in ‘Koka’, where it actually went with the flow of the song. Also irritating is how Bagchi never lets the hook of the song complete, always interrupting it with that jarring electronic loop that plays so many times throughout the song. A good attempt to revive the song, but people would obviously go for the original!
Apart from acting in the film and rapping in two remakes, Badshah also gets selected to prepare his own original song for the film, which, not surprisingly, tops the two remakes by Tanishk. Saans Toh Le Le is a groovy song with the trademark Badshah beats, but with a retro Punjabi folk twist, a la ‘Naughty Billo’ (Phillauri) and ‘Bhangra Ta Sajda’ (Veere Di Wedding), both songs by Shashwat Sachdev. The programming really makes the song interesting, especially Tejas Vinchurkar’s folksy flute pieces, and makes the middling composition sound more interesting to listen to. Badshah, along with Rico, deliver the lines well, too, making it an all in all fresh listen.
Payal Dev makes her composing debut with this album, in a song called Dil Jaaniye, a very sweet romantic duet by Jubin Nautiyal and Tulsi Kumar. The composition, though reminiscent of many romantic Punjabi songs Bollywood has churned out over the years, still makes a mark, and especially the mukhda gets you gripped enough to listen forth. Aditya Dev’s arrangements are soothing, the Indian percussions (Chari, Shashi, Mushtaq and Sharafat) taking centre stage, along with the wonderful Pianica piece by Aditya Dev himself. The antara sung by Jubin is great, but the one with Tulsi sounds a bit unnecessary, because it stretches the song a bit too long, and then we have to listen to it in Tulsi Kumar’s double-layered, badly processed voice. Shabbir Ahmed, a rare choice for romantic songs as this, writes functional lyrics. However, the stars of the song are definitely Payal with her composition, Aditya with his arrangements and Jubin with his part of the vocals.
Two more soft songs follow, both by Rochak Kohli. In Bheege Mann, he goes back to the style of music he composed for the songs he did for Luv Ranjan films, ‘Tera Yaar Hoon Main’ (Sonu Ke Titu Ki Sweety) and ‘Dil Royi Jaaye’ (De De Pyaar De). The same kind of dulcet melody decorated with guitar riffs, piano notes (arrangements courtesy Aditya Dev) and stray aalaaps, but this time Arijit Singh is replaced by an equally efficient Altamash Faridi, thereby giving the song a rustic touch with his earthy voice. The composition is strong, and will have you enraptured for its entire duration, in spite of its similarities with Kohli’s previous numbers. Gautam G Sharma and Gurpreet Saini write pensive lines to accompany the serious composition, but all-in-all, it is a pleasant song to listen to.
Rochak’s second song, Udd Jaa, is a delight to listen to, because it starts with ethnic strokes of the bouzouki, mandolin and rabab (Tapas Roy), immediately blending into a folksy dholak rhythm, very Rochak-ish (reminding one of ‘Meer-e-Karwaan’ from ‘Lucknow Central’!) which is then followed by the beautiful voice of Tochi Raina (where was the man for so long!?) which suits the motivational and inspirational nature of the song so well! Rochak churns out a very creative composition, which sounds straight out of Coke Studio thanks to the gratuitous folk sounds. While listening to this song, I realise how heavily Rochak relies on folk music to make his songs sound rich, right from the initial days (I think he started using it mainly with ‘Mera Yaar Funtastic’ from ‘Welcome 2 Karachi’) to his songs in ‘Hawaizaada’, to the earlier mentioned ‘Meer-e-Karwaan’ (Lucknow Central), the beautiful Punjabi romantic song ‘Nain Na Jodeen’ (Badhaai Ho), right to the very recent songs in ‘Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga’. Rochak is incomplete without presenting Punjabi folk music in a very flattering way in his songs! Back to the song, Kumaar’s lyrics in the song suit the inspirational aspect of it, and complement the melody well, and put together, Tochi, Rochak and Kumaar end this album on a high note, with a strong folksy melody!


This album turns out to be one of the better-compiled multicomposer albums by T-Series after a while, the last ones being ‘Kabir Singh’ and ‘De De Pyaar De’ in my opinion! All four composers here try to bring what the movie needs, Tanishk with his mass-attracting remakes with club beats, Badshah with his trademark catchy beats, Payal Dev with her great composing debut and finally Rochak with his astounding use of Punjabi folk music.

 

Total Points Scored by This Album: 7.5 + 6 + 7 + 8 + 8.5 + 9 = 46

Album Percentage: 76.67%

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: Udd Jaa > Bheege Mann > Dil Jaaniye > Koka > Saans Toh Le Le > Sheher Ki Ladki

 

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

CRAZY LABEL VS DECENT COMPOSER DUO! (ARJUN PATIALA – Music Review)

Music Album Details
♪ Music by: Sachin-Jigar, Guru Randhawa & Akash D
♪ Lyrics by: Guru Randhawa, Priya Saraiya, Benny Dayal & Akash D
♪ Music Label: T-Series
♪ Music Released On: 20th July 2019
♪ Movie Released On: 26th July 2019

 

Listen to the songs: JioSaavn | Gaana

Buy the songs: iTunes


Arjun Patiala is a Bollywood spoof comedy film starring Diljit Dosanjh, Kriti Sanon and Varun Sharma in lead roles. The film is direccted by Rohit Jugraj and produced by Dinesh Vijan, Sandeep Leyzell, Bhushan Kumar and Krishan Kumar. The film’s first poster credited Sachin-Jigar for its music, but that culminated in the album jukebox crediting Guru Randhawa and Akash D alongside the duo. How they ended up there and for what, let’s see!


It’s not as much surprising as it is sneaky of the music label to add Guru Randhawa as a co-composer, along with the already capable Sachin-Jigar, in two songs out of their four. Starting with that note, we get a very dull sad song, Dil Todeya, the name of which is quite representative of my feelings after learning that there’s another person along with Sachin-Jigar composing some songs of the film. The song is the standard-issue Punjabi pop song, and surprisingly the only song sung by leading man Diljit Dosanjh, though the rest of the soundtrack does leave plenty scope for him to have sung! Nothing in the composition or arrangements shows that the song involves Sachin-Jigar in any way, but ironically the arrangements are solely by Sachin-Jigar, so maybe they are deliberately this typical, given that the movie is a spoof after all. The only interesting element in the song perhaps is the Qamancha/Kamancheh, an Armenian bowed string instrument related to the violin, performed here by Rasalila, and it sounds wonderful. The lyrics by Randhawa again are standard Punjabi pop sad song lyrics. Diljit renders the song with the required sorrow, but it’s nothing compared to his previous songs in ‘Udta Punjab’, ‘Phillauri’, ‘Jab Harry Met Sejal’ and ‘Soorma’. Coincidentally, Sachin-Jigar were the first Bollywood composers to use his voice, back when he didn’t act in Bollywood, in ‘Pee Pa Pee Pa Ho Gaya’ (Tere Naal Love Ho Gaya) way back in 2012! Ah well, something has to be sacrificed at the altar of including Guru Randhawa as co-composer. Another coincidence (?) was that Guru’s debut or big break in Bollywood was in an album for which Sachin-Jigar did the original songs — ‘Hindi Medium’, which leads to the third coincidence — this film too was a Maddock+T-Series joint production! Want another coincidence? Sachin-Jigar were the first composers to use Randhawa in a film song, as a singer for a song he didn’t compose, ‘Lagdi Hai Thaai’ (Simran)! Phew!
The second song that the duo composes along with Randhawa though, fares much better, and this time, I contradictorily feel like the song sounds nothing like Guru Randhawa in terms of composition or arrangements! Also, when T-Series released the song, titled Main Deewana Tera as the opening promotional song for the film, they didn’t mention Guru as a composer. Some shady business going on in the crediting of this album. Anyway, Sachin-Jigar (and Guru Randhawa, apparently) create a funky party song (marketed as ‘Ek aur Remix gaana’ with the word ‘remix’ slashed out and replaced with the word ‘Original’) which throws you back to the duo’s own ‘Yeh Jawaani Teri’ (Meri Pyaari Bindu), what with the whole R.D. Burman sound (the second soundtrack in a row which harks back to Burman’s music, without remixing it!) It also sounds like Pritam’s ‘Badtameez Dil’ (Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani) owing largely to the wonderful trumpet solos (Kishore Sodha). Guru Randhawa sounds thankfully well in this one, and along with Sachin-Jigar, he manages to concoct a catchy composition, writes functional but stale lyrics and to top it all, Nikhita Gandhi ends the song with her stray line.
Sachin-Jigar’s third song is one that sounds entirely like something Guru would compose, but to my surprise (or no surprise at this point, since we’ve seen two songs composed by both of them together, both of which sound nothing like a collaboration between the two) Guru Randhawa isn’t a composer for this one! Crazy Habibi Vs Decent Munda ends up being catchy in parts only, Sachin-Jigar totally imitating Guru’s musical style in the beats, with a very heavy bass line in the hookline, which, by the way, has been composed very catchily. The other great attraction in this song is Benny Dayal’s Arabic interlude (which he has also written, apparently!) The song loses its appeal towards the second verse, though, but Guru’s rendition of Sachin-Jigar’s tune is not annoying, and thankfully keeps him out of his comfort zone, the high pitch, which unfortunately for his comfort, makes us uncomfortable as listeners.
Sachin-Jigar finally get one song without any apparent interference from the music label (except maybe choice of singer). Sachiya Mohabbatan turns out to be a song that seems like a mélange of two super-hit songs from Maddock Films’ last venture ‘Luka Chuppi’ — ‘Photo’ and ‘Duniyaa’. The tune resembles ‘Duniyaa’, while the arrangements resemble ‘Photo’. Again, the fact that the film is a spoof provides some background as to why the music too must have been made like this. Sachet Tandon, getting songs for other composers as a result of his ‘Bekhayali’ (Kabir Singh) gaining more popularity than its Arijit Singh variant, delivers the melody with finesse, his notes and the occasional grunge on point. The flute (Shirish Malhotra) and guitars (Kalyan Baruah) complement the melody well, and the trademark Punjabi pop beats make the song perfect as a spoofy one. The flute is actually what makes it sound like ‘Photo’ in the first place. Priya Saraiya, appearing in a Bollywood soundtrack after quite some time, pens a nice and sweet Punjabi piece, but nothing we haven’t heard before.
To end the album, we have the mandatory daaru from every film that contains a Punjabi lead character, and another mandate that dictates this song is that it is a T-Series Punjabi pop single by Akash D, who therefore becomes guest composer with the song Sip Sip, used as is in the album. Aditya Dev programs and arranges this one, in the most typical way imaginable, and Guru Bhullar along with the composer himself, renders the cheesy lyrics (also by the composer). The opening synth music especially is really banal, making you reluctant to continue at all. If you do manage to continue, however, you’ll quit soon anyway.


An album devoid of the usual quirks of a Sachin-Jigar album, maybe thanks to the dictatorship of the music label involved, this album does witness them give some temporarily enjoyable party tracks and one melodious romantic song, but nothing compared to their previous works with Maddock Films (Go Goa Gone, Happy Ending, Badlapur, Stree)!

 

Total Points Scored by This Album: 6.5 + 8 + 7 + 7.5 + 5 = 34

Album Percentage: 68%

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: Main Deewana Tera > Sachiya Mohabbatan > Crazy Habibi Vs Decent Munda > Dil Todeya > Sip Sip

 

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

SITUATIONALL HAI KYA? (JUDGEMENTALL HAI KYA – Music Review)

Music Album Details
♪ Music by: Rachita Arora, Arjuna Harjai, Daniel B. George, Tanishk Bagchi & Badshah
♪ Lyrics by: Prakhar Varunendra, Kumaar, Prakhar Vihaan, Navi Kamboz, Tanishk Bagchi & Raja Kumari
♪ Music Label: Zee Music Company
♪ Music Released On: 20th July 2019
♪ Movie Released On: 26th July 2019

Listen to the songs: JioSaavn | Gaana

Buy the songs: iTunes


Judgementall Hai Kya is a psychological thriller / black comedy film that stars Kangana Ranaut, Rajkummar Rao, Amyra Dastur, Amrita Puri and Hussain Dalal. The film is directed by Prakash Kovelamudi and produced by Ekta Kapoor and Shailesh R Singh. The film has a music album by four composers — Rachita Arora of ‘Newton’ and ‘Mukkabaaz’ fame, Daniel B. George, the background music composer for the film, Arjuna Harjai (‘Titoo MBA’ and ‘Lucknow Central’ fame) and Tanishk Bagchi (remakes fame). I have already watched the movie, so my music review will refer to it in some places, but rest assured that it is completely spoiler-free!


The wacky album to this quirky film starts off with a not-so-wacky remake by Tanishk Bagchi; this time, the song that arrives at Bagchi’s parlour for a makeover is Navi Kamboz-written, Badshah-produced & -composed,  and Navv Inder-sung ‘Wakhra Swag’, a Times Music single from 2015. Now, I’m not much of a sucker for the original either, the repetitive nature of it getting on my nerves, and as such, I was not all that disappointed with the remake, named The Wakhra Song. Foot-tapping, though cliché, beats are all over this remake, while Badshah’s rap is replaced with Raja Kumari’s refreshing rap (sounding as refreshing here as she did in her last Bollywood outing, ‘Husn Parcham’ from ‘Zero’, with Ajay-Atul). Also joining the proceedings is Lisa Mishra with some new lyrics from the female point of view, also penned by Bagchi. The song still suffers from the repetitiveness syndrome though, thanks to the predictable tune of the not-so-impressive-to-start-with original, and the alternating nature of verse, rap, verse, rap, verse.

The other guest composer for this album, Arjuna Harjai, who we are getting to hear after two years (still find myself visiting his songs from ‘Lucknow Central’ sometimes; a pity he didn’t get more work between that and this!) gets to compose a dulcet melody, Kis Raste Hai Jaana, a song that plays a nice and sweet role in the film, and sounds even better with the visuals. The song starts with a calming guitar riff, followed by Surabhi Dashputra (remember ‘O Soniye’ and ‘O Ranjhna’ from ‘Titoo MBA’? Which were also composed by Harjai) in her husky voice, rendering Harjai’s composition impeccably. Arjuna kicks in with the antara, his Arijit-esque yet not-completely Arijit-esque voice providing great contrast to Dashputra’s husky one. His aalaaps towards the end of the antara are beautiful. Harjai’s composition (sounds quite like something out of Jasleen Royal’s studio!) and arrangements are wonderful. The “jaawaan main, jaawaan main” part is the best portion of the song. Especially since Harjai arranges a mini-harmony there with two tracks of Surabhi’s voice, and even throws in his own voice the last time that section plays. Kumaar’s lyrics are the conventional existential crisis lyrics that we often hear in Bollywood, but work in favour of the song.

Background score composer Daniel B. George’s offering Kar Samna is a short piece with Ramayana references that are best understood after watching the film. An ensemble of singers including the composer, a somebody named Amir Khan, Protijyoti Ghosh and Brijesh Shandilya, deliver it to their best ability, considering the little scope they had. Prakhar Vihaan’s lyrics are, as mentioned, Ramayana references that are best left undeciphered until you watch the film. The arrangements by Ujjwal Kashyap and Protijyoti Ghosh are jarring, full of angst, shown by strings (that quintessential horror-movie rapid movement of strings), electric guitars and drums.
That being said, I’m kind of unhappy that some other great background pieces that were included in the film, couldn’t make it to the album. For example, there’s an amazing recreation of Rajesh Roshan’s ‘Tauba Tauba Kya Hoga’ (Mr. Natwarlal) and I hope Saregama has plans of releasing that!

That brings us to lead composer Rachita Arora, with her two songs for the movie. The lead character of Bobby is introduced to us with the boisterous Para Para, a throwback to R.D. Burman’s school of music. The length is off-putting at first, but again, it is one of the songs that seem better on screen than on earphones. Arun Dev Yadav’s part-R.D. Burman, part-Usha Uthup-esque rendition, complete with the frantic breathing patterns as were heard in Burman’s songs, is refreshing. Also, the arrangements (OmDixant) do not leave a sense of datedness, as was heard in songs like, say, ‘Paisa’ (Super 30). What stands out is the saxophone (Bhushan Suryakant Patil). Prakhar Varunendra’s lyrics are a perfect description for the wacky nature of the character Kangana plays in the film.
In her second song, Judgementall Hai Kya, Rachita creates another very experimental sounding track, starting like one of those nursery rhymes you hear in horror movies, in the voice of a child — Nivedita Padmanabhan. Jaspreet Jasz takes the song forward with a rap, followed by a quite cliché EDM drop (programming and arrangements by Nitish Rambhadren and Daniel Chiramal). Varunendra’s lyrics are outrageously wacky, but don’t really hit home. The song could’ve been much better. It just makes me ask ‘Over Experimental Hai Kya?’


An album, best heard while watching the movie; other than ‘Kis Raste Hai Jaana’, I don’t see any track that is palatable enough for me to listen to after even a month. Situational and experimental tracks don’t always make the cut.

 

Total Points Scored by This Album: 6.5 + 7.5 + 5 + 6 + 5.5 = 30.5

Album Percentage: 61%

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: Kis Raste Hai Jaana > The Wakhra Song > Para Para > Judgementall Hai Kya > Kar Samna

 

Which is your favourite song from Judgementall Hai Kya? Please vote for it below! Thanks! 🙂

FORGETTABLE KAHIN KA!! (JHOOTHA KAHIN KA – Music Review)

Music Album Details
♪ Music by: Sanjeev-Ajay, Rahul Jain, Siddhant Madhav, Amjad-Nadeem-Aamir, Kashi Richard & Yo Yo Honey Singh
♪ Lyrics by: Amjad-Nadeem, Enbee, Lil Golu, Sanjeev Chaturvedi & Alok Ranjan Jha
♪ Music Label: Zee Music Company
♪ Music Released On: 12th July 2019
♪ Movie Released On: 19th July 2019

Jhootha Kahin Ka Album Cover

Listen to the songs: JioSaavn | Gaana

Buy the songs: iTunes


Jhootha Kahin Ka is a Bollywood comedy film starring Rishi Kapoor, Jimmy Sheirgill, Omkar Kapoor and Sunny Singh in lead roles. The film is directed by Smeep Kang and produced by Anuj Sharma and Deepak Mukut. The film has music by Amjad-Nadeem and their new partner Aamir, Yo Yo Honey Singh, Siddhant Madhav, Sanjeev-Ajay, Rahul Jain and Kashi Richard. I’ve known about Amjad-Nadeem for years, and they have some decent songs, so expecting something worthwhile from them. Not expecting from Honey Singh, and Siddhant Madhav, Rahul Jain, and Kashi Richard, I’ve read their names in passing in some Zee Music albums which I haven’t reviewed or heard. So, let’s see what this album has to offer.


Amjad-Nadeem-Aamir’s Saturday Night happens to be Neeraj Shridhar’s second one with that name, the former being from ‘Bangistan’, composed by Ram Sampath. While in that song, Sampath fused club beats with Celtic sounds, here we get an annoying mix of overused club beats with the intermittent tumbi sounds. Neeraj Shridhar isn’t bad at singing such songs, so the vocals don’t annoy as much as they would’ve with another singer. The rap by Enbee is utterly avoidable, and the female singer Jyotica Tangri barely gets anything to sing. Do we have to talk about the lyrics by Amjad-Nadeem?
Funk Love by Yo Yo Honey Singh has the quintessential Honey Singh beats that have been missing from Bollywood for some time, and Lil Golu’s lyrics, something else that has been missing in Bollywood for quite some time. And after listening to the song, you know why. Though the beats start off quite intriguingly (though there’s nothing new, but that’s just Yo Yo’s forte, I guess) the vocals and lyrics make you cringe all throughout the song. Especially the title lyrics. Which do not sound like ‘Funk Love’ at all.
Out of Sanjeev-Ajay’s two songs, they collaborate with Siddhant Madhav for Munde Da Character, which starts with interesting Punjabi folk sounds created digitally, as can be made out from the sound of it. Brijesh Shandilya handles the vocals of the mukhda and the hookline well, and is accompanied by a horde of other vocalists (Siddhant Madhav, Rani Indrani Sharma, Nazim Ali, Deepak Yadav and Makrand Patankar) who mostly come into action in the antaras. The female vocalist, Rani Sharma, sounds great particularly, in the second antara. The composition is catchy, and thanks to the fresh Punjabi arrangements, it is a song I don’t mind listening to in its entirety, unlike the previous two songs on the album. Sanjeev Chaturvedi’s lyrics are also suitable and how lyrics for a normal Bollywood song should be.
Sanjeev-Ajay’s other song, Jhootha Kahin Ka, is composed in collaboration with Rahul Jain. Again, it starts with a heard-before but catchy Punjabi tumbi piece, which later is joined by harmonium, dholaks and Navraj Hans’ strong voice. The song carries a sound close to Gurdas Mann’s pop numbers, and thanks to Navraj Hans’ vocals, it sounds better. Rahul Jain and Ankit Saainraj accompany him with the vocals, but it is mostly a Navraj show all the way. The hookline is quite weak, and the lyrics (Sanjeev Chaturvedi) too are functional and nothing more.
The last song on the album, Jugni, is another song with club beats, and starts like a Yo Yo Honey Singh song, but it is actually composed by Kashi Richard. Yes, the beats are catchy here, and Enbee doesn’t irritate as much as he did in ‘Saturday Night’. The beats engage you throughout the length of the song, and the four singers, (Enbee, Kapil Thapa, Rohit Sharma and Chintan Bakiwala) though you can’t really differentiate one from the other, seem to have done a good job because the end result sounds good. The hookline has been composed in that typical designed-to-be-annoyingly-catchy way, but the beats and the ‘kadak maamla‘ refrain help the song get my green signal.


Not an album I’ll revisit again for any reason, because none of the songs stuck with me, but I would remember it for the way it is so typical with its beats, in both its club songs and Punjabi songs.

 

Total Points Scored by This Album: 5 + 2 + 7 + 5.5 + 6 = 25.5

Album Percentage: 51%

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: Munde Da Character > Jugni > Jhootha Kahin Ka > Saturday Night > Funk Love

 

Which is your favourite song from Jhootha Kahin Ka? Please vote for it below! Thanks! 🙂

NO CHANGE IN THE JUGRAAFIYA OF AJAY-ATUL’S MUSIC!! (SUPER 30 – Music Review)

Music Album Details
♪ Music by: Ajay-Atul
♪ Lyrics by: Amitabh Bhattacharya
♪ Music Label: Zee Music
♪ Music Released On: 9th July 2019
♪ Movie Releases On: 12th July 2019

Super 30 Album Cover

Listen to the songs: JioSaavn | Gaana

Buy the songs: iTunes


Super 30 is an upcoming Bollywood film starring Hrithik Roshan, Pankaj Tripathi and Mrunal Thakur in lead roles. The film is directed by Vikas Bahl and produced by Nadiadwala Grandsons Entertainment, Phantom Films and Reliance Entertainment. The film revolves around the life of mathematician Anand Kumar, who helps prepare 30 brilliant but underprivileged students for their entrance exams for Indian Institutes of Technology. Bahl’s previous two films have had music by Amit Trivedi, but here, surprisingly, he chooses Ajay-Atul, maybe due to the setting of the film in a rural backdrop, and Ajay-Atul’s music rides high on folk influences. The album is a short and situational one, with five songs, so let’s see how Ajay-Atul deliver as per the film’s theme!


In the mostly situational album, with its lyrics propelling it more than halfway, the only song with any semblance of universality happens to be Jugraafiya, a delightful and cheerful romantic duet, delivered to the point by Udit Narayan and Shreya Ghoshal, a duo we haven’t heard together in a proper duet song (obviously ‘Radha’ from ‘Student of the Year’ doesn’t count) in a long time! The song starts with a signature Ajay-Atul mandolin piece, followed by the melody which kicks in at a low pitch, only for the next line to go higher, until the cross-line and hookline lead to the musical peak, in typical Ajay-Atul style. From that peak, the notes are dropped into a signature Ajay-Atul strings section coupled with a woodwind. The antara is interesting in that it is a string of notes that seems neverending, but I found Udit’s antara better than Shreya’s, because Shreya sounds a bit uncomfortable to the ears with the unbelievably high pitch of her portion. But, as mentioned before, the tune and complexity of the antara is enough to keep you hooked. The second interlude too, follows the standard strings-and-brass template of Ajay-Atul’s. The hookline is quite similar to the “Aga jhannanala” portion from the ‘Sairat’ title track, another case of structural similarity in Ajay-Atul’s songs, the same way the hook of the ‘Dhadak’ title track was similar to the ‘Mere dil mein jagah khuda ki khaali thi..‘ refrain of ‘Sapna Jahan’ (Brothers). The singing by Udit and Shreya is great; it is refreshing to hear Udit after so long, with the same vivacious quality in his voice that made him the top singer in the 90s. Amitabh Bhattacharya provides funny, conversational lyrics, and the use of the Urdu word for ‘Geography’ — ‘Jugraafiya’ — is interesting.

Another track with fun lyrics is Basanti No Dance, a situational song that is used in the film as the backdrop of a street play the students are performing on Holi. Here, the composers had to take in the street play aspect, and the Holi aspect, while composing the song. And it has turned out quite well, but the song just didn’t fit together for me as a whole. The composition is catchy in parts, but the situational dialogue parts make it digress in intervals, making the catchiness intermittent and sporadic. The phrases I really enjoyed were the “No No No…” and “They throwing eenta, we throwing rocks..” Otherwise, the other portions of the song did not really work for me. Also, the lack of anything in the background throughout the first half of the song makes it sound bare and naked. The second half has Ajay-Atul add bass and the song ends with an arousing patriotic-sounding string+brass section, which is all good. The four singers, Divya Kumar, Prem Areni, Janardan Dhatrak and Chaitally Parmar, out of which only Divya Kumar is a known name, carry the song’s comic lines well, but it is Divya Kumar who stands out nevertheless, and none of the others. Amitabh Bhattacharya’s lyrics try to tackle the language barrier that exists in the country, but that dissolves somewhere in the middle, and the song becomes a story about dacoits chasing Basanti, the character from ‘Sholay’, while you are left scratching your head trying to find the connection. The dholaks work in favour of the song as it is a Holi song, but again, I wish the first half wasn’t so bare.

In the same league is Question Mark, a jazzy and groovy song with quirky lyrics. The song is the most suitable for the film which is about a mathematician tutoring a group of underprivileged students. The drums, guitar and piano, coupled with the mandatory brass instruments make the song sound really creatively done, and Hrithik Roshan sounds really good; I never knew he sung so well. There are some places I almost thought the song was tailor-made for Sonu Nigam. Towards the end of the song, it turns into a retro chase sequence for some reason, with the bass guitars really cranking up the tempo, and a cool percussion beat being added to the proceedings. It provides the composers with a nice way to end the song on an intriguing level; ending it on the soft jazz note would’ve been less intriguing.

Paisa also rides on the 70s Bollywood template, but this time, it is the full song and not just the end of the song. You are instantly reminded of Kalyanji-Anandji’s music when the song is kicked off with that warped sound that dominated 70s Bollywood music, coupled with trumpets and drums, and those signature retro disco beats. With such an interesting prelude, the song follows a very staid template as it progresses. The duo’s composition is catchy, and so are the trumpets and beats and trademark retro strings, but the programming seems to be done lazily or it is just deliberately dated. The interlude is really intriguing; the retro touch helps it, but the song just gets lost in its antara — I found myself waiting for the hookline to come back, because that is, in short, the only catchy part of the song as far as the song’s melody goes. Vishal Dadlani sings the song with ease; it is not difficult for him to sing such songs — ‘Zaraa Dil Ko Thaam Lo’ (Don 2) bears testament to the fact. He is the go-to for composers to sing such songs, and thankfully, he doesn’t let Ajay-Atul down here and brings the song up a notch with his rendition. Bhattacharya writes lyrics as if the sole aim of the protagonist was to earn money and spend it overindulgently. The retro ‘Don’-like music also makes it sound like that and don’t even ask me about the song’s picturization. Of course though, I will not be judging the musical creation based on how wrongly it is used in the film — not my job.

A whole chorus of singers — Arohi Mhatre, Aditi Prabhudesai, Pragati Joshi, Maithili Panse, Sonal Naik, Rucha Soman, Deepti Rege, Deepanshi Nagar, Ann Fernandes, Dr.Pallavi Shyam Sundar, Shivika Rajesh, Riddhi Sampat, Kinjal Shah, Umesh Joshi, Vijay Dhuri, Mandar Pilvalkar, Vivek Naik, Rahul Chitnis, Saurabh Wakhare, Janardan Dhatrak, Gaurav Medatwal, Chaitanya Shinde, Abhishek Jhawar, Nimish Shah, Yash Kapoor and Mayukh Pareek —  leads the last song Niyam Ho, a melancholic orchestral piece that starts off like ‘Sapna Jahan’ (Brothers) and then progresses like ‘Vaara Re’ (Dhadak). The composition is really strong, probably the best composed song on the entire album. The music is beautiful — the orchestra gives you goosebumps, especially in the hookline, where things get really opulent. The brass and strings, yet again, work together to prop the song to a higher level. And the chorus gets the song’s intricacies beautifully. Amitabh Bhattacharya’s lyrics are really beautiful too, and rely on inspirational lines to make the already moving composition sound even more emotional. Towards the end, a nice beat on the drums kicks in, giving it a more millennial sound. All in all, the song ends the situational album on a very grand note!


Super 30 is one of Ajay-Atul’s less musically brilliant albums; the duo focuses on the film’s theme and that is appreciable. Once again, the orchestra in their arrangements does half the work for them, and all in all it turns out to be a lyrics-led situational album with a few memorable musical moments and no song memorable as a whole.

 

Total Points Scored by This Album: 7.5 + 6.5 + 7 + 6 + 8 = 35

Album Percentage: 70%

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: Niyam Ho > Jugraafiya > Question Mark > Basanti No Dance > Paisa

 

Which is your favourite song from Super 30? Please vote for it below! Thanks! 🙂

AAI SHAPPAT, A NAADKHULA ALBUM FROM SLB AND TEAM!! (MALAAL – Music Review)

Music Album Details
♪ Music by: Sanjay Leela Bhansali, Shreyas Puranik & Shail Hada
♪ Lyrics by: Prashant Ingole, A.M. Turaz & Vimal Kashyap
♪ Music Label: T-Series
♪ Music Released On: 21st June 2019
♪ Movie Releases On: 5th July 2019

Malaal Album Cover

Listen to the songs: JioSaavn | Gaana

Buy the songs: iTunes


Malaal is an upcoming romantic drama starring Meezaan Jaffery and Sharmin Segal in lead roles; the film is directed by Mangesh Hadawale and produced by Sanjay Leela Bhansali, Bhushan Kumar, Krishan Kumar and Mahaveer Jain. The film revolves around two youngsters “from different backgrounds who experience the innocence of true love”, as per its official synopsis. In short, it is an everyday Bollywood romance. The film has songs composed by Sanjay Leela Bhansali, and two of his assistants who have been around in the music credits for his directorials for quite some time, Shreyas Puranik (who composed a song for ‘Bajirao Mastani’) and Shail Hada (SLB’s usual arranger/programmer). While Bhansali handles the major chunk of the album (five out of seven songs), the other two get charge of one song each. It isn’t everyday that Sanjay Leela Bhansali composes for his non-directorials (in fact, I believe it is the first time he is composing for one of his non-directorial productions), so it will be interesting to see what he offers, especially because he has been in this period/folk musical world for his previous two to three films, so I’m quite excited how he returns to the contemporary setting.


Bhansali’s first song on the album is the techno-tapori dance number Aila Re, an amalgamation of sorts, of ‘Tattad Tattad’ (Goliyon ki Raasleela Ram-Leela) and ‘Malhari’ (Bajirao Mastani). If the cacophonous programming is ignored in this song (which isn’t as easy as it sounds) it has the potential to be a hit among the masses; a catchy hookline is all it needs to catch public attention. Obviously, my attention isn’t grabbed by just a catchy hookline. For me, it is the antara‘s composition that redeems the song for me. The dhols are remnants from ‘Tattad Tattad’ and ‘Malhari’, and that’s where the music gets a bit heard-before and stale. But the other elements like the piano in the prelude and interlude, and the crazy bass and synthesizer sounds, make it listen-worthy, at least once. Vishal Daldani puts his irresistibly grungy voice to good use — the singing by him makes the song suitable for the setting the film is shown to be in. Shreyas Puranik’s Marathi rap is cringeworthy, being a Marathi speaker myself, and could have been avoided. Prashant Ingole’s lyrics are also suitable for the song’s setting; can’t really comment more on that.

Providing much more fun to my Maharashtrian ears is the love song with an aarti backdrop to it, Udhal Ho. The song is a mishmash of cliches from many traditional Marathi numbers, but in entirety, it seems to work as an enjoyable folksy number. Adarsh Shinde, the vocal boombox of the Marathi music industry, finally gets his solo singing debut in Bollywood, and he seizes the opportunity and makes the most of it. His voice texture being so fresh and raw, would provide something new for Bollywood music listeners. The arrangements are traditional Maharashtrian folk arrangements, with the banjo (bulbultarang) and dhols being the most prominent. The comoosition by Bhansali becomes really catchy after a few listens, and the ladies’ choruses in the hookline, interlude and towards the end, where the song detours down a wonderful aarti path (“Dono ka hoga kalyaan…”) provide a fresh touch. The use of the Fu Bai Fu refrain is cool too! Prashant Ingole’s Marathi+Hindi lyrics are refreshing; most Marathi film songs nowadays are a mix of Marathi and Hindi, but it is nice to see so much Marathi in a Hindi film song for once.

Another traditional Marathi-sounding song, Aai Shappat, takes the Koli route, what with the dholkis (Sanjeev Sen) and guitars (Rutvik Talashilkar) being plucked in the Koli fashion. Sanjay Leela Bhansali introduces a new singer, Rutvik Talashilkar, with this one, and he sings the song well, except that he seems to be struggling with his Marathi diction even with the one line of Marathi he sings in this song. The composition of the antara is charming in this song, but something seems forced or missing in the first half. The song is just two and a half minutes long, and is probably the least appealing of all the songs in the soundtrack, composition-wise. Prashant Ingole, once again, pens down very regular but functional lyrics.

The quintessential Shreya Ghoshal song of every Sanjay Leela Bhansali album cones next. Kathai Kathai is a beautiful romantic ballad for the monsoons; Bhansali’s composition is soothing, though very closely overlapping the composition of his own ‘Ishqyaun Dhishqyaun’ (Ram-Leela) in one bar of the song. (Dil pe mandraaye, bhanvre sa woh haaye) You half expect her to sing ‘Ishq yeh tera mera ishqyaun ki dhishkyaun..’! However, the next line “Dekho na dekho na” makes up for it big time. The use of mandolin (Tapas Roy) and flute (Paras Nath) in this song makes it sound all the more beautiful, Jackie Vanjari’s music production making the song stand a class apart. Melody queen Shreya traverses the dulcet melody with ease; then again, when does she ever sound off when it is with Bhansali, her mentor? A.M. Turaz joins Ingole for the lyrics for this song, and the use of the word ‘Kathai’ (meaning ‘light brown’) is an interesting choice to describe the eyes of the heroine’s love interest, because if I am not wrong, it has previously been used only to describe the eye colour of the girl in Bollywood songs — as in Anu Malik’s ‘Kathai Ankhiyon Wali Ek Ladki ‘ (Duplicate) and Sajid-Wajid’s ‘Rabba’ (Heropanti).

The last of the Bhansali compositions happens to be a very pensive and melancholic title song, Ek Malaal. Bhansali’s melody doesn’t flinch from touching the teevra and komal notes, giving it an overbearing haunting quality. The use of strings and the grand Bhansali-esque beats (the song has been arranged by Shail Hada, who arranged most of Bhansali’s latest albums, so that is where that touch comes from) makes the song sound more opulent. The composition of the antara is splendid, Shail handling the aalaaps with perfection. The slow tempo of the song only adds to the suspense and aura of the song, though it isn’t a song I would go and voluntarily play. Prashant Ingole’s lyrics are thoughtful, with the use of the titular word done quite well especially.

After the great singing performance by Shail Hada, we are treated to his entrée as a composer, a soft romantic duet, Zara Suno. The short duration and its adorably captivating composition work in its favour — the song doesn’t get to waste too much time in letting you like or dislike it, and that is what led me to like it, the honest and genuine attempt. Rutvik Talashilkar and Aanandi Joshi are in charge of the vocals, and though Aanandi does a great job (as she did earlier this year in her spectacular song ‘Anand Ghana’ from ‘Anandi Gopal’) with her portion, I couldn’t help but wish the male singer was somebody else. Shail’s composition being so honest and simple, didn’t need grand arrangements, but he tries to give it justice by adding guitars (Shomu Seal) and strings, and the tablas and sitar deserve special mention. Vimal Kashyap writes the lyrics as cute as Shail has composed the song, completing the package as a cute and simple affair, all in all.

Having saved the best for the last, Shreyas Puranik’s Nadhkhula seems to be the best romantic song I’ve heard in a long time, and just how I like it — a perfect mix of Indian instruments and a melodious tune. Shreyas sings the song himself, and his voice is brilliant; we did get a sneak peek of it towards the end of the Payal Dev-led ‘Ab Tohe Jaane Na Dungi’ (Bajirao Mastani), but this seems to be his first full-length solo song. As soon as it starts, with the piano and ethnic strokes (Tapas Roy), it evokes some kind of magical feeling that seems all the more magical because of the rains. The melody is decorated with sounds of running water, and a beautiful percussion loop (Prashant Sonagra and Mayank Shankar) props the hookline to a pedestal that just places it higher than the hooklines of any other recent Bollywood song. The interlude has a beautiful flute solo by Tejas Vinchurkar, and the flute follows into the antara, which by the way, is one of the most impeccably put together set of notes I have come across in a long time. But the real goosebumps moment is when you hear the Marathi chorus coupled with Vinchurkar’s flute towards the end of the song — which is when it really hits you, what a magical song you had been listening to for the past three minutes. Prashant Ingole’s lyrics are interesting again for the use of the word Nadhkhula, a Marathi slang word used to denote something awesome. This song would be the qualitative and musical equivalent of ‘Nainowale Ne’ (Padmaavat), in that it is in essence a ‘rainy season song’, if you know what I mean!


Total Points Scored by This Album: 7 + 8 + 6.5 + 8.5 + 7.5 + 8.5 + 9.5 = 55.5

Album Percentage: 79.29%

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: Nadhkhula > Zara Suno = Kathai Kathai > Udhal Ho > Ek Malaal > Aila Re > Aai Shappat

 

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

AN ALBUM WHICH GROWS ON YOU IN SLOW MOTION!! (BHARAT – Music Review)

Music Album Details
♪ Music by: Vishal-Shekhar, Julius Packiam & Ali Abbas Zafar
♪ Lyrics by: Irshad Kamil & Ali Abbas Zafar
♪ Music Label: T-Series
♪ Music Released On: 17th May 2019
♪ Movie Released On: 5th June 2019

Bharat Album Cover

Listen to the songs: JioSaavn | Gaana

Buy the songs: iTunes


Bharat is a Bollywood film starring Salman Khan, Katrina Kaif, Disha Patani, Sunil Grover, Tabu, Nora Fatehi, and Jackie ShroffThe film is directed by Ali Abbas Zafar and produced by Atul Agnihotri, Alvira Khan Agnihotri, Bhushan Kumar and Krishan Kumar. Two previous films that salman Khan did with Ali Abbas Zafar had music by Vishal-Shekhar, and it isn’t a surprise that they are retained for the third collaboration as well. Both the previous albums, which were on YRF Music, were a mix of entertaining and experimental music, so here’s to hoping that Bharat too, features such a mix of entertainment and experimentation. Also, background scorer Julius Packiam, along with director Ali Abbas Zafar, has composed one theme song for the album. Let’s dive right in! 😊


        Vishal-Shekhar open the album with the quintessential Salman Khan crowd-pleaser song, and I’m glad to inform you, that this sing has pleased this reviewer as well! Slow Motion is a song that ironically took no time to grow on me, a song that I started humming right away after I first heard it. The infectious energy the song carries can be attributed to the duo’s amazing work at the composition and arrangements, Meghdeep Bose’s upbeat programming and arrangements, and the top-notch singing by the vocal powerhouses Nakash Aziz and Shreya Ghoshal. Now, it isn’t the first time Vishal-Shekhar have equipped Shreya in her vivacious and bubbly side, but it sounds so different from their previous collaborations with her! First of all, her lower register provides an amazing touch to the song, which makes you want to listen till the end. Nakash, as always, sings at the top of his lungs and aces it. Meghdeep Bose’s arrangements consist of a contagious tune played first on a plucked string instrument and then on rock guitars (Warren Mendonsa and Meghdeep Bose) that starts the song off on a very catchy note. It is followed up by amazing percussions by the usual group — Dipesh Verma, Omkar Salunkhe, Keyur Barve, Khwab Haria and Shikhar Naad Qureshi — with an amazing interlude midway through the song. The duo’s composition though, is what makes the song so catchy; without that hookline, this song would not be much despite all the booming sounds. Irshad Kamil is made to pen standard Bollywood massy lyrics — the hookline makes one smile, but the rest, especially the antara, makes one cringe. Well, lyrics can be ignored, can’t they?
Of course, after the crowd-pleaser dance number, next on the template of a ‘Salman Khan music album’, comes a romantic number made for Arijit but not sung by Arijit. Chashni happens to fit into this category, a dreamy lullaby sort of song, that harks back to ‘Dil Diyan Gallan’ (Tiger Zinda Hai), only with some of its compositional movements — it is very hard to notice. Overall, the duo’s composition is a very happy-go-lucky one, with a playful vibe; the hookline having a guitar groove to it that makes it irresistibly hummable. Said guitar (played by Aman Moroney, also one of the programmers of the song) repeats throughout the song along with a matka-like sound, making the sing sound earthy. Again, Irshad Kamil’s lyrics are the standard Hindi-Punjabi mix that has infested Bollywood of late, nothing great. What deserves special mention, though, is the singing by Abhijeet Srivastava. The man, one song old (‘Aapse Milkar Achcha Laga’ from ‘Andhadhun’) gets the essence of the song beautifully, and does a much more impressive job than he did in his debut; this will probably be his most memorable song, his big break. Vishal-Shekhar also add their standard V-S strings in the interlude (a quite short interlude, at that, but wait, there’s just the tiny guitar groove where the second interlude should be, so I guess the first interlude is long in comparison!) and those strings hark back to their own songs ‘Naina’ (Gori Tere Pyaar Mein) and again ‘Dil Diyan Gallan’ (Tiger Zinda Hai).

‘Chashni’ appears in a Reprise Version as well, as is the norm in an Ali Abbas Zafar-Vishal-Shekhar-Salman Khan album. Ironically, all three songs ‘Jag Ghoomeya’ (Sultan), ‘Dil Diyan Gallan’ (Tiger Zinda Hai) and ‘Chashni’ (Bharat) had three different singers but their female versions are all sung by Neha Bhasin. Hubby Sameer Uddin is in charge of producing this one, and his guitars and plucks add the same vibe as we heard in her songs in ‘Sultan’ and ‘Tiger Zinda Hai’ too, so I am guessing he produced them there too, but YRF doesn’t give that kind of credits, so there’s no way to know! 😐 The bass in this version is booming, it really gives a beautiful earthy feel, and I kind of wish this arrangement had been used for the male version, because Neha Bhasin disappoints with her rendition this time.

Also expected for an Ali Abbas Zafar-Salman-Vishal-Shekhar collaboration, is a Sukhwinder Singh song. Little did we know that this time we would get not one, but two songs. So, the first is Turpeya, a song which has Vishal-Shekhar give an EDM spin and makeover to their own ‘Dard-e-Disco’ (Om Shanti Om). This song, I got bored of in 2 minutes when I first heard it because of the tedious composition, but it has an interesting soundscape (courtesy Abhijit Nalani). The only song on the album devoid of any live instruments whatsoever, it has the programmer doing quite well with the sound — the Punjabi percussion going on throughout is a bit monotonous, but the sounds which start the song off are really interesting, especially the Oud-ish sound followed by the santoor in the mukhda. Sukhwinder, as expected, delivers the song with spunk, but I just wish the composition were better.
And I get what I wished for in Thap Thap, which also starts with an intriguing digital sound. The song progresses with an intriguing tempo crank-up, and by the time it comes to the hook, it brings a very catchy bass portion, followed by an amazing live percussion portion and a nice strings portion that is clearly digital but still manages to grab your attention. Sukhwinder’s energy is top-level here too, and Vishal-Shekhar do not dilute the energy in a four and a half minute-long number; they smartly end the song at under three minutes. Nicely done!

Zinda is what we would expect as the theme song, and here the listeners are given in to a little surprised, which is that the song has been composed by the background music director and the film director in collaboration! Julius Packiam and Ali Abbas Zafar present a spunky theme song, a song that carries motivation with it very effectively. Starting with a great rock guitars with a chorus to accompany it, the song finally dips into a very melodious portion led by Vishal Dadlani, in his strangely sweet but at the same time grungy voice. The lyrics, also by Zafar, are aptly inspirational and motivational. The background has a cool bass line, and that rock guitar just doesn’t fail to keep impressing you throughout!

Back to the Vishal-Shekhar part of the album, we have two situational tracks left (not like the former half of the album wasn’t situational — barring ‘Chashni’ and to an extent ‘Slow Motion’, all the songs are more or less situational) One is a dance track, in two versions, and the other, my favourite song of possibly the year.
If you know me, you know I’ll leave the favourite for the last. So let’s talk about the dance song. 😁
Starting off with a very quirky ladies’ chorus led by Neeti Mohan, Aithey Aa immediately reminds one of ‘Baby Ko Bass Pasand Hai’ (Sultan), but here it is clear from the lyrics that Salman’s character is not going to be doing monkey business in the song video as he did in that song. 😂 The catchy chorus leads to Akasa’s wonderfully commanding voice, singing more catchy lines, coupled with Vishal-Shekhar’s cool EDM music (yes, even though that part of the film is set in 1983, but sigh, Bollywood just doesn’t understand anymore). The drop after the ‘Oh Aithey Aa‘ is infectiously catchy, but I wish I could hold a grudge for it being an electronic drop in a period film. Alas, I can’t! I’m enjoying it! 😂 Kamaal Khan’s antara first sounds odd because he is clearly auto-tuned or something of that sort, but it later sounds alright. Thankfully, he gets just two lines and then hands the mic back to Akasa and Neeti. What I don’t understand is whether Neeti has also sung some lines in the main melody, or if she is only singing the ladies’ chorus in the background.

The Dance Version of the song, ridiculously named, as if the former wasn’t capable of making me break into a dance (it sure was), wins my favour, not only because it is more creatively imagined, but because it had me liking more, a song which I had already liked in its initial version. *I hope the previous sentence made sense. Please read it again and again if it didn’t.* This song has Vishal-Shekhar adding more playful arrangements like a tabla and dholak section (Raju Sardar, Sanjeev Sen and Madhav Pawar) in the antara, a booming percussion section in the “closer aa” section and the drop tune, instead of being played digitally, has been relayed to a shehnai (Yogesh More), so you can imagine my happiness at how the composers have exercised full artistic freedom in this version — which seems like a ‘music dircector’s cut’ kind of version — I’m glad it made it onto the album. The other major difference between this version and the first, is that the main melody is handed over to the male singer completely, and this time the singer is also better — Nakash Aziz. The way he sings the “kurbaan” before the hook is amazing. Meanwhile, Neeti reprises her “Hand pump” couplet here as well. I wished to hear a little more of her in this version, but I guess the tablas and desi percussions more than made up for it. Irshad Kamil’s lyrics here in both versions, at least showcase some quirk and intelligent humour and are not standard Bollywood crap like ‘Slow Motion’.

And now for my favourite song of the first half of 2019. AND THIS IS A BIG MAYBE, but I’m not embarrassed to say that I love this song infinitely. Aaya Na Tu is one of the best made songs — with a tangible completeness to it. A song which has almost nothing missing — right from the vocals, to the intricate arrangements, to the beautiful, beautiful, and beautiful composition, this one is a winner all the way. The first time I heard it, I knew it needed more time to be assessed, and was I right. The more I listened to it, the more magic it unraveled on the way. Jyoti Nooran in her lower register is an auditory pleasure, it kind of makes me think she can sing all the songs in this pitch, which Rahat Fateh Ali Khan sang a bit too high-pitched, and it would sound beautiful. (Ahem, ahem, I’m looking at you, Mr. Rashq-e-Qamar!) Vishal-Shekhar’s intricate composition, most probably based on classical music, is decorated with beautiful arrangements by Meghdeep Bose. The percussions again, are the highlight of the song. Dipesh Verma and his team have done a splendid job here, but Jai Row Kavi joins them on the drums to give it more depth, the drums hitting home right at the perfect moments in the hookline. Indian sounds like shehnai (Yogesh More) and Tablas and Dholak (Raju Sardar, Sanjeev Sen and Madhav Pawar) give the song that rustic and homely feel. I’m guessing the lyrics are somewhere in the context of patriotism, and as such it reminds one of Amaal Mallik’s ‘Tu Bhoola Jise’ (Airlift), which wasn’t so rich with its percussion, but had the brass section working wonders for it. Here too, a stray trumpet features. The backing vocals are vast, and you can’t talk about the sing without mentioning them. All the biggest names from the Bollywood backing vocalists have come together for the backing vocals — Marianne D’Cruz, Neumann Pinto, Bianca Gomes, Vivienne Pocha, Shazneen Arethna, Rajiv Sundaresan, and Francois Castellino. And of course, if you didn’t notice Vishal Dadlani’s vocal humming in the beginning of the song, please go and immediately check it out again!! That is the part that makes you want to start listening to the song again, and then obviously, you can’t just stop because it is followed up by such a good song after that intro! So yes, that was my favourite song of the album, in all its intricacy and poignancy.


Vishal-Shekhar keep up the good work in their Ali Abbas Zafar-Salman collaborations, with this album sounding a bit weaker at first listen, but unravelling a series of wonderful observations as we listen to it more! An album that grows in slow motion! 😊

 

Total Points Scored by This Album: 9 + 8 + 7.5 + 7 + 8 + 8.5 + 8.5 + 9 + 10 = 75.5

Album Percentage: 83.89%

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: Aaya Na Tu > Aithey Aa (Dance Version) = Slow Motion > Aithey Aa = Zinda > Thap Thap = Chashni > Chashni (Reprise Version) > Turpeya

 

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