UTTERLY UN’POSSESSIVE’!!! (1920 LONDON – Music Review)

Music Album Details:
♪ Music by: Sharib-Toshi, Kaushik-Akash (JAM) & Shankar-Jaikishan
♪ Lyrics by: Kunaal Vermaa, Hasrat Jaipuri, Sharib-Toshi, Kaalim Sheikh, Azeem Shirazi & Prashant Ingole
♪ Music Label: T-Series [‘Gumnaam Hai Koi’ on Saregama]
♪ Music Released On: 21st April 2016
♪ Movie Releases On: 6th May 2016

1920 London Album Cover

1920 London Album Cover

 

To hear the full songs of this album on Saavn CLICK HERE

To hear ‘Gumnaam Hai Koi’ on Saavn CLICK HERE

To buy this album on iTunes CLICK HERE

To buy ‘Gumnaam Hai Koi’ on iTunes CLICK HERE


1920 London is an upcoming Bollywood horror flick. It is the third installment in the “dreaded” 1920 franchise, and stars Sharman Joshi as the exorcist, Meera Chopra as the wife of the person who is possessed, and Vishal Kharwal as the person who is possessed. 😛 The film is written by Vikram Bhatt, and directed by Tinu Suresh Desai, who was supposed to debut with the upcoming Akshay Kumar flick, ‘Rustom’, but this happened to release first. The film is produced by Reliance Entertainment. There’s no point discussing the story, because there will be a twist somewhere or the other, so let’s move on to discuss about the music. The music has been composed by Sharib-Toshi (Now to be credits as Shaarib and Toshi) who haven’t really impressed highly with their previous works (maybe a bit in ‘Zid’ and ‘Jashnn’). Hopefully, this might be their best album, going by the music of the first and second parts of the franchise. The duo has three songs in the album. Debutants Kaushik-Akash are the guest composers, with two songs, representing a company known as JAM (Just About Music) which has been founded by Pritam. It is an A&R (Artists & Repertoire) venture by Pritam, under which he will launch new music directors and look after their development in the industry. This is his first go at the venture, and hopefully, it turns out successful, so that he will be motivated to introduce more newbies and we will get many new, talented composers! 😀 So, here I start hearing the music of ‘1920 London’ with great expectations! Let’s hope the music keeps up to expectations!


♪ BONUS SONG

♦ Gumnaam Hai Koi
Singers ~ Jubin Nautiyal & Antara Mitra, Original Song’s Singer ~ Lata Mangeshkar, Music Recreated and Composed by ~ Kaushik-Akash, Original Composition by ~ Shankar-Jaikishan, New Lyrics by ~ Kunaal Vermaa, Original Lyrics by ~ Hasrat Jaipuri, Music Label ~ Saregama

Saregama is still at its silly behaviour, claiming rights to their old songs, if remade. That’s absolutely right, but kinda irritating by now. 😛 Anyways, they should be proud of the wonderful collection of songs they have in their kitty and the first song of the ‘1920 London’ album is yet another one of such famous old songs from them. This time, since it is a horror movie, nothing could’ve been better than this song to pick, and the makers have chosen it perfectly. The song I’m talking about is the haunting old song composed by maestros Shankar-Jaikishan, and sung by none other than Lata Mangeshkar, ‘Gumnaam Hai Koi’ (Gumnaam). And the newcomers Kaushik-Akash get a chance to put forth to the world, their version of the classic haunting song. They get the general idea, which is to make the song haunting and totally ghoulish, right. The starting itself is wonderful with all kinds of sound effects — wind, screeching bats, and a whole lot of weird ghostly whispers. Antara starts the song with a line that sounds more of a backing vocal line. Once Jubin starts singing, you definitely will get goosebumps. His smooth voice has the right amount of haunt and romance and even dominance. He touches the high notes with such ease, it is hard to imagine. The duo has beautifully crafted his part of the song, which is their own composition. The only thing retained from the old song is the hookline, and that is helmed by Antara, not sounding like herself thanks to the heavy programming of whispers, trying to make her sound like a ghost, but kind of failing. I would’ve preferred it if she would’ve been allowed to sing freely without any programming done to her voice. Nevertheless, it has been sung great, in a whispery voice and I guess it was necessary to make it sound more scary. The duo has composed Jubin’s parts perfectly, and they’re the best parts in the song. The mukhda hooks the listener, while the antara does the job of not letting go, which means the attempt has been successful. Kunaal Vermaa (‘Hasi’ — Hamari Adhuri Kahani fame) writes nice lyrics here, but I can’t make out whether they’re romantic or haunting or both. The duo excel in the arrangements. As mentioned earlier, various sound effects grace the song, and it sounds awesome. They send chills down the spine, but of course it isn’t exactly spooky; after all, it is a song. Piano and strings gracefully lead the arrangements, while the rest is digital stuff. Owls, bats, ghouls form the sound effects part of the song, and it is commendable. A great first attempt for Kaushik-Akash, and a decent revamp of the classic. Jubin excels, while Antara gets very less scope to open up!


Now, the review of the ‘1920 London’ album, released by T-Series, consisting of four songs, with three by Sharib-Toshi and one by Kaushik-Akash. 🙂


1. Aaj Ro Len De
Singer ~ Sharib Sabri, Music by ~ Sharib-Toshi, Lyrics by ~ Sharib-Toshi & Kaalim Sheikh

The first song in the album starts off with a beautiful Middle-Eastern feel of the oud, starting off the song on a high. Sharib-Toshi go the familiar way, composing a song quite similar to all their previous works of this genre. I couldn’t help but think of all their other works. It is a romantic song with a very heavy melancholic touch. To be honest, I am already very tired and sick of all this from the duo. The hookline, though repetitive and typical, however, foes garner some interest from the listener, as do all of Sharib-Toshi’s melodies. It is in the parts surrounding the hookline, where the problem lies. Nothing has been composed in a very likable or catchy tune; in fact, it exhausted me to hear the song, which is just less than five minutes long (too long when the song has nothing new to offer!) The mukhda might interest listeners, but the interest wears off until the antara. Sharib’s voice is good, but I would’ve preferred somebody else to sing this song. His voice seems too soft and rustic for the composition, which hasn’t worked in its favour, sadly. The duo really works hard to make up for the lack in melody, by giving wonderful, awe-inspiring arrangements! The arrangements are something which I haven’t heard recently! With an Indian and Middle-Eastern touch, they touch the heart and sound really grand — the aforementioned oud, various string instruments, and I think a santoor, if that’s not the oud itself, being played on a higher note. The lyrics are exhausting and boring, too, trying to be too fancy. I wonder what Sharib-Toshi wrote and what Kaalim Sheikh wrote. 😁 This will be liked only by those who love the typical Bhatt-ish songs. I’m so drained out after hearing this song! 😦 A very disappointing start by the duo.

 

2. Rootha Kyun
Singers ~ Mohit Chauhan & Payal Dev, Music by ~ Sharib-Toshi, Lyrics by ~ Azeem Shirazi

The next song in the album does start off quite promisingly. As I have said before, piano notes are a wonderful way to start off a song. They have the power to grab the attention of the listener from the beginning of the song. This time, Sharib-Toshi do just that. They use the very diplomatic piano to lure listeners into the song. However, once the listeners are lured inside, the trap is quite pleasant. Unlike my expectations after hearing ‘Aaj Ro Len De’, this song fares better. Mohit Chauhan is a safe choice taken by the composers. He sings the heard-before-yet-appealing composition beautifully. Especially the way he sings the hookline, is impressive. Payal gets to sing the second antara along with the hookline. Let me say it takes time to get used to her voice there. She seems to have used an unnecessarily high-pitched voice, trying to ape Sadhana Sargam, but after a listen or two, it starts sounding beautiful, and then it seems nobody could have done better. i don’t know how that happened because until I wrote this, I had only heard the song once and didn’t like her voice, but now suddenly started liking it. Sharib-Toshi get it right with the composition, and play  it safe there too. Though typical, it is pretty catchy, unlike the first one, which only had a catchy hook. But this song has the mukhda and antaras catchy too. The main reason for the catchiness has to be the fast pace of the song, which does make a huge difference. The hookline has been composed really well, and as I said before, sang just as well by Mohit and Payal, later on. Again, arrangements are fabulous. I remember Sharib-Toshi’s fab arrangements in ‘Zid’ as well, and it is great how they always pay attention to their arrangements, though their compositions might not be so strong. Here, they have equally balanced both. The arrangements are a good mixture of a string orchestra, rock elements (guitars and drums), digital sounds and sparkling Indian instruments like the santoor. Azeem’s lyrics are typical too, but still go well with the song and sound good, so that’s is passable. When typicality meets genius, it sounds like this. A safe song from all angles! #5StarHotelSong!!

 

3. Tujhko Mein
Singer ~ Shaan, Music by ~ Sharib-Toshi, Lyrics by ~ Azeem Shirazi

Here Sharib-Toshi try to do what I’ve been ranting and rambling on about — something that isn’t the typical horror Bhatt-ish stuff. They rope in Shaan for this, and you will understand why, after you hear the song. Sharib-Toshi have composed a happy-go-lucky, sugary-sweet song, which tries so hard to be romantic without getting melancholic. The result? The duo fails miserably even there. The sweetness is overdone, just like an over-ripe fruit. Too sweet, and you start feeling nauseated. The same is the case with this song. The composition falls into the same category of songs which Shaan is getting nowadays, that sound pretty mild and kiddish. He does well, no doubt, but it has gotten boring hearing him sing the same types of songs, with no variations at all. In the hookline he sings “main aankhon mein” in a very irritating manner. Sharib-Toshi do try hard to  give a good composition, but as I sad, it sounds too goody-goody, and artificial. With the composition and vocals not making a deep impact, we can only expect the duo to add great instrumentation, but sadly, the arrangements here are pretty clichéd and banal. What with the seemingly forced finger snaps, and other weird digital beats. Guitars and the saxophone try to normalise things, but to a limited extent. A synthesiser tries to impress in the first interlude, but even that does not work. There is nothing new in the arrangements, and if the duo wanted to make an outstanding romantic track, there are many things they could have added to the otherwise boring composition. It is high time they realise that things have changed since their debut in ‘Raaz: The Mystery Continues’ in 2009, seven years ago, when all this seemed appealing. Azeem Shirazi’s lyrics are plain and simple, but not backed by a strong composition, they fall flat on their nose, if they have one. 😛 I wanted the duo to do something different. They did. But not very impressively. It is called Typicality in Experimentation.

 

4. Aafreen
Singers ~ K.K. & Antara Mitra, Music by ~ Kaushik-Akash, Lyrics by ~ Prashant Ingole

The newcomer duo comes back to finish off the album with their second song, a romantic duet. The song does have a heard-before tune, but it has been crafted so well, that it manages to appeal to the ears, and fits into the category of breezy romantic songs Bollywood used to produce in wholesale, until those melancholic romantic songs started arriving in bulk. So, this song provides a great respite from those melancholic songs of these days. Unlike ‘Tujhko Mein’, this is a great example of how such a song is done. Kaushik-Akash score with the composition. The distinct Pritam-ish touch is omnipresent in the song, and it sounds good. The hookline does remind of Salim-Sulaiman’s method of composing romantic hooklines, and is quite pleasant itself. As with the composition, the duo has made a great choice by roping in K.K. to do the male vocals. This is his territory, and he rules in such songs, as is evident in the song. Antara does seem out of place, and to be extremely honest, Tulsi Kumar would have carried it out beautifully too, as she has sung such songs before. Antara gets more scope to open up in this song than ‘Gumnaam Hai Koi’, but still she sounds too artificially sweet. It is all the fault of her having different voices in each song. Her parts have been composed beautifully, though, doing half of her job for her. The arrangements are mostly techno sounds, but electric guitars and a faint string orchestra are audible. The fingersnaps sound good in this song. In the line just before the hookline, a wonderful church-like choir joins in with great harmonious backing vocals. Prashant Ingole’s lyrics, which would seem dull and typical otherwise, are definitely saved by the composition. At last the finale is great, with the duo showing a lot of promise. Great for a debut! Vocals and composition holds all the magic! #5StarHotelSong!!


As much as I was expecting, 1920 London isn’t even half as good! The newcomers from the A&R project fare well, even if I don’t consider that it is their debut. While on one side, with the remake of ‘Gumnaam Hai Koi’, they give a quite hellish composition, on the other side they give a breezy, heavenly composition with ‘Aafreen’. Sharib-Toshi, the more seasoned artists of the two, however, disappoint. They stick to their old templates, out of which luckily, one turned out to be exceptional, while the other two are extremely avoidable. In 2014, when the duo had claimed that ‘Zid’ was their career best, I ignored it as it was unbelievably ordinary. But now I think they had said it right. In retrospect, their career best does seem to be ‘Zid’. Horror films are seemingly their forté, seeing their albums, but here they disappoint. And thoughh the newcomers do well, neither of their two songs will have a long life; they aren’t that strong either! So overall, the album is full of song that would not grip you, or shall I say would not ‘possess’ you?? 😀 👻👻

 

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

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

Recommended Listening Order: Aafreen > Rootha Kyun > Gumnaam Hai Koi > Tujhko Mein > Aaj Ro Len De

 

Which is your favorite song from 1920 London? Please vote for it below! Thanks! 🙂

 

Next “dish”: Cabaret, Chefs: Kaustav Narayan Niyogi, Munish Makhija & Tony Kakkar

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6 thoughts on “UTTERLY UN’POSSESSIVE’!!! (1920 LONDON – Music Review)

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