THE ‘HAUNT’ AND SOUL OF PUNJAB! (PHILLAURI – Music Review)

Music Album Details
♪ Music by: Shashwat Sachdev & Jasleen Kaur Royal
♪ Lyrics by: Anvita Dutt, Shellee, Aditya Sharma & Neeraj Rajawat
♪ Music Label: T-Series
♪ Music Released On: 6th March 2017
♪ Movie Releases On: 24th March 2017

Phillauri Album Cover

 

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

To buy this album on iTunes CLICK HERE


Phillauri is an upcoming Bollywood romantic / comedy / fantasy film starring Anushka Sharma, Suraj Sharma and Diljit Dosanjh in lead roles. The film is directed by Anshai Lal, and produced by Anushka Sharma, Karnesh Sharma and Fox Star Studios. The film is about a man named Kanan who is born under an ‘unlucky star’, and has been told he needs to marry a tree before marrying his love, so that his soul can be cleansed. To his horror/amazement/shock/whatever you might feel if you were in such a situation, he finds a spirit who used to live in the tree following him, unable to go back to her own realm. He needs to help her go back there, but before that she needs to feature in a film and all, so you better watch it, or else she will have come out of the tree for nothing. :p Enough movie promotion, let’s steer on to the music. A newcomer (I believe; and every other website I checked says the same — they also only believe, nobody knows??) Shashwat Sachdev has composed the majority of the album, and the baby-fairy-like sounding girl Jasleen Royal has composed two more. Now, if such a well-known person like Anushka Sharma decides to launch a comooser with her movie, it must mean he has something in him. Clean Slate Films (Anushka’s production company) has previously produced ‘NH10’ and boy, was its music album phenomenal, and also full of composers who has never quite made it big in the industry. This movie seems to have more of a mass appeal, and Jasleen has made it big in the industry already, so the debutant must be really good at his job! Let’s see!!


1. Dum Dum / Dum Dum (Punjabi Version) / Dum Dum (Reprise) [Diljit Dosanjh Version]

Singers ~ Romy & Vivek Hariharan / Romy & Vivek Hariharan / Diljit Dosanjh, Backing Vocals ~ Anurag Sharma, Pawni Pandey, Vibha Saraf, Varsha Tripathi, Abhiruchi Singh, Gaia, Meera Chandy / Anurag Sharma, Pawni Pandey, Vibha Saraf, Varsha Tripathi, Abhiruchi Singh, Gaia, Meera Chandy / Vivek Hariharan, Pawni Pandey & Anand Bhaskar, Music by ~ Shashwat Singh, Lyrics by ~ Anvita Dutt / Shellee / Anvita Dutt

“Aankhein kitaabi, tu khole toh padh loon,
Kaajal si likkhi chhaapi, kahaaniyaan teri mere saiyaan!
Baatein bataashon si zubaan pe rakh doon,
Halke se pighlengi, bole tu chakh loon main saiyaan!”

– Anvita Dutt

Shashwat starts off his Bollywood debut with one of the most soulful folksy numbers I’ve ever heard in recent times. ‘Dum Dum ‘ starts off like a purely soulful Punjabi / Sufi song, with amazing instrumentation giving the perfect introduction into the song. The composition is an aptly folksy one, with numerous twists and turns throughout the song. The hookline is catchy, but some might get a bit annoyed by the fact that it repeats too many times — in the true sense of a Sufi song, if you ask me. So that didn’t bother me too much. The mukhda follows a very lilting tune, and the high-pitched antara really helps to consolidate the listeners’ interest in the song. It is the conclusion of the song which is really impressive, and Shashwat slows the pace down there, only to increase it towards the end beautifully ending the song on a high tempo. The arrangements are fantabulous, as said before. The folk instruments have been put to great use — especially the tablas, dholaks, the plucked string instruments and the other folksy percussions. The first two versions have primarily the same arrangements, but it is Diljit who gsts to sing against the backdrop of an almost unplugged instrumentation in his version. That makes things lively and ‘different’ and innovative; it is a bliss to the ears to hear such a grounded composition backed by digital music. But towards the end of the Diljit version, there’s a wonderful sitar piece that is to die for!! That part is sheer brilliance on the part of the music programmer. The vocals in all three version are very impressive. Romy makes his Bollywood debut (Although I think I’ve read his name somewhere, he calls this his debut.) with this wonderful Punjabi song. His voice has been reminding everybody of Shahid Mallya’s voice, and I felt that too, with a tinge of Divya Kumar as well. He gets extremely loud at parts, but the soul of the song doesn’t diminish in any way. Vivek Hariharan effectively joins him in the latter part of the song which I earlier described as the ‘Conclusion’, and his voice texture is sooooo beautiful, it is hard to not love his portion. And of course, the “dum dum dum dum dum dum hai dua” part which everyone should love so much. The singers reprise their roles in the Punjabi version, except with different Punjabi lyrics penned by Shellee, as opposed to the Hindi ones by Anvita Dutt. It kind of reduced the appeal of the song, and I couldn’t make myself to love that version, with different lyrics, which i couldn’t understand nor sing along to. Save an extra ad-lib at the beginning by Romy, this one is a carbon copy of the first version as far as arrangements go. Diljit’s rendition of the same is a bit toned-down, and could’ve been better, but the arrangements by Shashwat make up for the little void that his voice couldn’t fill. Guitars in this version sound more of the modern acoustic guitars than folk instruments, and it gives a nice and modern touch to the song. (Which is clearly for promotional purposes). The disappointing part of this version is that it doesn’t have the “conclusion” which I loved! The lyrics of the Hindi version are amazing, and I’m sure the ones by Shellee in the Punjabi version are too, but I couldn’t understand them! Unusual, because I usually grasp most of the Punjabi in other Punjabi Bollywood songs! A soulfully folksy start to the album!

Rating: 4.5/5 for the Hindi Version, 3/5 for the Punjabi Version, 3.5/5 for the Reprise Version by Diljit Dosanjh

 

2. What’s Up

Singers ~ Mika Singh & Jasleen Royal, Music by ~ Jasleen Royal, Lyrics by ~ Aditya Sharma 

“Ajj haathan di takiyan te khil aayi kaliyaan,
Surma laan akhiyan ch vekhe teri galiyaan,
Hansdi ae jachdi ae sohneya ve sachhiya
Nazraan na laggan ke khairan ne mangeya!”

– Aditya Sharma

The second song of the album is Jasleen Royal’s first out of the two she has composed in the album. This one is an upbeat Punjabi wedding song, and going by Jasleen’s list of songs, she has only one such song to her credit, which is ‘Nachde Ne Saare’ (Baar Baar Dekho), which is one of my favourite Punjabi wedding songs of all time now. Now this song is also just as catchy and infectious. The energy just gets to you in no time. At first, the composition might seem very ordinary for a Punjabi wedding song, following the same template to the tee. But, as usually happens, later on I started loving the song just because of its immense simplicity. Jasleen’s composition is a sprightly one with nothing coming in the way of the listeners’ happiness. Especially the interludes she sings herself, are very cute and mood-uplifting. The other stanzas have been composed well too, and rendered boisterously by Mika, the go-to for such songs. Finally, he gets a song where he actually was required to sing it! The arrangements are as upbeat as can be, and Jasleen doesn’t necessarily recycle her ‘Nachde Ne Saare’ arrangements, but tries to make this sound different with more dhols. And the brass band makes an unignorable appearance in the song. It makes the song very breezy and happy-go-lucky. Of course, Jasleen also follows the traditional ‘play-the-hookline-on-brass-instruments’ method that Amaal Mallik recently followed in ‘Aashiq Surrender Hua’ (Badrinath Ki Dulhania). The vocals are amazing. As I mentioned, nobody but Mika could’ve sung this wih the same energy, and he sings like the old Mika, the Mika everybody enjoyed! So it is very enjoyable. Jasleen, in her fairy-like voice, sings her two stanzas very well, and though they are mere interludes, they get etched into your memory. They are very cute and sprightly. Aditya Sharma’s lyrics are fun and enjoyable, describing a Punjabi wedding beautifully! One of the more catchy Punjabi wedding songs of recent times!

Rating: 4/5

 

3. Naughty Billo

Singers ~ Diljit Dosanjh, Nakash Aziz, Shilpi Paul & Anushka Sharma, Backng vocals ~ Vivek Hariharan, Romy, Shilpi Paul & Surya Raghunathan, Music by ~ Shashwat Sachdev, Lyrics by ~ Anvita Dutt

“Malmal wala kurta rang firozi tha,
Uss par kaatil ik button tha Chaandi da,
Do nainon ka woh hamla, phass gaya bhola jatt yamla,
Marta kya na Karta!”

– Anvita Dutt

This song is Shashwat’s ticket to getting more and more offers from more and more producers and directors later on. Why? Because of the sheer innovativeness with which he has handled this song. Okay, so let me start from the beginning. The song is an experimental Punjabi dance song, quite similar to so many of the Punjabi pop numbers of today. However, there’s a nice catch in here. And that is the fact that Shashwat has so cleverly infused funky groove into the Punjabi song. The composition could’ve been better, but everything else covers that up, because the song excels in all other departments. I’ve not heard such a perfect Punjabi pop -ish number in quite a while. The song starts with a traditional old-fashioned Punjabi portion and we as listeners think the entire will follow suit. However, just as we are sure that will happen, Shashwat takes us by surprise and introduces a catchy (and purely modern, mind you) hookline that just makes you listen on! It is kind of a reprise to the old ‘Jhooth Boliya’ song. The arrangements are so experimental, and offbeat, that you just end up loving them. The funky beats are enough to make you dance without any inhibitions. Shashwat adds nice dhol percussion, and awesome brass instruments add the necessary funky element, not to mention the quintessential tumbi. So many backing vocalists randomly add their portions into the song as the song progresses, and it sounds like a free-for-all jam. Whatever the result is though, it is really innovative. The vocals are great too, with Diljit handling the Punjabi parts well, and Nakash the hookline. Shilpi Paul does well in her short parts, but Anushka steals the thunder with her full-of-attitude rap towards the end of the song. And it’s not even the “I-will-do-anything-just-to-make-my-movie-work” kind of stint! She actually sounds awesome in this new rapper form of hers! Anvita Dutt’s lyrics are fun and enjoyable. A fun funky song!

Rating: 4.5/5

 

4. Sahiba

Singers ~ Romy & Pawni Pandey, Backing Vocals ~ Vivek Hariharan, Anurag Singh, Vibha Saraf, Abhiruchi Singh, Pawni Pandey, Varsha Tripathi & Gaia, Music by ~ Shashwat Sachdev, Lyrics by ~ Anvita Dutt

“Tujhse aisa uljha, dil dhaaga dhaaga khincha,
Dargah pe jaise ho chadaron sa bichha,
Yun hi roz yeh udhadha buna,
Kissa ishq ka kai baar, humne phir se likha!
Sahebaan, sahebaan, chal wahaan jahaan Mirza!”

– Anvita Dutt

The way this song starts, reminds me of the starting of ‘Deewani Mastani’ (Bajirao Mastani). Anyway, the song is no doubt the best song of the album. Shashwat comes with yet another earthy folksy melody with this song. The mukhda starts quite slowly, but you will definitely start loving the song after you hear the hookline, which has a catchy and attractive old-world charm to it. Pawni Pandey’s antara has been composed very soulfully, in heart-rending low notes. Later the male part once again takes the song on a wonderful folksy route. However, it is the ‘conclusion’ of the song, that steals the spotlight. The song breaks into a Qawwali-esque mode there. Right from the “ohh sahibaaaaa…” till the end of the song, the song goes on a never-ending high, until the song itself ends. The “tere bina” verse is marvellous! Arrangements in this track are fabulous. The plucked strings (David Sinchury, Sanjoy Das, Youngmin Kim, Shashwat Sachdev) at the beginning, that oh-so-majestically reminded me of ‘Deewani Mastani’, are so gripping; they just pull you into the song. Also, Shashwat introduces a jingling sound in the beat after that, and it sounds so rustic and folksy! Lovely like never before. The percussions that break out in the hookline are wondrous as well. dholaks (Manoj Kumar) very well put the Punjabi theme of the song into action. The orchestra (Czech National Symphony Orchestra) works wonderfully throughout the song to give it a regal tinge, and they’ve accomplished it, I’m glad to say! The vocals by Romy are ravishing. The part he sings after Pawni’s, he has sung that so beautifully! And the Qawwali part too! It just gave me goosebumps! Pawni comes across as decent; she doesn’t seem to be managing the low notes too well. However Romy covers it with his magnificence in handling both high and low notes. The lyrics by Anvita Dutt are amazing here as well. Soul-stirring!

Rating: 5/5

 

5. Bajaake Tumba

Singers ~ Romy & Shehnaz Akhtar, Backing Vocals ~ Vivek Hariharan, Music by ~ Shashwat Sachdev, Lyrics by ~ Anvita Dutt

“Bajaake tumba, saare pind ki kudiyon ka, phillauri nachda!”

– Anvita Dutt

The folk doesn’t seem to get over just yet. Shashwat has yet another song left, and he makes sure the Punjabi folk influence doesn’t leave his songs until the last one. This one is a fun and enjoyable, but clearly situational song, which we listeners won’t be able to make heads or tails of as of yet, but it is fun to hear at least! It is an upbeat traditional bhangra number with an amazingly catchy tune considering its situational nature. It starts off quite odd, but gets better and better as it goes on. The hookline comes as an unexpected one with odd notes, that don’t match the fun nature of the other notes. That’s where the song gets interesting and experimental. The best part I loved in the song was the “oh yaara mere phirrrr na pooochooo aage kya hogaa…” part which was so smoothly sung by the singer!! The ‘timb lakk lakk timb’ loop is fun as well. The arrangements are just as fun as the composition. Of course dhols, dhadd, nagadas and the tumba make an integral part of the arrangements. A wonderful flutes assortment plays through the interlude. And the harmonium is splendid, too! The tempo increase towards the end is amusing as well! The two singers, Romy and Shehnaz Akhtar, do an amazing job in bringing forth the celebratory nature of the song through their singing. Though I’m not so qualified as to know who sang what, what I heard sounds good, and so I’m assuming both sang well. :p The backing vocalists play an important part in this song too, and their inputs make the song fun to listen to. About the lyrics, it seems that it is a kind of a story-telling session like we commonly see in films, where the man tells his friends about his experiences in winning the girl’s heart… Maybe? I don’t know. Enjoyable, but to an extent that can be crossed only after watching the film.

Rating: 3.5/5

 

6. Din Shagna Da

Singer ~ Jasleen Royal, Music by ~ Jasleen Royal, Lyrics by ~ Neeraj Rajawat

“Jaavan na main bin shehnaiyan
Satrangi rubaiyaan,
Sunaa ja tu harjaiyaa..
Shamiyaana sajavan
Doli leke main aavan
Aatishbazi karaake
Tenu leke main jaavan”

– Neeraj Rajawat

Jasleen re-enters the soundtrack with her second track, which is actually her pop single which she has released in 2013. The song has been incorporated as it was into the soundtrack. It is a bidaai song with its own merits. The composition lies quite close to most of her previous songs, but is also instantly likeable; you don’t get time to compare it with the others because it is so emotional and heart-moving. Also, she takes the help of wonderful instrumentation to uplift the sound of this song. Instead of her usual acoustic guitar arrangements, she also adds apt dholaks, a sarangi, and I was surprised to hear a nice piano introduction to the song, and that plucked string instrument in the interlude is amazing! The magic lies in the second stanza, where she has programmed everything with a nice sound effect to it (can’t describe, but hear from 2:30 to the end) The composition is so heart-rending, (and I’ll say that it is already a common song that plays at weddings!) that it is perfectly apt for the situation. The vocals are beautiful. Jasleen sounds sweet and nothing less. Neeraj Rajawat’s lyrics, or whatever I could make out of them, are beautiful. A great depiction of the “sad” side of a wedding!

Rating: 4/5


Phillauri is an album full of the heart and soul of Punjab. No rapper comes to degrade Punjab’s honour, and create a dismal image of Punjab in our heads. On the other hand, two talented youngsters don the captain’s hat and compose some wonderful songs with the essence of the real Punjab. It is so true to the folk music of Punjab that it gets haunting at some point! Shashwat and Jasleen present, the heart haunt and soul of Punjab! 🙂

 

Total Points Scored by This Album: 4.5 + 3 + 3.5 + 4 + 4.5 + 5 + 3.5 + 4 = 32

Album Percentage: 80%

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

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

Recommended Listening Order: Sahiba > Naughty Billo > What’s Up = Din Shagna Da = Dum Dum > Dum Dum (Reprise) = Bajaake Tumba > Dum Dum (Punjabi Version)

 

Remake Counter:
No. of Remakes: 08 (From previous albums) + 00 (from Phillauri) = 08

 

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

 

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2 thoughts on “THE ‘HAUNT’ AND SOUL OF PUNJAB! (PHILLAURI – Music Review)

  1. Another beautiful review from your side of a beautiful album. Shashwat Sachdeva nails it as a debutant n i hope he gets more work in future bcoz of the variety he has shown here as a composer. Ur review glorifies his work even more. Way to go 🙂

    Like

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