PURAANA ZAMAANA NAYA HO GAYA!! (BEGUM JAAN – Music Review)

Music Album Details
♪ Music by: Anu Malik
♪ Lyrics by: Kausar Munir & Rahat Indori
♪ Music Label: Junglee Music / Times Music
♪ Music Released On: 7th April 2017
♪ Movie Releases On: 14th April 2017

Begum Jaan Album Cover

 

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

To buy this album on iTunes CLICK HERE

To hear “Murshida” on Saavn CLICK HERE

To buy “Murshida” on iTunes CLICK HERE


Begum Jaan is an upcoming Bollywood period film, starring Vidya Balan, Ila Arun, Gauhar Khan, Pallavi Sharda, Mishti Chakraborty, Raviza Chauhan, Priyanka Setia, Flora Saini, Ridheema Tiwary, Poonam Rajput, Gracy Goswami, Pitobash Tripathy, Ashish Vodyarthi, Chunky Pandey and Naseeruddin Shah. The film has been directed by National-Award-Winnig Director Srijit Mukherji, and produced by Mahesh Bhatt, Vishesh Bhatt and Play Entertainment. The film is the official Bollywood remake of Srijit’s Bengali film, ‘Rajkahini’. The film, set in 1947, is about a brothel, and how the Radcliffe line that decided the borders of India and Pakistan during Independence, passes right through the middle of it. The struggle of the ladies at the brothel, and their fight for their home, os what constitutes the story. The concept seems great, and with great actors, it is sure to get amazing response. The music of the film has been composed by Anu Malik, and it is a perfect choice; he would be able to do the music of the era better than most of the younger composers. Anu himself says he hasn’t heard the music of the Bengali original film, so as not to be influenced by it, and I haven’t heard it either, so as not to compare. Anu Malik has composed five songs for the movie, with one of them having two versions, making it a total of six tracks. So let’s see how the album turns out!


1. Prem Mein Tohre / Prem Mein Tohre (Reprise)

Singers ~ Asha Bhosle / Kavita Seth, Lyrics by ~ Kausar Munir

“Parde mein tohre, Chori chori chori chori, jiya jaaye na,
Parde mein tohre, chori chori chori chori, mita jaaye na,
Aata hai chhupke tu mere dar par,
Ghayal dil aur dhadkan banjar,
Ghayal dil aur dhadkan banjar!
Haldi mali jo ghaanv pe tohre, har zakhm mera hara ho gaya,
Yeh kya ho gaya?”

– Kausar Munir

Of course, this song was the one about which rumours were pouring in right from the day Anu Malik must have recorded it. And why? The answer is simple — none other than living legend Asha Bhosle had sung it. So headlines like “ASHA BHOSLE, LIVING LEGEND, GIVES VOICE TO VIDYA BALAN”, or “ANU MALIK AND ASHA BHOSLE COMBO BACK TOGETHER” popped up at me many a time. Yes, the song has been sung by Asha Bhosle, who was last heard in a forgettable (and already forgotten) song from ’31st October’. This song, however, has no chance to be forgotten. The composition is a serene, classical composition, which just touches your heart right away. Yes, it might take time to grow for some, because it is quite slow-paced, and, being a classical song, it has quite a paucity of aalaaps and murkis, but then, you can’t expect all classical songs to be replicas of each other, can you? So the tune that Anu Malik finally presents to us is amazing, though it has got some barriers in some places, like I said before, the slow pace. The composer makes up for this with the wonderful classical arrangements, which make a breeze of fresh air blow against your (ears???) face. The tanpura paves the way for something marvellous right in the beginning, and surely, a wonderful oud takes over, and booming, grand percussions join after some time, accompanied by the innocent sound of the paayals. One highlight in the arrangements is the wonderful second interlude, which features a RAVISHING sitar instrumental piece which just steals your breath! And the antara that follows is a musical masterpiece; something that only the old composers of Bollywood are capable of doing. That stanza has a wonderful tune, a wonderful strings background, and then, when the tabla finally joins the song (quite late, but still worth it!) you feel utterly satisfied with the song! The paayal jingle at the end of the song signifies a beautiful end to it. The song has two version, both of which have the same arrangements but differ in the vocals. One is by Asha Bhosle, while the other is by Kavita Seth. (By the way, I didn’t see any headlines saying “KAVITA SETH SINGS A SONG FOR ‘BEGUM JAAN'” before the album released.) Asha Bhosle’s version sounds more like a romantic song, with her very sweet voice, which is quite intact, as it was even twenty years ago, considering her age! When I first heard her version when it released I thought she hadn’t done some of the aalaaps properly, but then I heard Kavita’s version and automatically started liking Asha’s. Kavita sings the song more impactfully, demolishing any traces of it being a romantic song — she has sung a bit too loudly, and she misses even more aalaps and sings in a very plain and straightforward tone. It sounded weird at first, but it is passable. Kausar Munir’s lyrics are good but could have been better, more layered. A wonderful classical romantic song to start the album off.

Rating: 4/5 for the Original Version, 3/5 for the Reprise Version

 

2. Aazaadiyan

Singers ~ Rahat Fateh Ali Khan & Sonu Nigam, Lyrics by ~ Kausar Munir

“Reh gayi rassi pe chunari,
Reh gayi khoonti pe kurti,
Reh gayi woh laaj kahaan?
Reh gaya gumbad mein Allah,
Reh gaya furqat mein Rabba,
Reh gaya woh Ram kahaan?
Hain hari se woh kahaan, hain galeeche woh kahaan?
Pehle chaman woh bataao kahaan?
Hind pe tha naaz jinko, hain woh kahaan?”

– Kausar Munir

A pathos-filled, heart-rending melody is what follows the semiclassical romantic song. This song describes the pain and suffering of the people, who had to migrate to the other side of the border, after the partition of India. And very graphically, Anu Malik has brought that pain right into his composition. Right from the moment it starts, till the moment it ends, the song has a composition that will make it hard for you not to flinch in pain, just by hearing it. The mukhda is wonderful, and the “aah nikli hai yahaan” verse is very pleasant-sounding, but it has been written cleverly, sarcastically. Clearly, the distress that the people felt on leaving their homes was paramount. The antara is what makes the song as heart-rending as ever; it has strings of melancholic notes that hit right at the heart. The way each line sounds different from the other is amazing. It reminds you of Anu Malik’s ‘Border’ and ‘Refugee’ days. The only drawback I can think of about the song is its duration — over six and a half minutes long. (Almost all of the songs of ‘Border’ and ‘Refugee’ too, were that long! 😄) But it is kind of repetitive to be listening to for so long. Anyway, since the composition is good, I’m cool with it. The arrangements are very impressive. The beautiful use of the shehnaai throughout the song leaves you amazed. Furthermore, the second antara has a wonderful Sufi rhythm to it, and the percussion throughout the song is just ravishing. The nagadas at the beginning are really great in giving you the feel that something epic is going to follow. The twinkly (xylophone??) sounds that the song abounds in, are pleasures to the ears. Anu Malik has outdone himself wih the use of strings and percussion in the song. The two singers make this song enrapturing. Rahat’s rustic voice sets the atmosphere for a pathos-filled song, while Sonu Nigam accompanies him with an aptly moving rendition — his parts reminded me a lot of ‘Sandese Aate Hain’ (Border). Finally, it is time to talk about Kausar Munir’s colossally great lyrics. I must not spoil it for you; so please listen to them very carefully! This song won’t be noticed by too many people, at least not in this era dominated by raps and club songs, but whoever does notice it, would definitely love it!

Rating: 4.5/5

 

3. O Re Kaharo

Singers ~ Kalpana Patowary & Altamash Faridi, Lyrics by ~ Kausar Munir

“O re kaharon, Doli utaaro, pal bhar ko thehro toh zara,
Dil se lagaake, bas ikk dafaa ve, dene do gudiyon ko dua,
Teri bindiya nikharke, choodiyan bikharke, chunari mein chehke,
Tera kajra ho kaara, gajra ho pyaara, angana tera mehke.”

– Kausar Munir

Another poignant melody makes its way into the soundtrack, and this time it is a bidaai song, but of course, metaphorically. More about that later. The composition is a sinister and melancholic melody that effectively transfers its sadness to the listener. Anu Malik has composed this one with all his heart and soul, and again, it reminds me of some 90s song which probably Jaspinder Narula would’ve sung for him. The “teri bindiya nikharke…” verse is amazing, and very soulful. The title of the song comes as a bridge between two verses, or an ending to a verse, instead of using it as a hookline. The antara too has been composed very soulfully, and it instantly hooks you, especially the “soja soja gudiya soja” part. The arrangements infuse even more grandeur, in a very earthy way, into the song. The star of the arrangements is hands-down, the flute, which Anu has interspersed in between the poignant melody. The percussion is booming and very thought-provoking, and whatever is the intention of having it so booming and powerful, that intention has been served; the song is as impactful as it can get. I can just imagine what an impact it’ll have in the theatre. Again, Anu makes wonderful use of the paayals, and the strings, especially that wonderful crescendo of the strings in the beginning of the song, which really reminded me of Rahman’s ‘Rangeela’ songs. Kalpana Patowary, who is known as the Bhojpuri queen, has done such a song for the first time in her life, I guess! And she aces it! This avatar of hers is way better than all those weird songs she has sung before in Bollywood, and she handles all the nuances so expertly, that it is something to wonder why no composer has tried it out before. A big thanks to Malik for doing it. Altamash has a single line that plays multiple times, and it is like an interlude, not making much difference to the grand performance that Kalpana has already stolen away. Kausar Munir’s lyrics are literally bidaai lyrics, but there’s definitely a deeper meaning that could only be discerned after the film releases. I even have a theory, but let’s not hypothesize here. And I’m sure, wherever this song fits into the film, that scene would be enhanced manifold. Anu Malik concludes the song with a grand symphonic strings and flutes and percussion intersection. An extremely captivating composition, that amazes with its sinister sound.

Rating: 5/5

 

4. Holi Khelein

Singers ~ Shreya Ghoshal & Anmol Malik, Lyrics by ~ Kausar Munir

“Mor pankhudi udi udi,
Natkhat bansi baji baji,
Gagan giri, gopi saji,
Vrindavan ki gali gali,
Kanha ke rang khili khili, kanha ke rang khili khili,
Holi, holi, holi, khelein brij ki har bala, brij ki baaalaaa!”

– Kausar Munir

The moment this song starts, you know that it is a playful song, and after all that serious romance and pathos that filled the previous songs, you are nothing but ready for it! And what a pleasant surprise you get when you find that it is a purely classical Holi song (as if that wasn’t discernible from the title, but then… Whatever.) Anu Malik composed this song very intrinsically, every note resounding in your ears after it plays. The overall sound of the song itself, is so delightful, and it just goes to tell you, that Anu has gone a long way after he did that ‘Do Me A Favour Let’s Play Holi’ (Waqt) song that is oh-so-infamous among Indians. Yes, it has an old-world-charm to it, but happens to please you very much, with its happy-go-lucky tune. Every line sounds different from the preceding one, and again, just as in ‘Aazaadiyan’, that’s what makes the composition so special. The antara is even better in terms of composition, where things calm down, and it is extremely soothing. The arrangements make the song sound even more exquisite. The percussion throughout the song gives a very grand feel to the celebratory song, and folk instruments like the nagadas, bansuri, rabaab, tablas, and dholaks. The rhythm is a very traditional Holi rhythm, being played in so many Holi songs, but it doesn’t bore you due to the more modern way it has been arranged. The vocals are great, but Anmol’s amateurish parts seem like an interruption into Shreya Ghoshal’s professional-sounding parts. Shreya sounds as ravishing as ever, and as always, hits the high notes beautifully. She sang the “holi holi holi yeh kyaaaa ho gaya” so beautifully, no wonder she is called the Nightingale. Anmol doesn’t sound hideous, but still serves as a kind of unwanted interruption. At the end wonderful kathak bols make up a beautiful conclusion. Kausar’s lyrics are very sweet, and the Krishna connection she has made makes the song even more beautiful to hear. A treat for classical music lovers!

Rating: 5/5

 

♪ Bonus Song

5. Murshida

Singer ~ Arijit Singh, Lyrics by ~ Rahat Indori

“Pehli shart judaai hai, Ishq bada harjaai hai
Dil pe kisne dastak di, Tum ho ya tanhaai hai
Tujhe bhoole baithe thhe, Phir se teri yaad aayi hai
Dil pe kisne dastak di, Tum ho ya tanhaai hai?”

– Rahat Indori

So this song just only released today, as a bonus track. It is a beautiful, breezy Sufi melody, and has a very charming touch to it. Anu Malik’s composition barely sounds like an Anu Malik composition, it sounded more to me like something composed by a Salim-Sulaiman, or a Pritam. The reason will be clear to you after you hear its mukhda. The same charm that accompanies the songs of the two aforementioned composers, is present in this song. Until of course, Anu Malik takes the unconventional route and switches track to an amazing Sufi detour, which is probably the most welcome detour of the world. The antaras are amazing, but a bit ordinary as compared to the rest of the song. One line in the antara gets all sinister and dark, reminding one of Vishal Bhardwaj. But then the mukhda, with its beautiful notes, returns. The rhythm in the mukhda, where the guitars are played so soothingly, in a play-stop-play-stop manner, is so infectious, you just nod your head along to that rhythm. The other arrangements too, are very impressive, especially that majestic sarangi that starts off the song. In the Sufi detour that makes up the hookline, amazing tablas play, and that guitar keeps rocking. Arijit sings in his trademark charming voice, and changes from a feathery whisper of a voice to a blooming voice very easily. His effortless rendition really etches a place for itself in your heart. This song has been penned by Rahat Indori, the Lyricist who has worked with Anu Malik so many times in his peak time in the 90s, and the latest in ‘Gali Gali Chor Hai’ (2012). He has written such a poetic song, as he always has done in the past, and I just became so happy on hearing the lyrics. A perfect song to close the album!

Rating: 4.5/5


Begum Jaan is like a throwback to the songs of yore. Barring the new bonus track, the album has evident shades of nostalgic melodies that remind one of the old Bollywood songs, and Anu Malik does a great job in recreating the 1947-ish era with his music. The album is full of poignant melodies that are high on the musical quotient, if not high on repeat value (for some). All I can say is, puraana zamaana naya ho gaya, yeh kya ho gaya! 

Total Points Scored by This Album: 4 + 3 + 4.5 + 5 + 5 + 4.5 = 26

Album Percentage: 86.67%

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: O Re Kaharo = Holi Khelein > Aazaadiyan = Murshida > Prem Mein Tohre > Prem Mein Tohre (Reprise)

 

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

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4 thoughts on “PURAANA ZAMAANA NAYA HO GAYA!! (BEGUM JAAN – Music Review)

  1. Murshida is one of the best Anu malik songs in recent times. I wish Anu had the opportunity to make less “situational” songs, and more romantic songs like Prem Mein Tohre and Murshida where his talent is utilized. The rest of the songs are okay, but don’t have the long lasting quality of those two songs.

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