Music Album Details
♪ Music by: Vishal Bhardwaj
♪ Lyrics by: Varun Grover & Ashok Mizaj Badr
♪ Music Label: Zee Music Company
♪ Music Released On: 20th February 2019
♪ Movie Released On: 1st March 2019
Buy the songs: iTunes
Sonchiriya is a Bollywood film starring Sushant Singh Rajput, Bhumi Pednekar, Manoj Bajpayee, Ashutosh Rana and Ranvir Shorey in lead roles. The film is directed by ‘Ishqiya’ and ‘Udta Punjab’ fame Abhishek Chaubey, and produced by Ronnie Screwvala. The film is a drama surrounding the lives of the dacoits of Chambal, and has music by Vishal Bhardwaj, Chaubey’s regular but for the album of ‘Udta Punjab’ which was by Amit Trivedi. Vishal only composed for his own directorial ‘Patakha’ last year, and it was a nice break from his usually heavy and mellow types of soundtracks, wherein almost all songs were peppy and enjoyable. With ‘Sonchiriya’, I expect him to come back to his mellow music, but I expect it to be amazing, as his previous collaborations with this director have been!
The rural dacoits-of-Chambal setting of the film is established through the album’s opening number, Baaghi Re, a rock song with amazing use of guitars (Ankur Mukherjee), evoking a taste of the Wild West as usually depicted in films of Tarantino and the like. Vishal Bhardwaj hands over the vocals to Mame Khan, a name we saw in many songs in the Mirzya soundtrack by Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy in 2016. His rural voice is perfect for the song, and though the song is a bit slow-paced, it is his vocals that will have you hooked for the most part of it. Varun Grover’s lyrics are suitable for a song about rebellious dacoits, making this kind of a theme song for the film. It is the song’s Remix, though, that had me more impressed, where the producers (The Groove Room Producers) create an even more energetic mix of Vishal Bhardwaj’s haunting melody, complete with even more fascinating guitars as the original version. This one is closer to the classical rock we know of these days, while the original sounded bare, maybe because of the lack of drums, which are played in full force here, hence giving the guitars an accompaniment.
After this point, the album goes back to the handful of singers Vishal Bhardwaj equips in all his albums these days — Rekha Bhardwaj, Arijit Singh and Sukhwinder Singh.
Arijit Singh gets to perform solo, with a haunting, quintessentially Bhardwaj-esque Ruan Ruan. It is Arijit’s opening line that pulls the listener into the song immediately, after which follows the signature Vishal Bhardwaj whistle effect, accompanied by a pleasant guitar. The melody is calm and mellow, and the guitars (Ankur Mukherjee, Dhruv Vishwanath, and Saurabh Suman — bass) are what propels it to another level; that hookline is a beauty in its composition, but without the interspersed guitar portions, it would have sounded bare. I personally enjoyed how the hookline is broken into small bits, letting it take its own sweet time to sink in. The antara is where things gets slightly haunting, but that’s just Mr. Bhardwaj trying not to let things get too staid. Arijit’s rendition is wonderful. I cannot believe it is his first release of 2019; normally, by this month of any year, we get atleast five songs of his! Hopefully this song finds its audience.
Rekha Bhardwaj and Sukhwinder Singh each get two songs on the album, and Rekha further gets to sing a reprise of one of her songs, making her song count three in total. Her solo song is the title song, Sonchiraiya, which, in its original version, starts with a very mellow humming portion, complete with sound effects of water flowing. The harpsy guitars (Chintoo Singh) do well to create the haunting atmosphere, and Bhardwaj’s melody is so heart-rending, it is bound to make the listener emotional. The slow-going composition gets even more touching in the antara, where it changes tone for a while (during the ‘sonchiraiya, sonchiraiya‘ in the cross-line) only to get back to its haunting self with the arrival of the hookline. The song almost has a lullaby-ish tinge to it, accentuated by the use of instruments. The guitar is played like a sitar in the second interlude, and that makes for a wonderful listen. The digital sound effects used throughout the song, and the pensive notes of the piano too, make it a very satisfying listen all in all. Rekha Bhardwaj delivers it with poise, and that’s what attracts me to the song over and over again. The lack of orchestral strings in this version is more than made up for in the Reprise Version, which starts even more haunting than the original, what with the piano starting it off on a gloomy note, followed by the wind instruments. As Rekha starts the melody, the Budapest Film Orchestra led by Daryl Griffith kicks in with its magnificent sound. The melody that sounded so beautiful in its original version, though, sounds distorted by the haunting aspect of it — the soothing composition doesn’t match with the haunting, mostly loud, string treatment. Rekha’s vocals in this version, too, seem a step lower than what she showcased in the previous version. If you are an ardent strings lover, go for this version!
Rekha Bhardwaj’s third song is a duet with Sukhwinder Singh, a dance number called Naina Na Maar. It seems like Vishal Bhardwaj wanted to make something like ‘Gali Gali’ (Pataakha), but clearly couldn’t manage to recreate that magic. The composition is a happy one for sure, but isn’t something I’d want to visit again after one listen. Sukhwinder as expected, delivers wonderfully with his energetic high-pitched voice, but when you hear what Rekha Bhardwaj has to offer, you end up wishing the song wasn’t sung by her — Sunidhi Chauhan would’ve been the obvious choice! The arrangements are quite enjoyable — harmonium, dholaks and folksy strings scattered all over the piece. The traditional lyrics are fun too, but it is the little repeat value of the song that works against it.
Saanp Khavega is Sukhwinder’s show all the way, another pensive melody driven by a strong orchestral arrangement, this time complete with chorus singers (Mridul Ghosh, Sudhanshu Shome, Pankaj Dixit & Tanmay Bhawalkar) as is Vishal Bhardwaj’s trend in his emotional songs. The song is grand in its instrumentation and vocals, but the melody is quite weak; nothing to revisit as such. Varun Grover’s lyrics are a nice take on the not-so-nice ways of the world. Overall, it is a situational track that isn’t so memorable but for its grand arrangements and choir.
Sonchiriya is a good album overall, but it definitely is not of the stature that Vishal Bhardwaj has created for himself over the year, regarding his music albums. The last time his music album had me so confused was also not an album for his own directorial; it was ‘Drishyam’ for Nishikant Kamat. Save for the Rekha Bhardwaj gem and the Arijit melody, none of these songs really have it in them to attract me once more before the year ends, unless it is for the year-end listings.
Total Points Scored by This Album: 7 + 7.5 + 8.5 + 9 + 7 + 7.5 + 6.5 = 53
Album Percentage: 75.71%
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: Sonchiraiya > Ruan Ruan > Baaghi Re (Remix) = Naina Na Maar > Baaghi Re = Sonchiraiya (Reprise) > Saanp Khavega
Which is your favourite song from Sonchiriya? Please vote for it below! Thanks! 🙂