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! 🙂