ROCHAK’S Ph.D IN PUNJABI FOLK! (KHANDAANI SHAFAKHANA – Music Review)

Music Album Details
♪ Music by: Rochak Kohli, Tanishk Bagchi, Badshah, Payal Dev, Jasbir Jassi, Shyam Bhateja & Anand-Milind
♪ Lyrics by: Tanishk Bagchi, Mellow D, Shabbir Ahmed, Kumaar, Badshah, Gautam G Sharma, Gurpreet Saini, Davinder Khandewal & Deepak Chaudhary
♪ Music Label: T-Series
♪ Music Released On: 26th July 2019
♪ Movie Released On: 2nd August 2019

 

Khandaani Shafakhana Album Cover

Listen to the songs: JioSaavn | Gaana

Buy the songs: iTunes


Khandaani Shafakhana is a Bollywood comedy film starring Sonakshi Sinha, Varun Sharma, Badshah and Annu Kapoor. The film is directed by Shilpi Dasgupta and produced by Bhushan Kumar, Mahaveer Jain, Mrighdeep Singh Lamba, Divya Khosla Kumar and Krishan Kumar. The film revolves around a woman who has to take over her uncle’s infamous sex clinic. The music of the film has been given by the remake expert Tanishk Bagchi, the rapper who is acting in the film Badshah, Rochak Kohli, fresh from the success of his brilliant work in ‘Music Teacher’ earlier this year, and Payal Dev, Who is surprisingly debuting as a composer, making it another mainstream female singer doing so after Kanika Kapoor last year with ‘Chhod Diya’ (Baazaar). So let’s see how this multicomposer album to this film turns out to be.


Music promotions for any film these days start with remakes, and ‘Khandaani Shafakhana’ makes sure it isn’t the norm-breaker. Tanishk Bagchi’s interpretations of old Bollywood super hit songs and/or Punjabi pop songs are a norm these days: another norm this album shies away from breaking.
The album hence starts with Koka, a Tanishk Bagchi remake of Jasbir Jassi’s pop song ‘Koka Tera Kuch Kuch’ from the album ‘Just Jassi’. Tanishk does add his own composition to the hookline from Jassi and Shyam Bhateja’s original, and manages to present us with a catchy and groovy remake. Badshah’s presence in the film warrants a rap from him, while Jasbir Jassi is called to dub the rest of the vocals, and he delivers them in top form. Dhvani Bhanushali, taking the support of oodles of autotune, however, sounds odd; not that singing prowess matters so much in a dance track like this. The beats are catchy, and there’s also a T-Series advertisement thrown in very abruptly in the beginning. If that’s your kind of thing, ‘Koka’ is for you.
Tanishk’s second remake happens to be that of a 90s Bollywood song. Sheher Ki Ladki is a highly unimaginative, though still attractive, recreation of Anand-Milind’s ‘Shehar Ki Ladki’ (Rakshak), with Badshah donning the singer’s cap, obviously coming nowhere close to the original singer Abhijeet Bhattacharya in doing so. His ‘Hi, how are you?’ and ‘How do you do’ sounds so bland as compared to Abhijeet’s (which also features in this song as a bonus addition, I guess, as Tanishk likes to sample the original singers’ voices like Kumar Sanu in ‘Aankh Maarey’ from ‘Simmba’ and Kavita Krishnamurthy in ‘Hawa Hawai 2.0’ from ‘Tumhari Sulu’). Chandana Dixit too, gets her original line featured behind an extremely loud and high-pitched Tulsi Kumar. The latter gets her own original verse too, sounding not as bad! Badshah’s rap is more irritating here than in ‘Koka’, where it actually went with the flow of the song. Also irritating is how Bagchi never lets the hook of the song complete, always interrupting it with that jarring electronic loop that plays so many times throughout the song. A good attempt to revive the song, but people would obviously go for the original!
Apart from acting in the film and rapping in two remakes, Badshah also gets selected to prepare his own original song for the film, which, not surprisingly, tops the two remakes by Tanishk. Saans Toh Le Le is a groovy song with the trademark Badshah beats, but with a retro Punjabi folk twist, a la ‘Naughty Billo’ (Phillauri) and ‘Bhangra Ta Sajda’ (Veere Di Wedding), both songs by Shashwat Sachdev. The programming really makes the song interesting, especially Tejas Vinchurkar’s folksy flute pieces, and makes the middling composition sound more interesting to listen to. Badshah, along with Rico, deliver the lines well, too, making it an all in all fresh listen.
Payal Dev makes her composing debut with this album, in a song called Dil Jaaniye, a very sweet romantic duet by Jubin Nautiyal and Tulsi Kumar. The composition, though reminiscent of many romantic Punjabi songs Bollywood has churned out over the years, still makes a mark, and especially the mukhda gets you gripped enough to listen forth. Aditya Dev’s arrangements are soothing, the Indian percussions (Chari, Shashi, Mushtaq and Sharafat) taking centre stage, along with the wonderful Pianica piece by Aditya Dev himself. The antara sung by Jubin is great, but the one with Tulsi sounds a bit unnecessary, because it stretches the song a bit too long, and then we have to listen to it in Tulsi Kumar’s double-layered, badly processed voice. Shabbir Ahmed, a rare choice for romantic songs as this, writes functional lyrics. However, the stars of the song are definitely Payal with her composition, Aditya with his arrangements and Jubin with his part of the vocals.
Two more soft songs follow, both by Rochak Kohli. In Bheege Mann, he goes back to the style of music he composed for the songs he did for Luv Ranjan films, ‘Tera Yaar Hoon Main’ (Sonu Ke Titu Ki Sweety) and ‘Dil Royi Jaaye’ (De De Pyaar De). The same kind of dulcet melody decorated with guitar riffs, piano notes (arrangements courtesy Aditya Dev) and stray aalaaps, but this time Arijit Singh is replaced by an equally efficient Altamash Faridi, thereby giving the song a rustic touch with his earthy voice. The composition is strong, and will have you enraptured for its entire duration, in spite of its similarities with Kohli’s previous numbers. Gautam G Sharma and Gurpreet Saini write pensive lines to accompany the serious composition, but all-in-all, it is a pleasant song to listen to.
Rochak’s second song, Udd Jaa, is a delight to listen to, because it starts with ethnic strokes of the bouzouki, mandolin and rabab (Tapas Roy), immediately blending into a folksy dholak rhythm, very Rochak-ish (reminding one of ‘Meer-e-Karwaan’ from ‘Lucknow Central’!) which is then followed by the beautiful voice of Tochi Raina (where was the man for so long!?) which suits the motivational and inspirational nature of the song so well! Rochak churns out a very creative composition, which sounds straight out of Coke Studio thanks to the gratuitous folk sounds. While listening to this song, I realise how heavily Rochak relies on folk music to make his songs sound rich, right from the initial days (I think he started using it mainly with ‘Mera Yaar Funtastic’ from ‘Welcome 2 Karachi’) to his songs in ‘Hawaizaada’, to the earlier mentioned ‘Meer-e-Karwaan’ (Lucknow Central), the beautiful Punjabi romantic song ‘Nain Na Jodeen’ (Badhaai Ho), right to the very recent songs in ‘Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga’. Rochak is incomplete without presenting Punjabi folk music in a very flattering way in his songs! Back to the song, Kumaar’s lyrics in the song suit the inspirational aspect of it, and complement the melody well, and put together, Tochi, Rochak and Kumaar end this album on a high note, with a strong folksy melody!


This album turns out to be one of the better-compiled multicomposer albums by T-Series after a while, the last ones being ‘Kabir Singh’ and ‘De De Pyaar De’ in my opinion! All four composers here try to bring what the movie needs, Tanishk with his mass-attracting remakes with club beats, Badshah with his trademark catchy beats, Payal Dev with her great composing debut and finally Rochak with his astounding use of Punjabi folk music.

 

Total Points Scored by This Album: 7.5 + 6 + 7 + 8 + 8.5 + 9 = 46

Album Percentage: 76.67%

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: Udd Jaa > Bheege Mann > Dil Jaaniye > Koka > Saans Toh Le Le > Sheher Ki Ladki

 

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

AAI SHAPPAT, A NAADKHULA ALBUM FROM SLB AND TEAM!! (MALAAL – Music Review)

Music Album Details
♪ Music by: Sanjay Leela Bhansali, Shreyas Puranik & Shail Hada
♪ Lyrics by: Prashant Ingole, A.M. Turaz & Vimal Kashyap
♪ Music Label: T-Series
♪ Music Released On: 21st June 2019
♪ Movie Releases On: 5th July 2019

Malaal Album Cover

Listen to the songs: JioSaavn | Gaana

Buy the songs: iTunes


Malaal is an upcoming romantic drama starring Meezaan Jaffery and Sharmin Segal in lead roles; the film is directed by Mangesh Hadawale and produced by Sanjay Leela Bhansali, Bhushan Kumar, Krishan Kumar and Mahaveer Jain. The film revolves around two youngsters “from different backgrounds who experience the innocence of true love”, as per its official synopsis. In short, it is an everyday Bollywood romance. The film has songs composed by Sanjay Leela Bhansali, and two of his assistants who have been around in the music credits for his directorials for quite some time, Shreyas Puranik (who composed a song for ‘Bajirao Mastani’) and Shail Hada (SLB’s usual arranger/programmer). While Bhansali handles the major chunk of the album (five out of seven songs), the other two get charge of one song each. It isn’t everyday that Sanjay Leela Bhansali composes for his non-directorials (in fact, I believe it is the first time he is composing for one of his non-directorial productions), so it will be interesting to see what he offers, especially because he has been in this period/folk musical world for his previous two to three films, so I’m quite excited how he returns to the contemporary setting.


Bhansali’s first song on the album is the techno-tapori dance number Aila Re, an amalgamation of sorts, of ‘Tattad Tattad’ (Goliyon ki Raasleela Ram-Leela) and ‘Malhari’ (Bajirao Mastani). If the cacophonous programming is ignored in this song (which isn’t as easy as it sounds) it has the potential to be a hit among the masses; a catchy hookline is all it needs to catch public attention. Obviously, my attention isn’t grabbed by just a catchy hookline. For me, it is the antara‘s composition that redeems the song for me. The dhols are remnants from ‘Tattad Tattad’ and ‘Malhari’, and that’s where the music gets a bit heard-before and stale. But the other elements like the piano in the prelude and interlude, and the crazy bass and synthesizer sounds, make it listen-worthy, at least once. Vishal Daldani puts his irresistibly grungy voice to good use — the singing by him makes the song suitable for the setting the film is shown to be in. Shreyas Puranik’s Marathi rap is cringeworthy, being a Marathi speaker myself, and could have been avoided. Prashant Ingole’s lyrics are also suitable for the song’s setting; can’t really comment more on that.

Providing much more fun to my Maharashtrian ears is the love song with an aarti backdrop to it, Udhal Ho. The song is a mishmash of cliches from many traditional Marathi numbers, but in entirety, it seems to work as an enjoyable folksy number. Adarsh Shinde, the vocal boombox of the Marathi music industry, finally gets his solo singing debut in Bollywood, and he seizes the opportunity and makes the most of it. His voice texture being so fresh and raw, would provide something new for Bollywood music listeners. The arrangements are traditional Maharashtrian folk arrangements, with the banjo (bulbultarang) and dhols being the most prominent. The comoosition by Bhansali becomes really catchy after a few listens, and the ladies’ choruses in the hookline, interlude and towards the end, where the song detours down a wonderful aarti path (“Dono ka hoga kalyaan…”) provide a fresh touch. The use of the Fu Bai Fu refrain is cool too! Prashant Ingole’s Marathi+Hindi lyrics are refreshing; most Marathi film songs nowadays are a mix of Marathi and Hindi, but it is nice to see so much Marathi in a Hindi film song for once.

Another traditional Marathi-sounding song, Aai Shappat, takes the Koli route, what with the dholkis (Sanjeev Sen) and guitars (Rutvik Talashilkar) being plucked in the Koli fashion. Sanjay Leela Bhansali introduces a new singer, Rutvik Talashilkar, with this one, and he sings the song well, except that he seems to be struggling with his Marathi diction even with the one line of Marathi he sings in this song. The composition of the antara is charming in this song, but something seems forced or missing in the first half. The song is just two and a half minutes long, and is probably the least appealing of all the songs in the soundtrack, composition-wise. Prashant Ingole, once again, pens down very regular but functional lyrics.

The quintessential Shreya Ghoshal song of every Sanjay Leela Bhansali album cones next. Kathai Kathai is a beautiful romantic ballad for the monsoons; Bhansali’s composition is soothing, though very closely overlapping the composition of his own ‘Ishqyaun Dhishqyaun’ (Ram-Leela) in one bar of the song. (Dil pe mandraaye, bhanvre sa woh haaye) You half expect her to sing ‘Ishq yeh tera mera ishqyaun ki dhishkyaun..’! However, the next line “Dekho na dekho na” makes up for it big time. The use of mandolin (Tapas Roy) and flute (Paras Nath) in this song makes it sound all the more beautiful, Jackie Vanjari’s music production making the song stand a class apart. Melody queen Shreya traverses the dulcet melody with ease; then again, when does she ever sound off when it is with Bhansali, her mentor? A.M. Turaz joins Ingole for the lyrics for this song, and the use of the word ‘Kathai’ (meaning ‘light brown’) is an interesting choice to describe the eyes of the heroine’s love interest, because if I am not wrong, it has previously been used only to describe the eye colour of the girl in Bollywood songs — as in Anu Malik’s ‘Kathai Ankhiyon Wali Ek Ladki ‘ (Duplicate) and Sajid-Wajid’s ‘Rabba’ (Heropanti).

The last of the Bhansali compositions happens to be a very pensive and melancholic title song, Ek Malaal. Bhansali’s melody doesn’t flinch from touching the teevra and komal notes, giving it an overbearing haunting quality. The use of strings and the grand Bhansali-esque beats (the song has been arranged by Shail Hada, who arranged most of Bhansali’s latest albums, so that is where that touch comes from) makes the song sound more opulent. The composition of the antara is splendid, Shail handling the aalaaps with perfection. The slow tempo of the song only adds to the suspense and aura of the song, though it isn’t a song I would go and voluntarily play. Prashant Ingole’s lyrics are thoughtful, with the use of the titular word done quite well especially.

After the great singing performance by Shail Hada, we are treated to his entrée as a composer, a soft romantic duet, Zara Suno. The short duration and its adorably captivating composition work in its favour — the song doesn’t get to waste too much time in letting you like or dislike it, and that is what led me to like it, the honest and genuine attempt. Rutvik Talashilkar and Aanandi Joshi are in charge of the vocals, and though Aanandi does a great job (as she did earlier this year in her spectacular song ‘Anand Ghana’ from ‘Anandi Gopal’) with her portion, I couldn’t help but wish the male singer was somebody else. Shail’s composition being so honest and simple, didn’t need grand arrangements, but he tries to give it justice by adding guitars (Shomu Seal) and strings, and the tablas and sitar deserve special mention. Vimal Kashyap writes the lyrics as cute as Shail has composed the song, completing the package as a cute and simple affair, all in all.

Having saved the best for the last, Shreyas Puranik’s Nadhkhula seems to be the best romantic song I’ve heard in a long time, and just how I like it — a perfect mix of Indian instruments and a melodious tune. Shreyas sings the song himself, and his voice is brilliant; we did get a sneak peek of it towards the end of the Payal Dev-led ‘Ab Tohe Jaane Na Dungi’ (Bajirao Mastani), but this seems to be his first full-length solo song. As soon as it starts, with the piano and ethnic strokes (Tapas Roy), it evokes some kind of magical feeling that seems all the more magical because of the rains. The melody is decorated with sounds of running water, and a beautiful percussion loop (Prashant Sonagra and Mayank Shankar) props the hookline to a pedestal that just places it higher than the hooklines of any other recent Bollywood song. The interlude has a beautiful flute solo by Tejas Vinchurkar, and the flute follows into the antara, which by the way, is one of the most impeccably put together set of notes I have come across in a long time. But the real goosebumps moment is when you hear the Marathi chorus coupled with Vinchurkar’s flute towards the end of the song — which is when it really hits you, what a magical song you had been listening to for the past three minutes. Prashant Ingole’s lyrics are interesting again for the use of the word Nadhkhula, a Marathi slang word used to denote something awesome. This song would be the qualitative and musical equivalent of ‘Nainowale Ne’ (Padmaavat), in that it is in essence a ‘rainy season song’, if you know what I mean!


Total Points Scored by This Album: 7 + 8 + 6.5 + 8.5 + 7.5 + 8.5 + 9.5 = 55.5

Album Percentage: 79.29%

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: Nadhkhula > Zara Suno = Kathai Kathai > Udhal Ho > Ek Malaal > Aila Re > Aai Shappat

 

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

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! 🙂

HAMARE PYARE SHANKAR-EHSAAN-LOY!! (MERE PYARE PRIME MINISTER – Music Review)

Music Album Details
♪ Music by: Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy & C. Ramchandra
♪ Lyrics by: Gulzar & Bharat Vyas
♪ Music Label: Sony Music / Saregama
♪ Music Released On: 1st March 2019 / “Bajaa Bajaa Bajaa Dhol Bajaa Re” on 5th March 2019
♪ Movie Released On: 15th March 2019

Mere Pyare Prime Minister Album Cover

Listen to the songs: JioSaavn | Gaana

Buy the songs: iTunes

Listen to “Bajaa Bajaa Bajaa Dhol Bajaa Re”: JioSaavn | Gaana

Buy “Bajaa Bajaa Bajaa Dhol Bajaa Re”: iTunes


Mere Pyare Prime Minister is a Bollywood film starring Anjali Patil, Om Kanojiya, Atul Kulkarni and Makrand Deshpande. The film is directed by Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra, and produced by Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra, P.S. Bharathi, Navmeet Singh, Rajiv Tandon and Arpit Vyas. The film revolves around the journey of an eight-year-old boy who dreams of building a toilet for his mother, after she gets raped because of having to defecate in the open. The film follows his journey from Mumbai’s slums to Delhi, in order to deliver a letter to the Prime Minister of India, because he has taken it upon himself to improve the living conditions of the slum. One would not imagine that music would have a huge scope in this film, but where there’s Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy and Gulzar, there can be no doubt. After ‘Bhaag Milkha Bhaag’ and ‘Mirzya’, both top class albums for the director by Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy, and going by the director’s previous associations with A.R. Rahman in ‘Rang De Basanti’ and ‘Delhi 6’, this album too is no doubt, something we can expect a lot from. So let’s see, whether and how humare pyare Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy pamper Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra again!


The composer trio opens their third collaboration with director Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra with a quirky and cute Title Song, one that starts with a very trademark Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy groove, and a catchy whistle. The breezy tune is something that I’d have loved to hear in Shankar or Siddharth Mahadevan’s voice, but the trio exercises its expertise in voice casting and brings a fresher option to the listeners, in Arijit Singh. The man renders the composition beautifully, with impeccable falsettos where needed, and the composers employ a well-appointed male chorus on the background in the interlude and hooklines. The arrangements are peppy, the brass band playing a major part in making them lively; and obviously the aforementioned whistle. Gulzar saab’s lyrics are a plea (an arzi) to the Prime Minister, as though written from a small child’s point of view, and that is so cute! Lines like “Chaali Toh Di Hai, Shauchaalay Bhi De De“, and “Arzi Meri, Marzi Teri“, speak volumes. What could’ve been improved on though, is the composition, only because we know Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy are capable of much better, and they had the scope!
That complaint is handled by the trio with the next song, Rezgaariyan, a groovy Qawwali-ish number with all the stock Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy elements you can think of — a rock guitar groove with a repeating couplet that also starts the song off, one that is again written spectacularly by Gulzar — “Daana Daana Uparwala Dega Dega, Neeche Wala Jo Bhi Dega, Paisa Lega!” The hookline is composition goals; it must be really tough to crack the tune for a word like “Rezgaariyan”, meaning “loose coins”, or the colloquial Hindi Chillar. And once you know the meaning of the central word of the song, everything fits into place quite beautifully; the song takes on a social message which is hard to dislike. Shankar and Shivam, the father-son duo, handle the vocals very well, and I’m surprised to see Arif Lohar mentioned in the credits, after the recent events concerning India and Pakistan, but I’m glad to see the taint of that hasn’t reached art. This one is a song that’ll play in your head on loop once you hear it once.
It’s time for more fun when Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy remake a very cute old Holi song, ‘Ja Re Hatt Natkhat’ (Navrang), a classic by C. Ramchandra. Rechristened Bajaa Bajaa Bajaa Dhol Bajaa Re, this one is the most fun a song can get these days. The lyrics mention dafli, khanjri, dhol and whatnot, and Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy’s sampling of the old song is just genius — I like how these seasoned composers always keep that in mind while recreating a song — Vishal-Shekhar in ‘The Disco Song’ (Student of The Year), Amit Trivedi in ‘Hungama Ho Gaya’ (Queen) retained the original singer’s voices, and so do Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy for this one, and in a very creative way. They spin an original mukhda which cleverly and unsuspectingly leads to the hook of the old song, making it sound all the more cute and fascinating. The vocals are a powerhouse on this track; Shankar Mahadevan leading the male portions while Rekha Bhardwaj delivers a spunky performance in the female portions alongside the sampling of Asha Bhosle from the old song. Other supporting singers include Divya Kumar, Shrinidhi Ghatate and Neela Mulhekar. The arrangements are amazing; the dhols, dafli and that whole ‘Dhadang Dhang’ (Rowdy Rathore) -esque rhythm, make the song really enjoyable all in all, as does the synthesiser playing the old song’s hook tune. And, however advanced we are getting in terms of quirky lyrics, it is only from the pen of Gulzar that we can still rely on hearing lines like “Thodi thodi bakri hansi, thoda thoda murga hansa, ekdum ek drumroll baja re!” All in all, this is one of the best remakes I’ve heard, forget in a long time, but in my whole life!
The trio decides to end the album on a sombre note, with Kanna Re Kanna, a beautiful lullaby that is rendered to perfection by Rekha Bhardwaj. The song starts with her humming, to be accompanied by mellow piano notes and a divine flute in a while. The trio’s composition is par excellence; even if it doesn’t pique the interest of normal listeners, it will surely interest the classical/semi-classical music aficionados, as they will find something to connect to in this five minutes of heaven. It is rare to get such an intricate lullaby from Bollywood, especially in the year 2019. Obviously, without Rekha Bhardwaj’s scintillating rendition, it would’ve remained just half as touching. The trio’s other lullaby this year, ‘Tak Taki’ (Manikarnika), suffered from lack of connect, because of the heavy orchestration and lyrics there, but this one is a direct heart-to-heart conversation, and will especially touch a chord in the hearts of all the sons out there. Gulzar writes lines like “Inch inch beta mera bada bhi hoga / Zindagi se chhota mota jhagda bhi hoga / Chot lagegi kabhi, lahu bhi girega / zindagi ghaseetegi toh tagda bhi hoga” — simple and very direct, but very emotional. A beautiful finale to the short and sweet album! 😊


As expected, Mere Pyare Prime Minister turns out to be yet another golden collaboration between the director and music directors, but this time, it will sadly go a bit less noticed than the previous two! Four songs spanning huge variety, in an album to a film with not much musical scope, is not a nominal feat, and just makes me believe that no matter how much of the new trends are setting in, Bollywood’s home composers, of which Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy constitute a substantial part, will always be there to supposedly salvage the wreckage.

 

Total Points Scored by This Album: 8 + 8.5 + 9 + 9.5 = 35

Album Percentage: 87.5%

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: Kanna Re Kanna = Bajaa Bajaa Bajaa Dhol Bajaa Re > Rezgaariyan > Mere Pyare Prime Minister 

 

Which is your favourite song from Mere Pyare Prime Minister? Please vote for it below! Thanks! 🙂

A BULLET THAT MISSES THE BULLSEYE!! (SONCHIRIYA – Music Review)

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

Sonchiriya Album Cover

Listen to the songs: Saavn | Gaana

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! 🙂

WONDERFUL MUSIC AND MEANINGFUL LYRICS! (MULK – Music Review)

Music Album Details
♪ Music by: Prasad Sashte & Anurag Saikia
♪ Lyrics by: Shakeel Azmi
♪ Music Label: Zee Music Company
♪ Music Released On: 28th July 2018
♪ Movie Released On: 3rd August 2018

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Mulk Album Cover

Listen to the songs: Saavn | Gaana

Buy the songs: iTunes


Mulk is a Bollywood socio-religious drama, starring Rishi Kapoor, Taapsee Pannu, Prateik Babbar, Ashutosh Rana and Kumud Mishra. The film, directed by Anubhav Sinha and produced by Deepak Mukut, opened to rave reviews because of its bold content and it’s hard hitting message. Now, such movies aren’t expected to have a music album, but ‘Mulk’ makes sure it has three songs, an apt number of songs in such a film. The music is composed by Background music artist Prasad Sashte, while a guest composition is by Anurag Saikia, who is fresh from the success of his songs from ‘Karwaan’. So let’s see how the songs go with the theme of the film! 😊


Prasad Sashte opens the album with an upbeat celebratory number Thenge Se, which, in its opening beats itself, maintains that it is a song meant to groove to. The opening lines of the composition cleverly hark back to ‘Kajra Mohabbat Wala’ (Kismet), and the feel of the song is more or less the same happy-go-lucky feel that that song carries. Prasad employs three singers to sing three different stanzas with the same tune; the three-mukhda structure, however, doesn’t bore, because all three singers do their best, while Tapas Roy’s string instruments do their part in making the song entertaining at every step. Sunidhi Chauhan opens the song with a boom, while Suvarna Tiwari, fresh from the success of her song ‘Prabhu Ji’ (High Jack), which was coincidentally sung for the guest composer of this album, Anurag Saikia, brings in a rustic and earthy feel, and Swanand Kirkire does the same. Meanwhole, Amit Padhye’s harmonium and Shadab Mohammed’s dholaks engage the listener. Shakeel Azmi’s lyrics are fun and go well with the upbeat theme of the song.

Prasad’s second song Khudara starts with Islamic chants that tell you that it would be a very pensive and sombre melody. As soon as Vishal Dadlani starts singing, your doubts are cleared: the song turns out to be a heart wrenching sad song, which reaches its peak in the hookline, a soaring high-pitched portion rendered perfectly by Dadlani. Mithun Mohan, Ashwin, Anirudh, Himanshu, Tushar & Prasad do well in the backing chants — it really does its bit to increase the song’s appealing nature. The arrangements are mainly soft rock arrangements where the guitars are the only notable instruments; the rest relies on Dadlani’s captivating vocals. Shakeel Azmi’s lyrics are as heart-rending as the composition that Sashte has spun. However, at two antaras, the song seems extra long; it could’ve been kept at one.

The guest composer Anurag Saikia pitches in for the last song, and it is always a delight to read his name on the credits of any album; and it is commendable that he has reached this stage after doing just three songs in two albums before this! Piya Samaye is a proper Qawwali, something we haven’t got to hear in Bollywood for quite a long time. Or especially not one that has been done so tastefully. Arshad Hussain and Shafqat Amanat Ali complement each other beautifully, and Anurag’s composition suits the theme of the film so well, as do Shakeel Azmi’s lyrics based on secularism. The tablas, dholaks, harmoniums that are expected in a Qawwali, are amazing, but here Saikia also adds a wonderful bass, which, if you can catch it, mesmerizes you. And the strings conducted by Jitendra Javda are just mind blowing. All in all, this song is the perfect grand finale for a short and beautiful album like this!!


Mulk was not really expected to have songs, and since it does, I never expected them to be such gems, to be honest! I just can’t express how happy I am that Mulk is one such album that I will never forget, both because of its wonderful music and its meaningful lyrics!

 

Total Points Scored by This Album: 8.5 + 8 + 9.5 = 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: Piya Samaye > Thenge Se > Khudara

 

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

DON’T MISS THIS ‘TRIP’PY KARWAAN!! (KARWAAN – Music Review)

Music Album Details
♪ Music by: Anurag Saikia, Prateek Kuhad, SlowCheeta, Shwetang Shankar & Imaad Shah
♪ Lyrics by: Akarsh Khurana, SlowCheeta, Imaad Shah & Prateek Kuhad
♪ Music Label: T-Series
♪ Music Released On: 13th July 2018
♪ Movie Releases On: 3rd August 20181400x1400bb1

Listen to the songs: Saavn

Buy the songs: iTunes


Karwaan is an upcoming travel comedy film starring Dulquer Salmaan, Irrfan Khan and Mithila Palkar in lead roles. The film is directed by Akarsh Khurana, the director of ‘High Jack’ which released earlier this year, and produced by Ronnie Screwvala and Priti Rathi Gupta. With just one film to his credit, Akarsh Khurana has showed us that he does indeed, give much importance to the music in his films. The multicomposer album to ‘High Jack’ was a quirky album, high on EDM and fusion and whatnot. Two composers entities, Anurag Saikia and SlowCheeta & Shwetang Shankar, who had composed for that film too, are retained for this album, while two others, namely, Imaad Shah (who composed ‘Calcutta Kiss’ from ‘Detective Byomkesh Bakshy’ in collaboration with Saba Azad) and Prateek Kuhad (debuting in Bollywood as a composer, but who has already sung a song ‘Kho Gaye Hum Kahan’ in ‘Baar Baar Dekho’) are the two new additions to the soundtrack. So let’s jump in and see whether the journey that listening to this soundtrack is, turns out to be a memorable one!


SlowCheeta and Shwetang Shankar’s Dhaai Kilo Bakwaas actually turns out to be three minutes of insane fun; the duo mixes cool Malayalam sounds with a trippy hip-hop arrangement, and an amazing rap by SlowCheeta which has some bloody relatable lyrics interrupts the songs for about a minute. I still don’t understand by SlowCheeta calls himself that! He raps so rapidly, I mean! 🤣 Anish John and Sanjeev Kumar Nair are behind the main vocals, and whoever is the main vocalist out of the two, sounds a lot like Rahul Pandey or Jubin Nautiyal. The lyrics by SlowCheeta are hilarious; about how the plans of a group that has set out on a trip, go haywire.

To link to SlowCheeta’s second song, where he just raps and doesn’t compose, we need to enter young talent Anurag Saikia’s territory of the album. Heartquake is everything ‘Selfish’ (Race 3) was trying to be — a breezy and gentle Hinglish romantic ballad. Anurag however, gets it right because of his wonderful use of sound. The way the song starts itself, with the guitar loop and a tribal chant, is enough to pull you in. And as Papon starts with his dreamy voice, you fall into a lilt along with the beautiful mandolins, strings and tablas that Saikia has employed in the arrangements. Akarsh Khurana’s lyrics work because they don’t seem to be trying too hard, but are just right. One English word in each line isn’t a low allowance, I agree, but somehow, everything fits in beautifully. Maybe it has to do with the fact that Anurag’s composition is the seamlessly beautiful. The coda at the end going “Mashallah.. yeh sama..” is so beautiful, as well. But where does SlowCheeta come into the picture, you ask? Well, he features in the Aftershocks Version of the song, where Anurag re-composes the song to make it fit for a trippy beat and an EDM vibe which sounds like it fell out of the plane from the ‘High Jack’ soundtrack and landed in the caravan in the ‘Karwaan’ soundtrack. 😃 The new composition is really catchy as well; SlowCheeta aptly adds his signature punch with a punchy rap, while Papon now pronounces ‘Heartquake’ as ‘Heart-ku-wake’, which sounds a bit appealing, I must admit! The arrangements for this track are nowhere near the original, obviously, but at least the composer didn’t put the same composition through an endless EDM loop and make it sound like an unnecessary remix! 👍

Anurag Saikia’s part of the album ends up with the heard-before but still engaging travel ballad Chota Sa Fasana, which again uses electronic music as its base and that’s why it becomes so entrancing. I’m sure the composer could’ve made the background a bit more ‘happening’, but it seems deliberately muffled to give the feel of an immersive journey, when you just stare out of the window and feel the breeze on your face. The ‘Oh-oh’ chants after every line of the hookline are enjoyable, as well as Arijit Singh’s trademark vocals; I admit I took my time to like them in this song, but I eventually did! As long as Anurag Saikia keeps his compositions this strong, though, any flaw or discrepancy in the arrangements or vocals would be completely overlooked!

The next artist that stands out in the soundtrack is Prateek Kuhad, who has his separate couple of songs in the album to show his mettle. The mellow Kadam transcends you to this dreamy mind space, where the artist uses his wonderful guitar loops to calm you down, and his distinct voice gives the song an edge above other songs of the same type, say, by Jasleen, who usually composes in the same style. The lyrics too, are by Prateek, and he writes them very meaningfully; they are kind of on the lines of the theme of self-discovery. If ‘Kadam’ gets repetitive for you, though, Saansein is what you’re looking for. This too, starts as a very plain and simple song; it sounds like a sad song almost. The piano in the initial portions is just too sweet to get over, until the composer adds a bass line that gets you nodding your head along to it, and then he adds shakers, too! The composition too, is catchy, and there comes a point where he leaves it to the drums and guitars to take over, and boy, do they take over! This is the food your head-nod needs! Eagerly waiting to hear more of Prateek’s music in the coming months!

Finally, Imaad Shah (Composer) and Saba Azad (Singer) present Bhar De Hamara Glass, an irresistible retro number with some cool sound effects. However, the voice gets a bit irritating after a bit, and I can’t really see myself listening to this song over and over! Therefore, it’s signature Madboy/Mink stuff, but just doesn’t seem right over here!


Just like ‘High Jack’, we get another melodious album for Karwaan! This is a ‘TRIP’py Karwaan you must take a ride in!

 

Total Points Scored by This Album: 8.5 + 9 + 7.5 + 8.5 + 8 + 8.5 + 7 = 57

Album Percentage: 81.43%

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: Heartquake > Saansein = Chota Sa Fasana = Dhai Kilo Bakwaas > Kadam > Heartquake (Aftershocks) > Bhar De Hamara Glass

 

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