DIL RAAZI HAI, TO LISTEN ON LOOP!! (RAAZI – Music Review)

Music Album Details
♪ Music by: Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy
♪ Lyrics by: Gulzar
♪ Music Label: Zee Music Company
♪ Music Released On: 18th April 2018
♪ Movie Released On: 11th May 2018

Raazi Album Cover

 

Listen to the songs: Saavn

Buy the songs: iTunes

 


Raazi is an upcoming Bollywood period espionage thriller (I swear I made that term up myself; what else can you call it?!) starring Alia Bhatt, Vicky Kaushal, Rajit Kapur, Jaideep Ahlawat, Amruta Khanvilkar and Soni Razdan in lead roles. The film is directed by ‘Talvar’ fame Meghna Gulzar, and produced by Karan Johar, Hiroo Yash Johar, Apoorva Mehta and Junglee Pictures. The film is based on the novel ‘Calling Sehmat’ by Harinder Sikka. Now, thrillers in Bollywood have very little scope for music. Meghna Gulzar, in her first movie ‘Talvar’, had roped in Vishal Bhardwaj for the music since he was the writer and producer for the film. Here though, she goes for Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy, the trio who invented the Bollywood rom-com sound as we know it these days (by which I mean most of the rom-coms that stay obedient and don’t follow the multicomposer trend), which was a surprise. This is the trio’s first project after ‘Rock On 2’ in November 2016, and whose music released in September 2016, so that was a long wait. And even after the wait, it was a thriller film we were going to get their comeback album for, and not a rom-com as I would have liked. Nevertheless, expectations weren’t low! It’s Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy and Gulzar after all; what can go wrong?


Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy, who we are hearing after more than one and a half years, do not make it that obvious. When you come back with a melody as strong as Ae Watan, you really don’t need to worry about whether audiences will remember you even after so long. Half the battle is won there itself! Now, the song comes in two versions, the male version by Arijit, and the female version by Sunidhi. Arijit’s Version has done a good job in attracting the masses towards the album, but that doesn’t mean Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy compromise on its quality. The song is reminiscent of olden day patriotic numbers, complete with a resplendent backing chorus (Raman Mahadevan, Ravi Mishra, Binaya Mohanty, Arun Kamath & Arshad Mohammed). Arijit is in his element, especially when he starts the song with that wonderfully seamless transition from the low to high octave! Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy help him with immersive arrangements that do not fail to appeal to the patriot within you. The strong melody too, makes its mark felt. Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy’s strings and percussions are wonderful, with heavy hangovers from their “Lakshya” album. Just as he started, Arijit ends the song on a high note, literally!
Sunidhi’s Version, on the other hand, takes the folksy rote, making for a blissful and heavenly listen. Sunidhi, as always, sings brilliantly, but it doesn’t end there. She gets an even better backing chorus than Arijit. This time, sweet children accompany the lead singer (from Shankar Mahadevan Academy’s Children’s Chorus). The name that stands out is Satyajeet Jena, who had participated in the last season of “Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Li’l Champs”, and he gets his own little solo performance towards the end, which he aces! The children’s chorus, and the tinny programming give the song a wonderful retro touch, like the songs from the era depicted in the film (something like ‘Humko Man Ki Shakti’ from ‘Guddi’). Tapas Roy’s rabaab creates a soulful Kashmiri sound, while Dipesh Varma and Shikhar Naad Qureshi do an amazing job with percussions!
Both versions have mainly the same lyrics, and when it’s Gulzar saab’s pen, you know it can’t go wrong! His lyrics evoke a patriotic feeling right away, and coupled with the beautiful melody, it is hard to ignore this song!
Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy continue the Kashmiri folk with Dilbaro, a bidaai song which sounds happy but is lyrically quite heart-wrenching. (Just like Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy’s ‘Chaandaniya’ from ‘2 States’ which I like to call the happy sad song.) The melody here is so cute, it’s impossible to not start humming along right away. (Part of that is also because it sounds very familiar, but you can’t pinpoint which song or songs it sounds like!) The lead vocalist here is Harshdeep Kaur, who as always, delivers a charming rendition, and sounds like Alka Yagnik in the high-pitched antara too! Shankar Mahadevan’s surprise cameo is wonderfully placed, as are the lyrics by Gulzar for that portion. Vibha Saraf is the one who should be credited though, for piquing your interest in the song, because it is her sweet Kashmiri lines that suck you in right away. On the arrangements front, Tapas Roy returns for wonderful work on the Rabaab, not to mention Arshad Khan’s heart-wrenching esraj; whenever that plays, it’s as if the strings of your heart are being tugged at. The hookline of the song is so powerfully soothing, cute and charming at the same time, it is difficult not to get the song stuck in your mind after just a couple of listens!!
At the end, we have Raazi, a song that equals the ‘Dangal’ title track in many uncanny ways. First of all, it is one of those rare title tracks where the title of the film actually makes sense in the song. Arijit Singh pulls off a ‘Binte Dil’ yet again in the one minute long prelude to the song, where he does the voice inflection impeccably yet again. It is only when the Esraj (again, splendidly performed by Arshad Khan) takes us back to the actual song, when we come back to trademark SEL sound — a repeating Bouzouki riff (oh so trademark SEL!) by Tapas Roy is wonderful. The repeating chants of “Agar Dil Raazi Hai” are equivalent to ‘Dangal’s “Dangal Dangal“. The folksy arrangements are similar to that of ‘Dangal’! I’m just so happy we have these two beautiful title tracks to cherish forever! They are so similar yet so different! Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy bring in even more of their signature marks when the second antara gets very melancholic, something only Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy can manage without making it over the top! And Gulzar saab’s lyrics manage to wow you yet again. The star of the song is definitely Arijit Singh, using different inflections each time he sings the hookline. No wonder he’s the top singer of today…just that some composers know how to use his talent to the best!


Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy return after a hiatus that seemed longer than it was, and it is only when this album came out when I realised what was missing from Bollywood music in 2018 — smart composers who can manage to compose as per the script, but whose songs have a life outside of it as well! Finally, we get a soundtrack this year, which I’ll be raazi to listen to on loop!!

 

Total Points Scored by This Album: 9 + 9.5 + 9.5 + 9.5 = 37.5

Album Percentage: 93.75% {I guess we got our Best album of the year so far!}

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: 
Don’t. Even. Ask.

 

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