ROCK MODE: OFF 😞 (ROCK ON 2 – Music Review)

Music Album Details
♪ Music by: Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy & Summersalt
♪ Lyrics by: Javed Akhtar & Kit Shangpliang
♪ Music Label: Zee Music Company [“Rock On (Revisited)” on T-Series]
♪ Music Released On: 20th September 2016
♪ Movie Releases On: 11th November 2016

Rock On 2 Album Cover

Rock On 2 Album Cover

 

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

To buy this album on iTunes CLICK HERE

To hear “Rock On (Revisited)” on Saavn CLICK HERE

To buy “Rock On (Revisited)” on iTunes CLICK HERE

♪ Listen to “Rock On (Revisited)” on YouTube:


Rock On 2 is an upcoming Bollywood musical drama starring Farhan Akhtar, Shraddha Kapoor, Arjum Rampal, Purab Kohli, Shashank Arora, Prachi Desai and Shahana Goswami. The film has been directed by Shujaat Saudagar, and produced by Farhan Akhtar and Ritesh Sidhwani. The film is a sequel to the 2008 hit film, ‘Rock On!!’ which was like the pioneer for rock music in India, giving a whole new genre for the nation to like, love and perform for themselves. Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy had given a brilliant soundtrack for that movie, and after that rock became an integral part of Bollywood music as well. However, times have changed, and now, after eight years, the rock scene in India has changed a lot! What Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy did in ‘Rock On!!’ now seems very ordinary (in that rock has evolved over the years) and now many composers have started using rock as a way of conveying both angst and fun, in almost all movies. Now, in 2016, the sequel to that movie is releasing, and the trio yet again, have to live up to expectations, but not necessarily live up to the standards of the first album (because rock has changed!) Though comparisons will definitely take place, I will try my best not to, because of the time that has lapsed, and also, because of the change of director for the second film. (The first one being directed by Abhishek Kapoor). Since Shraddha Kapoor and Farhan Akhtar are the female and male leads, it goes without saying that they’re going to sing songs in the album, and hopefully, Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy use their limited abilities to bring out the best in both! 🙂 After that epic album to ‘Mirzya’, I’m kinda sure this one will sound less impressive, but you really cant blame the trio, because the genres are miles apart! Also, there is one song where Meghalayan band Summersalt collaborates with the trio, which is the seventh song of the album. So let’s see whether this album rocks on or not! 😛


1. Jaago
Singers ~ Farhan Akhtar & Siddharth Mahadevan

Sure enough, the album starts off with a song sung by none other than Farhan Akhtar, the lead actor of the movie, and lead singer of the Magik band (the band in the movie, in case anyone forgot). The song kicks off with a very groovy, and catchy rock guitar riff, and Farhan’s voice takes over to start off the melody of the song. The composition is quite bland, however. The mukhda is very low-key, and doesn’t scream in your face, “Hey, I’m a rock song, so you better cringe!” I liked that. Even the hookline is very catchy, and especially that line before the hookline which goes, “Sab jaan jaaye tumko…” is very catchy, and I like the way they drop down the scales one by one, in that line. Though the hookline has the singers scream in your ears, you end up liking it, because it is done very well, just like a professional rock song. It is the antaras, that cause the problem in the song. Well, at least the first antara is fine, it is just a repetition of the mukhda. However, once the second antara arrives, you can’t help but notice how long the song has been stretched, and on top of that, the quite sublime composition of this antara doesn’t help. It just gets you wanting the song to end soon, which i believe shouldn’t happen at all in a rock song! The composers do many great tricks with the arrangements though. The vibrant guitars are the main attraction of the song, especially that aforementioned riff. It plays throughout the song, and really helps in keeping you glued to the song. The drums (Jai Row Kavi) wonderfully supplement the guitars, and take the okay-ish melody to a different level. The interludes are full of great electric guitar solos, especially the second interlude, where the guitar first does a very awesome solo, and after that is broken down, making a sound like a machine gun does in video games. 😛 (I didn’t know how to describe that!) That part is electrifying! The vocals by Farhan are surprisingly full of zest, but (obviously because of the high notes) Siddharth has to give him a little help (which is okay with him, as long as it is something to do with screaming, that too, in perfect tune!) with the hookline, and Siddharth just rocks the hookline. Farhan doesn’t sound too husky in the song, and that’s a pleasant surprise. Javed Akhtar has written a good song about standing up to any wrongdoings and standing up for our rights. So, this song is two-in-one: entertainment plus awareness campaign! A good opener for the album, but if only the composition were a bit more well-polished, the song would’ve been awesome!

 

2. Udja Re
Singer ~ Shraddha Kapoor, Additional Vocals ~ Shankar Mahadevan

Shraddha, as expected, gets her first song for the album right away, and the song starts off with an entrancing and weird semiclassical piece, with Shankar (in a very chipmunkish, nasal voice that is obviously tweaked) singing a very nice aalaap. The composition starts off very mildly, with a quite ordinary mukhda, which is thankfully graced by Shankar’s weird nasal voice, which serves a great attraction, seriously! The composition only picks up in the midst of the mukhda, when Shraddha starts to sing the “Yeh jeena bhi socho koi jeena Hai..” verse. And then she sings the hookline in a very low scale, and that’s when you start loving the composition, which then goes nowhere but uphill. Shraddha repeats the hookline in a high scale, and that’s when the rock guitars and drums start off too, and from that moment onwards, the song is just energizing and catchy. However, it takes like two minutes to get to that part. Nevertheless, the wait is really worth it. The antara comes three and a half minutes after the song starts, and it is quite angsty, and very well-composed, and just as well-rendered by Shraddha. Overall, the composition is catchy and memorable, if not fast to start off. The arrangements by the trio are beautiful yet again. The guitars and drums (Jai Row Kavi) as always provide the perfect background to the song, while Shankar’s AALAAPS provide a nice semiclassical and also alien touch to the song. The drums are really energetic and energizing, and are enough to give you music to a nice morning workout. Shraddha’s singing, be it the miracle of some autotune or natural, is marvelous. She hits every note with perfection, and doesn’t falteer at any step, as I thought she would. (Like she did in ‘Sab Tera’ from ‘Baaghi’ where she was quite too high-pitched). Javed Akhtar’s lyrics are good here too, and motivational. A show-stopper of a song, mostly because of the arrangements and vocals, while the composition yet again, falls a bit flat. Nevertheless this one is a #5StarHotelSong!!

 

3. You Know What I Mean
Singer ~ Farhan Akhtar

A very happy-go-lucky guitar riff starts off the next song, which instantly reminds you of ‘Socha Hai’ from the first movie. The composition here too, is quite bland, though being so upbeat. The mukhda repeats twice in the song, while the hookline is just plain said, not sung. The antara is better than the mukhda, in that it has a more mellifluous composition. The arrangements are spunky, led by guitars and drums (Aatur Soni) again, and with the 2008 style of rock all around them. Theres not much more to talk about the composition and arrangements, because they are quite ordinary! In the interludes, however, there’s the usual nice rock guitar solos, that still sound impressive (that’s just because this is just the third song in the album) :p The hook where the backing vocalists sing “Oh-ohhh” sounds very clichéd, and also outdated. Farhan’s voice doesn’t help to elevate the pallidness of the song, because here, it is husky and very tedious to hear. Thankfully, the makers have kept the song short. Javed Akhtar’s lyrics are so conversational, that it seems awkward at a point. When you experience déjà vu in such a youthful song, it means things are wrong, because the song is so plain!… You know what I mean! 😉

 

4. Manzar Naya
Singer ~ Farhan Akhtar

Here comes Farhan yet again, with another song, this time, a dulcet romantic melody. The composition is very pleasant and breezy — something that normal people in the real world (not characters in Bollywood) would compose and sing impromptu. The pleasantness of the composition actually works for it this time, and the trio churns out a very plain, simple song that touches your heart. The mukhda hooks you in all its simplicity, while the hookline very nicely blends in with the song, though reminding you of a lot of other such songs. The antara has quite some high notes, which, surprisingly, Farhan manages to touch rather smoothly. At the end, the mukhda repeats, and the song ends just as calmly as it had started. Talking about the arrangements, Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy have very beautifully employed a guitar riff that plays throughout the song, and is the USP of the song! (Do they need a riff to do that for them every time!? This is getting quite repetitive, but still wonderful!) But again, Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy are the best at those small riffs, be it vocal riffs or guitar riffs or wonderful percussion riffs. Speaking of percussion, the wonderful percussion (Anupam Deghatak) of shakers in this song brings that nice soothing quality to the track. The whistle in the interlude, instantly reminded me of that tune from ‘Teen Gawah Hain Ishq Ke’ (Mirzya), but then it dissipated and changed paths smartly and quickly. Backing vocals are beautifully placed in the antara, and the second mukhda. A female voice that seems to have gotten lost in the song suddenly appears somewhere towards the end, and that was quite weird, because it didn’t appear anywhere else before or after. Stray voice unleashed!! The vocals by Farhan are husky and faltery here too, but nevertheless, perfect for this type of song, which needed a faltering voice, as it was supposed to emulate normal people, and not Bollywood characters. 😛 Jokes apart, Farhan sounded good here, and the high notes in the antara particularly sounded well polished. Javed Akhtar’s lyrics are just as simple and normal as anything else in the song. Pleasing, calm and above all, normal! #5StarHotelSong!!

 

5. Tere Mere Dil
Singer ~ Shraddha Kapoor

So after three songs by Farhan and one by Shraddha, one more song by Shraddha pops up on the album, and this one is just pure bliss. The “Tu Tu Tu Ru Ru Ru” vocal loop wonderfully opens the song up, and likewise, this is the USP of this song, and Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy once again rely on this loop to carry the song. The mukhda is very well-composed, and oh-so-melodious. Technically the title of the song is in the mukhda, while the hookline is different — “Saari Jo kahaaniyaan hain..” and both the a and the hookline sound great in their own place. The hookline takes the song to a high, from where it never drops down. The whole magic of the composition is just so magical and entrancing, and it is the only song on the album which instantly reached out and hooked me. The ANTARA is also very beautiful, with a great assemblage of notes that complement the hookline and the entire song very well. So, the trio scores full marks with the melody of this song, but they still resort to the vocal loop to carry it forward.. Why!! Anyway, the arrangements are beautiful. A wonderful sarod helps Shraddha to make the song sound even more magical, playing the tune of her vocal loop itself. The rock plays a very little role in this song, though I guess the digital beats in the hookline are supposed to resemble the rock sound. However, the electric sarod replaces the guitar really well. The whole song has a similar sound to that of ‘Udja Re’ and also ‘Tumhari Meri Baatein’ from the first film — entrancing and mystical. Shraddha’s vocals are mystifying as well, and here, though it is evident that she has been autotuned, the whole thing just appeals nevertheless. The programming does justice to her rendition, and the trio has spun magic with their technical touches. Javed Akhtar, yet again, writes a good song, this time with a more melancholic feel to it. ‘Tumhari Meri Baatein’s equivalent fares far better than ‘Socha Hai’s equivalent. Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy bring a quite otherworldly feel to this one! Mystical! #5StarHotelSong!!

 

6. Woh Jahaan
Singers ~ Farhan Akhtar & Shraddha Kapoor

So here comes the long-awaited duet between the two lead singers. Now, even though these two have sung enough songs on the album already, I am not feeling any tedium, because the film actually calls for it.. So we can’t really complain. At least the lead actress isn’t Tulsi Kumar, and the lead actor isn’t Abhijeet. This time too, the composition is very mystical, and a kind of melancholia surrounds the whole song, but not the kind of tedious melancholia that gets you bored right away. This time, the melancholia actually works. The mukhda sees Shraddha start off the song, on a beautiful note, with the trio’s low notes working nicely to attract your attention. However, it is only when the hookline arrives, that you actually start getting the hang of the song and grooving to it. This time, the trio doesn’t rely on any instrumental piece to carry forward the song, and this one has pure melody taking it forward. The hookline has a mind-blowing composition. As Farhan takes over with the second stanza, which has the same composition as the first, you start drifting away a bit from the song. His portions aren’t as interesting as Shraddha’s and his voice (in this song) doesn’t really have that capacity to keep listeners listening. His part starts off the same way that Shraddha’s does, but then takes a different turn, as the tune changes as he progresses towards the hookline. After that, it is merely an instrumental piece to listen to, which ends the song on a high. More about that later. The arrangements are impressive in this song. A wonderful sarod (Soumik Dutta) takes centre-stage here too, while the rock elements keep entrancing you. The guitars are impressive as always (here taking a number of impressive variations), while the drums (Darshan Doshi) are just as intriguing. The interlude between Shraddha’s and Farhan’s stanzas, has that wonderful sarod piece, accompanied by piano, as well as a nice shaayari by Shraddha. The piano accompanies the singers well in the stanzas, and then hands over things to the rock instruments. At the end, as I said before, there is a wonderful instrumental piece which just keeps you hooked. There is another wonderful electric guitar solo there, which makes sure you don’t go anywhere. The backing chorus with their chants nicely helps the instrumental piece get more interesting, and it ends with a striking guitar strum. Javed Akhtar’s lyrics are at their philosophical best, and he really weaves up a thought-invoking poem. Another mystical composition, which unfortunately gets highly tedious in the middle. Arrangements propel the listener through the tedium.

 

7. Hoi Kiw / Chalo Chalo
Singers ~ Usha Uthup, Kit Shangpliang & Pynsuklin Syiemiong, Co-Composers ~ Summersalt, Khasi Lyrics by ~ Kit Shangpliang

The next song finally sees some other singers taking the mic. And who else it is but the bold-voiced Usha Uthup? Along with a North-East Indian band called Summersalt, two of whose members accompany Usha on the vocals front. The composition for this one is quite fun and upbeat, but again, just as ‘You Know What I Mean’, I couldn’t quite catch hold of it. It might sound stupid, but I felt that the composition was just too typical, and reminded me of some European folk song. I found nothing in the composition that was hooking in any sense, and the hookline seemed very passable. The Khasi portions were fun to hear, but then it is not something I would hear again and again, either. The vocals by Usha Uthup seemed overshadowed by the Khasi band, whose lead male singer, Kit Shangpliang really excelled in the vocals. Usha seemed sidelined like a side attraction in the song, while the female Khasi singer barely had much of a scope to open up. The arrangements were pleasant, with the folksy duitara (Adorbha C. Shangpliang) sounding very nice and groovy. The rock arrangements in this song were quite similar to those in ‘You Know What I Mean’, and I found it quite boring. The Hindi lyrics were good, and depict a very free nature, while it was fun to hear the Khasi lyrics and not understand them. Very mixed feelings about this song…

 

8. Ishq Mastana
Singers ~ Digvijay Singh Pariyar & Shankar Mahadevan

This next song seems like such a misfit in this album.. But I’m still gonna review it as if I am a robot who can’t really make that out. The composition seems like a song that just ran away from the ‘Mirzya’ album and made a home for itself in this album — maybe a rejected song that was supposed to be there before ‘Hota Hai’. 😛 Or maybe an unused song that was lying around since the days of ‘Mission Kashmir’. The angsty feel in the song makes me feel this song isn’t going to be one that the band in the movie performs, but it might be a background song, which plays at a critical point in the storyline. The composition is quite interesting, a typical Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy Punjabi folk composition, which has a very catchy hookline. The rest of the composition is quite low-key and ordinary, something that didn’t really compel me to listen to it over and over again. The arrangements are fantastic here as well (tired of saying this so many times!) The keyboard (Gulraj Singh) which very professionally tries to imitate the tumbi, is the USP of this song, and it does a good job too. The rock element, though, is surprisingly the best part of this folk misfit. The rock guitars (played here by Ehsaan Noorani) and drums (Aatur Soni) always go well with a nice Qawwali-esque folk composition, and that is evident here too. The bass (Dibyajyoti Nath) really stands out here, which it didn’t in the previous songs. The percussions (Anupam Deghatak), mainly tabla, stand out well, but sound very clichéd and heavy. The dhols (Hanif Dafrani & Aslam Dafrani), which seem to be remnants of Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy’s ‘Hulla Re’ (2 States), really do a great job in catching the listener’s attention. Meanwhile the dholaks (Prasad Malandkar) fail to reach out in the hard-hitting rock. The vocals are amazing too, with Digvijay Singh (the one from ‘Jaago Mohan Pyaare’ from ‘Katti Batti’) overshadowing Shankar! His voice is simply magical! However, Shankar shows his finesse in the high notes and aalaaps. Javed Akhtar’s lyrics are not excellent, but they’re good here. A song that doesn’t fit into the album, but even if I judge it without knowing that, a song with a very underwhelming composition for a Punjabi folk song! The only great thing here is the arrangements, AGAIN!

 

♪ Extra Song – released by T-Series

9. Rock On (Revisited)
Singers ~ Farhan Akhtar & Shraddha Kapoor

Since the first album was on the T-Series music label, of course T-Series retains the rights for the remake to the title song, and so this track released separately later on. This could well have been the first promotional song of the album, but the makers chose ‘Jaago’ instead. On a whole, the overall sound of both the songs is the same, and the electric guitar riff that is the USP of the original song, gets a makeover here. It was broken down like staccato in the original song, whereas here, it is a complete, flowing guitar piece. I liked the change, it sounds fresh. The new composition is good too, especially the mukhda, which instantly drew me into the song. The hookline is already a favourite of the nation, and I can’t really comment anything else on that, as it is wonderful. The antara is beautifully composed as well, and continues the original hookline, not to mention supports it, well. The arrangements are, as in the rest of the album, electrifying. The electric guitars and drums (Darshan Doshi) yet again, provide the awesome rock feel to the song, without making it too boring. Again, a nice guitar solo graces the interlude. The vocals though, is where the song could’ve been a bit (a lot???) better. Farhan sings well, and I can’t really say much since he sang the original song, but I couldn’t help feeling that after the “Zindagi milegi na dobaraaa”, he sounds as of a ghost has suddenly possessed him or he is suffering from a sudden chill. I don’t know..! Shraddha has sung her parts very flatly, and it could’ve been way better. Well, yes, it kind of brought the raw feel to the song, but I would’ve enjoyed it if it were technically right as well. Javed Akhtar’s lyrics suit the youthful craze of the song, and will do well. A good revamp of the title song, and I really can’t expect more than this for this remake, so it is a #5StarHotelSong!!


Rock On 2 is a very underwhelming album. I started listening to it with a lot of hopes, thinking Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy would repeat the magic of the first album, and also because of their recent release, ‘Mirzya’, which was beauuuutiful. However, the trio seems to have delivered some quite stale songs. When an album I expected so much out of, disappoints in this way, I start doubting myself. 😬 The songs really fail to strike that chord, barring a few of them. The others rely on gags like a repeating guitar riff to propel them forwards. On a brighter note, a thing I noticed about the album is how Shraddha’s songs (except the title track) are mostly the mellow, sobre and melancholic types, while Farhan’s are the upbeat ones. Maybe it has something to do with Shraddha’s character in the movie, who isn’t allowed to explore herself as a musician owing to her parents’ restrictions. But I noticed that and found it worthy to be pointed out. Also noticed that Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy seem to be struggling with modern-day and normal-life-movies albums after their comeback. ‘2 States’ and ‘Dil Dhadakne Do’ being an exception, their other albums for rom-coms and other urban-themed movies have been underwhelming, like ‘Katti Batti’, ‘One By Two’, and ‘Ghayal Once Again’, and now this. On the other hand, they composed awesome music for period films and films with a different theme. So I guess that that has become their weak point over the years. Anyway, when such a talented trio disappoints you can’t really do anything (because you know it is not going to happen again and again) but wait for their next album in the hope of it being better than the last! Rock mode is definitely ‘off’ for this one!

 

Final Rating for This Album: सा < रे < ग < म <  < ध < नी < सां

Note: The letter which is underlined is the final rating.

Recommended Listening Order: Tere Mere Dil > Udja Re > Manzar Naya > Rock On (Revisited) > Jaago > Woh Jahaan > Ishq Mastana > Hoi Kiw / Chalo Chalo > You Know What I Mean

 

Which is your favourite song from Rock On 2? Please vote for it below! Thanks! 🙂

 

Next “dish”: Tum Bin 2, Chefs: Ankit Tiwari & Nikhil-Vinay 

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TEMPORARY KATTI WITH SHANKAR-EHSAAN-LOY!! (KATTI BATTI – Music Review)

Music Album Details
♪ Music by: Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy
♪ Lyrics by: Kumaar
♪ Music Label: Zee Music Company
♪ Music Released On: 28th August 2015
♪ Movie Released On: 18th September 2015

Katti Batti Album Cover

Katti Batti Album Cover

 

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

To buy this album on iTunes CLICK HERE


Katti Batti is a Bollywood rom-com film, which starred Imran Khan and Kangana Ranaut in the lead roles. The film was directed by Nikhil Advani, and produced by him along with Siddharth Roy Kapur. Vivan Bhatena also starred in a supporting role in the film. The story is about two people Madhav (Maddy) and Payal, played by Imran and Kangana respectively, who are in love, but a sudden turn of events makes Payal leave Maddy. So the plot of the story goes something like that. Nikhil Advani, who had also directed “Hero” this year, releasing a week before this, now comes back to his forte, that is rom-com. The film flopped inspite of such a great hype; maybe a fault in the storytelling. Anyways, how does that concern me? Let’s talk about the music. The music has been given by Nikhil’s favourites for rom-coms, Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy. After the success of their album to Zoya Akhtar’s “Dil Dhadakne Do”, I expect them to do exceptionally well in this album. a) because they are awesome at composing for rom-coms — they have been stunning us right from ‘Kal Ho Naa Ho’ and albums like that, and b) because their collaborations with Nikhil, I believe, are always awesome, and should be in the future too! They have composed five songs for the movie, now only to see how much they appeal to me. So, here we go!! 🙂


1. Sarfira
Singers ~ Siddharth Mahadevan & Neeti Mohan, Rap by ~ Qaran Mehta

I worship Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy when it comes to club songs. Here, the album starts off with a similar club song, as they used to give in the past, with full on techno sounds and more techno sounds and even more techno sounds. However, let me confess to you, that this time, I didn’t find anything special in the song at all! Starting with techno sounds that make you go, “Oh, the same typical club beats… Let’s see what comes up ahead.” this song doesn’t have the trio going beyond the usual things that they put in every club song, making it sound pretty stale than the other club songs. Their experimentation power is very high, as we know from other songs, then, I wonder why they didn’t use that power of theirs here! The song starts with techno sounds that sound a lot like they’ve been played on a keyboard, followed by guitar strums which are really energetic and enthusiastic. Neeti’s intermissions saying “Fizool hai” are also good enough to make you feel that something extraordinary just might be around the corner. But when Siddhartha starts to sing, the tune of what he sings, carries a very heavy déjà vu feeling, something we have heard from Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy many a time in the past, and so it doesn’t click right away. What’s more, the mukhda does not even get over, or so it seems, before the hookline starts, very abruptly and it sounds pretty odd, as if the trio was in a hurry to get to it. However, the hookline itself is catchy as far as composition goes. Arrangements are nothing special though. As we progress towards the antara, the composition does get a little interesting, or at least more than the the previous parts. Arrangements, however, stay dull and bland. There comes a point when you start wondering why they didn’t put any arrangements other than the typical EDM, techno beats, just as a small attraction somewhere in the interlude or something. Well, that’s because the interlude is reserved for some new rapper called Qaran Mehta (what’s up with the spelling? Is it just to make it look cool? Because he didn’t rap that good.. It’s really annoying the way he raps) The composition has its shares of interesting and dull moments, whereas the arrangements are ordinary all throughout the song. Vocals by Siddharth and Neeti are good, but just that, nothing more. No variations, no anything. Lyrics by Kumaar though, are worth hearing — they do connect with today’s audience, though they are nothing extraordinary or funny like his other songs. Something which the trio has done so many times, the magic has just worn off now, and results in an unattractive song. Not such an impressive start to the album!

 

2. Sau Aasoon
Singers ~ Shankar Mahadevan & Rasika Shekhar

What I was actually expecting from the trio from the first song in the album, comes a bit late, but it comes better than expected. Better late, than never, right? There’s nothing like a sad, romantic, soft rock number from Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy. On top of that when it’s sung by Shankar himself, the expectations are tripled. Even though it’s a soft, sad number when we hear the tune, it takes on a really addictive form when we hear the arrangements, and Shankar’s versatile vocals suit the mellow song. High notes and low ones alike, he sings with great ease, as always. The song starts off with a wonderfully captivating guitar riff, joined a few seconds later by another awesome electric guitar playing beautiful notes. Shankar, when he steps in, deliberately sings out of the regular beat, pretty much like what the trio made Arijit do in ‘Mast Magan’ (2 States). He starts when you least expect it, because the guitar riffs mislead you. But it sounds exceptional when he jumps into the song unexpectedly. The hookline is something that you would feel like hearing over and over again forever. Rasika’s husky voice, though it might be sounding a bit too much autotuned, has this addictive tone to it, which makes anyone fall in love with it. However, in this song, she has two different roles: the humming and once or twice to sing the hookline. The first job she executes very well, but our heavy and husky voice just isn’t cut out for singing the hookline, which I would’ve preferred in Shankar’s husky yet soft voice. The antara has a very sweet and touching tune, including many variations, executed perfectly by Shankar. The backing chorus also supports well in these parts. Towards the ending we witness a beautiful jugalbandi of sorts between Shankar and Rasika, and it ends the song on a marvellous note. Arrangements consist of guitars, both acoustic and electric, sounding really great together in the same song. The drums have been added which increase the addictive nature of the song. To give the song a polished appearance, we have the piano, a misfit in a rock song, but sounding exceptional here particularly! Kumaar’s lyrics, are meaningful here, and again he surprises me with his immensely great ability to write both meaningful and meaningless songs with the same dedication or carelessness respectively. 😂 A complete Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy show from start to end! The song will get you pondering after it’s over and leave a huge impact! #5StarHotelSong!!

 

3. Lip To Lip
Singers ~ Nikhil D’Souza & Ritu Pathak 

Youngsters Nikhil D’Souza and Ritu Pathak (credited wrongly as Phatak :p ) bag the next song, a cute little romantic song revolving around “kissiyaan” (kisses). The main element of this song that enters right from the starting and stays till the end, and because of which you keep listening, is the quirkiness of it. Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy try to make a quirky, catchy and youthfully mad song, and succeed with distinction! I mean, the great composers that they are, how would they fail? Nikhil has been employed very effectively and he brings the Westernized flavour into the song, while at the same time, Ritu Pathak brings in the desi flavour and gives the best performance of her career, in my opinion. She keeps aside all the cheapness she brings into every other song and sings this one with all possible naughtiness, but without the cheapness. A time in the song comes when she goes totally nasal into Shamshad Begum mode, and another when, in the interlude, she says “O Sajnaa Veeee” in an unmistakable Richa Sharma voice. In fact, she kind of sounds similar to Richa Sharma throughout the song! Wonderful attempt! Nikhil is his usual casual, carefree a sounding self, and his fresh voice is always a pleasure to hear, unless the composition isn’t interesting. Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy’s composition took no time at all to grow on me, and in no time, I found myself humming the tune many times! The tune of the line “Main yaaaar tenu miss kardi, tenu yadaan vich kiss kardi…” is just too cutely addictive! The arrangements, too are unmatchable! A beautiful vocal rhythm starts off the song and the same rhythm forms the pillars for the song even later on in it. Acoustic guitars, saxophone, some quirky Amit Trivedish sounds, work together to make it a wonderful listening experience. Drums and some Arabic percussion also make an appearance later on in the song. Kumaar uses some gimmicky terms and his Hinglish lyrics are tough to forget, but very easy to remember. They have an instant youth connect and may be the reason why this song worked so much! In short, the song is something you must not miss, if you’re looking for something new, fresh, breezy et al!! Extra marks for the way Ritu Pathak has been made to sing!! #5StarHotelSong!!

 

4. Ove Janiya / Ove Jaaniye (Reprise)
Singers ~ Mohan Kannan / Sayani Palit

Yes, I know. I’ve written the spelling of the reprise version differently right? :p Contact Zee Music Company for more details. I myself have no idea why it’s named like that! 😀 Anyways, after hearing the song, all of Zee’s mistakes are forgiven. Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy present a soft, slow and calm, sad number sung beautifully by Mohan Kannan. When he last worked with them for ‘Chaandaniya’ (2 States), it resulted in an awesome sad song, with a groove to it that was hard to forget! This time, the song has no catchy groove as such, but it is the composition, which hooks you…if not instantly, then at least after two or three listens. The arrangements, though as minimal as possible, have the capability to soothe you down, and the song is just as effective as a lullaby to lull you to sleep, and I mean that in a positive way. First of all, mild piano notes start off the song, and an African-style percussion instrument gives the rhythm along with guitars and shakers and even the cymbals of drums, but all used in such a tranquil manner, that you wouldn’t believe it. Mohan renders the composition beautifully, and his voice just increases the serenity of the song manifold. His sargam portion in the first interlude stole my breath away. Otherwise too, he is spot-on with his rendition. Kumaar has written meaningful lyrics again, in Punjabi, romantic and emotional at the same time. The words have a unique ring to them, thanks to the trio’s unusually soft but beautiful composition. The reprise sees classical singer Sayani Palit come behind the mic, also making her Bollywood debut. Her version wasn’t as hooking as Mohan’s to me, but that would vary from person to person. Of course, her technicalities in singing the song are more perfect than Mohan, but it makes her version sound more difficult to connect with and less youthful and less contemporary than Mohan’s. This version has been sung on a backdrop of only very soft piano, and nothing else at all! Those piano arrangements are wonders to behold and the trio deserves a huge applause for them. If only somebody whose voice had more weight, maybe Kavita Seth or Rekha Bhardwaj had sung this version, it would have done way better. Or, if they had to retain Sayani, a nice clasica backdrop would’ve been more than enough to make me delighted, complete with tablas and sitar and the likes. The original is beyond all expectations, while the reprise falls just below them! Anyhow, both versions have scintillating arrangements, and lyrics, and the composition can’t be missed at any cost!! #5StarHotelSong!!

 

5. Jaago Mohan Pyaare
Singers ~ Siddharth Basrur, Digvijay Singh Pariyar, Raman Mahadevan & Rasika Shekhar

To conclude the album, we have something very unusual. Taking a glimpse at its name, you would think it is some bhajan, but press the play button and your ears seem to be playing tricks on you. It is a high-energy rock song, with a little folkish touch to it, sung with immense energy and dynamics by four singers with heavy voices. Well, I have to admit, the composition isn’t bad, and while it plays, you will enjoy it to the utmost, but the drawback is that, after it gets over, you will practically forget it. Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy try to bring that one crazy song that each of their albums nowadays have, but they do not quite surpass the bar that they themselves have raised to a very high level with the very recent ‘Gallan Goodiyaan’ (Dil Dhadakne Do). Siddharth Basrur, with his Vishal Dadlani-like voice, gets a bit too loud at times, but overall does good. Raman Mahadevan, who was a Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy regular atone particular time, and Digvijay Singh Pariyar, newcomer, and whose voice falls between that of Sanam Puri and Divya Kumar, do well too. The sole female singer, Rasika Shekhar, getting her second song in the album, sounds perfect here, contrary to being a misfit in ‘Sau Aasoon’. Arrangements are good but lack anything extraordinary. A fusion of rock and Punjabi folk, has been heard before, and hearing the way they have been used here, definitely doesn’t make it stand out as a composition by Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy. The tumbi part particularly sounds very ordinary. The rock guitars and drums sound better and if the song would have been purely rock, I wouldn’t have minded, but probably the script called for a Punjabi twist. If so, the trio had the capacity to work wonders with that! Kumaar, however, saves the trio by writing interesting lyrics, a boys vs. girls faceoff. As I said, the composition is great, but it has no repeat value. I am only hearing it now, because I didn’t have time when it released. :p I might be the only person, other than Imran Khan, Kangana Ranaut and everyone else associated with the film, who must be hearing it now! Not bad, but not excellent like the trio usually does! Vocals are good, so is the composition, and so are arrangements. But only the lyrics are great!


Katti Batti definitely doesn’t score among Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy’s best works, having two downright average songs (above average if compared to other composers’ work at present) and the rest awesome. There used to be a time when each and every song in an S-E-L album used to be stellar, enticing and magical in its own way. Since their mainstream comeback with ‘Bhaag Milkha Bhaag’ in 2013, this has definitely got to be their most underwhelming album. And yeah, that’s counting the ‘One By Two’ album and their two songs in ‘Darr @ The Mall’! The others, ‘2 States’, ‘Kill/Dil’ and ‘Dil Dhadakne Do’ had very few of the dull moments and compared to that, this one has too many!! And I’m not saying this is a bad album — not at all, because it is good in its own way. Just that it’s not the usual awesomeness that is expected from Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy. That said, I’m on a temporary ‘katti’ with Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy henceforth, till their next Bollywood album ‘Ghayal Once Again’ releases, from which I’ll be keeping immense hopes nevertheless! 😁

P.S. I’m already ‘batti’ with them because of their stellar soundtrack to Marathi movie ‘Katyar Kaljat Ghusali’!

 

Final Rating for This Album: सा < रे < ग < म < प <  < नी < सां

Note: The letter which is underlined is the final rating.

Recommended Listening Order: Ove Janiya > Lip To Lip > Sau Aasoon > Ove Jaaniye (Reprise) > Jaago Mohan Pyaare > Sarfira

 

Which is your favourite song from Katti Batti? Please vote for it below! 🙂