Music Album Details
♪ Music by: Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy
♪ Lyrics by: Gulzar
♪ Music Label: Sony Music
♪ Music Released On: 3rd July 2018
♪ Movie Releases On: 13th July 2018
Listen to the songs: Saavn
Buy the songs: iTunes
Soorma is an upcoming Bollywood sports biopic starring Diljit Dosanjh, Taapsee Pannu and Angad Bedi in lead roles. The film is directed by Shaad Ali and produced by Sony Pictures Networks Productions, Chitrangada Singh and Deepak Singh. The film doesn’t look like anything Shaad Ali has tried before, being an out and out biopic of professional Indian field hockey player and ex-captain, Sandeep ‘Flicker’ Singh. As always, Shaad Ali has roped in Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy for the music. Not only have they delievered some of their best soundtracks with Ali, but they’ve also opened their account in 2018 with ‘Raazi’, my favourite album of the year. So it goes without saying, that I’m rooting for the songs of this album to turn out extraordinary!
The album could well be considered to have two theme songs, but the one which stands out instantly is the Soorma Anthem, starting with an amazing flute, accompanied by a wonderful guitar loop, the tune of which becomes the tune of the first line of the song. The composition is quite low-pitched but Shankar Mahadevan’s range is so wide, he covers the low and high notes equally well. The composition by Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy is an instantly distinguishable Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy composition, with numerous twists and turns and a 90s dharm that doesn’t seem tedious or drab at all. The high portions in the antara are beautiful, and meanwhile, the trio decorates the song with amazing arrangements like percussions which somehow suit the hockey theme so well, because it sounds like the sound you would get when two hockey sticks are tapped to one another. The Punjabi percussions and the strings have been orchestrated masterfully as well, and the backing chorus is one of the main highlights of the song; they’ve been used just as well as they’d been used in ‘Raazi’s ‘Ae Watan’, especially the way they sing ‘Sooormaa’ alongside the main man. What can one say about Gulzar saab’s lyrics? The inspirational value of the lyrics is so high, that it doesn’t feel pretentious, or dramatised even for one moment.
The second song that can be called a theme song for the album is Flicker Singh, which takes a more pronounced Shaad Ali-SEL route, in its composition and arrangements and overall sound. The Punjabi percussions are enjoyable, especially because the dhol resonates so wonderfully, and the trio uses the usual rock guitars, which is like a tradition for them in Shaad Ali soundtracks. The song takes you to the ‘Jhoom Barabar Jhoom’ title song, in the ‘Ding ding ding’ part that is euqivalent to ‘Jhoom jhoom Jhoom’ from the latter song. About two minutes into the song, it takes a folksy turn with nice dholaks and manjeeras, and the composition by the trio is so strong there, you instantly fall in love with it. Whenever Daler Mehndi comes with his portions, it brings the song to a new level altogether! Once again after ‘Mirzya’, Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy make the most out of him, in an ensemble track again, like the title track of Mirzya! Each and every singer actually has done his part very well, and has left no scope for complaints in that department. Daler Mehndi, Hemant Brijwasi, Shehnaz and Sahil Akhtar, along with Shankar and Ehsaan, render this song perfectly. The second antara has another splendid portion full of aalaaps that takes your breath away.
The same set of singers, minus Daler Mehndi, return in Pardesiya, a sad song that is one of the most heavenly numbers I’ve heard since a long time, in Bollywood. I believe Hemant Brijwasi leads this one [EDIT: Ehsaan Noorani has confirmed on Twitter that Shehnaz Akhtar is the lead singer]. The song starts off slowly, but it serves as a setup for the listeners, and then you get sucked up into a beautiful Sufi sad song, with majestic tablas and sarangi taking over, and Shankar Mahadevan’s amazing sargam winning your heart. The composition is heart rending, and instantly has you feeling for the character, even though we don’t know what exactly has happened at the point this song will play in the film! Midway into the song, it changes into a magnificent bhajan with the beautiful manjeeras and tablas playing the Bhajan theka. The lyrics by Gulzar are just as heart-rending, and it makes the listening experience all the more inmersive and personal.
Good Man Di Laaltain becomes the second Gulzar song using that phrase in the second year, last year’s song being ‘Bloody Hell’s (Rangoon). Another coincidence is that Sunidhi is signing this song too. She gets two lines in the second verse, but as always, does well. The song belongs to the leading man Sukhwinder Singh, who never fails to spread his infectious energy all over every song he sings. Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy’s composition is good, but grows with time and didn’t hook me instantly. But one thing I can say for sure is that, the composition isn’t bad at all! For a celebratory number, the trio has produced a functional song, and it works in its intent, especially the tangibly Indian hookline. Any true Indian will nod his head on the ‘Good man diiiii…’ line. The percussion again stands out, but the trio add some digital beats, which sound all the more quirky — kind of like ‘Iski Uski’ (2 States). Gulzar’s lyrics are fun, as required.
The song that defines the album for me, which released first and features on the album first, though, I will talk about now, at the end. Ishq Di Baajiyaan is the quintessential Punjabi romantic number, in which I could find nothing wrong! It’s very rare for a song to be so perfect, and this song has made that achievement, in my eyes. From the starting introductory Sufi-ish chorus chants by Diljit and Shankar Mahadevan, to the moving and intense composition, to the fresh Punjabi arrangements adorned with amazing violins and mandolin, to the head-nod-inducing dholak percussion which plays throughout the song, to Diljit’s impeccable rendition especially in the antara, the composition of which harks back to Vishal Bhardwaj’s work in the 90s, this song has had me hooked since it released. Gulzar’s lyrics are so, so, so beautiful, I can’t help but wonder how he still comes up with such lyrics even after having written so much — clearly artistic ideas never get exhausted when you have the talent. 🙂
Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy in their first album of 2018 presented a soundtrack that went well with the movie, and showcased their talent at creating a Kashmiri sound. Now for their second film of the year, they reunite with a director they’ve worked with quite often, a director they know in and out, and for whom they’ve given some of their best soundtracks, and I can only say, their ‘tagde sur’ (strong melodies) will always stay immortal!
Total Points Scored by This Album: 9 + 8.5 + 9.5 + 7.5 + 10 = 44.5
Album Percentage: 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: Ishq Di Baajiyaan > Pardesiya > Soorma Anthem > Flicker Singh > Good Man Di Laaltain
Which is your favourite song from Soorma? Please vote for it below! Thanks! 🙂