THE SULTANATE OF VISHAL-SHEKHAR IS BACK TO REIGN!! (SULTAN – Music Review)

Music Album Details
♪ Music by: Vishal-Shekhar
♪ Lyrics by: 
Irshad Kamil
♪ Music Label:
 YRF Music
Music Released On: 31st May 2016
♪ Movie Releases On: 
8th July 2016

Sultan Album Cover

Sultan Album Cover

 

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

To buy this album on iTunes CLICK HERE


Sultan is an upcoming Bollywood sports drama film, starring Salman Khan and Anushka Sharma in the lead roles. The film has been directed by Ali Abbas Zafar, and produced by Aditya Chopra. The story revolves around a Haryanvi wrestler who goes by the name Sultan (Salman Khan), who has problems in his professional life. His struggle to get back into the wrestling scenario forms the story of ‘Sultan’. The story seems the usual Bollywood story for a sports film, but the execution is what matters. While we wait for the execution to come in front of our eyes, the music album is here for us to cherish. The album marks the comeback of duo Vishal-Shekhar, who disappeared after a mediocre album, ‘Happy New Year’ (2014). They gave that foot-tapping song in ‘Fan’, again for YRF earlier this year, again for a Khan, Shahrukh. This time they come back to compose for YRF’s ‘Sultan’, which is coincidentally their first Salman Khan film!! That’s kind of hard to believe isn’t it? Such a talented duo and composing for Salman for the first time! 😀 What was Salman doing all these years? Playing table tennis with Himesh and Sajid-Wajid? Apparently, he has moved on from his clichéd composers and after Pritam’s stylish and full-of-variety ‘Bajrangi Bhaijaan’, and Himesh’s old-fashioned, but enjoyable ‘Prem Ratan Dhan Payo’ last year, he comes back this year with a new choice of Vishal & Shekhar, who are geniuses when it comes to being innovative. Expectations are sky-high and there are so many reasons. a) Vishal-Shekhar’s comeback. b) Vishal-Shekhar’s first for Salman. c) Vishal-Shekhar composing for YRF.. (remember ‘Ta Ra Rum Pum’ and ‘Tashan’?) Something phenomenal indeed is expected. Something mind-blowing and something innovative — just because Vishal-Shekhar are on board. They have composed a big nine-track album, with seven songs, one version and one theme. Let’s see how many of them rise up like a real ‘Sultan’! Really hoping this comeback makes it really big (once again) for the duo after their rough patch recently, the last great album being ‘Hasee Toh Phasee’ (2014)! They must emerge as Sultans!


1. Baby Ko Bass Pasand Hai
Singers ~ Vishal Dadlani, Shalmali Kholgade & Isheeta Chakrvarty, Rap by ~ Badshah

The soundtrack opens up with a fun-filled dance number that has been composed by the duo to really suit Salman’s presence in it. The song starts off with a wonderful rhythm, that you can set your feete tapping to immediately, as soon as it starts. Composed of techno sounds, dhadd, and manjeeras,the rhythm really hooks you right away, and Isheeta’s folk portion doesn’t really help in making you run away from the song. In other words, the song starts off really catchily, just as it should!! Vishal-Shekhar have really moulded themselves into a complete folksy manner, and delivered a composition that would easily connect with the masses. It is very typical, very Salman types, yet it instantly catches onto you. The hookline, kind of composed on the base rhythm of ‘Selfie Le Le Re’ (Bajrangi Bhaijaan), impresses with its briskness. The techno noises after the short hookline are wonderful, and so is the playful flute! The mukhda by Vishal and Shalmali, really grabs your attention. Arrangements in the song are fabulous. The use of techno has been done really impressively. The brisk interventions of the flue are just lovely! They really stole my heart. Traditional instruments like harmonium, dholaks, manjeeras, tumbi, dhadd, impress as well in their small parts. Vishal-Shekhar really know how to fuse everything together into a catchy package. There is a rap by Badshah completely styled like an antara, as it is very cleverly joined with the hookline after it is over. Badshah’s rap is fun to hear, but I miss the very raw Haryanvi feel of Honey Singh’s Haryanvi rap here. Anyway, it is enjoyable. Shalmali sings in her soft voice, which I like better than her other, low-pitched voice. She does the Haryanvi accent very well. She too, has a small stanza to sing after a bit of Badshah’s rap, after which Vishal comes back for the hookline. For Vishal, I’ve no words to express how much I loved his rendition. He sings with the same infectious energy, that he puts into all his other songs, so it is not a surprise. The way he sings the hookline, though resembling his rendition of the hookline of ‘Selfie Le Le Re’, still sounds so mind blowing and cool. Irshad Kamil is back to his fun, enjoyable lyrics. He can easily mould himself to write so many different types of lyrics and they always appeal! He takes the hookline and writes such fun-plus-funny lyrics around it, a usual male v/s female battle as we have in Bollywood dance numbers many times. An infectious, catchy number, perfect as the first song in a Salman album. Vishal-Shekhar have composed a perfect song for Salman, right in their first stint for him! Energetic vocals, enjoyable lyrics, and booming arrangements all make this one a WINNER! #5StarHotelSong!!

 

2. Jag Ghoomeya / Jag Ghoomeya (Female)
Singers ~ Rahat Fateh Ali Khan / Neha Bhasin

A beautiful guitar loop starts off the next song, and you know Vishal-Shekhar are back at doing their thing with the soulful romantic songs. The song is a romantic song, with shades of Vishal-Shekhar’s style, yet suiting Salman’s style perfectly. The composition is a breezy, love ballad with a really happy-go-lucky touch to it, and graced with a beautiful folk rhythm. The mukhda is very charming, and the hookline really lives up to its name — it hooks you completely. The rhythm of the hookline is just too catchy to dislike. It is the antara though, where Vishal-Shekhar really work magic. It has been composed in a manner that reminds you of Vishal-Shekhar’s work in ‘Tashan’, for some reason unknown. Maybe the folksiness makes it connect to ‘Tashan’. The line “jaisi Tu hai vaisi rehnaa” is very pleasant, and my personal favourite from the song. It has some charm in it. The female version has the tempo cranked down a bit, and that appeals so, so much! The duo excels in the arrangements too, as always. In the male version, their brilliance in arranging music is seen in the way they add folk guitars, acoustic guitars and rock guitars into the same song. Percussion is brilliant, with a folksy but electronic dafli and dholak rhythm backing the song. Shakers have been used very cutely. The first interlude has a very majestic strings portion which reminds one of ‘Zehnaseeb’ (Hasee Toh Phasee). It has a strong hangover of that song. However, the mandolin is what steals the show. It is very cute and pleasant to the ears. In the female version, however, Vishal-Shekhar really impress. They have arranged it very beautiful with almost nothing but a folkish guitar in the background. Percussion is very beautiful, and very less and soft too. For me, this is the winner even though it offers less! To talk about vocals, Rahat’s soulful voice brings that rustic feeling to the song (and also brings the Salman-iyat 😛 ) and sounds very familiar, yet appeals. Again, it is the female version which emerges as the winner. Neha has tried something new this time, with an innocent romantic song. Her husky voice perfectly makes for the rustic setting of the movie. The accent is something to fall for! I couldn’t help but miss Harshdeep Kaur here, though! Not that Neha’s rendition is bad in any way!! 😀 Her voice simply reminded me of Harshdeep’s and then I started wanting to hear the song in her voice. 😛 Kamil’s lyrics are sweet, simple, innocent; in short, amazing. Amazing simplicity and innocence in this romantic song. Something worth hearing on loop! For me the female version is better, but both are a #5StarHotelSong!!

 

3. 440 Volt
Singer ~ Mika Singh

I saw the title and singer’s name of the next song and told myself, “Finished. The goodness of this album is over. It’s all over, dude. You were an idiot to think that the album would be so great.” After all, I’ve not been liking Mika’s songs of late; the same, old, repetitive meaningless party tracks. But boy, was I wrong! The song is utterly enjoyable! Nothing less than that. Enjoyable to the fullest. Each and every second is something to cherish and enjoy. I don’t know what Vishal-Shekhar fed Mika before recording the song, but here he sounds very, very different! He doesn’t belch out his words like always, he doesn’t eat any of the syllables, and neither does he try to sound like a pop star. Instead, he pronounces everything perfectly, sings in a very soft textured voice, and tries to sound CUTE! And it works! He does sound cute. Don’t believe me? Hear it! The duo have given him a song quite unlike his style, yet perfect for him! It is a slow-paced, but very catchy and groovy song based on the filmi Qawwali template. It is one of the most entertaining Qawwali spoofs I’ve heard this year. And then there’s that ‘Fake Ishq’ (Housefull 3). [Okay, now ‘Housefull 3’ has really become an example, hasn’t it? Sorry! 😅😅 Couldn’t resist from writing that, though!] Vishal-Shekhar have composed something that is immensely attractive, something that doesn’t only have a catchy hookline to do all the work, but a hardworking (in getting us addicted!) mukhda and very diligently composed antaras. The antara is a very weirdly addictive, slow piece that you can’t get out of your head. The part in the hookline when Mika repeats “Chhoone Se Terey” is just so crazily gooooddd! (Can’t think of a synonym for ‘good’. That’s why I elongated it. No time! 😂 ) The way Mika sings in a Haryanvi accent fulfills my dream of hearing him sing that ever since he didn’t sing the title track of ‘Boss’. (Which I had thought he had sung when I first heard it). The duo’s arrangements are very creative. The rock factor works really well in filmy Qawwalis, so there it is. The harmonium and tablas are also awesome. A wonderful electronic substitute for the tabla has been added by the duo, which you can hear at 2:47 in the song. That space is usually taken by the tablas in any Qawwali. While he first interlude has a full-on rock guitar solo, the second goes the calm way with a Spanish sounding tune on strings and tablas. Irshad Kamil writes very entertaining lyrics, perfectly suitable for a lovestruck Romeo. The hookline is so funny, yet creative. “Lagey 440 Volt Chhoone Se terey”. Now don’t say I unnecessarily hate the lyrics of ‘Hous– oops! ENTERTAINING to the core!! Something very creative and innovative! P.S. Mika as a Qawwali singer sounds awesome! #5StarHotelSong!! (P.P.S. Sorry for the essay)

 

4. Sultan
Singers ~ Sukhwinder Singh & Shadab Faridi, Backing Vocals ~ Abdul Sajjad, Zuber Hashmi, Arun Ingle, R N Iyer, Mandar Aapte, Kaustubh Datar, Rahul Chitnis, Nitin Tupe, Swapnil Godbole, Mangesh Chavan, Nitin Karandikar, Vijay Dhuri, Jitendra Tupe, Mayuresh Madgaonkar

The title song, arrives quite late into the album, and starts off very softly. Later, a voice quite like that of Vishal Dadlani joins the rock guitars that start off the song, and sing some motivational lines. We’re kind of figuring out what’s going on, when suddenly, an electrifying Sukhwinder Singh takes things into his hands and with him, the song goes uphill, and how! An energizing electric guitar hook starts playing, to be joined later on by energetic drums and a wonderful chorus. The composition is also just ad energetic, and definitely motivational. The duo redo their own ‘Tashan Mein’ (Tashan), but in a very different manner. A way better version of the seemingly unbeatable song, in terms of dynamism and vigour. The hookline is very unconventional as it ends abruptly with the chorus singing “Rre sultan”. The khoon and mitti refrain is very catchy, and suits the theme, doesn’t it? All the parts of the song are energetic, and full of the spirit to work and win. The rock arrangements are not over the top, and because of the commercial nature of the rock song, it will appeal to all, unlike other rock songs which aren’t so commercial. You can barely hear anything besides the rock guitars and drums, which I must say, are very classily done. There are some parts in the antara when the rock simmers down, but other than that, rock is everywhere. Sukhwinder and Shadab are a fit duo to sing the song, with Shadab getting very less in comparison to Sukhwinder. Sukhwinder is clearly the king of all this. A wonderful techno-sargam entertains highly in the first interlude. Irshad Kamil’s lyrics are highly motivational and more than a character-themed title song, like Salman’s other title songs where the leading hero is a larger-than-life supercop (Ahem, ‘Dabangg’!), the song sounds like a pure motivational and inspirational song. The energy of Sukhwinder and Shadab combined with the energy of Vishal-Shekhar’s guitars and drums, and the intelligence of Kamil’s pen, makes for an enjoyable and worthy listen! One of Salman’s best title songs!! He’ll be like “Achho title song paayo .. Paayo… Aayo.. Laayo… Gaayo.. Bio —” Where’d that come from? 😕 #5StarHotelSong!!

 

5. Sachi Muchi
Singers ~ Mohit Chauhan & Harshdeep Kaur, Backing Vocals ~ Marianne D’Cruz, Nisha Mascarenhas, Rajiv Sundaresan & Neuman Pinto

Now, the next song is really beautiful. Vishal-Shekhar create a very happy-go-lucky romantic song, very unconventional. The song starts with a wedding baaja type band, playing the tune of the hookline, which sounds really out-of-place, and confusing. However, things clear themselves up when the song starts after the band moves on. A wonderful banjo + harmonica instrumentation sets things into place, and creates a very American folk ambience. (You know, cowboys. 😛 ) Without thinking about what cowboys are doing in Haryana, I start grooving to the feel-good, breezy music. However, it took me very long to really start grooving a lot to the music. The song grows on you as slow as a snail. But when it finishes growing upto however much it wants to grow, it sounds very good to the ears. The same thing happened to me. The composition, though a little weak, sets in after a few listens and seems to very attractive. The Western breeze in the arrangements is something not heard recently in Bollywood. (I don’t really like it when it comes in Bollywood music, though. Sounds boring, generally, too!) Mohit and Harshdeep sing the composition perfectly, with the right amount of gusto. Especially in the hookline, “yeh khwaab hai, chaahatein…. Tere kehne Se li Maine parvaazein”, Mohit along with the backing chorus sings very awesome. The harmonica and banjo sound mind-blowing. The lighthearted composition works really well after some time, just that it takes some time to mark its place in the otherwise commercial album. Irshad’s lyrics are just as lighthearted as needed. This time, a two-sided love song. 😀 A song with less appeal, but will slowly emerge as an undoubted #5StarHotelSong!!

 

6. Bulleya
Singer ~ Papon, Backing Vocals ~ Altamash Faridi & Shadab Faridi

While Mika sang a filmy Qawwali earlier in the album, Papon is here with a full-fledged traditional Qawwali of his own. Vishal-Shekhar have composed a totally sweet, innocent composition for this Qawwali, fit for mehfils. Papon starts off with a very lovely AdLib, after which Vishal-Shekhar kick in with the beautiful Qawwali rhythm, complete with the Faridi brothers singing in a heavenly manner, and a harmonium striking the chords of our hearts. Papon rejoins with very sugary lines written wonderfully by Kamil. He renders them very beautifully, and those waah’s cant stop from escaping from your mouth. The way the duo connects this part to the hookline, is when you really get transported to another world. And the hookline is what keeps you there. And you stay there for the remaining duration of the song. A beautiful entrancing arrangement of dholaks, tablas, dafli, harmonium and chimtas, complements Papon during his heavenly rendition. The foot-tapping rhythm is what makes the song sound so beautiful. The rhythm in the hookline is indescribable. It is also the composition that has brought out the bliss in Papon’s voice. Vishal-Shekhar’s divine and spiritual composition is what makes you love everything about the song. The interlude has a wonderful rock guitar portion, which doesn’t sound out-of-place in the spiritual song at all. The Faridi bros are excellent in their spiritual interventions in the song. Lastly, Irshad is a genius. He has written such impressive romantic, spiritual and sad lyrics, which are excellent. It is like a request from the boy to his lover, instead of the usual sad romantic songs where the boy assumes that the girl is leaving him and starts wailing. 😂 The way the spiritual touch has been put into the lyrics, is wondrous. Divine, spiritual and blessed. Something to hear on loop! Perfect ‘Coke Studio’ material from Vishal-Shekhar! Papon, you are a rockstar!!! #5StarHotelSong!!

 

7. Tuk Tuk
Singers ~ Nooran Sisters & Vishal Dadlani

This song starts with a weird AdLib like one in a Qawwali. I am guessing that has been sung by Shekhar. Anyway, the AdLib makes way for some entrancing, divine techno music. It is so beautiful, that you can’t stop from swaying. Piano, chimes and techno sounds have been wonderfully fused together to make something really addictive and entrancing. The Nooran Sisters start off with their usual folksy Punjabi rendition, which starts off really promising. And then, it drops down so fast. The hookline arrives so fast, you are not sure what actually happened. Suddenly, the techno trance breaks and you find yourself in a very typical Punjabi tumbi-dhol arrangement (with very low volume, like Amit Trivedi’s style) with a very averagely composed hookline. It takes quite some time for the song to pick up pace again, and that is when Vishal comes in with his out-of-this-world rap! His rap is actually meaningful. The song is another meaningful, inspirational one, which completely grips you until the part I mentioned arrives. After Vishal’s raps though, the Punjabi part sounds perfectly fine and acceptable. It is the “re bole dhola dhol tadak dhin” line that plays the spoilsport in the song. It just sounds out-of-place here. Everything else falls into place perfectly. Even the antara, which has a Punjabi folk arrangement, sounds great. So why does that hookline sound odd? The flaw is in the abrupt composition. The EDM and techno music is really addictive, and the programming on the Noorans’ voices is very cool. The fusion is really something to appreciate, and something other composers must follow soon!! Irshad’s lyrics are very inspirational, and the metaphors are very clever. Something that would have been exceptionally innovative, but spoiled by the hookline!!

 

8. Rise of Sultan
Singer ~ Shekhar Ravjiani, Backing Vocals ~ Abdul Sajjad, Zuber Hashmi, Arun Ingle, R N Iyer, Mandar Aapte, Kaustubh Datar, Rahul Chitnis, Nitin Tupe, Swapnil Godbole, Mangesh Chavan, Nitin Karandikar, Vijay Dhuri, Jitendra Tupe, Mayuresh Madgaonkar

To close this very much awaited album, we have something on the lines of a theme song. Again motivational in spirit, this track takes the khoon-mitti refrain of the title song and has it crafted into a wonderful background piece. The composition as we know it, it purely motivational and so it has a very positive effect in this track. It makes the song sound so otherworldly. Shekhar leads the vocals with a horde of backing vocalists following him, without which it would’ve sounded lifeless. What I really want to praise is the MINDBLOWING percussion. They are so energetic and vigorous, you can’t help but love them. The rock guitars do not leave this opportunity of showing their prowess either, and impress yet again, along with their new companion, the percussion. The song suits the storyline of the film, as it starts slow and gets high-spirited towards the end, with the strings and brass kicking in later on. It is symbolic of the “Rise” of the character, Sultan. A perfect title, I must say! An INVIGORATING end to the impressive album! #5StarHotelSong!!


Sultan turns out to be way better than expected. Yes, I know my expectations were huge anyway, but not so high! I had never expected such a great album, especially when there is Salman’s commercialism to cater to. But Vishal-Shekhar really prove themselves. They are experts in music arrangements, and they use this plus point to raise the level of each and every song in the album. If there is a typical Salman dance number in ‘Baby Ko Bass Pasand Hai’, there is also a spiritual Qawwali in ‘Bulleya’ and an enjoyable track in ‘440 Volt’. An album full of variety, and I’m thinking, one of Salman’s best albums since 2010. Ali Abbas Zafar has brought out the best from the duo, considering the movie’s genre. If Vishal-Shekhar can deliver so well in a film that doesn’t need such good music, I can’t even imagine what they will do in films like ‘Banjo’ and ‘Befikre’ coming later this year! 😉 The sultans of Bollywood are back to reign!!

 

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: Bulleya > Jag Ghoomeya (Female) > 440 Volt > Sultan > Jag Ghoomeya > Rise of Sultan > Baby Ko Bass Pasand Hai > Sachi Muchi > Tuk Tuk

 

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

 

Note: ‘Sultan’ will be included in July 2016 monthly awards 🙂

Next “dish”: Raman Raghav 2.0, Chef: Ram Sampath

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