NO CHANGE IN THE JUGRAAFIYA OF AJAY-ATUL’S MUSIC!! (SUPER 30 – Music Review)

Music Album Details
♪ Music by: Ajay-Atul
♪ Lyrics by: Amitabh Bhattacharya
♪ Music Label: Zee Music
♪ Music Released On: 9th July 2019
♪ Movie Releases On: 12th July 2019

Super 30 Album Cover

Listen to the songs: JioSaavn | Gaana

Buy the songs: iTunes


Super 30 is an upcoming Bollywood film starring Hrithik Roshan, Pankaj Tripathi and Mrunal Thakur in lead roles. The film is directed by Vikas Bahl and produced by Nadiadwala Grandsons Entertainment, Phantom Films and Reliance Entertainment. The film revolves around the life of mathematician Anand Kumar, who helps prepare 30 brilliant but underprivileged students for their entrance exams for Indian Institutes of Technology. Bahl’s previous two films have had music by Amit Trivedi, but here, surprisingly, he chooses Ajay-Atul, maybe due to the setting of the film in a rural backdrop, and Ajay-Atul’s music rides high on folk influences. The album is a short and situational one, with five songs, so let’s see how Ajay-Atul deliver as per the film’s theme!


In the mostly situational album, with its lyrics propelling it more than halfway, the only song with any semblance of universality happens to be Jugraafiya, a delightful and cheerful romantic duet, delivered to the point by Udit Narayan and Shreya Ghoshal, a duo we haven’t heard together in a proper duet song (obviously ‘Radha’ from ‘Student of the Year’ doesn’t count) in a long time! The song starts with a signature Ajay-Atul mandolin piece, followed by the melody which kicks in at a low pitch, only for the next line to go higher, until the cross-line and hookline lead to the musical peak, in typical Ajay-Atul style. From that peak, the notes are dropped into a signature Ajay-Atul strings section coupled with a woodwind. The antara is interesting in that it is a string of notes that seems neverending, but I found Udit’s antara better than Shreya’s, because Shreya sounds a bit uncomfortable to the ears with the unbelievably high pitch of her portion. But, as mentioned before, the tune and complexity of the antara is enough to keep you hooked. The second interlude too, follows the standard strings-and-brass template of Ajay-Atul’s. The hookline is quite similar to the “Aga jhannanala” portion from the ‘Sairat’ title track, another case of structural similarity in Ajay-Atul’s songs, the same way the hook of the ‘Dhadak’ title track was similar to the ‘Mere dil mein jagah khuda ki khaali thi..‘ refrain of ‘Sapna Jahan’ (Brothers). The singing by Udit and Shreya is great; it is refreshing to hear Udit after so long, with the same vivacious quality in his voice that made him the top singer in the 90s. Amitabh Bhattacharya provides funny, conversational lyrics, and the use of the Urdu word for ‘Geography’ — ‘Jugraafiya’ — is interesting.

Another track with fun lyrics is Basanti No Dance, a situational song that is used in the film as the backdrop of a street play the students are performing on Holi. Here, the composers had to take in the street play aspect, and the Holi aspect, while composing the song. And it has turned out quite well, but the song just didn’t fit together for me as a whole. The composition is catchy in parts, but the situational dialogue parts make it digress in intervals, making the catchiness intermittent and sporadic. The phrases I really enjoyed were the “No No No…” and “They throwing eenta, we throwing rocks..” Otherwise, the other portions of the song did not really work for me. Also, the lack of anything in the background throughout the first half of the song makes it sound bare and naked. The second half has Ajay-Atul add bass and the song ends with an arousing patriotic-sounding string+brass section, which is all good. The four singers, Divya Kumar, Prem Areni, Janardan Dhatrak and Chaitally Parmar, out of which only Divya Kumar is a known name, carry the song’s comic lines well, but it is Divya Kumar who stands out nevertheless, and none of the others. Amitabh Bhattacharya’s lyrics try to tackle the language barrier that exists in the country, but that dissolves somewhere in the middle, and the song becomes a story about dacoits chasing Basanti, the character from ‘Sholay’, while you are left scratching your head trying to find the connection. The dholaks work in favour of the song as it is a Holi song, but again, I wish the first half wasn’t so bare.

In the same league is Question Mark, a jazzy and groovy song with quirky lyrics. The song is the most suitable for the film which is about a mathematician tutoring a group of underprivileged students. The drums, guitar and piano, coupled with the mandatory brass instruments make the song sound really creatively done, and Hrithik Roshan sounds really good; I never knew he sung so well. There are some places I almost thought the song was tailor-made for Sonu Nigam. Towards the end of the song, it turns into a retro chase sequence for some reason, with the bass guitars really cranking up the tempo, and a cool percussion beat being added to the proceedings. It provides the composers with a nice way to end the song on an intriguing level; ending it on the soft jazz note would’ve been less intriguing.

Paisa also rides on the 70s Bollywood template, but this time, it is the full song and not just the end of the song. You are instantly reminded of Kalyanji-Anandji’s music when the song is kicked off with that warped sound that dominated 70s Bollywood music, coupled with trumpets and drums, and those signature retro disco beats. With such an interesting prelude, the song follows a very staid template as it progresses. The duo’s composition is catchy, and so are the trumpets and beats and trademark retro strings, but the programming seems to be done lazily or it is just deliberately dated. The interlude is really intriguing; the retro touch helps it, but the song just gets lost in its antara — I found myself waiting for the hookline to come back, because that is, in short, the only catchy part of the song as far as the song’s melody goes. Vishal Dadlani sings the song with ease; it is not difficult for him to sing such songs — ‘Zaraa Dil Ko Thaam Lo’ (Don 2) bears testament to the fact. He is the go-to for composers to sing such songs, and thankfully, he doesn’t let Ajay-Atul down here and brings the song up a notch with his rendition. Bhattacharya writes lyrics as if the sole aim of the protagonist was to earn money and spend it overindulgently. The retro ‘Don’-like music also makes it sound like that and don’t even ask me about the song’s picturization. Of course though, I will not be judging the musical creation based on how wrongly it is used in the film — not my job.

A whole chorus of singers — Arohi Mhatre, Aditi Prabhudesai, Pragati Joshi, Maithili Panse, Sonal Naik, Rucha Soman, Deepti Rege, Deepanshi Nagar, Ann Fernandes, Dr.Pallavi Shyam Sundar, Shivika Rajesh, Riddhi Sampat, Kinjal Shah, Umesh Joshi, Vijay Dhuri, Mandar Pilvalkar, Vivek Naik, Rahul Chitnis, Saurabh Wakhare, Janardan Dhatrak, Gaurav Medatwal, Chaitanya Shinde, Abhishek Jhawar, Nimish Shah, Yash Kapoor and Mayukh Pareek —  leads the last song Niyam Ho, a melancholic orchestral piece that starts off like ‘Sapna Jahan’ (Brothers) and then progresses like ‘Vaara Re’ (Dhadak). The composition is really strong, probably the best composed song on the entire album. The music is beautiful — the orchestra gives you goosebumps, especially in the hookline, where things get really opulent. The brass and strings, yet again, work together to prop the song to a higher level. And the chorus gets the song’s intricacies beautifully. Amitabh Bhattacharya’s lyrics are really beautiful too, and rely on inspirational lines to make the already moving composition sound even more emotional. Towards the end, a nice beat on the drums kicks in, giving it a more millennial sound. All in all, the song ends the situational album on a very grand note!


Super 30 is one of Ajay-Atul’s less musically brilliant albums; the duo focuses on the film’s theme and that is appreciable. Once again, the orchestra in their arrangements does half the work for them, and all in all it turns out to be a lyrics-led situational album with a few memorable musical moments and no song memorable as a whole.

 

Total Points Scored by This Album: 7.5 + 6.5 + 7 + 6 + 8 = 35

Album Percentage: 70%

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: Niyam Ho > Jugraafiya > Question Mark > Basanti No Dance > Paisa

 

Which is your favourite song from Super 30? Please vote for it below! Thanks! 🙂

DAGAONKAR BABU SANGEETBAAZ!! (BABUMOSHAI BANDOOKBAAZ – Music Review)

Music Album Details
♪ Music by: Gaurav Dagaonkar, Abhilash-Joel, Debojyoti Mishra & R.D. Burman
♪ Lyrics by: Ghalib Asad Bhopali & Anand Bakshi
♪ Music Label: Saregama
♪ Music Released On: 17th August 2017
♪ Movie Released On: 25th August 2017

Babumoshai Bandookbaaz Album Cover

 

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


Babumoshai Bandookbaaz is a Bollywood crime comedy film, starring Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Bidita Bag and directed by Kushan Nandy. The film has been produced by Kiran Shyam Shroff and Ashmith Kunder. The music for this film has been given (five out of six songs) by Gaurav Dagaonkar, a composer we hear in Bollywood quite infrequently. The last time we heard him was in ‘Wah Taj’ when he made a song that nobody heard again. Before that though, he had given some good music for ‘Heartless’ (2014), and ‘Kaafirana’ (Joker; 2012). Hopefully since he’s in charge of the major chunk of the album here, he will do his best. The guest composers are a debutant duo named Abhilash-Joel, who have worked on a scratch composition by Debojyoti Mishra, and built their song around it. Hopefully, they make a great debut! So let’s jump into this bandookbaaz album and hope it is sangeetbaaz!!


1. Barfani (Male) / Barfani (Female)

Singers ~ Armaan Malik / Orunima Bhattacharya, Music by ~ Gaurav Dagaonkar

Gaurav Dagaonkar starts off this album with a delightfully haunting (What an oxymoron) classical number, based on raag jog. The composer really pleasantly surprised me with his amazing command over classical notes. The way his notes have come out in such a mellifluous manner, is commendable. The mukhda is an instantly gripping portion, and the hook, ‘jal jaane do‘, is what gives you the goosebumps. The antara, in the ideal way that classical songs usually go, follows a more happy-sounding route, and it contrasts very well with that haunting mukhda. The composition reminds you of many 90s songs, when Bollywood music was so heavily inspired by traditional classical music. The lyrics by Ghalib Asad Bhopali are quite intense, and do justice to the song’s theme quite perfectly. The word ‘barfani‘, is a word I’m hearing for the first time in a Bollywood song in recent years! The song is presented in two versions, male and female — both with the same haunting arrangements, thanks to a wonderful beat given by the jingle bells (ghungroo), and a very beautiful play of the guitars and the Dobro (Shomu Seal) which give a very sitar-ish sound. The male version is sung with impeccable finesse, by Armaan Malik, and I believe this is his first such song, which is so heavily based on classical music. He handles the song beautifully, in the lower octaves, and I believe it is his career’s best performance, solely because he tries something new! Orunima Bhattacharya is in charge of the other version, and she takes up a higher pitch, and aces it, and you can tell she has been classically trained. A beautiful and haunting romantic song to start off the album!

Rating: 4.5/5 for Male Version, 4.5/5 for Female Version

 

2. Aye Saiyan

Singers ~ Orunima Bhattacharya & Vivek Naik, Original Composition & Lyrics Traditional, Music Recreated by ~ Gaurav Dagaonkar

The second song seems like a song that was a residue from the ‘Anaarkali Of Aarah’ album that released earlier this year. It follows the same folksy vibe, as if there’s a dance going on in the village. Gaurav aces the composition, which is essentially a Bhojpuri folk song, but his music makes it more lively and likeable. The same tune is repeated throughout the song, so it does get a bit tedious towards the end, but I guess that’s how the folk song is. The lyrics are funny, if you understand Bhojpuri. The harmonium (Satyajeet Prabhu) leads the way right from the beginning, giving a very fresh vibe to the song, and the sprightly rhythm and percussions (Satyajeet Jamsandekar) is enjoyable as well! There are amazing dholaks that give the song a rhythm to which you can nod your head! The vocals by Orunima are great here as well, and she showcases her versatility in this song, which is so different from the first one! Vivek Naik has a short interruption, which disturbs more than sounds good. A fun and cute folksy number!

Rating: 3.5/5

 

3. Ghungta

Singer ~ Neha Kakkar, Chorus ~ Vivek Naik, Santosh Bote & Rahul Chitnis, Original (Hook) Composition by ~ R.D. Burman, New Composition by ~ Gaurav Dagaonkar, Original Lyrics by ~ Anand Bakshi

Here comes another remake, and this time, it’s incorporated into an item song. But before we apply our judgements to that sentence, let’s listen to the song with an open mind. Because when I did that, I really enjoyed the song, thanks to Gaurav Dagaonkar’s enjoyable music, and Neha Kakkar’s very energetic vocals! The song is the remake of R.D. Burman’s ‘Haye Re Haye Tera Ghungta’ (Dhongi), and what I liked is that the only part taken from the old song is the hook. The only difference is that the girl is singing ‘mera ghungta‘ instead of the boys singing ‘tera ghungta‘. The rest of the composition goes well with that hook, and especially the antara is very catchy, and has a trademark Panchamda touch to it. The arrangements are just as lively, with the signature Maharashtrian dhol-taasha rhythm backing it. But amazing guitars (Arvind Haldipur) welcome the listeners into the antara, and that makes the antara sound even more enticing. The vocals are something that propel the song to heights that might not have been touched, had the singer been different, or if Neha Kakkar had sung even a little bit lifelessly. However, her rendition is lively, and she proves again how much energy her voice has. Ghalib Asad Bhopali’s lyrics are very typical to this genre. One of the better of such songs to release this year.

Rating: 3.5/5

 

4. Chulbuli

Singer ~ Papon, Additional Vocals ~ Vivek Hariharan, Music by ~ Gaurav Dagaonkar

The retro vibe kicks in with the next song, a naughty, mischievous number with a very retro tune. Gaurav Dagaonkar has composed it very well, and right from the opening harmonium bar, you know you are in for a treat. The composer has created a nice vaudevillian-esque tune, resembling the musical style that was prominent in the 50s. The tune of the Mukhda is amazing, and gets you gripped there itself. The lilt of the song is increased by the tempo and the beats. The Antara is irresistible, again having a very retro tune. The arrangements are beautiful; surprisingly, they’re a little less retro-esque. The European touch is high in them, with the accordions, mandolins and chimes being most prominent. However, to balance this old-school vibe, Gaurav throws in a number of wonderful things like electric guitars, drums and brass instruments. The vocals are mellifluous, and what can you expect other than mellifluous when it is the genius Papon behind the mic? His voice is so magnetic, you just can’t pay attention to anything else. Vivek Hariharan joins him in backing vocals. His rendition reminds me of ‘Labon Ka Karobaar’ (Befikre), and so do the arrangements, now that I think of it. Ghalib’s lyrics are great and fun! The best song of the album yet!!

Rating: 4.5/5

 

5. Khali Khali

Singers ~ Mohit Chauhan, Music by ~ Debojyoti Mishra & Abhilash-Joel

The debutants Abhilash Lakra and Joel Dubba step in for this song, and they are in charge of a melancholic number, that haunts your soul. The composition is very haunting, and has been composed with such notes, that are sure to make you emotional, and frightened at the same time. The pace is very slow, aptly so. The problem arises in the Antara, where the song gets into the Bhatt mode, and as the listener, I started to zone out. And the way it runs after that is very tedious. The duo tries to make up for that with mysterious arrangements, but that too, sounds maudlin. There are amazing strings though, all throughout the song, and even the percussions are great. Mohit Chauhan sounds good, but doesn’t manage to keep our interest in the song. The lyrics are good, again. Not very impressive of a debut.

Rating: 2.5/5


Babumoshai Bandookbaaz is a pretty surprisingly good album! I was expecting very little from it before the first song came out. After that came out I started hoping for a little more, and the makers just gave more and more after that! Gaurav Dagaonkar finally gives an album that he can be proud of for ages — with Indian classical, folk, European music that proves his versatility. The debutant duo Abhilash-Joel do disappoint relatively, but show promise in their great sense of composition and arrangements. That makes this a quite sangeetbaaz album!!

 

Total Points Scored by This Album: 4.5 + 4.5 + 3.5 + 3.5 + 4.5 + 2.5 = 23

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: Barfani (Male) = Barfani (Female) = Chulbuli > Aye Saiyan = Ghungta > Khali Khali

 

Remake Counter:
No. Of Remakes: 24 (from previous albums) + 02 (from Babumoshai Bandookbaaz) = 26

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

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