HAMARE PYARE SHANKAR-EHSAAN-LOY!! (MERE PYARE PRIME MINISTER – Music Review)

Music Album Details
♪ Music by: Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy & C. Ramchandra
♪ Lyrics by: Gulzar & Bharat Vyas
♪ Music Label: Sony Music / Saregama
♪ Music Released On: 1st March 2019 / “Bajaa Bajaa Bajaa Dhol Bajaa Re” on 5th March 2019
♪ Movie Released On: 15th March 2019

Mere Pyare Prime Minister Album Cover

Listen to the songs: JioSaavn | Gaana

Buy the songs: iTunes

Listen to “Bajaa Bajaa Bajaa Dhol Bajaa Re”: JioSaavn | Gaana

Buy “Bajaa Bajaa Bajaa Dhol Bajaa Re”: iTunes


Mere Pyare Prime Minister is a Bollywood film starring Anjali Patil, Om Kanojiya, Atul Kulkarni and Makrand Deshpande. The film is directed by Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra, and produced by Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra, P.S. Bharathi, Navmeet Singh, Rajiv Tandon and Arpit Vyas. The film revolves around the journey of an eight-year-old boy who dreams of building a toilet for his mother, after she gets raped because of having to defecate in the open. The film follows his journey from Mumbai’s slums to Delhi, in order to deliver a letter to the Prime Minister of India, because he has taken it upon himself to improve the living conditions of the slum. One would not imagine that music would have a huge scope in this film, but where there’s Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy and Gulzar, there can be no doubt. After ‘Bhaag Milkha Bhaag’ and ‘Mirzya’, both top class albums for the director by Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy, and going by the director’s previous associations with A.R. Rahman in ‘Rang De Basanti’ and ‘Delhi 6’, this album too is no doubt, something we can expect a lot from. So let’s see, whether and how humare pyare Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy pamper Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra again!


The composer trio opens their third collaboration with director Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra with a quirky and cute Title Song, one that starts with a very trademark Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy groove, and a catchy whistle. The breezy tune is something that I’d have loved to hear in Shankar or Siddharth Mahadevan’s voice, but the trio exercises its expertise in voice casting and brings a fresher option to the listeners, in Arijit Singh. The man renders the composition beautifully, with impeccable falsettos where needed, and the composers employ a well-appointed male chorus on the background in the interlude and hooklines. The arrangements are peppy, the brass band playing a major part in making them lively; and obviously the aforementioned whistle. Gulzar saab’s lyrics are a plea (an arzi) to the Prime Minister, as though written from a small child’s point of view, and that is so cute! Lines like “Chaali Toh Di Hai, Shauchaalay Bhi De De“, and “Arzi Meri, Marzi Teri“, speak volumes. What could’ve been improved on though, is the composition, only because we know Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy are capable of much better, and they had the scope!
That complaint is handled by the trio with the next song, Rezgaariyan, a groovy Qawwali-ish number with all the stock Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy elements you can think of — a rock guitar groove with a repeating couplet that also starts the song off, one that is again written spectacularly by Gulzar — “Daana Daana Uparwala Dega Dega, Neeche Wala Jo Bhi Dega, Paisa Lega!” The hookline is composition goals; it must be really tough to crack the tune for a word like “Rezgaariyan”, meaning “loose coins”, or the colloquial Hindi Chillar. And once you know the meaning of the central word of the song, everything fits into place quite beautifully; the song takes on a social message which is hard to dislike. Shankar and Shivam, the father-son duo, handle the vocals very well, and I’m surprised to see Arif Lohar mentioned in the credits, after the recent events concerning India and Pakistan, but I’m glad to see the taint of that hasn’t reached art. This one is a song that’ll play in your head on loop once you hear it once.
It’s time for more fun when Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy remake a very cute old Holi song, ‘Ja Re Hatt Natkhat’ (Navrang), a classic by C. Ramchandra. Rechristened Bajaa Bajaa Bajaa Dhol Bajaa Re, this one is the most fun a song can get these days. The lyrics mention dafli, khanjri, dhol and whatnot, and Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy’s sampling of the old song is just genius — I like how these seasoned composers always keep that in mind while recreating a song — Vishal-Shekhar in ‘The Disco Song’ (Student of The Year), Amit Trivedi in ‘Hungama Ho Gaya’ (Queen) retained the original singer’s voices, and so do Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy for this one, and in a very creative way. They spin an original mukhda which cleverly and unsuspectingly leads to the hook of the old song, making it sound all the more cute and fascinating. The vocals are a powerhouse on this track; Shankar Mahadevan leading the male portions while Rekha Bhardwaj delivers a spunky performance in the female portions alongside the sampling of Asha Bhosle from the old song. Other supporting singers include Divya Kumar, Shrinidhi Ghatate and Neela Mulhekar. The arrangements are amazing; the dhols, dafli and that whole ‘Dhadang Dhang’ (Rowdy Rathore) -esque rhythm, make the song really enjoyable all in all, as does the synthesiser playing the old song’s hook tune. And, however advanced we are getting in terms of quirky lyrics, it is only from the pen of Gulzar that we can still rely on hearing lines like “Thodi thodi bakri hansi, thoda thoda murga hansa, ekdum ek drumroll baja re!” All in all, this is one of the best remakes I’ve heard, forget in a long time, but in my whole life!
The trio decides to end the album on a sombre note, with Kanna Re Kanna, a beautiful lullaby that is rendered to perfection by Rekha Bhardwaj. The song starts with her humming, to be accompanied by mellow piano notes and a divine flute in a while. The trio’s composition is par excellence; even if it doesn’t pique the interest of normal listeners, it will surely interest the classical/semi-classical music aficionados, as they will find something to connect to in this five minutes of heaven. It is rare to get such an intricate lullaby from Bollywood, especially in the year 2019. Obviously, without Rekha Bhardwaj’s scintillating rendition, it would’ve remained just half as touching. The trio’s other lullaby this year, ‘Tak Taki’ (Manikarnika), suffered from lack of connect, because of the heavy orchestration and lyrics there, but this one is a direct heart-to-heart conversation, and will especially touch a chord in the hearts of all the sons out there. Gulzar writes lines like “Inch inch beta mera bada bhi hoga / Zindagi se chhota mota jhagda bhi hoga / Chot lagegi kabhi, lahu bhi girega / zindagi ghaseetegi toh tagda bhi hoga” — simple and very direct, but very emotional. A beautiful finale to the short and sweet album! 😊


As expected, Mere Pyare Prime Minister turns out to be yet another golden collaboration between the director and music directors, but this time, it will sadly go a bit less noticed than the previous two! Four songs spanning huge variety, in an album to a film with not much musical scope, is not a nominal feat, and just makes me believe that no matter how much of the new trends are setting in, Bollywood’s home composers, of which Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy constitute a substantial part, will always be there to supposedly salvage the wreckage.

 

Total Points Scored by This Album: 8 + 8.5 + 9 + 9.5 = 35

Album Percentage: 87.5%

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: Kanna Re Kanna = Bajaa Bajaa Bajaa Dhol Bajaa Re > Rezgaariyan > Mere Pyare Prime Minister 

 

Which is your favourite song from Mere Pyare Prime Minister? Please vote for it below! Thanks! 🙂

A BULLET THAT MISSES THE BULLSEYE!! (SONCHIRIYA – Music Review)

Music Album Details
♪ Music by: Vishal Bhardwaj
♪ Lyrics by: Varun Grover & Ashok Mizaj Badr
♪ Music Label: Zee Music Company
♪ Music Released On: 20th February 2019
♪ Movie Released On: 1st March 2019

Sonchiriya Album Cover

Listen to the songs: Saavn | Gaana

Buy the songs: iTunes

 


Sonchiriya is a Bollywood film starring Sushant Singh Rajput, Bhumi Pednekar, Manoj Bajpayee, Ashutosh Rana and Ranvir Shorey in lead roles. The film is directed by ‘Ishqiya’ and ‘Udta Punjab’ fame Abhishek Chaubey, and produced by Ronnie Screwvala. The film is a drama surrounding the lives of the dacoits of Chambal, and has music by Vishal Bhardwaj, Chaubey’s regular but for the album of ‘Udta Punjab’ which was by Amit Trivedi. Vishal only composed for his own directorial ‘Patakha’ last year, and it was a nice break from his usually heavy and mellow types of soundtracks, wherein almost all songs were peppy and enjoyable. With ‘Sonchiriya’, I expect him to come back to his mellow music, but I expect it to be amazing, as his previous collaborations with this director have been!


The rural dacoits-of-Chambal setting of the film is established through the album’s opening number, Baaghi Re, a rock song with amazing use of guitars (Ankur Mukherjee), evoking a taste of the Wild West as usually depicted in films of Tarantino and the like. Vishal Bhardwaj hands over the vocals to Mame Khan, a name we saw in many songs in the Mirzya soundtrack by Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy in 2016. His rural voice is perfect for the song, and though the song is a bit slow-paced, it is his vocals that will have you hooked for the most part of it. Varun Grover’s lyrics are suitable for a song about rebellious dacoits, making this kind of a theme song for the film. It is the song’s Remix, though, that had me more impressed, where the producers (The Groove Room Producers) create an even more energetic mix of Vishal Bhardwaj’s haunting melody, complete with even more fascinating guitars as the original version. This one is closer to the classical rock we know of these days, while the original sounded bare, maybe because of the lack of drums, which are played in full force here, hence giving the guitars an accompaniment.
After this point, the album goes back to the handful of singers Vishal Bhardwaj equips in all his albums these days — Rekha Bhardwaj, Arijit Singh and Sukhwinder Singh.
Arijit Singh gets to perform solo, with a haunting, quintessentially Bhardwaj-esque Ruan Ruan. It is Arijit’s opening line that pulls the listener into the song immediately, after which follows the signature Vishal Bhardwaj whistle effect, accompanied by a pleasant guitar. The melody is calm and mellow, and the guitars (Ankur Mukherjee, Dhruv Vishwanath, and Saurabh Suman — bass) are what propels it to another level; that hookline is a beauty in its composition, but without the interspersed guitar portions, it would have sounded bare. I personally enjoyed how the hookline is broken into small bits, letting it take its own sweet time to sink in. The antara is where things gets slightly haunting, but that’s just Mr. Bhardwaj trying not to let things get too staid. Arijit’s rendition is wonderful. I cannot believe it is his first release of 2019; normally, by this month of any year, we get atleast five songs of his! Hopefully this song finds its audience.
Rekha Bhardwaj and Sukhwinder Singh each get two songs on the album, and Rekha further gets to sing a reprise of one of her songs, making her song count three in total. Her solo song is the title song, Sonchiraiya, which, in its original version, starts with a very mellow humming portion, complete with sound effects of water flowing. The harpsy guitars (Chintoo Singh) do well to create the haunting atmosphere, and Bhardwaj’s melody is so heart-rending, it is bound to make the listener emotional. The slow-going composition gets even more touching in the antara, where it changes tone for a while (during the ‘sonchiraiya, sonchiraiya‘ in the cross-line) only to get back to its haunting self with the arrival of the hookline. The song almost has a lullaby-ish tinge to it, accentuated by the use of instruments. The guitar is played like a sitar in the second interlude, and that makes for a wonderful listen. The digital sound effects used throughout the song, and the pensive notes of the piano too, make it a very satisfying listen all in all. Rekha Bhardwaj delivers it with poise, and that’s what attracts me to the song over and over again. The lack of orchestral strings in this version is more than made up for in the Reprise Version, which starts even more haunting than the original, what with the piano starting it off on a gloomy note, followed by the wind instruments. As Rekha starts the melody, the Budapest Film Orchestra led by Daryl Griffith kicks in with its magnificent sound. The melody that sounded so beautiful in its original version, though, sounds distorted by the haunting aspect of it — the soothing composition doesn’t match with the haunting, mostly loud, string treatment. Rekha’s vocals in this version, too, seem a step lower than what she showcased in the previous version. If you are an ardent strings lover, go for this version!
Rekha Bhardwaj’s third song is a duet with Sukhwinder Singh, a dance number called Naina Na Maar. It seems like Vishal Bhardwaj wanted to make something like ‘Gali Gali’ (Pataakha), but clearly couldn’t manage to recreate that magic. The composition is a happy one for sure, but isn’t something I’d want to visit again after one listen. Sukhwinder as expected, delivers wonderfully with his energetic high-pitched voice, but when you hear what Rekha Bhardwaj has to offer, you end up wishing the song wasn’t sung by her — Sunidhi Chauhan would’ve been the obvious choice! The arrangements are quite enjoyable — harmonium, dholaks and folksy strings scattered all over the piece. The traditional lyrics are fun too, but it is the little repeat value of the song that works against it.
Saanp Khavega is Sukhwinder’s show all the way, another pensive melody driven by a strong orchestral arrangement, this time complete with chorus singers (Mridul Ghosh, Sudhanshu Shome, Pankaj Dixit & Tanmay Bhawalkar) as is Vishal Bhardwaj’s trend in his emotional songs. The song is grand in its instrumentation and vocals, but the melody is quite weak; nothing to revisit as such. Varun Grover’s lyrics are a nice take on the not-so-nice ways of the world. Overall, it is a situational track that isn’t so memorable but for its grand arrangements and choir.


Sonchiriya is a good album overall, but it definitely is not of the stature that Vishal Bhardwaj has created for himself over the year, regarding his music albums. The last time his music album had me so confused was also not an album for his own directorial; it was ‘Drishyam’ for Nishikant Kamat. Save for the Rekha Bhardwaj gem and the Arijit melody, none of these songs really have it in them to attract me once more before the year ends, unless it is for the year-end listings.

 

Total Points Scored by This Album: 7 + 7.5 + 8.5 + 9 + 7 + 7.5 + 6.5 = 53

Album Percentage: 75.71%

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: Sonchiraiya > Ruan Ruan > Baaghi Re (Remix) = Naina Na Maar > Baaghi Re = Sonchiraiya (Reprise) > Saanp Khavega

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

IMPRESSIVE TEAMWORK!! (DAAS DEV – Music Review)

Music Album Details
♪ Music by: Sandesh Shandilya, Vipin Patwa, Arko Pravo Mukherjee, Anupama Raag & Shamir Tandon
♪ Lyrics by: Faiz Ahmed Faiz, Deepak Ramola, Dr. Sagar, Bulleh Shah, Arko Pravo Mukherjee, Munir Niazi, Gaurav Solanki & Sameer Anjaan
♪ Music Label: Zee Music Company
♪ Music Released On: 21st February 2018
♪ Movie Released On: 27th April 2018

Daas Dev Album Cover

 

Listen to the songs: Saavn

Buy the songs: iTunes


Daas Dev is a Bollywood political thriller starring Rahul Bhat, Aditi Rao Hydari and Richa Chadha in lead roles. The film is directed by Sudhir Mishra, and produced by Saptarishi Cinevision. The film has tanked as Such it Mishra’s weakest film, but we concern ourselves with the music, and let me tell you, this album is probably the dark horse album of the year! The music is composed by Sandesh Shandilya, Vipin Patwa, Arko Pravo Mukherjee, Anupama Raag and Shamir Tandon. Read on to find out why I call it the dark horse album of the year so far! 🙂


Sandesh Shandilya and Vipin Patwa are the lead composers for the film: both have two songs each while the other three composers present us with one song each. Let’s start with Vipin Patwa’s portion of the album, since he hasn’t been active for so long!
Sehmi Hai Dhadkan is a melancholic but intense romantic song, that really works opposite to how these songs usually work with me. I actually liked the song. The tune is gripping, the instrumentation deep and likeable, and Atif’s vocals strong. The cello and piano work together against the digital beats, and Vipin’s composition is really captivating, especially with the hook, and the line before it, where Atif performs an impeccable aalaap. Dr. Sagar’s lyrics are good, but run of the mill. Vipin’s other song, Tain To Uttey, is a nice reimagination of Bulleh Shah’s verse, set against an electrifying folksy-rock fusion. Javed Bashir performs in a way that equals his rendition of ‘Piya Tu Kaahe Rootha Re’ (Kahaani), and he sounds amazing in those aalaaps, and in the hookline, when the composer brings in amazing rock elements accompanied by nice classical music elements. The interlude with Javed’s SARGAM is unforgettable.
Sandesh Shandilya though, takes the album to a different plane, with clever folk-techno fusion in both his songs. The relatively weaker (in no means a bad song), Raat Youn Dil Mein Teri, is a sensual romantic song sung by Papon and newcomer Shraddha Mishra. Two of Faiz Ahmed Faiz’s poems get amalgamated into this song, where Papon delivers an amazing performance as always, and even newcomer Mishra supports him and does her part beautifully with her distinct voice. The composition stands out as sensuous and experimental, while the techno sounds give it an even more intense lounge-ish sound. It reminds me of ‘Behroopia’ (Bombay Velvet) with its soundscape. The composition of the antara is mind blowing and tough to not love!
Sandesh’s other song, my personal favourite of the album because of its quirkiness and happy-go-lucky sound, is Challa Chaap Chunariya. The composition is essentially that of a folksy dance song, and it gets really catchy in the hookline and the cross line before it, and even more captivating with Rekha Bhardwaj’s stylish vocals. But the real magic here is the fusion by Shandilya. It’s so surprising this is the same Shandilya who made songs like ‘Suraj Hua Maddham’ (Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham) and ‘Aaoge Jab Tum’ (Jab We Met) in the 2000s, but now he has reinvented his style so drastically! The sarangi pairs beautifully with the psychedelic sounds, and the quirky programming makes it even more addictive.
Arko Pravo Mukherjee also breaks out of his spree of composing sugary sweet romantic songs, to create a nice rock ballad. Rangdaari has all the elements of a catchy rock song. Navraj Hans gets a short prelude in Punjabi, that we wish lasted longer, or featured once more in the song, until Arko takes the mic and sings his addictive composition. The arrangements are just like any rock song you’d hear, but nevertheless, very likeable. The hookline has a catchy composition as well; I just wish some more established singer had sung it. The guitars in the interludes are amazing, and so are the romantic lyrics by Arko Pravo Mukherjee.
Debutante composer Anupama Raag presents Azaad Kar, a song composed on that oh-so-heart-warming seven beat rhythm that is so prevalent in Bollywood, mainly for sad songs. The Indian tune is beautiful, as are the arrangements, with one digital plucked instrument playing throughout, coupled with jingle bells and tablas later on. The choice of Swanand Kirkire for singing it is really perfect; kudos to Anupama for remembering him. Gaurav Solanki’s lyrics are good too.
The weakest song of the album comes from Shamir Tandon; he composes a very heavy pathos-filled rock song, Marne Ka Shauk, that does not connect at all, with cringeworthy vocals (surprisingly by Papon and not so surprisingly by Krishna Beura) and very cringeworthy lyrics (as expected from Sameer Anjaan by now). It’s probably what the Devdas in this retelling sings when he starts drinking. 😂


All in all, this album turns out to be a surprisingly great album from multiple composers, but each pitch in to do their best, as per the script of the movie.

 

Total Points Scored by This Album: 7.5 + 8 + 8.5 + 9 + 7.5 + 8 + 5.5 = 54

Album Percentage: 77.14%

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: Challa Chaap Chunariya > Raat Youn Dil Mein Teri >
Azaad Kar = Tain To Uttey > Sehmi Hai Dhadkan = Rangdaari > Marne Ka Shauk

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

NOT THE TYPICAL CRY-FEST!! (PARI – Music Review)

Music Album Details
♪ Music by: Anupam Roy
♪ Lyrics by: Anvita Dutt
♪ Music Label: Zee Music Company
♪ Music Released On: 5th March 2018
♪ Movie Released On: 2nd March 2018

Pari Album Cover

 

Listen to the songs: Saavn

Buy the songs: iTunes


Pari is a Bollywood horror/fantasy film starring Anushka Sharma, Parambrata Chaterjee, Rajat Kapoor and Ritabhari Chakraborty. The film is directed by debutant Prosit Roy and produced by Anushka Sharma, Karnesh Sharma, Prernaa Arora and Arjun N Kapoor. The film apparently did well at being an unconventional horror film with an actual plot, and hence got mostly positive reviews. The music for the film has been composed by Anupam Roy, back after his surprise album ‘Dear Maya’ last year. The album contains only two songs, but from past experience, I can say that long albums don’t always mean the best albums! So let’s have a look at what Anupam has to offer in this short album!


Anupam Roy’s short, and befittingly, at that, album to this horror film consists of two songs, polar opposites of each other. So Ja So Ja is the one that you can immediately associate with the horror genre; it is one of those horrorific lullabies that Bollywood serves to us once in a while, when they’re not too busy wanting the music of horror films to resemble ‘Aashiqui 2’s music. As a result, the song, unlike most songs from Hindi horror films, haunts, and how! Anupam’s composition is just enough sinister to make you get goosebumps and feel uncomfortable. Of course, the heavy use of piano and strings makes the song sound deeper than it would with just the vocals. Speaking of which, Rekha Bhardwaj delivers another splendid performance, requiring a lot of finesse, thehraav and serenity from her part; but then again, when has she not delivered what the song requires of her? Roy experiments with the beats in the antara, adding a sort of retro touch to the composition, and arrangement. The only part the song actually sounds like an actual lullaby is the high pitched line in the antara — also the highlight of the song, both times it plays in the respective antaras. In the interlude, Anupam places an amazing strings portion that is coupled with amazing drum beats too! All in all, this is a wonderful horror song! Anvita Dutt’s lyrics are amazing too, managing to get the horror aspect of the song across effectively, keeping the lullaby intact.
The second song from the album, Meri Khamoshi Hai, is probably the best song I’ve heard till now this year. It’s such a beautiful number, which steals your heart away instantly. Right from the opening guitar portion, to the wonderfully pleasant tablas throughout the song, Anupam Roy makes sure that music lovers are placated, even though the film doesn’t call for such a love song. Not that I’m complaining, I’m so glad he was asked to make this song! At least it’s better than the usual painful, dreadful, melancholic love song we get in other horror films. A newcomer Ishan Mitra is roped in to sing this song, and his Arijit-ish vocal texture is just perfect for the song. His voice is a bit more polished than Arijit’s and that’s why it is all the more perfect for such a semiclassical melody. Anvita Dutt’s lyrics are heart-warming. And the composition is such that I don’t think we’ll get another love song as powerful in melody as this, for a long time. I had this feeling last for ‘Maana Ke Hum Yaar Nahin’ (Meri Pyaari Bindu) and it wasn’t surpassed at least for me, by any other song last year. I predict the same with this song! (Which is also the first song to get a 10/10 this year. Yay!)


Anupam Roy’s best album in Bollywood till now, also happens to be his shortest!!

 

Total Points Scored by This Album: 8 + 10 = 18

Album Percentage: 90% {So we get our best album of the year till now; it’ll be difficult to surpass!}

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: Meri Khamoshi Hai > So Ja So Ja

 

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

HALF-GENERIC, HALF-CREATIVE DIARIES!! (VODKA DIARIES – Music Review)

Music Album Details
♪ Music by: Harry Anand, Sandesh Shandilya & Parvaaz Band
♪ Lyrics by: Khalid Ahamed, Kashif Iqbal, Aalok Shrivastav & Harry Anand
♪ Music Label: Zee Music Company
♪ Music Released On: 9th February 2018
♪ Movie Released On: 19th January 2018

Vodka Diaries Album Cover

 

Listen to this album: Saavn

Buy this album: iTunes


Vodka Diaries is a Bollywood crime thriller starring Kay Kay Menon, Mandira Bedi and Raima Sen in lead roles. The film is directed by and co-produced by Kushal Srivastava. The film’s album comprises music by Harry Anand, Sandesh Shandilya and Parvaaz. While I’m expecting nothing from Harry Anand because of his past works, I’m expecting quite a lot from Shandilya because of his past works. 😅 Parvaaz is a band that is debuting in Bollywood with this film, and hopefully they make a crackling debut!


Lead composer Harry Anand has composed for many an unnoticed (by me) film, and looking back at those songs, I can say I’m happy I didn’t notice them when they released. Here he starts off with a generic and yawn-inducing club song called Angoor, and you know it won’t just be about grapes. The digital sounds have been heard many times before, and the voice of the composer doesn’t help to make the song any better. It is a lame attempt at making a catchy club number about wine. Don’t even ask me about the “Oh Bae Bae Bae Bae Bae Bae-by” loop! He fares better, but only slightly better, in Heeriye, another generic club song, but this time singers like the late Labh Janjua help propel the song. Again, the song is about drinking, but the arrangements are better, if not fresher, than those of ‘Angoor’. Shalmali too, tries to help alleviate the status of the song, but it can only go to a certain extent, until which you are already bored.
Thankfully, Harry Anand doesn’t compose the rest of the songs, and those songs are the best in the album. Bangalore-based Parvaaz Band composes Beparwah, a retro rock song which would make you nostalgic if you listen to the 80s English rock songs. Lead singer Khalid Ahamed has a very distinct voice, which makes the song even more enjoyable, and the constant guitar and drum beats in the background help make the song catchy. A sinister vibe prevails all throughout the song, and it suits the thriller vibe of the movie. Lyrics are good as well.
Sandesh Shandilya, returning after quite some time, gets the best song of the album, Sakhi Ri, a semiclassical melody with Rekha Bhardwaj and Ustad Rashid Khan at their vocal best, crooning a heart-warming melody that is graced with the melodious flute, a regular in Sandesh’s music. The song takes some time to get attuned to at first, but it grows like slow poison. The aalaps by the lead singers are noteworthy, and the beautiful interludes have the best of musical arrangements, like the little digital loop. The strings have been used wonderfully, and the lyrics are also heart-touching. This will surely emerge as one of the best classical songs of the year, but sadly, it went unnoticed.


Half of the album is great and innovative and creative, while the other half is plain generic and boring.

 

Total Points Scored by This Album: 3.5 + 4.5 + 7.5 + 8 = 23.5

Album Percentage: 58.75%

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: Sakhi Ri > Beparwah > Heeriye > Angoor

 

Which is your favourite song fromVodka Diaries? Please vote for it below! Thanks! 🙂

CATCHY TUNES IN A COVER OF EARTH!! (ANAARKALI OF AARAH – Music Review)

Music Album Details
♪ Music by: Rohit Sharma
♪ Lyrics by: Ramkumar Singh, Ravinder Randhawa, Prashant Ingole, Dr. Sagar & Avinash Das
♪ Music Label: Zee Music Company
♪ Music Released On: 6th March 2017
♪ Movie Releases On: 24th March 2017

Anaarkali of Aarah Album Cover

 

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

To buy this album on iTunes CLICK HERE


Anaarkali Of Aarah is a Bollywood film starring Swara Bhaskar, Pankaj Tripathi and Sanjay Mishra in lead roles. The film has been directed by Avinash Das, and produced by Sandiip Kapur. The film is about a singer in Bihar who earns a living by singing songs at village functions. As she gets entangled into a spat with the Vice Chancellor of a prestigious university, she seeks justice, and the movie is about her struggle for justice. The movie has opened to great reviews, but as usual, my writing speed has fallen behind, and so here I am. The music for the movie has been composed by Rohit Sharma, who is NOT a cricketer; you can find him over at @rohitdecomposer on Twitter. He has composed for a music album for a movie I was aware of, but didnt pay much attention to, Jimmy Sheirgill’s ‘Shortcut Safaari’, but now he comes with a definitely bigger album, and with ten tracks it is definite that the music will be completely situational and plot-oriented, which is to say, it will be quite rustic and earthy. Is it a problem for me? No! As long it is catchy, I will like anything! 😀 So let’s dive into this ten-track album!


1. Dunaliya Mein Jung (Anaarkali’s Umph)

Singer ~ Swati Sharrma, Lyrics by ~ Ramkumar Singh

The album starts with a song alternatively called “Anaarkali’s Umph”, which is probably a misspelled version of ‘oomph’, but I get the point. Anyway, the song is clearly for one of Anaarkali’s performances, and as soon as it starts, you get the situational feel of it radiating out of it. The composition is quite toned-down, with not much by way of catchiness, but goes on quite a clichéd route. I’m sure if you go to Aarah itself, this is the kind of folk songs you will hear. So it was a smart move to keep it simple. The tune does make you dance like crazy later on, but one problem is its duration. Over five minutes, the song is quite daunting to sit through because of its monotony. The arrangements are aptly folksy. The bulbultarang (let’s call it the ‘Indian banjo’ henceforth in the review because it is a common instrument in the songs and I’m too lazy to add the italics effect.) has been used gratuitously, as is the harmonium, and very aptly too, because it replicates the folk performances of the region. Swati Sharrma sounds very different from what she usually sounds like in songs, and it is nice to hear her powerful vocals yet again after ‘Banno’ (Tanu Weds Manu Returns), after which she hardly got any substantial songs. Again, she seems mellowed down in some places, and you wonder how the song is supposed to be so ‘oomphy’ because Bollywood has seen much more oomph that this. Maybe it is because of Ramkumar’s lyrics, which aren’t really creative. A decent start to the album; not-so-oomphy, but catchy to an extent.

Rating: 3/5

 

2. Lahanga Jhaanke (Accidental Firing)

Singer ~ Indu Sonali, Lyrics by ~ Ravinder Randhawa

Now this song is alternatively titled ‘Accidental Firing’ and I wonder what that means, unless there’s some situation in the movie. The song starts abruptly with the nice pungi/shehnai sound followed by the Indian banjo played in a very catchy tune. The composition for this one is quite more ‘oomphy’ than the last song, and you instantly get caught on to the rhythm, especially the percussion which has been done wonderfully! The composition is quite sultry and catchy, and the various twists in it really help propel it forward. The “sarak sarak sarakaile” hook is catchy. The antara takes a different route than the rest of the song, and the percussion changes very nicely; the seamless transition from one rhythm to another is a marvel to behold in this song. From rapid, it goes to slow and sultry, just to go back to rapid in a while. I think I’ve given enough away about the arrangements, so now about the vocals. Indu Sonali, a Bhojpuri singer, is an apt singer for the song and her nuances give the song an interesting touch, fun to listen. The lyrics here too are quite the same as the previous track, and I think it’s going to go on like this till the end of the album. A catchier song, that excels especially in arrangements.

Rating: 3.5/5

 

3. Aye Sakhi Ooh (Keh Mukri)

Singer ~ Pawni Pandey, Lyrics by ~ Ramkumar Singh

Next up comes the ‘keh mukri‘, which is basically a song where a lady describes qualities that sound like she’s praising her lover, and then denies it and says that she is talking about something else. We heard it in ‘Raanjhanaa’ too, if you remember! 🙂 This one is more sensual however, than that one, which seemed as sanctimonious as sanctimonious can get. The composition is, relevantly to the theme of the movie, quite sultry and sensual. The mukhda gives a perfect start to the song, while the antaras just continue it, and the hookline does its job. The arrangements are similar to the previous song, with a lot of amazing percussion consisting of dholaks and tablas. The Indian Banjo works its way amazingly throughout the upbeat song. Pawni Pandey’s vocals here sound very impressive, and not fake like they did in ‘Laila Main Laila’ (Raees). Rohit Sharma has also very interestingly tweaked her voice pitch in some places, providing a comic touch in those places. The backing vocalists efficiently do their job as men who are smitten by Anaarkali. Lyrics are the same. 😀 I should tell you though, that it isn’t like I was expecting better lyrics; it is perfectly fine here given the movie’s theme! Another catchy one!

Rating: 4/5

 

4. Badnaam Jiya De Gaari (Thumri)

Singer ~ Rekha Bhardwaj, Lyrics by ~ Ravinder Randhawa

Next up we have a thumri, and who better than Rekha Bhardwaj to pull it off!? So Rohit treats us with an aptly folksy, earthy and rustic Thumri, that, at the same time, pulls at our heartstrings. The composition is so beautiful, and has a very heavy old-world-charm to it. The melancholic notes hit the right part of your heart, and instantly. The mukhda has been composed on the common kaherwa taal, while, quite interestingly, the antara has been composed on the three-beat dadra. And the transition between the two different taals, which are individually so commonly (or were so commonly) used in Bollywood songs, is so seamless! It brings you shivering with goosebumps everytime that transition occurs. That brings us to arrangements. Of course, these taals have been played marvellously on the tablas. However, he interludes are something to watch out for, where the sitar will transport you back to Naushad’s music in ‘Mughal-e-Azam’. A wonderful sarangi interlude is something you shouldn’t miss. The harmonium gives a very light background music, and if you are listening carefully, you might catch it. Rekha Bhardwaj pulls off the thumri, with as much finesse as she always does. Nobody on today’s list of singers (and active singers) could’ve replicated what she did in this song. Her nuances are to die for, while the rest of the song, she carries with an aura of power and yet, sounds very simple. Here, the lyrics by Ravinder Randhawa are wonderful. A strong and powerful thumri that needs to be promoted!!

Rating: 5/5

 

5. Mann Beqaid Huva (Anaarkali’s Adieu)

Singer ~ Sonu Nigam, Lyrics by ~ Prashant Ingole

A guitar strum which starts off the next song, immediately tells you that it is quite different from he other songs of the album! And sure enough, this one is quite different in theme and therefore stands out. It has very little by way of earthiness, but there definitely is a gentle caressing breeze in the song. The breeziness can be credited to Sharma’s sweet composition. I was reminded of Anu Malik’s and Sonu Nigam’s collaborations in the 90s and early 2000s by this song. The line before the hookline, and the hookline itself, are so calming, and accentuated by the ravishing instrumentation. Usually such songs have very little in terms of orchestration, but this one is backed by a heavy strings orchestra, wonderful sarangi and if course, the acoustic guitar. Still, wonderful percussion of tablas can be heard in a line hat goes marvellously high-pitched in the antaras. Shakers too, are scintillating additions to the arrangements. Sonu Nigam carries the song with a charming aura, and his old songs are brought to mind instantly; not the middling compositions he had started singing in the middle. This song could have easily fit into a rom-com set in a rural region, and had it had some more urban arrangements, it could have also passed in an urban love story, and that’s why it becomes the odd one out in the album! Prashant Ingole (after a long time) writes marvellous, poetic lyrics, and it is a pleasure to hear him after a long time! Charming!

Rating: 4.5/5

 

6. Mora Piya Matlab Ka Yaar (Anaarkali in Studio)

Singer ~ Swati Sharrma, Lyrics by ~ Dr. Sagar

This song starts with a kind of sher, in Bhojpuri, and proceeds to form a rather staid melody, which only sounds impressive occasionally. The composition is not so innovative, and could’ve been better, if not excellent. The whole thing sounds very heard-before and hence, fails to raise eyebrows. The antara doesn’t make things quite better, and is quite dull. The only thing that can pass as catchy, might be the hookline. The arrangements take the form of heard-before Qawwali arrangements, the harmonium leading the way with dholaks following. The Indian banjo too, has been utilised in a very clichéd way. Swati Sharrma doesn’t sound as good as she sounded in her previous song, but still sounds better than all her other songs in other albums. The lyrics are cute, but you hardly have the scope to notice them, as the song won’t compel you to hear it again! A staid melody ruins everything.

Rating: 2/5

 

7. Sa Ra Ra Ra (Anaarkali’s Revenge)

Singer ~ Pawni Pandey, Lyrics by ~ Ravinder Randhawa

This track seems to be a crucial scene from the film, included in the music album. And it is a Reprise of “Lahanga Jhaanke”. The differences between the two songs are plenty though. This one aptly starts with dialogues, probably as they are from the movie. And it gives a better setting to the song, than the abruptly starting ‘Lahanga Jhaanke’. The premise of the song, we can easily gauge, thanks to the dialogue parts by the emcee of the event and Swara Bhaskar as Anaarkali. The composition, atleast for the first half of the seven-and-a-half minute long song, is the same as ‘Lahanga Jhaanke’ song, but the actual ‘Sa Ra Ra Ra’ part starts four minutes into the song, after a cutting outburst by Anaarkali at a particular man in the audience. And that part is savage! The tune is apt as ut sticks to the whole ‘revenge’ theme, and has a quite sinister feel. Rohit Sharma has added better arrangements in this version, than he did in the original. It is basically the same, but a wonderful backing chorus makes up for whatever void was left unfilled in the first version. In the new portion, booming percussion helps the Anaarkali’s anger come out even better, with the chorus supporting her very well. Strings work well to intensify that portion of the song, while Swara’s dialogues really work in favour of the revenge theme; of course, the great actress that she is, she has rendered the dialogues veryyyyy convincingly! The vocals by Pawni Pandey are very impressive! This is one of Pawni’s best performances, and she just infuses a lot of power into the rendition. The lyrics are well-written, and so are the dialogues. A nice song to go with the revenge situation!

Rating: 4/5

 

8. Mera Balam Bambaiya (Rehearsal Song) [Bonus Track]

Singer ~ Pawni Pandey, Lyrics by ~ Avinash Das

The next three songs have been titled as “Bonus Songs”, probably because they aren’t in the film, and if you notice, they haven’t been mixed, mastered and developed further than a mere scratch version. The songs do sound like scratch versions, and the makers seemed to have included them in the album just for the music lovers. Anyway, this particular song has a nice and catchy tune, another folksy tune that grips you instantly. It is a short song, and again, sounds like a scratch version, as is evident from the minimal arrangements, which makes the song sound raw. However, it doesn’t take anything from the song. Rohit’s composition nevertheless, is very catchy. The hookline is something everybody would enjoy at first listen itself. The arrangements, though minimal, with mainly a harmonium and tablas/dholaks, are enjoyable, giving a feeling as if you are actually at an event in a village, and the song is being sung there by the villagers. Pawni yet again, aces the vocals, sounding as fun as ever. She seems to be enjoying herself, and Rohit Sharma himself (I believe) accompanies her in some parts. The lyrics are functional, situational again. A catchy one, which is not hampered by the raw sound — I wonder why they didn’t develop it further!

Rating: 4/5

 

9. Hamre Jobna Pe (Anaarkali’s Swag) [Bonus Track]

Singer ~ Indu Sonali, Lyrics by ~ Avinash Das

The second “Bonus Song” has more of a generic tune, heard-before, and not-too-catchy either. The composition sounds quite like “Mora Piya Matlab Ka Yaar” in many parts; maybe this was its precursor, and not finalised. Again, it is very short, and hasn’t been developed further than a stanza. There’s not much to say about the composition, so talking about the arrangements, I must say that the synthetic sounds added to it actually make it sound like a Bhojpuri film song. And the dholaks and harmonium lead the arrangements here too. Indu Sonali sings the song aptly, in her husky voice. The lyrics are something I didnt quite understand for the most. Middling.

Rating: 2/5

 

10. Laal Laal Cheekwa (Anwar’s Intro) [Bonus Track]

Singer ~ Rohit Sharma, Lyrics by ~ Ravinder Randhawa

The last song of this long album starts off quite simply with a simple dholak rhythm, which I’m sure you’ve heard somewhere before. The composition again, is not up to the mark, and the song lasts for a short one minute. The dholak arrangements break into a digital beat halfway through the track, and I wonder why the song hasn’t been polished before that; it sounds odd to hear a song that has been only half polished. Rohit Sharma’s vocals sound like Udit Narayan in places. The lyrics are situational yet again, and nothing to rave about. Dissatisfying.

Rating: 2/5


Anaarkali of Aarah was an album that bravely stuck to it’s script’s demands. It didn’t feel the requirement to rope in a famous pop singer to make it commercially viable. And as it is, it impressed me because of it’s honesty. The tunes are catchy, and aptly rustic, and clearly stick to the script. Rohit Sharma must have done lots of hard work researching about this style of music from Bihar and U.P. Kudos to that. Last but not the least, kudos to the makers for keeping the tunes as they were needed. Of course, the rating might go down due to the three bonus tracks, but this album was one with catchy tunes, covered with a coat of earth! 

 

Total Points Scored by This Album: 3 + 3.5 + 4 + 5 + 4.5 + 2 + 4 + 4 + 2 + 2 = 34

Album Percentage: 68%

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: Badnaam Jiya De Gaari > Mann Beqaid Huva > Sa Ra Ra Ra = Aye Sakhi Ooh = Mera Balam Bambaiya > Lahanga Jhaanke > Dunaliya Mein Jung > Mora Piya Matlab Ka Yaar = Laal Laal Cheekwa = Hamre Jobna Pe

 

Remake Counter
No. of remakes: 08 (from previous albums) + 00 (from Anarkali of Aarah) = 08

Which is your favourite song from Anaarkali of Aarah? Please vote for it below! 🙂 Thanks!

REVISIT THE BLACK-AND-WHITE ERA! (RANGOON – Music Review)

Music Album Details
♪ Music by: Vishal Bhardwaj
♪ Lyrics by: Gulzar & Lekha Washington
♪ Music Label: T-Series
♪ Music Released On: 19th January 2017
♪ Movie Releases On: 24th February 2017

Rangoon Album Cover

Rangoon Album Cover

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

To buy this album on iTunes CLICK HERE


Rangoon is an upcoming period film (read war action romantic epic drama) starring Saif Ali Khan, Shahid Kapoor and Kangana Ranaut in lead roles. The film has been directed by Vishal Bhardwaj, who is back after his super-hit, ‘Haider’, and produced by himself, along with Sajid Nadiadwala and Viacom18 Motion Pictures. The movie is set during the World War II, and is a love triangle including an actress Julia (played by Ranaut), her lover Rusi (played by Saif Ali Khan) and an Indian soldier, Nawab, (played by Shahid Kapoor) whom the actress falls in love with. As is the usual case with all Vishal Bhardwaj directorial, the director himself has scored the music for the movie, and as usual, the man has provided a huge soundtrack for music lovers like us. With twelve tracks, this album surpasses all his previous albums to his directorials in terms of number of songs, and that’s what makes me all the more eager to jump into the album! With Gulzar’s lyrics, the album is sure to be yet another album like ‘Haider’, that we’ll be able to cherish for long! Also, given the setting of the film, I am expecting a lot of jazzy, funky and retro music, something along the lines of Bombay Velvet, and I’m also looking forward to something oriental, only because the movie is named ‘Rangoon’ which is the city in Myanmar now known as Yangon. And Myanmar means east, and east means ‘Close to China’!! So I’m expecting that eastern touch in the music too! 😀 So, with these colossal expectations, let me dive into the music of ‘Rangoon’!


1. Bloody Hell

Singer ~ Sunidhi Chauhan, Choir ~ Nisha Mascarenhas, Marianne D’cruz Aiman, Shazneen Arethna, Rishikesh Kamerkar, Suhas Sawant, Vikas Joshi & Rajiv Sundaresan, Lyrics by ~ Gulzar

“No no, sorry sorry, karte ishq Kiya angrezi mein,
Arre khullam khulla do hothon ka jaam piya angrezi mein,
Baji ek bell, tring trring! Bloody hell!”

– Gulzar

The unusual sound of a whip starts off the first song on the album, and unless you know that Kangana Ranaut’s character in this song is based on Fearless ‘Hunterwali’ Nadia, you might be quite confused on hearing the song. Anyway, I knew it and now you do too, so on with the review. As I said, the very interesting but odd sound of a whip starts the song off, and one wonders what innovations Vishal Bhardwaj intends to have put into the song. The beginning of the song makes it very clear that the song is going to be used in a stage performance, with the audience’s applauds and whistles and other sounds. It is when the melody of the song starts, that you find yourself thinking why you are listening to the song; it is kind of weird at first. Especially the “Talk Talk Talk” and “Walk Walk Walk” might discourage you from listening any further, right away. However, the song opens up later, and how! Vishal’s composition, though very clichéd as far as such stage performances go, manages to make you cling on to it, and hum it after it is over. The line before the hookline (“No no sorry sorry…”) is just such a beautiful tune! The hookline itself is another bit of underwhelming notes, but I guess it doesn’t hamper the song as much as the flawed beginning does, as the mood of the song has already set in by the time it plays. The antaras are what smell strongly of Vishal Bhardwaj, as they have a strong Vishal Bhardwaj feel to them. The second one, which was quite short, reminded me of ‘Bismil’ from ‘Haider’, maybe because of the storytelling style of Gulzar’s lyrics. The first antara has a cool repetition of the lines Sunidhi sings by a harmonious backing chorus. Vishal’s arrangements are enjoyable, with the trumpets playing an utterly important role in them, especially in the hookline. The piano played in a very upbeat manner gives a nice beat to the song. I’m sure you’ll hear the piano where you would least expect it, in the song. Strings are used well too in places. The use of bass has been done generously, and it makes the song sound modern even though it has a retro styled composition. And of course, the male and female choruses both do an amazing job with their respective parts. Sunidhi, a once-in-four-years singer for Vishal Bhardwaj, owns the song, with her efficacious voice, and it reminds you of the days when Sunidhi used to sing numerous songs of this type. She gets the grunge in her voice right when needed, and gets her voice soft and sweet when needed, all so seamlessly. Gulzar’s lyrics are a fun take on what it would’ve been like at a soldier’s camp during the World War II, though they are quite the whimsical. Some parts make entire nonsense. 😛 A good start to the album, and probably the most commercial Vishal Bhardwaj’s music can get!

Rating: 4/5

 

2. Yeh Ishq Hai / Yeh Ishq Hai (Female Version)

Singers ~ Arijit Singh / Rekha Bhardwaj, Choir in Female Version ~ Mahesh Kumar Rao, Nazim Khan, Subhan Sultani & Sonu Khan, Lyrics by ~ Gulzar

“Sufi ke sulfe ki, Lau utthi Allah hoo! Allah hoo, Allah hoo, Allah hooooo!
Sufi ke sulfe ki, Lau utthi Allah hoo!
Jalte hi rehna hai, Baaki na main na Tu.. yeh ishq hai re… Yeh ishq hai!”

– Gulzar

Vishal Bhardwaj tries to tone down the craziness that the first song caused, by giving us a dulcet romantic song as the next song on the soundtrack. And what we get is a soothing, calm melodious romantic piece in a typical Vishal Bhardwaj style of composition! Now I always love this typicality of Vishal Bhardwaj, and nothing changed this time. The composition seemed slow and ‘different’ at first, but later it grew on me very quickly. The mukhda dives right into the hookline, and then continues to very low-pitched notes that soothe your senses as much as they can be soothed. The hookline does have very slight shades of Rahman’s ‘Dil Se Re’ (Dil Se), but barring that slight uncanny resemblance, I wouldn’t really go all bonkers about that similarity. The mukhda intrigues you so much that you don’t even realise when the interlude is over and the antara has started. The antara is a melodious, high-pitched piece that reminds me of ‘Khul Kabhi’ (Haider), another vintage Vishal Bhardwaj-styled melody from the composer. The way the high notes fall back to low notes and continue with the hookline, is just amazing. It is the second Antara that holds all the magic though. Although the tune of both is the same, Vishal introduces pleasant variations in the second antara (I’m talking about the “Allah hoo” part!) and it is just so heavenly! And at the end, when the hookline plays, it is such a beautiful high pitch, that you can say nothing but “Waah!” Saying so much about the composition, I must say that it wouldn’t have sounded this great without the wonderful arrangements. Guitars (Ankur Mukherjee) lead the way, with nice wind instruments (Ashwin Shrinivasan) following. And that magnificent digital beat that sounds like jingles, is toooooo good! The first interlude has a beautiful flute piece, while the second goes with a nice rustic rabaab, which you can also hear faintly playing in the background in other parts of the song. Arijit’s voice suits the song perfectly, and though I wished Vishal himself had sung it during the first couple of times I heard ths song, I am now totally convinced that there was no voice other than Arijit’s, that could’ve done justice to the composition, and also, I so trust Vishal now with Arijit’s voice. He always gives him the best songs, and doesn’t hesitate to experiment with his voice. Arijit too, has introduced a husky quality in his voice here, and it sounds mesmerizing, quite like it did in ‘Khul Kabhi’ (Haider). He hits the high notes with such intensity and perfection, that it is hard to believe he was the same man who was made to drone out songs like ‘Raat Bhar’ (Heropanti) and ‘Saanson Ko’ (Zid) in such a disturbingly low pitch. That much was what I thought about the male version of the song. But if you skip to the track number 9 on the soundtrack as it is shown on Saavn or iTunes or the YouTube jukebox, you will find hidden there, a gem in the form of the female version of the same song. Now that version is pure bliss. And of you thought the male version was heaven, you will find this to be pure salvation. Vishal Bhardwaj has given it a complete makeover, adding a nice Sufi-style Qawwali arrangement. Tablas (Navin Sharma), dholaks (Raju Sardar & Navin Sharma) and harmoniums (Firoz Shah) replace the guitars that were so prominent in the original song. It makes the song sound so spiritual all of a sudden. The tune has been tweaked when the antara joins to the hookline, where, instead of going to the high notes as Arijit did, the tune goes back down to the low notes. And Rekha Bhardwaj renders this version majestically. Nobody else could’ve done it and produced the same effect. And she is ably supported by a nice backing chorus, giving a very mehfil-ish feel to it all. Gulzar’s lyrics are amazing! I think you will have to listen to them to experience it yourself, but I must say they are a nice depiction of love. And in the female version, a beautiful introductory piece has been added by the veteran lyricist, which is not to be missed! A romantic piece that takes your breath away. Special points to the female version that makes romance sound so spiritual.

Rating: 4/5 for Male Version, 5/5 for Female Version

 

3. Mere Miyan Gaye England

Singer ~ Rekha Bhardwaj, Choir ~ Deepti Rege, Mayuri Patwardhan, Archana Gore, Pragati Joshi, Aditi Prabhudesai, Aparna Ullal, Arun Ingle, R. N. Iyer, Mandar Apte & Nitin Karandikar, Lyrics by ~ Gulzar

“Saat samundar paar gaye par paanv nahin bheege,
Aise pahunche huye piya hai, aji gaanv nahin bhoole!
Jo utre kheton mein, wahin par padi hoon main,
Jahan par milte thhe, wahin par khadi hoon main!
Aji itna hai bas bhool na jaaye mera bus ishtand,
Conductor chooke na! Conductor chooke na!
Conductor chooke na… Driver chaunke na!”

– Gulzar

When a movie’s name is ‘Rangoon’, one isn’t surprised when the makers decide to come up with a spin-off of the old classic ‘Mere Piya Gaye Rangoon’ from the 1949 film ‘Patanga’. And mind you, I said ‘spin-off’, and not ‘remake’. And no, spin-off is not the new euphemism I’ll be using for remakes, so there’s no need to be releasing yourselves, composers making bad remakes! Anyway, back to the point. The song has been composed entirely differently, with only the first line of the hook bearing whatsoever resemblance to the old song. Instead of ‘Rangoon’ from the old song, Vishal Bhardwaj has cleverly changed it to ‘England’ (given the fact that the film is set against the backdrop of the World War II) and changed ‘Piya’ to ‘Miyan’. He has composed an entirely new song, no mater what people say about it being a remake, because it isn’t. The composition is instantly catchy and has a very happy-go-lucky tune to it, which makes it all the more likeable. The ‘ha-ha-ha’ that sets the song going, is very mesmerising in a fun way, and after that, it is a full-of-fun, enjoyable song, probably another of Julia’s performances, given its situational nature. The mukhda starts off from the hookline (and is entirely composed of the hookline itself, I must say), which starts off quite similar to the old song’s hookline, but then goes on into one of those endless lines that stops unexpectedly, making it so fun the first time you hear it! The “kahan karenge land” part is what I’m referring to. The antaras are beautiful, with a very tangible, traditional touch to them. The composition of those parts is indescribably enjoyable, something similar to Vishal’s work in ‘Oye Boy Charlie’ (Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola). The part in the antaras which is the bridge from the antara to the hookline, (“Jo utre kheton mein…”) is brilliantly fast paced, and brings back the tempo fabulously after the slowdown in the antara! Vishal’s arrangements are a class apart. Again, ‘Oye Boy Charlie’-like instrumentation can be observed, with harmoniums leading the way, and tablas (Musharraf Khan & Sanjiv Sen) and dholaks (Mohd. Yusuf, Hafeez Khan, Sharafat Khan, Raju Sardar) leading the fantastic percussion. A beautiful detour from the main fun-filled ambience of the song occurs in the form of the second interlude, when a very heart-moving shehnaai (Sanjeev Shankar) piece suddenly changes the whole feel of the song, and the antara that follows seems like a very emotional part of the song (more so because of Gulzar’s lyrics), until the hookline comes back to cheer things up again. Not that it is going to be make you rather teary-eyed though; it is a very subtle emotional detour in the song, and certainly a magical move by Vishal Bhardwaj. Rekha Bhardwaj is very effervescent in her delivery of the upbeat composition. Who could be a better replacement (though this is a spin-off and not a remake) than her, for the legendary Shamshad Begum? She is always such a pleasure to listen to, and the fact remains true here as well. Her rendition makes her sound like a very young and boisterous person, and it suits to the theme of the song perfectly. Gulzar’s lyrics are amazing, about a lady missing her love, who is away fighting the war in England. References to Hitler and Churchill really, really enrich the listening experience and it also makes the song interesting for History lovers (who isn’t one?) And the second antara, of course, has been written beautifully! A nice SPIN-OFF to an old classic, and one of the most fun and quirky songs of recent times!

Rating: 5/5

 

4. Tippa

Singers ~ Rekha Bhardwaj, Sunidhi Chauhan, Sukhwinder Singh & O.S. Arun, Choir ~ Vivienne Pocha, Marianne D’Cruz Aiman, Neuman Pinto & Rajiv Sundaresan, Lyrics by ~ Gulzar

“Aaja uchhalenge, pakdenge paani ki boondein, aa bhi jaa..
Geeli hawaayein agar paani maange, toh kyun de, kyun bhala?
Tupur tupur, naach re nupur paayi.. tupur tupur naach re nupur paayi,
Googly Jhinak jhaayi..
Hey, tap tap gol gol tippe mein jo doobe, far far farmaaish dekhe hain ajoobe..!”

– Gulzar

What follows, is an even more enjoyable, situational track that proves wrong all notions that situational songs never grip you before you watch them in the movie. Because this one here, is a stellar example of a song that intrigues and fascinates you so much, yet you do not understand what exactly is going on, but get a vague idea. Of course, to understand you’ll have to watch it in the movie, but for now, the song is not something that you will have to keep on hold till the movie releases! The song is an perfect example of a brilliant onomatopoeic song, with sounds like “Tap Tap”, “Chhuk Chhuk”, “Bud Bud”, “Jhinak Jhayi” making up the gist of the lyrics. And the spectacular arrangements help propel the otherwise very undecipherable song, to new heights. The composition on its own sounds like a 90s Vishal Bhardwaj composition {And turns out it is a reuse of one of Vishal Bhardwaj’s title songs for an animated television series, “Alice in Wonderland”} and intrigues you the way it would have in the 90s, when Vishal’s songs werw way ahead of their time. It has many layers, just like ‘Haider’s ‘Bismil’, and it seems that there is some hidden story in it, which of course, will unfold on 24th February. The song starts with a very haunting, but catchy tune, and as the hookline arrives you are fascinated by the various sound effects. But when the hookline does arrive, you notice how wonderful a tune it is. Hear it again in entirety, and the mukhda also sounds better the next time. The first antara follows the same tune as that of the mukhda, but of course, when it is Vishal Bhardwaj, it means variations, so the variations are evident here as well. The second antara has a more commercially appealing tune, but it still appeals just as much as the other unconventional parts of the song. Sukhwinder’s “Maajhi Re” interlude touches your heart. And whenever they build up the suspense before the hookline by saying “tap tap tap, tap tap tap“, it is so fun to just guess when the climax will arrive and the hookline reveals all the suspense. (And this happens every time you hear the song, just like a good thriller movie). Vishal’s arrangements are splendid, a mélange of great sound effects and beautiful orchestration. The violins (Suresh Lalwani) are the most prominent instruments throughout the entire song, and they are played in those vivid strokes, making them sound so regal. Of course, there are sound effects in such magnitudes that I’ve very rarely heard in a Bollywood song, and even if I have, they hadn’t been used to such a good effect. But here, sound effects like the raindrops, and train sounds start off the song so intriguingly! That creaking noise gives such an awesome beat, and it is joined by the raindrops and later on, the “tap tap” chorus, making it sound ever-so-harmonious. Also, that sudden outbreak of percussion when the hookline finally starts after the endless “tap tap“, is amaziiiiinnng! The vocals are amazing, with four lead singers and a choir supporting them. I would especially like to point out O.S. Arun, a professional Carnatic singer, who has sung his parts so majestically! And he sounds a bit like Suresh Wadkar, so I’m surprised Vishal Bhardwaj didn’t think of Suresh Wadkar. The others are all seasoned Bollywood singers — Sukhwinder (bringing the “Chaiyya Chaiyya” touch in yet another train-themed song!), Rekha Bhardwaj (at her mesmerizing best) and Sunidhi (carrying the hookline with such marvellous finesse). The choir is amazing in its parts. Gulzar’s lyrics make it clear that the song is about rain, trains and dimples, but I’m sure there’s a deeper meaning to it; the movie might reveal that! However, I loved the striking use of onomatopoeia! That in itself is a masterstroke. Innovative, yet nostalgia-inducing! A song about rains, trains and dimples!

Rating: 5/5

 

5. Ek Dooni Do

Singer ~ Rekha Bhardwaj, Choir ~ Vivienne Pocha, Bianca Pinto, Marianne D’Cruz Aiman, Crystal Sequeira, Rajiv Sundaresan, Thomson Andrews, François Casstellino & Neuman Pinto, Lyrics by ~ Gulzar

“Jaagti hoon, aankhein khole, khwaab ke maare, khwaab ke maare,
Ungli jal gayi, ginte ginte, raat ke taare, raat ke taare!
Ek bujhe toh ek jalta hai, ek tamasha sa lagta hai,
Kab tak ginti rahun pahaadein?”

– Gulzar

A Spanish touch hits you right as the next song starts, with a nice Spanish guitar starting the song off on a very energetic note. The song is yet another song that you cannot ascertain what it is about yet, and we must only guess that it is another stage performance by the leading lady. The composition by Vishal Bhardwaj loyally sticks to the Spanish theme, thus automatically sticking to the European theme of the movie too. It is quite similar to what we heard Rajesh Roshan give recently in ‘Mon Amour’ (Kaabil), but has more dark shades than that one. The song starts off slowly, with Rekha Bhardwaj singing one line, with a nice touch of intimacy and sounding great. After that, the tempo elevates quite abruptly and fumbles you for a moment until the song takes on its pace and goes steadily ahead after that. The hookline is the only part of the song that sounds out of place and distracting, if you will. The hookline doesnt quite fit in too well with other parts of the song, especially the extraordinary tune of the antara, which is an enjoyable part of the song. Because of the less appealing tune, this song might not appeal as much as the others. And then of course, the situational nature acts as a barrier here. Anyway, Rekha has rendered the song beautifully, and in the process lets us enjoy the song solely due to her amazing singing. Arrangements by Vishal range from guitars to the traditional Spanish castanets and harmonicas. The backing vocalists do a fantastic job at those weird Spanish interjections, and they sound so much like an actual Spanish song! Gulzar’s lyrics do not disclose at all, what the song is going to be for in the movie, and otherwise, aren’t much of a remarkable feat either. They are just fun and simple words, nothing to place on a pedestal! A good one, but lacking that patchiness that the others; it sounds rather odd.

Rating: 4/5

 

6. Alvida

Singer ~ Arijit Singh, Lyrics by ~ Gulzar

Alvida, alvida, toh nahi… Alvida, alvida toh nahi!
Jism se Jaan juda toh nahi!
Rooh mein beh raha hai Tu, rooh mein beh raha hai tu!
Aye kahin tu khuda toh nahi!”

– Gulzar

After the relatively disappointing song, Vishal Bhardwaj comes up with yet another typical trademark Vishal Bhardwaj composition. And this one follows his own template to the tee. Complete with a morose tune, and minimal arrangements, with a hint of soft rock instrumentation here and there, this one is a package custom-made for Vishal Bhardwaj’s diehard fans and appreciators! The composition, as I said before, is highly melancholic, but it appeals to you after a couple of listens. The mukhda is something that might suck the energy out of you the first time you hear it (I’m not lying, it was so beautiful, it actually did do that!) and you might dismiss it as too exhausting and heavy music, but later, you realise the beauty it contains. The composition has shades of ‘Jhelum’ from ‘Haider’ (which I remember describing as a trademark Sanjay Leela Bhansali-styled melody! Both of these stalwarts, SLB and VB sure know how to make us teary-eyed now, don’t they?) which are evident in the darkness of the tune. The antaras see the composition calm down a bit, traversing notes that are more gentle in their sound. In the first antara, comes that small soft rock interlude, that was characteristic of Vishal Bhardwaj years ago. The second interlude has a wonderful Sufi interlude, and that is the main reason why you’ll come to love the whole song after a couple of listens — only because of a wonderfully placed Sufi portion that comes unexpectedly from nowhere. When Arijit sings “jaaniyaaa..” in the second antara, my mind suddenly remembered a song I haven’t heard for years — ‘Haal-e-Dil’ from “Haal-e-Dil”, another Vishal Bhardwaj composition, in which Rahat Fateh Ali Khan sings “Jaaniyaaa..” in quite a similar way! And also, when Arijit sings “Sab chhod chhad taaron ki aadh mil lenge“, it sounds so much like the antara of Vishal’s song ‘Dum Ghutta Hai’ from ‘Dirshyam’! Funny how your subconscious mind remembers stuff at just the right time, eh? 😀 Vishal’s arrangements are so minimal, that you pay more attention to the melody, something you wouldn’t have done if there would’ve been more pompous arrangements. Vishal cleverly keeps the instrumentation down, so that the beauty of the composition can be beheld. Still, I hear the saxophone (I.D. Rao) in the first interlude, and it doesn’t bleat itself out so that you know its there; it has been played so gently, in a way you would never imagine a saxophone able to be played! The harmoniums and Tablas/dholaks in the Sufi interlude have to be one of the best touches given to any song in recent times! It is so beautiful how that Sufi portion agrees with the rest of the song so well and gels in seamlessly. Arijit’s vocals are impeccable! They are what make the song sound all the more wholesome and different from any other Vishal Bhardwaj song (but then again, Arijit sings so many songs for Vishal that after a few years it might be hard to separate the two sounds!) Gulzar’s lyrics are amazing for the theme of the song and are heart touching. A typical Vishal Bhardwaj affair, that doesn’t fail to impress!!

Rating: 5/5

 

7. Julia

Singers ~ Sukhwinder Singh, Vishal Bhardwaj, Kunal Ganjawala & K.K., Choir ~ Clinton Cerejo, Dominique Cerejo, Vivienne Pocha, Bianca Gomes, Neuman Pinto, Rishikesh Kamerkar & Asif Ali Baig, Lyrics by ~ Gulzar

“Tune Jaan ko jind ko chhoo liya, humein teri ghulami qubooliya,
Tu hi aaka hai usooliya, tu hi aaka usooliya,
O Julia! Pa pa pa pam pam pam! Miss Julia! Pa pa pa pam pam!”

– Gulzar

Whatever magic Vishal Bhardwaj has created in the former part of the album, he overdoes all of it with this next piece, a foot-tapping, vaudevillian melody in which the operatic theme is taken quite seriously! And the result is a song that sounds like a genuine male opera piece. Four singers behind the mic, this one is a pleasure to hear not only because of the great tune or arrangements, but also because of the differing vocal styles of all four singers. So let’s begin from the beginning! I always start talking about the composition of the song, but here, I would like to start with the arrangements — some splendid European-themed arrangements that tread over multiple musical territories. First of all, the booming percussion just hits you hard, and leaves you shocked by the end of the song, in a mesmerizing way. Of course, the brass band follows suit, with just as intriguing instrumentation. And the strings orchestra doesn’t fail to impress either! It is the ravishing strings that infuse life into the song, which would’ve sounded incomplete without it. And in the antara, the arrangements break out into Latino-flavoured ones, while in one of the interludes, a mystifying Arabic musical piece intrigues you, and that’s when you notice how many different styles of music the song is composed of. The composition itself would sound half as great without the larger-than-life arrangements! The composition isn’t one that would hook you immediately, and definitely not if you are one of the multitude of Bollywood fans who like the meaningless rap we hear in every other song nowadays. The composition is made up many, many sets of tunes, which make up the mukhda, a strong and hard-hitting hookline, and an antara that is a good continuation of the magic. The mukhda is very slow to start off, but when it does pick up pace, it does so mind-bogglingly! The “Julia jaaye, jaaye re..” line is some spectacular black magic! Well, I must say, the whole composition itself is! The hookline is, as it should be, the main attraction of the song, and it has valid reasons to be so. It has a genuinely catchy tune, and that pompous sound to it makes it sound all the more catchy! That “Pa Pa Pa Pam Pam Pam” after each time they sing “Julia“, is just tooooooooooooo good!! It all sounds so grand, that it is unbelievable after a few listens, after which you will skip all the songs of the album to listen to this one. The antara is a bit damped considering the beauty of the rest of the song, but it soon moulds its way into the hookline, and the magic goes on. So it serves as a good respite from too much regality in the goings-on of the song. Now, what I’ve been waiting to talk about — the vocals! Never in recent times have I seen a song with so many singers (of the same gender!), executed so wonderfully! It must’ve taken weeks to compile each one’s parts together and entwine them to make a composition that sounded appealing and also fit the lyrics (if they were written before the composition process). Sukhwinder is at his efficacious best, while Vishal Bhardwaj sounds great in a song of the type which he usually never sings. K.K. and Kunal Ganjawala (two singers I used to confuse with each other when I was younger! What a coincidence!) are a bit underused, but whatever they get to sing, they sing marvellously! K.K. has not more than four lines (maybe even less), but he makes sure he makes those lines beautiful, while Kunal has a bit more than him. The lyrics by Gulzar depict very nicely the immense fan following Kangana’s character in the film has! Situational again, but they have a nice ring to them! MARVELLOUS! This one is like an opera performance!

Rating: 5/5

 

8. Chori Chori

Singer ~ Rekha Bhardwaj, Choir ~ Vivienne Pocha, Bianca Pinto, Marianne D’Cruz Aiman & Crystal Sequeira, Lyrics by ~ Gulzar

“Nukkad nukkad dekh rahe ho tum, thode se khoye thode se gumm,
Nukkad nukkad dekh rahe ho tum, thode se khoye thode se gumm,
Peeche peeche aate ho, bin aavaz bulaate ho,
Moongphali ke daane aise phenka na karo, piya ji Chori Chori!
Chori Chori Dekho aise dekha na karo!”

– Gulzar

Once again, we are transported to the 1940s with this song, another solo song by the albums leading lady, Rekha Bhardwaj. The song is a throwback to the black-and-white era of Bollywood, when O.P. Nayyar churned out all these melodies that were clearly inspired by European music. This one is a similar piece, particularly reminding me of ‘Leke Pehla Pehla Pyaar’ (C.I.D. – 1956). It starts with wonderful European-flavoured accordion and mandolin, making you ready for a retro-themed composition. And sure enough, the composition by Vishal is so evocative of the old songs I mentioned above! It is almost like a throwback to that era. The antara slows down the tempo a bit, and for a while everything is quiet, but then the Spanish touch returns with finger snaps and whatnot! Speaking of which, the arrangements of fabulous! The strings and the accordion is magical! The occasional drums contribute to the fun flavour of the song, and that fun second interlude is a must-listen! Rekha’s vocals are beautiful, reminding you of Asha Bhosle’s songs of that era. The lyrics by Gulzar, once again, do not disclose too much, except that there is yet another possibility that it is one of Julia’s stage performances! The lyrics are quite cute as well. Everything about this track is like a throwback to the black-and-white era of Bollywood!

Rating: 4.5/5

 

9. Rangoon Theme

(Instrumental)

Finally, that theme we heard in the trailer arrives on the soundtrack! And what a treat to the ears it is! An astounding mélange of wonderful strings and brass instruments, it sounds aptly and perfectly oriental! It starts off subtly with the strings of a harp being plucked in a quite mellow way, and soon, the lead viola (Suresh Lalwani) starts playing a very heart-rending tune, which has a distinctly Chinese touch to it. (Fair enough, because China is close to Myanmar.) The other violas and violins join it soon, and add to the majesticness of the song. Later on cellos, and brass instruments like trumpets, French horns , tuba and trombones join. The gong sounds amazing, too. The one-and-a-half minute track is definitely going to let those goosebumps have a party in the movie hall! Magnificent!!

Rating: 5/5

 

10. Be Still

Singer ~ Dominique Cerejo, Lyrics by ~ Lekha Washington

“Be still, my heart, be still!
Come down from the windowsill of my throat,
Don’t jump to the gut!”

– Lekha Washington

The next song is the first of the two English songs that bring up the caboose of the album. This one is a waltzy melody that intrigues you with its calm notes. Vishal has tried his best at a convincing waltz, and succeeds just as well. The hookline is what grabs your attention right away, as the song starts with it. The piano has been put to great use, as are the strings, and whatever is giving those waltz beats in the background! Dominique Cerejo has sung gloriously, and it actually makes you feel as if you’re hearing her perform live, such is the conviction in her voice. Lekha Washington lyrics are good, too, and cute too, at that! A fantastic waltz!

Rating: 4/5

 

11. Shimmy Shake

Singer ~ Vivienne Pocha, Lyrics by ~ Lekha Washington

“A little Shimmy shake, a little double take,
Time’s a-running out, so kiss me!
I am alive now, so are you Amour,
Remember this somehow, so kiss me!”

– Lekha Washington

The last song of the album happens to be an outright fun song about the Shimmy, a very fun dance form of the era shown in the movie. The composition is fun, and Vivienne delivers in a just as fun way. The arrangements, aptly jazzy, are a nice mix of piano, trumpet and guitars. The lyrics are fun as well, and I can’t really think of any more to say about this! 😀 Seize the opportunity and dance away!

Rating: 3.5/5


Rangoon is marvellous! Vishal Bhardwaj delivers a theme-based album just as he always does, with nothing out of place and everything sounding great even though he has tried some experiments here and there. The 40s/50s flavour is evident in most songs, and the result is a fun soundtrack with no single song I can call bad as such. With his, it is probably the most fulfilling Bollywood album of the year so far, and I must say, there wasn’t much of a doubt that it would be! Another masterpiece from VB!

 

Total Points Scored by This Album: 4 + 4 + 5 + 5 + 5+ 4 + 5 + 5 + 4.5 + 5 + 4 + 3.5 = 54

Album Percentage: 90%

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: From Track 1 to Track 12 nonstop 🙂

 

Remake Counter
No. Of Remakes: 04 (from previous albums) + 00 = 04

 

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