AAI SHAPPAT, A NAADKHULA ALBUM FROM SLB AND TEAM!! (MALAAL – Music Review)

Music Album Details
♪ Music by: Sanjay Leela Bhansali, Shreyas Puranik & Shail Hada
♪ Lyrics by: Prashant Ingole, A.M. Turaz & Vimal Kashyap
♪ Music Label: T-Series
♪ Music Released On: 21st June 2019
♪ Movie Releases On: 5th July 2019

Malaal Album Cover

Listen to the songs: JioSaavn | Gaana

Buy the songs: iTunes


Malaal is an upcoming romantic drama starring Meezaan Jaffery and Sharmin Segal in lead roles; the film is directed by Mangesh Hadawale and produced by Sanjay Leela Bhansali, Bhushan Kumar, Krishan Kumar and Mahaveer Jain. The film revolves around two youngsters “from different backgrounds who experience the innocence of true love”, as per its official synopsis. In short, it is an everyday Bollywood romance. The film has songs composed by Sanjay Leela Bhansali, and two of his assistants who have been around in the music credits for his directorials for quite some time, Shreyas Puranik (who composed a song for ‘Bajirao Mastani’) and Shail Hada (SLB’s usual arranger/programmer). While Bhansali handles the major chunk of the album (five out of seven songs), the other two get charge of one song each. It isn’t everyday that Sanjay Leela Bhansali composes for his non-directorials (in fact, I believe it is the first time he is composing for one of his non-directorial productions), so it will be interesting to see what he offers, especially because he has been in this period/folk musical world for his previous two to three films, so I’m quite excited how he returns to the contemporary setting.


Bhansali’s first song on the album is the techno-tapori dance number Aila Re, an amalgamation of sorts, of ‘Tattad Tattad’ (Goliyon ki Raasleela Ram-Leela) and ‘Malhari’ (Bajirao Mastani). If the cacophonous programming is ignored in this song (which isn’t as easy as it sounds) it has the potential to be a hit among the masses; a catchy hookline is all it needs to catch public attention. Obviously, my attention isn’t grabbed by just a catchy hookline. For me, it is the antara‘s composition that redeems the song for me. The dhols are remnants from ‘Tattad Tattad’ and ‘Malhari’, and that’s where the music gets a bit heard-before and stale. But the other elements like the piano in the prelude and interlude, and the crazy bass and synthesizer sounds, make it listen-worthy, at least once. Vishal Daldani puts his irresistibly grungy voice to good use — the singing by him makes the song suitable for the setting the film is shown to be in. Shreyas Puranik’s Marathi rap is cringeworthy, being a Marathi speaker myself, and could have been avoided. Prashant Ingole’s lyrics are also suitable for the song’s setting; can’t really comment more on that.

Providing much more fun to my Maharashtrian ears is the love song with an aarti backdrop to it, Udhal Ho. The song is a mishmash of cliches from many traditional Marathi numbers, but in entirety, it seems to work as an enjoyable folksy number. Adarsh Shinde, the vocal boombox of the Marathi music industry, finally gets his solo singing debut in Bollywood, and he seizes the opportunity and makes the most of it. His voice texture being so fresh and raw, would provide something new for Bollywood music listeners. The arrangements are traditional Maharashtrian folk arrangements, with the banjo (bulbultarang) and dhols being the most prominent. The comoosition by Bhansali becomes really catchy after a few listens, and the ladies’ choruses in the hookline, interlude and towards the end, where the song detours down a wonderful aarti path (“Dono ka hoga kalyaan…”) provide a fresh touch. The use of the Fu Bai Fu refrain is cool too! Prashant Ingole’s Marathi+Hindi lyrics are refreshing; most Marathi film songs nowadays are a mix of Marathi and Hindi, but it is nice to see so much Marathi in a Hindi film song for once.

Another traditional Marathi-sounding song, Aai Shappat, takes the Koli route, what with the dholkis (Sanjeev Sen) and guitars (Rutvik Talashilkar) being plucked in the Koli fashion. Sanjay Leela Bhansali introduces a new singer, Rutvik Talashilkar, with this one, and he sings the song well, except that he seems to be struggling with his Marathi diction even with the one line of Marathi he sings in this song. The composition of the antara is charming in this song, but something seems forced or missing in the first half. The song is just two and a half minutes long, and is probably the least appealing of all the songs in the soundtrack, composition-wise. Prashant Ingole, once again, pens down very regular but functional lyrics.

The quintessential Shreya Ghoshal song of every Sanjay Leela Bhansali album cones next. Kathai Kathai is a beautiful romantic ballad for the monsoons; Bhansali’s composition is soothing, though very closely overlapping the composition of his own ‘Ishqyaun Dhishqyaun’ (Ram-Leela) in one bar of the song. (Dil pe mandraaye, bhanvre sa woh haaye) You half expect her to sing ‘Ishq yeh tera mera ishqyaun ki dhishkyaun..’! However, the next line “Dekho na dekho na” makes up for it big time. The use of mandolin (Tapas Roy) and flute (Paras Nath) in this song makes it sound all the more beautiful, Jackie Vanjari’s music production making the song stand a class apart. Melody queen Shreya traverses the dulcet melody with ease; then again, when does she ever sound off when it is with Bhansali, her mentor? A.M. Turaz joins Ingole for the lyrics for this song, and the use of the word ‘Kathai’ (meaning ‘light brown’) is an interesting choice to describe the eyes of the heroine’s love interest, because if I am not wrong, it has previously been used only to describe the eye colour of the girl in Bollywood songs — as in Anu Malik’s ‘Kathai Ankhiyon Wali Ek Ladki ‘ (Duplicate) and Sajid-Wajid’s ‘Rabba’ (Heropanti).

The last of the Bhansali compositions happens to be a very pensive and melancholic title song, Ek Malaal. Bhansali’s melody doesn’t flinch from touching the teevra and komal notes, giving it an overbearing haunting quality. The use of strings and the grand Bhansali-esque beats (the song has been arranged by Shail Hada, who arranged most of Bhansali’s latest albums, so that is where that touch comes from) makes the song sound more opulent. The composition of the antara is splendid, Shail handling the aalaaps with perfection. The slow tempo of the song only adds to the suspense and aura of the song, though it isn’t a song I would go and voluntarily play. Prashant Ingole’s lyrics are thoughtful, with the use of the titular word done quite well especially.

After the great singing performance by Shail Hada, we are treated to his entrée as a composer, a soft romantic duet, Zara Suno. The short duration and its adorably captivating composition work in its favour — the song doesn’t get to waste too much time in letting you like or dislike it, and that is what led me to like it, the honest and genuine attempt. Rutvik Talashilkar and Aanandi Joshi are in charge of the vocals, and though Aanandi does a great job (as she did earlier this year in her spectacular song ‘Anand Ghana’ from ‘Anandi Gopal’) with her portion, I couldn’t help but wish the male singer was somebody else. Shail’s composition being so honest and simple, didn’t need grand arrangements, but he tries to give it justice by adding guitars (Shomu Seal) and strings, and the tablas and sitar deserve special mention. Vimal Kashyap writes the lyrics as cute as Shail has composed the song, completing the package as a cute and simple affair, all in all.

Having saved the best for the last, Shreyas Puranik’s Nadhkhula seems to be the best romantic song I’ve heard in a long time, and just how I like it — a perfect mix of Indian instruments and a melodious tune. Shreyas sings the song himself, and his voice is brilliant; we did get a sneak peek of it towards the end of the Payal Dev-led ‘Ab Tohe Jaane Na Dungi’ (Bajirao Mastani), but this seems to be his first full-length solo song. As soon as it starts, with the piano and ethnic strokes (Tapas Roy), it evokes some kind of magical feeling that seems all the more magical because of the rains. The melody is decorated with sounds of running water, and a beautiful percussion loop (Prashant Sonagra and Mayank Shankar) props the hookline to a pedestal that just places it higher than the hooklines of any other recent Bollywood song. The interlude has a beautiful flute solo by Tejas Vinchurkar, and the flute follows into the antara, which by the way, is one of the most impeccably put together set of notes I have come across in a long time. But the real goosebumps moment is when you hear the Marathi chorus coupled with Vinchurkar’s flute towards the end of the song — which is when it really hits you, what a magical song you had been listening to for the past three minutes. Prashant Ingole’s lyrics are interesting again for the use of the word Nadhkhula, a Marathi slang word used to denote something awesome. This song would be the qualitative and musical equivalent of ‘Nainowale Ne’ (Padmaavat), in that it is in essence a ‘rainy season song’, if you know what I mean!


Total Points Scored by This Album: 7 + 8 + 6.5 + 8.5 + 7.5 + 8.5 + 9.5 = 55.5

Album Percentage: 79.29%

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: Nadhkhula > Zara Suno = Kathai Kathai > Udhal Ho > Ek Malaal > Aila Re > Aai Shappat

 

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

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BHANSALI’S MUSICAL GRANDEUR!! (PADMAAVAT – Music Review)

Music Album Details
♪ Music by: Sanjay Leela Bhansali
♪ Lyrics by: A.M. Turaz, Siddharth-Garima & Swaroop Khan
♪ Music Label: T-Series
♪ Music Released On: 21st January 2018
♪ Movie Releases On: 25th January 2018

Padmaavat Album Cover

 

Listen to the album: Saavn

Buy the album: iTunes


Padmaavat is an upcoming Bollywood period film starring Deepika Padukone, Shahid Kapoor and Ranveer Singh in lead roles, and Aditi Rao Hydari, Jim Sarbh, Raza Murad and Anupriya Goenka in supporting roles. The film is directed by Sanjay Leela Bhansali and produced by himself along with Sudhanshu Vats and Ajit Andhare. So the film has been in the news for the past three months and so, and as happy as I am that it is finally releasing, I can’t stop wondering what Bhansali himself must have gone through during all this. Anyway, on to the music. Bhansali had started off in ‘Khamoshi’ with a composer duo that was quite famous back then — Jatin-Lalit. With his next film though, he started to push debutants, and we got Ismail Darbar and Monty Sharma. However, with “Guzaarish”, he started composing his films’ music himself, and that tradition has carried on to his fourth film after “Guzaarish”. The results were phenomenal everytime he composed for a film himself, and I’m expecting, of course, this one to be no less!!


Before going into the songs, two things I notice immediately are how late the music has released, since music plays such an integral part of Bhansali’s films, and the second thing I notice is corollary to that — it has only six songs, breaking the usual Bhansali tradition of ten songs — it seems this movie hinges more on its script than its music. That being said though, the album is a treat for lovers of music from different regions! Now, let’s see how the songs fared for me.
The minor blemishes in Ghoomar (will get to them) are wisely covered up by an enticing Rajasthani folk chorus and arrangement, which doesn’t make it necessary to delve deeper into the song for any criticism. The starting and end chorus portions let by Swaroop Khan, complemented by the wonderful female chorus — Aditi Paul, Tarannum Mallik, Pratibha Baghel & Kalpana Gandharv, are brilliant and rich in their sound, grand as an SLB song can only be. The blemishes referred to earlier are mainly whenever Shreya goes into ultra-high pitch, as in the antara. Percussions are delightful, with the dhols and khartals stealing the show, and the subtle sarangi and shehnaai too, make their presence felt. The only other song on the album that sounds Rajasthan-based is Holi, a folk song of the Manganiyar and Langa communities. Richa Sharma’s stupendous rendition figures well amidst the Mughal-e-Azam-esque music, with Shail Hada’s wonderful Aalaaps making the Mughal-e-Azam-esque feeling stronger! The tablas and all other percussions too, for that matter, are wonderful here, as is the sitar, and even the wonderful peacock sounds.
The next part of the album sounds wholly and solely Middle-Eastern, in keeping with the Khilji Dynasty sound. Khalibali seems to be a celebratory number in the villain’s lair, where the villain is lovestruck at first sight of you-know-who. And if the film had been produced by Disney, the song would not have been out of place. Not that it is out of place here too, but can’t imagine Khilji dancing to this just as I couldn’t imagine Bajirao dancing to ‘Malhari’ until I saw it. The song itself is quite enjoyable, with an overbearing Balkan touch, and nice Arabic warbling in the backing chorus. Shivam Pathak has a nice time crooning the song, and gets the evilness of Khilji quite perfect. Shail Hada complements him well. I just don’t know why it starts like a song from a movie like “Robot”. The arrangements are great — the Arabic violins, percussions give it an enjoyable touch.
More enjoyable as a Middle-Eastern themed song is Binte Dil by Arijit, breaking the usual Arijit-SLB song stereotype. The warbling by Arijit here is amazing, but gets awkward after a point. The oud and percussions are well done. The song starts promisingly but slows down in the middle portions, where Arijit sounds strained. The compositions of both these Khilji songs are quite ho-hum too, frankly.
The other two songs fit neither in the Rajasthan category nor the Middle-Eastern themed category. That being said, Ek Dil Ek Jaan is a wonderful Sufi romantic number, sung wonderfully by Shivam Pathak, the lucky man who gets to sing for both the male leads. The song is highly propped on his vocals, because otherwise it is a typical SLB Raag yaman number, almost a mix of ‘Laal Ishq’ (Ram-Leela) and ‘Aayat’ (Bajirao Mastani) in equal proportions. The best of the album also features here; Nainowale Ne by Neeti Mohan is a wonderful romantic number, which is heavily inspired by classical music. Neeti’s rendition is one of her most cute yet mature renditions yet. Bhansali increases the song’s richness by adding wonderful musical arrangements like the sitar, santoor, peacocks (again), matka, and the beautiful backing chorus towards the end and in the interlude. The song is way too short, and I wish it were much, much longer!! Siddharth-Garima’s lyrics are beautiful too, with a mix of innocence and sensuousness.

On a concluding note, you might have noticed I wrote almost nothing  about the lyrics in the album — thats because barring Siddharth-Garima’s ‘Nainowale Ne’, the lyrics are nothing but the usual, run-of-the-mill material.


Not as intriguing as Bhansali’s other albums, but definitely has a place of its own, with so much musical richness in the arrangements!

 

Total Points Scored by This Album:8.5 + 8.5 + 8 + 8 + 8 + 9.5 = 50.5

Album Percentage: 84.17%

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:  Nainowale Ne > Holi = Ghoomar > Khalibali = Ek Dil Ek Jaan = Binte Dil

 

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