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! 🙂

SHANKAR-EHSAAN-LOY KE TAGDE SUR!! (SOORMA – Music Review)

Music Album Details
♪ Music by: Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy
♪ Lyrics by: Gulzar
♪ Music Label: Sony Music
♪ Music Released On: 3rd July 2018
♪ Movie Releases On: 13th July 2018

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Soorma Album Cover

Listen to the songs: Saavn

Buy the songs: iTunes


Soorma is an upcoming Bollywood sports biopic starring Diljit Dosanjh, Taapsee Pannu and Angad Bedi in lead roles. The film is directed by Shaad Ali and produced by Sony Pictures Networks Productions, Chitrangada Singh and Deepak Singh. The film doesn’t look like anything Shaad Ali has tried before, being an out and out biopic of professional Indian field hockey player and ex-captain, Sandeep ‘Flicker’ Singh. As always, Shaad Ali has roped in Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy for the music. Not only have they delievered some of their best soundtracks with Ali, but they’ve also opened their account in 2018 with ‘Raazi’, my favourite album of the year. So it goes without saying, that I’m rooting for the songs of this album to turn out extraordinary!


The album could well be considered to have two theme songs, but the one which stands out instantly is the Soorma Anthem, starting with an amazing flute, accompanied by a wonderful guitar loop, the tune of which becomes the tune of the first line of the song. The composition is quite low-pitched but Shankar Mahadevan’s range is so wide, he covers the low and high notes equally well. The composition by Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy is an instantly distinguishable Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy composition, with numerous twists and turns and a 90s dharm that doesn’t seem tedious or drab at all. The high portions in the antara are beautiful, and meanwhile, the trio decorates the song with amazing arrangements like percussions which somehow suit the hockey theme so well, because it sounds like the sound you would get when two hockey sticks are tapped to one another. The Punjabi percussions and the strings have been orchestrated masterfully as well, and the backing chorus is one of the main highlights of the song; they’ve been used just as well as they’d been used in ‘Raazi’s ‘Ae Watan’, especially the way they sing ‘Sooormaa’ alongside the main man. What can one say about Gulzar saab’s lyrics? The inspirational value of the lyrics is so high, that it doesn’t feel pretentious, or dramatised even for one moment.

The second song that can be called a theme song for the album is Flicker Singh, which takes a more pronounced Shaad Ali-SEL route, in its composition and arrangements and overall sound. The Punjabi percussions are enjoyable, especially because the dhol resonates so wonderfully, and the trio uses the usual rock guitars, which is like a tradition for them in Shaad Ali soundtracks. The song takes you to the ‘Jhoom Barabar Jhoom’ title song, in the ‘Ding ding ding’ part that is euqivalent to ‘Jhoom jhoom Jhoom’ from the latter song. About two minutes into the song, it takes a folksy turn with nice dholaks and manjeeras, and the composition by the trio is so strong there, you instantly fall in love with it. Whenever Daler Mehndi comes with his portions, it brings the song to a new level altogether! Once again after ‘Mirzya’, Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy make the most out of him, in an ensemble track again, like the title track of Mirzya! Each and every singer actually has done his part very well, and has left no scope for complaints in that department. Daler Mehndi, Hemant Brijwasi, Shehnaz and Sahil Akhtar, along with Shankar and Ehsaan, render this song perfectly. The second antara has another splendid portion full of aalaaps that takes your breath away.

The same set of singers, minus Daler Mehndi, return in Pardesiya, a sad song that is one of the most heavenly numbers I’ve heard since a long time, in Bollywood. I believe Hemant Brijwasi leads this one [EDIT: Ehsaan Noorani has confirmed on Twitter that Shehnaz Akhtar is the lead singer]. The song starts off slowly, but it serves as a setup for the listeners, and then you get sucked up into a beautiful Sufi sad song, with majestic tablas and sarangi taking over, and Shankar Mahadevan’s amazing sargam winning your heart. The composition is heart rending, and instantly has you feeling for the character, even though we don’t know what exactly has happened at the point this song will play in the film! Midway into the song, it changes into a magnificent bhajan with the beautiful manjeeras and tablas playing the Bhajan theka. The lyrics by Gulzar are just as heart-rending, and it makes the listening experience all the more inmersive and personal.

Good Man Di Laaltain becomes the second Gulzar song using that phrase in the second year, last year’s song being ‘Bloody Hell’s (Rangoon). Another coincidence is that Sunidhi is signing this song too. She gets two lines in the second verse, but as always, does well. The song belongs to the leading man Sukhwinder Singh, who never fails to spread his infectious energy all over every song he sings. Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy’s composition is good, but grows with time and didn’t hook me instantly. But one thing I can say for sure is that, the composition isn’t bad at all! For a celebratory number, the trio has produced a functional song, and it works in its intent, especially the tangibly Indian hookline. Any true Indian will nod his head on the ‘Good man diiiii…’ line. The percussion again stands out, but the trio add some digital beats, which sound all the more quirky — kind of like ‘Iski Uski’ (2 States). Gulzar’s lyrics are fun, as required.

The song that defines the album for me, which released first and features on the album first, though, I will talk about now, at the end. Ishq Di Baajiyaan is the quintessential Punjabi romantic number, in which I could find nothing wrong! It’s very rare for a song to be so perfect, and this song has made that achievement, in my eyes. From the starting introductory Sufi-ish chorus chants by Diljit and Shankar Mahadevan, to the moving and intense composition, to the fresh Punjabi arrangements adorned with amazing violins and mandolin, to the head-nod-inducing dholak percussion which plays throughout the song, to Diljit’s impeccable rendition especially in the antara,  the composition of which harks back to Vishal Bhardwaj’s work in the 90s, this song has had me hooked since it released. Gulzar’s lyrics are so, so, so beautiful, I can’t help but wonder how he still comes up with such lyrics even after having written so much — clearly artistic ideas never get exhausted when you have the talent. 🙂


Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy in their first album of 2018 presented a soundtrack that went well with the movie, and showcased their talent at creating a Kashmiri sound. Now for their second film of the year, they reunite with a director they’ve worked with quite often, a director they know in and out, and for whom they’ve given some of their best soundtracks, and I can only say, their ‘tagde sur’ (strong melodies) will always stay immortal!

Total Points Scored by This Album: 9 + 8.5 + 9.5 + 7.5 + 10 = 44.5

Album Percentage: 89%

Final Rating for This Album: सा < रे < ग < म < प < ध < नी < सां

Note: The letter which is underlined is the final rating.

Recommended Listening Order: Ishq Di Baajiyaan > Pardesiya > Soorma Anthem > Flicker Singh > Good Man Di Laaltain

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

DIL RAAZI HAI, TO LISTEN ON LOOP!! (RAAZI – Music Review)

Music Album Details
♪ Music by: Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy
♪ Lyrics by: Gulzar
♪ Music Label: Zee Music Company
♪ Music Released On: 18th April 2018
♪ Movie Released On: 11th May 2018

Raazi Album Cover

 

Listen to the songs: Saavn

Buy the songs: iTunes

 


Raazi is an upcoming Bollywood period espionage thriller (I swear I made that term up myself; what else can you call it?!) starring Alia Bhatt, Vicky Kaushal, Rajit Kapur, Jaideep Ahlawat, Amruta Khanvilkar and Soni Razdan in lead roles. The film is directed by ‘Talvar’ fame Meghna Gulzar, and produced by Karan Johar, Hiroo Yash Johar, Apoorva Mehta and Junglee Pictures. The film is based on the novel ‘Calling Sehmat’ by Harinder Sikka. Now, thrillers in Bollywood have very little scope for music. Meghna Gulzar, in her first movie ‘Talvar’, had roped in Vishal Bhardwaj for the music since he was the writer and producer for the film. Here though, she goes for Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy, the trio who invented the Bollywood rom-com sound as we know it these days (by which I mean most of the rom-coms that stay obedient and don’t follow the multicomposer trend), which was a surprise. This is the trio’s first project after ‘Rock On 2’ in November 2016, and whose music released in September 2016, so that was a long wait. And even after the wait, it was a thriller film we were going to get their comeback album for, and not a rom-com as I would have liked. Nevertheless, expectations weren’t low! It’s Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy and Gulzar after all; what can go wrong?


Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy, who we are hearing after more than one and a half years, do not make it that obvious. When you come back with a melody as strong as Ae Watan, you really don’t need to worry about whether audiences will remember you even after so long. Half the battle is won there itself! Now, the song comes in two versions, the male version by Arijit, and the female version by Sunidhi. Arijit’s Version has done a good job in attracting the masses towards the album, but that doesn’t mean Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy compromise on its quality. The song is reminiscent of olden day patriotic numbers, complete with a resplendent backing chorus (Raman Mahadevan, Ravi Mishra, Binaya Mohanty, Arun Kamath & Arshad Mohammed). Arijit is in his element, especially when he starts the song with that wonderfully seamless transition from the low to high octave! Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy help him with immersive arrangements that do not fail to appeal to the patriot within you. The strong melody too, makes its mark felt. Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy’s strings and percussions are wonderful, with heavy hangovers from their “Lakshya” album. Just as he started, Arijit ends the song on a high note, literally!
Sunidhi’s Version, on the other hand, takes the folksy rote, making for a blissful and heavenly listen. Sunidhi, as always, sings brilliantly, but it doesn’t end there. She gets an even better backing chorus than Arijit. This time, sweet children accompany the lead singer (from Shankar Mahadevan Academy’s Children’s Chorus). The name that stands out is Satyajeet Jena, who had participated in the last season of “Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Li’l Champs”, and he gets his own little solo performance towards the end, which he aces! The children’s chorus, and the tinny programming give the song a wonderful retro touch, like the songs from the era depicted in the film (something like ‘Humko Man Ki Shakti’ from ‘Guddi’). Tapas Roy’s rabaab creates a soulful Kashmiri sound, while Dipesh Varma and Shikhar Naad Qureshi do an amazing job with percussions!
Both versions have mainly the same lyrics, and when it’s Gulzar saab’s pen, you know it can’t go wrong! His lyrics evoke a patriotic feeling right away, and coupled with the beautiful melody, it is hard to ignore this song!
Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy continue the Kashmiri folk with Dilbaro, a bidaai song which sounds happy but is lyrically quite heart-wrenching. (Just like Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy’s ‘Chaandaniya’ from ‘2 States’ which I like to call the happy sad song.) The melody here is so cute, it’s impossible to not start humming along right away. (Part of that is also because it sounds very familiar, but you can’t pinpoint which song or songs it sounds like!) The lead vocalist here is Harshdeep Kaur, who as always, delivers a charming rendition, and sounds like Alka Yagnik in the high-pitched antara too! Shankar Mahadevan’s surprise cameo is wonderfully placed, as are the lyrics by Gulzar for that portion. Vibha Saraf is the one who should be credited though, for piquing your interest in the song, because it is her sweet Kashmiri lines that suck you in right away. On the arrangements front, Tapas Roy returns for wonderful work on the Rabaab, not to mention Arshad Khan’s heart-wrenching esraj; whenever that plays, it’s as if the strings of your heart are being tugged at. The hookline of the song is so powerfully soothing, cute and charming at the same time, it is difficult not to get the song stuck in your mind after just a couple of listens!!
At the end, we have Raazi, a song that equals the ‘Dangal’ title track in many uncanny ways. First of all, it is one of those rare title tracks where the title of the film actually makes sense in the song. Arijit Singh pulls off a ‘Binte Dil’ yet again in the one minute long prelude to the song, where he does the voice inflection impeccably yet again. It is only when the Esraj (again, splendidly performed by Arshad Khan) takes us back to the actual song, when we come back to trademark SEL sound — a repeating Bouzouki riff (oh so trademark SEL!) by Tapas Roy is wonderful. The repeating chants of “Agar Dil Raazi Hai” are equivalent to ‘Dangal’s “Dangal Dangal“. The folksy arrangements are similar to that of ‘Dangal’! I’m just so happy we have these two beautiful title tracks to cherish forever! They are so similar yet so different! Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy bring in even more of their signature marks when the second antara gets very melancholic, something only Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy can manage without making it over the top! And Gulzar saab’s lyrics manage to wow you yet again. The star of the song is definitely Arijit Singh, using different inflections each time he sings the hookline. No wonder he’s the top singer of today…just that some composers know how to use his talent to the best!


Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy return after a hiatus that seemed longer than it was, and it is only when this album came out when I realised what was missing from Bollywood music in 2018 — smart composers who can manage to compose as per the script, but whose songs have a life outside of it as well! Finally, we get a soundtrack this year, which I’ll be raazi to listen to on loop!!

 

Total Points Scored by This Album: 9 + 9.5 + 9.5 + 9.5 = 37.5

Album Percentage: 93.75% {I guess we got our Best album of the year so far!}

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: 
Don’t. Even. Ask.

 

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

DO NOT SNIFF!! (SNIFF!!! – Music Review)

Music Album Details
♪ Music by: Mujtaba Aziz Naza
♪ Lyrics by: Amole Gupte
♪ Music Label: Eros Music
♪ Music Released On: 16th August 2017
♪ Movie Released On: 25th August 2017

Sniff Album Cover

 

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

To buy this album on iTunes CLICK HERE


Sniff is a Bollywood mystery film, starring Khushmeet Gill as the child detective in the film. The film has been directed by Amole Gupte and produced by Jyoti Deshpande, Amole Gupte and Ajit Thakur. The film is about a young detective, who, with his keen sense of smell, solves a case of car thefts in his society. Now, Amole Gupte’s films’ emotional aspect gives them the scope of having very touching music albums. ‘Stanley Ka Dabba’ and ‘Hawaa Hawaai’ by Hitesh Modak prove that. This time, Gupte goes for a newcomer, though. For us, we have heard him sing in ‘Indu Sarkar’ just last month. He’s Mujtaba Aziz Naza. The newcomer gives five songs for the album; let’s see if they’re worth a listen sniff!


1. Bugs Ki Naak / Amole Ki Naak

Singers ~ Bugs Bhargava Krishna / Amole Gupte

They think it’s funny, but it’s plain irritating. There’s no composition at all, just the singer shouting, thinking he’s singing jazz. Mujtaba does better with arrangements, which are jazzy, but the way the composition goes haywire in outbursts, is just too bad. At least Bugs’ version has jazz, but Amole’s has a-cappella. The lyrics are stupid. What have you got to do with why his nose is so big? And he repeats ‘Hathkadi’ 1000 times! We got it the first time! Good try to sound retro, but ends up sounding irrit-etro!

Rating: 1/5 for Bugs ki Naak (for better arrangements and vocals), 0/5 for Amole Ki Naak

 

2. Aur Kitni Door

Singer ~ Vishal Bhardwaj

This one starts like a Vishal Bhardwaj song with its intro music, and also gives a ‘Taare Zameen Par’ feel. But the composition is so weird, and so hard to grasp! Mujtaba tries to make it like VB’s style, but just getting him to sing won’t do that. That being said, it is quite an average song. Arrangements are mellow; the use of strings is beautiful. The song gets heavy after the mukhda and you zone out. Better, but not good.

Rating: 2/5

 

3. Jai Jai Ganaraj

Singer ~ Shankar Mahadevan

To rope in Shankar Mahadevan to sing a Ganpati song is fine. But to compose it so badly is not fine. It has none of the energy and uplifting quality that accompanies a Ganesha song. It just has an overbearing tedium. The Maharashtrian instruments have been used unwisely. The composition belongs somewhere in the 90s. Shankar still tries to do justice to it but fails. The least energetic Ganesha song I’ve heard! 

Rating: 1.5/5

 

4. Dekhti Kya Hain Aankhein

Singer ~ Kareena Shomakhova

This song seems to have been made according to the mystery aspect of the film. As such, it fares quite well, woth a sinister tone to open it. A jazzy horror tune starts it off. The composition isn’t great here either, too, with sudden high notes. The new singer Kareena Shomakhova is off tune so frequently. The sound effects try to scare you, to no avail. A song that ran away from a C-Grade horror film.

Rating: 1.5/5


Sniff is the worst Amole Gupte album ever. I remember loving ‘Hawaa Hawaai’s music so much more than the rest of the world. Same goes with ‘Stanley Ka Dabba’. Both were by Hitesh Sonik. And for the film where Gupte was the Creative Director, ‘Taare Zameen Par’, we all know how popular that album is. This one, though, just loses out on all the emotion, motivation and inspiration that used to find its way into Amole Gupte movies, and hence albums. It sounds so much like it’s some cartoon kind of album. Is it because of the change in music director? Well I can only warn you not to sniff this album!

 

 

Total Points Scored By This Album: 1 + 0 + 2 + 1.5 + 1.5 = 6

Album Percentage: 24%

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: Listen at your own risk.

 

I’m not asking for your  favourite song! Thanks! 😄

ROCK MODE: OFF 😞 (ROCK ON 2 – Music Review)

Music Album Details
♪ Music by: Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy & Summersalt
♪ Lyrics by: Javed Akhtar & Kit Shangpliang
♪ Music Label: Zee Music Company [“Rock On (Revisited)” on T-Series]
♪ Music Released On: 20th September 2016
♪ Movie Releases On: 11th November 2016

Rock On 2 Album Cover

Rock On 2 Album Cover

 

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

To buy this album on iTunes CLICK HERE

To hear “Rock On (Revisited)” on Saavn CLICK HERE

To buy “Rock On (Revisited)” on iTunes CLICK HERE

♪ Listen to “Rock On (Revisited)” on YouTube:


Rock On 2 is an upcoming Bollywood musical drama starring Farhan Akhtar, Shraddha Kapoor, Arjum Rampal, Purab Kohli, Shashank Arora, Prachi Desai and Shahana Goswami. The film has been directed by Shujaat Saudagar, and produced by Farhan Akhtar and Ritesh Sidhwani. The film is a sequel to the 2008 hit film, ‘Rock On!!’ which was like the pioneer for rock music in India, giving a whole new genre for the nation to like, love and perform for themselves. Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy had given a brilliant soundtrack for that movie, and after that rock became an integral part of Bollywood music as well. However, times have changed, and now, after eight years, the rock scene in India has changed a lot! What Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy did in ‘Rock On!!’ now seems very ordinary (in that rock has evolved over the years) and now many composers have started using rock as a way of conveying both angst and fun, in almost all movies. Now, in 2016, the sequel to that movie is releasing, and the trio yet again, have to live up to expectations, but not necessarily live up to the standards of the first album (because rock has changed!) Though comparisons will definitely take place, I will try my best not to, because of the time that has lapsed, and also, because of the change of director for the second film. (The first one being directed by Abhishek Kapoor). Since Shraddha Kapoor and Farhan Akhtar are the female and male leads, it goes without saying that they’re going to sing songs in the album, and hopefully, Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy use their limited abilities to bring out the best in both! 🙂 After that epic album to ‘Mirzya’, I’m kinda sure this one will sound less impressive, but you really cant blame the trio, because the genres are miles apart! Also, there is one song where Meghalayan band Summersalt collaborates with the trio, which is the seventh song of the album. So let’s see whether this album rocks on or not! 😛


1. Jaago
Singers ~ Farhan Akhtar & Siddharth Mahadevan

Sure enough, the album starts off with a song sung by none other than Farhan Akhtar, the lead actor of the movie, and lead singer of the Magik band (the band in the movie, in case anyone forgot). The song kicks off with a very groovy, and catchy rock guitar riff, and Farhan’s voice takes over to start off the melody of the song. The composition is quite bland, however. The mukhda is very low-key, and doesn’t scream in your face, “Hey, I’m a rock song, so you better cringe!” I liked that. Even the hookline is very catchy, and especially that line before the hookline which goes, “Sab jaan jaaye tumko…” is very catchy, and I like the way they drop down the scales one by one, in that line. Though the hookline has the singers scream in your ears, you end up liking it, because it is done very well, just like a professional rock song. It is the antaras, that cause the problem in the song. Well, at least the first antara is fine, it is just a repetition of the mukhda. However, once the second antara arrives, you can’t help but notice how long the song has been stretched, and on top of that, the quite sublime composition of this antara doesn’t help. It just gets you wanting the song to end soon, which i believe shouldn’t happen at all in a rock song! The composers do many great tricks with the arrangements though. The vibrant guitars are the main attraction of the song, especially that aforementioned riff. It plays throughout the song, and really helps in keeping you glued to the song. The drums (Jai Row Kavi) wonderfully supplement the guitars, and take the okay-ish melody to a different level. The interludes are full of great electric guitar solos, especially the second interlude, where the guitar first does a very awesome solo, and after that is broken down, making a sound like a machine gun does in video games. 😛 (I didn’t know how to describe that!) That part is electrifying! The vocals by Farhan are surprisingly full of zest, but (obviously because of the high notes) Siddharth has to give him a little help (which is okay with him, as long as it is something to do with screaming, that too, in perfect tune!) with the hookline, and Siddharth just rocks the hookline. Farhan doesn’t sound too husky in the song, and that’s a pleasant surprise. Javed Akhtar has written a good song about standing up to any wrongdoings and standing up for our rights. So, this song is two-in-one: entertainment plus awareness campaign! A good opener for the album, but if only the composition were a bit more well-polished, the song would’ve been awesome!

 

2. Udja Re
Singer ~ Shraddha Kapoor, Additional Vocals ~ Shankar Mahadevan

Shraddha, as expected, gets her first song for the album right away, and the song starts off with an entrancing and weird semiclassical piece, with Shankar (in a very chipmunkish, nasal voice that is obviously tweaked) singing a very nice aalaap. The composition starts off very mildly, with a quite ordinary mukhda, which is thankfully graced by Shankar’s weird nasal voice, which serves a great attraction, seriously! The composition only picks up in the midst of the mukhda, when Shraddha starts to sing the “Yeh jeena bhi socho koi jeena Hai..” verse. And then she sings the hookline in a very low scale, and that’s when you start loving the composition, which then goes nowhere but uphill. Shraddha repeats the hookline in a high scale, and that’s when the rock guitars and drums start off too, and from that moment onwards, the song is just energizing and catchy. However, it takes like two minutes to get to that part. Nevertheless, the wait is really worth it. The antara comes three and a half minutes after the song starts, and it is quite angsty, and very well-composed, and just as well-rendered by Shraddha. Overall, the composition is catchy and memorable, if not fast to start off. The arrangements by the trio are beautiful yet again. The guitars and drums (Jai Row Kavi) as always provide the perfect background to the song, while Shankar’s AALAAPS provide a nice semiclassical and also alien touch to the song. The drums are really energetic and energizing, and are enough to give you music to a nice morning workout. Shraddha’s singing, be it the miracle of some autotune or natural, is marvelous. She hits every note with perfection, and doesn’t falteer at any step, as I thought she would. (Like she did in ‘Sab Tera’ from ‘Baaghi’ where she was quite too high-pitched). Javed Akhtar’s lyrics are good here too, and motivational. A show-stopper of a song, mostly because of the arrangements and vocals, while the composition yet again, falls a bit flat. Nevertheless this one is a #5StarHotelSong!!

 

3. You Know What I Mean
Singer ~ Farhan Akhtar

A very happy-go-lucky guitar riff starts off the next song, which instantly reminds you of ‘Socha Hai’ from the first movie. The composition here too, is quite bland, though being so upbeat. The mukhda repeats twice in the song, while the hookline is just plain said, not sung. The antara is better than the mukhda, in that it has a more mellifluous composition. The arrangements are spunky, led by guitars and drums (Aatur Soni) again, and with the 2008 style of rock all around them. Theres not much more to talk about the composition and arrangements, because they are quite ordinary! In the interludes, however, there’s the usual nice rock guitar solos, that still sound impressive (that’s just because this is just the third song in the album) :p The hook where the backing vocalists sing “Oh-ohhh” sounds very clichéd, and also outdated. Farhan’s voice doesn’t help to elevate the pallidness of the song, because here, it is husky and very tedious to hear. Thankfully, the makers have kept the song short. Javed Akhtar’s lyrics are so conversational, that it seems awkward at a point. When you experience déjà vu in such a youthful song, it means things are wrong, because the song is so plain!… You know what I mean! 😉

 

4. Manzar Naya
Singer ~ Farhan Akhtar

Here comes Farhan yet again, with another song, this time, a dulcet romantic melody. The composition is very pleasant and breezy — something that normal people in the real world (not characters in Bollywood) would compose and sing impromptu. The pleasantness of the composition actually works for it this time, and the trio churns out a very plain, simple song that touches your heart. The mukhda hooks you in all its simplicity, while the hookline very nicely blends in with the song, though reminding you of a lot of other such songs. The antara has quite some high notes, which, surprisingly, Farhan manages to touch rather smoothly. At the end, the mukhda repeats, and the song ends just as calmly as it had started. Talking about the arrangements, Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy have very beautifully employed a guitar riff that plays throughout the song, and is the USP of the song! (Do they need a riff to do that for them every time!? This is getting quite repetitive, but still wonderful!) But again, Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy are the best at those small riffs, be it vocal riffs or guitar riffs or wonderful percussion riffs. Speaking of percussion, the wonderful percussion (Anupam Deghatak) of shakers in this song brings that nice soothing quality to the track. The whistle in the interlude, instantly reminded me of that tune from ‘Teen Gawah Hain Ishq Ke’ (Mirzya), but then it dissipated and changed paths smartly and quickly. Backing vocals are beautifully placed in the antara, and the second mukhda. A female voice that seems to have gotten lost in the song suddenly appears somewhere towards the end, and that was quite weird, because it didn’t appear anywhere else before or after. Stray voice unleashed!! The vocals by Farhan are husky and faltery here too, but nevertheless, perfect for this type of song, which needed a faltering voice, as it was supposed to emulate normal people, and not Bollywood characters. 😛 Jokes apart, Farhan sounded good here, and the high notes in the antara particularly sounded well polished. Javed Akhtar’s lyrics are just as simple and normal as anything else in the song. Pleasing, calm and above all, normal! #5StarHotelSong!!

 

5. Tere Mere Dil
Singer ~ Shraddha Kapoor

So after three songs by Farhan and one by Shraddha, one more song by Shraddha pops up on the album, and this one is just pure bliss. The “Tu Tu Tu Ru Ru Ru” vocal loop wonderfully opens the song up, and likewise, this is the USP of this song, and Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy once again rely on this loop to carry the song. The mukhda is very well-composed, and oh-so-melodious. Technically the title of the song is in the mukhda, while the hookline is different — “Saari Jo kahaaniyaan hain..” and both the a and the hookline sound great in their own place. The hookline takes the song to a high, from where it never drops down. The whole magic of the composition is just so magical and entrancing, and it is the only song on the album which instantly reached out and hooked me. The ANTARA is also very beautiful, with a great assemblage of notes that complement the hookline and the entire song very well. So, the trio scores full marks with the melody of this song, but they still resort to the vocal loop to carry it forward.. Why!! Anyway, the arrangements are beautiful. A wonderful sarod helps Shraddha to make the song sound even more magical, playing the tune of her vocal loop itself. The rock plays a very little role in this song, though I guess the digital beats in the hookline are supposed to resemble the rock sound. However, the electric sarod replaces the guitar really well. The whole song has a similar sound to that of ‘Udja Re’ and also ‘Tumhari Meri Baatein’ from the first film — entrancing and mystical. Shraddha’s vocals are mystifying as well, and here, though it is evident that she has been autotuned, the whole thing just appeals nevertheless. The programming does justice to her rendition, and the trio has spun magic with their technical touches. Javed Akhtar, yet again, writes a good song, this time with a more melancholic feel to it. ‘Tumhari Meri Baatein’s equivalent fares far better than ‘Socha Hai’s equivalent. Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy bring a quite otherworldly feel to this one! Mystical! #5StarHotelSong!!

 

6. Woh Jahaan
Singers ~ Farhan Akhtar & Shraddha Kapoor

So here comes the long-awaited duet between the two lead singers. Now, even though these two have sung enough songs on the album already, I am not feeling any tedium, because the film actually calls for it.. So we can’t really complain. At least the lead actress isn’t Tulsi Kumar, and the lead actor isn’t Abhijeet. This time too, the composition is very mystical, and a kind of melancholia surrounds the whole song, but not the kind of tedious melancholia that gets you bored right away. This time, the melancholia actually works. The mukhda sees Shraddha start off the song, on a beautiful note, with the trio’s low notes working nicely to attract your attention. However, it is only when the hookline arrives, that you actually start getting the hang of the song and grooving to it. This time, the trio doesn’t rely on any instrumental piece to carry forward the song, and this one has pure melody taking it forward. The hookline has a mind-blowing composition. As Farhan takes over with the second stanza, which has the same composition as the first, you start drifting away a bit from the song. His portions aren’t as interesting as Shraddha’s and his voice (in this song) doesn’t really have that capacity to keep listeners listening. His part starts off the same way that Shraddha’s does, but then takes a different turn, as the tune changes as he progresses towards the hookline. After that, it is merely an instrumental piece to listen to, which ends the song on a high. More about that later. The arrangements are impressive in this song. A wonderful sarod (Soumik Dutta) takes centre-stage here too, while the rock elements keep entrancing you. The guitars are impressive as always (here taking a number of impressive variations), while the drums (Darshan Doshi) are just as intriguing. The interlude between Shraddha’s and Farhan’s stanzas, has that wonderful sarod piece, accompanied by piano, as well as a nice shaayari by Shraddha. The piano accompanies the singers well in the stanzas, and then hands over things to the rock instruments. At the end, as I said before, there is a wonderful instrumental piece which just keeps you hooked. There is another wonderful electric guitar solo there, which makes sure you don’t go anywhere. The backing chorus with their chants nicely helps the instrumental piece get more interesting, and it ends with a striking guitar strum. Javed Akhtar’s lyrics are at their philosophical best, and he really weaves up a thought-invoking poem. Another mystical composition, which unfortunately gets highly tedious in the middle. Arrangements propel the listener through the tedium.

 

7. Hoi Kiw / Chalo Chalo
Singers ~ Usha Uthup, Kit Shangpliang & Pynsuklin Syiemiong, Co-Composers ~ Summersalt, Khasi Lyrics by ~ Kit Shangpliang

The next song finally sees some other singers taking the mic. And who else it is but the bold-voiced Usha Uthup? Along with a North-East Indian band called Summersalt, two of whose members accompany Usha on the vocals front. The composition for this one is quite fun and upbeat, but again, just as ‘You Know What I Mean’, I couldn’t quite catch hold of it. It might sound stupid, but I felt that the composition was just too typical, and reminded me of some European folk song. I found nothing in the composition that was hooking in any sense, and the hookline seemed very passable. The Khasi portions were fun to hear, but then it is not something I would hear again and again, either. The vocals by Usha Uthup seemed overshadowed by the Khasi band, whose lead male singer, Kit Shangpliang really excelled in the vocals. Usha seemed sidelined like a side attraction in the song, while the female Khasi singer barely had much of a scope to open up. The arrangements were pleasant, with the folksy duitara (Adorbha C. Shangpliang) sounding very nice and groovy. The rock arrangements in this song were quite similar to those in ‘You Know What I Mean’, and I found it quite boring. The Hindi lyrics were good, and depict a very free nature, while it was fun to hear the Khasi lyrics and not understand them. Very mixed feelings about this song…

 

8. Ishq Mastana
Singers ~ Digvijay Singh Pariyar & Shankar Mahadevan

This next song seems like such a misfit in this album.. But I’m still gonna review it as if I am a robot who can’t really make that out. The composition seems like a song that just ran away from the ‘Mirzya’ album and made a home for itself in this album — maybe a rejected song that was supposed to be there before ‘Hota Hai’. 😛 Or maybe an unused song that was lying around since the days of ‘Mission Kashmir’. The angsty feel in the song makes me feel this song isn’t going to be one that the band in the movie performs, but it might be a background song, which plays at a critical point in the storyline. The composition is quite interesting, a typical Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy Punjabi folk composition, which has a very catchy hookline. The rest of the composition is quite low-key and ordinary, something that didn’t really compel me to listen to it over and over again. The arrangements are fantastic here as well (tired of saying this so many times!) The keyboard (Gulraj Singh) which very professionally tries to imitate the tumbi, is the USP of this song, and it does a good job too. The rock element, though, is surprisingly the best part of this folk misfit. The rock guitars (played here by Ehsaan Noorani) and drums (Aatur Soni) always go well with a nice Qawwali-esque folk composition, and that is evident here too. The bass (Dibyajyoti Nath) really stands out here, which it didn’t in the previous songs. The percussions (Anupam Deghatak), mainly tabla, stand out well, but sound very clichéd and heavy. The dhols (Hanif Dafrani & Aslam Dafrani), which seem to be remnants of Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy’s ‘Hulla Re’ (2 States), really do a great job in catching the listener’s attention. Meanwhile the dholaks (Prasad Malandkar) fail to reach out in the hard-hitting rock. The vocals are amazing too, with Digvijay Singh (the one from ‘Jaago Mohan Pyaare’ from ‘Katti Batti’) overshadowing Shankar! His voice is simply magical! However, Shankar shows his finesse in the high notes and aalaaps. Javed Akhtar’s lyrics are not excellent, but they’re good here. A song that doesn’t fit into the album, but even if I judge it without knowing that, a song with a very underwhelming composition for a Punjabi folk song! The only great thing here is the arrangements, AGAIN!

 

♪ Extra Song – released by T-Series

9. Rock On (Revisited)
Singers ~ Farhan Akhtar & Shraddha Kapoor

Since the first album was on the T-Series music label, of course T-Series retains the rights for the remake to the title song, and so this track released separately later on. This could well have been the first promotional song of the album, but the makers chose ‘Jaago’ instead. On a whole, the overall sound of both the songs is the same, and the electric guitar riff that is the USP of the original song, gets a makeover here. It was broken down like staccato in the original song, whereas here, it is a complete, flowing guitar piece. I liked the change, it sounds fresh. The new composition is good too, especially the mukhda, which instantly drew me into the song. The hookline is already a favourite of the nation, and I can’t really comment anything else on that, as it is wonderful. The antara is beautifully composed as well, and continues the original hookline, not to mention supports it, well. The arrangements are, as in the rest of the album, electrifying. The electric guitars and drums (Darshan Doshi) yet again, provide the awesome rock feel to the song, without making it too boring. Again, a nice guitar solo graces the interlude. The vocals though, is where the song could’ve been a bit (a lot???) better. Farhan sings well, and I can’t really say much since he sang the original song, but I couldn’t help feeling that after the “Zindagi milegi na dobaraaa”, he sounds as of a ghost has suddenly possessed him or he is suffering from a sudden chill. I don’t know..! Shraddha has sung her parts very flatly, and it could’ve been way better. Well, yes, it kind of brought the raw feel to the song, but I would’ve enjoyed it if it were technically right as well. Javed Akhtar’s lyrics suit the youthful craze of the song, and will do well. A good revamp of the title song, and I really can’t expect more than this for this remake, so it is a #5StarHotelSong!!


Rock On 2 is a very underwhelming album. I started listening to it with a lot of hopes, thinking Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy would repeat the magic of the first album, and also because of their recent release, ‘Mirzya’, which was beauuuutiful. However, the trio seems to have delivered some quite stale songs. When an album I expected so much out of, disappoints in this way, I start doubting myself. 😬 The songs really fail to strike that chord, barring a few of them. The others rely on gags like a repeating guitar riff to propel them forwards. On a brighter note, a thing I noticed about the album is how Shraddha’s songs (except the title track) are mostly the mellow, sobre and melancholic types, while Farhan’s are the upbeat ones. Maybe it has something to do with Shraddha’s character in the movie, who isn’t allowed to explore herself as a musician owing to her parents’ restrictions. But I noticed that and found it worthy to be pointed out. Also noticed that Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy seem to be struggling with modern-day and normal-life-movies albums after their comeback. ‘2 States’ and ‘Dil Dhadakne Do’ being an exception, their other albums for rom-coms and other urban-themed movies have been underwhelming, like ‘Katti Batti’, ‘One By Two’, and ‘Ghayal Once Again’, and now this. On the other hand, they composed awesome music for period films and films with a different theme. So I guess that that has become their weak point over the years. Anyway, when such a talented trio disappoints you can’t really do anything (because you know it is not going to happen again and again) but wait for their next album in the hope of it being better than the last! Rock mode is definitely ‘off’ for this one!

 

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: Tere Mere Dil > Udja Re > Manzar Naya > Rock On (Revisited) > Jaago > Woh Jahaan > Ishq Mastana > Hoi Kiw / Chalo Chalo > You Know What I Mean

 

Which is your favourite song from Rock On 2? Please vote for it below! Thanks! 🙂

 

Next “dish”: Tum Bin 2, Chefs: Ankit Tiwari & Nikhil-Vinay 

EPIC AND LEGENDARY!! COME FALL IN LOVE.. WITH THIS ALBUM!! (MIRZYA: DARE TO LOVE – Music Review)

Music Album Details
♪ Music by: Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy
♪ Lyrics by: Gulzar
♪ Music Label: T-Series
♪ Music Released On: 8th September 2016
♪ Movie Released On: 7th October 2016

Mirzya Album Cover

Mirzya Album Cover

 

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

To buy this album on iTunes CLICK HERE


Mirzya – Dare To Love is an upcoming Bollywood romantic period drama, directed by the famous Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra, and produced by Rohit Khattar, Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra, P.S. Bharathi and Rajiv Tandon, and Cinestaan Film Company. The film stars new talents Harshvardhan Kapoor (Anil Kapoor’s son) and Saiyami Kher (Tanvi Azmi’s niece). The film is inspired from the famous Punjabi folklore of “Mirza-Sahibaan”. Well, after great movies like ‘Rang De Basanti’, ‘Delhi-6’ and ‘Bhaag Milkha Bhaag’, I’m sure Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra has put in more than his best for this ambitious film, and I was hoping this magnum opus worked out well; sad that it didn’t! Meanwhile, we got to enjoy the music of the film, and whether the film works or not, we are always here to enjoy the music, which is expected to be great, just like all of Rakeysh’s other film’s music was. Seeing how successful his decision of roping in the most successful musical trio of Bollywood, Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy, turned out in his last outing ‘Bhaag Milkha Bhaag’, Rakeysh ropes them in for this ambitious project as well. But this time, he changes his usual lyricist Prasoon Joshi, and ropes in the mastermind Gulzar, who had also worked with him on his first film ‘Aks’. Gulzar was the perfect choice when it comes to a movie like this; clearly, a theme-based movie, which will need songs strictly following its narrative. Another point I would like to note is that Daler Mehndi has scored the background music of the film, and six of the fifteen tracks in the album are his background vocal tracks — less than a minute long, and nothing that can be described individually, so I would advise you to hear them while watching the movie if you don’t like such tracks. First of all, let’s see how Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy’s nine tracks constituting the actual reviewable part of the album fares! Hopefully, Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy shoot the arrows right on the bullseye!


1. Mirzya
Singers ~ Daler Mehndi, Sain Zahoor, Akhtar Chanal, Jyoti Nooran & Sultana Nooran, Chorus ~ Shankar Mahadevan, The Salvation Singers, Nikita Deshpande & Sapna Pathak

The title track arrives first on the album, and it is something that will leave you awestruck by the end of it. It is Pakistani folk singer Saieen Zahoor (spelled by T-Series as Sain) who gets to open the track, and his voice is very representative of the setting and locale of the film — a rural area. It is fascinating things such as this that constitute the best moments of the song. Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy seem to have taken great efforts in making this one what it is. The song is a great showcase of beautiful folksy rhythms and melodies, and I’ve never seen the north-western folk music represented in such a beautiful way in films recently (Thank you, Badshah and Yo Yo Honey Singh!) All the singers associated with this song are natives of that region, but surprisingly, the music-makers themselves, aren’t! What a magnificently remarkable work they’ve done! The composition has many layers, tones and undertones. At first listen, it sounds like a very happy-go-lucky folk song, until you start noticing the sinister and emotional undertones too! The song starts with Saieen’s folksy voice singing a verse that hookss you instantly, and then his wonderful “Mirzyaaaaa hoo-ohhh” starts off the actual song. Daler Mehndi steps in, with all his energy focused onto the song, bringing out a brilliant performance. His famous high notes don’t fail to fascinate here either. The hookline is genius at its peak. The mukhda has Daler Mehndi singing an awesome high-pitched portion, and along with Saieen, he carries it out with impeccable finesse. But the high point a of the composition is whenever Daler sings “Oh mirzyaaaa“. The “Gol gol ghume zameen…” line, too, has been composed beautifully. The antara is led by the Nooran Sisters, and their part is very cuteand likable. Akhtar Chanal is in there somewhere, not getting much scope to shine individually, but I’m sure his voice is making a difference somewhere or the other. The backing vocals are beautiful, and their roles are so important in making the song what it is. Towards the end, they sing a wonderful, dreamy portion that goes like “Sunn teri oh dastaan re mirzya“, and it is so good!! The Salvation Singers’ intermittent vocals in between the lines of the song, are too good to miss. This is one of those songs where the backing chorus plays a very important role. Coming to the arrangements by Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy, they are very energetic and catchy. The rhythms by Taufiq Qureshi instantly catch your attention, and you can’t forget the rhythm on which the song is composed. The dhadd plays throughout the song, infusing the Punjabi touch to it, while the earthy string instruments are something you don’t get to hear everyday. Towards the end Naveen Kumar’s BRILLIANT flutes and pungis play a very upbeat folksy piece which makes you smile. At the end of the song, you just can’t help but think how skillfully Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy have crafted the music and composition for this song. Gulzar’s lyrics are clearly folk lyrics out of which we can understand some things here and there, and so it might appeal to less people, but I loved whatever I could discern! The way he has employed a story-telling manner to put forth the legend of Mirzya, is commendable. A title track that is as legendary as the legend it is supposed to be describing! Something as fascinating as this can simply not go unnoticed or unappreciated!! #5StarHotelSong!!

 

2. Teen Gawah Hain Ishq Ke
Singers ~ Siddharth Mahadevan & Sain Zahoor, Chorus ~ The Salvation Singers & Loy Mendonsa

The sound of a woodwind opens up the next song and you can easily understand that this one is going to be a fresh romantic song with a folksy aura to it. Sure enough, that is just what you get. It is Saieen Zahoor again, who gets to start the sing off with a very enchanting couplet, that made me get goosebumps. And what follows is pure bliss. Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy get it right with the composition, a breezy and enjoyable one which is as fresh as you can imagine. Of course, the trio has excelled in making these songs, but this one seems to top them all. The composition is a breeze of fresh air. After Saieen’s couplet, Siddharth sings a wonderful vocal rhythm which goes ‘Tannanaa Nannanaa” and the wonderful Salvation Singers accompany him in the “Hoo-oh-ohh“. The mukhda is something that instantly gets you hooked. The hookline is entrancing, if not anything else. The low notes of the mukhda make you ready for a very soft and quiet song which stays in the low notes for the whole time, but the antara is an exception, where the trio expertly let the composition traverse into high notes, and it sounds equally tranquil. Towards the end, Saieen does a wonderful closing aalaap, which is worth looking out for! The Salvation Singers and Loy do a wonderful job in supporting Siddharth, who is clearly at his best here. The man usually gets high-pitched, high-energy, dynamic songs where he is forced to yell (though it sounds good, nothing against that!) but this seems to be the very first song where he has actually been able to sing in a normal pitch, voice and without risking his throat! 😀 And the result? It is a very melodious, mellifluous voice that I couldn’t ever imagine Siddharth Mahadevan producing! Leave it up to Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy to discover new singing styles in singers, even if the singer is the son of the first third of the trio. 😀 It is the arrangements that add the necessary charm to the song. With those guitar riffs playing throughout the song, it is impossible to not get lost in the music! It is Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy’s trademark, those riffs! In each song they have some or the other musical loop, be it that vocal one in ‘Mera Yaar’ (Bhaag Milkha Bhaag) or the digital one in ‘Gallan Goodiyan’ (Dil Dhadakne Do) which starts off the song. Along with those guitars, the trio has a wonderful folk percussion instrument called the dimdi (played by Abhay Rumde) which helps to get the folksy feel. There are other sounds like chinks on glass, which must be the genius of Taufiq Qureshi at work. 😀 It is the backing chorus made up of the Salvation Singers and Lot that make the song as breezy as it is. Last but definitely not the least, Gulzar’s lyrics come into picture. What a brilliant hookline he has written! “Teen gawah hain ishq ke, ikk rab hai, ikk tu, aur main!” (There are there witnesses of love, one is God, and you, and me!) I don’t know where he gets such ideas from, but much to our enjoyment, he gets them anyway! 😀 Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy ace this one, and deliver what must be the breeziest love song I’ve heard in a while! Kudos to Siddharth Mahadevan for showing this side of him! #5StarHotelSong!!

 

3. Chakora
Singers ~ Mame Khan, Suchismita Das & Akhtar Chanal, Chorus ~ Shankar Mahadevan & Suchismita Das

You would be a nasty, ugly little liar, if you said that you weren’t waiting for some or the other kind of a dance track in this movie. When it’s a folk-themed movie, based in Rajasthan, and when you have composers like Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy on board, wouldn’t you be eager to hear a dance song? Yes you would, at least I think you would. And so, the next song presents itself as a folksy dance track. Of course, there can’t be a straightforward dance track when it comes to Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy either! They have to twist it some way or the other. And so what do they do? They conveniently infuse techno beats into the Rajasthani folksy song. And the result is stupendous!! The composition has the very much necessary folk touch, and calls out to you right away. The mukhda starts with a very enticing “Arey Haalaaaaaa” by Mame Khan, a contemporary folk artist who has sung in Coke Studio Season 2 for Amit Trivedi, indicating that a folksy melody is following. The mukhda is very catchy, and both Mame Khan and Shuchismita Das sing wonderfully to make it sound entrancing. The hookline, “Lipat lipat chal gayo re dola” is sooooo good! The trio has made up a very appealing melody for that. The antara is made up of many twists and turns, all of which just make the song sound even more beautiful. With one singer singing half a line, which is later continued by the other singer, this part is definitely not to be missed! The song may be raaga-based, but it really doesn’t seem to be, with the arrangements that the trio has given. A wonderful techno sound has been added to the song, reminiscent of the times when the trio has introduced such songs to Bollywood, and in particular, the entire sound reminded me of ‘Koi Kahe Kehta Rahe’ (Dil Chahta Hai). The other folk instruments play an important role in making the folk aspect of the song stand out — particularly the percussion. The vocals are magnificent, though I do bear a grudge against Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy for having autotuned Mame Khan’s voice! 😦 It sounds good autotuned too, but I feel the folksy aspect would’ve stood out if it had been left as it was. Suchismita sings wonderfully as she always does, but gets little space to be noticed among Mame Khan’s wonderful singing. Akhtar Chanal, once again, is sidelined and I think he’s the person who sings those mystical-sounding chants at the start of the song, which I thought sounded a lot like Gulzar! 😀 Shankar Mahadevan’s backing vocals are amazing, and he leaves no space empty, making sure every second of the song is filled with some sounh or the other! Gulzar’s lyrics are great, here as well, perfectly describing love in a very metaphorical manner. The underlying suggestion that the line “Aasmaan par udey chakora, chaand pakadne jaave, ishq udey jab tez dhaar pe dono pankh kataave” gives, also explains the pain of the two lovers. A fun song, with undertones of emotion and love! Genius stuff from Gulzar, and brought to life very effusively by Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy, Mame Khan & Suchismita Das! #5StarHotelSong!!

 

4. Aave Re Hitchki
Singers ~ Shankar Mahadevan & Mame Khan, Chorus ~ Sapna Pathak, Arsh Mohammed, Rehan Khan, Firoz Khan & Farhan Sabri

When the gratifying sound of the sarangi opens a song, the song more often than every time, turns out to be a very beautiful one. And this one is another song which can be added to that list. The song wonderfully starts off with an enchanting sarangi piece, played by Mame Khan’s troupe. And then the roopak taal sets in to make the ambience more soulful and soothing. It is the first line of the composition itself, that brings out the goosebumps. The tune is so sweet and charming, that you just can’t NOT like it. The way the mukhda is made up of three parts, the first one being the first line, “Nidra mein kisne...”, the second being “Sandesa aayo na chhithiyaa bhijayi…” and the third going on a different scale and tune with “Dhoop mundhere chadh gayo dola..“, is a masterstroke idea. And the hookline, oh!! It is so charming, that you end up falling in love with it by the time it has played twice. There are actually two very wonderful hooklines or refrains in the song — the title of the song being one, and the second being a just as wonderfully composed (in fact, sounding better!) “Talaiyya sookhi, keekhar sookha, bheetar sookha re“. The seamless transition from each line of that hookline, is what makes it so beautiful. The antara traverses very calm notes, that instantly connect with the listener. And towards the end there’s a wonderful bit of the song, which goes “Mann tarse, ghan barse“.. And the way the trio has composed these two words in so many different tunes, also with the tune of the hookline, is such a pleasure to hear! 😀 What can I say about the vocals? Shankar Mahadevan is at his graceful best. The RAAGA-based composition couldn’t be sung better by anyone but him, and I particularly loved how he sings the high notes! The backing chorus effusively sings the hookline, and makes it stand out amazingly. The arrangements are nothing to miss, either! The trio has appointed a number of instruments to help to make the song sound grand. I must bring out the sarangi, (by the Mame Khan Troupe) which has been played the most beautifully throughout the song. One part in the interlude where the hookline’s tune has been played on the sarangi, is just awesome. And then there are the brilliant, BRILLIANT guitars (Neill Mukherjee) which support the composition on every note. The Spanish Guitars in the interlude particularly, are worth hearing a million times! Dholaks (also by the Mame Khan Troupe) are also great. But one of the most intriguing sounds in the song, is Shankar Mahadevan’s flawless “HICHH!” in one of the hooklines, which you really have to watch out for! 🙂 Gulzar’s lyrics are worth a salute, and I can’t really say anything much except that you should go and hear them and also try to decipher them, and when you do, wait for the smile that’ll come on your face! 😀 A masterpiece from Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy, fit for repeat listening, and wonderfully bringing out the rajasthani folk part of the movie! #5StatHotelSong!!

 

5. Hota Hai
Singers ~ Jyoti Nooran, Sultana Nooran, Saieen Zahoor, Akhtar Chanal & Daler Mehndi, Chorus ~ The Salvation Singers & Shankar Mahadevan

The angst in the album was missing, until this song comes along in the playlist. The way it starts, you wouldn’t think it would turn into a sinister, dark-sounding, angsty song later on! The Nooran Sisters start off with a very groovy vocal beat, which is basically Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy showing off at how well they compose such groovy vocal loops. This song is the song around which the gist of the story is centered. The line “Chot kahin lag jaati hai par zakhm kahin par hota hai” is the tagline of the film, and Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy wonderfully incorporate it into the song. The way the composition is not delimited by a fixed tune, and is rather flexible, in that the folk singers can be seen at their liberty to sing anything anytime, is just fabulous. I personally loved the way Akhtar Chanal & Saieen Zahoor interrupt throughout the song with weird vocals, that actually bring you to like the song even more. But the song belongs to the Nooran Sisters, who are at their best in bringing a whole different kind of suspense to the song, and vivaciously bring forth the ideas of Gulzar saab. The composition itself is filled with very dark undertones and the dark sound of it all does nothing but attract you. There is a wonderful line in the song sung by Shankar Mahadevan along with the Salvation Singers. And to top it all, at the end, Daler Mehndi comes back with his hard-hitting “Ohhhh mirzyaaaaa” from the title song. The composers have made sure that the composition, despite all of its unconventional-ness, reaches out to the listener and grabs him, not instantly, but a bit more each time. It is the awesome arrangements that give the song half of its greatness. The techno beats and the typical Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy club beats fuse with a mesmerizing folk act by the Nooran Sisters, Saieen and Akhtar. The sarangi (Delshad Khan) in the interlude is just wow. And then there are the khartals (Mame Khan Troupe) which attract your attention. And the harmony between Jyoti and Sultana Nooran is unmatchable! Gulzar’s lyrics are all about how love is deceptive and blah blah, but the way he has portrayed it, is worth listening. Something unconventional, that might not get the desired praise and acclaim, but definitely touched my heart! #5StarHotelSong!!

 

6. Ek Nadi Thi
Singers ~ Jyoti Nooran, Sultana Nooran & K. Mohan, 

This song starts with a wonderful heart-touching aalaap by one of the Nooran Sisters (really can’t distinguish which one!) The real magic though, starts when Mohan Kanan with his very deep voice starts to sing the sweet melody of the song, and it is from this moment that you really start grooving to the song. The beats too, are worth grooving to! The song is arranged on nothing but acoustic guitars and claps and snaps, giving a very homely and minimalistic feel to the entire affair. The composition by the trio is so catchy and absorptive at the same time, that you just can’t forget it once you hear it. The hookline is just something that seems to have come from the composers’ hearts. The antara continues the freshness of the song, and the harmony that the Nooran Sisters create with K. Mohan, who is probably the only lead singer on the album who is not known for folk, is pretty awesome! The high notes touched by the Nooran Sisters and the low notes rendered by Mohan, complement each other very well, despite so much contrast. I can hear Shankar Mahadevan leading the Salvation Singers in the background, and it sounds so beautiful, that sometimes, you will find yourself focusing more on his parts than the parts of the lead singers! I wonder why T-Series hasn’t credited them like they have for the other songs! The arrangements mesmerize you with their simplicity — who has ever heard a song arranged merely on acoustic guitars and claps and snaps, when the song is in an album made for a folksy movie? Well it is allthe work of the mastermind percussionist Taufiq Qureshi! Towards the end, the two entities, Nooran Sisters and K. Mohan, perform a wonderful harmonic interpretation of the hookline, with one of them saying one line and the other following the first, with the classic style of starting right in the middle of the first singer’s line. Gulzar’s words make it known that the nadi (river) that he’s talking about is Sahibaan, and he has woven a metaphorical story around her through the song. Simplicity takes over in this otherwise quite complicated album! #5StarHotelSong!!

 

7. Doli Re Doli
Singers ~ Shankar Mahadevan & Mame Khan

The wonderful opening lines sung by Mame Khan bring an opulent start to the next song, which is a very unconventional bidaai song! The opening lines by Mame Khan sound like the start of a garba, but then stop sounding like one almost at once, and when you get to know, much to your disappointment that the song isn’t a garba, you get excited on knowing that it is, indeed, a soft jazz song! Yes, you read it right! A bidaai song with a jazz backdrop! After Mame’s introduction is over, Loy’s keyboard comes in and steals the show, coupled with a wonderful trumpet (Victor Garcia) that was definitely not anticipated! And while all this magic is happening, Shankar is busy at the mic, singing a tranquilizing aalaap. When the first line of the melody hits you, you can’t believe your ears for a minute, but then your ears decide to digest the fact that the composition is so melodious, and though it has a sad undertone, you can’t help feel your mood lightened up a bit after hearing. The classical-based composition coupled with the emotional soft jazz arrangements consisting of showstopping keyboard solos by Loy, not to mention the drums (out of which the cymbals are played oh so wonderfully! — credits to Kalyan Pathak). The signature melodica played by Shankar himself, is the epitome of classiness in the song. That brings us to the vocals which are by Shankar too, and couldn’t be better! I can’t praise him enough for this song! The way he brilliantly breezes through those aalaaps in the song (they’re almost everywhere — try to locate each and every one of them, as they’re not to be missed!) Gulzar, on the other hand, writes away at a heartrending piece of poetry, which puts forth the sentiments of the bride during bidaai, very well. Lines like “Chaukhat pyaar Jo pair dhare toh, main len den chukayo baabul” (I have repaid all the debts to my parents after I cross the threshold of their house) tell you why Gulzar is such a renowned writer. 🙂 The sweetness of the album reaches a new level with this song. Something that is as unconventional as this, has to be par excellence! #5StarHotelSong!!

 

8. Kaaga
Singer ~ Kaushiki Chakraborty

After all that folk and the jazz of the previous song, you’re really not ready for what awaits you in this song. As soon as it starts playing, an opulent symphony strikes you and you feel as of you’re in some orchestra performance, where one of the stalwarts like Mozart, Beethoven, Bach, Chopin, Haydn and the like. The violins really fill your heart and mind with some pleasing and soothing quality, but also leave you craving for more after it all ends. BUT WAIT!! We haven’t finished yet! I still have to tell you about the start! So, back to the beginning of the song. After that wonderful symphony — which, sadly, T-Series and Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy haven’t given any sort of musician credits for (which is simply not done, okay! You don’t NOT give musician credits for some song I really wanna know the musician credits of! 😦 ) — so yeah, after that symphony, a sweet twinkling sound (xylophone most probably) takes you to the main melody of the song, and who waits for you there? The fantastic classical singer, the majestic Kaushiki Chakraborty. With her each and every note, she manages to take away some fraction of your breath, and that’s why you call it breathtaking! Her AALAAPS are simply amazing, and it is her magnificent vocals that decorate the already magnificent composition and arrangements by the trio. Wonderful use of strings and the flute, makes this song what it is. The brass portions give a very otherworldly feel, and you feel as if you are in outer space. Gulzar’s lyrics are nostalgically refreshing! Something in which Kaushiki, Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy, and Gulzar, all are at their very best! And special bows to the musicians!!! #5StarHotelSong!!

 

9. Mirzya Theme – Broken Arrows
(Instrumental)

To end the album, we have an instrumental that is bound to get you teary-eyed, to the extent that even if you’re in Shangri-La while listening to it, you will get that inabominable feeling of pain and hurt in your heart. Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy yet again bring in the strings — this time the violin, to bring out the emotion in the piece. The trio cleverly takes the backing chorus’ humming tune from ‘Teen Gawah’ and weaves it into a mellow, sombre and emotional piece, which is quite brimful of emotions. The violin does the job in the first half of this piece and in the second half, the relay is seamlessly passed on to the flute, which is the best choice ever! Again, T-Series and the trio haven’t provided any musician credits of any sort, so I take it for granted that they played the instruments themselves. Anyway, it is a beautiful way of the composers and director telling us that all that happiness in the ‘Teen Gawah’ sequence was just illusory, so don’t pay it any attention, because we all know the fate of Mirza and Sahibaan. A track that will play in the back of your head in your free time and try to make you feel like you’re in a movie and your life is depressing, so try to limit that depression to the characters of the movie and listen to the song, to have a wonderful experience! Emotion at its best! 🙂 #5StarHotelSong!!


Mirzya – Dare To Love is an album that really forces you, not dares you, to love it. Nine wonderfully arranged musical pieces with awe-inspiring vocals by attractive rustic voices, coupled with groovy beats from the maestros Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy and the vision of a mastermind like Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra, makes this album one to die for. The choice of singers is fantastic — Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy gather up a team of folk singers and wonderfully employ them throughout the album. The Nooran Sisters and Saieen Zahoor, particularly, strike gold through this album. The Noorans spectacularly make their presence felt throughout the album. The two Pakistani folk singers, Saieen and Akhtar Channal, though they get less scope, don’t fail to impress you, while Mame Khan and his musician troupe, hailing from the deserts of Rajasthan, amaze you with their rustic vocals. The two very smooth-textured voices on the album, Suchismita Das and Kaushiki Chakraborty, both from West Bengal, do magic in their relatively small roles on the album. K. Mohan and Siddharth Mahadevan, practically the only commercial singers of the new generation on the album, do a splendid job in their respective songs, though the Noorans do overshadow Mohan in his song. Shankar Mahadevan himself spectacularly sings two of the songs, which are two of my favorites from the album too! Not to mention the wonderful harmonies of The Salvation Singers!! Just splendid! 😀 And last but not the least, Daler Mehndi with his splendid baritone voice surpassing all with his rendition of the title song, and his theme tracks that are interspersed throughout the album. A special mention to his voice that goes “Ohhhh mirzyaaaaaaaa” at the end of every television promo of the movie. 😍😍😍😍 When will the goosebumps get to sleep!? Gulzar’s words perfectly make this album a repeat-listen-worthy album, and it is in albums like this that my emotions overflow so much and I rave about the album, not noticing that my “conclusion”, which is supposed to be the shortest part of the review, is just a complete introduction altogether. I guess that the last time I did so was in ‘Bombay Velvet’. So, without further ado, let’s go on to my verdict! This miraculous album will make you fall in love… With itself!

 

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: Why ask!? Why rub salt on my wounds!! 😢😢😡

 

Which is your favourite song from Mirzya – Dare To Love? Please vote for it below!

WHO DA MAN? SANTHOSH DA MAN! (KABALI – HINDI VERSION – Music Review)

Music Album Details
♪ Music by: Santhosh Narayanan
♪ Lyrics by: Raqueeb Alam & Roshan Jamrock
♪ Music Label: Think Music
♪ Music Released On: 12th July 2016
♪ Movie Releases On: 22nd July 2016

Kabali (Hindi) Album Cover

Kabali (Hindi) Album Cover

 

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

To buy this album on iTunes CLICK HERE


Kabali is an upcoming Tamil gangster-drama film, starring the one and only superstar Rajinikanth, along with Winston Chao and Radhika Apte. The film has been directed by Pa. Ranjith, and produced by Kalaipuli S. Thanu. I am shocked at how the Hindi version of the film hasn’t been promoted too much, like the Hindi versions of ‘Robot’, ‘Kochadaiiyaan’ and ‘Lingaa’ were, but hopefully, the film attracts the audience to theaters! Behind the music, this time, we have not A.R. Rahman, who up till now was a regular in Rajinikanth’s soundtracks, but we have Santhosh Narayanan, a very promising composer, who incidentally also debuted in Bollywood earlier this year with ‘Saala Khadoos’, which had quite some good and energetic songs according to the movie’s theme. This time, his Tamil album has been released in Hindi for the dubbed version of the film, and what a prestige it must be for him to have composed for Rajinikanth in just his fourth year of being a professional composer! (He debuted as a composer for films in 2012). Expectations are high from the music, and keeping in mind that the movie is a gangster drama, I’ll be on the lookout for such music! 😀 Though I don’t always like such songs, hopefully Santhosh’s songs will make me change my likes!! So let’s get into the soundtrack for ‘Kabali’!!


1. Jag Hai Ye Dabang Ka
Singers ~ Shankar Mahadevan & Rohit Fernandes, Rap Written and Performed by ~ Roshan Jamrock

A powerpacked song is offered to you as the first song in the album. The song starts off with dynamic notes, indicating an energetic theme track that is about to start. The song is just that, a theme song that praises and worships the titular character of the movie, Kabali. The composition is just perfect for such a song; it has shades of inspiration, motivation and worship for a god-like figure (who in this case is a gangster 😲) Santhosh adds great variations in each line, and each line has a different effect. The hookline is pretty much the mukhda of the song, and though it sounds like a very typical Rajinikanth song, it manages to hook you very well. The part where they sing “Kabaliiii” sounds very beautiful. Also, the “Taakat apni himmat karde… ” sounds very inspirational. Santhosh Narayanan chooses singers wisely here, and in choosing Shankar Mahadevan for the lead vocals, exercises great cleverness. Shankar is perfect for the energetic and confident vocals of the song, and nobody else could’ve sung it be better. The backing vocals are very motivational and are a characteristic of such motivational songs. It is actually the composition that makes the song work so well. A rap portion by Roshan Jamrock in the interlude entertains and actually has better lyrics. At least it isn’t about party and drinks. Santhosh also wins in the arrangements. Energetic percussion (R.K. Sundar) helps the song to get the required zeal and enthusiasm. The occasional techno sound helps to increase the universal appeal of the song. Strings and electric guitars also add to the majestic part of the arrangements. Raqueeb Alan’s lyrics are, as I said, worshipping a larger-than-life figure, and are pretty functional. A winner by Santhosh right at the beginning of the album! #5StarHotelSong!!

 

2. Jadoo Rawan Rawan
Singers ~ Pradeep Kumar, Ananthu, Shreya Ghoshal & Sanjana Kalmanje

In the next song, we get bliss for 4½ minutes, and Santhosh leaves no stone unturned while ensuring that the listeners get the best experience of their lives listening to the song. To start off, we get a ravishing guitar loop, which is what makes you get goosebumps right at the beginning of the song. When Pradeep Kumar starts singing though, you know nothing can get better. Santhosh has created such a soulful, emotional, melancholic composition with strong classical undertones, haunting to the core. Each and every line holds a surprise for the listener. It is a melody that will take the listener into an altogether different space for 4½ minutes. It is the hookline that’s sooooo well composed and haunting, and giving you the most haunting experience you’ve had since a long time. I wish more songs like this were composed in proper Bollywood! Coming to the singers, it is not a surprise that the song needed three voices to make it sound so good. The two male voices are excellent. On the one hand, we have Pradeep Kumar (a Tamil singer), whose voice is so sweet and smooth, while on the other hand there’s Ananthu, with a folksier voice. He has taken charge of the hookline, which is composed like a Carnatic classical song. The composer has brought a great contrast between the two. And then we have our very own Bollywood singer Shreya Ghoshal, who handles her parts so charismatically, it actually feels like a dream. Sanjana Kalmanje with the backing vocals, in the second interlude too, does well. Arrangements have to be fabulous if I’m praising the song so much. Santhosh weaves magic with the tablas (played oh-so-wonderfully by Sai Shravanam) and then there is the acoustic guitar by Keba Jeremiah, which impresses highly! The Spanish guitars (by the singer himself, Pradeep Kumar) bring a great variation into the song in the first interlude. The Macedonian Radio Symphonic Orchestra does some wonderful strings in the song, too. At the end of the song, though, it is the tabla that has left a striking impact on us. Raqueeb’s lyrics are great, too, and make you think, or rather, are meant to make you think. I’m saying that because Santhosh’s wonderful composition hardly let’s you think of anything else except the composition, arrangements and the vocals!! #5StarHotelSong!!

 

3. Veeron Ki Bheed Men
Singer ~ Francois Castellino, Rap Written & Performed by ~ Roshan Jamrock

After that beautiful classical gem of a song, here’s a song that takes you back to the jazz era. The song sounds quite weird at the first listen, but later you start grooving to it, dancing along to it and whatnot. The song starts off with an awesome acapella group, that makes the start of the song really interesting. Santhosh doesn’t really have to compose much in this song, which leaves you thinking where you are, and whether you’ve played the right song. The whole song is like a rap song, with most of it being just rao and nothing else much. This really makes it sound a lot like what it should, being a song in a gangster-themed movie. The problem is, there’s nothing to follow in the song, with everything going haywire. Arrangements make up for the minimal composition, and Santhosh really experiments with jazz — the trumpets (Vijay) accompanying each other nicely. Drums (Tapass Naresh) are another highlight of the track. Jhanu Chantar’s electric guitars give that groove, a characteristic groove that each song of this type usually has. Francois Castellino, who I remember only as the ‘Nakhre’ (Action Replayy) singer, ‘sings’ or rather, says the song with the required ‘swag’ and attitude. At some places, he actually sounds like Amitabh Bachchan. 😀 Raqueeb Alam writes the Hindi lyrics, while Roshan Jamrock writes the English rap, and performs both Hindi and English raps. 😛 Both are situational, so there really is no point in deciphering what they mean. Pretty good, but without that gripping factor that the previous two songs had!

 

4. Taare Saare Chhup Gae
Singer ~ Pradeep Kumar, Backing Vocals ~ Vasudevan, Senthil Das, Sam, Sunderrajan, Balaji, Murali

A dazzling flute (Vishnu Vijay) opens up this song, another melodic piece composed on classical notes. The composition does have shades of ‘Jadoo Rawan Rawan’, and seems like a reprise of it, but it isn’t. The composition is endearing, and Santhosh puts all his soul into it. It results in a melodious song which seems to be placed at a very critical scene in the movie. Again, the composition is totally unpredictable, with vast ranges of notes and sudden changes. It is heavy on the ears, but grows slowly. The vocals by Pradeep are applause worthy. He very beautifully puts the emotion into the song. The backing chorus does well too, arriving mostly after the first antara, and singing a haunting operatic piece. The haunting composition stands out because of the minimal arrangements. Piano notes play out the melody, while the strings (again by the Macedonian Radio Symphonic Orchestra) impress a lot. The flute happens to impress thoroughly though, and like every song has a highlight, the flute is the highlight of this song. Haunting percussion are present after the first antara, when things get more heavy and haunting, replacing the minimal guitars (Pradeep Kumar) that led through the first part of the song. Raqueeb’s lyrics are good, but of course the dubbing disadvantages kick in at places, and some lines seem out of their place. Another beautiful symphonic piece! #5StarHotelSong!!

 

5. Aag Hun Main
Singers ~ Suraj Jagan & Arunraja Kamaraj

To end the soundtrack, we have a grungy heavy metal song, which really suits the theme of the movie, but kind of tough to digest for me! Nevertheless, I will try to rate it unbiasedly. The song starts off with a weird, wailing, siren sound, which is earsplitting. Until someone says in a grungy voice, “Aag Hun Main!!!!”, which makes you make that weird facial expression signifying “What have I landed myself into!?” The composition by Santhosh is very situational, and definitely not to be liked by everyone. It is more like a theme track, like the ones that play in a movie when the bad guy has finished doing his bad deeds, and walks away with the camera focusing on his evil smile. The tune is really tough to catch, but will be devoured by rock lovers. The arrangements however, provide really interesting stuff to hear! The rock guitars (Jhanu Chantar) are soooo electrifying. They do resemble the rock guitars in ‘Dil Haara’ (Tashan) a bit in the beginning of the song though. The next main highlight in the arrangements is the whistle. It is as good as the whistle in the ‘Kill/Dil’ title track, which had that type of whistle, and which was lapped up by all kinds of listeners. Vijaynarain and Sri Shyamalangan have done the whistle wonderfully! Nothing else is really prominent, except maybe the drums by Tapass Naresh. Electronic noises are present as well, making it just as much of a dynamic affair. Suraj Jagan is at comfort, with the vocals, as it is his forte. Raqueeb writes lyrics that again, are situational, so I don’t really mind about them. Pretty disappointing for someone who doesn’t hold much interest in such heavy rock, but will be devoured by the rock lovers!


Kabali is a great theme-based album. It may be lacking in its qualities as a whole album, but it does have some good songs. Santhosh, after proving himself in Bollywood with ‘Saala Khadoos’ earlier this year, also makes it big in his first Rajinikanth album. (And I say first because I believe there are many more to come!) Santhosh sticks to the theme of the movie, and proves that he’s da man!

 

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: Jadoo Rawan Rawan > Taare Saare Chhup Gae > Jag Hai Ye Dabang Ka > Veeron Ki Bheed Men > Aag Hun Main

 

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