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

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

Rangoon Album Cover

Rangoon Album Cover

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

To buy this album on iTunes CLICK HERE


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


1. Bloody Hell

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

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

– Gulzar

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

Rating: 4/5

 

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

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

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

– Gulzar

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

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

 

3. Mere Miyan Gaye England

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

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

– Gulzar

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

Rating: 5/5

 

4. Tippa

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

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

– Gulzar

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

Rating: 5/5

 

5. Ek Dooni Do

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

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

– Gulzar

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

Rating: 4/5

 

6. Alvida

Singer ~ Arijit Singh, Lyrics by ~ Gulzar

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

– Gulzar

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

Rating: 5/5

 

7. Julia

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

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

– Gulzar

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

Rating: 5/5

 

8. Chori Chori

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

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

– Gulzar

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

Rating: 4.5/5

 

9. Rangoon Theme

(Instrumental)

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

Rating: 5/5

 

10. Be Still

Singer ~ Dominique Cerejo, Lyrics by ~ Lekha Washington

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

– Lekha Washington

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

Rating: 4/5

 

11. Shimmy Shake

Singer ~ Vivienne Pocha, Lyrics by ~ Lekha Washington

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

– Lekha Washington

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

Rating: 3.5/5


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

 

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

Album Percentage: 90%

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

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

Recommended Listening Order: From Track 1 to Track 12 nonstop 🙂

 

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

 

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

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TRIVEDI’S CUTE ZINDAGI! (DEAR ZINDAGI – Music Review)

Music Album Details
♪ Music by: Amit Trivedi & Ilaiyaraaja
♪ Lyrics by: Kausar Munir & Gulzar
♪ Music Label: Sony Music
♪ Music Released On: 15th November 2016
♪ Movie Releases On: 25th November 2016

Dear Zindagi Album Cover

Dear Zindagi Album Cover

 

To hear the songs of this album on Saavn CLICK HERE

To buy this album on iTunes CLICK HERE


Dear Zindagi is an upcoming Bollywood comedy drama starring Alia Bhatt, Shahrukh Khan, Kunal Kapoor, Ali Zafar and Ira Dubey. The film is directed by ‘English Vinglish’ fame Gauri Shinde, and produced by Gauri Khan, Karan Johar and Gauri Shinde herself. This is a story of Kaira (played by Alia) and Jug (played by Khan). Kaira is a budding cinematographer looking for a perfect life. Enter Jug, an unconventional thinker, who gives her a new perspective of looking at life. So, the storyline has Gauri Shinde as we know her, written all over it! Gauri’s last film also touched upon the small beauties of life, and I’m sure this will delve more into that. The director chooses to compose for this film, the person that had made her first film’s album such a success, and that is, as we all know, Amit Trivedi. Who, by the way, gets to compose for SRK for the first time in his career in the bargain! (And Alia for the third!) Looking at the film’s teasers and promos, fresh music is expected, and who better than Trivedi to get in that freshness? His track record this year has been amazing, but he didn’t really get to compose in his comfort zone, what with the grand music that ‘Fitoor’ called for, or the extra-dark and unconventional music that was required by ‘Udta Punjab’. With this film, I’m sure he’s going to be back in his comfort zone, which is fresh, feel-good music! So let’s get into this album right away!


1. Love You Zindagi / Love You Zindagi (Club Mix)
Singers ~ Jasleen Kaur Royal / Alia Bhatt, Backing Vocals ~ Rajiv Sundaresan, Suhas Sawant & Joell Mukherjii

So, the album starts off with what I would like to call the title song of the album, but I clearly can’t. The song appears in two versions, so let me speak about them one by one. The first version is definitely the song that is doing the rounds these days, what with Alia who can be seen embracing the small joys of life in its video, which really looks cute! On the music front, too, this one scores pretty well. Amit’s composition for this song is easily his signature style of composition, and a layman can easily guess at this stage of Trivedi’s career, whether a song is composed by him or not. The mukhda is full of sugary-sweet notes that really appeal to you at once, not to mention the cute way those “Hi Hi Hi”s and “Bye Bye Bye”s have been composed! And the hookline is just fabulous! 😀 The antara follows the same kind of template, starting off gracefully and then going into a fun staccato. The hookline is what will attract more listeners though for sure. The arrangements in this version, though, are heavenly. A wonderful flute (Inapakurti D Rao) starts the song off, and then breezy guitars (Joell Mukherjii) take over for the most part of the song. And then wonderful trumpets (Ketan Sodha) and a nice mandolin and banjo (Tapas Roy) provide the breeziness factor a boost. Darshan Doshi’s drums give a nice upbeat nature to the song. It is the vocals that make the song sound even more cute, as Jasleen does her wonderful small baby thing yet again. However, that admiration of her rendition lasts only as long as you don’t hear Alia’s rendition. In the club mix, amidst a cool chivda of techno sounds, her voice sounds soooooo beautiful! And then you just can’t help but compare her to Shraddha and discover who is clearly the better singer. (Alia!) In the song, she sounds like Jonita Gandhi a bit at some places, especially during the “Hi Hi Hi” and “Bye Bye Bye“. Amit has conveniently increased the tempo for this one, succeeding in living up to the ‘Club Mix’ title. Backing vocalists Rajiv Sundaresan, Suhas Sawant and Joell Mukherjii are the magicians behind that beautiful hookline, and had they not been there, the hookline wouldn’t at all have stood out so well! And then, we come to Kausar’s lyrics, which are another breath of fresh air! Talking about having an affair with life, it is very fun and cute to the ears! The soundtrack starts off with a song that is fun in all, but one version falls flat because of the singer, while the other is more of a remix. Anyway, enjoyable but not great great great. 🙂

 

2. Tu Hi Hai
Singer ~ Arijit Singh, Backing Vocals ~ Joell Mukherjii

The next song is yet another fresh song. Amit’s composition is one of the cutest things I’ve heard this year, and that cuteness is alleviated thanks to Arijit’s feathery voice. The mukhda instantly grabbed my attention and pulled me into the song, and it won’t take time for anyone to love this song. The hookline falls into the category of hooklines which I love — the ones that don’t proclaim themselves as the rulers of the world. It blends into the mukhda and you hardly notice when it’s over. Also, after Arijit sings “Tu hi hai“, I felt like doing the Shammi Kapoor Shimmy, for some reason — maybe there’s some retro touch hidden somewhere in the song! The hookline is followed by a nice line that goes “Door yeh kaun hai..” That right there, is my favourite part of the whole song. The antara takes the tune of the mukhda itself, and that is Trivedi’s usual style, and I loved it especially in this song, because the tune is so good, that it deserves a double repeat. As a conclusion, Trivedi adds a nice little stanza that goes “Mere sheron mein yeh kaun hai” which goes on to even ask who is in his diary, guitar, balloons and whatnot. The entire composition style reminded me of Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy’s ‘Kuch Toh Hua Hai’ (Kal Ho Naa Ho) — NOT ANKIT TIWARI’S ‘KUCH TOH HUA HAI’ FROM ‘SINGHAM RETURNS’ PLEASE!! The freshness is quite similar to the freshness to the freshness of that song, and it just shows you how ahead of their time Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy were at that time. Amit’s arrangements are perfect. Breezy acoustic guitars (Joell Mukherjii) coupled with nice drum beats make for a nice and soothing arrangement. The guitars, as they start the song off, reminded me of another Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy song ‘Dil Kya Kare’ (Salaam-E-Ishq)! The interludes are well embellished with Tapas Roy’s wonderful mandolins. But the star of the arrangements is the vintage spoon-on-a-glass chink sound, and Amit has really overdone himself by using that in such a wonderful manner here. Backing vocals (Joell Mukherjii) in the mukhda constitute the chorus going “Oooohh oooohh” in a wonderful harmony. Sony Music, however, doesn’t reveal the musician credits until the song promos are released, so I can’t really speak about the musicians and backing vocalists. 😦 Arijit’s vocals are the perfect match for this cite composition, and he renders it with ease, and the right amount of cuteness. Kausar’s lyrics are wonderful, a bit in the Gulzar style of writing. Very cute!! Signature Amit Trivedi meets Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy! #5StarHotelSong!!

 

3. Taarefon Se
Singers ~ Arijit Singh

{Looks like Sony Music has misspelled ‘Taareefon’ 😅}

As soon as the next song starts, you can’t help but scream out the name of one of Amit Trivedi’s most famous albums, the one that actually brought him his first huge acclaim in the commercial style of music, ‘Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu’. The composition is a nice, soothing one, done in the traditional jazzy style. But don’t get me wrong. Amit’s jazz in ‘Bombay Velvet’ and this jazz is not the same at all. Over there, he had to compose according to the 1960s Bombay theme, but here, he composed a traditional modern jazz song, no matter how confusing that sounds. 😀 The composition reminded me particularly of ‘Gubbare’ (Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu) but also reminded me of all the songs in that album in general. The soothing tune provides a nice relief to the ears, and works in its intentions. The way the mukhda starts, you would feel that the song won’t really get so catchy, but as it progresses, it grows on you like slow poison, reminding me of yet another such song, Rahman’s ‘Aise Na Dekho’ (Raanjhanaa) which started off sounding like the black sheep of the album, but ending up being at par with the rest of the songs. The hookline of this song has been composed beautifully by Amit, and it just sounds so intoxicating and cute. The antara keeps the intoxication in the song continued, with its nice and easy-going tune. The line “Maana sabse tu, haseen hai nakhrewaali…” in the mukhda is just mind-blowing! Arrangements, are fabulous here too. A perfect result is obtained by Amit’s trumpet+drum couple. Additionally, piano provides the soothing effect in the jazz, while a backing chorus gives the required harmonies. About the vocals, I really can’t say anything except praise Arijit yet again for his brilliant rendition!! Every note of his touches the ears with a nice feel, hence making the already dulcet composition sound even more calm. Kausar Munir just writes yet another set of amazing lyrics, cuteness overloaded! A song that seems to be rejected from ‘Ek Main Auar Ekk Tu’, and placed here, but shines in this album nevertheless! #5StarHotelSong!!

 

4. Let’s Break Up
Singer ~ Vishal Dadlani

The next song is a booming, fun track that brings in to the album a peppy aspect. The composition is a nice and upbeat one which instantly hooks you, and has you listening the whole time. The style of composition which Amit has used here, too, is quite retro. It reminds you of that MJ hip-hop music that Vishal-Shekhar had used in the ‘Bang Bang’ title song. The mukhda starts off the song very ebulliently and makes the listener ready for a fun song to follow. The hookline is where the song falters a bit, looking like Amit has stuck some other song’s hookline to the song’s mukhda, making things sound quite odd. Both parts are good in their own places, but do not go together too well. The first antara is also in the same tune as the mukhda (Amit seems to have taken this style very seriously!) and provides more cheeriness in the song! The second antara is also nice and innovative with a trance-y touch to it thanks to the arrangements that sound unplugged with nothing but claps accompanying the melody. In short, the tune is good except for the mistake that the hookline is. Arrangements are nice and euphoric, with those MJ hip-hop beats overpowering everything else. Drums and fantastic brass instruments provide more attractive music. The second interlude is a typical Amit Trivedi quirky musical piece. Those digital beats are just insane!! Vishal Dadlani was the perfect choice for this song, if not Benny Dayal. He renders the composition with the required effervescence. I just love the way he sings “Basically, basically, basically”. He is the saving grace of the hookline, along with the trumpets. Kausar Munir writes a better piece about breakups than Amitabh Bhattacharya did in ‘The Breakup Song’ (Ae Dil Hai Mushkil). However, due to lack in the catchiness of the hookline, they don’t stand out much! Fun, but won’t stay around for too long!

 

5. Just Go To Hell Dil
Singer ~ Sunidhi Chauhan, Backing Vocals ~ Rajiv Sundaresan, Suhas Sawant, Arun Kamath, Crystal Sequeira & Bianca Gomes

The next song brings in the much-awaited melancholia in the album (Though I don’t like the melancholia of those typical romantic songs, I await the melancholia that people like Rahman, Vishal-Shekhar, Pritam, Trivedi and Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy offer!) The song is a sombre melody that, yet again, grows on you like slow poison. The composition is not really one that I would expect from Trivedi, I would expect such a composition more from Pritam. And I say that because it sounds a lot like Pritam’s ‘Life In A… Metro’ songs and his ‘Yaariyan’ (Cocktail). The composition is nonetheless beautiful. It has all shades of emotion, and doesn’t bore for even one of its five and a half minutes. The hookline is something that will instantly hook you, and that is also where the song starts sounding like a trademark Pritam composition. The mukhda is essentially a beautifully woven piece, with notes strung in line one after the other in a beautiful fashion, making he result phenomenal. There is always a part which takes the song up in such songs, and here, that part is the wonderful “Oh Roothe Dil, Roothe Dil, Roothe Dil…” line. It is from there, that the song starts working its magic on you. Though I don’t always love English hookline in essentially Hindi songs, the hookline in this song blends in well, and turns out to be a success. The antara again, resembles the mukhda and now I’m 100% sure that this is now Trivedi’s style. The second antara gets the composition treading on nice high note that instantly strike a chord with the listener. The provide a kind of climax to the song. The whole composition in all, makes this song the cranked-up equivalent of ‘Gustakh Dil’ from Gauri Shinde and Trivedi’s last album ‘English Vinglish’, which was another “addressing-the-heart-and-accusing-it-of-its-infinite-faults” song. The arrangements win half the battle for the song. A wonderful piano starts off the song, followed by a graceful violin (Jitendra H. Thakur). The guitars (Rushad Mistry & Warren Mendonsa) set in and make the atmosphere of the song even more beautiful. That electric guitar loop playing in the hookline is what actually reminded me of Pritam’s guitar loops in ‘Yaariyan’ (Cocktail) and ‘Kabira’ (Yeah Jawaani Hai Deewani). Drums (Darshan Doshi) are another quintessential but fabulous addition to the song. Sunidhi’s effusive vocals are enough to take the song to sky-level. She sings the whole song with such conviction, it doesn’t make Amit’s emotional composition sound hollow. Backing vocalists support Sunidhi very well, and I loved how the male backing vocalists and the female ones have distinct parts. Kausar Munir’s lyrics are wonderful, and add the pain and angst to the already angsty composition. This one is a sure shot winner! #5StarHotelSong!!

 

6. Ae Zindagi Gale Laga Le (Take 1) / Ae Zindagi Gale Laga Le (Take 2)
Singers ~ Arijit Singh / Alia Bhatt, Composition by ~ Ilaiyaraaja, Music Recreated by ~ Amit Trivedi, Lyrics by ~ Gulzar

 So, for the grand finale to the album, that has done quite good till now, we get a classic song remade by Amit Trivedi. It seems like Sony Music made the makers of the film rummage through the very short list of classic albums they had under their label (almost all went to Saregama-HMV!) and the makers finally found the gem they wanted in that short list. The song was ‘Ae Zindagi Gale Laga Le’ from ‘Sadma’. And, very appropriately, going with the film’s theme (Alia is a cinematographer), Sony Music names these two versions of the remake as “Take 1” and “Take 2”, indicating that it is just their take on the classic, and not an ambitious thing that we call a ‘remake’ nowadays! 😀 The best part about this ‘take’ of the wonderful classic, is that the original composition has been kept intact! Nothing at all has been changed in Ilaiyaraaja’s heavenly composition, and I really appreciate the makers for that! So might Raaja himself! 😀 Even the lyrics by Gulzar saab have been kept as they were in the old song. All that has changed are the vocals and arrangements. So let’s go version-wise. The first version has Arijit behind the mic, with his third song in the album. Who better than Arijit to recreate the magic that Suresh Wadkar had infused into this composition? He sings the song with a nice nasal twang to his voice, and makes sure the glory of the composition remains intact. Amit’s arrangements for this take of the song are wonderful. A nice rock aspect has been given to the song, and the guitars and drums help in making the song appeal to new-age listeners. In the second version, actress Alia Bhatt takes over, and with her sweet voice, renders the haunting composition very effectively, except in the occasional slips here and there. You can tell that her vocals have been incorporated into the track without any tinkering with them. The arrangements here are more of an internationally-appealing type. Such arrangements are getting popular worldwide now, and it is really nice to know that Amit has done this without spoiling the song too much. The EDM sounds nice, and it even goes into a kind of dappankuthu towards the end. These arrangements are definitely more techno than the ones in the first version. What a brave step to recreate this classic, which could’ve gone very bad, hahd Trivedi not used such intelligence! The result is quite safe and amazing! #5StarHotelSong!!


Dear Zindagi turns out to be one of Amit Trivedi’s safest albums till date. He has never tried to get his unconventional touch to such commercial films. Though the film is also not one of SRK’s usual films, I wouldn’t actually be expecting so many songs in the film after seeing the promos. Yet, Trivedi comes up with 8 tracks for the film, and none of them actually have anything going against their favor. Yes, the title track and ‘Let’s Break Up’ do have some minor glitches, but all in all, the album turns out to be a very safe album in that it sounds great, but I’m not really sure about its playlist life! All the songs are very cute and fun to hear, though. Hereby declared: Amit’s cute music makes for a very cute “zindagi“! 

 

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: Tu Hi Hai > Taarefon Se > Just Go To Hell Dil > Ae Zindagi Gale Laga Le (Take 1) > Ae Zindagi Gale Laga Le (Take 2) > Love You Zindagi = Love You Zindagi (Club Mix) = Let’s Break Up

 

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

TRIVEDI’S GROOVY PUNJAB!!! (UDTA PUNJAB – Music Review)

Music Album Details
♪ Music by: Amit Trivedi
♪ Lyrics by: Shellee, Late Shri Shiv Kumar Batalvi & Varun Grover
♪ Music Label: Zee Music Company
♪ Music Released On: 18th May 2016
♪ Movie Releases On: 17th June 2016

Udta Punjab Album Cover

Udta Punjab Album Cover

 

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

To buy this album on iTunes CLICK HERE


Udta Punjab is an upcoming Bollywood crime drama/thriller film starring Shahid Kapoor, Alia Bhatt, Diljit Dosanjh and Kareena Kapoor Khan in the lead roles. The movie is directed by ‘Ishqiya’ and ‘Dedh Ishqiya’ fame Abhishek Chaubey, and produced by Shobha Kapoor, Ekta Kapoor, Anurag Kashyap, Vikramaditya Motwane, Aman Gill, Vikas Bahl and Sameer Nair. In the movie, Shahid plays the role of a rockstar, while Alia essays the role of a Bihari worker. Kareena portrays the role of a doctor and Diljit, the role of a policeman. What brings them all together, is the drug situation. Now, I don’t know how, but that’s what the story basically is. So let’s head over to the music section. The music for this film has been helmed by Amit Trivedi, whose previous albums like ‘Fitoor’, ‘Shaandaar’, ‘Guddu Rangeela’ and ‘Bombay Velvet’ were really outstanding. So, an outstanding album is expected here, too! Amit has created six songs for the album, with one being reprised, so that makes it seven tracks in all. Let’s see, how many of these seven tracks, cross the standards that Amit has made with his previous works!


1. Chitta Ve
Singers ~ Shahid Mallya, Babu Haabi & Bhanu Prtap, Lyrics by ~ Shellee

A movie that revolves around a rockstar, better have a full-on rockstar-styled number. So Amit decides to place that song right in the beginning of the album. But, it is not full-on! This rock number is totally Amit Trivedi style! I’ll explain. While normal rock songs have an overdose of electric guitars and drums, with hardly any place left for the singer to make any noise, this rock song has left a good amount of place for the singer to leave his mark. Instead of the usual rock instruments, Amit has arranged this song completely on a techno base. Amit’s usual quirky sounds grace the song and that is actually the best part of the song. The song starts off very disappointingly, though. After a great techno tune, with some groovy beats, there comes a rap by newcomer Babu Haabi, that seems pretty forced and also, unnecessarily long! The rapper seems to be imitating Badshah, but fails to create anything engaging (not that Badshah always impresses.. That’s rare) so I don’t get the reason behind choosing a newcomer? However, the part that follows after the rap is good enough to at least provide an enjoyable first-time listen. Shahid Mallya’s folksy voice has been utilized unusually well in an upbeat song. Bhanu Prtap, Indian Idol 4 contestant, accompanies him well. Amit’s composition, though, falls flat. It seems like a repetition of the same tune over and over again, and it frankly gets pretty monotonous after a while. The rap interspersed throughout the song just makes it worse. However, Amit saves his weak composition with excellent arrangements. Techno arrangements, and very, very minimal rock guitars (it is hard to catch them.. Hear the rap carefully! 😀 ) and various sound effects lift up the song fantastically. The beats are just boomingly awesome. The flute interlude (Inapakurti D Rao) is just too cute, and again, easy to miss because the song isn’t really too engaging. Shellee’s lyrics are strictly related to the theme, and situational. Nothing great. Enjoyable for the first couple of listens, but gets tiring later on. A decent start to the highly-awaited album!

 

2. Da Da Dasse
Singers ~ Kanika Kapoor & Babu Haabi, Lyrics by ~ Shellee

The next song starts off with the mesmerizing sounds of bells and chimes, which make way for an odd-sounding synthesizer tune that’s really quirky and cute, too! Kanika, with her ever-so-unique voice, starts singing with that distinct twang in her voice, which is so attractive. Amit has composed a beautiful tune for her to sing, a really catchy and addictive one. The hookline is something that is unconventional, but still appeals a lot. The mukhda that leads up to the hookline is just as addictive and groovy. When you first hear the song, it won’t be something which you would think could ever be called as ‘catchy’ of ‘addictive’, let alone ‘soulful’! Though it is not the ideal ‘soulful’ song, it gives you that sense of calmness. It is soulful in a totally different way. The antara has the exact same tune as the mukhda. In fact, there is a rap by Haabi after both the stanzas, and this time, his rap actually works in favour of the song, and doesn’t irritate like it did in ‘Chitta Ve’. The next thing that must be praised is Trivedi’s instrumentation, which actually has a negligible number of actual instruments, everything being totally based on electronic sounds. However, those sounds are entrancing like they never are! Those beats in the hookline are half the reason why it sounds so groovy and addictive. All throughout the song, Trivedi’s unusual, but cool sounds engage the listener, and male the song complete in a sense. Rock guitars and acoustic guitars can be heard in the background in places, but their role is very obscure, being overshadowed by the electronic sounds. Shellee’s lyrics here actually mean something, and are pretty haunting; Trivedi has masked that with his kind of jolly-sounding composition. A highly impressive and innovative track from Amit Trivedi, and a break from Kanika Kapoor’s incessant lifeless dance tracks. #5StarHotelSong!!

 

3. Ikk Kudi / Ikk Kudi (Reprised Version)
Singers ~ Shahid Mallya / Diljit Dosanjh, Lyrics by ~ Late Shri Shiv Kumar Batalvi

The next on the album is a romantic track of the type we rarely hear nowadays. Late Punjabi poet, Shri Shiv Kumar Batalvi’s poem, ‘Ikk Kudi Jihda Naam Mohabbat Hai’ has been revived to feature in the movie, and the way Trivedi has composed it is outstanding. Now this is what I would call ‘soulful’ without any doubts. The universally accepted ‘soulful’. Trivedi’s composition has shades of the 70s in places (I don’t know… I just felt that), and other parts are so contemporary-sounding, that I wonder how those two eras have sounded so well together. There is no actual hookline, as that is the line which starts the song and it doesn’t seem like a hookline because it isn’t forced onto the listeners at every single moment of the song. The mukhda is totally composed on low notes, whereas the antara majestically treads higher octaves, and how! Kudos to Shahid Mallya for managing those high portions so gloriously! It is like some magic to the ears. In the other version, Diljit doesn’t manage to do even half as good, though. He seems to have got stuck where the variations come in. And it doesn’t sound so romantic, either. Also, he doesn’t do all that high-pitch beauty in the antara, and that makes it sound flat. Going on to the arrangements, Shahid’s version has a soothing acoustic guitar arrangement. (Sanjoy Das) It starts off with beautiful guitars, strings and carries on with the magic throughout. A metronome ticks brilliantly to keep the beats, and soft drums grace the song. However, the reprise has a mishmash of rock guitars (Irshad Mistry) and acoustic guitars (Ankur Mukherjee), with more heavily played drums (Darshan Doshi), which reminds one of Amit’s arrangements in ‘Tere Liye’ (Fitoor). It sounds pretty forced. Batalvi’s lyrics shine in the song, and make for a very soothing, romantic listen. A soothing track right after two hard-hitting electronic tracks! Beautiful work by Trivedi! #5StarHotelSong!!

 

4. Ud-Daa Punjab
Singers ~ Amit Trivedi & Vishal Dadlani, Lyrics by ~ Varun Grover

While ‘Chitta Ve’ did have the title of the movie in its hookline, the actual title song comes in now, with the title warped to suit the Punjabi setting of the movie. And what can I say about this track? Whatever I say is too less. Such an electrifying track, with such a groovy beat and energetic vocals, I’ve not heard for a very long time! (I know you think I’m saying that for all songs; well, so be it, because it’s true!!) The composition is something that takes nanoseconds to grow on you, so basically, when it starts, it has fully grown on you. The tune is that catchy, and especially the hookline, which is what it should be for an ideal song. Again, the tune of the mukhda and antara is the same, and again, they are both followed by a rap, quite like the structure of ‘Da Da Dasse’, but after the second rap, the mukhda plays once more, here. This time the rap goes to Vishal Dadlani. The firs time I saw the singers’ names in the credits, I thought it would be some duet with each of them singing some lines like ‘Guddu Rangeela’ (Guddu Rangeela), but then I found out that Vishal Dadlani is only and ONLY in charge of the rap!! And I applaud Trivedi for trying such an experiment. Anyone else, might have given Vishal the whole song too. But here, Trivedi, confident in his own voice retains his voice for the actual song while Vishal handles the rap (which is equally important for the song to be so likable). Trivedi’s unique voice works wonders for the composition and makes it seem like it has been sung in a carefree manner, which is kind of the main gist of the character of a rockstar, isn’t it? And seeing that Vishal too could’ve done it equally well, it was a brave choice to retain his own voice. Luckily, it turned out splendid. The arrangements are just as electrifying and addictive as the other pats of the song. Mostly, they are techno sounds again, but this time, the quintessential Punjabi tumbi plays an important part in the song. The dhols take Vishal’s first rap forward very enjoyably. The plucked strings (guitar?) are awesome, and can be heard in almost every line. The dubstep in Vishal’s second rap is great too, again, later joined by dhols. Varun Grover’s lyrics are suitable for the look of the film — grungy, carefree, rowdy, but nevertheless enjoyable! One of the most electrifying works from Amit Trivedi, and one of his best performances as a singer, clearly showcasing his versatility! #5StarHotelSong!!

 

5. Hass Nache Le
Singer ~ Shahid Mallya, Backing Vocals by ~ Shadab Faridi, Suhas Sawant, Arun Kamath, Lyrics by ~ Shellee

Acoustic guitars coupled with a wonderful aalaap start off this song, to be later joined by divine harmoniums, strongly indicating a genre I love very much, Qawwali. When Shahid Mallya starts off with his singing, you can’t help but get lost in the mesmerizing music. Amit Trivedi’s composition is nothing new or great; in fact, it is quite similar to the tunes of his previous songs of similar genres — and I can smell ‘Sahebaan’ (Guddu Rangeela) and ‘Luv Shuv Tey Chicken Khurana’ (Luv Shuv Tey Chicken Khurana) very strongly. However, the way he has executed it is hands-down beautiful. He knows where to put the right notes, to make it a beautiful song as a whole. The hookline is divine and mesmerizing, as is the mukhda, while the antara treads familiar territory (Luv Shuv…) Shahid has sung both the songs I mentioned above, so the déjà vu is even more. But the way he sings here, is so divine that you might forget about those songs and this song will just throw them out of your brain and establish a place for itself in your brain. It actually feels as of you are in a gurudwara and that is a very unmatchable feeling. 😀 Backing vocalists accompany Shahid well. The hookline sounds a bit like ‘Ude Jab Jab Zulfein Teri’ (Naya Daur), but that makes it better! The arrangements here are just as mesmerizing as everything else. The sublime rhythm produced by the dholaks (Raju Sardar) along with the harmonium (Akhlak Hussain Varsi), is again, out of the world. The acoustic guitar surprisingly fits well into the song. And I don’t know whether there are tablas or not, because the dholaks are sounding suspiciously like them. So let’s say, theyre in there somewhere. 😛 Shellee’s lyrics are also good, and functional for this genre. May i note that they were similar in ‘Luv Shuv…’ too. 😛 The Amit-Shellee-Shahid give another Qawwali, and give nothing new or innovative, but it tricks you and works its magic on you so much, that you end up loving it! #5StarHotelSong!!

 

6. Vadiya
Singer ~ Amit Trivedi, Lyrics by ~ Shellee

An addictive techno tune starts off the last song in the album. The way it has been programmed, to seem as if it is coming closer to you, is awesome. And when Trivedi starts singing, it sounds like some foreign song, so international-sounding the tune is! The EDM really transports the song to some other level, which is enough to compete with songs of international artists. The tune is so entrancing that you are pretty shocked that it has been arranged on an EDM base, because Bollywood usually uses that for club songs which are loud and noisy, and Bollywood also usually uses it wrong (with Pritam and Vishal-Shekhar being the masters, and Amaal Mallik with his ‘Sooraj Dooba Hain’) But Trivedi had used it in a similar way in ‘Shaam Shaandaar’ (Shaandaar), which seemed forced, and also ‘Rangaa Re’ (Fitoor), which was just an oddball in the soothing Kashmiri folk album. After trying decently twice, his hard work actually bears fruit on the third try. Here, he has done better at EDM than he has ever done, and it works out so brilliantly. It feels as if it is a DJ remixing a song, but not as messily as DJs always do. The entrancing tune gets even more enrapturing due to the EDM. The actual composition is not too much, but Trivedi has added interesting interludes of EDM. programming by Trivedi and Sourav Roy is fantastic. I never felt like I’m hearing a Bollywood song; the level of programming is so high. Trivedi’s voice gets drained behind the wonderful programming, but even if the programming wouldn’t have been there, it would’ve sounded beautiful. His steadiness on those long notes is noteworthy. Shellee’s lyrics too, and bewitching and intoxicating. A spectacular grand finale to the album, with a great use of international a level EDM, and an intoxicating composition and lyrics! #5StarHotelSong!!


To be honest, I wasn’t expecting something this good from Udta Punjab after tgey released the first two songs — ‘Chitta Ve’ and Diljit’s ‘Ikk Kudi (Reprise)’. However, little did I know that all the songs I would like were to be released with the full album! And I was surprised like anything! Amit Trivedi has gone to such lengths to make such addictive songs, most of them having attractive electronic music. Never have i respected electronic beats so much; here, they have been done very classily. And also, thanks to Amit Trivedi for actually representing Punjab positively, and not withh those irritating hip-hop, rap and disco numbers that Bollywood has stereotyped Punjab with. Trivedi has created a whole new music for Punjab, and that Punjab, I would call as Trivedi’s Groovy Punjab!!

 

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: This is more difficult than sin cos tan! So I would say hear them all in the same order they have been given in the album… With “Chitta Ve” first so that your listening won’t be spoiled!

 

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

 

Next “dish”: Do Lafzon Ki Kahani, Chefs: Amaal Mallik, Babli Haque, Arjuna Harjai & Ankit Tiwari