DANCE, ROMANCE AUR GANGSTERPANTI!! (SAHEB BIWI AUR GANGSTER 3 – Music Review)

Music Album Details
♪ Music by: Rana Mazumder, Siddharth Pandit, Anjjan Bhattacharya & Madan Mohan
♪ Lyrics by: Kumaar, Revant Shergill, Sandeep Nath, Kausar Munir & Raja Mehdi Ali Khan
♪ Music Label: Saregama
♪ Music Released On: 26th July 2018
♪ Movie Released On: 27th July 2018

Saheb Biwi Aur Gangster 3 Album Cover

 

Listen to the songs: Saavn | Gaana

Buy the songs: iTunes


Saheb Biwi Aur Gangster 3 is a Bollywood action / crime thriller starring Sanjay Dutt, Jimmy Shergill, Chitrangada Singh and Mahie Gill in lead roles, directed by Tigmanshu Dhulia and produced by Rahul Mittra and Tigmanshu Dhulia. The film opened to mostly negative reviews, but thankfully, we music reviewers don’t have to poke our little noses into that. The music album of the film is primarily composed by Rana Mazumder, who made a spectacular  debut last year with Tigmanshu Dhulia’s ‘Raag Desh’, in which the guest composer was Siddharth Pandit, also featuring as guest composer here. They are joined by Anjjan Bhattacharya too, the second guest composer. Now, I barely remember any tracks from the previous installments of this franchise, showing how short their repeat value was. Let’s see whether the tracks in this instalment are any better.


Let’s get the songs by the two guest composers covered first — just my OCD, nothing else. 😂

Kesariya Jugni is another of the countless takes on the ‘Jugni’ folk song, but other than the tumbi nothing reminds me of the original, so I don’t think I’d classify it as a recreation! Anjjan Bhattacharya, who I always believed to be the melody master when Meet Bros. Anjjan was still a trio, takes the opposite path here; he relies more on the sound to propel his song forth. The aforementioned tumbi gives the song its required Punjabi energy, while other techno sounds help give it a universal connect. Dhols and all are present, but don’t contribute much. My favourite touch was the “Aao ji aao sarkar…” portion sung by Amit Gupta. The Nooran Sisters (whose surprisingly it is the first song of the year ONLY! 😕) carry the entire song on the shoulders; whenever it starts getting remotely repetitive, the Noorans keep it interesting and listen-worthy. Kumaar’s lyrics are something that would fit into a ‘Tanu Weds Manu 3’ as well, but Anjjan’s music it what makes it suit the vibe of this franchise.

The other guest composer Siddharth Pandit creates the Baba Theme, which succeeds as a gangster song, but fails to keep the listener attentive. Revant Shergill’s rendition is weak, the composition is closer to a recitation of sorts, and the arrangements are way too repetitive (more than Sanju’s ‘Baba Bolta Hai’ too!) for my liking. Revant Shergill even pens the lyrics, which again, are unsatisfactory. This song is something to skip if you get bored of repetitive sounds in songs.

Rana Mazumder starts his portion of the album with a recreation (more like a cover) of Lag Ja Gale from ‘Woh Kaun Thi’. After Lata Mangeshkar, the only singer who’s gotten even close to her rendition was Shreya Ghoshal, who I’ve been fortunate enough to hear singing this live! Rana Mazumder though, ropes in Jonita Gandhi, who had me floored by her rendition! Obviously not close to Lata di’s rendition, but from the current crop of singers, it’s only Gandhi who can get even this close to Shreya’s rendition too. What’s an added bonus, is that Mazumder keeps the arrangements really, really wonderful. The calmness and emotion of the original song has been kept intact, since Rana has used a beautiful orchestra, wonderful twinkling sounds, a mellifluous flute, chimes, and even a well-placed, iconic sitar. Of course, Madan Mohan ji‘s song is immortal, but I’m pleasantly surprised with this presentation of it. It is definitely a recreation I’d want to reach a million views in a day, but sadly, that kind of ‘recognition’ is in some other song’s fortune. 😦

As we veer over to Rana Mazumder’s original part of the album, we see a shift in the music from the modern, gangster-y music which the two guest composers had used in their songs, to a noticeably Pancham-ish vibe in Mazumder’s original songs. Three of the next five songs have that distinct Pancham touch, the first one being Andheron Mein Rishtey, which features in two versions, both with the same jazzy arrangement, which was a staple arrangement for detective/gangster films in the 70s or so. The trumpets are fascinating, as is the bass, and the composition is aptly sinister, as are Sandeep Nath’s lyrics. The Male Version by Arijit Singh falls below the Female Version by Mandakini Bora (newcomer?) though; Arijit’s sleepy voice just didn’t suit the theme of the song. Mandakini renders the song sensuously; such songs are best in female voices, I feel. That said though, her voice isn’t something I’d listen to the song solely for.

More along the Panchamda vibe is Dil Ka Parinda, which is crooned by the composer along with Usha Uthup. It starts with a pacy Latin rhythm with amazing Spanish guitars and Caribbean-style percussions. The first time around, the song sounds a bit pretentious, but it grows on you with the number of times you listen to it; Usha Uthup as usual is at her best in such songs; she leaves no stone unturned in making it her own song. Even composer Rana Mazumder tries to pull off a Pancham, but he doesn’t do it as well as he had done under Vishal-Shekhar’s music direction in ‘Twinkle Twinkle’ (The Dirty Picture). Even if you don’t like retro songs, you should listen to this song if only for the guitars and percussions. Sandeep Nath’s lyrics, yet again, are fun, though nothing exciting.

Rana departs from the Pancham vibe gradually, but Aye Huzoor still has some distinct Pancham touches in the arrangements. Rana uses sitar wonderfully again, and a very commendable use of muffled tabla sounds makes it a very delightful composition. The ‘Hey Shona’ (Ta Ra Rum Pum) duo Shaan and Sunidhi Chauhan render the song beautifully; Sunidhi is singing in the same voice which she had sung in, in that song as well. Though the composition is listener-friendly, I don’t think I see myself revisiting it many times in the future. Kausar Munir has written some cliché Bollywood romance lyrics, but they’re not dated as in irritating at all.

The last song, Davaa Bhi Woh, is drastically different from the previous songs of the album. It is entirely reminiscent of the Ismail Darbar – Sanjay Leela Bhansali combinations in ‘Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam’ and ‘Devdas’, especially the latter. Right from the female chorus in the beginning, to the overbearing tablas and kathak sounds, like the ghungroos and bols, this song is splendid. The new singer Saberi Bhattacharya is wonderful as well, and reminds me of Alka Yagnik in places. Rana Mazumder spins a beautiful melody based on Raag Khamaaj (I believe; don’t quote me) and reminds you of other songs like ‘Jagaave Saari Raina’ (Dedh Ishqiya). The conclusion to the song is magnificent as it should be, and I wonder what it is doing here in this soundtrack. 🙄


Saheb Biwi Aur Gangster 3 turns out to be the most memorable album of the franchise; I can see myself humming most of these tunes in the near future at least! Rana Mazumder manages to churn out entertainingly varied songs even for a gangster flick!

 

Total Points Scored by This Album: 6.5 + 4 + 8.5 + 6 + 6.5 + 7 + 7.5 + 9 = 55

Album Percentage: 68.75%

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: Davaa Bhi Woh > Lag Ja Gale > Aye Huzoor > Dil Ka Parinda > Andheron Mein Rishtey (Female) = Kesariya Jugni > Andheron Mein Rishtey (Male) > Baba Theme

Remake Counter:
No. Of Remakes : 29 (from previous albums) + 01 = 30

Which is your favourite song from Saheb Biwi Aur Gangster 3? Please vote for it below! Thanks! 🙂

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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! 🙂

MUSIC KA MAIDAAN FATEH NA HO PAAYA! (SANJU – Music Review)

Music Album Details
♪ Music by: A.R. Rahman, Rohan-Rohan & Vikram Montrose
♪ Lyrics by: Irshad Kamil, Shekhar Astitwa, Puneet Sharma & Rohan Gokhale
♪ Music Label: T-Series
♪ Music Released On: 29th June 2018
♪ Movie Released On: 29th June 2018

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Sanju Album Cover

Listen to the songs: Saavn

Buy the songs: iTunes


Sanju is a Bollywood biopic starring Ranbir Kapoor, Paresh Rawal, Manisha Koirala, Dia Mirza, Vicky Kaushal, Sonam Kapoor, Karishma Tanna, Jim Sarbh and Anushka Sharma among others. The film is directed by Rajkumar Hirani, and produced by him along with Vidhu Vinod Chopra. We all know how Sanjay Dutt features in almost all of Hirani’s films, save ‘3 Idiots’. However, Hirani says he never got to know him personally until one day he started talking about all his hardships during an emotional breakdown. That lit a lamp in Hirani’s mind, and he decided to make a biopic. Now, I can’t comment on the movie as I haven’t watched it yet, but I can sure do a music review, right? 🤣 The music of the film has been composed by three composer entities (one being a duo), Rohan-Rohan, Vikram Montrose and A.R. Rahman. It’s surprising to see Rahman first of all in a multicomposer album, because whenever he did those in the past, it was because he left midway due to other commitments. But here, he was the last addition reportedly! Rohan-Rohan have two songs, and it isn’t their Hindi debut; that happened four years ago with ‘Mumbai Delhi Mumbai’, but it is Vikram’s Hindi film debut — he has done some Hindi pop songs and a Marathi album called ‘Bhay’, which was mediocre. Also, I’ve noticed that Hirani uses music as a prop to take the story forward, but not even in the way other filmmakers do (they’ll have a song play in the background and all). No, Hirani will have a full-fledged four-minute song sequence, but it’ll make the moment fun and enjoyable. However, the music itself isn’t always up to the mark. His favourite film album of mine is ‘Pk’, because the music actually was good there. Let’s check out how the music is with ‘Sanju’, though you might already know by my review’s headline. Sorry. I’m dimwitted that way.


Rohan-Rohan are the ‘chosen ones’ who get to begin this album. And they do it in quite a quirky manner too! Main Badhiya Tu Bhi Badhiya is a song that is supposed to be an old song that the character are singing in the 80s, so the song is composed like a 50s nok-jhhok number. It starts with a wonderful opening prelude, which instantly sucks you into the 50s. Sunidhi’s voice modulation is fantastic, and is obviously one of the best vocal renditions of the year. Sonu Nigam, in comparison seems weak, but I wonder, since he can mimic so well, why didn’t he sing in a nasal tone, as well? He still has sung in one, but it could’ve been more pronounced I feel. Rohan-Rohan’s composition is fun, but takes some time getting used to. And Puneet Sharma’s lyrics are very quirky and funny, especially the part when they talk about ‘family planning’ or rather, the lack of it. The song somewhat addresses Sanjay Duty’s commitment issues, and it’s the typical Hirani way of presenting a serious topic in such a flippant and casual way.

Rohan-Rohan’s second song doesn’t fare too well. Bhopu Baj Raha Hain tries to start with a retro sound as well, trumpets blaring, bhopus belting out weird noises, but it soon transcends into a very weird zone. Nakash Aziz was the obvious choice for the song, and I must say Rohan-Rohan’s arrangements are enjoyable, but I’m sure nobody will listen to this song again. There’s not magnetism or attractiveness to it. The antaras are poorly structured, and I’d never expect this song to be in any big commercial film. The worst part is that this is a Hirani film. Though the duo has tried to create the Hirani zone in this song as well, I feel it could’ve been less effervescent. The lyrics by Rohan Gokhale and Shekhar Astitwa are just a bunch of words you never think much about.

Vikram Montrose, the debutant, also starts off his share of the album with a song that everyone would love because of the motivational touch, the powerful vocals and the inspirational lyrics. Kar Har Maidaan Fateh does carry thag irresistibly moving sound, I agree. The choice of Sukhwinder Singh wasn’t surprising, but the choice of Shreya Ghoshal was surprising, and the way she sings is even more surprising — she sings quite lower than she usually sings. She shines even then, though. Sukhwinder Singh’s parts sound almost heard-before and nothing new, but because of the freshness Shreya brings through her low pitch, the song reaches different levels of awesomeness. Vikram arranges is quite standardly, with rock guitars, percussions, and drums. However, the violin playing the hookline in the interludes, is amazing. Also, the composition took some time to grow on me, but when it did, I couldn’t get it out of my head. All in all, it was a good debut for Montrose.

His second song Baba Bolta Hain Bas Ho Gaya, is hinged on the quirky lyrics by Puneet Sharma and Rohan Gokhale. Papon brings a different, rough texture to his otherwise smooth voice, but I enjoyed Ranbir’s parts more. And Supriya Pathak (not the one you’re thinking of) sings her lines quite funnily. The groove and gun sounds throughout the song have been overused so many times in so many gangster movies in Bollywood, that it sounds boring here. The song is also unbearably long, at just under than 5 minutes. However, I’m sure this song is for the theatres.

And then enters A.R. Rahman, who gets two songs too. Ruby Ruby starts with that irresistible bass line, followed by the wonderful guitars (Keba Jeremiah) and a grungy voice keeps whispering “Rrrrrubyy”. When the actual melody starts, you are initially confused, and the song takes some listens to get used to, but since it depicts Dutt’s drug addiction phase, I think it’s deliberately composed like that — so many lines repeating so many times; there’s actually three discernible different parts in the song that keep repeating over and over. And it sends us into a trance. The percussions are amazing too, as are the strings! Shashwat Singh masters the grunge very well, and I especially loved the part when he does the descension from ‘Tu bhi, ruby, ruby…’. Poorvi Koutish is a capable backing vocalists, and her ‘la la la’ is so haunting, it sucks you in.

Speaking of haunting, Rahman’s next song Mujhe Chaand Pe Le Chalo is just that. A sensuous composition, rendered just perfectly by Nikhita Gandhi, the song immediately has you hooked. It has a number of lines ending with high notes, which Nikhita holds so wonderfully. The rhythm Rahman employs in the background is intriguing, and reminds you of ‘Muskaanein Jhoothi Hai’ from ‘Talaash’ with the shakers, the subtle percussion, and very muffled strings that give the song an even more sensuous atmosphere. Irshad Kamil writes lyrics that suit the ambience of the song, and I feel that the song itself can transport you to the moon. Also, Nikhita hums so brilliantly at the end of the song. 😍


Sanju turns out to be the weakest Hirani album for me, due to the meaningless quirks from the newer songs by the younger composers, that just brings the album down. The music field has sadly not been conquered by Hirani this time.

Total Points Scored by This Album: 8 + 5 + 8 + 6 + 8.5 + 9 = 44.5

Album Percentage: 74.17%

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: Mujhe Chaand Pe Le Chalo > Ruby Ruby > Main Badhiya Tu Bhi Badhiya = Kar Har Maidaan Fateh > Baba Bolta Hain Bas Ho Gaya > Bhopu Baj Raha Hain

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

A HAPPY WEDDING OF PUNJABI AND ELECTRONIC MUSIC!! (VEERE DI WEDDING – Music Review)

Music Album Details
♪ Music by: Shashwat Sachdev, Vishal Mishra, Qaran Mehta & White Noise
♪ Lyrics by: Anvita Dutt, Raj Shekhar, Shellee, Shashwat Sachdev, Gaurav Solanki, Qaran Mehta, Rupin Pahwa, Badshah & White Noise
♪ Music Label: Zee Music Company
♪ Music Released On: 8th May 2018
♪ Movie Released On: 1st June 2018

Veere Di Wedding Album Cover

 

Listen to the songs: Saavn

Buy the songs: iTunes


Veere Di Wedding is a Bollywood coming-of-age film revolving around four friends played by Kareena Kapoor Khan, Sonam K. Ahuja, Swara Bhasker and Shikha Talsania. The film is directed by Shashanka Ghosh and produced by Ekta Kapoor, Shobha Kapoor, Anil Kapoor and Rhea Kapoor. Now, the film has been creating buzz right from its trailer release, and the music which has become a rage across the nation already (not all songs but a select few) has been composed by composers including Shashwat Sachdev, Vishal Mishra, Qaran Mehta and White Noise. Shashwat and Vishal are two young talents that haven’t yet disappointed with whatever they’ve composed. On the other hand, Qaran, who has been assisting music directors like Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy and Pritam for quite some time now, gets to make his composing debut with this film, and White Noise is actually Sachin-Jigar’s Artists & Repertoire venture like Pritam’s JAM8. So there is reason enough to believe this will be an enjoyable multicomposer album.


The lead composer, Shashwat Sachdev, actually has four songs in the album, which is half the number of original songs there are in the album, so let’s start with his songs. 😁
Pappi Le Loon, the album opener on all the streaming websites as well, is a fun-filled, catchy number, where, surprisingly, the vocals arrangements outdo the composition! You can even say there is almost nothing by way of composition; the entire stress is laid on the way the sound interacts with the booming vocals by Sunidhi Chauhan. Shashwat’s electronic music is impressive too, and as such, he didn’t need a strong tune, to make this song any better! Everything has been done by the entertaining vocals and arrangements. The Punjabi-flavoured portions nicely marry the electronic sound and make this song one to look forward to in the album — one of the main attractions in the album, I would say. And when has Sunidhi Chauhan ever underperformed? And Shellee’s lyrics are suitably quirky and fun.
In another Punjab-meets-electronic music fusion, Sachdev serves a folk song in modern packaging, quite the same way he did ‘Naughty Billo’ back in ‘Phillauri’, where he turned the folk song ‘Jhooth Boliya’ into a trippy hip-hop number. Here he gets to remake ‘Bhangra Ta Sajda’ into an EDM-Punjabi music fusion track named Bhangra Ta Sajda (No One Gives A Damn!). The song itself is really entertaining; it has everything you’d require to groove at a wedding, and out of one too — trippy EDM, entertaining dhols, and a nice touch of sarangi, something Shashwat seems to love hiding in each of his upbeat songs. Romy delivers an amazing performance, and Neha Kakkar delivers one which made me like her voice in a song after a long, long time. The initial retro-ish portion of the song has been done well, and Gaurav Solanki’s lyrics are just quirky fun. (I have a feeling I’ll be saying this about every song in the album)
Shashwat’s best comes with Bass Gira De Raja, where he composes, writes and sings the song! The song is standard Shashwat quirky fusion; the composition instantly has you hooked,and the lyrics actually had me smiling at certain points. The man sings amazingly too, and once the bass drops, the song becomes much more interesting than it was when it started. The way Sachdev plays and experiments with different sounds is what makes me look forward to his composing for many more films in the future. In ‘Phillauri’ he got to do a completely traditional Punjabi sound, and the fact that he is doing such experimental stuff here, showcases his versatility and talent!
His weakest song, and probably the weakest song of the album, Aa Jao Na, comes next, with its repetitive tune that is actually the typical Arijit melody. Even though it reaches a peak at one point, it just goes back to same droning nature over and over again — which gets really boring after a point. What’s more, composer Shashwat Sachdev doesn’t even give us much to chew on as Arijit belts out the repetitive tune — just digital beats and very few piano notes, which don’t really fill in the gaps well. Anyway, I know this song is going to be the biggest and most popular, so whatever I just wrote might just not matter.
The composer with the next largest number of songs is yet another upcoming talent Vishal Mishra, who still has me stunned by his amazing two songs in ‘Qarib Qarib Singlle’ last year. His part of the album starts with the song that everyone loved right from the trailer, Veere, which can best be described as the movie’s theme song. He takes the friendship theme of the film, and constructs such a positive composition using that idea, it’s quite surprising this song didn’t come from a Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy or a Pritam! It totally belongs to the rom-com age of Bollywood when they made happy songs like this for movies like ‘Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu’, ‘Anjaana Anjaani’, etc. The hookline has the listener in a trance the first time it plays, and keeps entrancing the listeners everytime it plays! To break the trance though, unfortunately, there are some elements that the song could’ve done without. First of all, the too-many-to-keep-track-of female singers! If you ask me, Aditi Singh Sharma was the only one who should have sung the female part, because I can unfortunately make out Iulia Vantur over there, and unfortunately, she starts the unfortunate female portion. How unfortunate. But happily, things are better in the second antara, where Vishal Mishra comes back to take things under control, and the female chorus here sounds amazing. He’s the second composer on the album now, who sings just as well as he composes! Wow! We have a cool future for Bollywood music! 🙂 Also, Anvita Dutt’s lyrics make for a really enjoyable friendship anthem, so that middle portion can easily be ignored!
Vishal Mishra sings his next song Dagmag Dagmag along with Payal Dev, who sounds like a less hyperactive version of Neha Kakkar. Anyway, the song could be easily mistaken for an Amit Trivedi song, with that amazingly catchy digital beat, and quirky tune. The hookline, which sounds the cheesiest the first time, really sets in with the passage of time (the number of times you listen to the song) and doesn’t sound as cheesy later on. The arrangements are mostly digital, as mentioned above, and that’s mainly where it resembles the Trivedi sound. Both the singers do an amazing job and seem to have had a fun time singing this track.
Qaran Mehta’s Tareefan, is an insanely catchy and addictive club track, Badshah sounding like he has never sounded before! Qaran’s programming is the main reason the song sounds so fresh, and that addictive hookline, and the loop that goes on behind it in the song, I can’t stop praising the song; it’s like a guilty pleasure listen of mine. 😂 The flak the song has been receiving is just so unjustified — how can you hate a song if you hate its music video? This song will probably remain the catchiest club song of 2018 for me, and even that cringeworthy rap of Badshah’s takes getting used to, but you end up ignoring that by the time you’re addicted to the song. Qaran, hor das kinni tareefan chaidi ae tenu?
The song appears in two more versions, one being a Remix By Dj Notorious, which is also quite addictive (as if the original song wasn’t sounding like a remix itself) and so it sounds like another version of the song, had DJ Notorious programmed it instead of Qaran himself. The Reprise Version acquaints us with a promising new singer, Lisa Mishra, whose voice seems weird on the song at first, but then it starts sounding better and better than that. The unplugged version required such a calm and soothing rendition, because the composition, which is quite strong, makes sure that it can stay fresh in any form, be it a club song, or a soothing number like this reprise.
As for the last song of the album, Laaj Sharam by Sachin-Jigar’s A&R venture White Noise, the song is also quite weak as compared to the rest of the album. Something seems off in White Noise’s fusion of Punjabi and electronic music, but the vocalists Divya Kumar and Jasleen Royal save the song with their entertaining rendition. Jasleen’s voice gets a makeover; she puts on a husky voice here, and I wish she uses this voice in more of her own compositions from now on; of course, when and if the need arises. The hookline for this song sounds unnecessarily repetitive, but the dhols do the job in pulling you through that. Enbee’s rap is passable, and it’s not like it ends soon, and the composers don’t add any entertaining music in the background during that either! Overall, this ends up as the second weakest song on the album for me.


A ten song album, this really delivers what was promised in such a huge scale wedding flick about friendship. The soundtrack has variety, and after listening to it so many times, I can say it has the potential to live even after the movie is watched and forgotten by everyone.The biggest achievement this soundtrack has made, is that, though it has multiple composers, they all have one set aim which they all succeed in — to make Punjabi music marry electronic music!

 

Total Points Scored by This Album: 8 + 7.5 + 6.5 + 9 + 8.5 + 8 + 8.5 + 6.5 + 7.5 + 7 = 77

Album Percentage: 77%

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: Just Listen to them all in the order given on Saavn. 😂

 

Remake Counter:
No. Of Remakes: 20 (from previous albums) + 01 = 21

Which is your favourite song from Veere Di Wedding? Please vote for it below! Thanks! 🙂

SHANTANU SCORES, OTHERS ARE FORCED!! (OCTOBER – Music Review)

Music Album Details
♪ Music by: Shantanu Moitra, Anupam Roy & Abhishek Arora
♪ Lyrics by: Tanveer Ghazi, Swanand Kirkire & Abhiruchi Chand
♪ Music Label: Zee Music Company
♪ Music Released On: 28th March 2018
♪ Movie Released On: 13th April 2018

October Album Cover

 

Listen to the songs: Saavn

Buy the songs: iTunes


October is a Bollywood film starring Varun Dhawan, Banita Sandhu and Gitanjali Rao. The film is directed by Shoojit Sircar and produced by Ronnie Lahiri and Sheel Kumar. The film’s music is scored by Shantanu Moitra, Anupam Roy and Abhishek Arora, three composers who have recurring composed for Sircar’s films. Let’s see how well this album turns out!


Lead composer Shantanu Moitra really knows how to shed his Raju Hirani composition style when necessary. For Shoojit Sircar production “Pink” (2016), he created a pensive melody “Kaari Kaari”. This time, he starts the album off with the instrumental that has gained monumental success (especially since it is an instrumental), the October Theme. The track is full of beautiful violins (lead violin by Rohan Roy), a soulful piano (George Joseph, Artem Panteleev), not to forget the deep cello (Ilya Ten). Shantanu’s composition is beautiful, but the treatment he gives it with the instrumentation is what makes it redeeming.
That’s proved in the next song Chal, where the same tune, doesn’t create quite the same impact. Shantanu adds a very awkward 70s pop sound, not going quite well with the standard set by its instrumental version. Monali’s voice sounds very different, and Tanveer Ghazi’s lyrics create no impact whatsoever except a bit of occasional awkwardness. I must say though, the guitars (Ankur) are catchy.
It’s in Manwaa that the composer strikes gold. Sunidhi Chauhan’s voice is a perfect choice for the heart-warming semiclassical composition, and Shantanu’s trademark style of repeating an instrumental loop in the background works wonders as always. Swanand Kirkire pens soulful lyrics, while Shantanu accompanies Sunidhi’s voice with amazing arrangements — mostly digital beats, making it a wonderful fusion track. The composition of the antara is excellent, Sunidhi mastering the high notes as always. The song is hands down the best of the album, and most suited for the film!
Anupam Roy’s Tab Bhi Tu, in the initial couple of listens, sounds like the typical Bollywood Rahat cry fest, but after some time, I warmed up to it. It is definitely a new genre that Anupam Roy tried, and the composition, though maudlin and heavy to the ears, takes some getting accustomed to before you keep humming it all day. Shamik Chakraborty’s arrangements are the highlight here, with the electric guitars (Rishabh Ray) and drums (Sandipan Parial) standing out, and the flute (Sushanta Nandi) neutralising the rock. Tanveer Ghazi’s lyrics, again, create less impact.
Abhishek Arora’s song Theher Ja, is probably the one that suits the film the least, and though the composition is amazing, the composer ruins it with a techno beat, and electric guitars and the like. I would’ve preferred an unplugged version or a version with piano and violins against Armaan’s soothing vocals. Abhiruchi Chand’s lyrics are functional.


Considering that there were no songs in the film, the composers managed to give some good songs, but nothing more, except one I’ll love forever! What the result is, is that Shantanu, also the background score composer for the film, ends up composing within the film’s soundscape, but the others’ songs sound forced in just to create a music album! 

 

Total Points Scored by This Album: 8 + 6.5 + 9.5 + 7 + 6 = 37

Album Percentage: 74%

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: 
Manwaa > October Theme > Tab Bhi Tu > Chal > Theher Ja

 

Which is your favourite song from October? 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! 🙂

A WEDDING TO DREAD!! (VEEREY KI WEDDING – Music Review)

Music Album Details
♪ Music by: Farzan Faaiz, Jaidev Kumar, Ashok Punjabi & Meet Bros.
♪ Lyrics by: Chandan Bakshi, Deepak Noor, Devendra Kafir, Ramkesh Jiwanpurwala, Kumaar & Faaiz Anwar
♪ Music Label: T-Series
♪ Music Released On: 27th February 2018
♪ Movie Released On: 2nd March 2018

Veerey Ki Wedding Album Cover

 

Listen to the songs: Saavn

Buy the songs: iTunes


Veerey Ki Wedding is a Bollywood comedy film starring Pulkit Samrat, Kriti Kharbanda and Jimmy Shergill. The film is directed by Asshu Trikha and produced by Rajat Bakshi and Parmod Gomber. The film’s music album contains music by Farzan Faaiz, Jaidev Kumar, Meet Bros and Ashok Punjabi. Let’s dive right in, I have no expectations as such from this album..!


So the album doesn’t start out as bad as expected; Mind Blowing, though suffering from an extreme case of Mika-ate-the-words-again syndrome, has an enjoyable South-flavoured rhythm by (newcomer?) Farzan Faaiz, with the ‘Chinta Ta Chita’ (Rowdy Rathore) rhythm being used for propelling the song further into the masses’ hearts. The backing chorus sounds so bad, it’s actually good. The typical horns are there too, so everything you need in a generic kuthu song is there — I just wish the lyrics (by two people.. quite talented, it seems, writing lines like “Maana Milky Milky Badi Hai Teri Kalaai“.) and singer were different!
Farzan’s other song Na Kasoor is a staid melody that isn’t bad, but isn’t good either. It’s more like an “Oh, it’s over already? When did it start?” song. While he borrowed the rhythm from “‘Chinta Ta Chita” for his first song, Farzan tries to make this one sound like “Jashn-E-Bahaara” (Jodhaa Akbar), and to that effect even ropes in Javed Ali for the vocals, and jingles bells in the background. Sadly, it turns out to be a disaster because he insists on including sounds like breaking of glass and other “modern” sounds. It’s just a mishmash of sounds that don’t go together. It’s like eating fish with tomato ketchup. (No offence if you do.)
Jaidev Kumar’s Hatt Ja Tau, a convenient remake of the Haryanvi folk song of the same name, is much more enjoyable, mostly due to Sunidhi’s powerhouse vocals. The musical arrangements sound fresh here, but Devendra Kafir writes lyrics that would make you blush. The composition too, being so happy-go-lucky, helps to make you ignore the lyrics, and Jaidev’s cheerful arrangements are fun too.
Another bad song on the album is given by Meet Bros. Talli Tonight, from the name itself you can tell that the song is doomed. Somebody called Deep Money (forgive me if he’s some sensation) sings the song very uniterestedly, while Neha Kakkar sings in a manner I’ve never heard her sing in — utterly bored and sleepy! The wannabe beats do not make you want to get up and groove, rather they would make you skip the song. Meet Bros’ rap is just cringeworthy. Or was that Deep Money?
The best song of the album, only because the others are so cringeworthy, is Ashok Punjabi’s Veerey Ki Wedding, which is essentially a 90s wedding song, that was destined to release in 2018. Navraj Hans provides the necessary spunk to the song, and the arrangements (dholaks, harmonium, tumbi) help make it fun and enjoyable. The ladies’ chorus led by Saloni Thakkar is also enjoyable. The backing vocalists though, sing so high pitched, as if they’re in some 90s song.


Some composers picked up from the middle of nowhere make this a wedding you should be dreading!

 

Total Points Scored by This Album: 6 + 5.5 + 7 + 5 + 7 = 30.5

Album Percentage: 61%

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: 
Veerey Ki Wedding = Hatt Ja Tau > Mind Blowing > Na Kasoor > Talli Tonight

 

Remake Counter:
No. Of Remakes: 13 (from previous albums) + 01 (from Veerey Ki wedding) = 14