NO CHANGE IN THE JUGRAAFIYA OF AJAY-ATUL’S MUSIC!! (SUPER 30 – Music Review)

Music Album Details
♪ Music by: Ajay-Atul
♪ Lyrics by: Amitabh Bhattacharya
♪ Music Label: Zee Music
♪ Music Released On: 9th July 2019
♪ Movie Releases On: 12th July 2019

Super 30 Album Cover

Listen to the songs: JioSaavn | Gaana

Buy the songs: iTunes


Super 30 is an upcoming Bollywood film starring Hrithik Roshan, Pankaj Tripathi and Mrunal Thakur in lead roles. The film is directed by Vikas Bahl and produced by Nadiadwala Grandsons Entertainment, Phantom Films and Reliance Entertainment. The film revolves around the life of mathematician Anand Kumar, who helps prepare 30 brilliant but underprivileged students for their entrance exams for Indian Institutes of Technology. Bahl’s previous two films have had music by Amit Trivedi, but here, surprisingly, he chooses Ajay-Atul, maybe due to the setting of the film in a rural backdrop, and Ajay-Atul’s music rides high on folk influences. The album is a short and situational one, with five songs, so let’s see how Ajay-Atul deliver as per the film’s theme!


In the mostly situational album, with its lyrics propelling it more than halfway, the only song with any semblance of universality happens to be Jugraafiya, a delightful and cheerful romantic duet, delivered to the point by Udit Narayan and Shreya Ghoshal, a duo we haven’t heard together in a proper duet song (obviously ‘Radha’ from ‘Student of the Year’ doesn’t count) in a long time! The song starts with a signature Ajay-Atul mandolin piece, followed by the melody which kicks in at a low pitch, only for the next line to go higher, until the cross-line and hookline lead to the musical peak, in typical Ajay-Atul style. From that peak, the notes are dropped into a signature Ajay-Atul strings section coupled with a woodwind. The antara is interesting in that it is a string of notes that seems neverending, but I found Udit’s antara better than Shreya’s, because Shreya sounds a bit uncomfortable to the ears with the unbelievably high pitch of her portion. But, as mentioned before, the tune and complexity of the antara is enough to keep you hooked. The second interlude too, follows the standard strings-and-brass template of Ajay-Atul’s. The hookline is quite similar to the “Aga jhannanala” portion from the ‘Sairat’ title track, another case of structural similarity in Ajay-Atul’s songs, the same way the hook of the ‘Dhadak’ title track was similar to the ‘Mere dil mein jagah khuda ki khaali thi..‘ refrain of ‘Sapna Jahan’ (Brothers). The singing by Udit and Shreya is great; it is refreshing to hear Udit after so long, with the same vivacious quality in his voice that made him the top singer in the 90s. Amitabh Bhattacharya provides funny, conversational lyrics, and the use of the Urdu word for ‘Geography’ — ‘Jugraafiya’ — is interesting.

Another track with fun lyrics is Basanti No Dance, a situational song that is used in the film as the backdrop of a street play the students are performing on Holi. Here, the composers had to take in the street play aspect, and the Holi aspect, while composing the song. And it has turned out quite well, but the song just didn’t fit together for me as a whole. The composition is catchy in parts, but the situational dialogue parts make it digress in intervals, making the catchiness intermittent and sporadic. The phrases I really enjoyed were the “No No No…” and “They throwing eenta, we throwing rocks..” Otherwise, the other portions of the song did not really work for me. Also, the lack of anything in the background throughout the first half of the song makes it sound bare and naked. The second half has Ajay-Atul add bass and the song ends with an arousing patriotic-sounding string+brass section, which is all good. The four singers, Divya Kumar, Prem Areni, Janardan Dhatrak and Chaitally Parmar, out of which only Divya Kumar is a known name, carry the song’s comic lines well, but it is Divya Kumar who stands out nevertheless, and none of the others. Amitabh Bhattacharya’s lyrics try to tackle the language barrier that exists in the country, but that dissolves somewhere in the middle, and the song becomes a story about dacoits chasing Basanti, the character from ‘Sholay’, while you are left scratching your head trying to find the connection. The dholaks work in favour of the song as it is a Holi song, but again, I wish the first half wasn’t so bare.

In the same league is Question Mark, a jazzy and groovy song with quirky lyrics. The song is the most suitable for the film which is about a mathematician tutoring a group of underprivileged students. The drums, guitar and piano, coupled with the mandatory brass instruments make the song sound really creatively done, and Hrithik Roshan sounds really good; I never knew he sung so well. There are some places I almost thought the song was tailor-made for Sonu Nigam. Towards the end of the song, it turns into a retro chase sequence for some reason, with the bass guitars really cranking up the tempo, and a cool percussion beat being added to the proceedings. It provides the composers with a nice way to end the song on an intriguing level; ending it on the soft jazz note would’ve been less intriguing.

Paisa also rides on the 70s Bollywood template, but this time, it is the full song and not just the end of the song. You are instantly reminded of Kalyanji-Anandji’s music when the song is kicked off with that warped sound that dominated 70s Bollywood music, coupled with trumpets and drums, and those signature retro disco beats. With such an interesting prelude, the song follows a very staid template as it progresses. The duo’s composition is catchy, and so are the trumpets and beats and trademark retro strings, but the programming seems to be done lazily or it is just deliberately dated. The interlude is really intriguing; the retro touch helps it, but the song just gets lost in its antara — I found myself waiting for the hookline to come back, because that is, in short, the only catchy part of the song as far as the song’s melody goes. Vishal Dadlani sings the song with ease; it is not difficult for him to sing such songs — ‘Zaraa Dil Ko Thaam Lo’ (Don 2) bears testament to the fact. He is the go-to for composers to sing such songs, and thankfully, he doesn’t let Ajay-Atul down here and brings the song up a notch with his rendition. Bhattacharya writes lyrics as if the sole aim of the protagonist was to earn money and spend it overindulgently. The retro ‘Don’-like music also makes it sound like that and don’t even ask me about the song’s picturization. Of course though, I will not be judging the musical creation based on how wrongly it is used in the film — not my job.

A whole chorus of singers — Arohi Mhatre, Aditi Prabhudesai, Pragati Joshi, Maithili Panse, Sonal Naik, Rucha Soman, Deepti Rege, Deepanshi Nagar, Ann Fernandes, Dr.Pallavi Shyam Sundar, Shivika Rajesh, Riddhi Sampat, Kinjal Shah, Umesh Joshi, Vijay Dhuri, Mandar Pilvalkar, Vivek Naik, Rahul Chitnis, Saurabh Wakhare, Janardan Dhatrak, Gaurav Medatwal, Chaitanya Shinde, Abhishek Jhawar, Nimish Shah, Yash Kapoor and Mayukh Pareek —  leads the last song Niyam Ho, a melancholic orchestral piece that starts off like ‘Sapna Jahan’ (Brothers) and then progresses like ‘Vaara Re’ (Dhadak). The composition is really strong, probably the best composed song on the entire album. The music is beautiful — the orchestra gives you goosebumps, especially in the hookline, where things get really opulent. The brass and strings, yet again, work together to prop the song to a higher level. And the chorus gets the song’s intricacies beautifully. Amitabh Bhattacharya’s lyrics are really beautiful too, and rely on inspirational lines to make the already moving composition sound even more emotional. Towards the end, a nice beat on the drums kicks in, giving it a more millennial sound. All in all, the song ends the situational album on a very grand note!


Super 30 is one of Ajay-Atul’s less musically brilliant albums; the duo focuses on the film’s theme and that is appreciable. Once again, the orchestra in their arrangements does half the work for them, and all in all it turns out to be a lyrics-led situational album with a few memorable musical moments and no song memorable as a whole.

 

Total Points Scored by This Album: 7.5 + 6.5 + 7 + 6 + 8 = 35

Album Percentage: 70%

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: Niyam Ho > Jugraafiya > Question Mark > Basanti No Dance > Paisa

 

Which is your favourite song from Super 30? Please vote for it below! Thanks! 🙂

A TRIPLE-DEBUT TREAT TOILET!! (TOILET: EK PREM KATHA – Music Review)

Music Album Details
♪ Music by: Vickey Prasad, Manas-Shikhar & Sachet-Parampara
♪ Lyrics by: Siddharth-Garima
♪ Music Label: T-Series
♪ Music Released On: 13th July 2017
♪ Movie Releases On: 11th August 2017

Toilet – Ek Prem Katha Album Cover

 

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

To buy this album on iTunes CLICK HERE


Toilet – Ek Prem Katha is an upcoming Bollywood satire, starring Alshay Kumar, Bhumi Pednekar, Divyendu Sharma and Anupam Kher,  directed by Shree Narayan Singh, and produced by Aruna Bhatia, Shital Bhatia, Abundantia, Viacom Motion Pictures, Arjun N. Kapoor and Hitesh Thakkar. The film comes in support of PM Modi’s ‘Swacchh Bharat Abhiyaan’ by raising fingers at the issue of open defecation, prevalent in remote and underdeveloped parts of the country. Now it is a really good topic, but somehow, by the trailer and promos, I am not sure whether it will be carried out in a humorous way without looking dramatic. Anyway, the music, very surprisingly, has been scored by three debutant music composers, two duos and one individual. Vickey Prasad, Manas-Shikhar and Sachet-Parampara are the five lucky people who got to debut in Bollywood with an Akshay Kumar album, and how wonderful an opportunity is that!! I hope they make great use of it though, and provide us with a nice and clean ‘Toilet’! {Sorry for the desperate joke!}


1. Hans Mat Pagli

Singers ~ Sonu Nigam & Shreya Ghoshal, Music by ~ Vickey Prasad

The first newcomer starts off the album with a cute romantic song which sends off a great rural-setting vibe. The song’s composition is nothing innovative as such, but it still manages to hook the listeners, since it is so cute and such a throwback to Bollywood of the 90s. The only grouse I have with the composition is that the hookline sounds a lot like the antara of ‘Pardesi Pardesi’ (Raja Hindustani), which would be where the 90s vibes are coming from. The song is structured quite oddly, with a male mukhda, a male antara, and then a female mukhda followed by a female antara. Why couldn’t they just club the mukhdas together and the antaras together? That way, the listener would get some variation from male to female and then back to a male voice. Anyway, as they wish. The composition for all these stanzas is very cute again. The recording seems a bit faulty and raw, but that’s probably deliberate? The arrangements are again, not anything new or innovative, but that soft Qawwali setting to the hookline gives a soothing feeling, and the dholaks have been played beautifully, as are the plucked string instruments throughout the song, and the guitar itself. There is a wonderful rapid tabla piece before Sonu sings his antara. The rhythm is heard before, but the cuteness of the composition helps you listen to such a rhythm yet again without complaining. The vocals send you back to 2005-2007, when Sonu-Shreya duets were the thing. Every director wanted a Sonu-Shreya duet in their film; sadly, nowadays, that happens only in films where the director knows only about the old singers, and hence his music ends up sounding outdated. But here, there is no datedness whatsoever. It is more like a nostalgia. Both singers do an amazing job, though I somewhere thought that Shreya was struggling with such a high-pitched line in the antara. Siddharth-Garima choose the perfect line for the hookline; it increases the cuteness quotient of the song. The rest of the lyrics are cute too, but not too innovative. A good song to start the album with, but it has its own faults.
Rating: 4/5

 

2. Bakheda

Singers ~ Sukhwinder Singh & Sunidhi Chauhan, Music by ~ Vickey Prasad

Vickey has the second song to his credit as well, making him the main composer on this album. This song takes a more lively route, but stays a romantic song. As soon as it starts, the folksy vibe hits you, and you are also relieved that Vickey has used a more modern recording style for this one; it proves that the recording was deliberately done that way for the previous song. The composition is a lively one, but the hookline is really a letdown — it is so staid and bland. Also, we have heard such a hook so many times where the mukhda builds up to it, and then after a pause, the hookline takes the song forward. The antaras are very well composed. Sukhwinder, at his usual energetic self, renders the song with ease, and creates a good impact on the listeners. The problem lies in Sunidhi’s vocals, which seem less energetic as usual. It really sounds like she wasn’t interested, or maybe the pitch was too low. That makes her portion sound very odd, despite the beautiful composition of the antara. The arrangements are lively folksy arrangements with the percussion leading, and a nice plucked instrument entertaining throughout. A sarangi can also be made out occasionally. The percussion is the star of the song though. Siddharth-Garima, again, write an effective song to go with the film, but the impact of the lyrics doesn’t reach the audience out of the film. A functional song, but won’t really stay with you for long.
Rating: 3/5

 

3. Gori Tu Latth Maar

Singers ~ Sonu Nigam & Palak Muchhal, Backing Vocals ~ Umesh Joshi, Vijay Dhuri, Swapnil Godbole, Karan Kagale & Rishikesh Patel, Music by ~ Manas-Shikhar

The Rahman vibe hits you as soon as this one starts with the beautiful chimey music at the beginning. Manas-Shikhar, another debutant duo, enter the album with this song, and with only one song to prove their worth, they seize the opportunity and let me tell you, they make the best use of it, better than both of the other composer teams on this album! They employ a very lively setting to a supposed-to-be sad song. It is the festival of Holi, but of course, Bhumi Pednekar’s character is mad at Akshay’s character, because of we know what! So this is a situational song, in which Akshay pleads to her for forgiving him. Against the backdrop of a Holi song, a very emotional song, and I’ve heard something like this for the first time. Siddharth-Garima’s lyrics reveal all the emotion in the best way possible. Now let’s go back to Manas-Shikhar’s music. Their composition is just so catchy, especially the mukhda, which should be catchy in order to hook the listeners right away. It sounds like something straight out of a Rahman song. The hookline also succeeds in being a very beautiful, and catchy line. The antara is the female part of the song, and it has a very beautiful tune as well, which will remind you of the 90s songs, that used to slow down in the middle for the female parts. There’s a nice tempo-rise towards the end, in which we hear the already popular “Radhe Radhe” chorus. Sonu Nigam renders the tune with such brilliance, knowing when to emote which emotion, and wonderful aalaaps. Palak too, sings beautifully, and the brilliant composition of her portion helps her do that wonderfully. The arrangements are ever fluctuating, with the emotional and soft sound from the mukhda alternating with the usual Holi sound of the dholaks and other percussions. The shehnaai is played in a very beautiful tune. Those bells at the beginning are the most beautiful though. A wholesome song that defines what Bollywood is all about — colour, festivity, emotion and dance! Oh, and congratulations to Manas-Shikhar for a smashing debut!
Rating: 5/5

 

4. Subha Ki Train

Singers ~ Sachet Tandon & Parampara Thakur, Backing Vocals ~ Sukriti Kakar & Rituraj Mohanty, Music by ~ Sachet-Parampara

The last of the debutants bring up the finale of the album, which happens to be yet another cute romantic song. This one is a little less folksy than the others, but it does have the effect that it should. Sachet Tandon and Parampara Thakur have composed a lilting melody, that, though situational, and very predictable, still makes you smile and feel good. The prelude gave off some vibes of “Tere Sang Yaara” (Rustom). The mukhda is very sweet and simple, and instantly grabs your attention. The letdown here is the hook, which is as staid and heard-before as imaginable. But the antara is mind-blowing; especially the second line of it. The arrangements too, follow a very simple template, with that cute Duff rhythm, and in a wonderful second interlude, the flutes assortment and strings orchestra just mystifies. The first interlude with the mouth organ is splendid too. Sachet and Parampara handle the vocals themselves, and strangely enough, employ Rituraj Mohanty and Sukriti Kakar as backing vocalists for the aalaaps. Parampara’s is a voice to look out for, while Sachet’s voice just blends in with the multitude of new male voices we have in Bollywood, other than Arijit. 😅 Again, Siddharth-Garima stick to situational yet catchy lyrics; the hook lyrics made me smile. A good finale, and a promising debut, but not a song that will stay in my head for more than a month.
Rating: 3.5/5


Toilet – Ek Prem Katha is an album just like Akshay Kumar movie albums usually are — fun, vibrant and groovy, but with an overbearing romantic theme. What makes it even more special is that all the composers are debutants and it is commendable of the makers to have accepted the three for a film which will reach so many people! Seizing the opportunity, all three newcomers do a good job, and especially Manas-Shikhar do an amazing one. The album is a triple-debut treat!!

 

Total Points Scored by This Album: 4 + 3 + 5 + 3.5 = 15.5

Album Percentage: 77.5%

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

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

Recommended Listening Order: Gori Tu Latth Maar > Hans Mat Pagli > Subha Ki Train > Bakheda

 

Which is your favourite song from Toilet – Ek Prem Katha? Please vote for it below! Thanks! 🙂