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

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

Malaal Album Cover

Listen to the songs: JioSaavn | Gaana

Buy the songs: iTunes


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Album Percentage: 79.29%

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

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

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

 

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