SITUATIONALL HAI KYA? (JUDGEMENTALL HAI KYA – Music Review)

Music Album Details
♪ Music by: Rachita Arora, Arjuna Harjai, Daniel B. George, Tanishk Bagchi & Badshah
♪ Lyrics by: Prakhar Varunendra, Kumaar, Prakhar Vihaan, Navi Kamboz, Tanishk Bagchi & Raja Kumari
♪ Music Label: Zee Music Company
♪ Music Released On: 20th July 2019
♪ Movie Released On: 26th July 2019

Listen to the songs: JioSaavn | Gaana

Buy the songs: iTunes


Judgementall Hai Kya is a psychological thriller / black comedy film that stars Kangana Ranaut, Rajkummar Rao, Amyra Dastur, Amrita Puri and Hussain Dalal. The film is directed by Prakash Kovelamudi and produced by Ekta Kapoor and Shailesh R Singh. The film has a music album by four composers — Rachita Arora of ‘Newton’ and ‘Mukkabaaz’ fame, Daniel B. George, the background music composer for the film, Arjuna Harjai (‘Titoo MBA’ and ‘Lucknow Central’ fame) and Tanishk Bagchi (remakes fame). I have already watched the movie, so my music review will refer to it in some places, but rest assured that it is completely spoiler-free!


The wacky album to this quirky film starts off with a not-so-wacky remake by Tanishk Bagchi; this time, the song that arrives at Bagchi’s parlour for a makeover is Navi Kamboz-written, Badshah-produced & -composed,  and Navv Inder-sung ‘Wakhra Swag’, a Times Music single from 2015. Now, I’m not much of a sucker for the original either, the repetitive nature of it getting on my nerves, and as such, I was not all that disappointed with the remake, named The Wakhra Song. Foot-tapping, though cliché, beats are all over this remake, while Badshah’s rap is replaced with Raja Kumari’s refreshing rap (sounding as refreshing here as she did in her last Bollywood outing, ‘Husn Parcham’ from ‘Zero’, with Ajay-Atul). Also joining the proceedings is Lisa Mishra with some new lyrics from the female point of view, also penned by Bagchi. The song still suffers from the repetitiveness syndrome though, thanks to the predictable tune of the not-so-impressive-to-start-with original, and the alternating nature of verse, rap, verse, rap, verse.

The other guest composer for this album, Arjuna Harjai, who we are getting to hear after two years (still find myself visiting his songs from ‘Lucknow Central’ sometimes; a pity he didn’t get more work between that and this!) gets to compose a dulcet melody, Kis Raste Hai Jaana, a song that plays a nice and sweet role in the film, and sounds even better with the visuals. The song starts with a calming guitar riff, followed by Surabhi Dashputra (remember ‘O Soniye’ and ‘O Ranjhna’ from ‘Titoo MBA’? Which were also composed by Harjai) in her husky voice, rendering Harjai’s composition impeccably. Arjuna kicks in with the antara, his Arijit-esque yet not-completely Arijit-esque voice providing great contrast to Dashputra’s husky one. His aalaaps towards the end of the antara are beautiful. Harjai’s composition (sounds quite like something out of Jasleen Royal’s studio!) and arrangements are wonderful. The “jaawaan main, jaawaan main” part is the best portion of the song. Especially since Harjai arranges a mini-harmony there with two tracks of Surabhi’s voice, and even throws in his own voice the last time that section plays. Kumaar’s lyrics are the conventional existential crisis lyrics that we often hear in Bollywood, but work in favour of the song.

Background score composer Daniel B. George’s offering Kar Samna is a short piece with Ramayana references that are best understood after watching the film. An ensemble of singers including the composer, a somebody named Amir Khan, Protijyoti Ghosh and Brijesh Shandilya, deliver it to their best ability, considering the little scope they had. Prakhar Vihaan’s lyrics are, as mentioned, Ramayana references that are best left undeciphered until you watch the film. The arrangements by Ujjwal Kashyap and Protijyoti Ghosh are jarring, full of angst, shown by strings (that quintessential horror-movie rapid movement of strings), electric guitars and drums.
That being said, I’m kind of unhappy that some other great background pieces that were included in the film, couldn’t make it to the album. For example, there’s an amazing recreation of Rajesh Roshan’s ‘Tauba Tauba Kya Hoga’ (Mr. Natwarlal) and I hope Saregama has plans of releasing that!

That brings us to lead composer Rachita Arora, with her two songs for the movie. The lead character of Bobby is introduced to us with the boisterous Para Para, a throwback to R.D. Burman’s school of music. The length is off-putting at first, but again, it is one of the songs that seem better on screen than on earphones. Arun Dev Yadav’s part-R.D. Burman, part-Usha Uthup-esque rendition, complete with the frantic breathing patterns as were heard in Burman’s songs, is refreshing. Also, the arrangements (OmDixant) do not leave a sense of datedness, as was heard in songs like, say, ‘Paisa’ (Super 30). What stands out is the saxophone (Bhushan Suryakant Patil). Prakhar Varunendra’s lyrics are a perfect description for the wacky nature of the character Kangana plays in the film.
In her second song, Judgementall Hai Kya, Rachita creates another very experimental sounding track, starting like one of those nursery rhymes you hear in horror movies, in the voice of a child — Nivedita Padmanabhan. Jaspreet Jasz takes the song forward with a rap, followed by a quite cliché EDM drop (programming and arrangements by Nitish Rambhadren and Daniel Chiramal). Varunendra’s lyrics are outrageously wacky, but don’t really hit home. The song could’ve been much better. It just makes me ask ‘Over Experimental Hai Kya?’


An album, best heard while watching the movie; other than ‘Kis Raste Hai Jaana’, I don’t see any track that is palatable enough for me to listen to after even a month. Situational and experimental tracks don’t always make the cut.

 

Total Points Scored by This Album: 6.5 + 7.5 + 5 + 6 + 5.5 = 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: Kis Raste Hai Jaana > The Wakhra Song > Para Para > Judgementall Hai Kya > Kar Samna

 

Which is your favourite song from Judgementall Hai Kya? Please vote for it below! Thanks! 🙂

FORGETTABLE KAHIN KA!! (JHOOTHA KAHIN KA – Music Review)

Music Album Details
♪ Music by: Sanjeev-Ajay, Rahul Jain, Siddhant Madhav, Amjad-Nadeem-Aamir, Kashi Richard & Yo Yo Honey Singh
♪ Lyrics by: Amjad-Nadeem, Enbee, Lil Golu, Sanjeev Chaturvedi & Alok Ranjan Jha
♪ Music Label: Zee Music Company
♪ Music Released On: 12th July 2019
♪ Movie Released On: 19th July 2019

Jhootha Kahin Ka Album Cover

Listen to the songs: JioSaavn | Gaana

Buy the songs: iTunes


Jhootha Kahin Ka is a Bollywood comedy film starring Rishi Kapoor, Jimmy Sheirgill, Omkar Kapoor and Sunny Singh in lead roles. The film is directed by Smeep Kang and produced by Anuj Sharma and Deepak Mukut. The film has music by Amjad-Nadeem and their new partner Aamir, Yo Yo Honey Singh, Siddhant Madhav, Sanjeev-Ajay, Rahul Jain and Kashi Richard. I’ve known about Amjad-Nadeem for years, and they have some decent songs, so expecting something worthwhile from them. Not expecting from Honey Singh, and Siddhant Madhav, Rahul Jain, and Kashi Richard, I’ve read their names in passing in some Zee Music albums which I haven’t reviewed or heard. So, let’s see what this album has to offer.


Amjad-Nadeem-Aamir’s Saturday Night happens to be Neeraj Shridhar’s second one with that name, the former being from ‘Bangistan’, composed by Ram Sampath. While in that song, Sampath fused club beats with Celtic sounds, here we get an annoying mix of overused club beats with the intermittent tumbi sounds. Neeraj Shridhar isn’t bad at singing such songs, so the vocals don’t annoy as much as they would’ve with another singer. The rap by Enbee is utterly avoidable, and the female singer Jyotica Tangri barely gets anything to sing. Do we have to talk about the lyrics by Amjad-Nadeem?
Funk Love by Yo Yo Honey Singh has the quintessential Honey Singh beats that have been missing from Bollywood for some time, and Lil Golu’s lyrics, something else that has been missing in Bollywood for quite some time. And after listening to the song, you know why. Though the beats start off quite intriguingly (though there’s nothing new, but that’s just Yo Yo’s forte, I guess) the vocals and lyrics make you cringe all throughout the song. Especially the title lyrics. Which do not sound like ‘Funk Love’ at all.
Out of Sanjeev-Ajay’s two songs, they collaborate with Siddhant Madhav for Munde Da Character, which starts with interesting Punjabi folk sounds created digitally, as can be made out from the sound of it. Brijesh Shandilya handles the vocals of the mukhda and the hookline well, and is accompanied by a horde of other vocalists (Siddhant Madhav, Rani Indrani Sharma, Nazim Ali, Deepak Yadav and Makrand Patankar) who mostly come into action in the antaras. The female vocalist, Rani Sharma, sounds great particularly, in the second antara. The composition is catchy, and thanks to the fresh Punjabi arrangements, it is a song I don’t mind listening to in its entirety, unlike the previous two songs on the album. Sanjeev Chaturvedi’s lyrics are also suitable and how lyrics for a normal Bollywood song should be.
Sanjeev-Ajay’s other song, Jhootha Kahin Ka, is composed in collaboration with Rahul Jain. Again, it starts with a heard-before but catchy Punjabi tumbi piece, which later is joined by harmonium, dholaks and Navraj Hans’ strong voice. The song carries a sound close to Gurdas Mann’s pop numbers, and thanks to Navraj Hans’ vocals, it sounds better. Rahul Jain and Ankit Saainraj accompany him with the vocals, but it is mostly a Navraj show all the way. The hookline is quite weak, and the lyrics (Sanjeev Chaturvedi) too are functional and nothing more.
The last song on the album, Jugni, is another song with club beats, and starts like a Yo Yo Honey Singh song, but it is actually composed by Kashi Richard. Yes, the beats are catchy here, and Enbee doesn’t irritate as much as he did in ‘Saturday Night’. The beats engage you throughout the length of the song, and the four singers, (Enbee, Kapil Thapa, Rohit Sharma and Chintan Bakiwala) though you can’t really differentiate one from the other, seem to have done a good job because the end result sounds good. The hookline has been composed in that typical designed-to-be-annoyingly-catchy way, but the beats and the ‘kadak maamla‘ refrain help the song get my green signal.


Not an album I’ll revisit again for any reason, because none of the songs stuck with me, but I would remember it for the way it is so typical with its beats, in both its club songs and Punjabi songs.

 

Total Points Scored by This Album: 5 + 2 + 7 + 5.5 + 6 = 25.5

Album Percentage: 51%

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: Munde Da Character > Jugni > Jhootha Kahin Ka > Saturday Night > Funk Love

 

Which is your favourite song from Jhootha Kahin Ka? Please vote for it below! Thanks! 🙂

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! 🙂

SABKA MUSIC STYLE BADLA!! (BADLA – Music Review)

Music Album Details
♪ Music by: Amaal Mallik, Anupam Roy & Clinton Cerejo
♪ Lyrics by: Kumaar, A.M. Turaz, Manoj Yadav, Anupam Roy, Siddhant Kaushal & Jizzy
♪ Music Label: Zee Music Company
♪ Music Released On: 1st March 2019
♪ Movie Released On: 8th March 2019

Badla Album Cover

Listen to the songs: JioSaavn | Gaana

Buy the songs: iTunes

 


Badla is a Bollywood film starring Taapsee Pannu and Amitabh Bachchan in lead roles, and directed by Sujoy Ghosh. The film is produced by Gauri Khan, Shah Rukh Khan, Sunir Kheterpal, Akshai Puri and Gaurav Verma. The review of this album being already as it is, I’ll jump right into talks about the music, which is by Amaal Mallik, Clinton Cerejo and Anupam Roy. This is Amaal Mallik’s return to film music after a year, after his one-odd song in ‘Sonu Ke Titu Ki Sweety’ last year, and it is his first for Sujoy Ghosh. Whereas the other two have composed for Sujoy previously in his productions and/or directorials — Clinton in ‘Te3n’ and ‘Kahaani 2’, and Anupam in ‘Pink’. So let’s see how these ever-trustworthy composers of Sujoy’s fare, this time being guest composers to the lead composer Amaal Mallik!


We hear Amaal Mallik composing for a Bollywood film after a year from ‘Subah Subah’ (Sonu Ke Titu Ki Sweety), and he returns with two songs (but three tracks) in the same album. Kyun Rabba appears in two versions, the first a traditional Bollywood/Bhattish Rock-Sufi melange, which we have gotten enough of in the 2010s, but I guess some more was needed before the decade ends, just to bring back a.sense of nostalgia. That way, the song is quite nostalgic, what with Amaal employing heard-and-loved elements like the rock guitars accompanying the Sufi elements like Dholak and Tabla (Satyajit and Ratnadeep Jamsandekar). The most attractive part of the arrangements though, are the drums, especially the cymbals, evoking a feel of the chimta from Qawwalis, making it sound like a rock Qawwali! The melody is plain, with a beautiful hookline, and it is catchy, I have to give it that due credit. Armaan’s vocals are spot-on as always; the fact that even though Amaal was relatively absent from the composing scene, Armaan was still singing for other composers, proves the point. The Acoustic Version is yet another traditional Bollywood take on the melody, this time with piano included as a main instrument. The punch that the Rock Version had is missing in this, but this version has a flow that one would want if they wanted to hear a more subtle variant of the song. Personally, I favour the first version!
Amaal’s second offering is a sad song, Tum Na Aaye, in the voice of K.K., another singer we mostly get to hear in only Amaal’s soundtracks over the past year. The song immediately arrives to its melancholic point, wasting no time in long mukhdas or preludes. That is a bit off-putting, but the hookline is strong enough to keep the listener listening. K.K.’s voice soars in the high notes, reminding us how there is an amazing singer who doesn’t get as many songs as he deserves anymore! The arrangements are again, a rock template, with guitars and drums driving the arrangements all the way. A.M. Turaz’s lyrics are standard Bollywood sad song lyrics; nothing remarkable there. The song is a good listen, but I would have preferred a mellower, softer version of the song.
And after Amaal’s part of the album, we get two songs from the other composers, Clinton Cerejo and Anupam Roy, who have both previously worked with Sujoy Ghosh in his productions and/or directorials.
Clinton returns to the Ghosh camp after two short soundtracks — ‘Te3n’ and ‘Kahaani 2’, both in 2016. Those two albums were very mellow and had the Clinton touch all over them, but what he presents here in ‘Badla’, is not at all like what he gave in those albums. Aukaat is a rap song following the new rap craze that ‘Gully Boy’, Emiway Bantai’s ‘Machayenge’, and some other Indie pop songs have brought into the scene. The song starts with Clinton’s trademark haunting piano notes, and goes on to a haunting rap song, carrying the film’s mystery theme well. However, as soon as Amitabh Bachchan and Amit Mishra start with the proceedings of the song, you feel a disconnect, because the song isn’t really catchy in terms of its rap. It is the music that manages to keep you gripped for the short duration of the song, but other than that, the song is yet another typical Bollywood rap song that has nothing new to offer, not even with the lyrics by Siddhant Kaushal.
Anupam Roy’s song is a similar situational track, Badla. Now this song carries a sound you’d never associate with Anupam Roy, a kind of retro digital sound that first irks you out, but then sets in as something weirdly new and addictive. The lyrics by Manoj Yadav and Anupam Roy are all about things changing in the world around us, and the tune manages to keep you hooked, especially in and around the hookline. The mukhda is enough to pique your interest. The minimalistic digital beat is perfect, while the composer adds the occasional eleftronic music sounds to make the song sound atmospheric. The song turns into a drag after the antara starts, though, and it is safe to skip the rest of the song after that.


Badla is yet another one of those albums where one composer has to compose all the musically perfect songs, the songs that would attract the audiences, while the others have to create situational tracks that wouldn’t matter to the public once they’re already seated for the movie. Yes, Amaal is the one who does the best job here, followed by Anupam Roy. A disappointing song by Clinton Cerejo still doesn’t make me worried though; he has the potential to do much better, and just didn’t get the scope here.

 

Total Points Scored by This Album: 8 + 7.5 + 7 + 5 + 6.5 = 34

Album Percentage: 68%

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: Kyun Rabba > Kyun Rabba (Acoustic) > Tum Na Aaye > Badla > Aukaat

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

A BULLET THAT MISSES THE BULLSEYE!! (SONCHIRIYA – Music Review)

Music Album Details
♪ Music by: Vishal Bhardwaj
♪ Lyrics by: Varun Grover & Ashok Mizaj Badr
♪ Music Label: Zee Music Company
♪ Music Released On: 20th February 2019
♪ Movie Released On: 1st March 2019

Sonchiriya Album Cover

Listen to the songs: Saavn | Gaana

Buy the songs: iTunes

 


Sonchiriya is a Bollywood film starring Sushant Singh Rajput, Bhumi Pednekar, Manoj Bajpayee, Ashutosh Rana and Ranvir Shorey in lead roles. The film is directed by ‘Ishqiya’ and ‘Udta Punjab’ fame Abhishek Chaubey, and produced by Ronnie Screwvala. The film is a drama surrounding the lives of the dacoits of Chambal, and has music by Vishal Bhardwaj, Chaubey’s regular but for the album of ‘Udta Punjab’ which was by Amit Trivedi. Vishal only composed for his own directorial ‘Patakha’ last year, and it was a nice break from his usually heavy and mellow types of soundtracks, wherein almost all songs were peppy and enjoyable. With ‘Sonchiriya’, I expect him to come back to his mellow music, but I expect it to be amazing, as his previous collaborations with this director have been!


The rural dacoits-of-Chambal setting of the film is established through the album’s opening number, Baaghi Re, a rock song with amazing use of guitars (Ankur Mukherjee), evoking a taste of the Wild West as usually depicted in films of Tarantino and the like. Vishal Bhardwaj hands over the vocals to Mame Khan, a name we saw in many songs in the Mirzya soundtrack by Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy in 2016. His rural voice is perfect for the song, and though the song is a bit slow-paced, it is his vocals that will have you hooked for the most part of it. Varun Grover’s lyrics are suitable for a song about rebellious dacoits, making this kind of a theme song for the film. It is the song’s Remix, though, that had me more impressed, where the producers (The Groove Room Producers) create an even more energetic mix of Vishal Bhardwaj’s haunting melody, complete with even more fascinating guitars as the original version. This one is closer to the classical rock we know of these days, while the original sounded bare, maybe because of the lack of drums, which are played in full force here, hence giving the guitars an accompaniment.
After this point, the album goes back to the handful of singers Vishal Bhardwaj equips in all his albums these days — Rekha Bhardwaj, Arijit Singh and Sukhwinder Singh.
Arijit Singh gets to perform solo, with a haunting, quintessentially Bhardwaj-esque Ruan Ruan. It is Arijit’s opening line that pulls the listener into the song immediately, after which follows the signature Vishal Bhardwaj whistle effect, accompanied by a pleasant guitar. The melody is calm and mellow, and the guitars (Ankur Mukherjee, Dhruv Vishwanath, and Saurabh Suman — bass) are what propels it to another level; that hookline is a beauty in its composition, but without the interspersed guitar portions, it would have sounded bare. I personally enjoyed how the hookline is broken into small bits, letting it take its own sweet time to sink in. The antara is where things gets slightly haunting, but that’s just Mr. Bhardwaj trying not to let things get too staid. Arijit’s rendition is wonderful. I cannot believe it is his first release of 2019; normally, by this month of any year, we get atleast five songs of his! Hopefully this song finds its audience.
Rekha Bhardwaj and Sukhwinder Singh each get two songs on the album, and Rekha further gets to sing a reprise of one of her songs, making her song count three in total. Her solo song is the title song, Sonchiraiya, which, in its original version, starts with a very mellow humming portion, complete with sound effects of water flowing. The harpsy guitars (Chintoo Singh) do well to create the haunting atmosphere, and Bhardwaj’s melody is so heart-rending, it is bound to make the listener emotional. The slow-going composition gets even more touching in the antara, where it changes tone for a while (during the ‘sonchiraiya, sonchiraiya‘ in the cross-line) only to get back to its haunting self with the arrival of the hookline. The song almost has a lullaby-ish tinge to it, accentuated by the use of instruments. The guitar is played like a sitar in the second interlude, and that makes for a wonderful listen. The digital sound effects used throughout the song, and the pensive notes of the piano too, make it a very satisfying listen all in all. Rekha Bhardwaj delivers it with poise, and that’s what attracts me to the song over and over again. The lack of orchestral strings in this version is more than made up for in the Reprise Version, which starts even more haunting than the original, what with the piano starting it off on a gloomy note, followed by the wind instruments. As Rekha starts the melody, the Budapest Film Orchestra led by Daryl Griffith kicks in with its magnificent sound. The melody that sounded so beautiful in its original version, though, sounds distorted by the haunting aspect of it — the soothing composition doesn’t match with the haunting, mostly loud, string treatment. Rekha’s vocals in this version, too, seem a step lower than what she showcased in the previous version. If you are an ardent strings lover, go for this version!
Rekha Bhardwaj’s third song is a duet with Sukhwinder Singh, a dance number called Naina Na Maar. It seems like Vishal Bhardwaj wanted to make something like ‘Gali Gali’ (Pataakha), but clearly couldn’t manage to recreate that magic. The composition is a happy one for sure, but isn’t something I’d want to visit again after one listen. Sukhwinder as expected, delivers wonderfully with his energetic high-pitched voice, but when you hear what Rekha Bhardwaj has to offer, you end up wishing the song wasn’t sung by her — Sunidhi Chauhan would’ve been the obvious choice! The arrangements are quite enjoyable — harmonium, dholaks and folksy strings scattered all over the piece. The traditional lyrics are fun too, but it is the little repeat value of the song that works against it.
Saanp Khavega is Sukhwinder’s show all the way, another pensive melody driven by a strong orchestral arrangement, this time complete with chorus singers (Mridul Ghosh, Sudhanshu Shome, Pankaj Dixit & Tanmay Bhawalkar) as is Vishal Bhardwaj’s trend in his emotional songs. The song is grand in its instrumentation and vocals, but the melody is quite weak; nothing to revisit as such. Varun Grover’s lyrics are a nice take on the not-so-nice ways of the world. Overall, it is a situational track that isn’t so memorable but for its grand arrangements and choir.


Sonchiriya is a good album overall, but it definitely is not of the stature that Vishal Bhardwaj has created for himself over the year, regarding his music albums. The last time his music album had me so confused was also not an album for his own directorial; it was ‘Drishyam’ for Nishikant Kamat. Save for the Rekha Bhardwaj gem and the Arijit melody, none of these songs really have it in them to attract me once more before the year ends, unless it is for the year-end listings.

 

Total Points Scored by This Album: 7 + 7.5 + 8.5 + 9 + 7 + 7.5 + 6.5 = 53

Album Percentage: 75.71%

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: Sonchiraiya > Ruan Ruan > Baaghi Re (Remix) = Naina Na Maar > Baaghi Re = Sonchiraiya (Reprise) > Saanp Khavega

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

WONDERFUL MUSIC AND MEANINGFUL LYRICS! (MULK – Music Review)

Music Album Details
♪ Music by: Prasad Sashte & Anurag Saikia
♪ Lyrics by: Shakeel Azmi
♪ Music Label: Zee Music Company
♪ Music Released On: 28th July 2018
♪ Movie Released On: 3rd August 2018

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Mulk Album Cover

Listen to the songs: Saavn | Gaana

Buy the songs: iTunes


Mulk is a Bollywood socio-religious drama, starring Rishi Kapoor, Taapsee Pannu, Prateik Babbar, Ashutosh Rana and Kumud Mishra. The film, directed by Anubhav Sinha and produced by Deepak Mukut, opened to rave reviews because of its bold content and it’s hard hitting message. Now, such movies aren’t expected to have a music album, but ‘Mulk’ makes sure it has three songs, an apt number of songs in such a film. The music is composed by Background music artist Prasad Sashte, while a guest composition is by Anurag Saikia, who is fresh from the success of his songs from ‘Karwaan’. So let’s see how the songs go with the theme of the film! 😊


Prasad Sashte opens the album with an upbeat celebratory number Thenge Se, which, in its opening beats itself, maintains that it is a song meant to groove to. The opening lines of the composition cleverly hark back to ‘Kajra Mohabbat Wala’ (Kismet), and the feel of the song is more or less the same happy-go-lucky feel that that song carries. Prasad employs three singers to sing three different stanzas with the same tune; the three-mukhda structure, however, doesn’t bore, because all three singers do their best, while Tapas Roy’s string instruments do their part in making the song entertaining at every step. Sunidhi Chauhan opens the song with a boom, while Suvarna Tiwari, fresh from the success of her song ‘Prabhu Ji’ (High Jack), which was coincidentally sung for the guest composer of this album, Anurag Saikia, brings in a rustic and earthy feel, and Swanand Kirkire does the same. Meanwhole, Amit Padhye’s harmonium and Shadab Mohammed’s dholaks engage the listener. Shakeel Azmi’s lyrics are fun and go well with the upbeat theme of the song.

Prasad’s second song Khudara starts with Islamic chants that tell you that it would be a very pensive and sombre melody. As soon as Vishal Dadlani starts singing, your doubts are cleared: the song turns out to be a heart wrenching sad song, which reaches its peak in the hookline, a soaring high-pitched portion rendered perfectly by Dadlani. Mithun Mohan, Ashwin, Anirudh, Himanshu, Tushar & Prasad do well in the backing chants — it really does its bit to increase the song’s appealing nature. The arrangements are mainly soft rock arrangements where the guitars are the only notable instruments; the rest relies on Dadlani’s captivating vocals. Shakeel Azmi’s lyrics are as heart-rending as the composition that Sashte has spun. However, at two antaras, the song seems extra long; it could’ve been kept at one.

The guest composer Anurag Saikia pitches in for the last song, and it is always a delight to read his name on the credits of any album; and it is commendable that he has reached this stage after doing just three songs in two albums before this! Piya Samaye is a proper Qawwali, something we haven’t got to hear in Bollywood for quite a long time. Or especially not one that has been done so tastefully. Arshad Hussain and Shafqat Amanat Ali complement each other beautifully, and Anurag’s composition suits the theme of the film so well, as do Shakeel Azmi’s lyrics based on secularism. The tablas, dholaks, harmoniums that are expected in a Qawwali, are amazing, but here Saikia also adds a wonderful bass, which, if you can catch it, mesmerizes you. And the strings conducted by Jitendra Javda are just mind blowing. All in all, this song is the perfect grand finale for a short and beautiful album like this!!


Mulk was not really expected to have songs, and since it does, I never expected them to be such gems, to be honest! I just can’t express how happy I am that Mulk is one such album that I will never forget, both because of its wonderful music and its meaningful lyrics!

 

Total Points Scored by This Album: 8.5 + 8 + 9.5 = 26

Album Percentage: 86.67%

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: Piya Samaye > Thenge Se > Khudara

 

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

WILL YOUR HEART SKIP A DHADAK? (DHADAK – Music Review)

Music Album Details
♪ Music by: Ajay-Atul
♪ Lyrics by: Amitabh Bhattacharya
♪ Music Label: Zee Music Company
♪ Music Released On: 11th July 2018
♪ Movie Releases On: 20th July 2018dhadak-hindi-2018-20180711-500x500

Listen to the songs: Saavn | Gaana


Firstly, what a beautiful album art. It could have been more beautiful had the music label credited the music composers and lyricist on it. This is a big problem when it comes to Zee Music.

Dhadak is an upcoming romantic drama, an adaptation of Marathi blockbuster ‘Sairat’ (2016), starring Ishaan Khatter and Janhvi Kapoor, directed by the ‘Dulhania’ franchise director Shashank Khaitan, and produced by Karan Johar, Apoorva Mehta, Hiroo Yash Johar and Zee Studios. The Marathi film had an amazing and short music album by Ajay-Atul; the songs still ring in your ears whenever you think about the film and ‘Zingaat’ became popular worldwide. Well, director Khaitan (who has usually had multicomposer albums for his films, scored by people like Sharib-Toshi, Sachin-Jigar, Amaal Mallik, Tanishk Bagchi and Akhil Sachdeva) almost by default has to rope in the same duo for the remake. Of course, they get to cash in on the success of the Marathi film in the bargain. The question always plagues me whether Ajay-Atul really wanted to do the film or not, just like I thought last year when A.R. Rahman agreed to compose for ‘OK Jaanu’. But the songs of ‘O Kadhal Kanmani’ were his babies so he kind of had to say yes. Same here with Ajay-Atul, I believe. But that aside, I’m sure Ajay-Atul have given it their all and not compromised on the quality of the songs. Let’s see how fast their songs makes our heart dhadak this time!


‘Sairat’ became known for its wonderful symphony, which was recorded live by composers Ajay-Atul at Los Angeles. Obviously, they had to create something to equal that, and so, Dhadak Title Track opens the album with a ravishing section of strings in the beginning. Now, I don’t know or care whether they have been recorded here in India or over at Los Angeles, but they sound beautiful, abd the duo has composed that portion very well, complete with the female backing vocalists humming it to perfection, and the flute accompanying them to make it a complete package even before the song starts. Ajay Gogavale and Shreya Ghoshal, the lead vocalists of ‘Saathiya’ (Singham), make the song beautiful with their voices, and yes, Ajay’s voice is a kind of folksy voice that suits wonderfully in Marathi songs, but Hindi music listeners are getting irked by it. I for one, am used to it, and couldn’t ask for anyone else to have sung this song. He sings the high portion at the end beautifully. Ajay-Atul really outdo themselves when they present that adorable, sweet and charming portion sung by Shreya in the antara; I wish the song was one antara longer! The brilliant use of piano and aforementioned strings makes it an auditory masterpiece, but what makes me listen to the entire song each time is the flute at the end, where Ajay-Atul tweak the tune for one note, and give the hook an entirely new feel! Mandolin has also been used to wonderful effect in Shreya’s stanza, and also a matka-like instrument. Of course, the backing chorus provides a wonderful choir setting when Ajay and Shreya sing the hook together towards the end. Amitabh Bhattacharya writes good lyrics, and they do highlight he young romance between the protagonists well.

The second original song, Vaara Re, also witnesses Ajay-Atul doing a great job with sound; a Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy-esque (harking back to the beginning of ‘Uff Teri Ada’ from ‘Karthik Calling Karthik’) electronic riff meets a wonderful sitar portion and again,you get hooked right away. The composition for this one takes time to reach its peak; the initial couple of lines leave you indifferent, but once it reaches the cross line (Mudke dekhna hi kyon..) and travels to the hookline with a flourish of strings and flutes, you are completely hooked to the song. Again, the interlude comprises a great flute and piano portion, with the female backing chorus humming, and their harmony in the second verse is great. The song is basically just two mukhdas separated by the interlude — a rare occurrence in Ajay-Atul songs. Then again, having one antara as in the title track is also rare for Ajay-Atul. The lyrics for this one are more along the inspirational/motivational/life skills route, obviously still romantic though, and Ajay once again provides a bold rendition, but I can’t help but miss Sonu Nigam in this song; it would’ve given it a softer quality and calmer tone.

Of the two songs retained from ‘Sairat’, Zingaat which retains its name as well, works better for me; the essence of the original is kept intact and the meaningless and flirtatious fun of the song too, remains untouched. Yes, Ajay-Atul’s arrangements and the word ‘Jhingaat’ (misspelled and hence mispronounced badly as ‘Zingaat’) is in essence Maharashtrian sounding, but the lyrics by Amitabh Bhattacharya really make it sound more suitable for Hindi. He writes such organic-sounding lyrics, I find myself singing that more than the Marathi one, because the Marathi in the Marathi song is actually not the Marathi I speak. Naturally, I am inclined towards the Hindi one. Which does not mean that one is better than the other. Oh, and Atul sohunds so wonderful singing in Hindi! His voice is so clear and unlike the folksy texture of his brother’s voice. I almost thought Amitabh Bhattacharya has sung it; they have a similar voice. So that was more of a lyrics and accessibility review than a music review, but yeah, the song is great.

‘Yad Lagla’ becomes Pehli Baar in what I found, is the poorest track of the album. The new lyrics by Bhattacharya do not convey the innocence and expression that Ajay-Atul’s original Marathi lyrics did, wherein it actually sounded like a teenage boy was lovestruck and dreamily singing a love song for his crush. Here, the Hindi lyrics ruin it. Yes, they fit well with the music, but the expression is missing. It should have either been in some Rajasthani dialect, to retain the organic-ness of it. But obviously, Ajay-Atul’s music is spot-on. ‘Yad Lagla’ was a gem and hence, by the theorem of similarity, this song will win over your heart with the wonderful percussion, the brass instruments and the soaring symphony portions. Interlude number 2 especially, is heaven. I’m happy I’ve been listening to this music for two more years than some others! 😊


A lot was expected from Dhadak just because of the original album of the film it is an adaptation of. The retention of Ajay-Atul promised us that the album would be of the same standards, but actually, my heart didn’t dhadak much too differently, or skip a dhadak after listening to the songs, except the title track!

Obviously the album is much better than what Bollywood is offering these days so it has secured quite a high score on the rating scale though.

Total Points Scored by This Album: 9 + 8 + 8.5 + 8 =  33.5

Album Percentage: 83.75%

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: Dhadak Title Track > Zingaat > Vaara Re = Pehli Baar

 

Remake Counter:
No. Of Remakes : 25 (from previous albums) + 02 = 27

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