Thursday 23 October 2014

Below are Music Reviews from Bollywood movies


Kahin Hai Mera Pyar

Music: Ravindra Jain, Nikhil Kamath
Lyrics: Ravindra Jain, Nikhil Kamath
Music Label: Worldwide Records

Expectations:

From the perspective of music buffs today – expectations are very low, more so because Ravindra Jain is a melody-oriented composer, who does not pander to today’s trends.

Music:

This fact is crystal-clear from the musical arrangements of the first two tracks, ‘Kahin Hai Mera Pyar‘ (Shaan) and ‘Shaamil Ye‘ (Suresh Wadkar-Ram Shankar), both melodies with the flavour of the ’70s and ’80s. The lyrics are simple but undistinguished; ditto the singing and the melody. The shorter version of the first, billed as ‘Kahin Hai Mera Pyar – Theme‘ (Shaan) seems to be just an add-on necessity.

The layered feel of the titled song with its soaring cadences that come back seemingly mid-way, makes it one of Shaan’s most accomplished film renditions, though you could mistake it for a song from one of the Rajshri movies when Jain ruled in that banner decades ago.

Suresh Wadkar’s timeless and finely-honed vocals anoint the old-world charm of the second track, and the sound is wholesome in its acoustic rather synthetic tenor. However, the raag-daari inherent in the song may prove to be a deterrent in its likeability.

The Sukhwinder Singh-Kavita Krishnamurthi Subramaniam duet ‘Nach Baliye‘ takes on a veneer of modern Punjabi folk, but ends up as a very retro song in its grammar and arrangements. Kavita excels, as always in her rare recent outings, but the track will appeal only to those who do not like any film song after the ’80s ended!

Shaan and Shreya Ghoshal come together in the old-fashioned duet ‘Tu Hase Toh‘ where the lyrics go the quaint poetic way of yore (‘Tu hase toh lage jaise koi jharna behta hai / Jaanam jaanam phoolon ka mausam chehre pe tere rehta hai). This is lingo that today’s listeners will barely identify it, at least in a song.

Sunidhi Chauhan is saddled with ‘Dilwale Dilwale‘, a kind of semi-Oriental dance number in which she is skilled yet clearly uncomfortable. There are clear resemblances to several older R.D. Burman songs and their interludes (Sholay, Caravan, Arjun) throughout. Which were not really needed, we feel.

Kailash Kher is more than a bit out of his depth (literally) with the superficial ‘Allah Tala‘. The oddball song treads more in the terrain of militant numbers that Kishore Kumar used to sing in the past – a genre that saw ‘Abhimanyu’ (Inquilab), ‘Andheri Raaton Mein’ (Shahenshah), ‘Arey Dekho Yeh Kya Hai’ (Bullet) and ‘Jaan Ki Baazi Lagaa De Tu‘ (the 1973 Keemat). The arrangements in this song are a nondescript mélange of instruments that do not evoke any mood, let alone what the song sets out to achieve.

Nikhil Kamath comes in for the 1 minute-long (!) ‘theme song’, ‘Searching For His Love‘ (sung by Siddharth Hazarika) and in two versions of a contemporary Sufi-hued number ‘Hai Junoon‘ and ‘Hui Junoon -1‘ sung respectively by Altamash Faridi and Tori Dattaroy. Written by Vimal Kashyap, it has words that are an aggregate of past Sufi songs with absolutely nothing original by way of either thought or phraseology.

Finally, two theme commentaries, ‘Adam & Eve‘ in Hindi and English (with the writers not billed) are recited by Om Puri and Nikhil Kamath. Not being songs, they get too heavy, and at more than five minutes duration, monotonous and boring. The English version (with Hindi interpolations!) also sounds fake, and is ungrammatical in parts and unintentionally funny at places (‘The reason of the world’s formation is knowledge of love / And we are the offspring of that love‘) and good diction is also wanting.

Overall:

April seems to be a music-rich month in quantity, with many film albums having 10 or more tracks inclusive of all versions! But quality-wise, the songs here are far from lovable.

Our Pick:

‘Kahin Hai Mera Pyaar’, ‘Shaamil Ye’

Kaanchi

Music: Ismail Darbar, Salim-Sulaiman & Subhash Ghai
Lyrics: Irshad Kamil & Subhash Ghai
Music Label: Mukta Music

Expectations:

Subhash Ghai and his sense of music are legendary. Karz, Hero, Karma, Ram Lakhan, Saudagar, Khal-Nayak, Pardes, Taal, Yaadein, Kisna – the music of all these films burst charts or at least won hearts even if the later films did not work. His last two directorials, Black-And-White and Yuvvraaj, also had their musical moments.

Expectations thus are set at a high.

Music:

It takes a subsequent track (‘Kambal Ke Neeche‘) to realize what we suspected in the title-song ‘Kaanchi Re Kaanchi‘ (Sukhwinder Singh) – that Subhash Ghai’s use of musical riffs and passages from many old cult songs is intentional. Since Ghai’s sense of music is entirely visual, we will make final sense of this only when watching the movie.

Take the smartly-penned (Irshad Kamil) ‘Kambal Ke Neeche / Ishq Bageeche Aaja Seenche‘, which seems to be a celebration of a couple’s wedding night without being in-your-face. Sung by Aman Trikha with Neeti Mohan, Aishwarya Majmudar and Sanchita Bhattacharya, it also has tributes in the lyrics to a bevy of old hits from Ghai films like ‘Do Dil Mil Rahe Hain‘ and ‘Yeh Dil Deewana’(Pardes), ‘Nayak Nahin Khalnayak Hoon Main’ (Khal-Nayak), ‘Ramta Jogi’ (Taal), ‘Jab Dil Mile’ (Yaadein) and ‘Aashayein Aashayein’ (Iqbal).

Separating the men from the boys in this brilliantly conceived song, Irshad even makes sense of the above words in the context here (‘Aashayein Aashayein / Kambal Ke Neeche‘), leaving us to appreciate the subtle erotica (‘Bhaiya Deewaane Hue / Kambal Ke Neeche / Bhabhi Sayaani Hui / Kambal Ke Neeche‘) in an era where brazenness is endemic.

The fours singers have a good time here and Neeti Mohan stands out among them. This Ismail Darbar composition maintains a rhythmic two-line pattern that is seldom broken. The few lines in English towards the end, we hope, will be situational too.

Sukhwinder Singh has a vocal blast in the title-track, ‘Kaanchi Re Kaanchi‘ imparting the breezy and straight, typical Ghai’s-film composition with complex but delicious curves and nuances. The trumpet and the guitar twangs are a delight, and the punchy chorus is cute. The lyrics are simple and the atmopsheric feel is infectious.

We move to ‘Tu sab kuch re’, the most layered, finely-honed composition on the soundtrack, with its lows and crescendos set to a relentless beat, so typical of both Ghai’s tastes and composer Ismail Darbar’s skills even individually.

Anweshaa is supple, giving Sonu Nigam aptly ‘passionate’ company in this almost Sufi-ana love song. Irshad Kamil’s poetic lyrics do not tread new territory, but the melody gives them a fresh dimension. Anweshaa reminds vintage Ghai music buffs of an amalgam of Alka Yagnik and Kavita Krishnamurthy Subramaniam in the earlier musicals of the banner.

What we also liked best about this most accomplished track on the soundtrack is the seamless flow from antara to mukhda and from the higher octaves to the lower notes. The use of chorus whisks us back to the era when melody sat regal on an unshakeable throne. Once again, the way the chorus is interpolated and the return to the main track with the use of backing vocals by Ismail himself is done with a rare sensitivity unheard of in today’s musically cluttered times.

Ankit Aashiqui 2 Tiwari is given a vocal challenge in the litany ‘Kaisa Hai Dard Mera‘, and we wonder why, like many singers today, he gets into the Arijit Singh vocal mode. Ismail’s haunting musical style comes to the fore in the retro feel of the track, which is a welcome break from the overdone Sufi-ana pathos of today.

The orchestration is likeable, but we wonder why a male singer was needed to express female sentiments! So the question arises: is a high-pitched male voice, backed by a rock guitar, really needed to express the sentiments of a simple girl from an unspoiled village that Kaanchi is said to be? This song would be truly noteworthy in a different milieu if used for a male protagonist!

Koshampa‘ (Aman Trikha-Sanchita Bhattacharya-Anweshaa with some introductory words by Subhash Ghai) extols the village of that name, said to be Kaanchi’s hometown, in its lyrics. The song is set to some heady beats with patriotic riffs from ‘Saare Jahaan Se Accha‘ added. The orchestration gets a shade too noisy on occasion and the song ends up as an average number.

Ismail Darbar’s final track, ‘Adiye Adiye‘ (Sanchita Bhattacharya-Avril Quadros) emerges as contemporary as they come in its packaging, but with a strong and naughty folk inflection blended with some heavy percussion and fast-paced beats. The quaint and obviously completely situational song is sung in a gimmicky way and sounds cute, though it caters to niche tastes and lacks an enduring quality.

Subhash Ghai turns music maker with ‘Main Mushtanda‘ (Mika-Aishwarya Majumdar-Earl Edgar), a modern rap number for which he himself pens the lyrics (after his attempt in Jogger’s Park). Irreverent and dark, it is saucily drawled out by Mika, with Aishwarya belting out the contrasting lines to Mika’s aggressive words. The arrangements are interesting for this genre of songs, after the extremely predictable way with which the track begins.

Salim-Sulaiman’s ‘Thumka‘ could belong to any urban film of our times. The tune is overtly familiar and might be composed by any music maker today, cloaked in all the ‘current coin’ synthetic razzmatazz. The song remains with you only till it is on, thanks to Sonu Nigam’s vocals, while Suzanne D’Mello’s vocals are largely incomprehensible and unclear.

The duo’s ‘Jai He‘ (Sukhwinder Singh-Mohit Chauhan-Raj Pandit) is impressively orchestrated. Irshad Kamil presents a trenchant poser (‘Itna bada jahaan hai / Chalo dhoondh laaye ussko / Saare jahaan se accha / woh Hindustan kahaan hai?’) and goes on to pen rabble-rousing words about our leaders singing the national anthem without understanding the true meaning of the words. But its noisy rock-like treatment could have been dispensed with for a weightier acoustic treatment that would have actually enhanced the impact.

Overall:

This is a score that has its highs but lacks uniformity in caliber. It will work only after the film makes a mark, hence the rating.

Our Pick:

‘Kanchi Re Kaanchi’, ‘Tu Sab Kuch Re’, ‘Kambal Ke Neeche’, ‘Hindustan Kahaan Hai’

Bhoothnath Returns

Music: Meet Bros. Anjjan – Palash Muchhal, Yo Yo Honey Singh & Ram Sampath
Lyrics: Kumaar, Kunwar Juneja, Yo Yo Honey Singh, Munna Dhiman & Nitesh Tiwari
Music Label: T-Series

Expectations:

The sequel to Bhoothnath in 2008 aims at being more market friendly and socially-relevant – after all, BR Films has come in too as co-producers with T-Series. Multiple music makers come in, as per trends.

Music:

Meet Bros. Anjjan come up with one of their better tracks, ‘Party To Banti Hai‘ with Mika leading the composers’ voices. In sync with the mood of the film, the composers seem to take more than a leaf out of Himesh Reshammiya grammar in the chorus ‘Po po po‘ and the easy flow of rhythmic (!) melody. Mika now is beyond critical evaluation – he neither gets better nor worse, and is in that sense, the most consistent singer in the business, with a distinct voice and tone that make up a natural USP!

However, after this euphoria, comes a weightier song ‘Party With The Bhoothnath‘ composed, written and sung by – surprise! surprise! – Yo Yo Honey Singh! We finally cotton onto the man’s secret of success – his creation of the right atmosphere. The orchestration evokes the spooky backdrop with the smart use of a dominant bell and the relentless usage of some eerily ambient orchestration.

The rap lyrics are apt and have their own element of satire. The rest is trademark Yo Yo: catchy beats, repeated phrases and (unfortunately) the singer’s perennially flawed pronunciation that he should take seriously and improve. But on the whole, the track works – big-time.

Aman Trikha shines in Kunwar Juneja’s satire-rich (‘Honesty ka paath padhaaye / Lucche aur lafange‘) song ‘Har Har Gange‘. He is spirited and spotless, with all the right inflections. Ram Sampath adds the nuances neatly and the song is a nice ensemble of melody and fashionable Punjabi beats.

The sole intense melody in the soundtrack, ‘Sahib‘ is sung well by Rituraj, even if his voice and singing style seem inspired a lot by Kailash Kher’s. Munna Dhiman’s lyrics are simple, predictable but heartfelt, and it is good to know that he is capable of going beyond the esoteric, imagery-rich groove of his work in the past. Ram Sampath does a soft and soothing job of both the composition and orchestration.

Before we come to the final track, let us examine the two ubiquitous remix tracks – ‘Party To Banti Hai – Remix‘ and ‘Har Har Gange – Remix‘. Those who will do it, will do it, we guess, but we fail to see the need to enhance the pace and beats of perfectly good songs and making them sound noisy with some gimmicky additions. Do these really make a difference on the dance floor or gym machines as the assumption goes?

Finally, to end on a nice note, we find writer-director Nitesh Tiwari writing a smart rap track in ‘Dharavi Rap‘ by actor Parth Bhalerao with Anish. We loved the spicy references to Hindi movies (Teen guna Lagaan / Jhuk Gaya Aasmaan), songs (Balam pichkari hai / Ferrari ki sawaari hai), characters and actors amidst the laconic sarcasm (Iss mein maa Meena Kumari hai / Aur baap ko unknown beemari hai) in a funny track set to music by Ram Sampath.

Overall:

Two of these songs have caught on and will boost the prospects of the film to a decent extent. The other slower songs may or may not pick up later, but are worthy tracks at that.

And yes, the BR Films musical track-record is not sullied either. They were among the pioneers of truly meaningful lyrics with a social angle from Sadhana to the ’80s and this time too, the lyrics stand out.

Our Pick:

‘Party To Banti Hai’, ‘Har Har Gange’, ‘Party With The Bhoothnath’

Dedh Ishqiya

Music: VISHAL BHARDWAJ
Lyrics: GULZAR
Music Label: SHEMAROO MUSIC

Expectations:

The sequel to the 2010 film which also boasted of memorable music, we have here the same Vishal Bhardwaj – Gulzar combination (in a film produced by Vishal himself) …

Dhoom 3

Music: PRITAM & JULIUS PACKIAM
Lyrics: SAMEER ANJAAN, AMITABH BHATTACHARYA, KAUSAR MUNIR & VIJAY KRISHNA ACHARYA
Music Label: YASH RAJ MUSIC

Expectations:

The franchise has been illustrious indeed, even in the music department. Pritam has revealed that he quit Yash Raj Films’ Ek Tha Tiger because he wanted to give Dhoom:3 preference, as Dhoom the franchise was his fiefdom. An Aamir Khan film for the first time with the composer is also a prestige issue. Also, the recent track-record of Pritam with the banner has been better than that of the company with other music makers. In short, expectations are high enough.

Music:

The lead track, ‘Malang‘ (Siddharth Mahadevan-Shilpa Rao) sets the tone for the original tracks in the album. It is not just a love song, but a Sufi-ana number as well. Siddharth and Shilpa are made to sing in a welcome full-throated manner, and that is indeed a good change from Shilpa’s trademark ‘closed’ vocals.

Any resemblance to Pritam’s scores in Milan Luthria’s OUATIM franchise is quickly diluted by the more resonant and trendy orchestration and a classical-meets-Sufi instrumental rendition of the franchise’s theme hook, ‘Dhoom machale dhoom‘, which emerges as the highlight of this track.

The lyrics (Sameer Anjaan) are serviceable and familiar, but a shade disappointing for those wanting good lyrics. Like his less-skilful juniors, Sameer panders to contemporary misuse of Urdu words for enhancing phonetics, like the overdone and usually inaccurate mannaton / jannaton / chaahaton and raahaton.

Sunidhi Chauhan, whose growth seemed to have reached a plateau till last year and who has suddenly begun evolving from this year (especially under Pritam) is superlative in ‘Kamli‘ , another Sufi-meets-romantic song. Its orchestration alone is worth a long study that is outside the scope of this review, so nuanced and meticulously innovative it is. The part-familiar and part-incomprehensible Punjabi and Urdu terms can be forgiven here as we experience the sheer power of evocative vocals and the lethal combination of the composition and sparkling arrangements.

Mohit Chauhan accomplishes one of his finest feats in a rapidly increasing repertoire of excellent singing in ‘Tu hi junoon‘, which follows the Sufi-and-love pattern of the score. The Western-heavy interludes impart a lustrous sheen to this lovely number, which leads the score in excellence, even if ‘Kamli‘ leads in mass-appeal. Kausar Munir’s lyrics are what is known as par for the course, but a Pritam characteristic is that the strength of his music overpowers even ordinary lyrics and singers.

What remains to be heard is the franchise’s anthem, which Sunidhi Chauhan sang so powerfully in Dhoom (with an appealing English version by Tata Young) and which was ingeniously tweaked by the composer in Dhoom:2 to go on the hero.

Here again, we again see two versions. But Aditi Singh Sharma just does not measure up and neither does the shockingly cacophonous orchestration in the Hindi version. Despite almost mimicking Sunidhi, Aditi falls woefully short in imparting the necessary zing to the song. So we wonder why the composer, who has often diluted the impact of good compositions with below-par voices, has not chosen Sunidhi again.

The lyrics (Sameer Anjaan) have to be secondary to the tweaked tune and are largely functional. And in fact the Arabic version by Naya, an Oriental singer, appeals more.
Pritam also scores the instrumental track ‘Dhoom tap‘ which as taps goes is very energetic in pace.
Julius Packiam, who so far has done background scores for films like Kabul Express and some more YRF movies, composes a ‘Dhoom 3‘ overture and also a sing-song composition ‘Bande hain hum usske‘ (Shivam Mahdevan-Anish Sharma), an inspirational song in which Kausar Munir has written predictable songs. It has a definite resemblance in its mukhda to the 1993 ‘Dil mein sanam ki soorat‘ from Anu Malik’s Phir Teri Kahani Yaad Ayee but is nevertheless a pleasant listen.

The children have a crystal-clear timbre and sing with ease. Packiam’s sensibility keeps the orchestra gentle, and lets the singers have a clear field. Wish so many music makers of today had similar acumen and judgement in sound!

Overall:

Pritam’s score on this soundtrack may have a bit less by way of instant connectivity than the earlier films in this series, but the songs do grow on you. This has been a constant feature of late in all of Pritam’s music (except the instant appeal of R…Rajkumar) – like Barfi!, Race 2, Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani, Once Upon A Time In Mumbaai Dobaara! . The advantage the composer has here is the high-profile product (movie) and makers and the innovative marketing coupled with the kind of opening draw the film will have.

Happily, unlike some of his other tech-savvy contemporaries, the composer relies (usually) on entire songs rather than hooks to appeal, and also alters his style and orchestration as per the needs of a film and the vision of the director.

This is the USP of Pritam, always has been. But we wish that his music also had the instant appeal of his pre-2012 songs, even as they also had lasting appeal. This is a soundtrack in which the better tracks will have to rely on the film’s performance to really remain on the charts.

Our Pick:

Malang, Kamli, Tu Hi Junoon

Club 60

Music: Pranit Gedham
Lyrics: Sanjay Tripathy, Mahendra Madhukar & Najeer Akbara Badi
Music Label: T-Series

Expectations:

Expectations are zero – with a newbie music director, an offbeat theme and little face value.

Music:

Arijit Singh, the only common point between the three musical revolutions of 2013 – Aashiqui 2, Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani and Ram-Leela, gets to sing the opening track, ‘Pal Pal‘ with gusto. The nuanced composition starts with a simple couplet and moves to experimental zones in the music while retaining its fluid placidity. The lyrics by Sanjay Tripathy are succinct (Apne Ko Khokar Bhi Apne Mile) and sum up the quirky qualities of life.

Newbie composer Pranit Gedham keeps things sober and tasteful, imparting a haunting quality to this song despite the soft rock-like feel in the orchestration. Indian strings come in as an innovative touch and impart a nice feel to this languid number.

The piece-de-resistance of the score is the second track, ‘Rooh Mein Faasle Nahin Hote / Kaash Hum Tum Mile Nahin Hote‘, divinely written by Mahendra Madhukar and rendered with nuanced brilliance by Raju Singh, the well-known composer. Raju gives it his all, his husky voice and the use of the reverb heightening the impact of the words (Ek Saaya Na Saath Jo Deta / Do Qadam Bhi Chale Nahin Hote) and the composition, which carts us back to the halcyon magic of Jagjit Singh’s era.

The soulful track leads you into a world of pathos with its sonorous softness, the brilliant notes of the piano underscoring the melody. The treatment is full-on ghazal-esque, with the tabla dominating and creating the perfect ambience for the gentle sweep of the notes.

The musical high scales down a bit in the third track ‘Mera Saaya‘ (sung by Nandini Srikar). Nandini tries her best, but the classical flavour seems a tad forced. Because of this, the strength of Pranit’s layered composition gets a shade diluted as we see more ‘show’ than skill in the singing. But we welcome charming words like ‘ansuan‘ (for aansoo or tears) (lyrics by Sanjay Tripathy) in these ‘Hinglish’ and Sufi days.

The fourth song changes tracks to a folk mood, and Raghuveer Yadav is his usual self (he was last heard in Peepli [Live] ) as he sings ‘Wah Wah‘. The song has the right rustic flavour in sound and orchestration, and the chorus gives the lead singer apt accompaniment. The lyrics (Najeer Akbara Badi) are situational, and Raguveer is effortless, though we clearly hear a second male voice that is mysteriously not credited!

Overall:

This is not one of those scores that feature chartbusters, and our rating is purely on a commercial yardstick. But the music commands respect and we will look at Pranit Gedham’s future career with interest.

Our Pick:

‘Rooh Mein’, ‘Pal Pal’

What The Fish

Music: Amartya Rahut, Indraneel Hariharan, Dhruv Dhalla & Sandeep Chatterjee
Lyrics: Manoj Yadav, Rajesh Chawla, Puneet Krishna & Tejpal Singh Rawat
Music Label: T-Series

Expectations:

Expectations from the comedy are nil, given the multiple and mostly anonymous music makers.

Music:

The Sarita Vardhan-rendered ‘Samjhe Na Koi‘ starts on an authentic traditional note before settling into a modern groove, though with the raag-daari intact. Passably rendered and written (Rajesh Chawla), it is decently composed by Indraneel Hariharan.

The song compensates for the lack of substance in the rest of the score, which opens with two tracks that may be situational but do not justify the complete absence of appeal in them – ‘Goti Jaam‘ (sic), sung and composed by Amartya Rahut, and ‘Maasiji‘ (Alam Gir Khan, Neuman Pinto, Amartya Rahut, who again is the music director). The latter track is clearly a poor cousin of ‘Auntyji‘ from Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu and is even more unmemorable. Manoj Yadav’s lyrics in these two songs are far from what lyrics should be even in the fun genre.

Dhruv Dhalla, who composed the Punjabi folk numbers in Khosla Ka Ghosla, does the confused folk number ‘Saadi Hobby Jhappiyan Paani‘ (sung by Brijesh Shandilya) in which lyricist Puneet Krishna ‘merges’ Punjabi pop with folk lexicon from Uttar Pradesh! The intended amalgam of two different folk streams, however, only leads to (con)fusion. Once we move to the next number, this one is forgotten.

Sonu Kakkar and Altamash Faridi sang ‘Babbe Mast‘, a ‘contemporary’ beats-oriented number written by Tejpal Rawat and composed by Sandeep Chaterjee. As predictable as yesterday, the song has nothing innovative to offer, which is fine, but there is nothing to impress either! The heavy and predictable beats and singing are – pardon us for saying this – completely passé in the post-Aashiqui 2-Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani-Ram-Leela era, when even GenY needs solid substance to both tango to and download!

The same lyricist-composer team fare marginally better in ‘Machhli Jal Ki Rani Hai‘ (Rhydun Chatterjee, Sandeep Chatterjee), a situational number. However, the song would have fared better if its treatment had not been so ‘rock’ous, that too with some high-pitched rap screeched by Sandeep Chaterjee. Also, the lyrics are drowned in a decibel-heavy shower of instrumentation.

Overall:

There is nothing to linger in the entire album. ‘Samjhe Na Koi‘ has a passing appeal. It is truly alarming how the music of films – as lucrative as a territory in terms of business potential – is being increasingly left in the hands of word-spinners and the purveyors of what is wrongly considered as ‘trendy’ beats. The rationale behind such mindless inattention to melody is baffling, especially when small films like these have always been salvaged by great music.

Our Pick:

‘Samjhe Na Koi’

R Rajkumar

Music: Pritam
Lyrics: Mayur Puri, Ashish Pandit, Neelesh Misra & Anupam Amod
Music Label: Eros Music

Expectations:

A Prabhu Deva film without music to dance to would like akin to a Rohit Shetty film sans action or a David Dhawan film minus comedy. With a track-record of Sajid-Wajid’s Wanted and Rowdy Rathore, the director-choreographer now hooks up with Pritam. The film stars Shahid Kapoor, in whose films (Jab We Met, Kismat Konnection, Dil Bole Hadippa!, Badmaash Company, Mausam, Phata Poster Nikhla Hero), Pritam has always delivered hit songs irrespective of the success or otherwise of the films. Result: high expectations from the two dance gurus and the music ace!

Music:

Pritam lets go with rare abandon in desi terrain. This is his most ethnic score – at least in a long, long while. And he seems to be enjoying the breaking of all fetters as he unleashes rhythm and desi thekas, firing on all cylinders!

The score begins with Mika-Kalpana Patowary’s ‘Gandi Baat‘, a dhol-rich foot-tapper that dresses up the vibrant melody with Indian strings and wind instruments to create its saucy ambience. The lyrics (Anupam Amod) are clever and talk about how a roadside Romeo tried to be good with the girl and is now fed up of being a nice guy to her!

There is a ‘film version’ (?) of the same song – cosmetically a shade quieter with Nakash Aziz and Ritu Pathak replacing Mika and Kalpana. Though the subdued tones do not go well with the spirit of the song (the composition resembles ‘Dhating Naach‘ from Pritam’s earlier-mentioned Phata Poster…) and Nakash does not have the rambunctious drawl of Mika, Ritu shines in her part, and one wishes that she has joined Mika in the other, more zesty version of the song.

Saree Ke Fall Sa‘ (Nakash-Antara Mitra) finds Nakash turning into a wannabe Udit Narayan in voice quality and throw, but he carries off the song well in an era when Udit’s rich voice is ignored for mysterious reasons: a good substitute is a good substitute! Antara Mitra sings with verve and the required punch.

Like the lead track, we see a seamlessly smooth flow and equation between the tune and the words in ‘Saree Ke Fall Sa‘ too, which is again high on rhythm and energy. This is probably also the album’s catchiest song, and the composition and beat linger in mind long after it is over. However, unlike ‘Gandi Baat‘, which is hook-based, ‘Saree Ke Fall Sa‘ has an old-world charm with the entire mukhda lingering on our lips.

The remix version of this song thus seems unnecessary as the original song is itself remarkably danceable, with Mayur Puri’s lyrics possessing an element of fun throughout (Touch karke dil mera kyoon scratch kiya re / Kabhi chhod diya dil kabhi catch kiya re /Saree ke fall sa kabhi match kiya re).

The third song ‘Mat Maari‘ (Kunal Ganjawala-Sunidhi Chauhan) is the wackiest number on the album, with Kunal bringing in uncharacteristic (for him) quirkiness in his singing. However, it is Sunidhi Chauhan who effortlessly dominates the song, though most of her portions are angry words like ‘Shut up! ‘ and ‘Arey mar jaake tu‘. All that we can say after experiencing Sunidhi’s mastery here is that the screen lost a terrific actor when she chose to go before the microphone!

The lyrics (Ashish Pandit) have a method in their craziness and Sunidhi (singing for Sonakshi) ends her portion with the word ‘Khamosh! ‘ Sonakshi’s father Shatrughan Sinha’s well-loved trademark!

Lyricist Neelesh Misra writes the staid ‘Dhoka Dhadi‘ (Arijit Singh-Palak Muchhal), the album’s only conventional song, which also sounds the least like Pritam, except for a section that carries a hangover of ‘Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani. The lyrics conjure up some fragile imagery (Mere kaano mein kahin / Roshandaano se kahin /Chhanti teri aawaz hai), and the chorus hook ‘Udd gaye tote re‘ sung by a husky chorus beautifully offset the main vocals.

However, the song definitely emerges as the weakest in the soundtrack in energy and punch.

We then come to the ‘item’ song ‘Kaddu Katega‘ sung superlatively by Antara Mitra. Her initial nasal portions make her almost sound like Mamta Sharma, but she gives the erotic folk song a very individualistic tenor, helped by the rousing tune and rhythm and the unabashed words (Aabroo ke silaayi khulegi / Sharm ka bhi lifafa phatega). The lyrics by Ashish Pandit clearly demarcate how to stay on the right side of the thin line between naughty and sleazy. The tempo and orchestration are heady, making it a virally infectious beat to those partial towards desi raunch music!

A word about the chorus here: it’s perfect for the song and blends North and South into one mad, crazy and relentlessly intoxicating package!

Overall:

A Prabhu Deva film is not one in which lyrics can be memorable and music of the classic variety. However, the desi thekas that adorn the score are a great respite from the designer techno sounds passing off as rural music even in small-town-based stories. The music may not be brilliant, but the sheer spirited abandon adds to the appeal of the masala entertainer and is sure to gain the film the initial eyeballs. A small hiccup for us but a major one for the singer: the inlay does not bill Palak Muchhal in ‘Dhoka Dhadi‘!

Krrish 3

Music: RAJESH ROSHAN
Lyrics: SAMEER ANJAAN
Music Label: T-SERIES

Expectations:

Expectations are sky-high given the Filmkraft track-record. Rajesh Roshan barely composes for outside films today, and in the last two decades, he has usually reserved his best for his producer-director brother Rakesh Roshan, with superstar-nephew Hrithik Roshan now in the picture (literally too!) as well after the 2000 Kaho Naa…Pyaar Hai.

Music:

A word about the overall lyrics first – veteran Sameer gets back to the Hindi film basics – simple, flowing words supporting the edifice of similar music, written to specific situations. There is no calculation to please or impress the listener, no effort to smother him with Urdu or Punjabi catchphrases in overdrive – just good old-fashioned vintage Anand Bakshi-Majrooh-like strings of words in everyday lingo that fit into the narrative. Of course, when indicated, there is a fresh thought too, expressed with the same supple felicity as in the line God Allah aur Bhagwan / Ne banaya ek insaan or in the mukhda, Dil tu hi bataa / Kahaan tha chhupa / Kyon aaj suni teri dhadkan pehli baar.

The music too follows the same principle – understated, never in-your-face, subtly melodic and – a permanent Rajesh Roshan hallmark – brilliantly orchestrated. The production is immaculate too. Roshan Jr. always brings in an ‘inspired’ or ‘adapted’ track into his work, and packages it so smartly that all we do is enjoy it as his handiwork – with the impact growing on additional hearings.

Take the lead track ‘Krrish Krrish‘ (Mamta Sharma, Anurudh Bhola and Rajesh Roshan himself taking to the microphone in one of his very rare exercises). The pulsating theme song is decked up with a nice prelude fusion of Indian and Western strings and beats and grows into a crescendo even before the words start. Typical innovation enriches the song because solo instruments are brought in skillfully just to enhance a few bars, like the sitar and the tabla.

Here is where we see a new Mamta Sharma, in cooing Western mode instead of her standard raunchy folk tenor. Roshan is soothing vocally. The trick of using only pulsating music rather than words as a connection between antara and mukhda is a typical stamp of the composer, who sounds contemporary four decades after he started out!

Raghupati Raghav Rajaram‘ (Neeraj Shridhar-Monali Thakur-Bob) seems to very situation-specific – and one hopes that the song’s visuals justifies the use of this sacred mantra alongside the frenetic grooves and rap-like interpolations in this dance number. Once again, Roshan highlights different instruments in small segments, uses the refrain of the mantra in two different scales as musical interludes – and employs only music as a bridge between the antara and mukhda.

Next up is a haunting melody decked up in a novel way with some unique orchestration – ‘Dil tu hi bataa‘ (Alisha Chinai-Zubeen Garg). Alisha’s presence infuses freshness, and Roshan once again swerves the composition (derived from a couple of previous sources) into the realm of the extraordinary by deft uses of the sitar and other single instruments at the most unexpected moments. Yes, Alisha could have been more expressive, ditto Zubeen – ideally, this could have been a superb Sunidhi Chauhan-KK duet.

Alisha is disappointingly arch in ‘You are my love‘ (with a subdued Mohit Chauhan), which has fun lyrics by Sameer Anjaan. However, it cannot be denied that she sounds uncannily like Priyanka Chopra and in that sense, she is better cast here than in the previous song that is not filmed on this actress. The song has a Himesh Reshammiya-like prelude, but is one of the weak aspects on this score.

The next song, ‘God Allah aur Bhagwan‘ (Sonu Nigam-Shreya Ghoshal) gets into the zone of the predictable in music as well as lyrics – it could be placed no questions asked in any film in the ’70s and ’80s and rendered by the happening playback voices of that decade. The composition is of the heard-before kind, and Shreya’s interest level seems to flag, though Sonu puts in a wonderful effort. The orchestration also juggles between eras within the six-and-a-half minute song. Nevertheless, or probably because of these factors, there is an element of mass-friendly appeal too.

Finally DJ Shiva plays safe in his remixes of ‘Dil tu hi bataa‘ as ‘Raghupati Raghav Rajaram‘, neither spoiling the basic composition nor breaking new ground. They end up sounding as if cosmetic variations have been added for the dance floor.

Overall:

But on the whole, Rajesh Roshan delivers a simple, fluid, easy-on-the-ears score, music perfect for a sci-fi film that concentrates on emotions, action and visual effects. The music is placid, a shade techno and a palatable mix of old and new – just like the film. This is music that will grow with the film, and if heard by an unbiased ear that is not polluted by trendy tunes and sound, will draw that music buff even more towards the movie.

Our Pick:

Raghupati Raghav Rajaram, Dil tu hi bataa, God Allah aur Bhagwan

Madras Cafe

Music: SHANTANU MOITRA
Lyrics: ALI HAYAT RIZVI, ZEBUNISSA BANGASH & MANOJ TAPADIA
Music label: T-SERIES

Expectations:

Shantanu Moitra composed some good melodies for Shoojit Sircar’s maiden directorial film, Yahaan, so we expect a progression in quality since they have come back together.

Music:

Sadly, the soundtrack disappoints – in more ways than just one. To enumerate in order from greater to lesser, the four music tracks ‘Madras Cafe Theme‘, ‘Conspiracy‘, ‘Entry To Jaffna‘ and the ‘Title Theme‘ (hello, isn’t the title of the film Madras Cafe, for which we just heard a theme?) rob the soundtrack of a lot of its audio appeal. There is nothing distinctive in this (background) music, not in the orchestration, nor in the emotional expression quotient. Let us not forget that good background stirs, moves, inspires and rouses, when it is not cheering or soothing us.

If any local flavour is there in the music, as the film is based in the ’80s in Sri Lanka, it is sadly not heard here in these four tracks – and we certainly cannot relish so much of background scoring in an audio album of the film’s soundtrack.

The ‘Madras Café Theme’ attempts some fusion in a ‘modern’ way, while Monali Thakur exhibits some emotional alaaps (that sound more Western than Indian) in the ‘Conspiracy’ track.

Papon is the lead singer in three of the four songs, which include two versions of ‘Sun Le Re’, but his piano-based ‘Khud Se Dil Dar Sa Gaya Hai’ is too contemporary and Westernized for a song that features in a film like this. Musically, the orchestration is less disappointing than the tune, but it is completely at odds with the film’s needs. The words (Manoj Tapadia) are trite and gimmicky in their use of Urdu, that as a language has little relevance in a film like this.

Less disappointing and a shade more melodic is ‘Ajnabee’ (written and sung by Zebunissa Bangash, as Zeb). Again incongruous to the film’s setting like all the songs, it further suffers because of silly lyrics like ‘Gar Faasle Darmiyaan Na Pad Gaye / Isska Kya Gham / Tham Loon, Peeche Se Gar Main Tujhe / To Mudke Milein, Phir Ek Ho Hum‘. Ho-hum is right! Zeb’s voice is sweet and supple, clearly meant for better stuff, if she sings deeper than here, that is.

Papon’s lead track, ‘Sun Le Re‘ (written by Ali Hayat Rizvi) treads familiar Sufi-ana territory, complete with the omnipresent term maula, and the vacuous verse gets by, if we can separate the song from this film and imagine it as part of a Sufi-Pop album! The reprise has a faster pace, the same lyrics, and a lot more of the guitar. Frankly, it works more than the lead version.

Papon sings as is expected of him, but the Western inflection again jars because the film did not warrant the flavour. It is clear that this song, like the other compositions, has been created along with a guitar. No issues with that per se, but a film score is also about thematic veracity as well as commercial appeal.

Overall:

The music seems to be functional and a concession to commercial compulsions. Though two of the songs are melodious, they seem completely out of sync with both the timeframe and backdrop of the film, a shining example of which was Shoojit’s last film also produced by John Abraham, Vicky Donor.

Our Pick:

‘Sun Le Re’

Satyagraha

Music: Aadesh Shrivastava, Salim-Sulaiman & Meet Bros. Anjan Ankit
Lyrics: Prasoon Joshi
Music label: T-Series

Expectations:

There are reasonably good expectations from this film, and a big film’s music also leads to matching hopes, because popular songs enhance the film’s initial prospects. As in Raajneeti and Chakravyuh, Prakash Jha uses multiple composers here, but there is one lyricist only – Prasoon Joshi.

Music:

The fact that there is only one single lyricist turns out to be a plus point as Prasoon Joshi gets deep into the core of the subject and writes some stirring words. The album opens with the title-track, ‘Satyagraha’ (Rajiv Sundaresan, Shivam Pathak, Shweta Pandit) which reworks the lyrics of the time-honoured traditional bhajan ‘Raghupati Raghav Raja Ram’ with a call for a sociopolitical awakening with the words Ab tak dheeraj maanga tha / Prabhu ab dheeraj mat dena / Sehte jaaye, sehte jaaye, sehte jaaye / Aisa bal bhi mat dena.

The treatment is fusion-based, with alaaps, string-based choruses, a dollop of rock guitars and chorus all amalgamating in a loud but fortunately enticing blend. Rajiv Sundaresan, though competent, seems to mimic Shankar Mahadevan. Shweta Pandit scores in her portions, though. The music is by Salim-Sulaiman.

A ‘Didi’ (the endemic Middle-Eastern hit of the ’90s)-like prelude begins Meet Bros. Anjan Ankit’s composition ‘Janta Rocks’ (Meet Bros Anjan Ankit-Keerthi Sagathia-Papon-Shibani Kashyap-Shalmali Kholgade), a rousing number that could well be the nation’s new anthem if promoted well and filmed impressively. A no-holds-barred satire with everything from ads to cricket coming in, this is Prasoon’s brilliant tour-de-force in the film, and the music too is very jingle-esque in its simplicity. The sound is kept largely warm and acoustic, thereby enhancing rather than suppressing the words.

The finest track musically is Aadesh Shrivastava’s ‘Ras Ke Bhare Nain’, elucidated with superlative clarity by Shafqat Amanat Ali, with Arpita Chakraborti providing a small support. The first line takes its origins from a centuries-old thumri but otherwise the lyrics and music are freshly done.

A contemporary Western feel blends with the raag-daari, and any points of confluence between it and Aadesh’s previous chartbuster for Jha’s Raajneeti, ‘Mora Piya Mose Bolat Naahi’ seem to be intentional rather than an indicator of the composer’s limitations. The lyrics, as with most classical bandishein, are simple, not really new yet meaningful, and purely in Hindi, which is welcome in these days of an overuse of Urdu and Punjabi. The melody moves smoothly, almost like a river in tranquil flow.
We move now to the flipside of this album: the Indian Ocean-composed ‘Hum Bhole The’ (Rahul Ram-Amit Kilam- Himanshu Joshi) is very noisy and in-your-face rock-heavy. The words (not as strong as in the songs above) are also given less prominence than the high-pitched voices and the heavy instrumentation. The song seems therefore at odds with the rural/small-town setting of the film!

‘Aaiyo Ji’, the item song, a compulsion in most Jha films since Gangaajal a decade ago, is catchy while listening but tepid on the whole. Though well-written, the Shraddha Pandit-Salim Merchant-rendered song has, once again, an incongruous Western and electronic treatment that is at odds with the basic raag-based melody. Though we liked the way Shraddha rolls the ‘la’ syllable in the words balamji, composers Salim-Sulaiman should have been more confident of their basic tune to carry on with the correct desi treatment rather than resorting to such (con)fusion!
While the remix of ‘Aaiyo Ji’ is almost like the song itself, one did not relish the obnoxious way in which the classic ‘Ras Ke Bhare Tore Nain’ (with Aadesh Shrivastava replacing Shafqat) is treated, complete with orgasmic female gasps in the prelude and a very pub-like feel! This is the best (worst?) way to ruin a classic.

Overall:

The album is a mixed bag of tracks from terrific (‘Ras Ke Bhare Naina’) to almost mediocre (‘Hum Bhole The’). As a soundtrack, for all its plus points, it also has a hybrid feel because of the multiple music makers that could have been avoided by handing the responsibility of the score to a single composer.

Our Picks

‘Ras Ke Bhare Naina’, ‘Janta Rocks’

Once Upon Ay Time In Mumbai Dobaara

Music: Pritam
Lyrics: Rajat Aroraa
Music label: T-Series

Expectations:

The musical expectation is very high from this sequel to the melody-rich Milan Luthria-Pritam collaboration Once Upon A Time In Mumbaai (OUATIM). Moreover, Luthria is a filmmaker with a heritage of memorable musicals like Kachche Dhaage, Chori Chori and even The Dirty Picture.

As for Pritam, he’s on a roll after Barfi!, Race 2 and Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani and we expect that merit.

Music:

The soundtrack has only four songs but nevertheless emerges as one of the better albums of this year. Let us begin with the finest track, the energetic ‘Tu Hi Khwahish‘, rendered with superb zing by Sunidhi Chauhan. Clearly the counterpart of ‘Parda‘ from the prequel (which was a number derived in part from two classics), it is a super club song that is a hark back to such tracks from Prakash Mehra and Feroz Khan with Kalyanji-Anandji, laced with some vocal and orchestral nuances reminding us of R.D. Burman!

The beauty is that this is still a completely original track with some intense romantic lyrics by Rajat Aroraa (Tu hi khwahish / Tu hi khatra / Zeher tera dil mein utra). The arrangements are richly acoustic, and the production so harmonious that at no point does the song jar on the ears despite Sunidhi’s sustained high pitch.

And if the ’70s is the timeframe of the film, and K-A and RD are there, can the then-market-leaders Laxmikant-Pyarelal be left behind? L-P’s latest in a long chain of re-creations is ‘Tayyab Ali‘, whose re-creation is credited to Pritam’s assistant Anupam Amod but seems clearly like his own handiwork. Smartly adapted with some really witty lyrics (Rajat Aroraa adds his bit to the Anand Bakshi’s irreverent verse in the original film, Amar Akbar Anthony), the song is sung by Javed Ali with fair panache, and odiously unfair comparisons to Mohammed Rafi are best avoided!

What sets ‘Tayyab Ali‘ apart from the standard re-creations nowadays is a near-identical situation to the original song, and the imaginative contemporary tenor. Pritam replicates the old orchestration only to a basic extent, keeping the choral patterns different too.

The third ace of the score is ‘Yeh Tune Kya Kiya‘, sung with full-throated expertise by Javed Bashir, heard recently also in Bhaag Milkha Bhaag. Lyrically, this is the finest song on the score, and clearly the corresponding number to the Sufi delight in the older film in the OUATIM franchise, ‘Tum Jo Aaye Zindagi Mein‘.

This time, it is a more intricate composition, also given a Sufi-rock treatment, and it even tributes the older number by skillfully working in a musical segment recalling that song! The play of strings in the interlude boosts up the soulful quotient.

Pritam can always be relied upon to be a tuneful bridge between the best of the melodious past and today’s music and Bashir’s harkatein as he sings the line Ishq ki….baaziyaan shows how the composer adheres to deep melody like few of his contemporaries do. The phonetics of this track is immaculate, structured to spice up the aural appeal of the melody.

A comparatively weaker song is ‘Chugliyaan‘ (Javed Ali-Sahir Ali Bagga), which sounds too calculated both in music and lyrics, thus ending up as an average but stereotyped number. The hook (Mera yaar yaar mujh mein / Mera pyaar pyaar tujh mein) lacks the power to linger in memory. No, it is not a bad song, but it is one of those familiar grooves that we have heard ad infinitum from lesser composers.

Overall:

The high-profile film should hopefully boost the musical prospects. One hopes that the filming of the song within the movie helps too.

Our Picks

Yeh Tune Kya Kiya, Tayyab Ali, Tu Hi Khwahish

Rabba Main Kya Karoon

Music: Salim-Sulaiman, Akash Chopra & Labh Janjua
Lyrics: Amitabh Bhattacharya, Zaheer Anwar, Satyadev Singh, Akash Chopra & Labh Janjua
Music label: T-Series

Expectations:

Expectations here may not be high, but then the Sagars’ banner were once known for quality musicals like Arzoo, Ankhen (1968), Geet and Charas and even their flop films like Jalte Badan had memorable music.

Music:

Though routinely written with clichéd plural terms for single words like jannaton, mannaton and nematon, the rhythmic melody ‘Muh Meetha Karaa De’ is a neat number that keeps everything simple – from the placid instrumentation to the vocals. Benny Dayal is in free form again after ‘Latt Lag Gayi‘ (Race 2) and ‘Budtameez Dil‘ (Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani), Monali Thakur gives a sweet tone to the number and the shehnai pieces are a highlight.

This song is composed by Salim-Sulaiman and penned by Amitabh Bhattacharya. The remaining two songs of this combo are nothing to go ga-ga about, though. ‘Khula Saand’ by Salim Merchant will be liked by those who like to go in for such loud Punjabi-ized numbers with smart-aleck English use (Mardon ke ankhen hoti hai camera / Mauqa dekhke zoom badha) and little by way of novelty or substance. The crass lyrics actually advise the hero to be a libidinous saand (bull)!

And ‘Rabba Main Kya Karoon’ (Raj Pandit, Benny Dayal, Vidhi Sharma) is one of those dull, pop-like numbers that make up the worst of contemporary film songs – the singers seem to sing only with their lips in a lackluster composition with indifferent lyrics and a pretension towards Sufi tenors.

Akash Chopra composes two songs, from which the doubtless situational ‘Brandy’ (which he sings and co-writes with Satyadev Singh) is another song that is musically bhangra-paap (sin) rather than a mix of Punjabi and pop! Trying to be heady – even the lyrics speak of intoxication! – the song is more of a pain in the head that also makes us wonder who appreciates an endless supply of such songs that seem the same in every way! It also triggers off amnesia – after it is over you do not recall the track despite four hearings!

‘Dua’ (sung by Akash Chopra himself), the other song, is a typical contemporary litany that mistakes an alternation of high-pitch with a low-pitched, throaty voice as deep sorrow. The lyrics are similar to a zillion such sad songs in films over the last five years with the same clichéd permutations and combinations of similar words, phrases and sentiments.

‘Baari Barsi’ (written, composed and sung by Labh Janjua), a high energy dhol-and trumpet-rich number, is yet another variant of the well-known traditional Punjabi folk song. One of the more spirited versions, it makes up in verve what it lacks in melodious appeal.

Overall:

This is a score that lacks in musical and lyrical caliber, with barely anything inspiring for the listener. The apparent ‘magic wand’ of using Punjabi lyrics and music to hard-sell even Punjab-based subjects has long since passed its expiry date, unless both music and movie have substance. Forget music buffs, nowadays it does not even entice either the pubs or downloads.

Our Picks

Munh Meetha Karaa De, Baari Barsi

Luv U Soniyo

Music: Vipin Patwa, Sunil Bhatia & Remo Fernandes
Lyrics: Dr. Sagar, Sanjay Mishra, Prashant Hingole, SunilBhatia & Remo Fernandes
Music label: T-Series

Expectations

Tanuj Virwani and Neha Hinge make their debuts in this love story, which carries on the tradition of films casting two newcomers in a romance. Expectations are mixed, because we are in a different age from Ek Duuje Ke Liye, which was Tanuj’s mom Rati Agnihotri-Virwani’s debut and that of Kamal Haasan. But we would still like to have catchy, film-propping music!

Music

The first downer of the album is it having music directors, when one composer needed to give his all to a film about lovebirds by absorbing the story and characters. Vipin Patwa, who composes four of the six songs, and an unplugged version of one of them, has done just an adequate job without scoring the kind of songs that will boost audience interest in the film: this despite having great singers like KK, Sonu Nigam, Shreya Ghoshal and Sunidhi Chauhan.

The album starts with ‘Tumsa nahin hai koi‘ (KK-Anwesha Sarkar) and Anwesha is the same girl who sang so well in Dangerous Ishhq last year. The singers do a fine job, but the song sounds – a frequent malady of late – like it has wandered in from a Mukesh-Mahesh Bhatt film. The pop feel, however, gives it a shorter life as all one recalls after three hearings is the abovementioned KK refrain and not the rest of the tune!

Sonu Nigam actually gets three tracks – ‘Pyar tera‘, its unplugged version, and ‘You are my Valentine‘ (with Sunidhi Chauhan). The last mentioned just does not connect somehow despite the formidable star-duo, but ‘Pyar hua‘ is a sonorous, old-world tenor with placid orchestration. The unplugged version somehow seems more effective, maybe because it gives more space for Sonu to make a mark and also hum effectively – the humming is a key component of the melody, while the guitar and piano are also more relaxed and thus more evocative.

Palkon pe phool‘ (Shaan-Shreya) does not work despite the good singers because it is so nondescript – a jingle cannot be converted into a song, since the tune must have the substance to appeal for more than a few seconds!
That brings us to the title-track, written, composed and rendered by the effervescent Remo Fernandez in his trademark style. The familiar lyrics, the Goanese flavour in the song and orchestration and the steady rhythm is strangely enough more of a hark-back to well-loved R.D. Burman numbers. Remo’s words are original and cute, like the line, Christmas bhi tum Baisakhi bhi tum, which gives the film’s game away – clearly the hero is a Christian and the heroine a Punjab di kudi!

And so we comes to the best track on the album in terms of recall value – Sunil Bhatia’s ‘Chalo chalte hain Mexico‘ (Shaan) with its harmonious sound and old-world blend of Indian and Western grooves. Shaan gets to sing in both Hindi and English Shaan in this acoustics-based soft number, with rich piano notes and a general jazz-meets-teenybopper-meets Shankar-Jaikishan feel. Weirdly, the female singer is not credited in the inlay. However, the song isn’t one of those strong numbers that will boost the numbers for either album or film.

As for the ‘Luv U Soniyo Mashup‘ – like the majority of them, it is just an intentional clutter and eminently forgettable.

Overall

We expected better music in a teenage love story focused on just one hero and heroine, both of whom are making their debuts. Maybe Bobby, Ek Duuje Ke Liye, Betaab and Hero are too much to expect nowadays, but the level could have more towards at least a Saawariya!

Our Picks

Chalo chalte hai Mexico, Luv U Soniyo

Bhaag Milkha Bhaag

Music: SHANKAR-EHSAAN-LOY
Lyrics: PRASOON JOSHI
Music label: SONY MUSIC

Expectations
The young generation will have high hopes from both Farhan Akhtar, the hero (as the music of his productions is always ‘with-it’) and the filmmaker Rakeysh Ompra…

Sixteen

Music: Gaurav Dagaonkar, Prashant Pillai & Adam/Eddie
Lyrics: Anurag Bhomia-Shivranjani Singh, Tony Kakkar, Raj Purohit, Preeti Pillai & Pawan Sony
Music Label: T-Series

Expectations:

We barely have any expectations, of course. It’s a small film devoid of star-cast and movies like these with exceptional music happen once in a blue moon. To top it all, the music is done by multiple music makers, ditto lyricists.

Music:

It is ‘Chad Gayi‘ (Tony Kakkar, Neha Kakkar and Sanker Sharna with Amrit Rao doing the Tamil rap portions) that has a semblance of a haunting quality thanks to the way the hook is used. Tony doubles up as a lyricist and Prashant Pillai scores music. But this catchiness is lost in the wilderness that the rest of the score is. The ‘Chad Gayi Remix‘ improves a bit on the regular version, thanks to the clever way it is produced by DJ Ribin Richard.

Bas Tu Hi Hai‘ sung by Suraj Bharti and Jaspreet Jaz, composed by Adam/Eddie and written by Raj Purohit, has clever words about how it is the girl who makes it all worthwhile for her suitor despite the hiccups of life that include sweating, inflation, literature as a subject, bunking college and even spitting! However, the lyrics meander a lot and do not get into any depth.

The rest of the songs, including the title-track composed by Gaurav Dagaonkar, do not make any mark at all. In fact, the title-track ‘Solah Baras Ki‘ makes us wish we were listening to the Ek Duuje Ke Liye song that had the same first line instead!

One thing is crystal-clear from this score – that indifference to good music is the prerogative of not just some big names but also the small producers. Sixteen has songs that boast of similar orchestration to many of the bigger films with mediocre music, and the singing patterns, defective dictions and vacuous words are boringly similar and predictable. Wish that even one song here had used a singer’s talent or a guitar differently and in a standout manner.

There is nothing absolutely to write home – as the saying goes – about ‘Jhagde‘, a raucous song that is actually sad if one goes by the lyrics and not the beats, ‘Maybe Baby‘, ‘Ishq Ki Ada‘ and ‘Love Love Love‘ – other than to mention the common point that they are all eminently forgettable.

Overall:

There is almost nothing that excites us about the music of this teenybopper film. Sixteen is the age of discovery and self-exploration and the music here has nothing in it that warrants either journey.

Our Picks

Chad Gayi, Bas Tu Hi Hai

Chennai Express

Music: VISHAL-SHEKHAR
Lyrics: AMITABH BHATTACHARYA, BRODHA V, ENCORE, SMOKEY with Tamil lyrics by CHARULATHA MANI & MADHUMITHA MANI
Music label: T-SERIES

Expectations

Expectations from a film score like this are gargantuan: After all, Shah Rukh Khan’s home productions have always been, but for an exception or two, blessed with exceptional music, right from Phir Bhi Dil Hai Hindustani and Asoka to Om Shanti Om.

Music

Vishal-Shekhar’s music here is as up-tempo as any express train. The score could have more uniform though – there are tracks here that hark back to V-S’s more experimental early scores as well as some of their more clichéd post-Om Shanti Om music. There is thus a mix of classic mainstream music and the Hip-Hop-rock-pop kind of songs that they did in some of their musically inconsequential movies.

The sound is rich, and the use of Tamil lyrics and South Indian instruments are apt but not heavy. The combination of the duo’s style and the dakshini flavour is tangy, spicy and does not get into incongruous or unpalatable zone. One does, however, feel that a few of the songs were much more (desi)rable!

Energy-wise, the lead track ‘One Two Three Four‘ (Vishal Dadlani-Hamsika Iyer) exhibits both the chameleonic voice of Vishal and the sporadically-used formidable skills of Hamsika (best known, ironically, for ‘Chhamak Chhallo‘ from Ra.One, rather than her weightier early songs) well. The energy is high, the lyrics mad and intentionally silly, and the song does precisely what it asks you to – Get on the dance floor! Techno-Western blends appetizingly with Southern percussion, strings and chorus to give a zingy feel.

Matching this song in exuberance and wackiness is the title-track ‘Chennai Express‘ that actually and egoistically mentions names like SRK, SPB, Rohit Shetty and Vishal-Shekhar in the prelude before it gets down to (melodic) business! The robust orchestration decks up a simple, almost retro, song that brings back S.P. Balasubramaniam (the SPB mentioned above and the hot Southern singer from the Hindi films of the ’80s and early ’90s) after the insignificant 2008 film Ghatothkach.

Bala, as he is known, is in super fettle, dwarfing co-singer Jonita Gandhi, and the lyrics have madness in their method, with some philosophies expressed in trendy ways (What a wonderful, badi bombastic / Life ki journey hai fully fantastic / Jitni bhi log aaye / Unke liye banaye /Dil mein jagah hum, dil hai elastic). Amitabh Bhattacharya has by now mastered the Hindi-mixed-seamlessly-with-English kind of song and he excels here. The thought here resembles Anand Bakshi’s Sab hai sawaar / Dushmun ke yaar / Sab ko chali yeh leke / Jeena seekha rahi hai that we heard in that benchmark train song of the ’70s, ‘Gaadi Bula Rahi Hai‘ (Dost).

And then we come to the clear winner in the album from the musical and lyrical standpoint: ‘Titli‘. Rendered brilliantly by Chinmayee with Gopi Sundar providing adequate company, this wonderful song floors us with its mix of old-world melody and contemporary orchestration. Silkily, sensitively created, it ranks high among the melodious songs of the year so far. Something tells us that this gossamer geet will outlast and outclass the other songs in popularity in the soundtrack as the score and film grow.

Tera Raasta Chhodoon Na‘ (Amitabh Bhattacharya-Anusha Mani) is a song of a lover’s promise, starting on an audacious note (Meherbaani nahin, tumhara pyar maanga hai), but suffers for two reasons: one, the song sounds like a simplistic jingle extended into a song, and two, that Amitabh sings superficially and not deep from the throat and thus, does not seem to ‘feel’ his own lyrics. The song ends up like a better variety of Indipop, but without character. The ‘rock’-like interludes pull it down further, and co-singer Anusha is flat in her lines too.

Kashmir Main Tu Kanya Kumari‘ (Sunidhi Chauhan-Arijit Singh-Neeti Mohun) is like a ’60s O.P. Nayyar tune decked up both with a dakshini tang as well as a modern colour. The lyrics are smart but a tad too phonetics-oriented and the feverish pace leaves no breathing space for any singer to shine.

Ready Steady Po‘ (Brodha V, Smokey, Enkore, Natalie Di Luccio, Vishal Dadlani) is the weakest track on the album, trite, over-familiar and overdone with techno trendy tenors. Good maybe to dance to, but forgettable there as well – other than the three-word hook, that is. The words and music take us back to the worst two years in Hindi music – the confused zone of 2008 and 2009.

Finally, the Dubstep version of ‘Titli‘ and the ‘Chennai Express Mashup‘ are eminently functional – and thus forgettable.

Overall

With a little more attention and dedication, this could have been a thoroughly enjoyable train ride. However, the ticket is only partly worth the money as all the stations are not attractive!

Our Picks

One Two Three Four, Titli, Chennai Express

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Lyrics: Amitabh Bhattacharya
Music label: T-Series

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