Bhaag Milkha Bhaag Music Review

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 Omprakash Mehra, who has made Rang De Basanti and Delhi-6. Let us also not forget the splendid music of Mehra’s 2001 debut Aks.

Prasoon Joshi is also a happening lyricist and Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy are Farhan favourites (Dil Chahta Hai to Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara) who are working with Mehra for the first time.

Music

The album begins with Daler Mehndi reciting a couplet from ‘Gurbani‘. The first original track, ‘Zinda Hai To‘ (Siddharth Mahadevan) is an inspirational song. The heavy rock treatment may increase the decibel levels, but one would have preferred a less noisy and more rousing treatment where even the vocals were not in-your-face screechy.

The rhythm is rich, but one wishes that the song was more content-heavy rather than all sound, including the lyrics (Prasoon Joshi) that could have been simpler rather than made up of esoteric metaphors.

The ’70s and ’80s were rich in such rousing songs that had a rare energy in the tune and words, which came across through powerful but not loud vocals and orchestration. One does not want to set the clock back at all, but we do wish that that mantra of power within the melody, beats and lyrics rather than merely in the sound mixing and packaging was emulated!

The next track, ‘Mere Yaar‘ is brilliantly sung by Javed Bashir with an infectious hook featuring both the guitar and a choral refrain that lasts through the song. The consistent beat is elevating in the rich instrumentation and the mixing levels are adroitly done with Javed’s powerful voice allowed to dominate. The song conveys the aura of a dancing dervish outside a Sufi shrine!

This time the lyrics are admirable with the Sufiana tenet of comparing the beloved to the Almighty with the impact-laden philosophy, Ishq karoon ya karoon ibaadat, Ikko hi gal ai. The song tapers off with the refrain continuing long after the vocals are over.

A Punjabi flavour right from the prelude intonations of ‘Maston Ki Jhund‘ (Divya Kumar, Shankar, Ehsaan, Loy) and the heady rhythm makes us realize that we are in for rich dose of Punjabi folk of the better and fresher kind from the overdone and run-of-the-mill bhangra-pop. A danceable number in the Indian way, it has some snatches of incongruous strings in parts but is otherwise well-orchestrated with the right cluttered feel of an exuberant and unfettered bhangra number.

Divya Kumar, whom we have just heard in the spirited ‘Allah Meherbaan‘ in Ghanchakkar, belts out the song with so much gusto as if he is himself on the field. The lyrics are clever (Oye jeev-jantu sab so rahe honge /Bhoot pret sab ro rahe honge / Aisi raat sunsaan raat) with some vivid imagery.

The title track, ‘Bhaag Milkha Bhaag‘ (Arif Lohar) has almost a spiritual ambience in the vocals and unusual orchestration. However, a song must have easily comprehensible lyrics and the song falls short here with the words being heavy, except for the easy rhyming patterns to match bhaag milkha – aag, naag and jaag. Its rock version by Siddharth Mahadevan is not half as impressive, though, and seems to be just a concession to gimmickry, because the composition’s genre does not warrant a rock treatment at all.

We then come to the breeziest track, ‘Slow Motion Angreza‘ (Sukhwinder Singh-Loy-Shankar) with some smart words and riffs. One just flowed with the simple grooves of the song, which seems to be set in a party abroad.

Partly in English (Loy’s portion), the track gets its substance from the redoubtable Sukhwinder Singh, sounding as fresh as he did in his debut film Karma all of 27 years ago! Whether in the English portions or in the Hindi ones (Meri whiskeye, meri tharriye), the track has a strong whiff of the ’60s and is ideal to dance to five decades down.

S-E-L are back to their typical style in ‘O Rangrezz‘ (Javed Bashir-Shreya) with Javed sounding exactly like Shankar Mahadevan. The singers show a keen understanding of the raag-suffused compositions with some nice touches of the sarangi and the dholaks and tablas take us straight into the portals of a holy shrine despite the fact that this is a love song. The lyrics are intense in their passion and the song culminates with a rich tapestry of musical notes.

Overall

Most of the songs, for all their merit, will be as good (read successful) or otherwise as the film itself. The only song that may rise above the film is ‘Mera Yaar‘. One hopes that such music, therefore, gets its due with the film proving a hit and the right promotions. This is Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy’s most uniform score since Kal Ho Naa Ho a decade ago!

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