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