Ever since the Sairat jukebox has hit YouTube, music aficionados can’t seem to rave enough about the duo for an outstanding soundtrack. And both of them truly deserve all the praise that they are getting. What marks Ajay-Atul (henceforth, A-A) distinct from rest of the Marathi composers is their ability to bring fresh sounds in Marathi music consistently.
Sairat seems to have taken them to new heights of popularity, noticeably among the non-Marathi crowd. This post is my tribute to both of them, whose music I have followed since 2002, even before they made it big in Marathi.
A-A became a household name with their song Man Udhaan Varyache, from the film ‘Aga Bai Arrechya!’ The entire soundtrack was topnotch and something that Marathi music hadn’t heard before. Man Udhaan was the Roja moment for Marathi music scene. Since then, they have produced some amazing soundtracks in Marathi (and I am a bit put off by their Hindi songs). This is my list of must listen Ajay Atul songs that will give listeners an idea of the range of genres and styles that A-A have worked with. The songs are listed in no particular order.
(all songs hyperlinked. click on the titles, will open in new window)
Kunjavanachi Sundar Rani (Aga Bai Arrechya, 2004) – This song is a historic tribute to Marathi film music, that traces its evolution from the early B&W days to 90s. The first section is a tribute to early days of Prabhat films. The second section moves to the next phase in Black and White era of Marathi films, which distinctly reminds of the era made popular by actors like the iconic Jayshree Gadkar. The third is perhaps a tribute to the then neo-color era that had a lot of OP Nayyar-ish sound. Next the song moves into the Dada Kondake era, where double meaning songs and comedy ruled the Marathi cinema industry. The last section is a definite reminder of the era of Marathi cinema that was ruled by Laxmikant Berde and Ashok Saraf.
Khel Mandala (Natrang – 2010) – Listen to this for Ajay’s soul stirring voice. Actually, the entire Natrang OST was a musical masterpiece and a must listen for those who want to get glimpse of Tamasha styled Marathi music. This music was so famous once upon a time that in 80s and 90s, doing Tamasha based films had become a genre. Ajay, in an interview, recounted that during his struggle days, he used to sing as a chorus in Tamshas, also doing the high pitched voices for the effeminate male characters called the Nachyas. The protagonist of Natrang, Guna Kagalkar, was one such famous Nachya.
Lallati Bhandaar (Jogwa – 2010) – Again, playing in their familiar terrain of folk, Lallati Bhandaar was an iconic song, drawing influences from the Jogtin community, or the group of females in service of God in areas of Karnataka Maharashtra border. The other song from this was Jiv Rangala (sung by Hariharan and Shreya Ghoshal) and won A-A a national award.
Navari Ali (Tujhya Majhya Sausarala Ani Kay Hava – 2008) – Navari Ali is a wedding song that borrows influences from Gujarati folk repertoire. A-A used claps and an instrument called Daaka to give a unique texture for the rhythm used in this song. Also, do checkout Chang Bhala and Swarg Ha Nava from the same film.
Chimb Bhijlele (Bandh Premache – 2007) – A sweet romantic song sung by Shankar Mahadevan and Priti Kamath.
Ghe Sawarun (Ringa Ringa – 2010) – This another soul stirring song, sung by Sukhwinder Singh and reminds of the Punjabi folk song genre made popular by singers such as Surinder Kaur.
Cycle Ekki (Shock – 2006) – A perfect dance number by A-A from a telugu film Shock. The film was produced by RGV. RGV has been a great admirer of A-A and had said that though he is an atheist, listening to A-A’s album Vishwa Vinayakam made him feel like a devotee to almighty.
Malhar Vaari (Aga Bai Arechya – 2004) – Malhar Vaari is song based on the Gondhal singing tradition in Maharashtra. The Gondhal troupes are invited to perform during auspicious occasions like wedding.
Morya Morya (Uladhaal – 2008) – Perhaps the most famous song from Uladhaal and from overall Ajay-Atul repertoire, Morya Morya was the timely reminder that Ajay-Atul would rule the Marathi music scene with their eclectic sounds. This song was such an adrenaline booster! Also, listen to De Na Paisa, sung by Kunal Ganjawala, which is quite a departure from A-A’s usual style.
Kalabha (Vishwa Vinayaka – 2001) – People going crazy over the western symphonies that A-A have used must listen to the entire Vishwa Vinayaka soundtrack. This was A-A’s first commercial album and one which slowly surged to popularity. Their much loved song, Shree Ganeshay Dheemahi, which was later used in Viruddh was originally from this album.
Sajavun Sanj Ashi (Aata Ga Baya – 2001) – An acapella from Ajay Atul sung by Hariharan and Mahalaxmi Iyer.
Mauli Mauli (Lai Bhari – 2014) – The only song that stood apart in this otherwise mediocre album. If one has seen the ‘vaari’ or been a part of it, one can instantly relate to this song. Also, though it is the usual bhakti music genre, the rhythm pattern that Ajay Atul used in this song was quite a departure from the stereotypical bhakti songs in Marathi.