Posts Tagged ‘Diljit Dosanjh’

So the film releases on 4th August and there is still no clarity on how many songs are there, and when will they release, just like what happened with Aye Dil Hai Mushkil music last year. My review went live on the day the film released if I am right. One of the things (call it old world ridiculousness) that I personally believe is that the music review shouldn’t go online on the day the film releases. That is the reason I pushed the editors of fightclub to make this review go live. I have also been off all social media platforms so I may have missed the tweets or systematic leaking of info about songs. After I posted the review, a kind soul pointed out that there are few more songs in the album for sure. But nobody knows when it will be out. As and when, and if at all they release, I will update the post accordingly.

One of the things you have to do when you review film music is to review almost every film album, and when you summarize the year, you get a real picture of the music scene – which is presently a device for caller tunes, among other things. Singers are called hot and auto-tune equipment is probably going to be credited as a valid artist sooner than all of us expect. It has become a routine to hear the ‘once-popular’ songs remixed and served usually to us in disgusting and shrill avatar. Not every routine is good. This particular routine reminds me of the uncle who used to punch me on my back really hard. It was as if he liked to hear me yelp – every time he used to come home. Every. Time.

Since last 3 years that I have been reviewing music for BBC, I have never witnessed such scarcity of fresh, not-a-remix-of-an-old-song, foot tapping madcap craziness in Hindi film albums. Radha arrives and breaks this unfortunate spell. Shahid Mallaya and Sunidhi Chauhan – a delicious combination on their good days make it impossible for us to not break into a dance (in metro, washrooms, during meetings, at dinner table, on dining table, during a corporate/personal dinner/lunch, to name few of real life situations where all this has already happened with the writer). Irshad Kamil, when not under pressure to invite bulla to come to his house and give him a hug kass ke, kicks ass with his pen (what a site to imagine, right?). Say what you will about the man, Pritam doesn’t try to turn the sound of a film album based on the compulsions of his ‘unused tunes’ folder. You hear radha and you couldn’t care less who has composed the music, because you are busy with the song and when that happens, music director has already won. There are way too many high points in one song here. Be it the moment you hear both singers together go ‘main bani teri/tu bani meri radha’, or that magnificent change of scale towards the end, this is way too much crazy tapped in one song. A monsoon shower of a song. Hello Pritam! Mwaaah! (This is a chumma).

There is a remix of Radha by DJ Shilpi Sharma and it even has variation in lyrics and structure (like almost all the remixes in the  album). Oh and by the way, do hear the Arabic, Telugu and Tamil versions of this as well to know exactly why Sunidhi Chauhan is a Goddess. No One can match her. Period.

Beech beech mein has a uniform disco mood that doesn’t bother me much and that’s my only problem with an otherwise decent song. I might not forward the song when it comes on screen but I won’t go looking for it. May be because it is a bit too decently arranged and composed. On the other hand, the remix of this by Lady Bee is the one that does it for me. Loved it!

Safar is a song that has a ‘Gulzar-Vishal-sque-evening-song-meets-raabta-night-in-motel vibe’. A disheveled character, walking, with no aim, no destination, and one who is not particularly remorseful for that. In my books, this would be one of the best songs by Arijit ever. Pay attention to a ghazal like repeat of ‘Jaana-maaine…’ in between, a first for me in a film song. It seems like Pritam saves his best songs for Arijit. Yet again, Irshad Kamil shines using simple words but what a context! Beautiful!

Butterfly is a regular Punjabi song and for some reason, Nooran sisters sound too hurried and excessive-soulful-per-square-feet. I missed Sonu Nigam in the song, I don’t know why. Aaman Trikha, Dev Negi and Sunidhi Chauhan are good. I LOVE the double flute in the song. Is it a good song? May be. Will I listen to this again? Nope!

There is a charm in Hawayein that we all like in a film song, be it Arijit Singh who suddenly becomes very present in the song or those blessed aching words by Irshad Kamil.  There is a drama loving, bollywood romantic in everyone. Karan Johar and his team brought that part out in the open with channa mereya, and with Hawayein, Team Imtiaz makes that part of us weep inconsolably. I doubt if visuals can match the beautiful sadness of this lovely composition. The tune is almost instructive in what to expect – Bring on the slow motions and quietly reach out for those tissues people, all while humming – hawaayein hawaayein…Yes, we are all mad. Also, Arijit singh, never stop please. There is a film version of hawayeiṅ and it sounds more spaced out and intimate – arrangement wise but it gets in Arijit’s way. He is more devastating in the first version and that’s why  my heart beats for the previous version more rhythmically. 

ParindaPradeep Sran is a star to put it mildly and Pritam-Irshad Kamil have given a perfect platform to Sran where he could soar, and soar he does. I am still confused who is a winner in the song. Jeene na ab degi, mahi di laparawahi. That fantastic drum set and guitar combo is breathtaking. A song for broken hearts with tonnes of Pizzaz. The search version of this song has Tochi Raina crooning in his familiar zone effortlessly and may be that’s why he ticks the ‘heard before’ box but I would pick Pradeep Sran’s earthy voice over Tochi’s voice for this song. That said, Nikhil D’Souza’s portion is plain superb! 

Gharkhali hai jo tere bina, main wo ghar hu tera ghoomey phire tu chaahe sab sheher, tu hai mera. Nikita gandhi gives this song so much pain, its infectious and will make you sad. It will mock the void in your soul and some of you would be amazed thinking how did the metaphor of your life get into a song? I love how Nikita is prominent yet always in background even when she is the only one singing. Imtiaz loves Mohit and we don’t dislike him either but here, the song belongs to Nikita. Hear her ‘intercept’ Mohit right before the song ends (at 3:12 mins), as if opening her hitherto unopened wounds, as if to make a point. It would take a long long time for to recover from this song. Art imitates life, did someone just say that?

Yaadoṅ meiṅJonita Gandhi is powerful and arrests your attention with her range barely seconds into the song. Mohammed  irfan attempts a pitch which is clearly new for him and even though I feel he is the most undervalued singer we have today, he seems more at ease on low notes which isn’t a crime. This is an intense song that gets ‘intensity’ right, perhaps that’s why I wont play it again. Mad props to Pritam for structuring the song the way he has. 

RaulaPagḍi ka rang bhi pink ho gaya. Diljit Dosanjh and Neeti mohan go through some interesting lyrics without much to take home to. The tune lacks sincerity and verve that you expect from an Imtiaz Ali brand punjabi song. It makes AṚ Rahman’s embarrassing Punjabi effort in highway sound like gold and that’s just awful. 

Jee ve SohaneyaNooran sisters scare me off late. You can almost imagine high notes and uncalled for aggression in simple songs. Thankfully, barring some mid antra alaaps, Nooran sisters don’t bother your senses much by clouding lyrics with excessive vocal circus. A song that aimed for Lambi Judai pathos, but doesn’t get close enough. Still, a good effort.

PhurrCringeworthy lyrics sung by a somewhat studio-sque Mohit Chauhan aside, the vibe of phurr is pretty dubstep-ey and breezy. The song is clearly a way to place the song in the minds of Amreekan/bidesi junta so that they can throng theatres. It ends too soon and to me, it sounds more like a strategic afterthought than anything else. There is a lot of forced pizaaaz with Bollywood tukbandi which doesn’t work whenever you hear Mohit’s part.  Being touted as the first song in hindi cinema to be put behind a paywall, I would buy the rest of the album twice than buying this once,  but then, we did buy the entire album all songs as ‘singles’ so that’s that! The film version sounds much better than the music video version because Tushar Joshi gets a larger play at things and honestly does a kickass job at it. 

In spite of having few ‘normal’ songs in Raula, jee ve sohneya, butterfly and beech beech mein, the album is a cracker because of the goodness of all the other songs including remixes! When 99% of film remixes these days are just ‘play-the-original-track-with-triple-jhankar-beats-and-add-few-scratches’, there is a clear effort in remixes of JHMS, and a big wolf whistle to Lady Bee and DJ Shilpi for that. Go ladies! I still cannot believe they took so MUCH time to release the songs and as I type this, album is still not available on iTunes. 

There is never a dull moment and the best part is it isn’t overwhelming either. You can stomp your feet and clap your hands in all the songs, with varied pace and trust me, it won’t feel awkward. Albums like JHMS are a ray of hope that all is not lost when a typical commercial film decides to include music for melody and not just for caller tunes and shitty tribute videos. Irshad Kamil, Pritam and the entire team is on fire, and this man Arijit Singh is raising the bar, one good song at a time. Dear Arijit, you are allowed a million ‘mohabbat barsa dena‘ for songs like Safar and Hawayeiṅ

In the world of mainstream Hindi films of 2017 so far, JHMS has a sound and rhythm that is like a distinctive click of a top class stiletto on a eerily quiet subway. Imtiaz Ali knows what he is doing with music, and there cannot be a more solid testimonial to this fact than this wonderful, wonderful album. If only this blogpost could scream how much I love this album! 

My picks – Hawayeiṅ, hawayeiṅ, safar, radha, ghar, parinda, all remixes and repeat!

– Rohwit

It’s the latest blockbuster that you might not have heard about. A bit of googling tells me that Anurag Singh’s Punjab 1984 had no takers intially. A serious drama in the backdrop of 1984, and that too in the age of YoYoHoneySingh and Jatt-Juliet, who would watch? But if only formulas and calculations of what-works-what-doesn’t could prove right every time, we would have been deprived of some of the best films ever made. Shailesh Kapoor tells us why Anurag Singh’s Punjab 1984 is a must watch, and how it has turned out to be such a blockbuster.

Punjab1984

Technically, Punjabi is my “mother tongue”. I have grown up seeing my parents converse in the language at home, as well as with friends and relatives. I have even studied Punjabi as a third language in school for two years, till I was shifted from a Sikh school to a “normal” school, post the 1984 riots in Delhi.

Yet, I have never watched a Punjabi film in a theatre before this Thursday. Till recently, Punjabi cinema was not a thriving industry. Over the last 3-4 years, the industry has found its feet, thanks to the mushrooming of multiplexes in the East Punjab territory, creating a fertile ground for business. Yet, their cinema has been skewed towards the comedy genre. In a bus trip in Punjab last year, I was subject to watching one such Punjabi blockbuster on video. Assault on the senses won’t be an over-statement to describe the experience.

Glowing online reviews of last week’s release, Punjab 1984, forced me to a theatre during my short Delhi trip earlier this week. My interest in Operation Bluestar has grown over the last few years, leading me to read a few books on the subject. That familiarity with the subject, and the presence of Kirron Kher in the principal cast, was sufficient motivation.

Even as I went in with high expectations, I was not prepared for the brilliance of the cinematic experience I was about to be a part of. Know the song “Luka Chhuppi” from Rang De Basanti? Punjab 1984 is that song’s little story told through a film. And even though the song featured Waheeda Rehman as the mother, Punjab 1984 can well be described as the story of Kirron Kher’s character in the same Rang De Basanti, converted into a full-length feature film.

A mother-son story set in the aftermath of Operation Bluestar, Punjab 1984 has a grammar that’s uniquely matter-of-fact. It does not attempt to commercialize the subject, and equally importantly, it does not do the reverse either – of trying to be an off-beat film that demands to be taken seriously. As a result, what we get is a human story, laced with human situations and dialogue, directed with a free spirit that blends entertainment with sensitivity effortlessly.

Director Anurag Singh has directed some of those mindless blockbuster Punjabi comedies, one of which I encountered in the aforementioned bus trip. With a solid script and a superb starcast, he comes into his own with Punjab 1984, delivering a knockout performance at the helm.

I hadn’t heard of Diljit Dosanjh till a week ago, though I now realize he has sung a few Bollywood songs as well. Kirron Kher is in top form, at home with the language and the culture, and yet, Dosanjh manages to live upto her caliber in the role of her son, played with a sense of raw believability that’s rare to film these days.

There are at least half a dozen moments in the film when you struggle to hold back tears, when emotional highs are delivered through a mix of fine writing and good acting. And unlike Gulzar’s Maachis, the film does not confuse the issue of terrorism, and leaves the audience with a clear message that’s rooted in reality and morality together. Of course, without a hint of being preachy at any point.

The end credits blend the real into the reel. Not a soul moved in my half-filled theatre till the screen had turned absolutely black. I last remember going through that experience in Taare Zameen Par.

Punjab 1984 is set to cross the 10 crore mark, which remains a magical figure for Punjabi films, much like 150 or 200 crore for Bollywood. It’s been four days since I watched it, and I’m still wondering why an industry more than 20 times in size not produce such films, at a rate more than once or twice a year. And by “such films”, I don’t mean this exact film, but unconventional subjects where human emotions are treated as, well, human emotions.

I know that we are in an age of instant gratification and the youth drive cinema choices at the studios these days. But surely, there can be more variants (not versions) of A Wednesday or Queen. Surely, there’s a market. At least, there is no evidence that there’s not a market.

If “regional” cinema like Punjab 1984 is needed to shake up a national industry, then so be it. But hope the shake-up happens at some level. No place is a bad place to learn from.

Go and watch Punjab 1984 in a theatre if you can. Even if the language is entirely alien to you, the universality of emotions will cut through to you, right across the screen. And great performance can be heard, even when you don’t understand a word.

(Shailesh Kapoor is the founder and CEO of Ormax Media)