Posts Tagged ‘Music review’

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

I heard about the tale of Saheba and Mirza for the first time, in my favorite song from Jab Tak Hai Haan – Heer. Guess who wrote that. Now, If the first name they splash on the screen is Gulzar’s, you know the makers are serious about their sh*t. The music of Mirzya is out and while I try hard to keep myself equanimous, pardon me if my feelings jump out of the keyboard and infect you with some enthusiasm and drunken stupor. Read on!

Mirzya

The album contains 15 songs and some are in the form of less than a minute of powerful recitations – composed and voiced by Daler Mehndi. What is clearly a storytelling technique, in these tracks, not only you understand the character, you get a feel of particular situations as well. Take the Yeh wadiyan for example,  the track is screaming ‘flashback flashback!’ But even then you would want to play it again. We get these lines in the title song as well.  In Mirza se darre and Mera mirza sher, the way Daler Mehndi soars, you will have goosebumps, the fearlessness of youth in two lines. What attitude! In Lahoo luhaan – Daler slightly errs in the beginning but paints the gory detail about a bloody fight that went on till the fighter started losing his ‘havaas’.  Even if Punjabi is not your language, fear not – it will make you soar nevertheless because Mehndi does NOT falter in Puchh na pende or Phaa paye nain fact, in the latter, hear how resigned is Daler when he says – Tu phir na jammi, Mirjiya. You feel the pain, you lose hope along with the singer. He has already won. Now, on to the songs of the album..

  • Mirzya – Sain Zahoor does what Sain Zahoor does. He sweeps you off your feet and S.E.L. bombard you with perhaps the most vibrant track of the album. There is a goosebumps gooseFOREST inducing Akhtar Chanal Zahiri as well and if this wasn’t enough, we get the ever so dependable Nooran Sisters and Daler mehndi jazzing things up and all this under 4 minutes. I kid you not, I couldn’t go beyond this track for a while. A bombastic start to the album!
  • Teen Gawaah Hain – Notwithstanding the earthy beginning of the song where we hear Sain Zahoor calling out, the tune of this love ballad reminded me of ‘mere mann ye bata de tu’ from KANK. Having said that, it’s what young love sounds like. A playful guitar stealing a glance while the constant pace eases your mind, making everything dreamy and slow. In antra, hear how Siddhartha leaves the last word of the first line, making you feel his passion. Listen to his ‘khol’ in the line ‘aasman khol ke dekhne do’ and you will know what I mean. A pretty pretty song! (I kept thinking the back up vocalists will break into ‘love will find a way’)
  • Chakora – God only knows why I wanted to talk to my dealer the moment this song started. It is comforting to see Bollywood waking up to Akhtar Chanal Zahiri, and not only that, using him well! Add some trippy beats to his recital or perhaps overlap him while someone is singing and you would probably want to make love to a joint near you. Mame Khan and Suchismita Das lend the ‘bollywood folk’ feel to the tune in their own cute style. Stunning song!
  • Aave re hichki – The opening 37 odd seconds of Esraj (or sarangi), is a class act by S.E.L., not to say that the song isn’t good otherwise. The song has fuses a bit of dervish-like sound on a simple free flowing tune. A minor grouse – You don’t go ‘hitchhh’ when you get ‘hichki’, you go ‘hikkk’. Clearly, Gulzar sahab wasn’t present in the recording.
  • Hota hai – I am sure it is just me but a ‘tun tuna’ start from Nooran Sisters put me off…and then I heard Sain Zahoor and Akhtar Chanal Zahiri (ACZ) together and it all made sense. The fantastic beat pattern of the song that stops to accommodate Sarangi and meets ACZ’s solid voice is to be heard to be believed. In addition to these powerhouses, I absolutely loved Shankar Mahadevan’s voice towards the end. For the uninitiated, please do check out Sain Zahoor and Akhtar Chanal Zahiri independently as well. They have brought studios down across the border. The brute force in the song makes you want to break the law, do the impossible and be weirdly proud of it all. A fantastic song by all means and well, I changed my mind. The ‘tun tuna’ is not all that bad afteral…..TRAAA!
  • Ek nadi thee – Thank God someone gave K. Mohan a tune that is not very ‘K Mohan’ if you know what I mean. All his songs have been sounding similar to me lately. This one is a glorious exception. Intimate claps and a bonfire like improv singing (of course with sexy strings) has made this quite a different song from the usual ‘unplugged and reprise’ like songs we come across.
  • Doli re doli – Who in their right mind would do a babul song with a slow jazz like treatment? S.E.L. did it here and boy, does it sound delicious. It has me conflicted whether I am supposed to be sad or happy, and I love the song for that. Clearly an example of what S.E.L. can achieve if the makers are willing to let them be.
  • Kaaga – It is a fine feeling when you see the artists you have been rooting for since long, go ‘mainstream’. I shrieked like a teenager when I heard Sain Zahoor and Akhtar Chanal Zahiri and here in kaaga, we hear the flawless Kaushiki Chakraborty with breathtaking strings and brass! The sound towards the end of the track can be so easily mistaken for a ‘superhero climax theme’. That said, I wish there is a longer version of this song hiding somewhere because it would be soul satisfying, just like this one is.
  • Mirziya theme – I might not reach out to the theme to play it again and again but I blame songs of the album for that. You are too consumed by the time you reach this track. It fills the album well, is no ‘Udaan theme’ by any measure, but is still good. Sarangi and flute. Enough said.

Most of the film music albums this year have been remarkably impervious to the flow of creativity and freshness. If this album makes you want to stop everyone, and make them listen to this, don’t worry, You are not acting strange. Mirzya’s music is *the* real thing and not an oddity in template infested bollywood that requires quotes around it as if it was a strange thing. I don’t know how the film would be, I don’t care how the film would be. I am just celebrating what would easily be the film music album of the year. This is what fundamentally good things sound like. Hear Hear!!

I wish there was an option to buy an album twice on iTunes!

Rohwit

(PS – To give credit where it’s due, I absolutely love T-series for including the artist credits in the jukebox link. You can access it here)

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A good music album is a blessing.

When we discovered the Israeli Qawwal Shyz Ben Tzur’s designs on Indian music scene sometime back, we couldn’t wait for more. However, we had to wait till 14 Nov 2015 for his new album.

Any fusion attempt involving Rajasthan runs the risk of ‘kesariya-oing/mharo dholna-oing‘ the sound and playing it safe. This album doesn’t fall in that trap. What you will come across is an innovative brass married to part funk and part pop sound, sprinkled with superlative lyrics. Take for example Junun, the song. The groove is familiar yet the entry of brass band is almost shocking. The singing in this song is slightly predictable. Yet, chances are you won’t be able to remind yourself of a similar song in a long time, watch out for the  faint harmonium/organ on the left channel throughout the song! The brass version of the song is just a smart example of how you can mold the sound of any song with local flavor and ‘there are birds in the eho chamber’ was recorded when the brass version of Junun was being recorded with birds chirping. Great touch, that!

Roked, is a dance beat prayer to God almighty which might not be everyone’s cup of tea, yet it presents an alternative way to ascend in God. When Hu starts, you would be excused to think that a song of Kabir is about to start. However, what you get is an insightful offering about life in Hebrew. If language isn’t a barrier for you in relishing good music, you might even find yourself swaying like a dervish. The entire band is in top form in this song, yet – not a single loud note. Isn’t it fascinating to actually come across the varied sounds of far off lands and to see how they pay a tribute to the infinite, the creator? Hu is a drug. Simple!

In Chala vahi des, you will be amazed at the percussion with the ever so beautiful manjira and harmonium mesmerizing you. Razia Sultan &  Afshana Khan are a delight, and my favorite part remains the effortless bringing in of ‘meera ke prabhu girdhar nagar‘. I cried when I heard this portion for the first time. This is why the creator has given us all humans faculties to hear. The infectious composition is impossible to unlike. Similarly in Kalandar, you would have made peace by the 5th minute of the composition, it’s a beautiful instrumental piece that requires nothing else. Wait for those simple 4 lines which will take your breath away before the flute reminds you to keep dancing, because after all you are a kalandar. Aren’t you?

A repetitive chanting like Eloha might weigh on the senses due to its psychedelic presentation with nearly silent musical arrangement. Julus (जुलूस) stays true to its title. This piece is all brass and the tune would remind you of your favorite roadside dance moment with the brass bands which are popular with marriage/Happy procession parties. Allah Elohim is a message of piece and reminds us that Hindu-Muslim look best when they stay peaceful and love each other. With excellent guitars in the background and splendid brass Razia and  Shye Ben Tzur would surely make you sway. Ahuvi is a song of longing and the Sarangi by Asin Khan and Khamaicha by Dara Khan would make you forget that most of the song is in Hebrew, and then the last 1:20 mins of the song will pierce your heart. Hear it to know what I mean. Azov has a simple message of ‘let go’, and this flute dominated piece ends fairly quickly.

The element of finality in Mode, which is ‘thanks’ to the creator for giving us everything is infectious, thanks to the neat gayaki and yet again, the language won’t matter here.

I have to thank my mother for introducing me to ‘Chala vaahi des’ – the Lata Mangeshkar album, when I was in class 6th, which had the sounds of birds and animals in the background in most of the songs. No wonder this album uses real bird and their chirps to create a similar sense of calm that just adds to the beauty of the end product.

Barring few sparks of brilliance, the current music scene leaves a lot to be desired, and that is insulting to a country as culturally rich and varied as ours. With this album, we come across yet another good attempt at fusing languages with familiar music arrangement and treatment so sensitive, it would melt your heart.

This is an album which is produced with a lot of heart work and hard work and it dazzles!  Thank you The Rajasthan Express, Shye Ben Tzur and Jonny Greenwood!

Good music is a blessing, it is the reason to live. If you don’t trust me, consult this album 🙂

Rohwit

(P.S. – There is a delightfully decorated digital booklet along with the music @iTunes which is beautiful and has translation for all the songs. Grab it!)

Fatema Kagalwala dives into the music of Bombay Velvet and comes out mighty impressed. In fact, it seems like she doesn’t want to come out of it. Read on.

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Disclaimer – This is not a music review. Just rambles. Just my experience of it.

Back in 2009 when Dev D music hit the market it hit me (and many of us) like a thunderbolt. I drew everyone around mad by listening to it like my life (and theirs) depended on it. The things it did to me, the things it evoked, the things it made me want to do – it was these unexplainable things that make the album unforgettable to me even today. And now it’s Bombay Velvet songs that are doing unthinkable things to me. Maybe its just me, but I thought it warranted an un-review, its too good for anything else.

I’ve been listening to Bombay Velvet songs, on loop since it came out. At first, I couldn’t differentiate one song from another except maybe Sylvia and Darbaan and the remaining 12 merged into one another like milk and water. Give it all to my complete ignorance of the jazz music harmony but I’ve never been the one to listen to music with anything but my heart. I connected to hard rock the same way, till date I don’t know anything about yet I love it because it speaks to me in ways nothing else does and I respond like I never knew I could. Bombay Velvet’s retro-jazz does something similar to me.

Is it the haunting darkness of it? The style, the retro-style which is very modern at the same time. Or the upbeatness of the track covering up the darkness? Every song reminds me of a lot of things, songs, references but when I try to pick one I can’t. The song suddenly gains a credential, an identity of its own. Which is when I realise how homogenous is Trivedi’s mixing of a multitude of elements, moods, strains into something with its own uniqueness.

It’s an album that is a visceral experience of ethos of the 60’s Mumbai, steeped in its still predominant Anglo-Indian culture that continued to give shape to the idiom of modernity in society and our films of those times. We may also call it neo-colonialism. And there are three things that when combined have created magic in the past as well. The resident Kashyap quirk, dystopia and desperation. The typical Trivedi touch of using prevalent sounds in new ways and hence fucking up mainstream music once again. And the staple Bhattacharya habit of taking us to newer worlds within amidst the commonest of commonalities.

Darbaan – Papon’s honey-soaked voice over uncluttered, single or two instruments only music track. Love the way the words melt into each other.

Baadshah sadko ka tu, sadke hi teri taqdeer hain,

daakhila oonche makaanon mein kuchh thekedaaron ki jaageer hain.”

Somehow, this refuses to leave me. It touches a little more, just a little than how much it is meant to and I am wondering if it’s the Papon-effect or the words or the sweeping, swaying nature of the tune. It’s got the ‘Hain apna dil toh awara’ abandon, the gypsy-fakir tone but with a disheartened voice. Also, it seems like it’s a 3rd person pov, commenting on the protagonist or the Everyman as we may want to see it, and that gives it one of those singing fakir kinda moods, which is what I love.

In the seductive and tempting mode, a male version of this is super interesting, such moral kind of songs are generally sung by women in films – the upholder of all things virtuous.

The Bombay Velvet Theme – Rarely do I listen to themes, I enjoy them while watching the film but hardly ever take them back home. Except the BV theme. I’ve been imagining Amitabh type swashbuckling fights over it, Humphrey Bogart-Cary Grant type chase sequences, Baz Luhrman type grand bars and ballrooms with a sweep of darkness, intrigue and debauchery. It’s what film theme music used to be back in the 60’s thrillers. Grand, sweeping, moody, dark. It literally takes me back to the 60’s, without any help of visuals. And I am already loving what it is making me expect from the film which I shouldn’t be doing. Let’s stop here.

P.S.: Take a bike ride while listening to it, Especially ghats. You won’t regret it.

Aam Hindustani – I was tickled no end when I first heard this –

“Roothi hain mehbooba, roothi roothi sharab hain,

Aam Hindustani teri kismet kharaab hain!”

*insert rolling on the floor and laughing my ass off smiley here*

Oh but it doesn’t end there!

Pyaar mein thenga, bar mein thenga,

Inki botal bhi goronki gulaam hain’.

Whoa! And I love the slightly scathing tone Shefali Alvares has sung it in. Of course, what else would do justice to this! But I’m thinking about the very idea of having a scathing song at all to mock the guy. Back in the 50’s and 60’s our filmy women, even in bars, only sang encouraging songs (Tadbeer se bigdi hui) or teasing ones (Babuji Dheere Chalna) to the man. Interesting subversion I really wanna know more about from the film.

Circus music! I laughed when I read this description of the unconventionally long prelude. Coz by then I had already started tripping on the soundtrack ‘like crazy’. The waltzy-jive feel is too good to ignore, feet begin tapping on their own. And then follows a sweet la la la and bang! There is that Trivedi whiplash – it is followed with a curt, snide ‘Dhobi ka kutta kaisa ghaat na gharka!’ in Shefali Alvares’ boisterous and refreshingly uninhibited vocals and you’re like ‘whaaaaa…’? . This is Bhattacharya in ‘paan mein pudhina’ zone 😛 full on quirk!

“Lalach ne tujhko aisi patti padhayi

Khwahish huyi hain degchi, khadai

Taqdeer teri abhi bhi chamach hain!”

In lesser hands this would have become ‘tujhko mirchi lagi toh main kya karoon’.

There are so many turns of the tune, dramatic ones that I wonder how the song has been used / picturised. Hide-n-seek, chase, robbery, in bits, in parts, in whole? Phew!

Behroopia – Of shadows, of doubts, of lies and half-hidden truths, mysteries and the subtle threat of it all…This is the wine of the album for me. Classy, seductive, romantic, moody, dark, a slow high. The fabulous trumpet giving way to almost minimalist vocals and that giving way to a full-blown orchestra is a transition I can’t get over right now. Between this, Darbaan and Sylvia what would I choose as the best? I’m still trying to figure out. And after Rockstar, in my imagination, Mohit Chauhan is to Ranbeer what Balasubraniam was to Salman at one point 😛

Dhadaam Dhadaam – This one is ‘Duniya’ level good. The operatic touch gives it that grandness of lost passions, a passion critical and deadly at the same time. Throughout the album Bhattacharya uses words we used to use in cinema back in time, but don’t anymore like ‘malaal’, ‘sehra’, ‘gila’, ‘daga’, (the Urdu influence fast disappearing from our films and lives today but immersive back then). This infuses a refreshing old-world-ness to the song only to be taken down with a dhadaam, literally! Someone, once said, everything that had to be discovered has been discovered, now we just create newer meanings and expressions by playing around with those discoveries. And AB puts a very quirky and unpoetic ‘Dhadaam’ bang in the middle of light and beautiful Urdu. The effect.

Ka Kha Ga – The fabulous trumpet makes an appearance again, with a band taking over. And then a seductive, drunk ‘Ay’. Geeta Dutt would have been so happy! This one I love singing! And I do, chilla chillake. (The corridors at Girls Hostel echo, all the more joy :P)

Naak Pe Gussa – Here’s my ‘Tadbeerse Bigdi Hui’ but as modern as it could get! Bhattacharya’s choice of words is so mellifluous, it’s a delicious thing to keep listening to. Teasing, warm, naughty, and one of those rare happy songs in the album. And it sounds like it has been literally sung with a smile on! (Like one feels about Ashatai’s songs!)

Sylvia – This is the true-blue retro song of the album, lovingly and truthfully recreating the O.P Nayyar-verse.

“Bhavra tha sayana, mukar hi gaya na,

Rusvayi reh gayi, (Oh ‘rusvayi’!)

Ghosla suhana, ujad hi gaya na,

Tanhai reh gayi

Tanhai…

Aankh ke surme ko daag banaya,

Kaanch ke aashiyan ko phook jalaya

Fitrat mein hi thi bewafai

Tu pyaar pe tohmat chhod gayi

Yeh kya kiya Sylvia !”

Rusvayi, aashiyaan, fitrat, tohmat haye!

Mohabbat Buri Beemaari – I’m not much of a fan of this, something is very laboured about it…something isn’t right and I can’t put my finger on it yet. I’ve simply stopped listening to it.

<detour> (Sylvia is playing right now. And yet again I am giving myself up to it. My first favourite of the album, its retro-ness calling out to those long-lost childhood memories. Growing up on O.P.Nayyar in a family that hailed him as a path-breaking musician when he was somewhat of an outcast in the mainstream more Indian-classical-is-music-alone world, the quality of his songs and sounds make me smile even today.(really wanna know if it’s a conscious hat-tip). There is something searing in the rendition and the use of march rhythmic chorus to underline that entire effect wanting to overpower…well, succeeded there!)

Shut Up – Drum rolls!!! Drum beats now, foot-tapping, jubilant trumpets and others follow. All upbeat and celebratory. And when things are about to settle down, Trivedi throws a spanner in the works. And then the song starts. Then you realise the effect this juxtaposition has on the expectation of the opening and the surprise in what follows.

Aisi kya, aisi kya, aisi kya bhookh hain…The first time I heard this I tripped on how the use of repetition fits in so beautifully! And lately I’ve been noticing how ‘harqatein’ almost sounds like ‘harqutein’ and suddenly it gains more quirk. Remember ‘sufed’?

And the merging of light, lilting, Urdu words with a crude ‘Shut Up!’ Why isn’t this today’s ‘Emotional Atyachaar’ of the youth yet?

Conspiracy – ‘Conspiracy’ is so well-named! And Trivedi plays with extremes once again, kabhi silent, kabhi ceiling-crashing, extremes – tempo mein, scale mein, aur emotion mein. Leaves me a little breathless every time I listen to it. And I love that feeling of anticipation as the music keeps picking up scale only to peter out, without any fulfilment, without any answers…letting a dullness set in that’s ‘safer’.

Out of 15 tracks, 12 are with vocals. Out of the 12, 11 are romantic songs. Only one is about the overarching ambitions of the protagonist, the central conceit of the film. Let’s see how the film treats the music and vice-versa.

For now, let the trumpets and trombones lull me to sleep, like they are used to by now. I wonder which one of these I will wake up singing tomorrow morning! Will let you know 🙂

Bombay-Velvet

There is so much that has already been ‘lectured’ to us on Bombay Velvet that I would refrain from saying anything else and just begin with whatever I thought of music of the film.

The film is 1960s and quite loudly so in whatever we have heard or seen so far and with whatever little I know, the words like tattu and nikhattu were surely not heard in the jazz of those days. To me, they dilute the feel of the song and even though it might go with the situation of the song, it is quite a put off for me. If you leave this slip aside, Aam hindustani is top class. Shefali has stressed on pronunciation a lot which is quite refreshing and goes with the attitude of the song. The tempo of the song varies teasingly and creates a great club like atmosphere.

Mohabbat buri beemari by Neeti Mohan is dominated by brass and even during the antraas, you can hear a faint notes of brass in the corner of your ear. The song is filled with tease which can, in terms of setting remind you of ‘mud mud ke na dekh’. Neeti mohan and her ‘come on!’ Is grey, purple and all shades of Stimulation. Another version of this song which is sung by Shefali Alvares is cute and sounds fancy but is not as aggressive as the one by Neeti Mohan. Both versions end with flourish and are of exact same duration.

Neeti Mohan’s Ka Kha Gha has an adorable tune but the words are a big let down. I am sure this would not be a common opinion but when you produce such a rich tune, you have got to have better choice of words than ‘sab bhula ke jo doob jaye kyu wo hee tair paata hai‘. Neeti Mohan cannot be praised enough for her exquisite singing. Sadly, she is stuck with ordinary lyrics in a song that has everything going for it otherwise. Easily the most ordinary song of the album and ONLY because of the lyrics.

An insightful guitar, quiet brass, whip-smart set of violins and a general evening-ish atmosphere is what makes up dhadaam dhadaam. Neeti Mohan has poured her heart out in the song and the part where she goes ‘malaal mein’ can actually be used as a ‘goosebumps checking device’ for all humans to see if their bodies are adequately producing goosebumps at right moments or not. Call me fussy, but the use dhadaam dhadaam is the only thing that put me off in the song. It sticks out like a sore thumb in an otherwise superlative song.

Naak pe jo gussa features a madly in love Neeti Mohan who is playful, yet stays within the ‘jazz’ brief of the song. Successful attempt is made to recreate a bar scene with the lead singer of the bar trying to cajole her love interest to give up anger. The lyrics of this song are terrific to say the least. A top class song.

Sylvia is an enjoyable song which has a generous pace and lyrics that tell us everything about a certain ‘Sylvia’ who enjoys a stranger’s touch more than someone who loves her. The song has a sad undertone to it in spite of being fast paced and that to me appealed a lot! Did I like the song? Yes. Will I hear it again and again? No.

Darbaan by Papon has a lot of sadness laced around a hummable tune. Generally the first hurdle between the disadvantaged and the rich of the society is the darbaan (gatekeeper) who doesn’t let the poor get as much as a peek inside the club where ‘mem log and babu sahabs‘ have fun, high society style. Singing wise, a strictly average song because the composition didn’t give much to Papon to play with. It might be a great spectacle on the screen (or not) but it is unlikely this would be a ‘repeat’ song in the playlist.

Shut up is an interesting song with Shefali Alvares asking the ‘lecturers’ to shut up. The bass lends good depth to the setting. Brass swivels along with Shefali and what we get is a thoroughly enjoyable song about something sinister, something vulnerable and someone being way too naughty.

Behroopia is perhaps the lightest song of the album, arrangement wise. Even here, you will find a quiet appearance of brass. The tune of the song is oddly familiar at times but nothing to complain here. In fact, it doesn’t sound like a typical Amit trivedi song and that is such a relief. An easy song, worth a play or two.

A nearly 5 minute Bombay Velvet theme is my favorite piece from the album without a doubt. Of course the film is touted, hyped, over propagated as noir and what not, and the theme heightens this feel to maddening levels! This could easily be one of the best theme music we have heard since Bombay Theme. The sense of occasion is palpable and the build up is magnificent. Kudos to Amit Trivedi for smartly using brass, clarinet and that Guitar…ooh la la! Such themes are the reasons we wait for films to be out! So filmy and so bloody good! You want ‘grand’? Here it is.

Conspiracy, like the name suggests has ominous written all over it. The violins build up the atmosphere and don’t be surprised if you start expecting a ‘twist’ in everything after you listen to this track. The clarinet keeps the track grounded and concludes it leaving an air of uncertainty. Nothing play worthy on repeat, but for film buffs, a track to re-live the film.

Tommy Gun in reality shuts up everyone forever so it isn’t surprising that a track with the same title will have nuanced presentation of the shut up song among other things. Again a film piece and good of makers to include it in the album.

There are two rather embarrassing remixes in the album and I would refrain from mentioning anything else about them. Perhaps, the makers wanted to see the name of McCleary in the film credits. In what is an extremely rare occurrence, McCleary makes you want to skip the tracks. The tracks are a misfit in the overall scheme of things and that is just what it is.

The film pertains to a set time period revolving around jazz music and to create the music of the film Amit Trivedi with his team have really given everything to the soundtrack and what’s more sound oozes the effort. My complaint is only with somewhat lazy lyrics and at times, the over produced sound. Unlikely that all the songs will remain in your playlist after the film goes out of theaters but a good effort which is worth an applause or two, club style!

For an ordinary music-booze lover and someone who is least bothered about jumping the ‘social class’, and who doesn’t care if it is a local, cheap beer or an expensive wine with an unpronounceable name, the songs might take a while to grow but they will grow for sure. The others are well, already busy revealing how they found the music to be ‘magnifique’.

Overall, a good album that fits the narrative.

@Rohwit

(Ps – Click here to get the credits for each song)

 

 

raanjhanaa_rahman360_Arrahman

After a long wait, it’s finally out – the music of Raanjhanaa. But seems the wait was worth it. Do check out the music of Raanjhanaa. Rahman is back and how. Over to @Rohwit for its music review.

  • Raanjhanaa hua – The ever so melodious (yet not as popular as I would like him to be) Jaswinder Singh starts the song and vanishes too quickly. Anyway, the song belongs to ‘at times out of sync Shiraz Uppal’ and that’s what you will love the song for. It just doesn’t try to ‘fit in with calculated singing’. The percussion arrangement – top class, the use of Sitar – exemplary. In fact, when the song ends, the sitar doesn’t leave your mind. Go ahead, try it! A racy tune marked with excellent violins (which literally take the song to it’s peak every time they appear), the song is top class! Watch out for the faint guitar riffs throughout!

  • Banarasiya – Like the name indicates, a song that ought to remind us of Benaras. Starts quite rightly with Sarangi and flute (aided with the mandatory manjiras). Tune wise crisp, singing wise excellent, Shreya Ghoshal’s vocals! Sitar, Tabla and flute do their bit to raise the level of the song. The playful backup vocals by the hugely talented Meenal Jain and Anwesha add the right amount of playfulness and mischief to the song and you can picture the dancers in a group, exchanging glances and moving the neck and eyes in sync.The atmosphere is very ‘evening’ and the setting reminds us of the ‘Kotha’ culture.

  • Piya Milengey – The song that begins with KMMC sufi ensemble going at it along with Sukhwinder is endowed with definitive bass and faint piano notes towards the beginning part of the song. The ensemble does an excellent job without getting loud at all. A song that is likely to appear in the background as the film paces up. Thankfully a bollywood – sufi offering that leaves an impact and not screaming singers in the mind as it ends.

  • Aye Sakhi – A song that has the most delightful and talented singers around. Madhushree, Chinmayi, Vaishali and Aanchal sethi come up with a song that’s treated with sheer brilliance and arranged classically (and gives out a feel that the singers are practising kathak). In fact, the music and the feel around the ‘aye sakhi uljhan’ reminded us of ‘Jao rey jogi tum jao rey’ (from Amrapali). The ‘Tyun tyun tyun’ bit in between reminded us of the Tain tain tain song from Gangs Of Wasseypur. Still so enjoyable! The song has an element of ‘Kya dekh rahey ho tum’ from Taal in terms of feel but is vastly different tune wise. Thumbs up!

  • Nazar Laaye – With lazy guitars, simple beats and Rashid Ali who is almost sleep-singing along with Neeti Mohan, the first impression of the song is ‘JTYJN-hangover!’ A typical song that gets skipped most of the times but stays in the playlist nevertheless.

  • Tu Mun Shudi – A lot has been written and propagated about Hazrat Amir Khusro’s Persian words around which the song is created, so we won’t go there. (By the way, Tu = you, mun = mine, shudi = became, Muntu = me yours, shudam = have become). The techno start to the song with superlative A R Rahman setting the tone of the song welcomes Rabbi (No no, not the Rabbi who sang Challa, this one sings better!). The use of shehnai in the song is top class. The way it flirts with the beats, we never thought it can, and all this with a constant hip-hop like beat. There is always that song in an ARR album that evokes extreme reaction (apart from other songs which are tagged in ‘Give it time and they will grow’ category). This one belongs to the ‘extreme reaction’ category. People will either like it or completely dislike it. We? LOVED it! ARR at his innovative best (with his characteristic giggle!)

  • Aise na Dekho – A bonfire song. Starts with a frolicky mouth organ up and about with guitars. Yet another ‘JTYJN-hangover’ infected song, one might argue. Sung by ARR himself, the song scores low on words and the way they are pronounced (May be intentional?). Still the music arrangement is soothing. The whistling in between is simple and adds charm to the tune. Will I hear it again? Not now.

  • The land of shiva – Heavy chants with heavier music setting and bells marks this piece and before you realise what is happening, it gets over. With a little over 1 minute running time, the tune is clearly added to compliment the overall feel of the album and is surely going to appear in the film.

  • Tum Tak – May be it is Javed Ali who melts with the musical arrangement (The other way of looking it could be – his voice doesn’t stand out), the song is likeable only because of it’s music arrangement. The construct is too confusing, singing wise. Too many ‘Tum taks’ are irritating to say the least. The sudden change in the song on the other side of 3 minutes is bearable vocally. Kirthi and Pooja are efficient in the song. What lessens the impact of average singing is the excellent use of Manjeera and shehnai.

AR Rahman somewhere mentioned that the use of shehnai in this album is a tribute to Ustad Bismillah khan.

What we liked the most about the album is that it gives out sense of the film without being vague. The lyrics by Irshad Kamil are largely effective.

The variation that we hear in terms of tune selection and treatment is vast, the music arrangement as usual top drawer! The album exudes a lot of confidence and the feeling of ‘durability’ oozes in good measure.

Just when the promos were looking an ordinary, it is unbelievable what a brilliant music album can change it all. Now only if the film is good enough to hold it all together.

Correction for Tu man shudi explanation – Tu man shodi” means You became me and “Man tu shodam” means “I became you” not “yours”. “Man” means “I” not “mine”. “I became yours” is “Man maal-e-to shodam”. Thank you for correcting it everyone

the-reluctant-fundamentalist-posterThe latest offering by Mira Nair features various artists and the album has as many as 14 tracks.

The album starts with Kangna, a traditional qawaali performed wonderfully by Fareed Ayaz and Abu Muhammad. The accentuated bass towards the end remind us that this is for a Film and not performed for anything else. Although the duo have sung this song for Coke Studio Pakistan as well where the duration was in excess of 10 mins, this one ends in less than 6 minutes, melodious nonetheless.

Bijli aaye ya na aaye features the otherwise serious Meesha Shafi. Severely let down on the lyrics the song survives because of the lovely throw that Meesha demonstrates. Peppy. The lyrics are so bad that they actually redefine the word ‘random’. However, this for sure will be closely walking with the narrative, of which I am sure.

Kaindey ney sung by Zahara Khan is up next. Performed with just a guitar and Sarod by the side for most part, Zahara appears slightly out of sync at times in this average song.

Ali Sethi hums Dil jalaney ki baat kartey ho extremely well and leaves you wanting for more because the track is barely 2 mins long.

Atif Aslam croons Mori araj suno and even though he tries very hard, thanks to the varied versions of this ageless composition that we have come across, this track falls short. But it does sound very theatrical.

Measure of me by Amy Ray is the best song of the album. Slow, melancholic and very high on melody. The arrangement is so simple that you might even ignore it. The backup vocal arrangement is brilliant as well.

A young man has to take a stand performed by Michael Andrews is a track filled with a lot of tension thanks to the eerie arrangement and loads of violins used. Ends quickly echoing the tension in the head.

Jannissary again performed by Michael is a slow piano piece with continuous violins. Somehow reminded me of 1947 The earth, this piece. Nicely done.

Something happened – Bass and a lot of bass instills anticipation in what appears to be an anxious track. A track that is very rich on sounds. Faintly heard someone sharpening knife, someone running through a door and then it all descends to a pause. One of the best instrumental pieces in a long time. Highly recommended.

God bless America A very short track comprising of crowds cheering and a continuous beat that eventually fades out far too quickly.

Love in Urdu by Rizzle kicks is a delicately arranged all instrumental piece peppered with subtle Sarod and guitar. Not as beautiful as love in Urdu would be but a soothing and simple track.

Focus on fundamentals paints a picture of tension, yet again. Aided in just right measure with violins and a dying bass line throughout. Eerie. Tensed. Dark.

Get us both killed has got a very dark tone throughout. The riffs remind you of a particular O.S.T. Which shall not be named here. :) the tempo steadily rises but never peaks and that’s quite eerie.

Too much blood has poured into this river With near absent vocals, this track keeps the dark undertone of the album alive. Aided by flute, the overall grave atmosphere gets a touch of sadness. The almost silent alaap is a touch of class in this track.

With Mira Nair, we are sure that the music will be totally circumstantial and compliment the feel of the film. The Reluctant Fundamentalist is no different. Will I hear it as much as the O.S.T. Of ‘The Namesake’? Well, No. The reason is simple. This O.S.T. stays so closely hugged to the film’s feel that you slip into sadness with some of the tracks of this film.

2 Thumbs up! If you are an O.S.T. Collector, do not miss this at any cost!

@Rohwit

(Ed note : For more music reviews by Rohwit, you can check his blog here)