Posts Tagged ‘music’

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

किनारा में एक चीज़ तो कमाल की थी. जो कहावत है ना कि ’बाप का माल’,
तो बाप का माल बहुत चुराया मैंने” 

Pancham

Without any doubts, one can say that Sachin Dev Burman is one of the greatest music directors of all time. His musical creations are forever, but his most special creation was his son “Pancham”, yet another musical genius whose creations stood the test of time. Pancham was born on this day 78 years ago on June 27th 1939. Pancham’s destiny was given a definite path when Dada Burman took him along from Kolkata to Mumbai, despite reservations from Pancham’s mother & naani. Pancham began his music learning and soon started contributing to Dada’s music at an early age. Dada Burman used one of Pancham’s tune in ‘Funtoosh’ for the song “Ae meri topi palat ke aa“.

Pancham continued to be a big support to Dada Burman as an assistant music director, both officially and unofficially.  A lot of musical pieces from 60s and 70s of Dada Burman carry a significant and visible Pancham. Pyaasa‘s theme for Mala Sinha, the unforgettable Harmonica play in “Hai apna dil to awaara“, the title and dance music in Teen Deviyaan along with his harmonica, to name just a few.  One of the most significant achievement of Pancham’s career was that he could come out of the shadow of the very successful father and created his own independent space with his distinct style, sound, and thirst for innovation. Yet one can always find a lot of traces of Dada Burman’s music in Pancham’s composition in the later years. Pancham had made an honest confession about it in a radio show, admitting that he recycled/reused a lot of his father’s tunes. Much more than a father-son relationship,  it was a creative collaboration of two brilliant minds supplementing & complementing each other in the musical journey where each of them supported the cause of other.    Today we explore his “Baap Ka Maal” in this post. Join in.

1.  Kandibo na Fagun gele – SD Burman / Abke Na Saawan Barse – Kinara 

Dada Burman sang and composed the Bengali non-film song in earlier years of his career. Pancham reused the tune to create Abke na saawan barse in Kinara (1977)

 

 

2. Aami Chinu Eka – SD Burman / Khali Haath Shaam Aayi Hai – RD Burman

Once again Pancham took inspiration from one of the Dada Burman’s earlier works, to come up with beautiful Khaali haath shaam aayi hai in Ijaazat(1987). The influence is primarily in the opening part as Pancham gave the composition a new look, color and mood.

 

3. Sujata Title Music – SD Burman / Aapke Kamre Me Koi Rehta Hai – RD Burman

An interesting and experimental makeover to what originally was a popular Rabindra Sangeet (Ore jhawr nemey aaye) which Dada Burman used in Sujata’s title music, and later Pancham reworked it to create the musical extravaganza as ‘Aapke Kamre me koi rehta hai‘ in Yaadon ki Baraat (1973). He has also used the tune to create a beautiful romantic number a few years earlier in a Bengali film Rajkumari (1970).

 

4. Hai ki jey kori – SD Burman / Tune O Rangeele – RD Burman

Pancham used the basic structure of the Mukhda and reworked the “Piya Piya” hook to come up with another melody in Kudrat (1983) for Tune o rangeele.

 

5. Katha kao dao saara – SD Burman / Ummeed Hogi Koi – RD Burman

Dada Burman’s version (which was not composed by him but Subol Dasgupta, as informed by Aniruddha Bhattacharjee) has minimalism in folk ambiance, while Pancham gives it a modern color for the brilliant non-film collaboration “Dil Padosi Hai” (1987). Both excel in their respective versions.  Two melancholic beauties derived from one composition.

 

6. Kuhu kuhu koyaliya – SD Burman / Kuhu kuhu bole koyaliya – RD Burman

Dada Burman sang this popular Nazrulgeeti in early part of his career. Pancham reworked it with Gulzar for the unreleased DevDas (1975). Dada Burman’s version carry the earthy/rustic feel of Jaggery, while Pancham version had the sweet flow of finished honey with the voice of Lata Mangeshkar.

 

7. Nitol paye rinik jhink – SD Burman / Jab bhi koi kangana – RD Burman

Dada Burman’s popular composition which also has traces of Rabindra Sangeet in the interlude was reused by Pancham in Shaukeen (1982).

 

 

8. Aami Soite pari – SD Burman / Kya bura hai kya bhala – RD Burman

A beautiful Karta composition again with minimal use of instrument just with the use of Sarangi & Tabla. Pancham  gave his version a modern qawwali treatment for unreleased Libaas. His second ever & last song with Lata in duets.

 

 

9. Madhu brindabone dole raadha – SD Burman / Meethe Bol bole – RD Burman

A semi classical gem by Dada Burman. Beta Burman reused it in Kinara (1977) with a lot of improvisation in treatment

 

10. Rongila rongila rongila re – SD Burman / Kuchh na kaho opening – RD Burman

The soul song of Dada Burman, a song which marked the beginning of Dada Burman’s musical journey, and Pancham used the core hook beautifully in his legendary comeback score of 1942 – A Love Story, as if he was given his last Tribute to his father & their collaboration.

 

And finally, here it is – Pancham’s confession on “Baap Ka Maal” -Hear from the Horse’s mouth.

 

 

 

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)

Ajat Atul

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.

– Kaustubh Naik

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Coke Studio Pakistan remains Coke Studio Pakistan even when it isn’t quite Coke Studio Pakistan. This was evident in the last season when the studio got it wrong more times than it got it right, but still gave us some good melodies to weather the storm of life for few months. Strings were retained for Season 8, and right from the first promo that presented the artists line up, it appeared that the new producers have got it right. We have reviewed all episodes and you can find those reviews here. In this post I am listing down my 10 absolutely favorite songs from this season. Are these the only songs I liked? No, but in the interest of keeping the post shorter than a Sooraj Barjatya film, have cut down the numbers. You can click on the title of the song to watch the videos. In order of preference, here it goes.

10. Chiriyan da Chamba – Not so much for any breathtaking musical arrangement, the song makes it to the list for the simple reason of Anwar Maqsood’s recitation. It’s been a while since we heard a recitation in the studio. Suraiya Khanum kept the singing more or less simple.

9. Kinaray – Mekaal Hasan band made a heroic entry to the studio with Sayon but it is Kinaray that gets our vote for being the better of the two. The tonal structure was more or less similar to Pt. Ajoy Chakraborty’s rendition of the same qalaam which you can listen to here. Apart from Sharmishta’s beautiful singing, the back up trio was top class in the song, but then they have been like that throughout the season this time round.

8. Khari neem – Take an iconic classic like in this case, this iconic song by Mai Bhagi and put some flamenco influence coupled with killer violins and spot on singing, you have what is Coke Studio’s style of paying tribute with their unique signature on it. The flute by Sajid Ali just adds to the tempo of the song and sprays an image of a playful banter between two lovers. What a beauty!

7. Bewajah – After winning the Sur Khsetra, there couldn’t have been a better stage for Nabeel Shaukat ali to showcase his talent, and boy, did he grab that opportunity or what! The beauty of this song is that it reminds you a classic ghazal style treatment of antras but doesn’t bore you with a constant mellow mood. The pop treatment and that velvet voice of Nabeel package the entire song into what could be one of the most romantic songs of this year.

6. Ve Baneya – Fizza Javed and Mulazim Hussain is quite a unique combination to be featured in the same song. While both Fizza and Mulazim have excellent range, in this song it is Fizza who took the song to a completely different level by singing a banna-banni song(?). Mulazim was quietly paying tribute to Reshma by giving his version of this song. It’s been quite a while that the song is in public domain but it is difficult for me to control tears at every antra that Fizza sings. Be it those long alaaps or the way dholak (by Baber Ali khanna) changes the pace in the second line of the same. Truly beautiful stuff!

5. Hare hare baans – Having grown up listening to a lot of Pakistani songs, Shazia Manzoor was not an unfamiliar name. What took the anticipation level to unmanageable proportions was when we were shown that the Rizwan-Muazzam group would be teaming up with her. As a result, we got an awadhi song that again touches a genre which is always out there, but somehow the producers of today are busy ignoring it. Any music movement is judged with the variations of genre it touches. Coke Studio Pakistan wipes the floor with the ‘others-music-movements’ for this simple reason and they keep things melodious as well, just like this song. What a pleasure to hear Rizwan-Muazzam complimenting the ‘pitch and note perfect’ Shazia in their own powerful style, yet not compromising the feel of the song. How many songs like this can come to your mind in the recent times? There is a tuneful pain in the word babul that you have to hear to experience. (Not to forget the song touching the familiar raga pattern as piya tose naina lage rey between 5:25 to 5:31 mins)

4. Umran lagiyan – was a mix of Umran lagiyaan by Asad Amanat ali and the Chan chan chankan by Allah Ditta Lonaywala. The original songs have a momentous mounting already. It took the uber talented, clean voiced Ali Sethi to retain the emotion of the song as he crooned Umraan lagiyaan. Even if someone is made up of steel, they are likely to develop goosebumps thanks to the melodious yet intense beginning of the song by Ali Sethi. What’s more, Ali is gentle, suave and desi in equal measure throughout the song. It is songs like these that define the entire season of a program and this song did exactly that. Nabeel was good in his rendition of Chan chan chankan but the song belongs to Ali Sethi…Watch (Yes watch!) the way he brings the song back at 4:11 mins onwards and you will know what I mean.

3. Tajdar-e-Haram – It has become some sort of a fashion to dislike Atif Aslam. While I have always liked him, there are times when he goes overboard. In this song, however, he hits the bulls eye with the same ease with which you just blinked your eyes reading this sentence. Holding a cult classic like one holds a new born baby and delivering a soul stirring song that connects you to the powers that be is what Coke Studio does most often than not, and it works. The tune would have been a hoot for the houseband to keep up for the duration of the song and for that we cannot write enough good things. High point – Aao madine chalein..

2. Rockstar – Like Atif Aslam, Ali Zafar also got three songs in the season, and what’s more surprising is both the artists delivered their best in just one of those three songs. Rockstar is a song that either you will like or absolutely abhor. It came very close for me to label it as the song of the season. Lyrics full of pun (including a jibe at being allowed four marriages!), that desi detour in between, the mention of Kim Kardashian, the excellent back up vocals, that mild lullaby like whisper in between, Omran on Guitar, and so MUCH more! The song has too much going for it and I doubt if Ali can ever better this effort. I hope he proves me wrong tomorrow itself! Ho Socho Ghalib ne pehna ho designer se leke coat neela! WTF! Mind blown!

1. Sakal bann – If music programs cannot give the generation of today a reason to look up our traditional compositions which have stood the test of time, it is all quite pointless. Thankfully, Coke Studio has always excelled in this area. Rizwan-Muazzam group have given us a song that would have made Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan saab proud, and has surely put a smile on Rohail Hyatt’s face. The sheer power of the composition is so infectious, you would start head-banging. Tanveer Tafu, who can play burnt wood in his sleep apparently, took the song to a level that would remain unmatched throughout this season. Songs like these are the reward for lesser mortals to keep going with their messed up lives. The entire song is worth every second in gold but the way the song ends, it gives me goosebumps to even type about it here.

 Aaj Jaane ki ZidThere are always people around who would be horrible singers but in their head, they would think they are Tansens. Nothing wrong with that. The trouble is when they start putting their ‘talent’ out to public at large. That’s a punishment. Every tom, dick, harry and sally has put her/his ‘tribute’ to this evergreen Nazm out in public domain and they are all quite pointless and some are downright embarrassing. Farida Khanum graced Coke Studio in an emotional 3:10 mins recreation of this ghazal. They have made a fascinating video of the song which you must not miss, Farida Khanum’s presence is undoubtedly the biggest thing to have happened to Coke Studio Pakistan and it left us all in tears.

I want to write about 9 more songs, the houseband, and a lot more but the post is already way too long. To sum up, about 19 songs out of 29 songs were top class, and some of them outdid the best work of artists so far across albums/genres. A thoroughly enjoyable Season comes to an end and should there be a season 9, the expectations would be sky high…Strings take a bow!

And what do we do in India? We make music vidoes of songs which aren’t even 1% near the melody that oozes out of the lights on the sets of Coke Studio Pakistan, let alone compare them with actual songs.

And remember, all this is distributed free, legally.

–  Rohwit

UPDATE – Thanks to Ankit, he has made a playlist of all the songs.

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)

 

 

305084-detective-byomkesh-bakshi

When there is no competition, you generally don’t get good products, because sooner or later, producers of those products would hallucinate and think they are Gods, and their consumers are insignificant. This theory fits perfectly when we think of film music in our country. If you don’t believe me, try to remind yourself of 5 film albums which you liked last year. Got my drift?

We live in times when everything should make money for the makers. Music has to be catchy enough for caller tune. Who cares if people forget about the music 3 days after the promos end! Last year, it was Haider, a music album that enveloped the feel of the film and not compromising with the melody in the process. The first quarter of this year has ended and Dibakar Banerjee has given us Detective Byomkesh Bakshy.

The album starts with immensely talented Madboy/Mink jiving on Calcutta kiss. I don’t know about you but I never thought we will witness such vibrancy and joie de vivre in a film song. The song kicks it and does a kick ass job at it. It has a deliciously flirtatious vibe, and my God, it is amazing! Saba Azad is a Goddess and I love the way she economizes her vocal spend on Hindi film songs. A wise man told me long time back that Sneha Khanwalkar might create good sound but she has a long way to go for making a melodious song that sticks in your head. Now I don’t know how they will use all songs in the film, but if used well, I challenge you to come out of the hall and not have ‘Bach ke bakshy…tu jhoootha hai makkaar playing in your head. With this song, Sneha builds a villa on the already cemented spot that she occupies – one of the few, very few good musicians of our times whose songs will outlive us all and future generations will try unsuccessfully to find out the ‘formula’ behind the varied sounds she produced in her lifetime. I don’t know Sneha but I would love to know the questions she asks the maker when she is given the brief on the song that she has to make for a particular film. She gets it right every time!. Double pat to the lyricists of the song (Sneha and Dibakar, we are told)…whoever came up with beh gaya jo khoon uska kya blood type hai?!! The ‘bach ke bakshy tu jhootha hai makkar‘ has the same deadness to it, which some of us would remember experiencing when we heard kiley ka rahasya‘s title song.

I have always had a bone to pick with the non-film music scene in India, which has more often than not tried hard to bollywoodize itself to get validation (read recognition and money). The almost disgusting attempts at aping our innovative and rich neighbors’ music scene have failed because we try to put a bollywood touch to everything, and the sound gets hijacked. In comes ‘Byomkesh in love‘, and you feel not everything is wrong after all. The song has been fused well and in spite of English words in between, you will surely smile at the thumri-sque complaints of the singer asking her beloved to stay with the ‘other’ woman. The only other time it was done so beautifully was when Ram Sampath created this beautiful song. That was 13 years ago. In spite of somewhat average lyrics, what will arrest your attention in jaanam’ is the tripping Synth arrangement in the song. Suryakant Sawhney does a great job at giving us a retro but not dated love song.

There was a time when to make your film song ‘hep’, you had to have a song from Suraj Jagan. It worked but not totally, may be because the songs always wanted mass acceptance from Bollywood music lovers who are overfed with silly items songs and template of rondu-rotlu songs. Thankfully ‘Life’s a bitch’ by Akshay De is NOT at all like that. The song doesn’t try to pander to ‘General population’ and keeps the death metal ( is it?) feel alive. Akshay de is angry and his rough (yet never out of tune) singing makes it up for a song which you will either love, like I do or hate! Nothing grey here. Chase in Chinatown marched passed all of us in the first trailer of the film. The music and the mood of this track is elevated a great deal by Vyshnav Balasubramaniam. The rap is rough and much like ‘life’s a bitch’ this might not be everyone’s cup of tea but the track is trippy and one that fits the stealthy title to the T. Yang Guang Lives – is a meandering track that has interesting sound to it.  IJA has created this more like a background score with occasional commentary. Thanks to the superb pace of the entire O.S.T., this track might wear you out because it breaks off a lot in between. It won’t be wrong to conclude that the track is more a film piece than a song piece. That said, the track will give multiple orgasms to bass junkies.

Dibakar got 7 composers to make 7 songs. I am not the most vocal advocate of bringing hajaar composers in one O.S.T because I feel that the sound of the film gets compromised and doesn’t stay uniform. Thankfully, it is not the case here. For all we know, Dibakar would do a ‘kahaani’ and not include any song in the film. Even then, every note that you encounter in this album wraps itself around the feel of the film so well that it makes you want to see the film immediately!

We dont know what the film has in store for us. All we have got so far is just an eerie anticipation of something sinister which is about to unfold and the music just enhances that feeling. I cannot ask for anything more from an O.S.T..

Super like!

Let us know which song worked for you and which one didn’t.

@rohwit