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Music review – M Cream

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You can listen to the music review here

http://www.bbc.com/hindi/multimedia/2016/07/160715_bbc_mr_spk.shtml

 

Music review – Fever

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You can listen to the music review here – http://www.bbc.com/hindi/multimedia/2016/07/160707_bbc_music_review_spk.shtml

An album that has as many as 15 songs, misses the melody point completely.

Hai apna dil to awara – Music review

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You can listen to the review here – http://www.bbc.com/hindi/multimedia/2016/07/160701_bbc_musicreview_spk.shtml

Sultan – Music review (Text + Audio link)

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Music in a Salman Khan film is always a delicate affair. The composer(s) job is to give a good thump, but not excessive rhythm because then bhai would have to dance and that is not his strongest point. While doing this, the composer should also give ‘full on’ emotion to the album. Let’s see if Vishal Shekhar have been able to win so many fights in Sultan‘s soundtrack.

Baby Ko Bass Pasand Hai…

In addition to a ‘sing these songs by the dozens so I can rock these songs easily’, Vishal Dadlani, what will catch your attention are the lyrics and the way the hook is nicely woven into the lyrics. Shalmali Kholgade, Ishita, Badshah add the desi oomph in style, a thoroughly enjoyable song!

Jag Ghoomeya

Rahat Fateh Ali khan was singing too many similar songs in most of his Bollywood outings till sometime back, only to be replaced by Arijit Singh. As a result we haven’t been bombarded with many songs by Rahat off late. Call it the result of this gap or anything you like, Jag Ghoomeya sounds borderline refreshing. Make no mistake, the ‘bolly romantic template’ is at work here as well, just that lyrics and Rahat’s singing compliment each other very well here. There is another version of the song by Neha Bhasin and thanks to those strings that you hear with the ‘too good to believe’ solid vocals of Neha, this version beats all the songs of this film hands down. Isn’t it good to get a song that makes you all gooey and reminds you of the ace singer Reshma?

440 Volt

440 Volt gets its cheekiness from Mika and will most likely get its mass following thanks to the onscreen efforts of the protagonist to dance. Yet again, in spite of a ‘heard before’ tune, what helps this song are the lyrics by Irshad Kamil. It might not be repeat worthy, but at least the song doesn’t sound cheap.

Sultan

Sultan has Sukhvinder Singh and Shadab Faridi doing their best to tell us that this is a high energy song. It is at best the ‘skip this pls’ song on the playlist. An underwhelming arrangement and bored singing vie for honours here. Rise Of Sultan by Shekhar Ravjiani and chorus is also underwhelming because you cannot offset a bad tune with excessive structuring of heavy instruments. Enough said.

Sachi Muchi

Sachi Muchi by Mohit Chauhan and Harshdeep would probably be the flattest song this year. With an arrangement that could have been used so well, we get a lame song that practically achieves nothing and celebrates its mediocrity with a bunch of tired backup vocalists.

Bulleya

Papon gets to sing Bulleya and he excels in it. If only the tune was more refreshing, it could have been ‘repeat’ worthy. Here, the song comes across as an accessory to probably move the narrative forward in slow motion on screen. In spite of Kamil’s earlier interaction with ‘Bulleh Shah’ where apparently kass ke mujhe galey lagaya happened, the lyrics here are saner.

Tuk Tuk

Noora Sisters and Vishal Dadlani present an interesting experiment to us in Tuk Tuk and inspite of being at their earthy best, what steals this song is the ‘pehelwaan rap’ done by Vishal Dadlani. Our traditional sports deserve more ‘cool’ treatment, so kudos to everyone associated with this song for a step in that direction.

Music album wise, If your last few outings have been Kick, Bajrangi Bhaijaan and Prem Ratan Dhan Payo, you can only go up from there. With some good thump in Baby Ko Bass and Pehelwaan Rap (Tuk Tuk) and Neha Bhasin’s Jag Ghoomeya, the album does have something going for it. For keeping the ‘bhainess’ alive in most songs and sparks of brilliance in others, I liked the album, just about. Having said that, it is probably the best music album for a ‘bhai-film’ in a long long time.

This review appeared first on Quint here

You can hear the review on B.B.C. website here

Raman Raghav 2.0 Music review

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You can listen to my review here This review appeared first here

The unbridled chaos of a crime thriller and the twisted beauty of gore are captured perfectly in the album’s first song, Qatl-e-aam. Although I still cannot figure out why the voice of Sona needed processing, the overall vibe of the song is deliberately sinister, and those menacing synths only elevate this aura.

The unplugged version of this song is understandably calmer, and you can chew on the lyrics – those with an element of murderous tease – a bit more. Also missing in the unplugged version are those spooky vocals of Yash Divecha. What is however not absent is the playful guitar by Pawan, that relaxes the overall setting.

Behooda is a dark song done up beautifully. The lyricist explores the gore of ‘phaphoond, nakhoonon se phoda chhala, zeher ki naali etc.’ and Ram Sampath takes the help of simple beat pattern so that we can hear these words clearly. At one point, I wanted to shout out to no one in particular – I GET IT, HE IS A BAD GUY, STOP IT ALREADY!

Siddhartha Basrur excels in Paani ka raasta. It is not a happy song, but then I wish it was a bit longer. After setting the premise so beautifully, the song hits the peak fairly quickly. The star of the song for me is Shon Pinto’s guitar; it adds so much to the song in terms of setting the reflective mood just right in the beginning, before going all complex by the end.

Raghav theme is peppy and has a trance-like grip. When it plays out, don’t be surprised if you find yourself bareling down a long smoky corridor with flickering lights and an overall dimness, indulged in a chase where you forget if you are ‘the chaser’ or ‘the chased’. That is the role of a soundtrack, after all: evoking elaborate visions and imagery in context of the film and atmosphere it belongs to. That one can imagine this before even watching the film yet is quite a testament to its role as, both, a storytelling device and an individual entity. Additionally, those sarangi samples are reminiscent of the (underrated) soundtrack of ‘Let’s Talk’. A fantastic theme piece that soars and how!

In Bollywood, or more specifically, the Hindi film industry, it’s quite fashionable to attach the tag of ‘dark’ to your subject and then ignore the music completely. This album, right through, tells us how to approach music — in treatment, tone and arrangement — for such subjects. It is disturbing, chaotic, fearless and has an undeniable air of confidence.

Pick this one up if you would like to get a sexy peek into the feral world of Raman Raghav 2.0, without really seeing it at all.

For embracing the actual feel of the film, puncturing it at the right spot and spraying devious pus all over my speakers (pardon the metaphors, but all is fair in love and music), Ram Sampath and Raman Raghav 2.0 get a big thumbs up!

Artist credits

COMPOSED ARRANGED & PRODUCED by: – Ram Sampath

ALL LYRICS by: – Varun Grover

RECORDED and EDITED at OMGROWN STUDIOS by: – Yash Divecha and Nitesh Bisht

MIXED at OMGROWN STUDIOS by: – Yash Divecha and Nitesh Bisht

ALBUM EXECUTIVE PRODUCER: – Sona Mohapatra

ASSISTANT ENGINEER: – Sunil Mhatre

01 : QATL-E-AAM

SINGER : Sona Mohapatra

ADDITIONAL VOCALS : Yash Divecha

ADDITIONAL ARRANGMENTS : Yash Divecha

02 : BEHOODA

SINGER : Nayantara Bhatkal

ADDITIONAL VOCALS : Ram Sampath, Vivienne Pocha, Nalini Krishnan
03 : PAANI KA RAASTA

SINGER : Siddharth Basrur

ADDITIONAL VOCALS : Ram Sampath

GUITARS : Shon Pinto

ADDITIONAL ARRANGMENTS : Sparsh Agrawal
04 : RAGHAV THEME

ADDITIONAL ARRANGMENTS : Yash Divecha
05 : QATL-E-AAM (UNPLUGGED)

SINGER : Sona Mohapatra

GUITARS AND ADDITIONAL ARRANGEMENTS : Pawan Rasaily

Te3n Music review

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After Jugni, Clinton gets another album as a solo composer and the songs are penned by Amitabh Bhattacharya. Let’s find out if the music is as thrilling as the premise of the film.

Haq Hai

Haq Hai by Clinton Cerejo is a call to never give up on what is yours, even if the universe tells you otherwise. The song has a constant undercurrent of self belief and lyrics compliment the mood so well that you want to congratulate Clinton for not giving in to the temptation of giving a ‘punch the air with confidence’ tonality to the song. You might not play this song in the gym but you would want to listen to it when you are out on one of your long walks.

Rootha

Rootha is a fabulous song because structure wise, I haven’t heard such a layered film song in a while. It is always reassuring to find a composer who can ‘control’ Benny’s enthusiasm and channel it into a solid effort. To compliment Benny, we have Divya Kumar who is at ease in spite of those long taans and Bianca Gomes (who to my mind, is one of the most under-utilised singers we have today), adds the goosebumps to the song by spotlessly singing lines from a folk song which echo in your mind long after the song ends.

Kyun Re

Kyun Re by Clinton Cerejo is a beautifully composed and solidly worded soft ballad, the kinds that you have your favourite ‘guitar friend’ in the group repeatedly sing for you. I absolutely loved the way a word like ‘choorey’ has made it to a mainstream song. The arrangement is minimal that accentuates the singing and achieves the right effect on the listener. There is another version of this song sung by highly emotive Amitabh Bachchan. Tune and lyrics wise, this version is identical to Clinton’s, but where Clinton focuses on perfect singing presentation, Bachchan’s singing sounds more like a private speech that one indulges in to regulate the pain and fails miserably at it. The pain of losing a loved one, that is. How else can you explain the quiver in his voice at ‘rasta dekhungaa…’? As a composer, the manner in which Clinton makes the helplessness and resignation affect you easily makes this, one of the best songs of this year. It is impossible to pick a favourite between these versions and thank god for that!Nawazuddin Siddiqui in Te3n

Grahan

Vishal Dadlani’s energy and passion are exquisitely matched by a super tune set that has some good guitar play. The song sounds like a tune on which a wounded soul dances, till it passes out. The song is meant to be heavy but in spite of that, it doesn’t weigh you down, perhaps because of the excellent arrangement and programming at play here. Will I listen to this on repeat? No. Is it a good song? Absolutely!

Clinton has achieved a lot in a project that is produced by Sujoy Ghosh who gave us a cracker of a soundtrack in Kahaani and then forgot to include the songs in the film. Do explore the music of this film, it is well worth your time and money!

This review first appeared on Quint here

Udta Punjab – Music review

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Director Abhishek Chaubey teams up with musician Amit Trivedi, a Phantom Films regular, for Udta Punjab. I don’t think I have heard a better title for a film in last couple of years which can rival the coolness of Udta Punjab. Find out if the soundtrack of the film is as cool.

Now, what Amit Trivedi has done in Chitta Ve is use the title smartly but you do get a feeling that too much is happening at once, and I am not even remotely suggesting anything about the rap portion because that is not bad at all. Babu Haabi, Shahid Mallya and Bhanu Pratap try their heart out but are let down by a somewhat clumsy music structure towards the second half of the song. The man who gave us an elaborate orchestral setting in Bombay Velvet seems to like autotune a lot off late. Why autotune? Why? A hummable song that goes awfully wrong towards the end

Da Da Dasse is a song that resembles Nucleya’s Aaja sporadically. Kanika Kapoor shines here and how! A ‘pind pop’ song with Babu Haabi rapping it up, it’s a Babaji ki Booti with slightly more layered arrangement and solid lyrics. We would really like to hear more of Kanika Kapoor in varied genres!

Ikk Kudi comes in two versions. One has the ever-so-impeccable Shahid Mallya and the other one is sung by the talent powerhouse Diljit Dosanjh. Shahid’s version is light music-wise, allowing him more space to improvise. As a result Shahid’s version sounds slightly more intense than Diljit’s. Diljit’s version is fragile and quieter, may be that’s why, in this version the instruments are more intense than they are in Shahid’s. Even though the evergreen poetry of Batalvi might appeal only to those who understand Punjabi, both these versions are absolute gems.

I have always felt Amit Trivedi, the singer, wants to sound like a ‘sanskari’ boy and could never go totally crazy, that was till I heard this song. In what is probably the best song of the album, in Ud-daa Punjab we hear Trivedi going full ‘break your bones and steal your car thereafter’ crazy. Vishal Dadlani, who matches Trivedi’s raw energy at every step is a treat to listen to. After Dhan Te Nan from Kaminey, Vishal has finally sung a song with overflowing swag and zero artificial aggression. Every line of this song is worth a hundred wolf whistles, minimum.

Hass Nach Le sung by Shahid Mallya has its heart at the right place, lyrics-wise. However, the tune tires you out fairly quickly, which is quite a feat because the song has a superb harmonium all throughout. Vadiya has a ‘Scatman’ meets ‘Nucleya’ sound. I am not even protesting the fact that Amit Trivedi has sung one more song. Highly derivative, the song sounds like a keyboard preset tune that is played for 4 minutes with aforementioned reference points. It would probably go down as the weakest song by Amit this year.

Of course we expected much more because it is after all the ‘am’ ‘it’ man at work, but the overall album is a tad underwhelming. Pick this one up for Ikk Kudi, Da Da Dasse and of course Ud-daa Punjab and you won’t be disappointed.

This review first appeared on Quint here

Audio link to my review on B.B.C. here

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