Music review – Neerja

This review was first featured here –

I am a big fan of the music of Ram Madhvani’s Let’s Talk. Back in 2002, when people were coming to terms with fusion music, Ram delivered fused genres in this album with thumri-sque melody and funk in equal measure. The film of course had good scope for music. When I came across Neerja’s music, I didn’t know what to expect. How much can you accommodate, music-wise, in a film that’s character driven film, which revolves around a hijack?

For Neerja, Ram has teamed up with Vishal Khurana for the music, while Prasoon Joshi has penned the lyrics and all of them have showed that they can, in fact do a lot with the soundtrack.

Jeete Hain Chal – Seconds into Jeete Hain Chal, you come across a fragile chanting of mantras. While it might not arrest your attention immediately, be rest assured that the fearless chanting of these very mantras towards the end of the song will ensure an adrenalin rush like you haven’t had in a long time . It is a bonus to hear Kavita Seth (along with a talented bunch of singers including – Arun Ingle, Mandar Apte, RN Iyer, Archana Gore, Mayuri Patwardhan and Pragati). The violin encore towards the end is a touch of sheer class.

Aankhein Milayenge Darr Se has a very ‘annual day song’ feel to it. K Mohan and Neha Bhasin are in a ‘no fear’ mood but you don’t feel for one second that the song is trying too hard to get noticed. A lot of credit for this should go to those talented set of backup vocalists who add a lot to the song without really getting in the way of the composition.

Gehra Ishq is the romantic song of the album. The composition is slow in the beginning and almost puts you to sleep owing to a papery arrangement. The high point of this song is not the qawwali-like treatment in between but the way in which ‘claps’ welcome the tonal change. It is a cleverly composed song because you find traces of the ‘typical bollywood song’, but chances are this one will last throughout the year in your playlist, purely because of Shekhar’s singing and that leisurely note on which the song ends.

Don’t be too hard on yourself if you are reminded of Luka Chupi (from Rang De Basanti), when you hear Aisa Kyun Maa. A song which thankfully takes a daughter’s POV (with an affectionate yet haunting call from her mom twice in the song). This is easily the song that will have you reaching for tissues as you sniff and try to hum it. Sunidhi Chauhan is more or less comfortable in the song and delivers it with her signature aplomb.

What stands out in the album are those tiny flashes of brilliance, take the ‘Laado’ call in Aisa Kyun Maa, or those faint claps in Gehra Ishq or those mantras in Jeete Hain Chal. All of this shows that the film’s music was not composed just for the heck of it and how rare that is, these days!”

The brilliance of this album is that it features songs which will not hijack and/or disrupt the flow of the narrative. The sound is delicate, fearless, vulnerable and always intimate.

With the braveheart as the main character, the music might not get its due, but Vishal Khurana has ensured we must engage in the discussion about music. So let’s talk about music of Neerja, it’s well worth it.


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