Behen Hogi Teri – Music review

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Behen hogi teri, a music album that is a mixed bag with pleasant surprises sprkinled for good measure.

You can listen to the music review herehttp://www.bbc.com/hindi/media-40062301

Half Girlfriend – Music Review

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You can listen to my music review of Half Girlfriend here – http://www.bbc.com/hindi/media-39899349

A surprisingly good album that is weighed down by ‘done to death’ Aashiqu-sque tune, a shrill Shreya Ghosal nearly murdering a Pakistani gem and lastly – a surprising English song that is very very good!

Thumbs up!

Meri Pyaari Bindu – Music review

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You can listen to my music review of Meri Pyaari Bindu here – http://www.bbc.com/hindi/media-39822856

An album that contains a ghazalnuma song that we will remember for a long long time.

Poorna – Music Review

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My music review of Poorna –


What a delightful album!

Badrinath Ki Dulhaniya – Music review

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You can listen to my music review of Badrinath Ki Dulhaniya here – http://www.bbc.com/hindi/entertainment-39156009

Energetic, missing the mark often but with two solid filmi songs which are original, thankfully.

You can listen to the full album and find all artist credits here – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XTRsPv3r5b0


Rangoon – Music review

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You can listen to my music review of Rangoon here  – http://www.bbc.com/hindi/media-38772961 

You can find out the glorious artist line up that is responsible for the music of Rangoon here – https://almostareview.wordpress.com/2017/01/21/rangoon-music-credits-with-a-bit-of-trivia/

There is a soul satisfying thump in Bloody Hell owing largely to the raunchy lyrics. I mean ‘Ishq kiya angrezi mein’ has got to ‘ring bells’ at all the right places, all puns intended. One doesn’t need to think long and hard as to what is being conveyed here. The whiplash and brass section compliment the grunt-ish singing of Sunidhi Chauhan like ropes compliment the ends of a bed. A song perfect for parties where mature adults are having fun — kids not allowed.

I wasn’t too taken in by Vishal’s choice of Arijit in Haider to sing the evergreen Faiz, because any half-good singer can get through these classics with a little help from a master like Vishal. It is for the same reason singers like Ali Sethi are looked down upon by those who argue ‘let him sing something original and we will talk’. Add to that, I always felt khul kabhi was Vishal’s song and not arijit’s and would have sounded better in Vishal’s voice. Cut to – Ye Ishq Hai. The self destructive, post-death experience of being ‘one’ with your beloved is what Vishal has achieved musically. And Gulzar drawing in Tabrez and Rumi completes whatever was left, to strike the fatal blow that leaves you smiling as you know you are about to cross over this life to meet your loved one on the other side. Oh and Arijit Singh is splendid, throughout.

There is a version of this song by Rekha Bhardwaj as well, and that sounds like a ‘Dervish collective’ twirling with Harmonium riffs and claps for company. This version gets a better bass-line at places than Arijit’s version.

Ha ha ha ha ha hahahaha Mere Miya Gaye England has a  tribute to ‘Mere piya gaye Rangoon’ that delights you if you have heard the song I refer to here. With tongue-in-cheek lyrics that oscillate between Eiffel Tower to Bus Stand, and aided with extremely good back up vocalists, Rekha Bhardwaj hits this one out of the park with the ease and twist that reminds you of ‘Ranaji’ from Gulaal.

Tippa stretches an old favourite (tap tap topi topi) to cinematic lengths where it is just not a kid song anymore. This however, doesn’t stop Sukhwinder, Rekha Bhardwaj, Sunidhi Chauhan and O.S. Arun from forming a vocal circle of mischief. Sukhwinder sounds intense, Rekha sounds happy-drunk, Sunidhi is bubbly and O.S. Arun sounds like that decent boy who is busy worrying about whether the elders will catch onto this masti that the kids are having. Sounding largely like a narrative piece, the track focuses on sounding grand, and as a result I couldn’t bring myself to hum it as much as I would have liked. This track is produced by Hitesh Sonik and Clinton Cerejo, and was recorded in 2006.

Ek Dooni Do is a breezy dance number that sounds cryptic to me, or may be I am over-thinking about the setting it invokes. The Spanish vibe isn’t overbearing and leaves ample space for Gulzar to use ‘Pahade’. Is it a good song? Yes. Will I listen to this on repeat? No.

Alvida – is probably the simplest song of the album, and the most devastating. This is exactly what a master wordsmith like Gulzar can do. There is Gulzar when he works with others (AR Rahman included), and then there is Gulzar when he works with Vishal. The Vishal-Gulzar collaboration is the best musical possibility of the times we live in and we must thank these two for drowning us in songs like this. What a treat Arijit is to the ears — my favourite song from the album, after Ye Ishq Hai.

Call it the effect of an overwhelming string section and an excellent ensemble of singers (Vishal, K.K., Kunal Ganjawala and Sukhwinder) who are equally intense in Julia. You feel a bit drained towards the end of the song, and it leaves you with the feeling that it could have been a tad shorter. My favourite moment is every time Vishal Bhardwaj says ‘Julia’; hear it and you will know what I mean. Also, Gulzar sahab draws the family tree of Julia by announcing that she is zalzale ki saali, in whose voice? Vishal Bhardwaj. Splendid! This track is also produced by Hitesh Sonik and Clinton Cerejo, and was recorded in 2006.

A flirty accordion, nadira-sque Rekha Bhardwaj and a vivacious tune greets you in Chori Chori and once again, in addition to a tight music arrangement, what stands out are the excellent lyrics. The use of ‘momfali’ instead of ‘moongfali’ is a touch of brilliance that only Gulzar can achieve — super song!

In what is easily the most criminal injustice of the year so far, we get a cinematic Rangoon theme that is just one and a half minutes long! It is as filmy and deep as one would imagine with VB at play. Strings used right. How I wish it were longer.

Be still and Shimmy Shake are both penned by Lekha Washington. Where Dominique lends depth to anticipation and waiting in Be Still, Vivienne Pocha ticks all the right boxes in Shimmy Shake, which ends with such a flash. Both the songs are in English, because in the time the film is set in, one used to hear a LOT of English songs like these: simple attention to detail that didn’t need an expensive Velvet case to understand.

The thing with Vishal Bhardwaj is — his music is permanent. It doesn’t sound like most Hindi film albums sound today, that can at best be equated with anonymous graffiti we see in toilets and forget about. When his music album is out, suddenly Vishal becomes very present in the room. Same is the case with Rangoon. It sounds grand and cinematic bearing the VB-Gulzar signature, which is equal to governor’s signature on a currency note in the Hindi-film music world. Rangoon doesn’t celebrate the cheerful tastelessness like other albums of today. On the contrary, it is a measured offering of perfectly mixed/rolled stuff. There are 12 songs, pick your poison and then thank God that it exists.

MSD – Template overload yet surprisingly good at times!

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Thoughts on the music album – M.S. Dhoni – The Untold story

Music – Amaal Malik and Rochak Kohli

Lyrics – Manoj Muntashir

M.S. Dhoni has done many a good things for the aspirational small town cricketer because of  which he will always be a shining star in the narrative of modern day cricket. In a bid to tell his story, let us find out if the music has been able to keep up with the man who loves bikes and helicopter shots.

BesabriyanArmaan malik sounds real and understated in what is probably the best song of the album. No one is shouting about how they will change the world, In fact, there is a quiet determination in the mood and the grit of the song is ‘all dhoni’. I won’t be surprised if one particular part of the string section in the song is used repeatedly in the film as ‘theme music’.

Kaun tujhe – In ‘kaun tujhe’,palak muchhal tries her best to sound delicate and somewhat succeeds but she is trapped in what can be conveniently called as predictably dull template of a modern day bollywood love song. Giving her company are good words from Manoj muntashir but the tune appears to be content with its limitations resulting in a plain forgettable song.

Jab tak – If you think the predictability of tunes is restricted to just one song of the album, you are wrong. With the gap filling ‘hoo oo’ in the picture, Jab Tak is reduced to an elaborately arranged song that is short on emotions. Armaan Malik’s voice is good but it is becoming increasingly difficult to find a single differentiating factor from his ever increasing body of work. The ‘redux’ version is arranged lightly and doesn’t weigh you down and will probably be liked more than the original version.

Phir Kabhi – Yet another Arijit song, that sounds same. Yet. another. This ‘sameness overload’ is frustrating and doesn’t move you as a listener even when the words are good, which is the case here.

Parwah nahi – The song with electrical guitars. Siddhartha basrur soars in the song but at times you do feel that the energy is a bit controlled and as a result the song falls one step short of being a desi tubthumper. At best it is a sanitized attempt at being wild.

Padhoge Likhoge – is a delightful banter between Ananya Nanda and Adithyan A Prithviraj. The central theme of the song is the age old ‘warning’ that parents (or elder siblings) used to handout freely to unsuspecting young ones about the devastating effects of not studying. This is a kid song like they should be, utterly enjoyable with lots of repeat value. Thumbs up!

Har gully mein dhoni hai – is composed and sung by Rochak Kohli. The near grunge feel in the beginning of the song might lull you into believing that this is a lazy song. In spite of my problems with ordinary back up vocals of the song, this is a song that actually makes you root for the main character. Rochak sounds low on confidence sporadically but makes you soar especially when he goes ‘awaazon mil jao…’ Their is a distinct small town pride in the way the singer goes ‘aa rahey hain hum..’ Trust the this song to outlast the film.

The O.S.T. has 8 songs filled with good lyrics and while most tunes lack soul, 3 out of 8 make the cut – Besabriyan, har gully mein dhoni hai and Parhoge likhoge. How we wish the other songs were more than album fillers! We will all remember M.S. Dhoni as someone who got disruptive courage to the game,  How I wish he could compose music for indian films because we could do with some courage there!

An album that starts well, loses its way horribly in between and ends with a flash!

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