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.

Kitabon se kabhi guzro

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It was 10 Sept 2006

I sat with Jagjit Singh to ‘learn ghazal singing’. Bangalore.

Pardon my silly writing, but going through some old stuff, found these 2 pages and wanted to share it with you.

Happy birthday in advance, Jagjit Singh.

IMG_20150120_120429 IMG_20150120_120441~2And when you are done looking at the pics, listen to this

Haider – Music Review And Artists/Technicians Credit

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Here is to the album of the year! Haider
You can read the review here –  http://moifightclub.wordpress.com/2014/09/17/haider-music-review-right-shades-of-dark/
You can listen to the music review @ BBC here – http://www.bbc.co.uk/hindi/multimedia/2014/09/140919_bbc_music_review_vm.shtml
Most importantly, here are the track wise music credits for the people who make it all work.
The list is shared by Rekha Bharadwaj. Thank you Ma’m! 🙂

1. Aao Na (Gulzar, Vishal Bhardwaj)
Singer - Vishal Dadlani
Music Producer - Ketan Sodha
Guitars - Ankur Mukherjee
Music Assistant - Mayukh Sarkar
Recorded by - Salman Khan Afridi @ Studio Satya, Mumbai
Mixed by - Steve Fitzamaurice (365 Artists)
Assistant Mix Engineer - Darren Heelis
Mixed at - The pierce rooms, London
Mastered - Christian Wright @ Abbey road Studios, London

2.Bismil (Gulzar, Vishal Bhardwaj)
Singer - Sukhwinder Singh
Music Producer - Ketan Sodha
Choir Arrangements - Neuman Pinto
Choir - Neuman pinto, Bianca Gomes,Francis Castellino, R.N. Iyer Vivienne Pocha, Rajiv Sunderesan, Kaustubh date, Mandar Apte and Arun Ingle
Music Assistant - Mayukh Sarkar
Recorded by - Salman khan Afridi @ Studio Satya, Mumbai
Mixed by - Steve Fitzmaurice (365 artists)
Assistant mix engineer - Darren heelis
Mixed at - The Pierce rooms, london
Mastered by - Christian Wright @ Abbey road studios, london

3. Khul Kabhi to  (Gulzar, Vishal Bhardwaj)
Singer - Arijit Singh
Music producer - Tushar parte, Ketan Sodha
Guitars - Tushar Parte
Music assistant - Mayukh Sarkar
Recorded by - Salman Khan Afridi @ Studio Satya, Mumbai
Mixed By - Steve Fitzmaurice (365 artists)
Assistant mix engineer - Darren heelis
Mixed at - The pierce rooms, London
Mastered by - Christian wright @ Abbey Road Studios, London

4. Jhelum (Gulzar, Vishal Bhardwaj)
Singer - Vishal Bhardwaj
Music Producer - Simaab Sen
Guitars - Mayukh Sarkar
Music Assistant - Mayukh Sarkar
Recorded by - Salman Khan Afridi @ Studio Satya, Mumbai
Mixed by - TRE Nagella
Mixed at - Luminous Sound, Dallas, USA
Mastered by - Christian Wright, abbey road

5. Gulon Mein Rang (Faiz Ahmad Faiz)
Additional Composition - Vishal Bhardwaj
Original Composer - Mehdi Hassan
Singer - Arijit Singh
Music Producer - Ketan Sodha
Guitars - Arijit Singh
Music Assistant - Mayukh Sarkar
Recorded by - Arijit Singh
Mixed by - Steve Fitzmaurice (365 artists)
Assistant Mix engineer - Darren Heelis
Mixed at - The Pierce rooms, london
Mastered by - Christian Wright @ Abbey Road Studios, London

6. Do Jahan (Gulzar and Kashmiri folk, Vishal Bhardwaj)
Singers - Suresh Wadkar and Shraddha kapoor
Music Producers - Tushar Parte, Ketan Sodha
Guitars - Tushar Parte
Music Assistant - Mayukh Sarkar
Recorded by - Salman Khan Afridi @ Studio Satya, Mumbai
Mixed by - Steve Fitzmaurice @ Studio Satya, Mumbai
Assistant Mix engineer - Darren Heelis
Mixed at - The Pierce rooms, London
Mastered by - Christian Wright @ Abbey road Studios, London

7. Ek aur Bismil (Gulzar, Vishal Bhardwaj)
Singer - Sukhwinder Singh
Music Producer - Ketan Sodha
Music Assistant - Mayukh Sarkar
Recorded by - Salman Khan Afridi @ Studio Satya, Mumbai
Mixed by - Steve Fitzmaurice (365 artists)
Assistant mix engineer - Darren heelis
Mixed at - The pierce rooms, London
Mastered by - Christian Wright @ Abbey Road Studios, London

8. So Jao (Gulzar, Vishal Bhardwaj)
Singers - Bashir Lone, Bashir Bhawani, Muzamil Bhawani, Mayukh Sarkar, Aalaap Majghavkar & Sourabh Joshi
Music Producer - Ketan Sodha
Music Assistant - Mayukh Sarkar
Recorded by - Salman Khan Afridi @ Studio Satya, Mumbai
Mixed by - Ketan Sodha & Salman Khan Afridi
Mastered by - Christian Wright @ Abbey Road Studios, London

9. Aaj ke Naam (Faiz Ahmad Faiz, Vishal Bhardwaj)
Singer - Rekha Bhardwaj
Music Producer - Ketan Sodha
Tabla - Vinayak Netke
Music Assistant - Mayukh Sarkar
Recorded By - Salman Khan Afridi @ Studio Satya, Mumbai
Mixed by - Salman Khan Afridi & Ketan Sodha
Mixed at - Studio Satya, Mumbai
Mastered by - Christian WrighT @ Abbey Road Studios, London



Ek thi daayan – Tracklist (not officially confirmed)


Do you know that Lootera music in the teaser has striking resemblance to a Hollywood film? O.K. having ticked the fainthearted self-declared ‘rebels’, now on to serious business.

Googled and Googled about Ek thi daayan songs and the internet threw some song titles as the tracklist, hence sharing it. Am quite sure this might not be true but then I am as bored as a ‘heartbroken’ music composer whose ‘music inspiration’ has been caught, (Another classic joke! uff i am on fire!) here is a blog post, just like that

Ok, here is what internet tells us on Ek thi daayan songs

Tote Ud Gaye
Kaali Kaali
Lautungi Main
Sapna Re Sapna
Sehmi Sehmi Si  Official tracklist doesn’t include this song (Corrected on March 30, 2013)
Ek Thi Dayan

I have no idea on when is the music releasing and I accept no claims of any kind of authenticity of this post.

Ok, Bye.

Jab tak hai Jaan – Music review..Almost


The way ‘Saans’ starts, one does feel the sound of A.R. Rahman trying to hit you. Shreya Ghosal comes up with an echo (and a lot of ‘dhafli’ in the background and some unnecessary violins that more or less go on and on). Mohit Chauhan has probably done a doctorate in such slow mood songs and remains flat and predictable. (Couldn’t help but feel the point where Mohit chauhan makes an entry in the song sounds terribly same like the line ‘Do pal ruka’ from Veer zara). Both the singers take turns to go out of tune (mostly in the all the ‘antraas’). The unbearable shrill alaap of Shreya Ghosal isn’t good enough to keep you in the song. There are bagpipers playing too..Yes, Someone mentioned A.R. Rahman has done music for this film. Very ‘Subhash ghai’ sort of song. Uselessly grand (as far as music album is concerned) and falls flat.

Ishq Shava – Guitars. Peppy start with a very thorough Raghav and the usually brilliant Shilpa Rao behind the microphone. The unnecessary ‘Say what’, ‘Yeah’ and ‘hey’ do their bit to spoil this song. ‘Paani pe chal ke dekho zara, badalon mein zameen nahi hoti….’Yes this sounds like it has been penned by Gulzar sahab. Foot tapping song. Will this go on to my playlist? No.

Heer Harshdeep kaur puts so much soul into this! The excellent use of ‘Mirza’ has Gulzar sahab written all over it. The soul piercing violins are very A.R. Rahman. Yes, this is more like it. There is an element of ‘Yash chopra presents’ finality and drama in the music arrangement. Not complaining at all. The song just fades towards the end and will invariably have you reaching for the repeat button. Goosebumps stuff even if you don’t understand punjabi. The faint electric flute, the pace of the song, the feel, the atmosphere, easily my pick of the album.

Jiya re – The start, although no way related to ‘ni main samajh gayi’ did remind me of it. First hearing made it sound like – chaiyya re but it is ‘Jiya re’. References to loving herself and a general happy feel is what characterises the song. Sung very well and you will feel the singer Neeti mohan has put in a lot of effort. Probably an intro song (with a lot of english vinglish phrases in the background), the song lacks continuity in my view. It’s tiring to listen to this song in it’s entirety.

Jab tak hai jaanJaved ali, Sitar and some violin in good measure start this song. Probably the loudest arrangement of all songs. The moment we try to settle with the pace of the song the ‘sajid wajid like’ break disrupts the pace of the song. Very filmy song. Shakthisree Gopalan makes a splashing entry (but pauses the pace of the song only to pick it up again). Would love to hear more from her because the voice is just beautiful. The typical song that you can imagine has a lot of ‘Hero turning and heroine turning…and heroine turning again and hero turning again….and the hair flying all around’. Whether we like it or not, this song (looks like) will pick when the film hits the theatres. Did I like it? Shamelessly, Yes!

Saans (Reprise) – Oh yes…a ‘reprise’ (generally referred to as ‘Part 2’ in previous films of Yash chopra). Shreya ghosal. Sounding very much like ‘do pal ruka’ song again like from Veer zara, the song ends. (Music by Yash chopra or the stock of old madan mohan tunes?).

Ishq danceInstrumental (of course!) – Completely undecided on this piece. Doesn’t sound like the typical ‘ARR’ instrumental track. In between an all male chorus of ‘hey hey hey hey’ is disturbing but the bass it is accompanied with is very theatrical. bass doesn’t dip for a moment from here and is joined by a brass band like sound towards the end. Not catchy but this shall remain in my playlist for a while.

The PoemShahrukh khan, if only you were given better words to recite! Pedestrian poetry accompanied with excellent music arrangement has done it for the track! The filmy (of course it’s a film soundtrack, I know) end of this track is what ARR can do to you. Hear the music and tell me if you don’t get goosebumps?

Challa – Sounding more like the work of Rabbi shergill than ARR. The song has grown from the time it was launched. ‘The voice doesn’t suit SRK’ is probably a lame argument against the song so I won’t go there. The choir like chorus mixed smartly does speak of ARR a bit though. The song is again in punjabi so the uptake of the same might not be instant, but as the case with ‘90s A.R. Rahman’ remains, this song will grow.

Not an entirely impressive album by Gulzar sahab/ARR/YRF standards, the album falls in the ‘listen and buy only if you want to’ category. Probably Gulzar sahab and ARR stuck to the ‘instructions’ by YRF. If this is the last film of Yash Chopra as a director and if You know Yash Chopra well, trust me he will have you crying buckets thanks to ‘Heer’, the song, and for old times (and some classics that he has given us) sake, I hope he succeeds in doing that.

Pick of the album – Heer, Challa, recital by SRK and Ishq dance.

Rating – 3 on 5

Mirza Ghalib

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What can one ‘blog’ about Mirza?

Absolutely Nothing.

Just wanted to register it here, that I thank God for his kindness that I was born in an era (with hearing, seeing and understanding faculties), when I was able to come across Ghalib sahab’s work.

How can I not mention Maalik (Gulzar) who made it possible for ignorant people like me to come across the legend himself via his T.V. Serial on Ghalib? How can I not thank Jagjit Singh for doing what he did to Ghalib’s work?

It’s his birthday today.

Thank You God.

GhazalJeet Singh


I guess I was in Class 8. It was the month of may and we were attending a marriage in Hardoi (a small town near Lucknow, my hometown). It was long back. It was 1993.As one would associate with small towns, the evening was dark evening because there was no electricity and to add to the atmosphere, we were sitting in a circle and black clouds looked ominous because it was the rainy season.Someone demanded one of the relatives to sing and that evening was the first time I heard a ghazal composed by JagJit singh. ‘Charagh aftaab gum…badi haseen raat thee’.After this day, I don’t recollect listening to anything except Jagjit Singh. So much so, that my parents made me consult a doctor because they felt i was too ‘sad and melancholic’ as compared to the other guys of my age. Days were spent waiting for the new album of Jagjit singh (Shiv electronics at Bhootnath, Lucknow will acknowledge this anyday anytime).  Hours were spent in contesting with the so called ‘adults’ who were hell bent in comparing Jagjit Singh with lesser mortals from Pakistan and elsewhere (No one, in my view deserves a mention in the same post which has Jagjit Singh’s name in it)And today, October 10, 2011.

I cannot believe he is no more.

How can someone just go? May be in the years when he was busy adding to our treasure trove and hiding his problems (emotional and physical), we all forgot he is a human being. I can go on and on about my limited by magical meetings with him but I will stop. Eyes are blurred, hands are shaking and the mind just cannot stop repeating the soulful ghazal penned by Sudarshan Fakir

Naa mohabbat, na dosti ke liye
waqt rukta nahi kissi ke liye

Dil ko apne saza na de yoo.n hee
Iss zamaane ki be-rukhi ke liye

Kal jawaani ka hashr kya hoga
sonch le aaj, do ghadi ke liye

Har koi pyaar doondhta hai yahan
Apni tanha si zindagi ke liye

Waqt ke saath saath chalta rahe
yeh hee behtar hai aadmi ke liye

GhazalJeet singh sir, I have grown up listening to you and you have been with me in all the highs and lows of my life.

No, you have NOT gone. Anywhere.

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