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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

Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani – Music review

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ilahi This song appears twice in the soundtrack. Mohit chauhan’s version has a dash of fun-n-frolic to it with Mohit getting hysterical in bits. All while accompanied by an excellent all kids backup vocal army! Arijit singh’s version is free flowing and scores slightly above Mohit’s version in terms of melody. Both versions however smell stongly of a ‘Phir se udd chala meets gurus of peace meets kasto maza’ arrangement and feel. Still, enjoyable. Immensely.

Kabira also appears twice in the album. One version sung by Rekha bharadwaj and Tochi Raina and the other sung by Harshdeep and Arijit Singh. Tune wise remaining the same, the Harshdeep-Arijit version is arranged more like a wedding song. In fact the start of this song will surely remind you of Ye kudiya nashey diya puriyaa part in the mehndi laga ke rakhna as well as Kabse aaye hain tere dulhe raja part from Kuch kuch hota hai’s Saajan ji ghar aaye song. On the other hand the Rekha-Tochi version tries very very hard to sound like iktaara from wake up sid. Sadly it doesn’t. In fact if you hear closely the parts sung by Tochi you will get a ‘Tere bina’ (Guru) feel. The song isn’t bad. It’s just too out there to please you and get your headtilt ‘Aww’!

Ghagra sung by Rekha Bharadwaj and Vishal dadlani – is wannabe desi at so many levels that it is not funny! Anyway, just hear the initial lines by Rekha Bharadwaj and when she goes ‘Kahan se aaya hai rey tu’ it will remind you of Hum hongey kaamyaab song. Anyway, this song clearly will feature Madhuri Dixit and Ranbir and will probably benefit because of that reason only. It is noise at it’s worst. Didn’t work at all.

Subhanallah – Indian Idol season 5 winner Sreeram gets a chance to sing with Shilpa Rao for this. This track reminds you of ‘Shukranallah’ (Kurbaan) A LOT! Shilpa rao appears for a very short duration in the song leaving Sreeram to own up the song. The song sounds fresh largely due to him, still there is something missing in the song. I can’t put my ear to it. May be you can?

Dilliwali girlfriend – A song that points us to a peppier Arijit Singh (along with the awesome Sunidhi chauhan…can’t get over her ‘Ok Bye..)! Although this would rank very high in the books of those who love artificial mood creation via keyboard sort of beats, the song intersects so many ‘familiar’ songs (for example – Mere haathon mein nau nau chooriyan hai from chandni and Kendi po po po from Partner) and add to that a general LOUD music arrangement. Lyrics are quite interesting though. Would I hear it again? No way!

Balam Pichkaari – Shalmali and Vishal (with a group of very wannabe desi backup singers). No points for guessing that this is the ‘Main rang barse banna chahta hu’ song of the album. A tune that reminds very strongly of Gaaye jaa geet milan ke and a mood that reminds very strongly of this, the song is plain average. Surely to get people dancing on the floor and will fool them to think ‘वाव! आज काफी देसी गाने पे नाच लिया, इंडिया इस फोल्क म्यूजिक आई टेल यू!’

Badtameez Dil – Alas! the song of the album! This was released as a single track before the album hit the stores and has helped greatly in making people believe the overall album is oh so good! The brass bands, the mood, the singing by Benny dayal, the tastier than ‘moori bhaat’ lyrics by Amitabh bhattacharya (yes! and the superlative dance by Ranbir on screen). There is nothing wrong with this song and that’s a rarity for this album. Even skeptics like me can’t stop repeating this song in spite of clear warning by Benny/Amitabh that ‘Mere peechey kisine repeat kia to sala maine tere munh pe maara mukka!’

Special vote of thanks to Pritam for introducing Arijit Singh to us and using him repeatedly. What a find!

Overall just an average album from Pritam that benefits largely by good lyrics (Penned by Kumaar and Amitabh Bhattacharya) and suffers from way too many ‘inspirations’ and noises at times. Nonetheless this album might land Pritam an award or two because it is a Karan johar presentation..! राई के पहाड़ पर तीन फूटा लिल्लिपुट! You see!

माने ना!

My Picks – Badtameez dil, Kabira (Non Rekha bharadwaj-Tochi version), Ilahi (Arijit Singh version of course!)

Jab tak hai Jaan – Music review..Almost

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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

Barfi! Music review…almost

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Ala Barfi! – Right from the first moment when you hear the whistle, you know this song is all about fun! A narrative of the alleged ‘sad’ life of Barfi, the song takes a lighter take on the situation rather than brooding over it (Sanjay Leela bhansali, take note). There are 2 versions of this song. One is sung by Mohit chauhan and one by Swanand kirkirey. The version by Mohit chauhan is peppier and stays true to the mood that the song aims to create. Swanand kirkire on the other hand, gives a naughtier touch to the song (so much so that ‘Munna mute hee aansu bahaye’ part doesn’t leave any impact in his version as much as it does it Mohit’s). Both versions are good in their own right. I liked the Mohit chauhan version better because its easy on ears. At times, with Swanand Kirkire version the voice is too heavy for the song that is to be sung lightly. In Mohit’s version, in each ‘Antra’, you can listen to a brief ‘tom n jerry prank style music piece’ even as Mohit is singing. Kudos to Swanand Kirkire for penning superb lyrics though.

Main kya karu – the song starts very quickly and in a very kya karu (from ‘wake up sid’ ) mood. The song doesn’t have an elaborate music setting before which the singer starts. Nikhil Paul george starts the song with less than 6 seconds of music into the track. The ‘guitar resignation of a note’ at every ‘uff’ in the song is cleverly placed. The ‘antras’ have a ‘hopeless in love’ mood to them which is immensely relatable and melodiously performed. The song again is very easy on ears and has a lazy feel to it due to the absence of ‘orchestra overload’ sort of music setting. Liked. Super liked.

KyonPapon, (I mean THE Papon!) starts the song with a very 1970s beat accompanying him. You almost miss a romantic accordion from the setting. The sweet violin arrangement makes it up very well though. Excellently penned by Neelesh Misra, the song makes just enough space for Sunidhi chauhan to take over one antra and leave us mesmerized. Excellent display of two master artists at work. The only grouse I have is that I left wanted to hear Sunidhi chauhan for one more Antra. Thoroughly enjoyable and hummable. Papon, sing more for us, will you? Please! The 25 second odd simple twinkling music arrangement towards the end of the song puts us back to sleep and the song ends.

Phir le aaya dil (Reprise) – Sung by Arijit singh along with Contemporary music setting (yes, with faint table throughout the song) and ghazal like lyrics. This is what best sums up the song. The use of Piano in between and the general mood of this song is just too good. There is another version of this song as well and we will go there in a minute but this song has more layers because it’s not an out and ghazal. The vocals of Arijit are apt for the song (And reminded me of Shail hada. Where’s he by the way?). The song is just very nicely done. Pritam, is that you? Really? Pleasantly surprised! For me, the best song of the album.

Phir le aaya dil – Sung by Rekha bharadwaj, this composition is an out and out ghazal, very linear in it’s approach. Not many layers. Not sure if this will feature in the film. We have heard Rekha bharadwaj sing many a ghazals like this so it doesn’t come as any surprise that she hugs the lyrics, hi5’s the music setting and sings with aplomb.

Aashiyan – Excellent accordion play starts this song and shreya ghosal greets us smiling. Nikhil Paul george makes another appearance and compliments Shreya ghosal superbly. This is a happy song. There is flute and voilin play in between and it does to us just what good music to the ears! Puts you at ease, instantly. The adorable ‘almost’ yodeling is placed perfectly in the song and you cant help but smile everytime it comes up. Excellent arrangement, this.

Aashiyan (Solo) –Nikhil Paul george goes on and about in this solo version. The duet version sounds fresh with Shreya Ghosal and if you have heard that version already, you will miss her voice in this because the energy is a little low. The tempo, music arrangement (save for voilins) is pretty much the same. The only difference that I could make out was the spacing between the opening lines of Mukhda. The lines are spaced using violins so that the listener doesn’t feel that the male voice is singing the female part as well. Not a song that would make you buy this album on a stand alone basis but compliments the album very well.

Sawali si raat – Beautiful Piano starts the song and guitars drift away in the background. Arijit singh whisper-starts the song. The song talks about ‘sleep’ but the singer sounds clearly out of place in this song. Not comfortable with the subdued singing, Arijit perhaps wasn’t the right choice of the song. The tune nevertheless is quite hummable (Youtube ‘versions’ of this ahoy!). The only blip on the otherwise excellent album and for this, I can’t penalize Mr. Pritam.

Phir le aaya dil (Shafqat amanat ali khan) – A very ‘raabta’ like start (initial notes remind you of the siyah raatein version of raabta), piano and a gentle music arrangement, thankfully aided by Sarangi this time start this song and Shafqat amanat ali khan gets on with it. The moment you hear this song you feel it is the ‘cleanest’ arranged and presented song of all the versions. Best part – you cannot (And should not) compare the 3 versions of this song. Arijit Singh’s version is blessed with more ‘feel’. Rekha Bharadwaj and Shafqat’s version is more directed towards singing it right. I cannot get over the excellent use of our very own ‘Sarangi’ in this version though. Not nitpicking but please do pay chotu attention the way Shafqat amanat ali khan pronounces ‘Baaki’. This is the version that will make you cry a bit, yep.

Special mention – Shafqat amanat ali khan has to be appreciated for not choosing similar songs and falling into the ‘Rahat fateh ali khan’ sahab wala ‘typecast’ groove.
This song completes the album, even more.

It’s already been said, blogged and screamed a lot that Pritam has outdone himself with this album and I will just reiterate it shamelessly! You can visualize the film when you hear the songs. If the teaser of Barfi looked like a picture perfect frame, the music adds beautiful colors to it. Thrilled beyond words, Pritam has given us one of the best music albums of this year!

Take a bow, Pritam…I owe you a 5 star chocolate, for this tasty Barfi!

Zindagi na milegi dobara – Music review…well almost! :)

7 Comments

1. Kab tak giney– Yes it is the electric guitar with quick tempo drums…what else do we expect from a movie with SEL (shankar ehsaan loy) these days. Ok Ok it does add a little bit of youth quotient to the sound of it.  Shankar mahadevan, Joi and Suraj Jagan sing this one. The sudden tempo rising…group singing…although it might look good in the movie, sounds incredibly mundane and predictable..and you can’t help but go *sigh* so typical!  Still it’s an ideal song to be sung in groups…especially if you are on a bus/road trip

2. Paint it red– Yet again, faint vocals which gain momentum along with a….guess what? Yes electric guitar! Yet another run of the mill SEL song with Vishal Dadlani in it behind the microphone. I might get a lot of abuses for this but then these days Vishal Shekhar & SEL have been hopelessly predictable and you can’t help but feel it is Vishal dadlani with severe ‘adhoore’ (from break ke baad) hangover. Not great at all. Ordinary at best. Shankar Mahadevan , Vishal Dadlani , Ehsaan Noorani , Alyssa Mendonsa  and Gulraj Singh perform this one….ordinarily.

3. Khabon ke parindey – Liberation via realisation of your dreams….is the theme of this song. A very good use of accordion (?) in between accompanied with low key (but melodious) voice of  Alyssa Mendonsa makes this a hummable song. With Mohit chauhan, the peppy song gets it’s doze of romantic lazyness for a while because he vanishes just as quickly as he comes. Still a very different song from the routine SEL numbers and thats a relief.

4. Senorita – Oh YEAH! Here comes the winner! The best song of this album has Mr. Farhan Akhtar, Abhay deol and Hritik Roshan kicking it along with Maria Del Mar Fernandez. Boy Maria can kick it well!  A student like enthusiastic Abhay deol adds a very sweet touch to the song and well I am biased on Farhan Akhtar (but then it is my review!) so i will say yes Farhan totally rocks this one! Hritik Roshan takes this song very seriously and you get it immediately. A superb song although it did remind me of a song but then am not able to figure it out…well forget it! This song rocks! A MUST hear!

5. Der lagi Lekin – Mr. Shankar Mahadevan gets behind the mic and tells us that he has learnt to live even if it took him sometime to realise what is real happiness and sadness…all momentary. The song has a silent resilience feel to it. Nice song.

6. Sooraj ki baahon mein – Without wasting a second Loy Mendonsa , Dominique Cerejo , Clinton Cerejo get into action along with a peppy tempo for company. I couldn’t help but feel that the song is missing soul. Very casual lyrics, at places horribly sung.  Frankly nothing much to write about.

7. To Zinda ho tum – Just few lines about life and whether you are ‘alive’ or not. Farhan Akhtar recites them with consummate ease. Loved this piece. Loved the setting with a heavy voilin in the background and some strings…Very very powerful lines. This one goes straight to my mobile. Superbly done Farhan!!

8. Senorita (remixed) – Starts with a very spanish setting (with band and constant clapping in the background). Just as much fun as the non remixed version. The setting is very party like, the beat very ‘now’ and the lyrics very catchy! Hell Yea am singing this loud!

Overall an average album by SEL saved completely by Senorita, To zinda ho tum, Dil dhadakney ko and Der lagi (in this very order).

There was a time when you could actually tell an album is composed by Anand Milind (thanks to flute and tabla in almost  every song). The same syndrome has hit SEL. Almost every song by them tries very hard to be cool but ends up sounding the same. The songs will grow after the movie hits the theaters I reckon.

Going with 2.5/5

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