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 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.


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

Bollywood Diaries – A super album that went unnoticed

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This review first appeared here


A wannabe wise ‘trade’ guy told me recently – if there are no stars, the O.S.T. is doomed because who gives a damn about music? (What has music got to do with an O.S.T., after all)?

Turns out he was right.

I say this because when I came across the music of ‘Bollywood Diaries‘, a well-acted recent film by K.D. Satyam, it didn’t surprise me one bit that the movie had already gone off screens. No surprises either that the label hadn’t bothered putting the music out for sale on iTunes or any other popular platforms. In fact, the jukebox proudly mentions the music is available on hungama, but no more than 2 songs are present there. The film has (surprise!) all of 5 tracks and they are excellent, to say the least.

In this rather extensive post, allow me to take you on a journey filled with melody and exquisite poetry, one song at a time:

Although this song has a lot of ‘Arijit-ness’ on display, thanks to the pop-like pace, you will end up humming this song, largely because of its lyrics. Nothing forced, no one trying to sound intelligent — just plain magic of words. Vipin Patwa, the composer, also gets behind the microphone, and doesn’t do a bad job at all. I particularly love the way Arijit sounds vulnerable in this song. If not for him, then for the excellent lyrics, I do urge you to listen to this at least once, and then decide for yourself. We all can do with a bit of hope. This lovely song gives us precisely that.

You really don’t come across a lot of melody that has a pucca element in it. Mann Ka Mirga is a glorious exception to this rather annoyingly true facet of the times we occupy. It is such a relief to see the Nooran sisters being used in a way that doesn’t have them call out to ‘Baba Bulleh Shah’ or shout ‘Allah Maula Yaara’. Another version of the same song has  Javed Basheer and Pratibha Singh Baghel, and it is equally good. The superlative sarangi use is ghazal-like, but doesn’t weigh you down. The guitar solo portion is refreshing in a way some old songs used to be when there was actually a structure and not just a pre-functioned template to songs.

What complements the earthy singing by Papon is that excellent sarod, and some truly heart-stopping lyrics in Titli. I don’t think anyone has penned the romanticism and complexities of a struggle this beautifully in a long long time. “Khwabon ko sach karne ke liye, titli ne saare rang bech diye” — and in comes the gut-wrenching Sarangi. No words can explain this near-perfect fusion of music and lyrics. At the risk of making you a bit sad, this would probably be your favourite song. It will stay with you for a long, long time. Take a bow Papon, and take a bow Vipin! Soumen Chaudhary has also sung Titli, but somehow the version sung by Papon works better.

In these days of living (and dying) by the template, most of our makers are forcing musicians to manufacture similar tunes that tell us “look i am in love dinchik dinchik boom boom *autotune*”. Pratibha Bagel’s Piya Ki Nagari is a short and innocent song about love, which doesn’t really fall in any ‘template’ — a timely throwback to an era far removed from the loud and utterly blinding commercialisation of romance. Thank Heavens for this. You can actually hear a voice — actual singing, I kid you not — and not software produced robotic chirps.

Of course, they say that if you do not fall in line and create ‘what is working today’, you will fall off the radar. With this music album, the makers and the composers have done exactly the opposite. The sheer honesty of the effort, the sincerity and belief in their content — it blew my mind away and restored my faith, if only for now. Not all is lost. So what if the music labels are trapped in churning away at their own mediocrity? A time will come when music will matter again, and this album would then perhaps top those overlooked charts. We are in March, 2016, and I am already quite sure that this will be one of the best Hindi music albums of the year. A testament, and almost reconfirmation of this fact, would be it not winning any kind of awards or recognition. But it has made me soar a little, write a little, explore its world a little, and that’s all one can ask for from good music.

Meanwhile, you can listen to the songs in jukebox here:



The composer doesn’t want the credit for the song ‘Mann Ka Mirga 2’, because he didn’t record that song. How did it get into ‘jukebox’?
Well, Long live labels. Music? Well, what about that?


Music – Vipin Patwa

Lyrics – Dr. Sagar

Sarangi – Dilshad

Guitar – Pawan Rasiley, Chintu Singh, Eshan.

Tabla – Sanjeev Sen

Co Programmer- Madhab Deka, Manash Borthakur

Mixed & Mastered By – Murli

Bajrangi Bhaijaan Music review


Seriously if they have to just show what bhai can do, they should do us all a favor and not have any music in his films going forward.

A music album that is a joke in the name of music. Listen to my review here http://www.bbc.com/hindi/multimedia/2015/07/150710_bbcmusicreview_bajrangi_spk.shtml

Music review – Hamari Adhuri Kahaani

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Like it or not, Mohit Suri gives out contemporary melodies which resonate long after the film leaves.

Hamari Adhuri Kahani music is no different. With a new talent ‘Ami mishra’ giving out the ‘teri galiyan-sque’ song for the film and Arijit in top form in the title song (Thanks to his collaboration with the soothing melody pied piper Jeet Ganguly), here is an album that will pick up with the fate of the film.

If you are a fan of new albums, you are likely to finish the album without much of an issue

My B.B.C. music review can be heard here – http://www.bbc.com/hindi/multimedia/2015/06/150605_bbc_music_review_vm

Barfi! Music review…almost


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!

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