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Music review – Dishoom

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Forgot to post it here earlier. You can listen to my review of the music of Dishoom here

http://www.bbc.com/hindi/multimedia/2016/07/160722_bbc_music_review_spk

Bajrangi Bhaijaan Music review

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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

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!)

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!

Agent Vinod – Music review

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Jai Sri ram…I mean Sriram raghavan (Director of Agent Vinod)

Anything he gets associated with gets a lot of attention and rightfully so. As much as I was excited to see the teasers of Agent Vinod, I almost took it for granted that the music would be just a fixture and not a main attraction in the film (because let’s face it, ‘Action’ film mein music ka kya  kaam?)…We all remember how the music of action films has been marketed since time immemorial…’Original dialogues with 4 songs’ was a common byline in the audio cassettes of action films. Anyway, moving on. So I presumed, music would be below average.

Boy was I wrong or what?? (Yes, 2 question marks!)

Pungi – Pritam gives this a template which is quite similar to the ‘iconic’ song ‘Maine paidal se jaa ra tha unney cycle se aa ree thee’ (Iconic film – hero number 1, Iconic singers – poornima and Vinod rathod). The fun element is present in every beat of the song and the inconsistent genius Mika along with so many ‘Nautanki guys’ (Amitabh Bhattacharya, Nakash & Pritam) make this worth a listen and then listen once more! Earworm. Pakka! The ‘rap’ by Javed Jaffrey reminds you of salam namastey wala ‘EGJACTLY’ javed. It elevates the song in terms of BAKAR! Superb song! Mika is a genius for such songs. Without any question. The song shouts it out that it is penned by the ever so brilliant Amitabh!

I will do the talking – Yes, the ‘Rasputin’ wala gana! It isn’t a subtle inspired song but quite a bold copy of the song. No worries on that (It’s Pritam…come on!). Beats are neat and the accordion in between gives it a solid feel. The rap is hopeless in between and Neeraj Sridhar plays to the gallery (Can someone stop using Punjabi? No? Ok! just asked). According to me, the weakest song of the album.

Dil mera muft ka – The techno mujra starts with Nandini Shrikar’s intoxicating rendition of lovely lyrics by Neelesh misra. Accompanied, rather loudly by Muazzam Beg, Shadaab Faridi, Altamash Faridi, Shabaab Sabri…Nandini makes no bones about anything and gives good ‘Vocal Thumkas and jhatkas!’. 2 Thumbs up! Loved the use of Guitar and harmonium….just loved it.The song has an element of ‘Bollywood finality’ in it which is associated with the ‘climax’ sort of situation. Only if it was picturized well…

Raabta – Ok this song has too many versions (not that I am complaning!) and all the versions are equally good. You can’t help but feel this song has a good amount of ‘Ti Amo’ hangover, in a good way. Arijit Singh, Aditi singh sharma & Hamsika and joy have infused so much freshness in their respective versions that you will be in a quandry to put your finger to the most melodious amongst them all! The version by Shreya Ghosal is the most ‘Bollywood-ish’ amongst all and to me, it pales in comparison with the other versions.

Agent vinod Theme – O yea! Hell YEAH! The ‘racing heartbeat’ start to the track will remind you of the opening music of the johny gaddar title song, in a good way. While the news readers in the background tell you that they are grabbing alll the dreaded criminals thanks to Agent Vinod, a bold and ‘in your ears’ guitar steals the thunder and you can picture racing cars and everything exploding! The brass band plays something that sounds like a mix of Mission impossible and the bond theme. Hell I don’t care, I have it as my ringtone already! No prizes for guessing this tops the list of my picks in this superb album!

The remixes

Remixes are so many! Surely to ‘fill up the CD’.

Anyway…the remix of ‘I will do the talking’ is routine and nothing exciting but am sure these factors aren’t important when any song is played on a dance floor. Could be a hit with the DJ’s, you never know! The Pungi remix ‘performed’ (not sung..performed) by Mika Singh, Amitabh Bhattacharya, Nakash & Pritam is again very routine and very ‘bollywood remix’ sort of  presentation. I was looking forward to the remix of this song in the hope of getting some extra smart lyrics…sadly I got nothing.

The remix of Dil mera muft ka stands out and how! the Awadhi & Bhojpuri Singer Malini Awasthi gets rolling from the word go and delivers a very ‘UP-Bihar friendly’ (in terms of singing style and music arrangement). Will surely go unnoticed thanks to the other version (filmed on weirdly dressed Kareena Kapoor). This version should have been called ‘UP-Bihar’ version. Why add ‘jhankaar beats’ and call it a remix especially in an album which has too many versions of Raabta?

Anyway, Pritam scores a boundary with this album  The film appears to be fast paced and listening to the songs, you get a feeling that the same will not stall the same. Good! Very Good!

My picks – All the songs EXCEPT –  I will do the talking (Both versions didn’t click at all)

As @sukanyaverma  pointed out when we were discussing the music of kahaani…It’s better if a film’s OST compliments the movie and not overshadows it by being a ‘super duper stand alone music album’ and that’s the reason I like this album. very much. The OST smells of an action packed FAAAADU movie!

Wah wah Ram ji!

Rating – 4.00/5.00

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