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It is not normal for me to pen anything about any song before I review the album because 

  1. Noone reads/cares about what I think 
  2. Point number (1) above doesn’t matter to me because I don’t care, am arrogant like that.
  3. I am lazy

But 

All this had to take a break when I heard this song whose screenshot I have pasted. What a delightful ghazal-numa song by Sachin-Jigar! Kausar munir top of her game and Parineeti – So real and not autotuned, emotion just right amount of filmy and piercingly real…and all this in one song!

So thrilled! I hope you give this song a listen even if you are in ‘I don’t like Parineeti’ zone because honestly you would be a bum to avoid a song only because you don’t like what the artist is in actual life/whatever you have come to know about her/him via sources who have nothing to do, but to be on social media and jerk off to mediocre gossip (or pander to celebrities/journos) for a living. 

Suniye…zaroor suniye and zaroor sochiye – What if there is another crackling version of this in unplugged setting?

Sachin Jigar remain one of the most promising music composers we have today. 


P.S. – If you think this is a ‘promoted’ blogpost, read point number (2) above and Fuck off from here! 

Raman Raghav 2.0 Music review

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You can listen to my review here This review appeared first here

The unbridled chaos of a crime thriller and the twisted beauty of gore are captured perfectly in the album’s first song, Qatl-e-aam. Although I still cannot figure out why the voice of Sona needed processing, the overall vibe of the song is deliberately sinister, and those menacing synths only elevate this aura.

The unplugged version of this song is understandably calmer, and you can chew on the lyrics – those with an element of murderous tease – a bit more. Also missing in the unplugged version are those spooky vocals of Yash Divecha. What is however not absent is the playful guitar by Pawan, that relaxes the overall setting.

Behooda is a dark song done up beautifully. The lyricist explores the gore of ‘phaphoond, nakhoonon se phoda chhala, zeher ki naali etc.’ and Ram Sampath takes the help of simple beat pattern so that we can hear these words clearly. At one point, I wanted to shout out to no one in particular – I GET IT, HE IS A BAD GUY, STOP IT ALREADY!

Siddhartha Basrur excels in Paani ka raasta. It is not a happy song, but then I wish it was a bit longer. After setting the premise so beautifully, the song hits the peak fairly quickly. The star of the song for me is Shon Pinto’s guitar; it adds so much to the song in terms of setting the reflective mood just right in the beginning, before going all complex by the end.

Raghav theme is peppy and has a trance-like grip. When it plays out, don’t be surprised if you find yourself bareling down a long smoky corridor with flickering lights and an overall dimness, indulged in a chase where you forget if you are ‘the chaser’ or ‘the chased’. That is the role of a soundtrack, after all: evoking elaborate visions and imagery in context of the film and atmosphere it belongs to. That one can imagine this before even watching the film yet is quite a testament to its role as, both, a storytelling device and an individual entity. Additionally, those sarangi samples are reminiscent of the (underrated) soundtrack of ‘Let’s Talk’. A fantastic theme piece that soars and how!

In Bollywood, or more specifically, the Hindi film industry, it’s quite fashionable to attach the tag of ‘dark’ to your subject and then ignore the music completely. This album, right through, tells us how to approach music — in treatment, tone and arrangement — for such subjects. It is disturbing, chaotic, fearless and has an undeniable air of confidence.

Pick this one up if you would like to get a sexy peek into the feral world of Raman Raghav 2.0, without really seeing it at all.

For embracing the actual feel of the film, puncturing it at the right spot and spraying devious pus all over my speakers (pardon the metaphors, but all is fair in love and music), Ram Sampath and Raman Raghav 2.0 get a big thumbs up!

Artist credits

COMPOSED ARRANGED & PRODUCED by: – Ram Sampath

ALL LYRICS by: – Varun Grover

RECORDED and EDITED at OMGROWN STUDIOS by: – Yash Divecha and Nitesh Bisht

MIXED at OMGROWN STUDIOS by: – Yash Divecha and Nitesh Bisht

ALBUM EXECUTIVE PRODUCER: – Sona Mohapatra

ASSISTANT ENGINEER: – Sunil Mhatre

01 : QATL-E-AAM

SINGER : Sona Mohapatra

ADDITIONAL VOCALS : Yash Divecha

ADDITIONAL ARRANGMENTS : Yash Divecha

02 : BEHOODA

SINGER : Nayantara Bhatkal

ADDITIONAL VOCALS : Ram Sampath, Vivienne Pocha, Nalini Krishnan
03 : PAANI KA RAASTA

SINGER : Siddharth Basrur

ADDITIONAL VOCALS : Ram Sampath

GUITARS : Shon Pinto

ADDITIONAL ARRANGMENTS : Sparsh Agrawal
04 : RAGHAV THEME

ADDITIONAL ARRANGMENTS : Yash Divecha
05 : QATL-E-AAM (UNPLUGGED)

SINGER : Sona Mohapatra

GUITARS AND ADDITIONAL ARRANGEMENTS : Pawan Rasaily

Bollywood Diaries – A super album that went unnoticed

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This review first appeared here

http://indiaindependentfilms.com/music-album-review-bollywood-diaries/

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:

MANWA BEHRUPIYA
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.

MANN KA MIRGA
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.

TITLI
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.

PIYA KI NAGARI
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:

https://youtu.be/DFpDL1x81qw

FUN FACT

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?

CREDITS

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

Music of Ankhon Dekhi

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Ankhon Dekhi
Lyrics – Varun Grover
Music – Sagar Desai
Times Music
INR 72, iTunes
 

The album starts with aaj laagi laagi nai dhoop and the song arrests you thanks to the beautiful Sarangi. Kailash kher can sing songs like this one even when he is fast asleep and dreaming french dreams, so that is nothing new that he effortlessly cruises through this song as well. The song has a hummable feel to it.  Next up is Aayi bahar and again what strikes in this peppy song is the brilliant use of khartaals in the beginning and the superlative Sarangi in this song that has a nomadic feel to it. Kailash kher lends his voice to this song and sings it well. My second pick of the album Kaise sukh soyein is composed with so much love that it shows.  Sung superbly by Ronkini Gupta, this one is or keeps! Yaad saari features Kailash kher (again!) along with some good backup vocals. The atmosphere is insightful and even though the song fades out way too soon, the catch is in the lyrics….yaad meri galtiyon si khaley re khaley…Very nice! Hakka bakka has a brass band start and it adds to the comical treatment throughout. It’s good to hear Shaan after long especially when he goes off-key in between (intentionally). You won’t hear this song in discos but be rest assured, it will add to the pace and feel of the film. Mansheel Gujral sings Dheeme re which is best song from the album. Heart breaking lyrics treated to some exquisite music arrangement. I found the feel of babul morai in the lyrics but that could be just me. Find it yourself.

With projects like Ankhon dekhi, you can be rest assured that the music of the film adds to the storyline and takes it further (in most cases) rather than presenting audience an ‘item’ to ogle and forget later. Sagar desai has presented a decent album to us that is hummable and won’t jar the pace of the film.

I have few issues with the album

1. Kailash kher, SO much of Kailash kher makes the album very ‘Saiyyan-Allah ke bande’ predicatable

2. Why no song by Namit das? Mr. Kapoor reply! 🙂

My picks – Dheeme re, kaise sukh hoyein and aaj laagi laagi nai dhoop

Ankhon dekhi

Humnasheen – Ghazals by Shreya Ghosal

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Shreya Ghosal has teamed up with Deepak Pandit to give us a ghazal album Humnasheen.

The album starts with Ye Aasman. With rich music arrangement (that remains so throughout the album), this ghazal is treated like a typical ghazal and that’s a relief. The ghazal has just the right amount of ‘thehraav’ that you come to associate with ghazals, real ghazals. The use of violin in between reminds us of those Jagjit Singh Ghazals during the golden period of ghazal gayaki. Shreya is predictably at ease in higher or lower notes and her neat singing takes the ghazal higher. The use of Mohan veena is exemplary as well.

Naam likh kar has a soothing start thanks to a delicate tête-à-tête between Sitar and Guitar. The tête-à-tête continues well throughout the ghazal. The ghazal is slow and treads well. With good amount of pauses, this ghazal is reserved for those long evenings when you have memories as your companion.

Ye dil jo has a flute beginning. It’s refreshing to hear a ghazal composed like this in 2014 because such efforts are on their way southwards. The use of tabla and the overall feel of the song (and tarana in between) will enthrall you if you are one of those who like ghazal and not a techno fest with ‘slow’ singing.

Raaton ko The ghazal starts with Shreya’s tarana. This is a pure romantic ghazal and the able use of Sitar and Tabla among other things paints a perfect picture of the same. I somehow didn’t like the use of violin in this ghazal though.

Maahi rok na has a delightful beginning, almost thumri like. It’s a delight to hear Shreya reciting those lines in old fashion gayaki. Sarangi finally makes an entry in this geet. Keeping the overall pace of the album, this one falls flat to my ears. (The sarangi riff in between does remind you of ‘maine to tere tere ve chareya doriyan’ part of Patakha guddi!). The digital claps in the background worsen the effect. Passable track.

Meri Talaash starts like one those old songs which were sung by talented singers in big halls. Even though the irritating claps do make a continuous appearance in this song as well, the classy singing by Shreya along with a splendid Sarangi saves this ghazal.

Shamma jalti rahi starts with Shreya again melodiously reciting lines in good old style of gayaki. The treatment of this ghazal appeared a tad filmi to me but there is decent amount of stillness (mainly due to the structure of the tune) to make up for that. Will I listen to this again? No. Is it good? Yes.

Kuch rishtey will hold your attention due to it’s lyrics and sitar. The flute and singing of Shreya Ghosal is, as expected brilliant.

After the 2011 released Irshaad, I couldn’t find a single ghazal album that I would be happy to put my money on. Finally, Humnasheen breaks that jinx and everyone associated with the album should be proud of this effort which sticks to the brief (of ghazals) more often than not and doesn’t miss a note.

Highly recommended for ghazal lovers and lovers of ‘slow’ songs yo bro! 🙂

Lyrics credit

Ye aasmaan – Manoj Muntashir

Naam likh kar – Vaibhav modi

Ye jo dil pyar ka – Manoj Muntashir

Raaton ko – Ahmed Anees

Maahi rokna aaj (geet) – Manoj Muntashir

Teri Talash – Manoj Muntashir

Shamma jalti rahi – Manoj Muntashir

Kuch rishtey – Ajay jhingran

Phir Bhi…Sudeep (1995)

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I got into Ghazals fairly soon thanks to the ‘born old’ head and a low tolerance towards most songs in the 1990s. At that time (and forever) Ghazals meant/will mean Jagjit Singh to me. Trying out a ghazal from anyone who is not Jagjit singh used to be a self declared ‘Gunaah’ for me.

In 1995, I was in Class X and in came a ghazal album titled ‘Phir bhi’ and as with Magnasounds philosophy of promoting the new album, my favorite shop, (Shiv electronics, Indira nagar lucknow) had a huge poster of the album right outside the shop. To this day I dont know what was it that made me buy the cassette for a princely sum of INR 40 in those days (Papa’s money)?

May be it was just begining of the first ghazal, titled Ye dil jaata hai. The way the electric flute makes an appearance and leads us to the wonderful voice of Sudeep. A ghazal composed with a lot of love. Excellent use of guitar, non intrusive backup singers and good amount of violin. The pace is non-ghazal like whereas the words are just too ghazal like. An entire ghazal wherein the lover is waiting in anticipation of what gives in first..heart or courage.

May be it was the second ghazal Fakira na aaye . Guitar start the ghazal at a leisurely pace. A ghazal with a lot of thehraav. Singing remains top class. The pronounciation of words, the excellent music arrangement and a simple tune, the focus is purely on singing and nothing else. The ghazal has a sinking feel to it and if you feel the same, it just means that you like the ghazal.

May be it was this ghazal titled Kahein kya hum pe jo sadme guzartey hain, guzartey hain. The pace is slightly ‘geet’ like but the overall feel remains closely hugged to the sensibilities of ghazal. Excellent use of Sitar and tabla, coupled with really powerful lyrics, this ghazal is pure delight.

May be it was this old classic that has been sung by so many people that it made me curious to see how has Sudeep, a debutant treated this ghazal. Wo jo hum mein tum mein qaraar tha, tumhein yaad ho ke na yaad ho. Very subtle guitars, good backup vocal support and piano make up this ghazal so beautiful that you are inclined to think it’s not a debutant’s work. Delicately sung, hopelessly in love reminders of old days…(don’t miss the excellent violin play just before the second antraa). This will bring back a lot of memories, in a good way.

May be it was the excellent bass play with Sarod and slight drum play before this ghazal Kabhi saaya kabhi dhoop. A ghazal that Sudeep starts with a soulful hum. Powerful lyrics again. For a debutant to choose a ghazal like this and that too in 1995 is just splendid! The tune treatment is slow and marked with constant guitar throughout.

May be it was the excellent sarangi play that starts this wonderful ghazal, Bheegi hui aankhon ka ye manzar na milega, ghar chorh ke na jao, kahin ghar na milega. A very ‘By the tabla’ ghazal. There is a good amount of Santoor as well that multiplies the ‘pleasing to the ears’ factor of this ghazal. This used to be the favorite ghazal from this album of a lot of people I knew back then. It still is, I think.

Or may be it was this surreal ghazal Koi aarzoo nahi hai, koi mudda nahi hai, tera gham rahey salaamat mere dil mein kya nahi hai. There is Sarangi, Sarod and the velvet voice of Sudeep that keeps this ghazal constantly in the mind once you hear it. Tune wise, I believe this is the most innovative attempt in the album. The lyrics, the atmosphere, the guitar…I could go on and on about how madly I am in love with this ghazal since the time I heard it for the first time.

Sudeep has done some excellent work since the time this album came out. In fact, his album Irshad was reviewed on this blog in December 2011. Sudeep continues to work in his little ways for keeping ghazals alive when most of the ‘used to be legends’ are busy changing the frames of their goggles and basking in the glory of their work. If you want to get in touch with Sudeep, you can write to me. (before you think it’s a promotional post, let me tell you, he doesn’t even know of this blog)

To submit this review from the same room in my Lucknow home in which I used to hear it (inspite of the various music releases that included albums like Bombay, DDLJ, Rangeela, Barsaat and many more), is a high for me.

The album has stayed with me for 18 years and it continues to sound wonderful. To me, that means a lot and if you trust my word, do try the album out. It is available on iTunes for less than 100 Rupees.

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