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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

Sarbjit – Music review

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This review first appeared on Quint – http://www.thequint.com/entertainment/2016/05/04/music-review-sarbjit-aishwarya-rai-randeep-hooda-richa-chadda-arijit-singh-amaal-malik

You can also listen to my music review of Sarbjit on B.B.C. here – http://www.bbc.com/hindi/multimedia/2016/05/160513_bbc_music_review_vm.shtml

The makers of Sarbjit have a solid subject and a star at the helm to make it a substantial film, however they decided to take things up a notch by adding music that tries too hard to be grand and reflective. Here’s a review of the music of Sarbjit starring Aishwarya Rai, Randeep Hooda and Richa Chadda.

Salamat has a beautiful beginning and its tonal structure is that of a typical 90s love song. What stands out though is the pace and arrangement of the song. Arijit Singh and Tulsi Kumar sound comfortable and that’s always nice.

In Dard, Sonu nigam is at his signature best. The tune doesn’t challenge him enough, yet he is not complacent at all. It’s a treat to listen to Sonu singing a sad song and this song albeit not a classic, will certainly not harm your ears.

Tung Lak is a high voltage composition. In spite of the earthy treatment and unprocessed sound, the song doesn’t have durability stamped to it and that could be due to its lyrics. Sunidhi Chauhan, Sukhwinder Singh, Shail Hada & Kalpana Gandharva try hard though but it comes across as a patchy effort at best.

Rabba by Shafqat Amanat Ali sounds hurried and in spite of the vocal depth of Shafqat, you do get a feeling that things could have been a bit slow. The overall sound is cluttered and that’s it.

Meherbaan starts off giving the impression of being a typical filmi qawwali and tries a lot to sound a little different. Having said that, you can actually feel the excessive effort put in by Sukhwinder Singh, Shail Hada & Munnawar Masoom for the song. Meherbaan weighs you down and would perhaps be redeemed on screen because you cannot listen to this on repeat.

In Barsan Lagi although at places Shail Hada does fall short in antras, the overall vibe of the song is beautiful and you will certainly smile at the call of rain that feels like a call for freedom. It is a beautiful song especially the ‘aaj malang nu’ part which actually makes your heart soar.

Allah Hu Allah also sounds cluttered and derivative. It might be composed with good intentions but you get tired barely 1.45 mins into the song and want it to end. Altamash, Shashaa Tirupati & Rabbani Mustafa certainly deserved a better tune to deliver what they are capable of.

Mera Junoon is perhaps the most layered composition of the album. Shail Hada sounds solid yet vulnerable. At his disposal are excellent lyrics and a somewhat neat arrangement and all this comes together rather wonderfully well.

Nindiya not that we are against the million songs of Arijit that have made their way to our ears off late, we do feel the sameness of presentation over a period of time robs subsequent songs of their intended character.  Nindiya wants to be a memorable song but in spite of good lyrics, you will fall asleep at the dullness of the presentation.

Sarbjit is hauntingly composed, the theme gets its ‘hmm, hooo and aaaa’ from Shail Hada. The tune is helped with ample violins and cello which create a resonating echo of gloom and is actually a good effort.

The entire album tries too hard to be serious which is because of the subject of the film. However, not a single song stands out as the one you would end up humming by the time you get through the album. The effort is really good but I would have certainly liked some more investment in melody.

Rating: 2.5 Quints

Ek tha tiger – Music review

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Mashallah – (Composed by Sajid wajid) All the cliches start this song (a girl going ‘oh yalla’ and all that). The mood is truly Arabic and a ‘bhaijaan’ chrous makes no bones about the fact that the song is indeed for Bhaijaan to lazily walk in and out and do some actions in between, if he feels so. Shreya Ghosal is accompanying Wajid as lead vocals. Shreya’s voice is constantly in dual track. Weird but hum-worthy. A good deal of ‘brushing the vocals’ is done no doubt (in the mixing room) Hai na wajid? Plain lyrics. What else do you expect with bhaijaan films anyway? It’s one of those typical songs wherein a word is given (Mashallah in this case)  to the lyricist and she/he is asked to ‘manufacture’ a song around it.

Laapata – (Composed by Sohail sen) – Starts on a very familiar tune (and you can’t help but feel that you have heard it somewhere). Shreya Ghosal (Without any dual track this time). A carnival like setting and good lyrics (by Anvita dutt) ensure that the song is easy on ears (in spite of the liberal use of brass band). Surprisingly the song does absorb you and gets over quickly. Good arrangement and such a relief at that!

Banjaara – (Composed by Sohail sen) – A very filmy beginning to the song (With good amount of violin) takes us to Sukhwinder. Oh you have being missed! A chorus heavy song. The only good thing that I can ascertain is that may be this song plays a part in the narrative because the lyrics being simple as they are, the music arrangement is quite over the top at some places. Average. (Although music channels will push this down our throats in the days to come, for sure). Yes, the violin play is superb.

Saiyaara – (Composed by Sohail Sen) – Mohit chauhan gets grabs the microphone for this one. Clarinet and good bass accompanies him through the song. A song that has ‘tu hi tu (dil se)’ sort of backdrop and the accompanying singer Tarannum Malik does a decent enough job. The only good thing about Mohit chauhan is that it’s not one of those ‘lazy’ songs of his which ‘bollywood’ has overdosed on  off late. Nothing great.

Tiger’s theme – composed by Julius packiam doesn’t try and sound like any other theme music of a ‘superstar’ and is just a combination of ‘techno meets istanbul meets general music’ (which ultimately sounds a bit like Tees maar khaan opening music)!  A little more into the track and you can easily hear ‘Don (SRK)’ theme‘s elements in it. UFF!! Bhaijaan! Ye kaise hua?

The remixes are just passable with nothing much to write about.

Overall a below average album.

Rating –  1.5/5.00

My picks – For ‘bhai’ fans – mashallah and laapata

The only good thing that this album has is the fact that Sajid wajid have composed just ONE song. Thank you God, you still exist.

Kahaani – Music review

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There was a time when I used to feel Vishal Shekhar (hereafter referred at times as VS) are the hope for hindi film music. Then so many similar soundtracks happened and it all faded away. I was (Still am) vocal of their ‘same sound’. The soundtrack of ‘Kahaani’ gives me a gentle punch by showcasing the excellent variety of this musical duo. Happy to be proved wrong!

The album starts off like a oriental music concert soon accompanied by quick piano play….Usha Uthup swings in to let us know why kolkata is a land of contradictions with lots of activity…yet static! Amidst the 1970s music just before the first antaraa u cant help but notice that this is a character in itself, this song. Has to be a background piece and i wish it happens. The fierce vocals that accompany usha uthup appear intrusive at first but soon you realise that u are humming the song with them. One would expect Vishal to be the one ‘shouting’ in this song but surprise surprise!! It is Shekhar. VS appear serious to change their ‘sound’ of music (thankfully!)

So Aami Shotti Bolchi, all and all a good song. Won’t be a chartbuster for long but you will come out of the picture hall, humming this song. Yep.

Javed bashir starts of this song with a mix of alaap and a bengali music setting. Soon after aggressive guitars take over and javed breaks it off with piya tu kahey rootha rey. Excellent lyrics! Yet again ‘police siren like sound’ and the ‘lane-by-lane’ sort of turns in the setting hint that this is also a song that will further the narrative and not stall it. Vishal shekhar have kept it in mind that they will have to sound different and thats evident by their choice of singer in this song. They could have used someone else. May be Tochi raina….but then they opted for Javed bashir. Good choice. Still i didnt like the song. May be you will. Definitely worth listening to once at least. The only thing i loved in this song is when it ends and how it ends, leaving the superlative Calcutta in your ears! Kudos VS !

KahaaniVishal starts off this sing by calling out (in a manner that is trademark of a typical saleem suleman composition…..shukran allah, songs of fanaa and so many others!). Again, you would associate Shekhar with a soulful ‘call’ but then it’s Vishal here! A very pleasant role reversal. The difference being vishal looks content with being in background (Unlike Saleem in most cases). Melodiousy so. KK o my dear dear KK! How we love you like this (sans any ‘wooo hooo and all that’). The song belongs to KK and how! The song is easy on ears and reflective on the soul. The song couldn’t have achieved half of what it has if vishal wasnt accompanying KK. My pick of the abum…this! (How can you not notice the flute especially towards the end of the song…literally hugging the vocals of KK)

Tore bina – Superb beginning, very folkish. Guitar accompanies and launches the song in a very ‘cokestudio india’ fashion with Sukhwinder going behind the microphone. Adorable lyrics. Yet the problem that i have with this song is that it comes across as very ‘instrument heavy’ and the voice, the strong voice of Sukhwinder feels caged amidst all this. I would have preferred an almost ‘unplugged’ version of this song to this one. If you argue that this song is melodious in parts, i will agree and will gently point that the ‘melodious’ parts are those where the music setting is relatively quieter and is giving sukhwinder a chance to sing. Good song. Could have been so much more.

The unplugged version of kahaani by Shreya ghosal starts off again with Vishal who is sounding more in the lead because of a minimalistic music arrangement. Melodious no doubt. Shreya ghosal has sung such type of songs so many times so it doesnt come as a surprise when she effortlessly pulls this song well. A very ‘by the campfire’ version. Thumbs up!

Ekla cholo re – A composition weaved around the poetry of Shri Rabindranath Tagore with THE BIG B behind the microphone. The song starts on a contemporary tone with THE BIG B making an entry flamboyantly and arresting your attention in the process. Towards the end this song gets hindi words wich also sound very good. The Only problem (nitpicking) that i have is that at times the chorus is forced and is loud. May be the situation demands it like that still i didnt like it.

Special mention of the lyrics by Anvita dutt and Vishal. (Excellent use of the word ‘tram’ in the song kahaani)

Will you hum the songs 2 months after its release?

Barring kahaani and aami shatti bolchee dont see any other song lasting long.

Will You enjoy the songs when they appear in the movie?

I guess so

And thats what counts in OSTs

Hai na?

Overall a 3.50/5.00 because of the super effort by VS. was fed up listening to the same tunes and same setting. This is a breeze of fresh air and a fantastic ode to Kolkatta..nah!! Calcutta!

My picks – Kahaani (KK version), Aami Shotti Bolchi, Ekla cholo re, Kahaani (Shreya) 

And Your picks are….?

Image credit – @P1j or as we know him…Hindi cinema encyclopedia

AgneePath – Music review

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Yes, it’s here. The much awaited (Ok not much awaited album but what the heck!). Let’s hear it all out shall we?

1. Chikni Chameli – A rehash of a popular Marathi Song. Yep no points for guessing it because the beginning is pleasantly very very ‘Marathi’. Never been a fan of such songs but have to give it where it’s due so Ms. Shreya Ghosal, take a bow. The cheeky lyrics are superbly sung by Shreya and for once she is not trying too hard to convey ‘look how sweet I sound’. Kudos to Shreya for this song. Just listen to her when she says ‘Pauuwa’. Every time.

2. O Saiyyan – Beautiful start to an interesting track with Piano and in comes Roop kumar Rathod accompanied by a group of soothing background singers. The song has a pinch of ‘Saware’ (shor in the city) in the beginning, but a very theatrical song otherwise. A song which talks about pain. Lots of it. The heavy violins featuring in every antraas add up to the theatrical feel of the song. I love the way Roop Kumar’s voice echoes. The song starts with a lot of promise but fails somewhere in between. My view.

3. Gun Gun Guna – Hello Sunidhi chauhan! Err wait! Why the song is so below average right from the start? Wait wait! Please lift it up. Ok. Failed! No problem. We know you are capable of much more. The song is an attempt to be the ‘Why so serious?’ item in the film. Might work. Didn’t for me. Udit Narayan is present just for the sake of it.

4. Shah Ka Rutba – Qawwali like starting and Sukhwinder confirms that it is a song to praise a human being as he is the special one to be blessed by the powers that be. Anand Raaj Anand & Krishna Beura give a good support to Sukhwinder and try their best to lift the song. The song is supposed to be ‘inspirational’. It might look like a treat on the screen and grown then, not now. Again, my view.

5. Abhi Mujh meinSonu Nigam! An instrument light beginning with Sonu nigam taking the song to the peak and then calming things down almost instantly. Powerful lyrics and the tune which is similar in some respects to the track sung by Roop Kumar Rathod. Still one can actually visualize a pained Male Protagonist looking back in time and breathing, or at least trying to. Do catch the slow tabla and how it flirts with Sonu Nigam in the second antraa. Post the title song of Kal ho na ho, this is the song that would surely be a career milestone for Sonu Nigam and rightfully so. My pick of this album. Quite simply.

6. Deva Shree Ganesha – Yes, the anticipation of it all! Loads of chanting and an explosion of nagadas and other ‘Arti’ like instruments. Atul  sorry it is Ajay. Error pointed out rightly by the @mpmainka in the comment section. (One of the music directors for this film) goes behind the mic and blares it out, in style. The music setting is shouting only two things – Blood and revenge. The last 56 seconds of this song is what will remind us all of the iconic Aarti in the film Vaastav, the difference however is that in Vaastav, the male protagonist starts his final ‘run’ to hide from his adversaries, in the case of AgneePath the male protagonist will take his enemies HEAD ON! This difference comes out quite clearly in the last 56 seconds. Good job!

To be fair to this album, how many of us remember the songs of AgneePath 1? I remember ‘Ali baba…mil gaya chalees choron mein’ and nothing else (I am not talking about the iconic poetry of the film because that belongs to another league completely).

If we give some allowance to the fact above, the soundtrack isn’t all that bad. Ajay Atul (music directors) are definitely here to stay and the Lucknow lad Amitabh Bhattacharya (Lyricist) is a boon to the hindi film industry.

Not a musical treat but certainly worth a ‘listen’

3.00/5.00

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