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


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




SINGER : Sona Mohapatra




SINGER : Nayantara Bhatkal

ADDITIONAL VOCALS : Ram Sampath, Vivienne Pocha, Nalini Krishnan

SINGER : Siddharth Basrur


GUITARS : Shon Pinto



SINGER : Sona Mohapatra


Udta Punjab – Music review

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Director Abhishek Chaubey teams up with musician Amit Trivedi, a Phantom Films regular, for Udta Punjab. I don’t think I have heard a better title for a film in last couple of years which can rival the coolness of Udta Punjab. Find out if the soundtrack of the film is as cool.

Now, what Amit Trivedi has done in Chitta Ve is use the title smartly but you do get a feeling that too much is happening at once, and I am not even remotely suggesting anything about the rap portion because that is not bad at all. Babu Haabi, Shahid Mallya and Bhanu Pratap try their heart out but are let down by a somewhat clumsy music structure towards the second half of the song. The man who gave us an elaborate orchestral setting in Bombay Velvet seems to like autotune a lot off late. Why autotune? Why? A hummable song that goes awfully wrong towards the end

Da Da Dasse is a song that resembles Nucleya’s Aaja sporadically. Kanika Kapoor shines here and how! A ‘pind pop’ song with Babu Haabi rapping it up, it’s a Babaji ki Booti with slightly more layered arrangement and solid lyrics. We would really like to hear more of Kanika Kapoor in varied genres!

Ikk Kudi comes in two versions. One has the ever-so-impeccable Shahid Mallya and the other one is sung by the talent powerhouse Diljit Dosanjh. Shahid’s version is light music-wise, allowing him more space to improvise. As a result Shahid’s version sounds slightly more intense than Diljit’s. Diljit’s version is fragile and quieter, may be that’s why, in this version the instruments are more intense than they are in Shahid’s. Even though the evergreen poetry of Batalvi might appeal only to those who understand Punjabi, both these versions are absolute gems.

I have always felt Amit Trivedi, the singer, wants to sound like a ‘sanskari’ boy and could never go totally crazy, that was till I heard this song. In what is probably the best song of the album, in Ud-daa Punjab we hear Trivedi going full ‘break your bones and steal your car thereafter’ crazy. Vishal Dadlani, who matches Trivedi’s raw energy at every step is a treat to listen to. After Dhan Te Nan from Kaminey, Vishal has finally sung a song with overflowing swag and zero artificial aggression. Every line of this song is worth a hundred wolf whistles, minimum.

Hass Nach Le sung by Shahid Mallya has its heart at the right place, lyrics-wise. However, the tune tires you out fairly quickly, which is quite a feat because the song has a superb harmonium all throughout. Vadiya has a ‘Scatman’ meets ‘Nucleya’ sound. I am not even protesting the fact that Amit Trivedi has sung one more song. Highly derivative, the song sounds like a keyboard preset tune that is played for 4 minutes with aforementioned reference points. It would probably go down as the weakest song by Amit this year.

Of course we expected much more because it is after all the ‘am’ ‘it’ man at work, but the overall album is a tad underwhelming. Pick this one up for Ikk Kudi, Da Da Dasse and of course Ud-daa Punjab and you won’t be disappointed.

This review first appeared on Quint here

Audio link to my review on B.B.C. here

Masaan – Music review

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Finally! Music of Masaan is here. Listen to my music review of the same here

You can see the lyrics here

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

Gangs of Wasseypur 2 – Music review

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1. Chicha ledar – The song starts with that familiar sound that all the people who lived near a cotton extracting/beating shop would easily identify. (Those huge sitar-like eqipuments) and then with appropriate ‘building up’ the song launches into a constant beat arrangement and in comes Durga!. Backed by extremely good lyrics the song grabs you and runs and runs! Special mention of the amazing use of words like ‘cheecha ledar, sarau, word play (whether i like the weather)’! The constant ‘joota joota joota’ gives the song a ‘remixed’ feel and then the ‘dub step’ comes in! Maha-amaJing! My grouse with the song is that it is JUST 4 minutes. Clearly a GAJJJJAB start to the album! (Varun insists that the usage of ‘sarau’ is a tribute to Lucknow, I must add).

Special mention of Durga (the 12 year singer), listen carefully how she says ‘dil’ in the song. Everytime! That’s called hugging the lyrics and not just singing it! Kudos!

2. Kaala reSneha khanwalkar. at. her. best. If the ‘keh ke loonga’ made us all hear Sneha launch into her ‘catty’ avatar. This one explores the playful undertones (with a very dark and haunting cello/bass arrangement). Saiyyan kartey ji coal-bazari. A song that’s helped a great deal by excellent lyrics. (Kaala bilkul surmey wala). All shades of black, explored. very. well. Perhaps some parallel will be drawn with the sound of A.R. Rahman.

3. Electric piyaRasika D Rani starts of (and must say the pronunciation of ‘elektric’ is very very ‘chic’!’) Then a very bhojpuri (Trinidad Tobago also?) music setting takes over (aided by ‘casio’like sound, harmonium, dholak and manjeeras). Dholak and Harmonium are quite prominent in addition to the vocals. A very naughty (in a very un-womaniya way) song. This is more like leg pulling of your ‘piya’. The words are pronounced in a flow and might not be able to get into the mind immediately. Repeat the song and you will find yourself smiling.

4.  Bahut Khoob – I am VERY interested to see the way this is going to be filmed. Very theatrical in the way it uses the voice of the kids (And at times Sneha in between). Hear it to make an opinion on the song. Mix and scratch and mix and scratch again and again!

5. Taar bijli – Harmonium with a lot of female backup singers (and some ‘chammach’ on dholak) leaves us with Padamshree Sharda sinha to weave magic. The setting is very playful. Lyrics full of gentle banter directed towards her in-laws by the bride. ‘Na idhar na udhar hi sihaare piya’…! excellent lyrics. The song is NOT another ‘womaniya’. While Womaniya was more ‘intimate, naughty and personal’, this one puts out the banter in open and poses some questions to the entire family about the bridegroom. The song is actually a satire on the worsening condition of Bihar in 80s and 90s. Perhaps the most conventional song of the pack. Sweet and melodious.

6. Aabroo – Starts with bulbul tarang and dholak. The setting is very ‘gali mohalla’ style. Piyush mishra gets into action (and you can picture him sitting on a ‘chowk’ surrounded by people) A little different from his normal style, Piyush mishra emotes ‘ekdam ghus key’. Bhupesh singh very smartly contests Piyush mishra (not teams up, contests). An election campaign song, It’s the ‘compteesan’ that has been got music as a background. Kudos to Piyush Mishra! Hilarious to the core. A genre that has resurfaced after a long time!

7.Perpendicular theme – Using a mix of brass band and other sounds, this less than a 2 minute track ends too soon (May be weird just for me, because I am used to the ‘themes’ being longer). A kid’s playful voice a shehnai (may be) and drums at times. Also, the brass band plays a tune in between. I have heard it somewhere and can’t put a finger to it. Who can remember it? I liked the song but disliked the fact it’s too short. The theme is paced so well that you would want to listen to it for a longer duration but then, it ends!

8. Moora – Guitar and mandolin together and you know the song will make you smile. Sneha khanwalkar gives a whispering start to the song. Chiefly using Mandolin and Guitar (just ‘by the side’ arrangement), the beauty of the song is that the vocals are also understated. Would have liked a little more ‘energy’ in the vocals. The lyrics anyway talk of hope so found this version a little dim. The interesting part of this version is a faint ‘male’ voice. It’s the voice of Robbie styles from trinidad) who played cuatro and mandolin in the song. Best part – he doesn’t know hindi.

9. TunyaBulbultarang’s excellent use with the members of ‘Baal party’ (and if you hear attentively I guess there is a bit of Sneha in the background too). This is just 1:22 minutes track and boy is it sticky or what? As I continue to complain about the duration of this track I can’t help but feel this will make a great ringtone too!

10. Bahut Khoob (8 Bit dubstep) – Excellent use of the 8 bit dubstep arrangement has made this piece (which is still less than 3 minutes!) breezy and intriguing at the same time. From 1:50 minutes, Sneha uses Super mario music (With altered tempo) and then constructs a bit of her own tune around it. This is sheer brilliance! (90s kids! rejoice!). Although in the lyrics post , it was mentioned that the words are random, I am quite sure that the kids are referring to the movements of a train. Varun points out that the song refers to the movement of ‘Ganga, the river’. Hear hear and then let’s discuss?

11. Electric piya (Fused) – Not remixed, Fused! Pretty straight forward ‘fused’ version. Harmonium remains and is aided by uniform beats and at times echo. Didn’t like this version much. May be you will. Try it out.

12. Moora (Morning) – Compared to the previous version of ‘Moora’, this one starts with more instruments and the mandolin makes way for  ‘The ‘Humni ke chori ke nagariya’ (From Gangs of Wasseypur part 1, soundtrack) boy Deepak gets behind the microphone again to give us a more soulful rendition of this song. Lyrics, excellent. Energy (and music arrangement) – Up to the mark! No guitar. Some echo. Some trans like sound. Kabir-sque lyrics. Ends very very techno istyle! My pick of the album, this.

13. KKL – Sneha! Sneha! echoes ‘KKL’ which is nothing but Keh ke loonga. This version will tickle all the ‘techno junkies’ at the right places. If we remember right, the ‘loonga loonga keh ke’ (From part 1 isn’t used in Gangs of wasseypur part 1, the film). This track features the all male chorus from the song and then mixes up with tiny bits of Sneha’s voice. Sneha has used the bits from the part 1 song superbly! This is what you can easily call as a ‘ball busting ass kicking’ music arrangement. (Try getting the ‘चीख’ of sneha out of your head when she goes ‘Teri keh ke longaaaaaaa’). What I shudder thinking about is – our reality TV shows will kill this song by ‘performing’ on this.

A lot of talk has happened pointing directly towards how some of the tracks in Gangs of wasseypur sound like ‘Sound trippin’. If we are to back in time by say 2 years (when Gangs of wasseypur’s music was being made), MTV had no idea of Sound trippin. Could it not be a possibility that Sound trippin came AFTER viacomm heard the music and sounded off their Music channel to make a show around these ‘unique’ songs and sounds that Sneha accumulated? Think about it.

With the Music of Gangs of Wasseypur 1,  sitting pretty already and other credentials in her bag (rather backpack!), Sneha Khanwalkar delivers a different sound with this album. While the Gangs of Wasseypur 1 album was tilted heavily towards the folk sound, this one is more contemporary. The selection of singers and lyrics continue to play a smart role in the overall feel of the album. Piyush mishra appears for just one song and hits a homerun. Varun Grover should probably start preparing for a speech already because kala rey will cause a lot of cheecha ledar and might make a moora of a lot of lyricists this year. All we shall do is just celebrate the arrival of a deeply rooted (to the story line and narration) lyricist and yes the words bahut khoob would be incidental.

Our pick – Entire album. With so much prem pritam pyare and bro-jid-sque music around, if any film album is worth your full time, it is this.

Bhoos ke dher mein – Lyrics and meaning – #GangsOfWasseypur


Right! Time for the another song lyrics and and it’s meaning from the album Gangs of Wasseypur…This one, as a little birdie tells me, is a personal favorite of the pen magician (Varun Grover) who has to be credited for the song and for all the posts in this blog on Gangs of Wasseypur

The song is deep. Hard hitting. Hear it. Meaning in italics


Na Milihey


Bhoos ke dher mein raai ka daana,

Rang biranga bail sayaana,

Like looking for a pin in a haystack,

Like spotting a smart, colorful buffalo,

Bhoos ke dher mein raai ka daana,

Rang biranga bail sayaana,

Like looking for a pin in a haystack,

Like spotting a smart, colorful buffalo,

Dooje pahar mein toot-ta taara,

Paani pe tirta pakka paara…

Like seeing a falling star mid-afternoon,

Like having mercury float on water…


Naa milihey…

Naa milihey…naa…

You won’t find it…

Won’t find it…

Won’t find…

Na soch,

Na khoj,

Ud jayi-ho, jag hai toap…

Don’t even think, Or try…

The world will burst like a cannon…



Hai kohra rakh sab haath taan,

Imaan na dayi-ho hili-hey…

It’s vague ahead, so stick your hands out…

Just don’t let your faith wither…

Naa milihey…

Naa milihey…naa…

Naa milihey…

Naa milihey…naa…

You won’t find it…

You won’t find it…

Batiyaati haathon ki lakeera,

Mahal duwaarey, khada fakeera…

Like fate talking without ambiguity,

Like an ascetic waiting at a palace gate…

Ghaath laga le,

Raat jaga le,

Suruj ka sab ghoda bhaga le, baba..

Dhar le chaahe bhoot ki dhoti,

Paa le ashwathhama ka moti,

Paani mein…

Paani mein, maati mein,

Loha mein, kaathi mein,

Jiya ke jod mein, aankhan ki paati mein…

Aakaas khuley mein, mann ki gaanthi mein…

By hook or by crook,

Or by capturing the horses of Sun,

Or by latching on to the ghost’s fabric,

Or by acquiring the mythical pearl of eternity,

Or in water or mud,

Or in iron or mood,

Or in the joint of hearts or crack of eyes,

Or in the vast skies or closed minds…



Not a chance!

Batiyaati haathon ki lakeera,

Mahal duwaarey, khada fakeera…

Like fate talking without ambiguity,

Like an ascetic waiting at a palace gate…

Bhari dupahari naachey mayura,

Yam se chatur, gaanv ka moora….

Like a peacock dancing in blazing sun,

Like a village idiot more wicked than the Devil…

Na milihey…

You won’t find it.

Hai kohra rakh sab haath taan,

Imaan na dayi-ho hili-hey…

It’s vague ahead, so stick your hands out…

Just don’t let your faith wither…

Naa milihey…

Naa milihey…naa…

Naa milihey…

Naa milihey…naa…

You won’t find it.

You won’t find it.

Gangs of Wasseypur – Humnee ke chhori ke – lyrics & meaning


Like with the previous lyrics post, the credit of this post belongs only to  Varun Grover.

Arguably the only song this year that touches the soul. A folk bhojpuri song that is sung by Deepak (a 14 year old boy) from Muzaffapur. The song features in Gangs Of Wasseypur.

Read on…(English translation – in italics)


Humni ke chhori ke nagariya ae baba…

Ki arre baba chhori dihala ghar-parivaar kahun banwa maayi gayili ho…

Leaving my town, dear father,

Leaving the family behind, to which wilderness mother has gone…

Ki aaho baba soooni kayi ke gharwa-duvaar, kawan banwa maayi gayili ho,

Pushing the home into loneliness, to which wilderness mother has gone…

Gaunwaan ke logawa, kehu…kehu se na bolein..

Chhotaka laikawaa, bhora-hi se aankh nahin kholey..

He isn’t talking to anybody in the village,

The small boy isn’t even opening his eyes since morning…

Sunsaan bhaiyili dagariya ae baba…

Ki arre baba nimiya ho gayil patjhaar, kawan banwa maayi gayili ho..

The roads are all deserted,

And the Neem tree has shed its leaves, to which wilderness mother has gone…

Kaisa-hoo ae baba, humaraa maayi se milaa da

Saparo tajaa ke humro araj sunaa da…

Do whatever, but let me meet the mother once..

Anyhow convey my message to her…dear father…

Chhutka ke chhote-ba umiriya re baba..

The small boy has a small life, father…

Ki arre baba, pari lin hum pauwwaan tohaar kawan banwa maayi gayi li ho..

I fall at your feet tell me, to which wilderness mother has gone…

Ki aaho baba soooni kayi ke anganwa-duvaar, kawan banwa maayi gayili ho,

Pushing the home into loneliness, to which wilderness mother has gone…

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