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Poorna – Music Review

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My music review of Poorna –

 http://www.bbc.com/hindi/entertainment-39457479 

What a delightful album!

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

Te3n Music review

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After Jugni, Clinton gets another album as a solo composer and the songs are penned by Amitabh Bhattacharya. Let’s find out if the music is as thrilling as the premise of the film.

Haq Hai

Haq Hai by Clinton Cerejo is a call to never give up on what is yours, even if the universe tells you otherwise. The song has a constant undercurrent of self belief and lyrics compliment the mood so well that you want to congratulate Clinton for not giving in to the temptation of giving a ‘punch the air with confidence’ tonality to the song. You might not play this song in the gym but you would want to listen to it when you are out on one of your long walks.

Rootha

Rootha is a fabulous song because structure wise, I haven’t heard such a layered film song in a while. It is always reassuring to find a composer who can ‘control’ Benny’s enthusiasm and channel it into a solid effort. To compliment Benny, we have Divya Kumar who is at ease in spite of those long taans and Bianca Gomes (who to my mind, is one of the most under-utilised singers we have today), adds the goosebumps to the song by spotlessly singing lines from a folk song which echo in your mind long after the song ends.

Kyun Re

Kyun Re by Clinton Cerejo is a beautifully composed and solidly worded soft ballad, the kinds that you have your favourite ‘guitar friend’ in the group repeatedly sing for you. I absolutely loved the way a word like ‘choorey’ has made it to a mainstream song. The arrangement is minimal that accentuates the singing and achieves the right effect on the listener. There is another version of this song sung by highly emotive Amitabh Bachchan. Tune and lyrics wise, this version is identical to Clinton’s, but where Clinton focuses on perfect singing presentation, Bachchan’s singing sounds more like a private speech that one indulges in to regulate the pain and fails miserably at it. The pain of losing a loved one, that is. How else can you explain the quiver in his voice at ‘rasta dekhungaa…’? As a composer, the manner in which Clinton makes the helplessness and resignation affect you easily makes this, one of the best songs of this year. It is impossible to pick a favourite between these versions and thank god for that!Nawazuddin Siddiqui in Te3n

Grahan

Vishal Dadlani’s energy and passion are exquisitely matched by a super tune set that has some good guitar play. The song sounds like a tune on which a wounded soul dances, till it passes out. The song is meant to be heavy but in spite of that, it doesn’t weigh you down, perhaps because of the excellent arrangement and programming at play here. Will I listen to this on repeat? No. Is it a good song? Absolutely!

Clinton has achieved a lot in a project that is produced by Sujoy Ghosh who gave us a cracker of a soundtrack in Kahaani and then forgot to include the songs in the film. Do explore the music of this film, it is well worth your time and money!

This review first appeared on Quint here

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

CokeStudio at MTV – Season 2, Episode 1

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Saathi SalaamUstad (yes I would address him as ‘Ustad’. So what if MTV doesn’t?) Sawan khan shakes and stirs the soul with a captivating start to this composition and Clinton quietly makes space for himself alongside the Ustad and delivers what is easily the most powerful song of this episode. The coordination, music arrangement, lyrics, singing (and everything else which ai don’t know, but makes the song awesome) are on target. Although the ‘song info’ (on the official website) says that this song is all about the tussle that a man (not woman, just man!) goes through daily, the song can be an excellent pick to address terrorism and the fragile state in which we breathe these days. Sorry, but I couldn’t resist bringing it up. Also, must add the video of this song is the only one that stands out for this episode. Very ‘Kewl’ to see Ustad ji’ jamming with the kids and being oh so animated without making a big deal of it and without giving that ‘oh I am too cool for the camera but would love a closeup please’ look. He is just busy in his craft. I wanted to dislike the last 1:42 mins of the song but they do give a wholesome feel to the entire song. The element of finality, a fitting start to the season!. 3 Thumbs up!

Banjara –  Vijay Prakash starts off with a powerful alaap. Not sure whether this lovely verse (By Hazrat Amir khusro) required so many harkats but then, what do I know? ‘Raga illeterate, musically challenged’ that I am. Anyway, the sargam that follows delay the start of the song (but not for long, thankfully). Nandini Srikar comes in and effortlessly does what we know she can. Let down by really bad lyrics (at times, the tune is trying to accomodate extra words I felt). The song starts with the popular verses by (and the MTV site credits) Hazrat Amir Khusro, but am not sure why they forgot crediting Saint Kabir whose lines are sung by Vijay Prakash (jaise til mein tel hai, chamak mein aag, khud ka sai khud mein hai jaag sakey to jaag). The groove is awesome, the song is hollow and fails miserably. The over the top alaaps and pointless (out of sync as well I reckon, especially towards the end) killed the song that could have been a lot more. Trying too hard to prove the classical prowess are we?

Chaddh de  – A song that master salim started with a lot of promise and failed miserably due to an awkward mish mash of lyrics, music and everyone doing their own bit without realising that it should all fit in as a cohesive song. We all have seen our end of ‘performances’ in cokestudio but this song in particular comes across trying too hard to please (awkward alaaps by saleem included).

The site does credit the lyricist and mentions how sad he was at the time of penning these lyrics, but what they forgot to mention was the fact that the lines which Salim repeated till death towards the end and in between belong to Saint kabir. Trying too hard to accomodate ‘Baba bulleh shah, Hazrat Amir khusro and Saint Kabir’ all in one episode are we? Hmmm. Ok. Saddest song of this episode. Easily. The song tires you. Try it.

Madari – beautiful start with a subtle keyboard, guitar and mandolin. Vishal dadlani is light and breezy with heavy lyrics and doesn’t use much modulation to ’emphasize’ the seriousness of the song (Kudos Clinton! For this). Sonu kakkar, the female lead singer of this song tries too hard to sing the lines crom ‘Baba bulleh shah’ with a different twist. It sounds cool once but repeating it again and again killed the momentum of the song. Not k owing where to stop, may be. Anyway, ‘Baba bulleh shah’ isn’t credited by MTV either in the ‘lyrics info’ section. Vishal salvages this song well. Still undecided on the song. Hear it to decide for yourself.

Mauje Naina – Arguably the best song of the episode in terms of originality. Bass and dhol (yes dhol!) create just half impact as the vocals of Bianca Gomes, Shadab and Altamash literally drag you out and leave your senses in the open jungle filled with cheat, gulit and deceit. Cokestudio Pakistan attempted mixing english words here but in my view, they failed miserably because the lyrics were out of context anyway. The beauty of this song, however is the atmosphere it creates. It’s like a theatrical depiction filled with BLACK and BLOOD. The hindi words (and the style of singing) is very ‘naina thag lengey’ sorts. Bianca’s voice is catty and full of inviting undertones. Don’t let the soft start to this song fool you. This is dark and dark is all shades of black and not grey. Highly, totally and completely recommended. Something so original and so beautiful that one is willing to excuse the season 1 completely and call this a beginning and a gutsy one at that! Superb superb superb!

Dungar – beautiful choir singing alongside Ustad Sawan khan! Ok! Now we are talking about cokestudio! though a short track, Clinton manages this very well and gives us a taste of what is it about the word ‘fusion’ that we love. A top class composition. Watch out for the last 53 seconds of the song when Ustad ji and the choir sing together. For me, this is the high point of the song. Simply stunning!

My picks – Saathi Salaam, Mauje naina and Dungar

Much of my grouse with Cokestudio India has subsided due to the above mentioned songs from this episode. If i try hard to find out 3 original songs from last entire season that i liked, I will fail to do so. Also, superb initiative by MTV to air this season on Doordarshan as well. Excellent work by Clinton and now all eyes and ears on the Epsiode 2 that should hit us tomorrow evening! Mighty happy to see Hindi poetry getting it’s due because I fail to understand why the Indian version of CokeStudio should sound like the Pakistan version? Look for poets here…there are way too many who are yet to find their voices on a bigger scale and what better platform than CokeStudio?

Fail to understand why Ustad sawan khan is not mentioned in the artist section of the website, image below.

Also, still no free downloads?

3 Thumbs up for the start!


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