One song lightens up the whole album!! (Naam Shabana – Music Review)

Rarely in our industry prequels are made and if someone has attempted it, I am sure it must be worth experiencing. Naam Shabana is a prequel to Baby, the Neeraj Pandey film which got critical acclaim. The prequel is directed by Shivam Nair though Neeraj is there as writer and producer. Music is given by Rochak Kohli and one song is done by Meet Bros.

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Music: Rochak Kohli;  Lyrics: Manoj Muntashir;  Music Label: T-Series

1. Rozana – Singer: Shreya Ghoshal – It’s been a while since we heard a song like this from Shreya which Rochak has composed so beautifully. I wish if the interludes could be more interesting, although they managed to be soothing with Violins. The echo which Rochak has provided to her vocals in the mukhda lifts up the song and makes it more romantically suitable for the mood. Lyrics are worth mentioning. There’s an expected muntashirism in it.

2. Zinda – Singer: Sunidhi Chauhan – A tailor-made song for Sunidhi nevertheless has some really tough notes to struggle with but she manages quite effortlessly. The tail of the mukhda could have been better. The antara has been well structured, delivering the interesting variations. Muntashir creates the ambient mood for the film quite well. The song could have some interesting arrangements or varied notes in the mukhda.  

3. Zubi Zubi – Singers: Sukriti Kakar, Rochak Kohli – The Bappi Lahiri song from Dance Dance has been recreated quite decently, not mishandling the original composition, keeping it just for the hook line and adding more originality to it. Sukriti has done a good job though Alisha in the original song was fabulous. Rochak Kohli could have added more to the arrangements and to the programming.

4. Baby Besharam – Singers: Meet Bros, Jasmine Sandlas;  Guest Composer: Meet Br0s;  Guest Lyricist: Kumaar – The album ends on the Meet Bros notes. It’s a typical demand-and-supply material. With quite an unappealing tune and repetitive lyrics, it sounds extremely boring.

Rochak Kohli provides the much-needed decency to the album. 

The Final Verdict:  2/5

Worth Listening: Rozana 

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Small Impression, Great Impact!! (Poorna – Music Review)

A story about Malavath Poorna, the youngest girl to climb Mount Everest played by Aditi Inamdar is directed by Rahul Bose who is debuting as a director. Music is by Salim-Sulaiman.

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Music: Salim-Sulaiman;  Lyrics: Amitabh Bhattacharya;  Music Label: Zee Music Company

1. Kuch Parbat Hilaayein / Kuch Parbat Hilaayein (Intimate) – Singer: Arijit Singh / Salim Merchant – It starts off well and becomes quite staid as it proceeds.More melodious should have been the mukhda. In antara things get fine again. Amitabh’s lyrics have a more noticeable quality. Another version, sung by Salim himself is more appealing and sounds less staid because there’s Rock background and the arrangements have unplugged setup.

2. Poori Qaaynaat – Singers: Raj Pandit, Vishal Dadlani – Now this is something that definitely brings you a smile if you’re a music lover waiting for an appealing melody to hit you and penetrate into you with its classically laid notes sung efficiently by Raj Pandit. This has actually been adapted from their own work for Coke Studio @ MTV Season 3. The lyrics and the singers were different. While Raj Pandit replacing Rashid Khan is equally refreshing, Vishal Dadlani who gets a decent supporting portion which provides a fusion angle to the song, is a better replacement for Salim himself. The notes are as effective as Raj Pandit’s singing. One of the most outstanding portions in the song is when Sitar is played. Amitabh Bhattacharya writes another inspiring one.

3. Baabul Mora – Singing: Arijit Singh – It sounds like a vocal prelude when Arijit begins but eventually the whole song turns out to be like that. There’s hardly a percussion, just a one-beat rhythm. The song works mostly because of the beautiful notes and the way Arijit has managed to justify it. Salim-Sulaiman has pulled up their creative strength and come up with a song like this which has a great emotional impact, sonically and cinematically. Comes under the bests of Salim-Sulaiman and Arijit.

Salim-Sulaiman might have reduced their quantity of work too much but they still are not compromising with the quality. 

Worth Listening: Poori Qaaynaat, Baabul Mora

The Final Verdict: 3.5/5

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Shashwat Sachdev: The Next Big Thing!! (Phillauri – Music Review)

Anshai Lal’s directorial debut is under Clean Slate Films, a production house by Anushka Sharma and her brother Karnesh Sharma. It stars Anushka Sharma, Diljit Dosanjh, Suraj Sharma and Mehreen Pirzada.

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Music Label: T-Series

1. Dum Dum / Dum Dum (Punjabi Version) / Dum Dum (Reprise) – Singers: Romy, Vivek Hariharan / Diljit Dosanjh;  Music: Shashwat Sachdev;  Lyrics: Anvita Dutt / Shellee – Romy spell bounds with his Shahid Mallya sounding vocals, deeply rooted in Punjabi folk. Shashwat makes sure that the song doesn’t become one of the many Punjabi melodies and remains unique. He achieves that through a particular style of using percussion. Vivek makes a cameo and leaves a mark of his own. Shashwat has quite cleverly blended the folk and classical element into his composition. Anvita’s lyrics does complete justice to ensure the metaphorical yet rooted mood of the song.The Punjabi version doesn’t have much of a difference in arrangements. The difference is basically in the lyrics written by Shellee. Reprise in Diljit’s voice is equally good and refreshing.

2. What’s Up – Singers: Mika Singh, Jasleen Royal;  Music: Jasleen Royal;  Lyrics: Aditya Sharma – Jasleen enters the scene with a typical Mika track which when starts sounds exactly like the latest Cutie Pie from Ae Dil Hai Mushkil. Considering that the song doesn’t belong to Jasleen’s comfort zone, she does quite an impressive job. The notes are significantly catchy and Mika surprisingly justifies the lyrics quite well. The lyrics is out and out Punjabi and goes totally well with the composition.

3. Naughty Billo – Singers: Diljit Dosanjh, Nakash Aziz, Shilpi Paul;  Music: Shashwat Sachdev;  Lyrics: Anvita Dutt –The way it transits from sounding raw to landing on EDM makes it quite exciting. The beats are well programmed giving emphasis on exact words. Shashwat is able to manage the ensemble of three singers, each complimenting one another. The ending could have been better compared to the clever start. Anvita’s lyrics doesn’t seem to have much a role but she really seems aware of the beats and cleverly put those words accordingly. Catchy. 

4. Sahiba – Singers: Romy, Pawni Pandey;  Music: Shashwat Sachdev;  Lyrics: Anvita Dutt – The song that was featured in the trailer is actually the best song of the album. A very interesting build up has been given in the mukhda for the line sahiba. It is this song where Anvita’s writing is noticeable. Pawni has a very short portion but she totally nails it and shows her versatility after Laila. But the show stealer is Romy. The way he has managed to sing such varied sounding portions of the song, it’s remarkable. His vocals do complete justice. This composition is so well arranged and unusually structured that one has a natural curiosity to hear it again. Well done Shashwat!

5. Bajaake Tumba – Singers: Romy, Shehnaz Akhtar;  Music: Shashwat Sachdev;  Lyrics: Anvita Dutt – By now, it’s safe to assume that Romy must be the voice of Diljit in the film. Such varied notes in the mukhda enthralls you and the way he carries those notes with such ease is something to listen for. The song is more lyric-oriented. There’s a narrative element to it which Anvita has written so authentically and Shashwat has carried the song with those arrangements that you feel a part of that rural environment.  

6. Dil Shagna Da – Singer: Jasleen Royal;  Music: Jasleen Royal;  Lyrics: Neeraj Rajawat – Falling in her comfort zone, Jasleen seems to have fallen short this time with not-so-adorable composition. The kind of a tune she chose to have, she should have added some interesting elements to avoid being monotonous. The tune is indeed likable but not something to fall for. 

With Phillauri, Shashwat Sachdev is going to be the next most promising composer. 

Worth Listening: Dum Dum, Sahiba

The Final Verdict: 3.5/5

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Short yet Solid!! (Trapped – Music Review)

Vikramaditya Motwane after Udaan and Lootera which had huge role of songs, has come with a film where songs are hardly important. It’s a survival drama starring Rajkummar Rao and Geetanjali Thapa. Music is given by Alokananda Dasgupta.

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Music: Alokananda Dasgupta;  Lyrics: Rajeshwari Dasgupta;  Music Label: Zee Music Company

1. Dheemi – Singer: Tejas Menon – Purely acoustic, the song captures the still life of the protagonist trapped in an apartment. Tejas with his breezy vocals justifies the melancholy. Alokananda’s decision of sticking to acoustic helps.

2. Hai Tu – Singer: Gowri Jayakumar – With a similar feel, Alokananda has made it more breezy. The impressive use of chorus adds on to the spirited feel. Gowri’s vocals give a sense of relaxation and the slow paced instrumentation heightens that.

3. Trapped Theme – Instrumental – At the beginning, it seems intense but soon it gets lighter in the mood. With excellently played Piano, the theme has such spontaneously flowing notes that one wishes if it had lasted longer.

4. I Am Trapped – Instrumental – Sounds which we heard in the trailer, the track is full of those and much more. It’s haunting and the way it has been arranged and programmed, it psychologically works extremely well. The sound of a drop of water or the cracking of plate and spoon make a haunting impact.

This short yet solid album from Alokananda Dasgupta eases out, relaxes, then haunts, intensely. 

Worth Listening: Trapped Theme, I Am Trapped

The Final Verdict: 3.5/5

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Classy Romance, Massy Dance!! (Badrinath Ki Dulhania – Music Review)

Shashank Khaitan is back with his Dulhania franchise and this time the Dulhania belongs to Badrinath whom we all met in the trailer and loved. Amaal Mallik, Akhil Sachdeva and Tanishk Bagchi have replaced Sharib-Toshi and Sachin-Jigar who did the music of the previous installment.

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Music Label: T-Series

1. Aashiq Surrender Hua – Singers: Amaal Mallik, Shreya Ghoshal;  Music: Amaal Mallik;  Lyrics: Shabbir Ahmed – Amaal kicks off the album with a DDM (Desi Dance Music) instead of a more popular genre EDM (Electronic Dance Music) being on mic himself with the ever dependable Shreya Ghoshal. It’s quite a folksy melody which is quite surprising. Infact, I can even recall a folk song, very similar to the hook line. Also, it’s rare to hear a hook line not just being a part of the mukhda but the complete mukhda itself. Shabbir’s lyrics is exactly what is required of this song. Amaal has made sure that the song justifies the characters and it does.

2. Roke Na Ruke Naina – Singer: Arijit Singh;  Music: Amaal Mallik;  Lyrics: Kumaar – If you have followed Amaal’s work, you tend to notice his particular style of composition which so many other composers of his generation don’t have. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s everything a composer needs. As much as one needs a particular style of his/her own compositions, he/she equally needs those compositions to sound versatile and varied from one another. This song, in particular, echoes the similar (not same) structure of notes which his previous few compositions had. Like, the tail of the mukhda just before the hook line ends is one of the structural elements evident in many of his songs. Nonetheless, the song does sound lovely, if not novel. What is really likable is the antara which gives such a ghazal-like feel and that works in the favor of novelty. Kumaar delivers one of his better writings with Amaal.

3. Humsafar – Singers: Akhil Sachdeva, Mansheel Gujral;  Music: Akhil Sachdeva;  Lyrics: Akhil Sachdeva – The way Mansheel begins, is the high point of the song. Akhil takes over with his Atif-sounding voice which doesn’t work against the song at all. Infact, it suits the melody really well. The instruments are well arranged, particularly the Accordion (is it?). Akhil has also written the song and although there’s nothing novel about it, the lines blend with the composition quite effortlessly. It’s a superb debut from Akhil Sachdeva in singing, composing and writing as well. 

4. Badrinath Ki Dulhania (Title Track) – Singers: Dev Negi, Neha Kakkar, Monali Thakur, Ikka;  Music: Tanishk Bagchi;  Lyrics: Shabbir Ahmed – This folk tune has been taken in films numerous times and it is so catchy that it is able to groove you. Tanishk’s composition does complete justice to the borrowed hook line. Both the compositions blend really well. The singers’ cast is impressive. It’s good to hear Monali in such a song after a long time. Ikka’s rap, particularly in the beginning is superb. It amazingly energizes the atmosphere. Shabbir’s lyrics totally goes with the song. A catchy one! 

5. Tamma Tamma Again – Singers: Bappi Lahiri, Anuradha Paudwal, Badshah;  Music: Bappi Lahiri (Recreated by Tanishk Bagchi);  Lyrics: Indeevar – Badshah is the new member of this 80s family which is probably the biggest song of Bappi Lahiri’s career. Tanishk not exactly re-created but re-mixed the track with very predictable electronic sounds. His only contribution is adding Badshah to give it a contemporary touch. The rest you all know. More of a remixed than a remake. 

Akhil Sachdeva shines in his debut. A pretty entertaining album which pretty much maintains the standards of Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania. 

Worth Listening: Humsafar, Roke Na Ruke Naina

The Final Verdict: 3/5

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Not a Command-able Effort!! (Commando 2 – Music Review)

Commando, a film directed by Dilip Ghosh has been made into a sequel which is now directed by the famous television director Deven Bhojani. It stars Vidyut Jamwal and Adah Sharma in lead roles. The music is done Mannan Shah who had also scored for the first installment along with Gourov-Roshin who recreated Pritam’s famous Bhool Bhulaiya track, Hare Krishna Hare Ram.

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Music: Mannan Shah;  Music Label: T-Series

1. Hare Krishna Hare Ram – Singers: Armaan Malik, Ritika (Rap by Raftaar);  Recreated by Gourov-Roshin (Original Composition: Pritam);  Lyrics by Kumaar (Original Lyrics: Sameer) – The track is surely going to make you nostalgic for the 2007 superhit Bhool Bhulaiya. They have kept the notes intact in most of the places. In the antara there’s room for creativity and yet they almost lose this opportunity of holding the listener back. There’s no point in recreating a track which is so fresh in our minds. Armaan’s efforts are worth recognizing. Raftaar does the rap effortlessly (all of this was done solely by Neeraj Shridhar in the original) and Ritika is left with nothing much. A track with no added creative or marketing value.

2. Tere Dil Mein – Singer: Armaan Malik;  Lyrics: Aatish Kapadia – It’s not necessary for pauses to sound good every time. The pause which Mannan gives just before the hook line sounds odd and worthless. Armaan somehow finds grace in this average composition and make it a decent track. Aatish’s lyrics is too ordinary to analyze.  Even the Violin piece, in the end, couldn’t manage to pull the track out of its ordinariness.

3. Seedha Saadha / Seedha Saadha (Reprise Version) – Singer: Amit Mishra / Jubin Nautiyal;  Lyrics: Kumaar – There are songs that you wonder how did they get approval by the director. This is one of those songs which sounds so much out of tune, the notes so flat and blunt that you tend to lose interest halfway in the mukhda itself. Amit has been used clearly because of Bulleya because this song somewhat belongs that genre. Kumaar’s lyrics go unnoticed because you get busy finding ear-friendly notes in the song. On the other hand, Jubin’s version is so much better. Still, it goes mundane in the middle of the antara. 

4. Commando (Title Track) / Commando (English Version) – Singer: Aditi Singh Sharma;  Lyrics: Kumaar – It would be better if Mannan had kept the whole track thematic without words. The composition is not worth becoming a song with words and vocals. It sounds so much out of place particularly after the first stanza when the rhythm unnecessarily increase. It definitely does not deserve two versions, one in Hindi the other in English with ditto same arrangements.

The only saving grace of this album is the recreated version of Pritam’s Hare Krishna Hare Ram. 

The Final Verdict: 1/5

Worth Listening: Hare Krishna Hare Ram

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Sheer Brilliance!! (Rangoon – Music Review)

Vishal Bhardwaj is a music director who happens to direct films too, and not otherwise. Hence, music is an integral part of his films. His collaboration with Gulzar has been extraordinary. Rangoon, their latest, seems to be yet another more-than-ordinary album. Surprisingly, Vishal Bhardwaj has collaborated with another lyricist Lekha Washington for two tracks in English.

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Music: Vishal Bhardwaj;  Music Label: T-Series

1. Bloody Hell – Singer: Sunidhi Chauhan;  Lyrics: Gulzar – Those who know the nuances of Bhardwaj’s style of composition, they would be in love with this track instantly. The rest would take the time to sink in this fantastically composed and arranged track that Sunidhi owns so spontaneously. That Guitar pause just before the hook line has all the charm one usually wants to have in a song like that. Bloody Hell is bloody addictive once it sinks in you.

2. Yeh Ishq Hai / Yeh Ishq Hai (Female Version) – Singer: Arijit Singh / Rekha Bhardwaj;  Lyrics: Gulzar – This man is getting better with every song. On the lines of Haider’s Khul Kahin Toh, this song has intensity in the notes which Arijit buys really well. Gulzar, on the other hand, does not seem to be following the above-mentioned track and is going his way. He makes sure that the romance goes many notches intense, not just horizontally but vertically when he comes up with this line – Bekhud sa rehta hai, Yeh kaisa Sufi hai, Jaage to Tabrizi, Bole to Rumi hai. The surprise lies in its female version where the composer has gone in a qawwali mode though keeping the bass intact. It becomes more like devotional track than a romantic which anyway is good, for the lyrics talks about the love of Tabriz and Rumi.

3. Mere Miyan Gaye England – Singer: Rekha Bhardwaj;  Lyrics: Gulzar – At the time of remakes, Vishal Bhardwaj makes sure he too comes up with one, a very intelligently remade track that is more likely to come under the ‘inspired’ list of songs, taken from 1949 released Patanga’s Mere Piya Gaye Rangoon. Rekha’s retro sounding vocals totally do justice to the track. Gulzar shows his quirky side which he makes sure to do in at least one song of every album he does. Enjoyable.

4. Tippa – Singers: Sukhwinder Singh, Rekha Bhardwaj, Sunidhi Chauhan, O. S. Arun;  Lyrics: Gulzar – How brilliantly he captures the rhythmic sound of the train and utilizes by blending with his composition which is indeed catchy if heard properly. All the four amazing voices together make a strong ensemble, one complementing the other. The second interlude is a transition from a more earthy to a more dreamy sound which something to listen for.

5. Ek Dooni Do – Singer: Rekha Bhardwaj;  Lyrics: Gulzar – Rekha’s third track in the album is a salsa sounding number full of mathematic tables of 3 and 4 (Not kidding). The way Gulzar connects the tables to the rest of the mukhda is amusing and creative. Arrangements lacks novelty but the composition, particularly in the antara, makes up a really interesting experience. The way Rekha Bhardwaj renders those tables in such a style is phenomenal. 

6. Alvida – Singer: Arijit Singh;  Lyrics: Gulzar – A typical Bhardwaj composition containing those familiar unusual notes that begin the song. Arijit, as I said earlier, is getting better with every song to such an extent that he sounds even better here compared to how he did in Yeh Ishq Hai. The transition after the first anatara to a more qawwali ambiance is one of the points that makes the song engaging. And, Arijit sounds brilliant in that transition. This is that Bhardwaj show one usually expects in his albums. 

7. Julia – Singers: Sukhwinder Singh, K.K., Kunal Ganjawalla, Vishal Bhardwaj;  Lyrics: Gulzar – Such a grand appeal it has while going through multiple transitions. Vishal makes such interesting combos of all the four singers including himself in every line that the song totally holds your attention till the end. It is one of those songs in which you won’t remember anything except that it’s on Julia and I guess that’s the sole motive of the makers. Somehow Vishal Bhardwaj couldn’t equate the portions and Sukhwinder lands up getting much more than the other two and the composer himself. Superb arrangements and instrumentation.

8. Chori Chori – Singer: Rekha Bhardwaj;  Lyrics: Gulzar – Another retro sounding track on Rekha Bhardwaj which she seems quite comfortable in handling. It’s a foot-tapping peppy track that is catchy and has interesting elements to dance upon. Compared to other tracks in the album, it lacks that standout quality but manages to be an engaging one. The way the instruments are played reminds you of Raj Kapoor’s Aawaara tracks.

9. Rangoon Theme – Instruments – Well, in this one and a half minute theme track, you wish if those Violins could continue playing for a longer time. It has a great emotional appeal. Strangely, the notes, as beautiful as they sound, strongly resemble Dear Zindagi theme.

10. Be Still – Singer: Dominique Cerejo;  Lyrics: Lekha Washington – This is a non-Gulzar track which Lekha has written quite aptly with respect to the mood of the song. A lovely Jazz by Vishal Bhardwaj where although the arrangements are typical and no experimentation has been tried there, Dominique handles the song so beautifully that it’s almost captivating for a listener.

11. Shimmy Shake – Singer: Vivienne Pocha;  Lyrics: Lekha Washington – Here he goes pure 50s Western Rock ‘n’ Roll with Vivienne’s great singing, almost making believable that it really is a song from that era. Lekha’s second and the last track which is written unfashionably and hence, authentically.

Rangoon is yet another example of how Bhardwaj-Gulzar jodi is ever flowering. 

Worth Listening: Yeh Ishq Hai, Alvida, Julia

The Final Verdict: 4/5

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