Novelty floating over Typicality!! (Running Shaadi – Music Review)

An Amit Roy film that stars Amit Sadh, Tapsee Pannu and Arsh Bawja, is co-written by Navjot Gulati and produced by the ever favorite Shoojit Sircar. Music is given by Abhishek-Akshay, Anupam Roy, Keegan Pinto, Anjaana Ankur and Sandeep.

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Music Label: Times Music 

1. Pyaar Ka Test – Singers: Bappi Lahiri, Kalpana Patowary;  Music: Abhishek-Akshay;  Lyrics: Manoj Yadav – It’s surprising to see Manoj Yadav writing these lyrics. They are hilarious, in the sense that you get annoyed with the constant use of weird metaphors and still you land up laughing and there’s a constant curiosity of what is going to be metaphorized next. Bappi Lahiri with his heavy vocals capture every song so amazingly. Kalpna is a good choice for the song. A well-intended amusement, mostly due to good writing. 

2. Mannerless Majnu – Singer: Sukanya Purkayastha;  Music: Abhishek-Akshay;  Lyrics: Manoj Yadav – Again, Manoj Yadav’s impressive writing owns the song but it is also shared by the duo’s equally good composition. Arrangements are worth noticing. Sukanya justifies the mood beautifully. She seemed to be having a good sense of the kind of composition it is. Within a minute the song is able to engage the listener.

3. Dimpy De Naal Bhaage Bunty – Singer: Labh Janjua;  Music: Abhishek-Akshay;  Lyrics: Shellee – So the song must be recorded last year before Labh Janjua passed away. It’s a treat to hear his voice once more. Abhishek-Akshay scores impressively in this track as well. They seem to have quite well captured the mood and pace of the film. Great energy, great rhythm, appropriate arrangements. The composition could have been slightly better, though.

4. Bhaag Milky Bhaag – Singers: Sanam Puri, Sonu Kakkar;  Music: Keegan Pinto;  Lyrics: Keegan Pinto, Sonal Sehgal – Keegan Pinto enters the album with such an innovative track which has a comical underplay, overlaid by the effective chorus in the bhaag milky part that you land up singing with them. The emotions are well captured and the Guitar strumming in the mukhda is something to listen for. Sanam and Sonu are splendid!

5. Faraar – Singer: Jubin Nautiyal;  Music: Keegan Pinto;  Lyrics: Keegan Pinto – Keegan’s next track is less impressive. Except for the hook line, faraar ho jayenge, which has so nicely been done, the rest of the song turns out to be below average. Jubin’s singing overpowers anything that is less effective in the song. Lyrics could have been way better, though. The hook line is so appealing that the song, overall, turns out to be good enough to give it a try. It’s definitely going to sound impactful with the visuals.

6. Main Faraar Sa – Singers: Anupam Roy, Hamsika Iyer;  Music: Anupam Roy;  Lyrics: Tanveer Ghazi – After Piku and Pink, this is Anupam’s third with Shoojit Sircar and he maintains almost the similar sound here. Mukhda gives deja vu of Piku, antara is really impressive. His vocals end up sounding like Amit Trivedi and I guess he can’t help that! It’s good to hear Hamsika after a long time and she has actually got the best portion to sing. A soothing one!

7. Kuch Toh Hai – Singers: Jubin Nautiyal;  Music: Anjaana Ankur & Sandeep;  Lyrics: Anas Ali Khan – Too much of experimentation in the notes as well as in the instrumentation. Nothing repeats here so by the time you are trying to get acquainted with the song, it ends. Jubin doesn’t help and he cannot, in such cases. Fails to connect. 

Abhishek-Akshay and Keegan Pinto come up with some really cool compositions.

Worth Listening: Manerless Majnu, Bhaag Milky Bhaag 

The Final Verdict: 3/5

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Neeraj Shridhar as a Composer!! (Irada – Music Review)

An eco-thriller directed by Aparnaa Singh has Naseeruddin Shah, Arshad Warsi, Divya Dutt along with other notable actors. The music of the film is given by well-noted singer Neeraj Shridhar and Irada is his first film as a music director.

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Music: Neeraj Shridhar;  Lyrics: Neeraj Shridhar;  Music Label: Junglee Music

1. Mahi – Singers: Harshdeep Kaur, Shabab Sabri – Harshdeep takes off quite well though she lacks the charm that she carries with her in every song. The song lacks in novelty and fails in engaging. It would have helped if Shabab had got some prominent lines to sing, making it a proper duet. It would bring some color to the composition. It ends in a very traditional way, leaving no room for any kind of creative impact.

2. Irada – Nikhil Uzgare – Belonging to Bollywood Rock, a genre that, if not composed well, becomes a daunting task to hear, this song is nothing more than that. Nikhil’s efforts are acknowledgeable. Lyrics could have been way better, although that would not have helped the song much. Tiresome. 

3. Chaand Rajai Odhe – Singer: Papon – A lullaby relief is here, a song with soothing notes rendered in a more soothing vocal of Papon. The song is too long, though. Reaching the end, one tends to feel a little bored. The motive of a lullaby is to provide a sleep not out of boredom. If the song had a shorter duration, it would have been much interesting and engaging.

4. Mitran De – Singers: Master Saleem, KaurB., Earl Edgar – This sounds like one of those necessary songs that are kept while the end titles roll. It’s another Punjabi flavored heard before track following the similar graph of notes, playing extremely safe. Master Saleem’s vocals somehow take the song forward. That hardly helps, though.

Neeraj Shridhar’s disappointing debut. 

Worth Listening: Chaand Rajai Odhe

The Final Verdict: 1/5

Only 50% Jolly!! (Jolly LLB 2 – Music Review)

Subhash Kapoor has planned to take forward his mildly successful franchise Jolly LLB with a sequel with Akshay Kumar replacing Arshad Warsi. Unlike the previous one which had Krsna, the sequel has multi-composers consisting of Manj Musik, Meet Bros, Chirantan Bhatt and Vishal Khurana.

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Music Label: T-Series

1. Go Pagal – Singers: Raftaar, Nindy Kaur (Additional Vocals: Girish Nakod, Manj Musik);  Music: Manj Musik (Co-Composer: Nilesh Patil);  Lyrics: Manj Musik, Raftaar – The song so rightly justifies the title or infact the whole lyrics. It’s literally nonsense. Raftaar tries hard and Nindy is avoidable. The only good element in this song is Dholak which gives some sense that it’s a Holi song. Apart from that, the song has nothing to offer. Ingnore!

2. Bawara Mann – Singers: Jubin Nautiyal, Neeti Mohan;  Music: Chirantan Bhatt;  Lyrics: Junaid Wasi – What a relief of sanity with a Chirantan Bhatt melody that soothes you within seconds. It has really simplistic notes that fluidly carries the song. Jubin sounds good though I was expecting Arijit for this. Neeti should have got more portion to sing. Junaid’s lyrics does complete justice to the mood.

3. Jolly Good Fellow – Singers: Meet Bros (Additional Vocals: Purnima Solanki, Sanchiti Sakat; Rap: Shabbir Ahmed; English Rap: Earl Edgar);  Music: Meet Bros;  Lyrics: Shabbir Ahmed –  After a romantic relief, comes another wannabe-humorous track that totally survives on the ready-made nursery rhyme of the same name. Besides those catchy notes of the nursery rhyme, not even a single moment is tolerable enough. Shabbir Ahmed’s rap is horrible and Earl Edgar is definitely avoidable. Yawn!

4. O Re Ranreza (Qawaali) – Singers: Sukhwinder Singh, Murtza Mustafa, Qadir Mustafa;  Music: Vishal Khurana;  Lyrics: Junaid Wasi – Composing a qawaali is difficult, though it’s disappointing to hear that Vishal, who amazed us in Neerja, didn’t actually take the effort of making it sound different. It has elements you must have heard in almost every filmy qawaali – the music and the vocal arrangements, the lyrics, and the instrumentation. Sukhwinder with Mustafa brothers have really managed to engage by their effective vocals. The way Sukhwinder ends, is the real treat for the listener.

Two worked, two failed, in this album of four songs.  

Worth Listening:  Bawara Mann, O Re Rangreza (Qawaali)

The Final Verdict: 2/5

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Ram Sampath Rooted, JAM8 Routined!! (Raees – Music Review)

Rahul Dholakia is returning into mainstream film business after a very long time and so is Ram Sampath. But the makers didn’t seem satisfied with only Ram being on board, so they called Pritam for help. Pritam has provided his and India’s only A&R Jam8, to encourage new talent in music. Under Jam8, Kaushik-Akaash have already delivered few songs in the past. Now the composers under Jam8 have got this grand platform to showcase their talent, and so does Ram Sampath.

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Music Label: Zee Music Company 

1. Laila Main Laila – Singer: Pawni Pandey;  Music: Kalyanji-Anandji  (Recreated by Ram Sampath);  Lyrics: Indeevar  (Additional Lyrics: Javed Akhtar) – With every film, there’s a recreated song from any film that is more than ten years old atleast. Very few of those recreations come out to be really enjoyable and this, by Ram Sampath, comes under that. Pawni Pandey’s exuberant singing adds an appropriate amount of zest to the track. Although she lands up sounding Alisha Chenoy at many places, she manages to pull the song on her own.

2. Zaalima – Singer: Arijit Singh, Harshdeep Kaur;  Music: JAM8;  Lyrics: Amitabh Bhattacharya – A song by Pritam’s JAM8 which sounds so much like Pritam himself. The style of composition as well as the arrangements are extremely similar. It has Pritam’s footprints all over. Sunidhi might be a better choice, considering the low pitched singing. Arijit has already sung few of Pritam’s songs that matches the similar style of rhythm and he perfects in this as well. Although this is not one of his best, Amitabh manages to remain stick to the mood and style of the song.

3. Udi Udi Jaye – Singers: Sukhwinder Singh, Bhoomi Trivedi, Karsan Sgathia;  Music: Ram Sampath;  Lyrics: Javed Akhtar – The Garba-ish rhythm is excellently placed throughout the song, no matter how predictable it sounds, it sets up the mood right there in the beginning. Sukhwinder’s surplus rendition of do dil ude is one of the attractive elements of the song. Lyrics gets a bit cliched, particularly in the mukhda. Mandolin is well used and so is the vocal interlude of Karsan. A predictable composition with predictable lyrics but few vocal and musical arrangements make it appreciable. 

4. Dhingana – Singer: Mika Singh;  Music: Aheer (JAM8);  Lyrics: Mayur Puri – So the moment it began, I got reminded of so many songs which have this similar style and feel. One of them was Satakli from Happy New Year. The song belongs to that genre which is fine but it lands up offering nothing new or appealing. Aheer, in that sense, fails to create his own individuality. With Mika and Mayur Puri behind him, he couldn’t pull off a great start.  

5. Enu Naam Che Raees – Singers: Ram Sampath, Tarannum Malik;  Music: Ram Sampath;  Lyrics: Ram Sampath, Hiral Brahmbhatt – The song has been made appealing with its percussion and few vocal sounds but that do not help much as it does not have a proper catchy tune that can be followed. When it comes to theme tracks, Ram is excellent, which has already been proven in Talaash and Delhi Belly among many. Here, he gets faded because there is not a single tune able enough to hold attention. Could have been way better. 

6. Saanson Ke – Singer: KK;  Music: Aheer (JAM8);  Lyrics: Manoj Yadav – Aheer who manages to be quite better in his second attempt, creates a romantic number for KK, someone who has been strongly associated with Pritam. KK, with his midas touch, has given this song a much-needed feel which would have not been there otherwise. A nice composition, though Aheer seems to have preferred staying in a safer zone.  

7. Ghammar Ghammar – Singer: Roshan Rathod;  Music: Ram Sampath;  Lyrics: Traditional – A traditional melody that Ram Sampath has creatively produced bringing Roshan Rathod on board who has a perfect voice for handling a song like this. Not much effort has been given in the track it seems, and the controlled effort has worked in favor of the song. Short duration is one such.

The problem with the album is the conflict between Ram Sampath’s script rooted songs and JAM8’s mainstream melodies. 

Worth Listening: Zaalima, Udi Udi Jaye

The Final Verdict:  2.5/5

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Not Kaabil enough!! (Kaabil – Music Review)

So Rakesh Roshan’s Kaabil which is directed by Sanjay Gupta is about to hit theaters though its songs by Rajesh Roshan doesn’t seem to connect with the people. But on an unbiased note, let’s go through the soundtrack of Kaabil.

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Music: Rajesh Roshan;  Music Album: T-Series 

1. Kaabil Hoon / Kaabil Hoon (Sad) – Singers: Jubin Nautiyal, Palak Muchhal;  Lyrics: Nasir Faraaz – Rajesh Roshan seems to have visited his chaand sitaare days (pun intended) while composing this song. It’s a vintage Roshan melody that definitely stays with you because of its rhythmic flow and a pious melody, but doesn’t help in sounding stale. Jubin and Palak lives up to staleness of the song somehow. Nasir Faraaz’s lyrics certainly proves to be no help either. When Jubin croons the similar lines but extremely slowly, it’s the sad version. Just that!

2. Haseeno Ka Deewana – Singers: Payal Dev, Raftaar;  Recreated by Gourov-Roshin;  Lyrics: Kumaar  (Original Lyrics: Anjaan) – The kisi ko mera shauk hai part has been done really well which actually makes you somewhat interested in the track. Otherwise, Payal has solely handled this song with aptly needed zest. Nothing else is exciting in this recreated Rajesh Roshan track. Raftaar’s portion is totally avoidable and Kumaar’s lyrics has nothing noticeable.

3. Kuch Din – Singer: Jubin Nautiyal;  Lyrics: Manoj Muntashir – Jubin seems apt to render this song, the credit of which goes to Rajesh Roshan for making a right choice. Sadly, Jubin sounds miserable, the cause being his trying-so-hard-to-sound-emotional singing. I personally expected something new from Manoj Muntashir. The orchestration is well handled but the old-school recording drowns the song.

4. Mon Amour – Singer: Vishal Dadlani;  Lyrics: Manoj Muntashir – Vishal owns this song the moment he begins, or even before that. A typical trumpetized Bollywood French-Italian imitation which has been heard so many times before. Nonetheless, it’s enjoyable enough though the novelty factor sucks.

5. Kisi Se Pyar Ho Jaye – Singer: Jubin Nautiyal;  Recreated by Gourov-Roshin;  Lyrics: Kumaar  (Original Lyrics: Anand Bakshi) – Somewhere I felt Arijit could have pulled this much better. Jubin tries hard but reaches nowhere near the original rendition of Kishore Kumaar. The one line that is added in this version sounds totally alien to this composition. It doesn’t fit at all. The rest of the song is ditto similar barring the arrangement ofcourse.

Rajesh Roshan does better than Krishh 3, atleast.

Worth Trying: Kaabil Hoon, Mon Amour 

The Final Verdict: 2/5

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More than Okay!! (OK Jaanu – Music Review

Overwhelming is something that AR Rahman tries to do in every album. While this is a remake of a critically and publicly acclaimed Tamil flick Ok Kanmani, Rahman has tried to keep the deja vu aside and create something fresh for Hindi listeners. His music has always been unpredictable and that’s exactly what OK Jaanu has – unpredictability.

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Music: A.R. Rahman;  Lyrics: Gulzar;  Music Label: Sony Music

1. OK Jaanu – Singers: A.R. Rahman, Srinidhi Venkatesh – An antara-less track that is upbeat, catchy and has a nostalgic Rahman hook. Srinidhi unfortunately has got just one line, the song belongs to the composer whose singing has always been an appealing element in a song. Vintage Rahman.

2. Enna Sona – Singer: Arijit Singh – A breezy romantic Arijit lending his voice for a song which doesn’t sound like a Rahman composition, just because it’s so simple. No experimentation has been done in this Guitar-led arranged song which is so impeccably rendered by Arijit. It could have been a Tanishk or an Arko composition. Not-so-Rahman.

3. Jee Lein – Singers: Savithri R. Prithvi, Arjun Chandy, Neeti Mohan – This is something that is highly experimental. It contains n number of techno sounds upon which Savithri’s vocals create a sort of enchanting atmosphere. Neeti Mohan keeps giving her special appearances which is the most melodious and reliable part of the song. A well-crafted interlude could have worked more.

4. Kaara Fankaara – Singers: Paroma Das Gupta, Shashaa Tirupati, Hard Kaur, ADK, kaly, Ashima Mahajan – A hook which is dragged through the entire song with Dubstep giving an edge to it. Lots of well-arranged vocals and lots of EDM sounds create a pretty good impact, though one wishes if the hook could be more elaborate espcially when the track crosses three minutes. The duration should have been shorter, unless there’s some latent intention to it. 

5. Saajan Aayo Re – Singers: Jonita Gandhi, Nakash Aziz – A raga based song that Jonita has efficiently managed though I personally felt that a maturer voice was needed. Nakash potentiates the song as soon as he enters with quite an un-Nakash singing. More work on instrumentation was expected. Surprisingly, the song approaches towards fusion, though thankfully it doesn’t reach there.

6. Maula Wa Sallim – Singer: A.R. Ameen – An aptly pious creation from A.R. Rahman, sung by his son A.R. Ameen which is a devotional song that Rahman has directly kept from the original Tamil film Ok Kanmani. His vocals are as pure as the composition. The song says – “O Mawla! Send prayers and peace always and forever. Upon Your beloved, the best out of all of Creation.” An extremely well-programmed track as well.

7. Sunn Bhavara – Singer: Shashaa Tirupati – Another raga based song which is accentuated by Shashaa’s fitting vocals. Tabla has a prominent role, aptly supporting her vocals at definite pauses. This is arguably the best track in this album. It’s a delight to hear, and a delight for the ears. 

8. The Humma Song – Singers: Jubin Nautiyal, Shashaa Tirupati, Badhshah;  Recreated by Tanishk Bagchi, Badshah (Original Composition: A.R. Rahman);  Lyrics: Mehboob – So, the famous Rahman’s Humma Humma has been recreated by Tanishk and Badshah and that has been done with sheer delight! One of the best remade songs I have heard in recent times. The way the song has been programmed, and I am sure that would have been done under Rahman’s guidance, is praiseworthy. Shashaa shows how amazingly versatile she is, and Jubin has finally got a big ticket to rise high now.

A Romantic mainstream film, set in present time, having raga based classical songs, well that’s surprising. And well, A.R. Rahman is surprising. 

Worth Listening: Enna Sona, OK Jaanu, The Humma Song

Worth Trying: Sunn Bhavara, Mawla Wa Sallim, Saajan Aayo Re

The Final Verdict:  4/5

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Four Magical Soundtracks of 2016 (Jugni-Fitoor-Mirzya-Dangal)

The year 2016 in music will although be remembered by one and only Ae Dil Hai Mushkil, some of the best soundtracks this year will sadly be not getting the recognition they deserved, particularly because they were not as massy as Ae Dil Hai Mushkil or Befikre. There have been some excellent albums in Hindi films this year which include Udta Punjab, Dear Zindagi, M.S. Dhoni – The Untold Story, Baar Baar Dekho, Sultan, Rustom and many others.

 I have been so inconsistent this year. Actually I have been so consistent in not delivering my reviews. So, I thought of having atonement for my sin by writing about these four soundtracks of this year which according to me, were experimental, content-oriented, melodious and far beyond the formulaic music which most of albums in Hindi Film Music do have. These four gems, which I am going to talk about, were outstanding in every sense. Their compositions, their lyrics, and their arrangements, and their non-formulaic approach made them stand separate from others. The albums are Jugni, Fitoor, Mirzya and Dangal (in the order of release).

1. Jugni by Clinton Cerejo

The folksy Punjabi flavor that the album has is just an appealing element but the way Clinton has handled this album is way beyond our imagination. From Dilaan De Saudey to Bolladiyaan to Dugg Duggi Dugg, all the ten songs were superbly creative ranging from traditional Bhangra to Semi-Classical. AR Rahman and Vishal Bhardwaj also contributed their vocals for this highly underrated gem – Jugni.

2. Fitoor by Amit Trivedi

An album by Amit Trivedi for Abhishek Kapoor’s adaptation of Great Expectations, set in Kashmir, Fitoor is basically a love story. Amit and Swanand Kirkire must have kept in mind the basic essence of the movie and that is so well reflecting in the music. Pashmina and Hone Do Batiyaan being my personal favorite, the album had some terrific work in Huminastu, Ranga Re, Tere Liye and the title track.

3. Mirzya by Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy

Mirzya, I am sure, if not today, will be counted among the classics in future. It was such a brilliant work by SEL that arguably it was their career best. The instrumentation, the arrangements, the compositions and the experimentation were flawless. Unfortunately music bombed along with the film and it couldn’t even reach to those who would have given it a certain recognition. Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy repented all of their poor performances in the past, if any, with this stunning album.

4. Dangal by Pritam

Pritam is on a roll! Soon after Ae Dil Hai Mushkil, he came up with Dangal. While the former is something he is a master of, the latter is what actually the composer needs to challenge himself and keep growing. Dangal as an album was highly challenging. A song on a situation of Haanikaarak Bapu is really tough to make. Pritam and Amitabh showed that they deserve nothing less than awards. All the songs were melodious and catchy as well as experimental.

These four albums in 2016 were worth listening, replaying, and worth including in your playlist. The year, otherwise filled with average soundtracks, we can only hope for better in 2017!