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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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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