Barfi! Music Review (Pritam)

Anurag Basu and Pritam are a team. So much so for me that I generally tend to forget Kites as Anurag’s movie, going back dircetly to Metro, which the two worked on together, and literally rocked.

Here, they come once again, to give you an album, where not a single piece of a single song seems to be touching Metro. Yeah, it’s all, all new.

The album begins with Ala Ala Matwala Barfi. Mohit Chauhan makes some wonderful onomatopoeic noises here, but it’s the simple tune of Pritam that deserves equal credit. Ranbir this time seems to be doing even better than what he did in rockstar, though it’s not really good to compare as the two are very different movies.

Back to the song. I hope you have all heard the first, Mohit Chauhan version of the song. So more on the Swanand Kirkire version. This one didn’t sound THAT interesting to me after Mohit’s version, though Swanand’s solid voice gives a different touch to the song. Sounds more like an old composer singing his song.

Nickhil Paul George (or call him Nikhil if you so prefer) singing Main kya karoon has been my favorite since the day I heard it for the first time, mostly for the vocals, again other than the light, simple arrangements. The singer, who has sung with Ash King, does sound a lot like him, at least in style. Actually this was quite clear with these two songs that Barfi! is gonna be a much lighter album than Metro, or even an average album of nowadays, and so it is.

The third song, Papon and Sunidhi’s Kyon na hum tum is a simple one. Simple as in, with not too much of new elements. Just a simple song with some nice lyrics. The lyrics of the song are actually sweet, the way ‘roopak’ is used in that. Not sure if what exactly is roopak in English, but I can tell you ‘nazar ke kankadon se khamoshi ki khidkiyan yoon todenge’ is roopak twice. That’s the part I loved the most in this one, with Papon’s evergreen singing.

Arijit Singh is Pritam’s favorite singer nowadays. You can pick any of his past five albums to confirm that. And this time he gets a completely different assignment from his mentor. The song, phir le aaya dil, is more like a Ghazal in its treatment, with all the ‘thehraav’ and of course the tabla based arrangements. And Arijit sings it the lovely Urdu piece quite well.

Of course, Pritam doesn’t leave his beautiful song to Arijit alone this time, not in this Ghazal mode, and gets a perfect version done from none other than Rekha Bharadwaj. Need not say she is a killer yet again, right from the VERY first line. No surprises, it’s in her very forte. MUST listen.

One more experimental-beautiful-old-sounding piece is Aashiyan sung by Shreya and Nickhil. Shreya is a little different with her voice here, though Nickhil remains his regular voice only. The arrangement of the song is interesting, in all its old-western touch. So much so that I can see a girl in something like a polka-dotted frock, in almost black-n-white. Yeah, that’s what music can do to you. To me at least. Anyway, you can guess how much I am into the song, and it is worth it. Very sweet-cute types, nature touching lyrics.

The last song of the album (discounting all the repeat versions as I’ve talked about them all) is Saanwali si raat ho, once again sung by Arijit. This one is a very slow, very simple, and very minimally arranged number. The lyrics are wonderfully romantic in this one. Fall in love with them.

OK. So overall Barfi! is very much in tune with what you would have already heard from the album, almost continuing in the same mood (other than Phir le aaya dil), but still giving you enough to stick on to, for quite a long time. The good things about the album are: It’s simple arrangements, beautiful lyrics, quality compositions, and lastly, it’s lack of remixes. Actually remix is something you wouldn’t even think about in this album. It’s a Barfi that you’d like to savour for quite some time.

PS: At times, I felt like this was a Shantanu Moitra album, with all the slow-soulful-remixless music, and Swanand Kirkire’s lyrics. Special accolades for Pritam for doing something that I’d say out of his comfort zone.

Hente Chenashona Rastay n System: a music review (Bengali, Jeet Ganguly)

I am not really into Bengali music and understand the language very little, but recently when I was going through the Ovi website, I saw this album called ‘System’ that attracted me a bit and I downloaded Hente Chenashona Rastay, Papon’s version. And the sound so impressed me I downloaded the entire album.

So you may count it as an opinion of a music fan restricted by the limits of language rather than a music review. First of all let me talk of the song. Jeet Ganguly comes up with some lovely music and arrangements and the romantic song (as much as I got it) sounds really good. Papon is not-so-surprisingly very Bengali in his rendition and I wonder how he can shift his accent when singing in different languages so… perfectly.

Jeet’s version of the song seems to play down the vocals a bit in relative terms, but is good nonetheless.
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Soundtrack (2011): Music Review (Midival Punditz, Karsh Kale, Papon)

Welcome to Soundtrack.

That’s something Atomizer says. Not a great track, but I put the theme on loop and didn’t get bored for quite some time as it just kept going in the background. Repeatedly, giving me some typical Midival Punditz-Karsh Kale music.

The next, Banao banao by Papon is already one of his famous tracks, and his magic doesn’t leave him in this light, experimental, dopey track. Liked it.

It’s Ek Manzil though that made me take the music of this album seriously. The song sung by Vishal Vaid, has not just a lovely beginning music, but some wonderful lyrics as well. Rocking.

Fakira, next track, sung by Vishal Vaid again, has a nice start and some addictive music with words repeated such that they stick in your head. You can probably call it an Electronica-Sufi number, if you can get what I am trying to say.

Kailash Kher sings the next song Main Chala, which is full of enthusiasm and josh, that Kailash sings in his signature voice, with a little rocky music. Will sound okay without a video/background detail but should look much better once you have an idea of the background of the song.

Papon comes again to sing Naina Laage, who, after an wave-y start, moves on to some lovely singing on a nice rhythm. There are not too many words in the six and half minute song, but it sounds wonderful nonetheless. One of the best songs of the album.

The next track is a remix of Kishore Kumar’s ruk jaana nahi, sung by Suraj Jagan, who surprisingly fits well in the track, though the live mood of the song could be lessened a bit in my opinion. But I get a feeling that those who haven’t heard the song before would find this one lovely, and those who have, won’t really be offended. A nice try in short. Well done rockstar boy.

The next in line is Symphony of the Streets by Midival Punditz and Karsh Kale, is a kinda easy on ears cacophony, comprising of sounds of horns, trains, planes, and more. Try this one.

The Soundtrack Theme is again something that seems to have a kinda similar sound, though there is no cacophony involved, but instead, a nice, soothing melody can be found in the background.

Anushka Manchanda’s What the F is going on sounds promising in the beginning, but gets a little banal from where the punch line kicks in. Still not really bad.

Lastly comes Malini Awasthi sung Ye Jeevan hai, who doesn’t sing the song in a sweet-loving voice, but in a more serious-solid tone, that may seem a bit harsh too, but then ye jeevan hai, and thus it goes. Liked it. Cannot prefer it to Kishore of course, but I don’t think I’d mind listening to this version. Do try, unless you totally cannot not hear Kishore songs sung by others.

Overall, Soundtrack is something new, which was kinda expected from Midival Punditz and Karsh Kale. But then Papon’s added contributions give some more variety and sweetness to the album. I am not sure how many would love the album, but if you like Electronica, are a fan of Midival Punditz/Karsh Kale, or want to try something new, I think you should go for this one.

Update: Both the songs that belong to Papon are Midival Punditz compositions. Since I had heard the song Banao Banao much before the movie, I considered it a Papon composition, which is not the case. Thanks to Vipin of MusicAloud for this one.

I am Kalam: Music Review (Abhishek, Madhuparna, Papon, Shivji, Susmit)

Abhishek Ray’s composition for the words chaand taare jeb mein hain is well sung by KK and makes a nice listen. The next, Shreya’s Chini bhini, again composed by Abhishek, has lyrics bubbling with enthusiasm and Shreya is kind of surprising in this one as she sings the song in a little intoxicated voice. The combination of lyrics and music here is not really what one would expect seeing the lyrics, but it sounds nice the way it is.
Madhuparna composed Rang Jamale reminds me of Chak de the way it starts, but then the song has only a touch from there, more in the terms of arrangements than composition. The composition seems to have more touches from here and there, but does sound fine and Javed fits well here. The female version of the song, sung by Anushka Manchanda, is a little different from her regular more-English-than-Hindi songs and she sounds different, and nice. One good part is that Anushka doesn’t let the instruments overpower her voice here.

Papon’s self composed (probably his first in Bollywood) Zindagi aisi waisi is quite lovely and makes Papon sound promising once again, this time as a composer as well. I had already loved him in Jiyein Kyun, but this time he sounded more serious. Protique Mojoomdar’s positive lyrics are definitely a plus.

Susmit Bose and Shivji Dholi’s Jeevan ek rangoli hai is more of a live thing and the folk’ish number sounds different, like it’s recorded out of the recording rooms, like old songs. But the lyrics of the song are good and the song gives a ‘real’ feel.

Udan pe baitho kaaga bole is another small, real sounding track from Shivji Dholi which is almost unplugged with just a harmonium to support him.

The last track, children’s version of chaand taare jeb mein hain is an okay one. The version reminds me of Chillar Party where Amit Trivedi had got some children to sing in a wonderful manner, but here there is nothing like that and children just make a good chorus, like it happened in old movies during one time. Not bad.

Overall, I am Kalam is a good album with assorted composers. Interestingly the album doesn’t have usual run of the mill songs and also the lyrics of almost all the songs are good, irrespective of who they have been written or sung by. I hope the movie is equally good.

Buy I am Kalam Audio CD Here.

Coke Studio India. June 17th. 7 PM. MTV.

Coke Studio is finally in India. And while there may be questions about the credibility of the show and comparisons to its much older Pakistani counterpart, I am quite hopeful and almost sure that this will be a wonderful experience for us.

For now, here is some detail about the show, mostly about who all are gonna be there on the show.

The show will have twenty artistes. While the top Bollywood line of the show comprises of Shankar Mahadevan, Shaan, KK and Sunidhi Chauhan, we’ll also see Kailash Kher, Richa Sharma, Shruti Pathak, and Benny Dayal from Bollywood singers.

Besides, there will be Raghu Dixit, or should I say The Raghu Dixit Project, the well known name from Bangalore; once so popular Colonial Cousins – Hariharan and Leslie Lewis; comparatively lesser known Bollywood singers Harshdeep Kaur and Akriti Kakkar (Harshdeep is winner of two television reality shows and has even sung for A R Rahman in Rang De Basanti, Akriti has almost twenty movies to her credit where she has sung); and the singer of mora saiyyan, aankhon kay sagar, mitwa, and many more, Shafqat Amanat Ali Khan.

Then there are Sabri Brothers*, Aftab and Hashim Sabri, qawwali singers who have sung for Hindi films as well, my best memory being of Allah Allah from Yeh Dil Ashiqana (no idea how crappy the movie was but the songs were good, the qawwali being one of the best) and Tumse mil ke dil ka hai jo haal from Main hoon na.

Also the show will have Sufi singers Puranchand and Pyarelal Wadali i.e. Wadali Brothers there too. The pair has also sung a couple of songs for Bollywood, the latest being Rangrez in Tanu weds Manu.

In lesser known singers, which could and should make the real life of the show, there will be Assamese Bihu specialist Khagen Gogoi, Tamilnadu’s once-a-singer-at-thirteen Chinna Ponnu, another Assamese Mausam Gogoi, maker of boatmen band Majhi Mallah Saurav Mandal and New Delhi’s eclectic music group Advaita.

What is still a confusion though, is that while the list above is given on the ‘Artists’ page of the Coke Studio website, there is another sentence that says ‘The collaborations are so eclectic as to bring together Shafqat Ali and Shruti Pathak, Sunidhi Chauhan and Wadali Brothers, Kailash Kher and Papon, Shankar Mahadevan and Khogen Da, and Bombay Jayshree, Richa Sharma and Rashid Khan among others‘ while going by the list, I won’t find Papon, Bombay Jayshree and Rashid Khan on the show.

* My guess is that there is some mix up regarding them on the Coke Studio’s official website, they claim that Sabri Brothers are a Pakistani Qawwali party.

Dum Maaro Dum: Music Review

Abhishek and Earl’s Thayn Thayn somehow sounds so much like a piece from Bluffmaster even with a different composer here. I guess this will sound good and look great once it comes out. Watch out for it.

Te Amo, the song sung by Ash King, is definitely a lovely one and Pritam does his own good thing with Ash’s voice, as long as you don’t compare this one to Dil gira daffatan. While Ash is lovely in the soft romantic song and natural with the English parts of the song, Sunidhi is not bad either. One song you would love.

Like in all Pritam albums, there is another version of Te Amo, a reprise by Pritam. I guess I need not tell you how a soft version of a soft romantic song would sound when Mohit sings it. The slight acoustic setting Pritam has given to the song is nice.

Mit Jaaye Gham. Dum Maaro Dum. Shirt. Potty. Nanga. Well, It’s like that only. All I can say is that after this song is on air, the censor board won’t have to do much to decide the audience. Families are NOT going to watch this one. Oh, as for the music, it’s okay. As expected, it’s made in kinda addictive mood. But lyrics, oh, well..

If there is something in the album that I was able to hear in a loop from the first time itself, here it is. Jiyein Kyun is not only good on music and singing, the lyrics are so lovely, I just fell for the song very soon.

As for the music, Pritam is almost in Metro mood here and Papon sounds so much like James in his singing. And Mr Sahni Jaideep, I love you. DO Listen to this one.

And then Zubeen Garg’s Jaana hai is a signature Pritam song in Zubeen’s very typical voice. Nothing too great, but there is definitely a special kind of depth in Zubeen’s voice that Always attracts you, which especially suits songs with a, what would I say, kashish, with a longing to go ahead and achieve something. And here is one such song. Liked it.

Overall, Dum Maaro Dum may be an album to hide from your parents (yes, at any age) after listening to that title song, but there are a few good songs in the album and while you love everything from Jiyein Kyun to Te Amo, Jaana hai and Thayn Thayn aren’t disappointing. In short, cool. In fact a bit too much in a some places, you know.