If the violin prelude, which has been teasing us all in the run-up to the release of the upcoming Dedh Ishqiya is anything to go by, then the music of this Abhishek Chaubey film will disappoint the addicts of the melodies churned out by the Vishal Bharadwaj-Gulzar combination. For the record, it does not cast a spell like all the songs from Ishqiya did. From a wider perspective, the music may work for some, because of some decent poetry.
But there is a basic problem with the soundtrack. Everything is extremely scurried and uninspiring. The compositions, the way lyrics have been set, the choruses, the interludes, the orchestration, it’s all there, but most of it lacks any kind of soul. It does not stir up the nostalgia of a lost age for us, like the duo’s other songs have in the past. There are some masterstrokes though — a couple of songs, brilliant orchestration and lyrics.
The album opens with Dil ka mizaaj in Rahat Fateh Ali Khan’s voice. The guitar, light drums and Khan’s voice gives the song a flow in the beginning. But soon, the song makes an effort to dress itself up in the garb of Dil toh bachha, which does not work. This one from the six song album is like any other song from any other composer’s arsenal of mediocre songs. The lyrics of Na bolu main toh kaleja phooke are magical. The guitar preludes and interludes in this one sound as if out of a Woody Allen film. The song in Khan’s voice is one of the better ones on the album.
Then comes Hamari atariya pe, a Mirza Jamal daadra made famous in raag Bhairavi by Begum Akhtar. The chorus before the sthayi, which replaces the strains of sarangi in the original one, reminds us of AR Rahman’s Bombay. The daadra has been turned into a techno mujra, which is an interesting touch. The more modern orchestration with electric guitars has been paired with a fantastic theka on the tabla.
But Rekha Bharadwaj’s voice in this one is just about ordinary. But she soon gives us Jagaave saari raina — a genius track in raag Mishra Khamaj and is one song that works in every aspect. The intricate sitar pieces take us back to the days of old
Madan Mohan when Rais Khan had the responsibility of creating those gorgeous impromptu interludes. The tukras by Birju Maharaj, without a doubt are brilliant. Kya hoga, a qawwali, with harmonium and tabla and earthy voices of Master Saleem, Jazim Sharma and Shahid Mallya may work in the film, but in the playlist, it sounds over-amplified. Horn ok please by Sukhwinder Singh and Yo Yo Honey Singh is a normal song until one listens to the gorgeous lyrics. It may not as fantastic
as Ibn-e-batuta, but is worth a listen.
Despite some touches of genius, not a single song had me swoon, a quality all the Vishal Bharadwaj songs have had in the past. Hopefully, their next outing will be better.