Composers and Lyricists: Bann Chakraborty, Samira Koppokar, Ayush Shrestha and Savera Mehta, Sanjeev Darshan
It isn’t very often that too many cooks don’t end up spoiling the broth. It also isn’t very often that that too many cooks turn the meal into an interesting delicacy — one that is different, curious, even somewhat hopeful. The music of NH10, despite many composers and lyricists, seems to have a sense of being the sum of its parts — one of the mainstays of any great album. It does have its share of flaws such as mediocre lyrics and monotonous structures, but the songs in NH10 need to be lauded and heard in the days to come. The composers have turned in some aural brilliance through anxiety, pathos and love — emotions that begin to breathe life the moment the music begins.
The album opens with Sanjeev Darshan’s Chhil gaye naina, a grunge piece. The distorted guitars, strong drumbeats make this one an interesting listen. The first arresting riff gives us an idea about the carnage that is to follow. It’s heartwarming to see the amount of power Baby doll fame Kanika Kapoor has infused in her voice for this. She moves away from that typical Punjabi ladies sangeet voice of hers and tailors it well for the intense number.
Le chal mujhe composed by Bann Chakraborty is easily the best song in the album and has five versions. The good part, however, is that every version is quite different from the other. We heard, and it went on to become, without boring us for one second. The one sung by Mohit Chauhan takes over from Chhil gaya naina, at least for the first part in terms of the grunge. But it’s the second part, the one with some beautiful guitar interludes, which lifts this one. Chauhan, however, is just about alright. It is the song’s female version delivered by Shilpa Rao in her bass voice that has a haunting quality to it. There is a pared down, folk pop storytelling going on.The reprise version in Arijit Singh’s voice is fantastic. The piano in the background pushes it to jazz side of things again, his voice creating a variety of crescendos. Khoney de is another version of Le chal and has been sung by Chauhan and Neeti Mohan. This one, with lots of colour through piano notes again pins itself on intelligent jazz structures. What stole our heart, however, was the instrumental version of the song. Melodic ecstasy.
Main jo somehow took us back to The moon song from Spike Joneze’s Her. What makes this dreamy and sensuous track work is the way it’s been whispered with an inherent sense of romance. Maati ka palang mixes grunge with Indian classical music. A sitar jhala is wonderfully layered with distorted guitars, pounding drums and Samira Koppikar’s average voice. Kya karen is all about the slightly operatic but soft vocals of Rachel Varghese, who sings alongside a gentle piano and bass and turns it into a soothing ditty.The lyrics are just about alright, but most of the compositions are intelligent and give you a sense of the hard work that has gone into creating them. It may get a little monotonous after a while but deserves to be played on loop for its intensity. Respect.