Lyricist: Amitabh Bhattacharya
Here and There
As with most of their albums in the past few years, Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy show flashes of their former selves — when each album would be highly anticipated and most of them till today stand the test of time — but there are some that don’t quite fill you. 2 States is the latter. It reflects in the first song, Offo, that commits too many cliches to work as a whole. The melodious antara and an unusual hook are negated by the chosen path of a college pop rock ditty: spunky female singer, unsurprising electric guitar riffs and, the worst of all, severely auto-tuned voices.
Next comes what is easily the album’s best song, Locha-e-Ulfat, that goes on to show just how well the composers do when they are able to nail the joyous Bollywood pop number, reminding me of two of my favourite songs from last year such as Badtameez dil and the Shuddh Desi Romance title song. Almost everything works for it: the terrific bagpipe hook, Bhattacharya’s mint fresh lyrics that marries an everyday simplicity with college romance, and Benny Dayal’s voice channels much of its buoyant energy.
Mast magan, a sort of spiritual love song, has a wonderful chorus, and it grows on you. My only reservation is its uncanny resemblance with Ishq sufiyana. The loud Punjabi family wedding song Iski uski is spoilt by too many voices—with six singers—and lack of a central good tune. I am yet to decide on Chaandaniya, which plays around its loopy guitar plucks, much like SEL’s Mera Yaar from last year’s Bhaag Milkha. While K Mohan and Yashita Sharma’s heartfelt singing and the country-folk vibe in the arrangement works, there is a sameness that weighs the song down.
Hulla, with killer dhol beats, brings back the vibe of SEL’s superbly energetic dance numbers from Jhoom Barabar Jhoom and Bunty aur Babli. Also, there is much joy to be had from the spirited father-son jugalbandi of Shankar and Siddharth Mahadevan. While this and Locha-e-Ulfat will sit atop any favourite list this year, the remaining songs of 2 States have their moments but still fall short of the composers’ talent.