The good thing about composer Shantanu Moitra is that, unlike many of his contemporaries, he doesn’t release an album every two months. This is why his latest Bobby Jasoos, despite belonging to the same vein as his existing work, has a sort of freshness. The album’s first song Jashn has a joyous festive feel to it but is heavily reminiscent of Moitra’s very own Hum toh aise hain bhaiya from Laaga Chunari Mein Daag. Jashn sounds like a Hyderabadi cousin of the latter, its Southern flavour underlined by the nagaswaram in the prelude. The similarity takes away some merit from the song that otherwise boasts of spirited singing by Shreya Ghoshal, Bonnie Chakraborty and a nicely textured arrangement.
Next is Tu, the most likeable song from the album. It’s a ghazal with semi-classical flourishes but Moitra makes it sound like an old-fashioned romantic duet. Papon’s singing makes it memorable. The next, the title song B.O.B.B makes an interesting attempt at blending the vibe of detective comedies of the West with the grunge of old Hyderabad.
Even Neeraj Shridhar is in character here, singing with a comedic, hushed voice — sounding a bit like a male version of Usha Uthup. Besides Swanand Kirkire’s flavourful lyrics, it has a catchy chorus. Sweety is perhaps the album’s weakest number. It’s not bad, but too average sounding — the tabla-dholak pattern and singing are just too ordinary — even as it dutifully provides the pleasures of a pop song.
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In the reprise of Tu, Moitra does a nice trick of swapping Papon and Ghoshal’s portions, reversing their roles from the original. While Ghoshal unsurprisingly shines bright with the classical bits, Papon has little to do here. At a time when music in Bollywood is on a computer overdrive in order to sound contemporary, it’s good to have a refreshingly old-fashioned album like Bobby Jasoos that centres around inventive use of playback singing, playful use of acoustic instruments and a solid composer-lyricist partnership.