Lyrics: Varun Grover, Amir Khusrau (Ghayal hiraniya)
Composers: Rahul Ram and Amit Kilam; Nora Krull and Rosenbaum; Fareeduddin Ayaz Qawwal
Music Label: Junglee Music
It isn’t often that one comes across an album so consistent in construction, yet facile in tackling the subject of the film. Dipti Kakkar and Fahad Mustafa’s documentary titled Katiyabaaz, is a film that has found a musician/ lyricist team, which has delivered an absolute cracker with just five tracks. The 20 something gone-too-quick minutes had us replay the compositions by Rahul Ram and Amit Kilam and re-enter the beautiful grooves they come with. With only three out of five tracks at their disposal, Ram and Kilam’s approach is rustic yet contemporary.
The album opens with Kanpura, a folk ditty loosely based on raag Yaman that comes with the robustness of Ram’s voice, the energetic-yet-simple alaaps, chorus and beat boxing sections created by Kilam and some earthy harmonium preludes and interludes paired with a flute and bhapang. The contemporary touch comes from the guitar twangs. It’s hard not to sway to Kanpura, the lyrics of which go Aadha aadha jod ke banta pura ek fitura, aadhe hi chirag ke tale pura kanpura. Dark humour at its best. Lyricist Varun Grover who showed us great potential with Gangs of Wasseypur gets it spot on with interesting phrases like “bhasad machi”. There isn’t any other way of saying it. Is there?
Then comes Raids chalu, a track which is likely to be a background score. Just a guitar and tabla play as Kilam’s vocals hover between tabla bols and actual words. One of the more intelligently arranged tracks; it’s funny, yet haunting with minimum use of instruments. Loha’s theme by Nora Krull is a blend of beat boxing, claps, a rail whistle, electronic sounds and drum and bass doing the magic. Jaag musafir’s USP is again intelligent lyrics with flawless delivery, but follows Kanpura’s structure. We wish Ram and Kilam tried a different tune here.
Ghayal hiraniya is a bandish in raag Vrindavani Sarang. We loved the way a delicate guitar riff plays in the background along with a sarangi refrain as Fareeduddin Ayaz’s deep baritone paired with laboured breaths creeps into the structure. The natural bandish expansion style comes to the fore here merged with a qawwali chorus. The songs are far too purposeful to just be comfort food. They, especially Kanpura, get you thinking. That’s what a song needs to do.