The upcoming Raima Sen-starrer Bollywood Diaries is a story of three individuals who are connected through one filament — the dream of becoming an actor. And the film’s music opens up a compelling soundscape with many anthemic moments. Composer Vipin Patwa lets his singers have freedom within discipline, but makes sure that nothing sounds deliberately virtuosic. Basic concepts — a theka seguing into a hook and striking interludes — acquire huge significance.
Patwa isn’t a name that many are familiar with. His last outing (Main Aur Charles – 2015), which was noticed a bit for its music, didn’t do much for him. But Bollywood Diaries should give his middle-of-the-pack status some kind of musical knighthood. At the start, Patwa’s music may sound like a cross between Amit Trivedi’s style and Clinton Cerejo’s modus operendi. The lyrics by Dr Sagar has a whiff of freshness. It’s a fabulously assured album, doesn’t try too hard, and minor glitches aside, has a sound impact.
The album opens with Manwa behrupiya in Arijit Singh’s voice. A sweeping ballad; what’s interesting abut the piece is that it’s pretty much music of the moment with contemporary breeziness. The bluesy guitar patches paired with soft drums and soaring scales have all the elements to turn it into a melody that will find much airtime on the radio. That said, it also has the sentimentality of a deeply philosophical number. Singh gives an exquisite performance. Patwa also sings one half of the song and finds his spirited side taking centre stage.
Man ka mirga finds that one hook and develops around it, improvises in its vicinity and comes back. It is a moving meditation attempted by Nooran Sisters. The one who leaves his indelible mark on the piece is Pakistani singer Javed Bashir. Every murki and harkat he layers on the song is remarkable. The sprinkles of sarangi and acoustic guitar riffs add to the piece, parts of which are sung like a chant. The second version of the same song has Neha Rajpal and Hrishikesh Kamerkar sing alongside the same chorus to deliver a nuanced performance. Another brilliant piece on the album is Titli. Papon sheds some deepness from his baritone here.
Once we have a better sense of Patwa’s range, comes the disappointing Piya ki nagri. One of the weakest pieces on the album, it’s an ordinary tune from any other film, with no impact. There is a certain old-world profundity to Patwa’s tunes. His singers haven’t resigned themselves to his ideas but have added many curves ad contours to turn in an engaging album. Patwa will be an important addition into the current crop of music-makers.