May 6, 2017 12:27:11 am
The last time a Sachin Jigar score made us sit up and take notice, the duo was parked inside Film City in Mumbai’s Goregaon and was creating pieces for Coke Studio @MTV Season 3. The music they created, without a blueprint and completely independent of a film story, was intelligent, brilliantly arranged, and melodious — proving that they can’t be written off as the backbencher composers of B-town and that their rare outings deserve to be noticed. The four-piece soundtrack of Hindi Medium, a film about inequalities caused by our education system and starring Irrfan and Pakistani actor Saba, is part-formulaic and part-interesting and has managed to showcase the duo’s abilities as composers and arrangers. Also, barring one track, other songs don’t seem to go with the theme of the film, so one wonders if some of them are just for promotion purposes.
The album opens with soft synth chords followed by Arjun Kanungo singing in English in the 2016 Punjabi chartbuster Suit suit by Guru Randhawa. The earworm, which probably featured at every party last year and continues to find much airtime, has been reworked for the film. We are thankful that it hasn’t been turned into a remix with sharp and thunderous rhythms. The song isn’t a great piece of poetry but is entrancing for its repetitive first line and ecstatic rendition. This is followed by Sukhbir’s age-old winner of a song, Oh ho ho. The piece belongs to the Punjabi music’s boom era — when this song’s infectious sound and rhythm had people bonding on dance floors in clubs and at weddings the world over.
T-Series, a music label, which leaves no stone unturned when it comes to popularising an album, adheres to the current formula of keeping old, catchy numbers on the song list to draw people to the halls. Hindi Medium, too, reworks old songs and presents them with minor tweaks.
Jigar’s Hoor is why the album should be bought though. This harmonium and tabla ditty, sung by Atif Aslam, has him strip his voice of the infamous nasal tinge and deliver this melodious panache. It’s an intelligent composition, which takes various directions, comes back to where it began and has been tied together with the heartwarming harmonium preludes and interludes. It moves away from the current type of romantic numbers — the ones which start at a high pitch and remain there for most of it and use long, stretched syllables. Hoor is a soft, hummable melody that is romantic and not an assault on the senses.
Sachin gets his daughter and Jigar’s niece Taniskaa Singhvi to lead a chorus of children in Ek jindari. Her voice is paired with nagaras in the beginning. It’s an impressive attempt from Singhvi, who brilliantly attempted Laadki with Rekha Bhardwaj in Coke Studio @MTV. Raat hai kajlewali, door badi Diwali, Diwe dhoonde akhiyaan, she croons just as an electric guitar takes over and concludes the piece. It is an unconventional piece and is forgotten after one hearing. It may work better in the film.
In a film called Hindi Medium, three songs are in Punjabi. Buy it for Hoor or if you already do not own copies of Suit suit and Sukhbir’s 20th century bhangra anthem.
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