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Sunday, September 19, 2021

Music Review: Raising the Bar

It’s been a while since someone, with a knack of approaching the familiar from a different side, showed up. Sneha Khanwalkar managed that with Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye!.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Written by Suanshu Khurana |
Updated: January 16, 2016 12:35:27 am
Dugg duggi dugg is a delicate and very likeable piece sung by Vishal Bhardwaj that stays with an acoustic guitar. Dugg duggi dugg is a delicate and very likeable piece sung by Vishal Bhardwaj that stays with an acoustic guitar.

Jugni

Composers: Clinton Cerejo, Kaashif Sahib

Lyrics: Shellee, Kaashif Sahib, Baba Bulleh Shah, Waris Shah

Punjabi folk, in Bollywood, has been stagnant over the last few years. Therefore, calling most current Punjabi tunes tiring would be an understatement. It’s been a while since someone, with a knack of approaching the familiar from a different side, showed up. Sneha Khanwalkar managed that with Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye!.

Almost seven years later, Bollywood’s favourite arranger Clinton Cerejo makes his debut with a musical that takes old-world Punjabi folk, maintains its integrity and layers it with a web of guitars and some alt rock. As a result, Punjabi folk breathes and makes a noteworthy appearance. Jugni is bravely original, often improvised yet disciplined. Cerejo has added much panache to a film, which is based on the life of a female composer who goes in search of the right voice. Cerejo’s orchestra is delicious, his riffs elegant and folk infusions spot on. Shellee’s lyrics, too, hit the spot with phrases like Jagmag jugni, among others.

A guitar is strummed like a tumbi to open Jagmag jugni, sung by Pakistan’s Javed Bashir (there’s his namesake in India too). He takes a variety of twists and turns to turn it into an absolute stunner, both lyrically and musically. It’s a boisterous, powerhouse performance, and Bashir wraps up a gamut of emotions into it. The song’s unplugged version with harmonium sung by Neha Kakkar sounds way too nasal. Bashir shines here too. But what make an impact are the harmonium interludes. The humble instrument, which only makes sporadic appearances these days in Bollywood, finally seems to have found its rightful space in modern film music. Singer Jazim Sharma, who has played them, deserves a mention.

Dugg duggi dugg is a delicate and very likeable piece sung by Vishal Bhardwaj that stays with an acoustic guitar. Bhardwaj sings for another composer for the first time and aces it. This is followed by Hatt mullah where Bianca Gomes punctuates her voice, singing in English, with a piano. A minute into the song, Baba Bulleh Shah’s lyrics feature in Shellee’s haunting voice.

The two pieces are layered so well that they stop sounding like two different entities. Bolladiyan sung by Rekha Bhardwaj is a guitar and voice piece and from the arsenal of songs she does well — slow, melodious, slightly complex. Kakkar’s Joban hai is ordinary. The album does serve better though; like Dilan de saudey, a phenomenal melody that pairs guitars with Bashir’s voice to show the album’s dark streak.

Zarre zarre mein has been sung by Rahat Fateh Ali Khan and Sharma. Sharma is absolutely phenomenal here. His is a voice which is soft but moulds itself into difficult twists with much ease to deliver an enchanting qawwali. AR Rahman turns composer for Lakhon salaam, the best part is the duduk prelude and follow-up interludes.

The album is intelligently crafted, funny and absolutely entertaining. It does falter in a couple of songs in terms of strength of melodies. But what’s commendable is that Cerejo has chosen not to sacrifice the length of songs or their musicality to suit commercial interests. The result is an unalloyed album, with sounds on the lines of Cerejo’s Coke Studio @MTV outing. Buy it for an hour of absolute bliss.

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