Composer: Sandesh Shandilya
Lyrics: Manoj Muntashir
First things first. The concept — music of a film can become dated and stale when it has been lying in the cans for a long time — does not exist. There is only good music and bad music. Even a century in the gallows can’t change that. As for the music of Ketan Mehta’s Rang Rasiya, a biopic of Raja Ravi Verma, starring Randeep Hooda and Nandana Sen in lead roles, most of the tunes are either directionless or come with the basic problem of the melody in arrangements not matching the basic melody of the song itself. There is also a Sanjay Leela Bhansali-sque attempt at grand with elaborate arrangements. But all the dramatics are useless until the songs are there to back everything up.
The album opens with the title track that has Sunidhi Chauhan crooning the phrase Rang rasiya for the first couple of minutes preceded by bell, shankh and panchvadyam arrangements. It begins really well but as many inflections as there are in the way she sings the phrase, it just does not stick. Kirthi S’s voice that opens the song and accompanies her does come with a great texture but can’t salvage a track with an average tune. Instead of the glory needed here, we get faux cinematic grandeur that fails to have any impact.
After an unimpressive title track comes Kahe sataye which is marginally better than the title track. It’s always been hard to like Chauhan’s high-pitched non-falsetto voice because of the squeakiness it acquires while belting out those notes. She sounds better in bass notes though. Roop Kumar Rathod accompanies her here. The passion and aggression in the song might make him sound like the wrong name for the job, but he is aggressively precise, especially with the komal (dissonant) notes. Chauhan also rises to the occasion in the end and makes it a song that can be heard if it accidentally pops up on the radio.
Composer Sandesh Shandilya uses Sonu Nigam’s voice for O kamini, and the only positive in this song is a complicated sarangi interlude. Overly arranged to describe the protagonist’s angst and passion at the same time, it is confused and has no sense of melody. Nigam’s otherwise fantastic voice does nothing here. The heaving breaths and tabla bols don’t do much either.
Anhad naad is interesting. It’s a big, sticky song with dholak and dhol playing havoc with the mind. But not so sticky that it can stun your senses. Kailash Kher is at his usual best so is his co-singer Anwar Khan. Folk-style percussion arrangements and intelligent use of voices make an average composition shine. We appreciate the fact that little-known instruments such as algoza and pamchvadyam have been used in the album. If only the songs sung along could paint a picture.
The only song that makes any impact is a simple melody that unfolds towards the end. It is a song by relatively unknown singer named Rajeshwari Pathak. Sun balam is flawless with its minimalist yet beautiful arrangements comprising a sarangi, flute and a tabla. Based on raag Baageshri, the thumri is an absolute delight.
If Shandilya had stuck to his Indian roots and done what he does best, the album could have been brilliant. For now it hinges on one great song and some average numbers.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines