The soundtrack for Ali Abbas Zafar’s June 5 release Bharat , includes a video for the track ‘ Chashni ’ that starts with a voiceover by Salman Khan that goes “ Indian cinema ko mil gaya tha apna pehla superstar Rajesh Khanna, lekin hum the old school, Dilip Kumar ke fan ”. The song, though sounds too contemporary to belong to either era really. What’s with Bollywood period films that feature all modern sounding songs? That quibble aside, Vishal Shekhar’s song is as sweet as its title, delivered neatly by Abhijeet Srivastava. The mellow orchestration with a smattering of folk elements like esraj and ghatam adds beautifully to its charm.
In what has become a pattern with Zafar’s films, the soundtrack features a Neha Bhasin-rendered unplugged version of ‘ Chashni ’, produced by Sameer Uddin. But unlike the previous two instances, this one fails to impress. With ‘Slow Motion’ the era-based dissonance heightens further, since lyrically (Irshad Kamil) the Hinglish combination sits at odds with the setting. A very close equivalent I can find is, Pritam’s ‘First Class’ from Kalank last month. Like ‘First Class’, this one too is a very catchy number with an in form Shreya Ghoshal and Nakash Aziz, and an addictive guitar sound being the main contributors.
Ironically, the song titled Slow Motion ends on double-time. ‘ Aithey Aa ’, the album’s other dance song, derives a lot of its appeal from the quirkiness factor. Joining Akasa Singh and Neeti Mohan on vocals is the man whose filmography is largely comprised of Salman movies, Kamaal Khan and he still sounds good. While this version of the song has the female voice being all assertive, an alternative, slightly differently worded dance version (not that the original is any less of a dance version) has Aziz delivering on the song.
‘ Aaya Na Tu ’ is a curious composition in more ways than one — the use of Jyoti Nooran’s voice in a bass register is the biggest surprise (almost didn’t recognise her the first time). And while the song’s melody does well to convey the longing in Kamil’s wonderfully lyrics, the arrangement carries an almost anthemic flavour at times. Interestingly, the first interlude features the first verse melody repeated as is, on the harmonium. Sukhwinder Singh gets to lead two songs, both heavy on Punjabi folk. ‘ Thap Thap ’ interestingly starts off briefly sounding like ‘ Pataakha Guddi ’, before taking its own route, albeit a middling one. ‘ Turpeya ’ on the other hand sees a lot more of the composers’ creativity, resulting in a groovy folk-electronic mix, topped off with Singh’s ace rendition. The soundtrack’s token inspirational song, ‘ Zinda ’, sees the movie’s director turn guest composer (with Julius Packiam) and lyricist. The composition itself is nothing special, and is held together largely by the vocalisation — the ever-dependable Vishal Dadlani and a solid chorus. Zafar seems to love several constants in his cast and crew, and that unsurprisingly reflects in the film’s soundtrack as.
It stands to reason then, that the quality of music in his movies too stays at constant — nothing brilliant, but an engaging sound.