Standard soundscape

Half Girlfriend’s music is a case of too many cooks whipping up a sub-standard spread

May 02, 2017 08:11 pm | Updated 08:11 pm IST

Heard before  Half Girlfriend’s music sounds like Mohit Suri’s previous films

Heard before Half Girlfriend’s music sounds like Mohit Suri’s previous films

Yet another Chetan Bhagat book has been adapted into a film. This time, it’s Half Girlfriend with a soundtrack that features a whopping six-composer line-up. In the past, director Mohit Suri has brought on-board three composers at a time. He increases his effort for this film, also deciding to work with a new set of musicians, except for Mithoon Sharma and Ami Mishra.

It is a relief to see composer Tanishk Bagchi’s name credited against a track that is not the remix of a yesteryear song. Sadly, ‘Baarish’ has a banal melody, worsened by middling lyrics (written by Bagchi himself, with Arafat Mehmood). Ash King’s impassioned vocals – eerily similar to Arijit Singh – manage to only slightly elevate the song. Shamra milks his ‘Tum Hi Ho’ template once again to create Phir Bhi Tumko Chaahunga ’, also headlined by Arijit Singh. They’re joined by Shashaa Tirupati briefly, with Manoj Muntashir’s lyrics. The song offers nothing new to a listener with its formulaic approach, but it has to be grudgingly admitted that the familiarity does work. Sharma does two more songs for the soundtrack. In ‘Phir Bhi Tumko Chaahunga’’s reprise version titled ‘Pal Bhar’, he amps up the song’s ambient effect with something like a hang/steelpan , but otherwise things remain largely the same. Sharma’s third track, the ‘Half Girlfriend Love Theme’ is an instrumental arrangement of bits and bobs, including a climactic scale change with the instruments going into an overdrive. It’s effective, but needn’t have been four and a half minutes long.

Even more datedness follows with composer-singer Rahul Mishra’s filmy qawwali-ish ‘Tu Hi Hai’. To his credit, Mishra is definitely a better singer than a composer. Ami – who débuted with director Suri’s Hamari Adhuri Kahani packages ‘Lost Without You’ cleverly. She mitigates the familiarity in the song’s main melody (rendered by Mishra himself) by interspersing it with English lyrics written and sung by Anushka Shahaney . Its breezy arrangement features, among other things, an erhu (Chinese violin).

Shahaney’s other track of the album, ‘Stay A Little Longer’, has been composed by former Jal band member Farhan Saeed . Shahaney’s voice has a likeable texture, but her singing is odd, bogging down the track despite its decent melody. Saeed has a better offering in ‘Thodi Der’ that he renders himself, alongside Shreya Ghoshal. And like a lot of Pakistani composers who have ventured into Bollywood in the past, Saeed too rehashes one of his older compositions to create this track. Saeed revamps his Pakistan Army Song ‘ Tu Tho di Dair’ to create ‘Thodi Der’ with new lyrics supplied by Kumaar (Rakesh Kumar).

Rishi Rich’s ‘Mere Dil Mein’ is the only song that comes as a surprise entry in the otherwise standard Suri soundscape. That’s only if you’re familiar with Rishi Rich’s previous work. An alternative version of the song features dialogue snippets from the film, mostly by Arjun Kapoor.

Suri may have increased the number of composers, but the sound consistently the the same as his previous films. And in this case, the end product is just mediocre.

Vipin Nair writes on his website and curates lists on Apple Music as MusicAloud

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