Strike gold for one

Gaurav Dagaonkar renders an earthy celebration for Babumoshai Bandookbaaz while Sachin-Jigar miss the sweet spot with A Gentleman

August 28, 2017 08:45 pm | Updated 08:45 pm IST

Old tunes  In ‘ Chandralekha ’, the composers deliver the retro vibes well

Old tunes In ‘ Chandralekha ’, the composers deliver the retro vibes well

One of the first things that struck me when I saw the trailer of A Gentleman was how it shares its title with a 90s musical hit by A.R. Rahman in Tamil (which was subjected to an uncredited and atrocious “adaptation” by Anu Malik into Hindi). Turns out that is not the only instance of a musical throwback in the soundtrack. The dance floor-friendly ‘ Baat Ban Jaaye ’ – phrase which is bound to evoke memories of Biddu-Nazia Hassan hit ‘ Aap Jaisa Koi ’ – has its second verse lyrically referencing ‘ Hum Tum Ek Kamre Mein Band Ho ’ while the third verse reaclls Dhal Gaya Din Ho Gayi Shaam , though matching neither song in musical quality. Indie singer Sid Basrur and lyricist Priya Saraiya’s vocal energy prop the song up to an extent, nevertheless. Another song that works more for its quality of vocals than for the composition itself, is ‘ Laagi Naa Chhoote ’. The beautifully harmonised singing by Arijit Singh and Shreya Ghoshal are the clear highlight of the very familiar sounding melodic piece.

Composers Sachin-Jigar have always shown a penchant for experimentation in their songs, a quality that has been employed really well by directors Raj Nidimoru and Krishna D.K. in the past. And some of it shows in A Gentleman as well. Benny Dayal and Shirley Sethia’s ‘Disco Disco’ for instance has Tapas Roy’s traditional tumbi appearing amidst the funky dance-y elements. The song isn’t a patch on the last track in the same genre the duo created for Meri Pyaari Bindu earlier this year though. In ‘Chandralekha’ (another old song title!) the composers deliver the retro vibes well though, with some splendid saxophone usage in the process and helped well by Vayu’s tongue-in-cheek Hinglish lyrics. The soundtrack’s best is ‘ Bandook Meri Laila ’, a song that carries a rather chilled-out vibe for something replete with references to guns and shootings and explosions. The ‘Lean On’-esque electronic base is an over-used one, but the composers build on it quite smartly, even adding the occasional gunshots to go with the lyrical theme.

The bandook theme in that last song provides the perfect transition point to the second soundtrack in this review, Babumoshai Bandookbaaz . One of the most remarkable things about this album is singer Orunima Bhattacharya, composer Gaurav Dagaonkar’s partner in his band Synchronicity. The lady sounds as composed rendering the classical nuances of ‘Barfaani’ as she does mischievous in the folksy, raucous ‘Aye Saiyaan ’. The former’s Barfaani is a masterly piece of work from Dagaonkar, immensely impressive in both versions, the other one sung by Armaan Malik. Ghalib Asad Bhopali’s finely written verse introduces a new term to the mainstream through the song’s title. ‘ Aye Saiyaan ’ is apparently based on a folk song from Uttar Pradesh. The earthy tone of the track evokes memories of Anaarkali of Aarah that came out earlier this year. While I still am not a fan of the remixing trend, Dagaonkar to his credit does fair justice to the RD Burman-Anand Bakshi song ‘ Ghunghta ’ in his rework for Bandookbaaz . More importantly, he makes a fine choice of vocalist in Neha Kakkar who is in exceptional form here. There is something about singer Papon’s rich voice and languid rendition style that makes it a perfect fit for retro flavoured melodies. In ‘ Chulbuli ’ that magic works yet again, even as the composer gives the tune a charming European-style backdrop. Once again Ghalib Asad Bhopali’s choice of words deserves special credit. The final song, ‘ Khali Khali ’, has some stand-out moments in the arrangement, but the song’s melancholy gets monotonous and daunting after a while.

Sachin-Jigar delivers a relatively weaker soundtrack for Raj and DK in A Gentleman while Gaurav Dagaonkar, after composing the occasional and mostly unremarkable songs in low profile movies, finally strike gold with the soundtrack of Babumoshai Bandookbaaz .

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

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