End of the year winner

Aamir Khan as Mahavir Singh Phogat in a poster from ‘Dangal’.

Aamir Khan as Mahavir Singh Phogat in a poster from ‘Dangal’.  

Music duo, Pritam-Amitabh Bhattacharya score high with Dangal’s soundtrack fresh on the heels of Ae Dil Hai Mushkil

Before Dangal became the title of the wrestling-themed Aamir Khan movie, the word was once previously associated in Bollywood with another wrestling-based flick. It was the title of a song from the 2010 movie Kushti — a film that had Rajpal Yadav pitted against The Great Khali. The movie bombed, not so surprisingly and the song too sank with it, despite being the only good song from the movie in my opinion (also the only Hindi song that singer Srinivas composed, to my knowledge). But that’s enough with digressing from the matter on hand — the music of the forthcoming Amir Khan starrer, Dangal. Going by the promos so far, it doesn’t look like this Dangal will fare anything like the previous one. And the soundtrack comes from the Pritam-Amitabh Bhattacharya team, fresh from their recent success in Ae Dil Hai Mushkil.

After giving Jonita Gandhi fast numbers in his last two movies (‘Sau Tarah Ke’ in Dishoom, ‘The Breakup Song’ in Ae Dil Hai Muskhil), Pritam decides to try out her melodic side in Dangal with ‘Gilehriyaan’. An excellent move as it turns out; the lady is on top of her game delivering the song to perfection. Melody-oriented songs are something Pritam has almost always excelled in, and here he produces an incredibly charming tune. The arrangement is exquisite, highlighted by the guitars (Nikhil Paul George) and other plucked strings (Tapas Roy). The other melodic piece of the soundtrack isn’t half as effective though, in fact ‘Naina’ in some ways comes across as a distant cousin of ‘Channa Mereya’. The key ingredients are pretty much the same — Pritam’s music, Amitabh Bhattacharya’s lines, Arijit Singh’s voice and the general pathos. It even starts off with a vocal prelude like ‘Channa’ did. The arrangement is neatly done here too (once again the strings are well employed), but a weak melody bogs the song down. Or perhaps it is just the comparison with ‘Channa’ running at the back of my mind. Daler Mehndi’s power-packed voice is perfect choice for the movie’s titular anthem ‘Dangal Dangal’, and with an able chorus to boot, he does a fine rendition of the song even as the composer smartly juxtaposes folk percussion with the electric guitars (keep an ear out for the satisfying twangs from Ernest Tibbs’s bass during those very brief pauses in the song).

Amitabh Bhattacharya’s Haryanvi infused writing is on point and the star of the rest of the soundtrack. While ‘Dangal Dangal’ extols the protagonists in an anthem-like fashion, ‘Dhaakad’ takes a more low key approach — albeit in a more threatening fashion — it takes the hip hop route and ends up a more engaging product. The rapping by Raftaar is splendid, and the arrangement is a whacky concoction of folk and electronic (two interesting folk inclusions — Rajesh Kumar’s Haryanvi sarangi and Mukesh Nath’s been) elements. An alternate version of the song (does it even count as a Pritam soundtrack if at least one song does not have an additional version?) has Aamir Khan on vocals. A good idea; partly because being a tuneless track it is the safest way to make an actor “sing”, and secondly because Khan is really good with the rapping, almost giving Raftaar a run for his money with his diction and expressions.

You can guess the general direction of where ‘Idiot Banna’ is going, from its title. And it does not disappoint, the humorous lines and Jyoti Nooran and Sultana Nooran’s exuberant delivery help the song rise above its fairly regular melody and arrangement. It is in the song of the soundtrack, ‘Haanikaarak Bapu’, that everything comes through. The debutant singer kids Sarwar Khan and Sartaz Khan Barna ace their respective parts, Pritam matches their energy with his folk-flavoured arrangement (the second interlude in particular), and Bhattacharya’s rhymes are a hoot. A complete out and out fun song.

Safely assuming that there are no more soundtracks to come from Pritam this year, Dangal is a wonderful high for the composer and lyricist Amitabh Bhattacharya to end the year on.

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

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Printable version | Apr 4, 2020 9:20:08 AM |

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