Music Review Music

Entertaining, with room for improvement

National award-winning director Rahul Dholakia’s films are not exactly remembered for their music. Though in the past, his films have featured music from the likes of Zakir Hussain, Taufiq Qureshi, Ilaiyaraja, Indian Ocean, Fuzön, Jatin Lalit, etc. I’ve not had the opportunity to listen to most his films’ music, but I did review Dholakia’s Lamhaa. The Sanjay Dutt- starrer had some lovely songs by Mithoon – including a surprisingly mellow, classical-flavoured track by Mika Singh which went largely unnoticed. Raees, which released yesterday, is Dholakia’s most mainstream project yet. This time, the director has employed the skills of another talented composer, Ram Sampath. More recently it has turned out that some of the songs are also composed by folks from JAM8 (Just About Music), Pritam’s artists and repertoire team.

There is an unmistakable stamp of the composer in two of JAM8’s three songs. Firstly, there’s ‘Zaalima’ with a pleasant melody that helps alleviate the overwhelming familiarity to an extent. It does help that the vocals have been provided by Arijit Singh (who also plays acoustic guitar) and Harshdeep Kaur. ‘Saanson Ke’ is credited to composer Aheer from JAM8. The melancholic track harks back to a time when Pritam made music for Bhatt films. And the fact that KK sings the song only accentuates that déjà vu feeling. ‘Dhingana’, also credited to Aheer, derives its spunk from the energy that its percussion-heavy Marathi folk base comes with. The song doesn’t have much going for it in addition to Mika Singh’s unimpressive vocals.

Sampath’s part of the soundtrack starts with the latest entry to the Bollywood remix bandwagon, ‘Laila Main Laila’. It’s catchy but only because it evokes memories of Kalyanji Anandji’s original. But, Ed Gibson’s trumpets sound fantastic as does Pawni Pandey’s vocals. There is a conscious effort to include Gujarati elements in the rest of Sampath’s songs, seeing as Raees is set in the state. ‘Udi Udi Jaaye’ and ‘Ghammar Ghammar’ are very folksy in their sound. Javed Akhtar’s wonderful kite flying-based love analogies are set to a thoroughly engaging dandiya song format by the composer. Sukhwinder Singh and Bhoomi Trivedi are exceptional with their singing, supported by Karsan Sagathia. Tapas Roy’s mandolin and charango are prominently featured throughout the track and the man aces his part. Roshan Rathod leads Sampath’s adaptation of the traditional song ‘Ghammar’, which is a high energy piece. ‘Enu Naam Che Raees’ plays out almost like an Afro Celt Sound System song with its folk fused electronica. Sampath’s delivery of the song is bold as required, with Tarannum Malik playing chorus.

Raees’ soundtrack is entertaining, largely owing to the efforts of Ram Sampath. I hope JAM8 discover their identity soon enough. There’s only so much they can do with a sound that even founder Pritam has moved on from.

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Printable version | Jan 19, 2021 2:31:26 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/music/Entertaining-with-room-for-improvement/article17094436.ece

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