Hits and misses

Befikre is a mix of standout songs and some of the the tried-and-tested variety.  

A friend on Facebook recently made a pertinent observation about the importance of taking a break from work, citing examples of composers like Pritam and Vishal-Shekhar. Looking at the run that the composers have been having this year, I am inclined to agree.

After staying out of making music for films the whole of 2015, Vishal-Shekhar made a strong return this year with the single ‘Jabra Fan’ from Fan, and have had four more soundtracks since, the latest being Befikre. While the Yash Raj Films product is the composer duo’s fifth this year, it is only the fourth entry in Aditya Chopra’s entire directorial portfolio. So far, they have all been commercially successful. I haven’t been a big fan of his films’ soundtracks, except for the Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jaayenge (1995) album.

The European-flavoured melody and arrangement by Vishal-Shekhar (and Mikey McCleary, who has been credited as music producer/arranger/instrumentalist for Befikre) take you on a romantic ride through the streets of beautiful Paris in ‘Labon ka Karobaar’. Also adding to the song’s charm is its video, which depicts a lot of lovers engaged in, well, Labon Ka Karobaar. Papon is impeccable in his rendition of Jaideep Sahni’s well-penned words amidst the glorious violins and keys. The French musical elements carry on into ‘Je t’aime’; this time the composer opts for a jazz-ish feel. Once again, the melody and the rich orchestration are bound to win you over, as are Vishal Dadlani and Sunidhi Chauhan’s superlative efforts behind the mic. The title of the song is a misnomer though, since the lyrics actually go ‘Ne dis jamais je t’aime’ which translates to ‘Never say I love you’.

Arijit Singh and Caralisa Monteiro (who sings the French portions) confidently handle ‘Nashe si Chadh Gayi’, a dance number that is built on an ambient backdrop reminiscent of Major Lazer & DJ Snake’s ‘Lean On’; the format seems to be everywhere these days. While the song’s arrangement is bound to keep you grooving in spite of the familiarity, something about Sahni’s heavy Punjabi lyrics doesn’t sit quite well with the song’s contemporary sound. That said, the folk remix segment in the second interlude is a nice touch from the composers.

‘You and Me’ doesn’t have much by way of a melody, but Vishal-Shekhar and McCleary manage to fluff it up considerably with the happy upbeat elements like the ukulele and double bass. Rachel Varghese and Nikhil D’Souza are the stars of the track, though, doing an incredibly sprightly job. The title song, ‘Ude Dil Befikre’, unfortunately has only Benny Dayal’s infectious energy going for it (Sophie Choudry supplies the French backing vocals). Everything else about the Arabic-flavoured track is run of the mill. ‘Khulke Dulke’ too is of the tried-and-tested variety, in this case belonging to the ‘celebratory Punjabi songs’ zone. It works better than the title song, though, with a better arrangement, a highlight being Kishore Sodha’s frenetic trumpet solos. Being old hands at the genre, Gippy Grewal and Harshdeep Kaur have little trouble delivering the song in style. I also quite enjoyed Sahni’s ‘Ishq di Bungee’ usage and the word play around it. The instrumental piece titled ‘Love Is a Dare’ is an attempt at bringing together interesting bits from every song of the soundtrack in a medley à la Kiran Kamath, but the composers only manage to create an unimaginative hotchpotch.

Vishal and Shekhar continue their upward journey this year. Befikre is the best work from the composing duo in 2016, of course with generous help from Mikey McCleary.

The author writes about music on his website and curates music on Apple Music as MusicAloud

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Printable version | Jun 23, 2021 4:26:48 PM |

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