Music

Sanjay Leela Bhansali composes music for 'Malaal'

Own right: Malaal ’s soundtrack holds its ground.

Own right: Malaal ’s soundtrack holds its ground.  

Malaal’s soundtrack holds its own, but its Shreyas Puranik’s creation that steals the show

In a first, Sanjay Leela Bhansali has composed the music for a film, Malaal, that is not his own directorial venture. Although, Bhansali is the producer of the upcoming romantic drama. Let’s see if the man has maintained the same standards for Mangesh Hadawale as he does with his own films.

With a title like Aila Re’, for a brief moment I feared that Bhansali has also given into the remix trend. Thankfully, this track has no connection with the Anu Malik song from Jung (1996). Though, the two songs do have similar heavy folk percussion. I am inclined to believe it’s a coincidence, as Malaal’s track is more in line with the dance numbers Bhansali has composed in the past – Tattad Tattad, Malhari, etc. The familiarity with the 90s film song is the new film’s track’s primary drawback even as it scores really high on the exuberance scale; Vishal Dadlani’s vocals being a key contributor.

Folk inspirations

Folk-inspired songs in a Bhansali soundtrack are never a surprise – Malaal has two more of those, both from Maharashtra with partial Marathi lyrics. It’s heartening that Bhansali’s folk-influence has always drawn from non-Punjabi backgrounds, especially since other genres are massively under-represented in Bollywood in the last few years. The more engaging and imaginative of the two is ‘Udhal Ho’. It’s a light-hearted romantic track set to a vibrant backdrop underlined by an aarti style percussion base. Prashant Ingole’s lines incorporate multiple Marathi phrases, including traditional folk refrains like phu bai phu. Its tune, played on a bulbul tarang seems to be a traditional one – reminiscent of ‘Apun Bola Tu Meri Laila’ from Josh (2000): another Anu Malik connection!

Rashid Khan’s bulbul tarang skills find more prominent use in Aai Shapatthat seems structured more along the lines of Marathi banjo songs. The track itself is not that impressive, and singer Rutvik Talashilkar’s (also guitarist on the song) vocals seemed out of place. The title song, ‘Ek Malaal’ sees one of Bhansali’s regular fixtures – both as singer and arranger/producer – Shail Hada behind the mic. The composer clearly loves employing Hada in pensive songs, and for good reason too since the man produces a quality rendition here. But the song feels a tad monotonous after a while, despite its short duration. As is often the case, Bhansali gives his best song to Shreya Ghoshal: Katthai Katthai’, written by A.M. Turaz alongside Ingole, carries a charming melody – especially its prelude (of note, Tapas Roy’s mandolin). Ghoshal too is in fabulous form, handling the pitch variations in the second verse with consummate ease.

The two remaining songs of the album come from other composers: Shail Hada and Shreyas Puranik. Hada’s song ‘Zara Suno’ is a likeable melodic piece sung well by Aanandi Joshi, and Talvashilkar who sounds a lot more at home with this song. It is Puranik’s Naad Khula’, an absolutely delectable melody that the composer himself delivers in style. It’s my favourite song off the album, with a folksy edge that is beautifully accentuated by the rhythm, and Tejas Vinchurkar’s flute in the interlude.

Bhansali’s film is a remake of the critically acclaimed Tamil film 7G Rainbow Colony whose soundtrack was equally celebrated. Thankfully, Malaal’s music holds up quite well on its own.

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Printable version | Aug 5, 2020 1:26:08 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/music/a-heady-folksy-listen/article28285828.ece

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