Music

Best when folksy

Through teary eyes: Sonam Kapoor Ahuja in Ek Ladki Toh Aisa Laga  

After having composed songs for over 20 movies, all in a multi-composer line-up, composer Rochak Kohli finally has a soundtrack all for himself, seven years since his debut with Vicky Donor. In the last seven years, Kohli has delivered a number of impressive songs – so this film’s soundtrack is the litmus test to see if he’s managed a similar level of consistency with his debut solo album.

There’s not much point comparing the title track of Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh with R.D. Burman-Javed Akhtar’s iconic composition from 1942: A Love Story – it would be no easy task to recreate that memorable number. But full marks to Kohli for his adaptation that’s in tune with the film’s contemporary Punjabi settings. Aside from the title refrain, the only elements Kohli borrows from the classic song are the short instrumental passages – choosing to vocalise them – rest of the lyrics come from Gurpreet Saini, and Darshan Raval delivers competently. The composer’s second song is also a recreation – this time the folk song ‘Gur Naal Ishq Mitha’, most famous probably in its Indipop form from the 90s by Bally Sagoo and Malkit Singh. Here too, Kohli builds his own song around that familiar refrain (with additional lyrics by Saini), while retaining the celebratory spirit. The folksy arrangement is dominated by Punjabi percussion and harmonium, giving a solid backing to the talented Navraj Hans and Harshdeep Kaur.

Soulful melodies

The rest of the songs on the soundtrack are the original tracks from Kohli and Saini. ‘House Party Song’ traverses along the predictable dance track route, and it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the lyrics are largely about daaru, including a rap portion in between (particularly irksome, so soon after the hip hop in Gully Boy). Sukhwinder Singh leading the vocal department is a good listen supported by Arjun Kanungo and rapper Parry G. ‘Good Morning’ starts off in a charming fashion, but gets predictable as it progresses. The overall energy levels in the positivity instilling piece and the matching vigour in Vishal Dadlani and Shannon Donald’s voices make it worth a listen. It’s in another rustic track that Kohli delivers the best. ‘Chitthiye’ has a simple, soulful soundscape that’s familiar (Phillauri comes to mind), but effective, especially with Kanwar Grewal’s earthy voice delivering it.

Kohli’s first independent soundtrack contains songs that once again demonstrate his talent. But it’s only in the folksy tracks – recreations or otherwise – that the composer makes his mark.

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Printable version | May 14, 2021 9:14:19 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/music/best-when-folksy/article26195866.ece

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