Music

Second time round isn’t a charm

Duo effort: The last two songs of the album are from Sachet-Parampara  

Director Shree Narayan Singh’s Toilet Ek Prem Katha was much feted last year, for the message it conveyed. What it also had was an enjoyable soundtrack, delivered by a bunch of debutants. Singh returns this year with another socially relevant film Batti Gul Meter Chalu (BGMC), and goes multi-composer way again, except this time it isn’t newcomers handling the job. Will the experience help them to do better than the newbies last year?

Bollywood’s second favourite punching bag for remixes these days after classic Hindi songs, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan (well I guess one must be thankful that the borrowing is at least “official” now), has one more of his compositions subjected to a tribute in BGMC. The number -- ‘Dekhte Dekhte’ is adapted by Rochak Kohli, with Manoj Muntashir supplying additional lyrics. To be fair, this is a relatively decent adaptation, that allows a well-known melody take the centre stage and Atif Aslam delivers it well. While Kohli’s arrangement begins evoking the Bhatt soundscape, it soon goes 90s with the dholaks and the like – while I am not a great fan of the template itself, it works well for the tune. What does not work is a second version of the song which is alike in every aspect except that Aslam is replaced by Rahat Fateh Ali Khan. The latter does a less impressive job than the former, also if you want to feature an alternate (entirely unnecessary) version why not make it a Nusrat original instead? Veteran composer Anu Malik too goes the 90s route for his solo offering, ‘Gold Tamba’, written by Siddharth-Garima (who pen all the remaining songs). While the song’s energy level keeps it engaging albeit in a familiar way, it is Nakash Aziz’s singing that stands out above all else.

The last two songs of the album come from the composing duo Sachet-Parampara, who had debuted in 2017 with the director’s last film. The first song is an unremarkable party track, but you probably already guessed that from the song’s title – ‘Hard Hard’. Vocals are handled by Mika Singh, Prakriti Kakar and Sachet Tandon who do a competent job, but that’s beside the point. The composers however turn around and deliver the album’s best track in their other track – ‘Har Har Gange’. There isn’t much that happens in the tune over the three minutes of the song, it is essentially the same couplet melody repeated over and over for the most part, but what elevates the piece is the grand orchestration that accentuates its devotional fervour. Arijit Singh leads the proceedings in style, complemented well by the chorus. On a side note, the raag yaman flavour, the grandeur and the presence of Singh and Siddharth-Garima’s lyrics mean that this song would probably have fit right into a Sanjay Leela Bhansali soundtrack!

Batti Gul Meter Chalu’s album has any gold sadly, it is mostly just tamba (copper), at best.

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Printable version | Apr 12, 2021 12:54:51 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/music/second-time-round-isnt-a-charm/article24998434.ece

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