Bombay Showcase

Pop goes grunge

It’s difficult to imagine songs in a movie on a serial killer. But not when it is directed by Anurag Kashyap. Even in films such as Ugly and Black Friday that hardly had the space for music, the filmmaker managed to use songs, albeit minimally. The rest of his film albums like Dev D, Gangs of Wasseypur, Gulaal and Bombay Velvet have, of course, achieved cult status in their own right.

Experimental, entertaining



Another noteworthy aspect of Kashyap’s approach toward music is his interest in working with different composers: Amit Trivedi, Sneha Khanwalkar and Piyush Mishra. They have resulted in albums that are both experimental and entertaining.



His latest, Raman Raghav 2.0 is with Ram Sampath.



The album begins with the dubstep-ish Qatl-e-Aam. It sounds like a spiritual successor of Sampath’s Talaash album with the rough edges of a violent Kashyap film. The composer sets Sona Mohapatra’s rustic, Hindustani classical-tinged voice against a techno-heavy track. He goes for the kill in the hook, using distorted voices and intercutting bass-lines to a hypnotic effect. It has flashes of the crazy Teri Keh Ke Lunga Dubstep version from Gangs of Wasseypur 2.



The similarities with Talaash don’t end with Qatl-e-Aam because somewhere the film shares a similar setting with Raman Raghav 2.0. Both are quintessentially Mumbai crime stories and the songs have a nocturnal, seductive and feminine quality. Behooda, my pick of the album, falls in the same line. A contrast to Mohapatra, Nayantara Bhatkal sings it with sensuous indie sass. Lest you take the pop, easy-to-like synth-lines on face value, Varun Grover’s morbidly gripping lyrics hit you in the gut. Tera khoon hai sau mein nabbay kaala… Tune nakhunon se foda chhaala…



The contrast between lyrics and music is carried forward in Paani Ka Rasta, a slow burning pop-rock ballad hauntingly sung in anglicised Hindi by Siddharth Basrur. Grover writes simple, rooted yet unusual verses: Kuwa se bana rassi, Se choot ke gira or raat ne mera dil khaaya. It’s an eminently hummable tune and the clean, acoustic arrangement is a welcome relief. The Raghav Theme is a comforting lounge piece where distant strains of the sitar merge with heavy techno beats. I don’t have much to say about the Qatl-e-Aam reprise except that it is a slower, non-electronic version of the first. It is the only track that didn’t work for me.

Enjoyable music

Raman Raghav is a short and smart album, and Kashyap’s most pop-friendly one till date: perhaps the result of the Bombay Velvet heartbreak. But that doesn’t take away anything from it. Sampath produces some very enjoyable music that channels the voice of the director.

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Printable version | Jan 20, 2021 3:46:50 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/entertainment/Pop-goes-grunge/article14412328.ece

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