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Music beyond words

With just four songs Sairat — that means ‘wild’ — is one of the shortest Indian musical films—Special arrangement  

The most refreshing thing about the album of Sairat is its utter disregard for trendy music. Here’s an album, after a long time, that wholeheartedly embraces an old-fashioned way of film music-making and delivers. One may argue that it’s the style of music composer duo Ajay-Atul. But it is commendable to stick to one’s guns and create something genuine and heartfelt rather than jumping on the bandwagon and succumb to the pressures of music labels.

The first song Yad Lagle — and the best song — is a rousing return of the symphony orchestra in Indian film music. Ajay-Atul live recorded the album with the Symphony Orchestra of Hollywood and the musicianship is evident right from the first note of the terrifically joyous prelude. Then there’s the sweet sound of the Indian flute — which reminds us of early Ilaiyaraja and AR Rahman.

Since I don’t understand Marathi, I didn’t understand a single word of the lyrics. But I’ve anyway always been more of a ‘melody person’. And the central melody here is a happy, magical one, the kind of stuff they don’t make anymore. It’s like a simple village ditty embellished with the soaring ambitions of a film song. Ajay Gogavale on vocals is sheer delight, bringing a local, rural casualness to the contrasting sophisticated strains of the cello, brass and horns. There are more such surprises in Aatach Baya Ka Baawarla that begins with a chorus of traditional women folk but is punctuated by a flash of distorted guitar riff and drums. Sung by a spirited Shreya Ghosal, it feels close to the template of the spunky-heroine’s-introductory-song but there are nice, pleasant twists and turns throughout.

Ajay-Atul like designing Indian songs around Western notes and chords — as we have seen in the piano and synths of Abhi Mujh Mein Kahi from Agneepath. They use it to great effect in the title track, Sairat Zaala Ji . More on the arrangement later, but it is almost immediately taken over by the superb duet by Chinmayee and Ajay, sort of an Indian femininity emanating from her lilting, sweetness complemented by his confident robustness. The only slight grouse is that the antara sounds a lot like Yad Lagle , especially Ajay’s part. But the interludes are pure gold — including the sweeping orchestral music we had heard in the first teaser that features a masterful interplay of the flute and bagpipes.

The only time the album employs electronic music is in Zingaat . The female chorus sounds crude at first, but given the context of the film’s mofussil/village setting, feels right. Rooted in the spirit of a visarjan dance number, based on the sounds of the cheap brass band, it has an irresistibly catchy hook meant to make us feel like breaking into an impromptu jig.

With just four songs Sairat — that means ‘wild’ — is the shortest Indian musical film I know. But its music fills us up with emotions of innocent romance and passion of youth. As for the grand, stirring orchestral score, it perhaps befits the love story of its ‘ordinary’, imperfect protagonists, who deserve their slo-mos (as seen in the song promos) as much as their shiny, glamorous urban counterparts.


Composers: Ajay-Atul

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Printable version | May 7, 2021 1:34:35 PM |

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