Friday, 2 February 2018

Bollywood Song of the Week: Ek Dil Ek Jaan / Padmaavat

Ek Dil Ek Jaan - Shivam Pathak / AM Turaz / Sanjay Leela Bhansali

Padmaavat"s writers and director are clearly guilty of taking sides, but the soundtrack, without exaggeration, is a work of genuine beauty. Ek Dil Ek Jaan is a gem in the impressive six-song Padmaavat soundtrack, exhaling love in its purest form.

Shades of Bajirao Mastani 
Shivam Pathak varies his gruff-riotous vocals of Khalibali to an impressive drawn out, lingering degree here.

Despite shades of the Arijit Singh sung Aayat from Bajirao Mastani (2015), how Ek Dil Ek Jaan sways momentarily to a clipped qawwali piece is as organic, if not better. In fact, Bhansali repeats Mujtaba Aziz Naza and Farhan Sabri vocals as in the Aayat qawwali section, lyricist AM Turaz is another common factor.

Instruments, Magic  
Apart from the lead vocals, the rousing, mini, qawwali interlude, the magic stems from the drawn-out quality, silence between the notes and excellent pacing. The sound design is a work of perfection here, as is the aptly placed collage of instruments. Sample the initial wind chime tinkles, and how it builds up to the wisely understated clap rhythms. I love the sarangi touches the most, it adds the necessary melancholia.


Fleeting Cinema
The lyrics, despite the love song trappings, emits the sweet pain of parting and fits piognantly well into the film's audio-visual context.

Bhansali is guilty of overplaying the Ratan Singh-Padmavati 'adorable glances' part. But for a few moments, as the enemy annnounces its thunderous presence, the last goodbye between lovers feels like a golden thread stiched in embriodery. A fleeting moment, yet a glimpse of cinema.    

Friday, 26 January 2018

Bollywood Song of the Week: Khalibali / Padmaavat

Khalibali - Shivam Pathak / AM Turaz / Sanjay Leela Bhansali

Although Khalibali sticks out like a sore thumb in the Padmaavat storytelling structure, as a purely audio experience it is individually distinct for its mid-eastern flavor and deranged celebration from the rest of the soundtrack.

For those unaware of Hindi film formula, you may well ask, when did Alauddin Khilji learn to dance like that?! Khalibali comes out of the blue in the film. Nor does Alauddin's onscreen lustiness compliment the song's lyrics, there is a clear disconnect. Did the violent anti-film protests affect creative freedom on the songs too? Or is it merely an entertainment gimmick, to give the audience a more likable villain?

Ranveer Singh's mere presence sparks up the audio-visual. Otherwise, the song is more of a filler, and suddenly Padmaavat looks like a musical. They might have made a full-fledged musical out of Padmaavat, considering the superb Sanjay Leela Bhansali compositions, Shahid and  Deepika's dance skills, it would have been lovely to watch.

Khalibali stands for chaos, and explains the king's state in a repeated rousing chorus:

taar-vaar dil ke sab toot se gaye
neendon waale jugnu rooth raaton se gaye  

(all strings of the heart are severed, 
the fireflies of sleep had a tiff with the night)

At the time of writing, the 21-minute-odd run of the Padmaavat soundtrack is sounding rousingly impressive and epic on repeated listens. We may have our first great Hindi film soundtrack of 2018 in Padmaavat. More of that in subsequent posts. Until then, happy listening!

Friday, 19 January 2018

Bollywood Song of the Week: Paintra / Mukkabaaz

Paintra: Divine / Nucleya / Vineet Kumar Singh   

Yes, for the second consecutive week, we pick Paintra, the anti-establishment, rebellious dance/rap addiction as the Bollywood Song of the Week. Check out why we chose the song last week at this link.

Catching Mukkabaaz this week at the theaters also helped me place the song in a new light. Ironically, though a notable, offbeat and catchy soundtrack, the use of the songs at key moments where silence would have done better undermines the film's key moments.

Rachita Arora's beautiful music does convey mood, but the repetitive use of the songs as the movie background score rankles. Just silence would have worked so well at key scenes. So this is in context of the film's audio-visual impact.

Do give the Mukkabaaz soundtrack a listen, an interesting experience for music lovers looking for something variant from the usual Bollywood template. 

Paintra fits right into the texture, mood, and context of the movie, placed at the right place and very astutely picturized.