Friday, 5 January 2018

Bollywood Song of the Week: Aaj Se Teri / Padman

Aaj Se Teri - Arijit Singh / Amit Trivedi / Kausar Munir

Last year was one of the dullest and diluted in Bollywood song history, with rehashed classic songs and dumb, lewd or passable party songs gaining YouTube traction. Soulful poetry was alarmingly missing but for some exceptions in 2017.

In that light, the Amit Trivedi - Kausar Munir Padman soundtrack is a dew-fresh welcome start to the Bollywood calendar year 2018. Though we feature only one song here, the entire Padman soundtrack is worth a listen at its five-song, 21-minute odd length.

Arijit Impresses Again!
Arijit Singh's male playback dominance continues with Aaj Se Teri. Contrary to apprehensions that Arijit is squeezing his career lemon dry with similar-themed songs, Aaj Se Teri shows why he is the best choice here. Singh modulates his voice, minus the romantic huskiness and delivers a lively lovey-dovey turn. 

Trivedi's Beautiful Empty Spaces
The Bollywood film song is made so often to dutifully match the audio-visual storytelling. That is why Trivedi can't escape the cliched shehnai start to signal a marriage and the ensuing bonding. Trivedi cleverly builds on that intro to add his unconventional, out-of-the-box tangent pattern and create beautiful open spaces and percussion for Arijit's vocals to stand out and linger. Notice the genuinely melodious intermittent music, minimal hand-clap effect and how the shehnai sprinkles at the right places throughout.  

Lovely, Rare Quality 
Munir's lyrics echo of Trivedi's frequent collaborator Amitabh Bhattacharya's space in a diverse, recognizable, common-place lingo here. 

Oh tere kande ka jo til hai, 
tere seene mein jo dil hai, 
oh teri bijli ka jo bill hai, 
aaj se mera ho gaya... 

(that mole on your shoulder, 
your heart in your chest, 
your electricity bill, 
from today are mine) 

We rarely get anything as sensual, practical and heartfelt within a few lines in Hindi film music today. Check out the Antara (para 1 & 2) lyrics for its seamless melding of tradition, culture with companionship, beautifully sewn together to North Indian ethos.  

In a time where "love songs" have become excuses for flashy showboating and overtly sexual overkill, Aaj Se Teri stands out as an unaffected, leisurely, be kind rewind song. 

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