Jab Harry Met Sejal – Music Review

INTRO

The coming together of two of the biggest #RomanticIcons of our times, that is of director #ImtiazAli and superstar #ShahRukhKhan to make a romantic film is surely cause for celebration. While #KingKhan has made this genre all his own with a number of blockbusters to his name, Imtiaz Ali has shown that subjects dealing with quirky romance are his forte. If the initial teasers & promos, that have been received very well by the fans, are anything to go by we are in for a fun ride.

Imtiaz Ali’s films have always had glorious music from #JabweMet to #LoveAajKal, #Rockstar, #Cocktail & #Highway the soundtrack of these films have won favor with the discerning and the masses alike. Jab Harry Met Sejal (JHMS) also reunites Imtiaz Ali with music director #Pritam(who has hit a purple patch of late) after three films on the trot with A.R.Rehman. So to say that expectations are huge would not be exaggerating. Does JHMS meet these gargantuan expectations? Read on.

1. RADHA: JHMS also brings back the winning combo of ace wordsmith (read lyrics writer) #IrshadKamil who has been a regular feature of possibly all Imtiaz Ali films and seems to understand the quirky nature of his films only too well. Which is quite clearly evident in the song #Radha. Though one must confess that at first hearing one felt that the song was a little underwhelming it does grow on you after a couple of hearings. And yes the way the song is picturised on the lead couple does help too. The alaap at the very start by that mellifluous yet very underused talent #ShahidMallya sets the tone for the entire song. With the character of #Sejal aka Anushka being that of a vivacious girl #SunidhiChauhan fits the bill to a T. Even as one is writing this the song has attained chartbuster status.

2. BEECH BEECH MEIN: In the last few years #Disco numbers that pay a tribute to the swinging 70s and the boisterous 80s have made their way into Hindi films. The first one possibly in this genre was the peppy It’s The Time To Disco from Karan Johar’s #KalHoNaaHo. We recently heard #TeriMeri composed by #VishalShekhar for the Hrithik Roshan starrer #BangBang and it became a big hit too. A personal favorite though is by the same composers for the dud #GoriTerePyaarMein. The song was the pulsating #Dhat Teri Ki which still makes one want to stand up and dance.

Beech Beech Mein brings together the duo of #ArijitSingh (this man never ceases to surprise with his incredible range) and the powerhouse voice of #ShalmaliKholgade in a song that is a slow burner. It is more tap-your-feet-gently kind of music than stand up and dance. But once it settles into a groove, the beats are indeed infectious. This one will only grow in the coming days.

3. SAFAR: The best track in the entire album is this velvety dulcet rendered by, who else Arijit Singh!Setting a mild tempo right from the outset here is a song that portrays what the film is all about, in a nutsell. So to speak. The journey (#Safar) of this free spirited guide along with a sassy traveller is very well explained in this song. The song also has evocative lyrics that will make you treasure this song. And put it on the playlist whenever you are on a road trip. Mesmerising.

4. RADHA(remix): One does not quite understand the compulsions behind adding a remix version to the Radha song. Because it does not really add anything new to the listening experience. Could have been avoided.

VERDICT

Jab Harry Met Sejal is very good while it lasts. How one wishes that the film had a song or two more to add to the listener’s delight. But to be fair to the director his script perhaps does not merit a need for more songs. Of what is on offer here there is a lot to like. And enjoy. Recommended

RATINGS: 3.5/5

Remix comes back to haunt Bollywood

 Scene one in a packed cineplex playing the latest rom-com (romantic comedy for the uninformed) starring #Alia&Varun, the hit pair of the month in Bollywood. High point of the movie is supposedly a club song that the better half is excited to watch on the big screen. It is no sooner that the song begins that one realises that the song #TammaTamma is a remixed version of what itself was a strictly average song from an equally average film from the 80s.

Scene two while heading back home and the car radio is loudly blaring out the latest hit starring the lead pair of #Aashiqui2. The song is an #ARRehman chartbuster song #HummaHumma remixed (groan) Wait a minute. Neither was this song too old nor was it too bad and it was quite popular with the ‘smartphone’ generation too. So what was the purpose of the remix? None of this seemed to matter much to the better half who thought that the rap by singer #Badshah was cute.

Scene three at a friend’s dinner party where the DJ decides to play the hottest song of 2017(her
words)and asks all of us to hit the floor, which we do. The song was ‘Tu Cheez Badi Hai Mast Mast’ Dismayed as one was, the way things had been panning out this should have probably been expected. Clearly there was something wrong with the world as one knew it. What was the reason for this new found penchant for trashing trashy music?

One has always believed that when one is #Remixing music, one is killing the essence of the original. No matter if the remix was done by the same artist who composed the original song. A remix is still a remix. Here one must draw the distinction between songs composed for an Indian film versus say an original soundtrack for a film in the West. Or for that matter between Indian and western music. Where a lot of Indian music is melody (rather than rhythm) based, on the classical styles of Carnatic & Hindustani music. Which is why unlike western music, the Indian sounds do not lend themselves as well to remix. So for those who have not heard the original a remix song might seem all right, those who have will always feel something missing.

But what all these remix pundits are basically saying is that if you have heard the original, so what? Grin and bear it while they play the remix for the ‘smartphone’ generation. Be that as it may this new development in mainstream Hindi cinema is not a new one. In the late 80s and early 90s remix music had reared it’s ugly head for the first time. It came under the garb of pop music with bands like Instant Karma and artists like Bally Sagoo leading the pack. This was the era when video piracy was rampant and people bitten by the television bug had stopped going to the cinema halls. This was also the era when a young boy named Sonu Nigam was making waves singing his idol Mohammed Rafi’s songs. On tape and on stage. Fortunately this era of boorish music in Hindi films did not last too long and it took maverick director #MaheshBhatt’s #Aashiqui to break the shackles.

That was in 1990 and for almost three decades now, Hindi films have largely stayed away from remix music, barring minor aberrations here and there. With the recent lows that Hindi film music has seen it seems like things can only get better. And it will probably require another musical revolution on the lines of Bhatt’s #Aashiqui (that terrible film with terrific music) to turn the tide. Till then let us all sway to the tunes of Kala Chashma from Miss Kaif’s Baar Baar Dekho. At least it is an original. OK it is not but who has heard the original song? Not yours truly.

Noor – Music that is fun while it lasts

  INTRO

Quirky. Speak to the makers of the upcoming Hindi film, #NOOR and the one word that you are likely to hear bandied about is this. And there is perhaps no better word to describe a film helmed by a man (#SunhilSippy)who directed his debut film 17 years ago that is based on a Pakistani writer’s novel and stars actress #Sonakshi ‘Dabanng’ Sinha in her most urbane avatar yet. The initial promos of the film that are out now give one the impression that it is a cross between the Kangana Ranaut starrer QUEEN and the Hollywood romantic comedy, #BRIDGETJONES’SDIARY. As a young girl coping with problems like boyfriends, weight issues, commitment phobia and career (not necessarily in that order) Sonakshi seems to be quite aptly cast. Critical to all this is the music of NOOR that seems to set the mood for the onscreen drama to ensue. Here’s what we think of the #Soundtrack of the film.

1. UFF YEH NOOR – Title songs are not easy to compose but if done well these songs can give a huge impetus to the film itself. As in the case of this song which perfectly captures the essence of the film. Sung by Armaan Malik whose elder sibling has composed the music for this film, the song has a catchy tune that appeals almost instantly and is very easy on the ears. The lively chorus and clapping lend a peppy feel to the whole song though the breezy style does remind you of the title song of yet another female centric film #AISHA. That one starred Sonam ‘fashionista’ Kapoor.

2. GULABI 2.0 – There seems to be an recent overdose of remix songs (#HummaHumma, #TammaTamma, Tu Cheez Badi Hai) in Bollywood films. That most of these songs have become a hit with the masses is only spurring on filmmakers to do more of the same. In NOOR, the music director Amaal Malik has decided to subject viewers to not just one but as many as three remixed versions of this song from the 1970 Rajesh Khanna starrer ‘THE TRAIN’ The original was one of those rare instances where Rafi saab provided the playback for Khanna. With vocals by Tulsi Kumar, Amaal Malik and Yash Narvekar this song is designed in the style of an #EDM number. Annoying as some purists might find it, this song is already burning up the charts.

3. JISSE KEHTE PYAAR HAI – One has always felt that music director #AmaalMalik’s forte is composing soft, romantic ballads and this belief only gets reinforced after listening to this charming love songs rendered quite beautifully by singer Sukriti Kakar. It is a testament to the versatility of this girl that she can sing chartbusting dance numbers (like last year’s monster hit Kar Gayi Chul) with as much ease as she can sing these melodious songs. Best song of the Album.

4. HAI ZAROORI – A slow paced number which will take a few hearings to catch on is HAI ZAROORI. Sung by a singer called Prakriti Kakar (now one is not too sure if she is she related to the other lady singing on this album and with so Kakkars around like Sonu, Neha, Akriti one will not even hazard a guess) the lyrics by #ManojMuntashir are quite well written and one is guessing that this song will come at a moment in the film when Noor is going through a heartbreak.

5. MOVE YOUR LAKK – Every films needs that one chartbuster that can create a buzz around the film and in Noor that song is undoubtedly #MOVEYOURLAKK. Written and composed by rapper #Badshah (who is frankly coming out of everyone’s ears right now) this song is foot tapping with a capital F. Yet what elevates this okey-dokey composition to hit status is the crooning by Diljit Dosanjh (This man cannot put a foot wrong) and the sultry voice of Sonakshi Sinha (she should sing more) And once you have seen Miss Sinha in an ultra glam avatar strutting her stuff in the promo you know this one is a sure hit.

6. GULABI RETRO MIX – The only thing that makes this song worth listening to is the tribute paid by singer Sonu Nigam to his idol Mohammed Rafi and it is his voice accompanied by some nice beats that make this song listen worthy. There is another version of the Gulabi song titled GULAABI REDUX which one frankly found too drab and not worthy of a separate mention in here.

In Conclusion : The music of NOOR is above the average stuff that we hear daily. Could have been good even but for too many remixed songs stuffed into the soundtrack. If the purpose of the album was to get viewers to look forward to watching NOOR it surely succeeds.

Mr Tambourine Man finally accepts his Nobel Prize

A good five months (it was in October last year when the announcement was made) after he became the first songwriter ever to be awarded the coveted Nobel Prize for his immeasurable contributions in the field of literature, Bob Dylan finally accepted the award at a private ceremony in Stockholm. Thereby he put an end to all the ‘Will he, Won’t he?’ asking doubting Thomases, many of whom perceived this dilly-dallying to be impolite and even arrogant behavior. The ceremony itself took place at a secret (??) location in Stockholm with no members of the press or media invited to cover the event. The members of the Swedish Academy who were at the champagne-laced event must have been on tenterhooks what with April 1st (Fool’s Day) chosen by Dylan as the date on which he finally accepted the gold medal and Diploma. These come as part of the Nobel Prize as does the prize money of 8 million kronor (a little less than $ one million) The prize money imbroglio is a whole different story.

Dylan had set the cat among the pigeons in December of last year when he skipped an event organised to present him with the Nobel Prize citing ‘pre-existing commitments’ as the reason for not being present in person. But not too many people bought it and one cannot really blame them either. For two whole weeks after the Nobel Prize for literature was bestowed on Dylan he did not utter a single word. No customary thank yous, no press statement, no reaction at all. The silence was just deafening. Dylan who was bang in the middle of a tour at the time when the announcement came could have said something from the stage even but strangely enough chose not to. And all this while there was a heated debate on to question the wisdom behind awarding the Nobel to the mercurial troubadour in the first place. When Dylan finally did speak the reason he gave for his befuddling silence was that he had been left ‘speechless’ It was vintage Dylan.

But when Dylan failed to turn up and receive the Nobel Prize in person, it sparked off an acrimonious controversy with the Swedish Academy issuing what some would call a veiled threat to Dylan. They reminded him that he had six months (from December) within which he HAD TO give a lecture failing which he would not see any of the $900,000 prize money. And for good measure the Academy threw the rule book at Dylan while giving him the option of either delivering a lecture or as an alternative do a gig for them. Not too many artists would think twice before getting this done with. After all it was almost a million dollars that was at stake here. But Dylan being Dylan would simply not take the bait. A rebel in every sense of the word, he was as anti establishment as they come. And one suspects he still is.

And lest we forget it were his songs from the 1960s like “Blowin’in the Wind”, “The Times, They are A-Changin” and ” Masters of War” which became anthems during the civil rights movement. Sample these lines:

How many times must the cannon balls fly
Before they’re forever banned?

How many years can some people exist
Before they’re allowed to be free?

How many deaths will it take ’til he knows
That too many people have died?

The answer,my friend,is blowin’ in the wind
The answer is blowin’ in the wind

These are lines that resonated with folks back then, resonate with folks even today and will continue to do so. For a long,long time. Forget the lecture, forget the prize money. For Dylan it was never really about hankering for awards, even those as prestigious as the Nobel. Hope the Swedish Academy realises this, sooner than later.