“Dilwale” movie poster.

Film: Dilwale

Label: Sony Music

Music: Pritam

Lyrics: Amitabh Bhattacharya

First things first: This is the first Red Chillies album after “Om Shanti Om” in 2007 where the music is hummable, decidedly catchy in some tracks, and has not a single substandard track.

Pritam continues in his “Bajrangi Bhaijaan” vein of composing for a film rather than in just a trademark style, and offers melodious numbers with a changed (for him) yet pleasant sound, well-thought-of arrangements, and a whiff of substance along with trendiness in the compositions.

The album begins with “Gerua” (Arijit Singh-Antara Mitra) that is already quite a rage, if only for the use of the uncommon word “Gerua” (the saffron color) as a kind of hook. The prelude seems to be with Scottish bagpipes, and the thematic musical riff is haunting and one of Pritam’s best in a long time, and Singh and Mitra take charge of a sweet melody that reminds us of classic SRK-Kajol numbers like in “Karan Arjun, “ Baazigar,” “Kuch Kuch Hota Hai” and “Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham...” in the past.

Amitabh Bhattacharya writes Gulzar-esque poetry, but on the right side of substance, so that we can figure out the meaning!

Singh and Mitra share another duet, “Janam Janam” that is also for the same pair. In an era of random voices singing for established (big) star teams, it is gratifying to know that Pritam maintains the same and competent voices for SRK and Kajol, and once again the riff and the smooth flow of the song are exemplary. Bhattacharya writes on a simpler level here but has a smart turn of phrase.

The lyricist is at his smartest in “Tukur Tukur” (audio version) sung by Singh again. Sample this line: “Husn hai beqabu agar / Kaahe jazbaat ko qabu mein rakhe baalama.” The lyrics have a smooth flow and a definite graph, and Pritam keeps the music catchy and lively with a strong whiff of Goa, where a huge chunk of the film is shot.

Take this song and get it recorded by Kishore Kumar, embellished with the orchestration of Laxmikant-Pyarelal, Kalyanji-Anandji or R.D. Bruman or even keep the existing one, and it can sit — no questions asked — on Amitabh Bachchan in the ‘70s or early ‘80s!

The film version, which is being released now, has different words and is much more “with-it.” It is sung by Arijit Singh, Kanika Kapoor, Neha Kakkar, Sidharth Mahadevan and Nakash Aziz, but lacks the sheer exuberance of the former. And Kakkar jars.

Singh gets into soulful mode in “Daayre,” one of the better typically-‘today’ compositions we have heard in recent times, though admittedly the weaker one in the album.

A word about Singh here: while he is musically very good, one wishes that the music composers, lyricists and filmmakers of today had the time and gumption to put his diction in place. Besides his trademark “Tha” phonetic sound for words with the “Ta” phonetic syllable, he actually mispronounces “Jiya” (in “Daayre”) as “Zeeya” twice (so it cannot be a slip) and “Zzzz-baat” for “Jazbaat.” Please, all you music purveyors, stop this damage to language before you are scoffed or derided at 10 or 20 years down the line!

Mitra, who sang the earlier duets with Singh, is a fine singer and evolving, but must guard against a more-than-passing similarity in tenor to Asha Bhosle. We are past the era of clones, see?

We then get to the two non-Arijit tracks that go on the younger couple here: “Manma Emotion Jaage” sung by Amit Mishra, Anushka Manchanda and Mitra again, and “Premika” by Benny Dayal and Kanika Kapoor with additional vocals by Jonita Gandhi.

Supremely youthful and catchy, they are spiced up with truly young and apt lyrics (“Yeh toh bataa de mere jazbaat ka / Itna kam rate kyoon hai / Tere bazaar mein”). Mishra is an interesting and forceful voice and the female support is good, while in “Premika,” Benny Dayal is in customary uninhibited mode.

Overall, a score that is interesting for its blend of mature and youthful numbers. Here is an album where the classical blends with the contemporary quite seamlessly.

Rating: 3.5/5 stars

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