Lyrics: Amitabh Bhattacharya
At last, Pritam scores a hardcore semi-classical whopper after some nice attempts as in “Bhool Bhulaiya.” The humdinger “Ghar More Pardesiya” (Shreya Ghoshal with Vaishali Made, her “Pinga” co-singer) proves beyond doubt that today’s audience will love a raag-based Hindustani song and not just Western grooves, pseudo-Sufi and Punjabi pop tracks. What’s more, as the lead track of the score, itis beyond leagues the best song in the film in every way – as a composition, lyrically, vocally and even in terms of sound.
Our crucial suggestion, therefore, to all music purveyors of today: DO NOT fear to make and market such songs, and DO NOT underestimate us music buffs!
Ghoshal makes every syllable emerge as crystal clear slivers of deep melody. Made gives her good company. Bhattacharya’s lyrics and command on words are outstanding and deserving of encomiums. Pritam gets back to his style of ensuring simple, fluid compositions that hook us. The orchestration is amazing in its cadences as it swerves from one note to other totally surprising notes.
The second track, “First Class,” has its retro feel mixed with Pritam’s easy-to-recognize flowing notes. Arijit Singh is good, but we feel that a KK would have done much better in terms of sheer depth and mellifluousness, besides bringing in impeccable diction! Neeti Mohan’s portion is competent, but by now she should be evolving into a more expressive singer. Bhattacharya pumps up the vigor in his words with “Pal Mein Tola/Pal Mein Maasa/Jaisi Baazi Waisa Paasa” that speak of a bygone lexicon, as the film is set in the 1940s.
The title-track “Kalank” is a haunting composition and Singh is brilliant here, so we will pass by the same reason why KK again would have been as good and soulful. Bhattacharya’s lyrics make a trenchant point on love, stating “Kalank Nahin, Ishq Hai Kaajal Piya (love is not a stain but the ‘kaajal’ on the forehead).” The song is given a subtle qawwali-esque flavor in its choral refrain and later arrangements.
“Tabaah Ho Gaye” is a staid litany by Shreya Ghoshal, where despite the melody and the weight, something seems to be missing. The sound seems cluttered despite fewer instruments than in the ‘mujras’ of old. That said, Ghoshal is very good, and it is ethereal to hear tablas and sitars in place of the omnipresent rock guitars and Western percussion.
But the ‘antaras’ (inner verses) also seem complicated and very calculated to somehow get to the cross-line (which connects to the mukhda). In all, a rather labored work, when the key to an emotional connect is the very fluidity that Pritam is famous for ever since he came in.
Antara Mitra, Javed Ali and Tushar Joshi score in the “item” mode with “Aira Gaira” and Mitra scores high, despite singing in the Neha Kakkar-meets-Mamta Sharma-meets-Sunidhi Chauhan mode. There is a marked tenor here of Laxmikant-Pyarelal. Ali is back to imitating Sonu Nigam, but Tushar Joshi handles his portions well. The lyrics are clever and deft, and Bhattacharya must be lauded for using rare Hindi words like “naaspeeta “ (roughly translated in context as “wretched”).
Jonita Gandhi’s “Rajwadi Odhni” sounds like a filler track that does not impress at all. The high-pitched male voice here is not even credited. The remaining tracks are repeats. Of these, there are two more versions of the title-track – the “Duet” version and the “Bonus” track. Shilpa Rao sings well, but her portion does not add anything of worth to the soundtrack.
The “Radio Edit” version of “Ghar More Pardesiya” again seems like a filler. “Aira Gaira” is another needless repeat version to lengthen the album.
By current (non-)levels, this score is worth a listen, but on merits it is merely on par with “Ae Dil Hai Mushkil” and is leagues below Pritam’s maiden score for Karan Johar – the superb “Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani.”