“Chhil Gaye Naina” is one of the more rousing tracks from Anushka Sharma-starrer “NH10.”

Dum Laga Ke Haisha (Yash Raj Music)

Music: Anu Malik

Lyrics: Varun Grover

Anu Malik, back for a full soundtrack in a prestigious film after eons, sparkles with the “komal” notes of “Moh Moh Ke Dhaage” with brilliant lyrics and the charged rendition in the male and female versions by Papon and Monali Thakur respectively.

Getting the kind of stuff that can become their signature tunes and concert compulsions, a la Pankaj Udhas’ “Chitthi Aayi Hai” (“Naam”) and Reshma’s “Lambi Judaai” (“Hero”), these two singers excel as they give the superb composition the attention and caring touches it deserves. After all, such meat does not come their way every day!

The orchestration is timeless, seamlessly bridging 1994 (the film’s timeframe when Malik first reached his peak) and 2015. Malik’s penchant for excellence in such scores despite a lack of deep knowledge of Indian classical music (“Asoka,” “Filhaal,” “Saaya,” “Refugee,” “Tamanna” et al) is typical of his natural genius that transcends his more mass-oriented songs.

Kailash Kher and the Nooran sisters — Jyoti and Sultana — sing “Dum Laga Ke Haisha” with spirit, and the lyrics (Varun Grover) go the pure Hindi way. Kumar Sanu’s “Tu” is too brief despite the melody. But Sanu and Sadhana Sargam bring the ‘90s back with a vengeance in the mellifluous “Dard Karaara.”

Rahul Ram and Malini Awasthi convey the folksy “Sundar Susheel” that has interesting comments about the requirements for an ideal spouse (“Bike bhi ho, car bhi ho / Acche sanskar bhi ho / Poora wafadar bhi ho / Sochenge tab”). Yes, those were the undemanding needs of the 1990s!

This is a fabulous score that shows Anu Malik back in form. Glad to know that the creative spark in him has not gone missing.

NH10 (Eros Music)

Music: Sanjeev Rathod & Darshan Rathod, Bann Chakraborty & Abhiruchi Chand, Ayush Shrestha & Savera Mehta, Samira Koppikar

Lyrics: Kumaar, Bann Chakraborty, Manoj Tapadia, Neeraj Rajawat & Varun Grover

Kanika Kapoor’s rousing rendition of “Chhil Gaye Naina” (with Dipanshu Pandit) is a rock-heavy track in a completely different mood and octave from her early songs like “Baby Doll” in “Ragini MMS 2,” “Lovely” from “Happy New Year” and “Chitthiyaan Kalaiyaan” from “Roy.” We will watch her future progress with great interest.

The lyrics (Kumaar) are meaningful and simple (“Kaanch ki neend aayi / Patthar ke khwaab laayi”) and reflect emotional scarring. Kumaar should write such in-depth verse rather than sell his soul to his conveyor-belt supply of trite and Punjabi-heavy trash. The music by Sanjeev and Darshan Rathod is a surprising blend of contemporary youthful angst and melody for composers who started out in the late ‘90s and faded out quickly.

Most of the other songs are not worth writing on, and we wonder why “Kya Karein” (Rachel Verghese) sounds so much like “Kahaan Hoon Main” from last year’s “Highway,” complete with the vocal tone and the feel of the orchestration.

But the Samira Koppikar-sung and composed “Maati Ke Palang” has good lyrics by Neeraj Rajawat. The deliberate effort to skip beats and simple meters aims at novelty but distracts because of overuse. However, Samira’s interesting vocals do rescue the song.

The three-version “Le Chal Mujhe,” composed by Bann Chakravorty and Abhiruchi Chand and written by the former, has today’s star singer Arijit Singh put in expert nuances in the reprise version. Mohit infuses his own brand of pathos effortlessly in his, but Shilpa Rao’s version is superficial and hollow. The song reminds us of some Kishore Kumar numbers, and the chorus, piano and other instrumentation are used well.

Hunterr (Zee Music)

Music: Khamosh Shah

Lyrics: Vijay Maurya, Swanand Kirkire, Azazul Haque & Khamosh Shah

There is so much of a glut of new voices of late, and with everyone going the high-pitched way, combined with some vocal processing on software, we find it tough to tell one from the other.

Khamosh Shah, the composer of this album, who also writes some of the lyrics, sings the sober “Naina” sounding like Arijit Singh, Papon and others in different parts of the song! This is a mediocre album with one saving grace. Gentle and soothing, “Chori Chori” (Arijit Singh-Sona Mohapatra) is pleasant despite being forgettable.

Standing out in a negative sense are the lyrics (Swanand Kirkire) of “Bachpan” (sung by Amit Trivedi) that replicate the Gulzar-ian brand of esoteric imagery. Anand Shinde and Vaishali Made sing the completely Marathi “Ye Na Gade” (penned by Vijay Maurya). Though we should welcome any other language in place of the all-pervading and incomprehensible Punjabi that we hear in every third song nowadays, this is the one track in the film that is completely cacophonous — Khamosh clearly confuses rousing with raucous!

Khamosh also pays tributes that go more towards imitation: his “Dil Lagaana” sung by Altaf Raja sounds like the mediocre ‘90s songs by Raja, while “Hunterr 303” is sung by Bappi Lahiri in his typical mode!

“The Hunterr” misses the target completely!

Dilliwali Zaalim Girlfriend (T-Series)

Music: Yo Yo Honey Singh, Dr. Zeus, Indeep Bakshi, Tiger Style, Jatinder Shah, Meet Bros Anjjan, Millind Gaba & Jassi Katyal

Lyrics: Alfaaz, Zora Randhawa & Mavi Bains, Indeep Bakshi, Bunty Bains, Kumaar & Millind Gaba

What can we expect in the hallowed precincts of film music with a bunch of pop-sters of assorted origins. There is “Tere Liye” (Indeep Bakshi-Sony B), written and tuned by Indeep Bakshi as if he was in a competition to replicate the Mahesh Bhatt-Vikram Bhatt style of music made famous by Pritam and his mimics, complete with the same style of phonetics-oriented trivia in the lyrics. How unoriginal can one get?

Arijit Singh and Sunidhi Chauhan try to infuse life into “Janib” that also tries to replicate old folk styles. But we liked the use of Indian instruments and the brisk raag-daari.

And Yo Yo Honey Singh should now be called Nasha Singh as his songs are always about alcohol, sex et al — check the lyrics of “Birthday Bash” that go “Baby ka hai birthday bash / Daddy se churake ho / Goa jaake karti aish!” Time to outgrow this impostor who calls himself a singer-composer — by the way, the “lyrics” are written by someone called “Alfaaz” (words)!

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