Music: Vickey Prasad, Aditya Pushkarna, Manas-Shikhar & Sachet-Parampara
Lyrics: Siddharth-Garima (Siddharth Singh-Garima Wahal)
First things first: Here is an interesting new trend – we are now having films with a single lyricist and multiple composers (we have had at least four such examples in recent times, as in from 2016). This is a singular improvement as the lyricist at least gets to sink his or her teeth into the story, rather than assembling generic songs for various situations.
For decades, we have also been used to single composers working with diverse lyricists and yet maintaining the feel of the story. Siddharth-Garima, who have excelled in the last two Sanjay Leela Bhansali films, have done the nice poetry that is also situational. And if we think (rightly) that lyrics are an extension of the written word (script and dialogues), then the duo is skilled and original enough to keep that firmly in mind, and also happen not to be overworked.
Conclusion: This is leagues better than having a parade of music makers and assorted songwriters!
A second plus point is that, to the best of my knowledge (unless they have done some B- or C-graders), all the composers here are making debuts, and what’s more wonderful is that they have made a special effort to sound as if this is part of a one-composer soundtrack. What’s more, giving today’s orchestral constraints and small-room feel as against the 100-plus musicians in recording studios culture of yore, the sound is authentically small-town or rural.
Sonu Nigam and Shreya Ghoshal do a brilliant job of “Hans Mat Pagli” that is a sweet and melodious number recalling the era and aura of vintage Lata-Rafi duets. The music is by Vickey Prasad, and it is interesting and quaint how the lyrics blend so nicely with the tune while remaining meaningful and situational.
Prasad also composes and joins Akshay Kumar in the high-pitched “Toilet Jugaad.” This song is not included on the soundtrack and, as a promotional song, has its unusual charm.
Sukhwinder Singh and Sunidhi Chauhan give us another deliciously aromatic whiff on an earthy village in “Ishq Se Bada Bakheda.” It is so refreshing to hear Singh in a non-gimmicky form. Chauhan, as usual, is an effortless chameleon. This composition is by Aditya Pushkarna.
And if you thought that you wanted to hear the original and a clone in the same album and compare them, here’s your chance. After Mohammed Rafi shared soundtracks with Anwar and Shabbir Kumar, and Kishore Kumar with Kumar Sanu, here’s Ghoshal sharing credits on the same album with Palak Muchhal in what I think is the album’s standout track, “Gori Tu Latth Maar.” Manas-Shikhar compose this lovely track that moves placidly except when it gets to the rambunctious hook and later reaches its culmination.
It is also refreshing how the lyrics here are not compromised and yet adjust, in unconventional ways, to this composition. Manas-Shikhar deserve hosannas for this layered melody that in its compositional twists and turns, reminds us of the solid rural songs Laxmikant-Pyarelal and Kalyanji-Anandji created in the ‘60s and ‘70s.
By contrast, Sachet Tandon and Parampara Thakur co-compose and sing “Subah Ki Train” that is catchy and wins over with its simple yet comparatively contemporary melody. This time, the orchestration is midway between the kind that is needed and what is common in the 2017 version of such ditties. But the charm of the hinterlands of India remains intact.
We would give full marks to the director and filmmaker for staying true to the story and giving us a substantial and credible score. We salute this conviction in NOT having re-created songs, needless Punjabi, Sufi and English and above all no wannabe crooners and screaming machines posing as singers with horrendous diction. For these points alone, the music deserves an extra half star!