‘Tu sabra ka saamaan, main viral huyee zubaan…tu raag sa mahaan, main beat si jawaan”, Divyanshu Malhotra takes a cue from lyricist Amitabh Bhattacharya’s penchant for using colloquial words and phrases to write lines that, apart from showing the sharp contrast in the two individuals, also give an idea about their seemingly diverse musical leanings. A true-blue fusion number that blends electronic pop and a raga based melody seamlessly and works wonderfully for the particular situation in the narrative it is made for. Shivam Mahadevan and Jonita Gandhi’s contrasting voices and style of rendition works wonderfully for the song.
One gets to hear more of Shivam Mahadevan in “Chedkhaniyaan”. The young singer, whose voice has a faint resemblance to his elder brother Siddharth Mahadevan, gives a very good account of himself. Pratibha Singh Baghel makes a late appearance in the song but leaves a good impression with her solid command as a vocalist over some of the more intricate parts of the composition. It is a light, romantic number that depicts, as the title suggests, a playful banter between the boy and the girl. Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy’s tune is flavourful and consists of an interesting melange of western and Indian musical sounds. Though Tanishk S Nabar is the man credited for writing “Chedhkhaniyaan”, the lines, as was the case with the Divyanshu Malhotra worded “Sajan Bin” have been peppered with English words.
Armaan Malik, who has largely been heard in slightly westernised songs in films so far, gets to be the voice of the classically trained Radhe (Ritwik Bhowmik) in “Couple Goals”. It is refreshing to see him in this new avatar which he does complete justice to. The way Armaan and Jonita complement each other’s voices in the song should definitely give singing jodis some goals to live up to. The techno beats blend in well with the sound of dhol/dholaks and create a vibrant orchestral background. The lively tune makes an instant impression and you find yourself humming it in no time while listening to the track for the very first time.
Shankar Mahadevan’s expertise on Indian classical music as a vocalist comes to the fore in “Labb Par Aaye”, a soaring raga based number that stick to an Indian classical background even with the arrangements and is bound to impress the purists. The orchestral arrangements largely consist of the sound of tabla and harmonium. While the song talks about a person separating from her beloved, it is probably a track which one sees the lead actor performing to in front of an audience. Sameer Samant writes some wonderfully poetic lines in chaste Hindi/Braj bhasha which deserve special mention.
Sameer Samant’s wordplay wonderfully ornaments the next four tracks, each of which steeped in Indian classical music. “Virah” and “Dhara” have been rendered by Shankar Mahadevan. His command over Indian classical music and dexterity as a vocalist comes alive yet again in these songs and the result, to put it simply, is spellbinding. The compositions are captivating and the way he performs them takes them several few notches higher. We are treated to the voice of classical musical exponent Ajay Chakrabarty’s voice in “Garaj Garaj”. Though Javed Ali is credited as one of the vocalists, one does not get to hear his voice throughout the track.
Out of all the songs Jonita has sung for the album, “Mastiyaapa” has had the most intense feel. There is a sense of irreverence attached to the film which is evident by its title but somewhere down, there is a certain philosophy which is being discussed here in a subtle, non-preachy manner. The song talks about following one’s dreams and living one’s life to the fullest. That aspect comes across fairly well in the simple but engaging lines written by Tanishk S Nabar.
“Padharo Maare Des”, the popular Rajasthani folk song has been rendered by different vocalists in their distinctive style in films, non-film albums and television commercials. One of the best renditions of it in a Hindi film has been by Karsan Sagathia for Nagesh Kukunoor’s ‘Dor’ (2006). Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy have re-imagined the folk number beautifully while retaining its essence. Shankar’s voice works very well for this rustic track.
Mame Khan’s voice and the backgrounds in “The Bandish Bandits Theme” faintly remind one of the opening portions of the track “Teen Gawah Hain Ishq Ke” which, incidentally, was composed by Shankar – Ehsaan – Loy. Strangely, the ‘jukebox’ uploaded on YouTube by Amazon Prime Video has credited only Shankar Mahadevan as the vocalist. The names of Mame Khan (the lead vocalist) and Ravi Mishra have been left out. The evocative folksy melody plays in the opening credits of the show and represents the music of the state (Rajasthan, in this case) the show is based in.
‘Bandish Bandits’ is the best Hindi (film/non-film soundtrack) one has heard in a while. The multi-episodic format of a series seems to have given the trio a lot to experiment and play around with. A love child of new-age pop and Indian classical music, the album is high on both quality and quantity!