The premise of debutante director Yashowardhan Mishra’s feature-length film ‘Kathal’ is quite amusing. The film traces the journey of a bunch of cops led by a young officer (Sanya Malhotra) to find two kathals (jackfruits) that have gone missing. While the trailer of the film was very impressive, one is not too sure as to what one should expect from the soundtrack of a social satire such as this. However, you feel hopeful and even start expecting good things when you go through the credits. The three-song album of ‘Kathal’ has been put together by Ram Sampath whose last major outing as a film composer was the Shah Rukh Khan – Mahira Khan – Nawazuddin Siddique starrer ‘Raees’ (2017).
Ram, known for his inventive soundtracks for films like ‘Khakee’, ‘Delhi Belly’, Talaash’, Fugly’ and ‘Raman Raghav 2.0, among others, has spoken publicly about his reasons for stepping away from the film industry. Those who have appreciated Ram’s music in the past would definitely be happy to see him doing a film again. While he did compose the zingy ‘Raat Rani’ for the Amazon Prime Video anthology series ‘Modern Love: Mumbai’, ‘Kathal’ marks his comeback to the movies. All the three songs in ‘Kathal’ have been penned by Ashok Mishra who has also co-written the script with director Yashowardhan Mishra.
The album opens with “Radhe Radhe”, a song parts of which we heard in the vastly entertaining trailer of the film. The tune (Ram Sampath) is simple and very catchy. The song benefits greatly from the lyrics written by Ashok Mishra. Rituraj Mohanty, who has earlier sung for Ram in films like ‘Bhoothnath Returns’ and ‘Bangistaan’, gives a good account of himself. It would be interesting to see the juncture at which this song is used in the film.
“Nikar Chalo Re”, sung by Sona Mohapatra, is the highlight of the album. The folksy composition by Ram is terrific and keeps growing on you with each listening. While “Nikar Chalo Re” seems to be designed as an inspirational song, it also has a hint of melancholy in it. Ram does a splendid job at bringing out the various emotions through his composition. The arrangements (Ram Sampath and Arabinda Neog) are equally brilliant. Watch out for the shehnai piece (Omkar Dhumal) at the 1:19 mark and the evocative electric guitar piece (Sanjoy Das) which arrives at the 2:29 mark.
The album concludes with “Lalla Lalli”, a situational number that should make an impression with the visuals. Though it is not the strongest musical track on the album, it still makes for a fun hear because of the quirky lyrics written by Ashok Mishra. While the tune is decent, the rhythmic arrangements (Ram Sampath, AM. AN and Emon Goswami) keep you invested in the song. The enthusiastic rendition by Sona Mohapatra and Amjad Bagadwa help the song considerably.
The music of ‘Kathal’ delivers more than it promises. The album, which is just nine minutes and fifty seconds long, keeps you consistently engaged. By the time the year comes to an end, ‘Nikar Chalo Re’ should be counted as one of the best songs to have released this year. The album also serves as a testimony to the fact that Ram Sampath is a composer who can always be trusted with creating the kind of music that is fresh, original and entertaining at the same time. One now looks forward to the soundscape he has created for Kiran Rao’s forthcoming film ‘Laapataa Ladies’.