One expects soulful music from a film which is based on a sensitive issue. Producer Sandeep Singh’s debut directorial feature ‘Safed’ tells the story of Kaali (Meera Chopra), a widow and Chaandi (Abhay Verma), a eunuch, who form an unlikely bond after getting ostracized from the society. The album of ‘Safed’ has been put together by a large team of composers, lyricists and singers. While some of the artists mentioned on the credits have been around for a long time, there are some who have exhibited their skills in a handful of projects till date.
The album opens with “Bhula Dena”, a song composed by Monty Massey, written by Soham Majumdar and sung by Subhankar Dey. The raga based melody, which is steeped in melancholy, gives Subhankar enough scope to flex his vocal muscles. The singer rises to the occasion and delivers a rousing rendition. The composition by Monty Massey registers an impact as soon as you hear it for the first time. Soham writes some simple lines that complement the tune well. The song has a haunting quality to it which is well accentuated by the way instruments like guitar, pads, tabla, violin and viola have been used.
“Rona Aaya”, the second track on the album has been composed by Shashi Suman, written by Mehboob and features Sonu Nigam as the vocalist. A few strands of piano and violin are heard in the prelude and then, Sonu Nigam arrives and implores you to invest your time and attention as a listener with his soul-stirring rendition. Shashi Suman has composed the kind of ghazal that would not only appeal to the fans of the genre but would also strike a chord with those who haven’t explored this genre enough. “De diya dil toh ab iss jaan ki baari aayi, mere aaghaaz ko anjaam pe rona aaya, aaj humko dil-e-naakaam pe rona aaya…” – the lines written by Mehboob play an important role in making this song memorable.
With “Rang Rasiya”, Shilpa Rao gets one of the best songs of her career as a singer. The semi-classical melody, composed by Shashi Suman, is almost nine minutes long and has several beautiful layers which you explore as the track moves forward. Shilpa does a splendid job behind the mic and gets each of the nuances right with her near-perfect rendition. The song also soars high because of the masterful orchestration by Vikaas Vishwakarma and exquisite poetry written by Mahima Bhardwaj. “Rang Rasiya” has an alternate version which, interestingly, has exactly the same as the original track/ film version. The alternate version is sung very well by Suvarna Tiwari.
Next arrives “Gila Karna”, composed and sung by Jazim Sharma and written by Mohan Jutley. In the last few years, one has heard Jazim compose and sing several soulful ghazals. He has been one of the best young talents in this genre which does not receive much patronage from labels anymore. “Gila Karna” is a beautifully composed, written and sung ghazal which has a wonderful calming quality to it. This is one of those songs which you can hear on a loop on a day that has not gone too well.
“Piya Gaye Pardes”, composed and sung by Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s frequent collaborator, is the kind of song one has heard in many of the filmmaker’s films in the past. Shail composes a beautiful raga based melody and does complete justice to it as a vocalist as well. Shail has also arranged/produced the song very well. “Bikhre hain solah sur shringaar ke, padhe hain pheeke rang tyohaar ke, jaate hain zard kar ke jhonke yeh bahaar ke, tere bina sun yeh qisse sabhi pyaar ke…”, the lines written by A M Turaz are the highlight of the song.
“Safed Theme” (composers: Jahaan Shah and Sandeep Singh; additional composer: Meghdeep Bose) is a haunting musical piece that manages to hold your attention throughout its three-minute long duration. One of the highlights of the track is the vocal rendition that you hear towards the beginning. The female vocalist, who manages to encapsulate the pain and sorrow of the two protagonists, strangely has not been credited. The track culminates with a dialogue from the film.
Arriving in the final days of 2023, ‘Safed’ emerges as one of the best film soundtracks of the year. In today’s times, it is rare to come across a film album featuring classical/semi-classical melodies. What is rarer is discovering an album where each of the tracks works.