6 Jul 2011

Music Review: SINGHAM (2011): Ajay-Atul stick to the template


Prominent film and music journalist Raju Bharatan has written of the unfair criticism that Hindi film music has got over the years. Film music, as he says, is an audio-visual medium and so there are certain limitations to the song composition, how it would gel with the story, and when it would appear in the film. With song situations becoming decorative props of costume, than hooks to a story, music directors are increasingly becoming limited to a template. Another thing about songs is how something grows upon you, over repeated listens, over a period of time, and of us relating to a song.

A remake of the 2010's very commercial, violent cop-mode, Tamil moneymaker Singam, Ajay - Atul get their first major Hindi release of the year, with the delay in the release of Sanjay Leela Bhansali produced My Friend Pinto. The Singham music album has three songs and their respective remixes. Swanand Kirkire (Parineeta, Haazaron Khawishen Aisi) has written the lyrics.

The title song Singham is a clever execution of slokas (incantations, shall we say), Marathi tradition-rooted percussion and arrangements, lion-roar snatches, extended children choruses in the mid-paragraphs, and a rousing end (Lezim dance arrangements). The Udd Udd Dabangg deja vu is evident in the Sukhwinder Singh vocals, and the hard earth-canvas of the visuals. The lyrics are all hero-worship, 'bashing up the bad guys', 'Watch out the Lion is coming!' stuff. A sample:  thagda jhatka hai...dum hai toh chaklo...Over all, a song worth a listen for some innovative singing and timely percussion, certainly not a melodious sing-along.

The primarily Shreya Ghoshal voiced Saathiyaa is salvaged by some clever vocal add-on's in the mukhda, in the form of one of the music directors - Ajay Gogavale. Not that Ghoshal doesn't sing well. The lyrics are all 'girl loyal to man' thing. The stand out refrain lines....badmash dil toh thag hai bada, badmash dil yeh tujhse juda, badmash dil meri sune na zid pe ada...

The sufi tone is now a much-repeated Hindi film trend, Maula Maula Re is OK. Kunal Ganjawala sounding redundant in romantic ones lately) finally gets a non-romantic song  that he gives an effective understated tone, Richa Sharma's voice (think Chaiyya Chaiyya Sapna Awasti mould) is good company here. Decent turn, the best song of the soundtrack.

Overall the album, (we think nothing of the remixes) is an above-average listen, just about. The limited number of songs does help our collective verdict...    

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