Lyrics: Vayu, Priya Saraiya
In director Hansal Mehta’s upcoming film Simran (2017), Kangana Ranaut plays the titular role of a Gujarati woman adjusting to her new work place in America, and trying to cope with her disorder of kleptomania. The film is loosely-inspired by the story of Sandeep Kaur who earned the sobriquet Bombshell Bandit for her glamorous disguises when she robbed banks in California in 2014. Simran’s soundtrack maps Ranaut’s journey, and it does so with spunk. The music is composed by the duo Sachin-Jigar with lyrics by Vayu and Priya Saraiya.
The album opens with the dance number Lagdi Hai Thaai, a follow-up to London Thumakda (Queen, 2014), where the eponymous character Simran (Kangana Ranaut) is shown dancing to the beats at a wedding ceremony quite like the one featured in Queen, except this time it isn’t her own. The groovy tune mixes the flute, drums, and the trumpet with a lively chorus interjecting in a smattering of Punjabi and Gujarati. The lyrics are by Vayu, and Jonita Gandhi and Guru Randhawa are the wedding singers to request for an encore. If the composers had simply done a mash-up of Lagdi Hai Thaai with London Thumakda it would have been the perfect track to put on loop at any celebratory event.
Pinjra Tod Ke does the opposite, paring down the use of percussive instruments from loud to nuanced, giving us a glimpse into the soaring flight of its lead character Simran. From the gentle piano prelude to the grungy guitar riffs gradually switching into a rock anthem with the use of drums, flutes, violin and viola, singer Sunidhi Chauhan modulates her vocals in a way as if her voice is reaching a higher altitude with the ascending score. The number closes with the music almost evaporating into thin air and her voice trailing like an echo fading out. Priya Saraiya’s pulpy lyrics about breaking through a cage and escaping into the horizon isn’t a novel idea but the combination of her lyrics with the upbeat tune salvages it from turning into yet another oppressive dirge about entrapment and freedom.
Everyone’s favourite solo-crooner Arijit Singh gets the staple love ballad Meet. The tune is hummable and the lyrics by Saraiya are pleasant, although a strong current of déjà vu is going to strike you each time you listen to this track. Oddly, if you hear it playing at a salon or a mall some months from now and wonder where you have heard this number before, the answer might be in every Arijit Singh compilation playlist ever. That is a compliment for the composers.
In Majaa Ni Life, a hilarious track written by Vayu, singer Shalmali Kholgade cribs about her relatives pestering her to get married. Singer Divya Kumar interrupts her prattle by imploring her to break into a jig. The funky beats are mastered for a night of crazy and desi dance moves at a discotheque. Majaa Ni Life is the kind of request number that deejays in posh clubs dread but reluctantly accommodate.
Jigar Saraiya sings the title track Simran, where his voice has a tonal quality juddering somewhere between a lisp and a nasal sound. The chirpy Tex-Mex nature of the tune where the singer lists out Simran’s personality traits as chulbuli (effervescent), nakchadi (snooty), and manchali (capricious), has a slight resemblance to the buoyant rhythms of Ala Barfi (Barfi, 2012) in composition.
Despite some of their tunes sounding like a variation of an Amit Trivedi or a Pritam-composed song, the composer duo Sachin-Jigar are able to create a style that stands apart. The massy Simran soundtrack fortifies their case after the initial hiccup of Meri Pyaari Bindu (2017) – a film that failed to live up to their melodious music earlier this year.