If the trailer of Dulquer Salmaan's Hindi debut, Karwaan, seemed promising, the soundtrack is on similar lines. Of the two songs by Anurag Saikia, Chota Sa Fasana is an easy winner. Written by the film's director Akarsh Khurana, it plays beautifully on the 'safar' theme of the film, now adequately and excessively appropriated by Imtiaz Ali. The mellow tune is right up Arijit Singh's alley. Anurag's other song, Heartquake, is interesting for two reasons: one, the 2 variants (the other one is called Heartquake – Aftershocks) he presents are completely different. The first is a breezy melody, while the second is a synthetic version of a faux-qawali of sorts that's foot-tapping. The second reason is that when Papon sings "Main aashiq hun koi creep nahi", it just sounds incredibly awkward given recent news surrounding him.
The two songs by Prateek Kuhad belong perfectly to the Prateek Kuhad-style of music – intimate, introspective and very personal. Saansein, with its expansive sound scores over the guitary Kadam. Dhaai Kilo Bakwaas, composed by SlowCheeta and Shwetang Shankar, is a zany—and catchy—mix that adds a bit of Malayalam corniness. The soundtrack's best is by Imaad Shah, who produces a kickass Mikey McCleary Bartender-style Bhar De Hamaara Glass, vaguely reminiscent of Dr. Hook's When You're In Love With A Beautiful Woman, sung superbly by Saba Azad. Despite 5 composers, director Akarsh Khurana confidently pulls all of them together and produces an enjoyable soundtrack.
One composer who keeps pushing the boundaries of remix in recent times is Tanishk Bagchi. That he composes fantastic original songs too (like Shubh Mangal Saavdhan's Kanha, along with Vayu, or the recent Telugu song, Adbhutham that he composed on his own, for the film Lover) is another bonus. What's interesting is the way he has explored the idea of remixes, without using the old templates and tunes, and creating entirely new variations. Fanney Khan's Mohabbat is a great example. Tanishk uses just one hook from Naushad's Jawaan Hai Mohabbat (Anmol Ghadi) and builds an entirely new, blingy song for Aishwarya Rai's on-stage superstar shenanigans.
Composer Arunraj, who recently impressed with Snehapoompadathe, from Ningal Camara Nireekshanathilaanu, already has an instantly catchy song in Haalu Haalu, from the Malayalam Oru Pazhaya Bomb Kadha, with its repetitive musical phrase and the sheer energy. The second song from the film is poles apart, but equally good. Sung by Vineeth Sreenivasan, this dreamy melody goes old-style with its tune, with stellar work in the background by Cochin Strings. There's a shade of Ilayaraja's iconic Senthoora Poove from 16 Vayathinile that makes it all the more interesting.
If A R Rahman's Thallipogathey (from Achcham Yenbadhu Madamaiyada) was a desperate plea to not go away, Thallipora, from the Tamil film Pakshi is more matter-of-fact. Composer Girishh Gopalakrishnan uses that phrase to demonstrate the breaking-away of a woman… from the norms and the constraints of the society. The song truly comes alive in singer M.M.Manasi's fantastic singing, even as Girishh's music adds to the pace and spirit, particularly the highly imaginative and catchy backdrop to the Thallipora hook.
Telugu composer Devi Sri Prasad, who also dabbles in Tamil, hasn't had a good run in Tamil recently. His last outing, Vijay's Puli, was middling, at best. So, when he was picked for what was Harris Jayaraj territory (Saamy, the original film, with memorable music by Harris)—the sequel, called Saamy Square (not just Saamy 2, mind you. Makes it seem like a landmark in your city!)—it was a fairly big surprise. This, considering the fact that he has been associated with the same director's other series—Singam—for 3 films! The biggest surprise, though, is the first song released last week. Adhiroobaney, sung (again!) by M.M.Manasi, is a pretty darn good song! The lively tune and the mighty ambitious orchestral interludes add considerably to the song's charm.
After last week's 2 songs, Coke Studio Explorer has released 3 more songs. The best from the new lot is Mishal Khawaja's Tere Bin Soona and Naseebaya, by Mangal, Darehan and Shayan. The former is a song, written and sung by Mishal Khawaja, from Toronto. After trying her luck by singing covers and sharing them on Instagram, Mishal was discovered by Coke Studio Explorer producers and this is a big showcase of her talent. The singing is clearly the highlight, with her phenomenal vocal prowess. The haunting tune goes perfectly with it.
The other song, Naseebaya, is of Baloch traditional folk origin. The dambora, played by Darehan and Shayan, layered over Mangal's almost prayer-like tune, creates a hypnotic effect. Add to it the show producers' electronic sounds – a fantastic fusion!