LISTEN | Marathi film Naals music album by AV Prafullachandra and Advait Nemlekar

In a country whose popular regional music has predominantly been about Bollywood, the North and the South, Marathi music has often been overlooked. However, the arrival of Ajay and Atul Goghavle, the dynamic sibling duo, the thriving days of Marathi music are quite back into the glory of its Hindustani driven devotional supremacy of yore. Soundtracks of movies like Jogwa, Sairat and Katyar Kaljat Ghusli (Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy) achieved nation-wide success.

The latest to come out of the great Maratha state is the small yet critically acclaimed ‘Naal,’ produced by National Award winning filmmaker Nagraj Manjule and directed by Sudhakar Reddy Yakkanti. The soundtrack, comprising a mere two songs, is an absolute delight, commanding multiple listens. The songs have been composed by AV Prafullachandra and Advait Nemlekar.

‘He Daravayta,’ composed by Advait Nemlekar, is pleasantly reminiscent of Amit Trivedi’s ‘Pareshaan’ from ‘Ishaqzaade’. The similarly breezy song set in the outskirts of Bhimplasi has been crooned by Ankita and Anandi Joshi. Written by Vaibhav Deshmukh, the song is, in essence, a mother sermonising relationships to her son. The lyrics beautifully encapsulate the pristine relationship between a mother and her child. Orchestration, again reminiscent of Ajay-Atul, uses ample dosage of strings and keys and a tinge of the sarangi. Anita’s voice has the unmistakable amiability of Shreya Ghoshal, incidentally, an Ajay-Atul regular.

‘Jau De Na Va,’ crooned by the young Jayas Kumar is a delectable melody with infectiously suitable lyrics. Composed and written by AV Prafullachandra, the song iterates a child’s playful cry of approval to his mother requesting permission to play with his friends. Age appropriately sung, it is surprisingly well orchestrated for a theme so simple, a la Ajay-Atul. The Irish folk breakdown accentuates the distinct charisma of the song. Major props must also go to Jayas, with his raw husk and innocuous naughtiness, elevating the song to extremely relatable heights. We all have waited for that ever elusive nod of approval from a parent, haven’t we?

Ajay and Atul have been vocal about the inspiration of Ilaiyaraja’s orchestral genius in their work, as has been evident in their shared obsession with Raag Keeravani. Though the brothers have branched out into composing for big-ticket Bollywood ventures, their success has inspired a plethora of up and coming musicians, who’ve come to realise that Marathi film music connoisseurs are more than willing to invest their ears in something other than the ‘Kombdi Palali’s and ‘Shantabai’. The soundtrack of ‘Naal’ is a direct influence of this positive aspiration. One just retires wishing the movie had more songs, is the only downside, albeit pardonable.