The first quarter of the year is almost over and Bollywood music is bleeding. In recent history, this is arguably the worst music that has come out of the industry in the first three months. 2017 was not a great year for Bollywood music either but even then, we were saved by OK Jaanu, Rangoon and Phillauri, three really fine albums that were released in the first three months.
Abhinay Deo directed Delhi Belly, a film where its quirky music was a huge part of ensuring the film became a part of the pop culture history books. This made the avid listeners of Bollywood slightly more hopeful of his upcoming directorial venture, Irrfan Khan starrer Blackmail.
‘Happy Happy’ is an original composition composed, produced and sung by Badshah. Aastha Gill accompanies him with the vocals for a track that is really below par in the party-Bollywood genre. The hook is not catchy, the rap is weak, and it in a time where every similar song gets stuck on repeat, this track will largely go unnoticed. Guru Randhawa’s ‘Patola’ has been recreated and used in the film’s music album. Even those who don’t enjoy the genre would be forced to admit that the original ‘Patola’ (that features Bohemia alongside Randhawa) is catchy and fun. This begs the question – why would the makers and T-Series feel the need to remake a 2015 song that is already such a massive hit? Sadly, this is the new Bollywood convention.
Blackmail also has four original compositions from Amit Trivedi, all penned by Amitabh Bhattacharya. ‘Bewafa Beauty’, the song that sees the return of Urmila Matondkar is the most un-Amit Trivedi song that he has created in recent times. Pawny Pandey sings this cabaret/item number. Like ‘Happy Happy’, it is a mediocre track. Thankfully, the worst Trivedi composition is over and the album only gets better from here.
‘Badla’ is the kind of song that one expects from the composer. The revenge-themed rap number is innovative, with the vocals from Trivedi and DIVINE catchy, emotive and fun. The latter doubles up as a lyricist alongside Dhaval Parab for his rap and the two deserve a special mention.
Trivedi comes behind the mic for ‘Nindaraan Diyaan’, a track that starts slowly and in a sombre fashion, but changes to a fast-tempo rock song, that even gets an anthem style chorus towards the end, and the album is immediately lifted by its presence. Warren Mendonsa is as reliable as ever with his strat.
The album ends with ‘Sataasat’, a song that is quintessentially Trivedi, the melody, the beat, the orchestration, even the ‘aahs’ in the background all point towards the composer. This is the third song where he also handles the vocals in this album. The trumpet, played by Kishore Sodha is definitely a nice touch. This is the kind of song – a trippy, zingy and youthful number – that has been instrumental in building Trivedi’s reputation and it is fitting that the album ends here because this is the sound we have missed from the National Award winner in the last few months.
In a typical T-Series album that unsurprisingly features a rehash of a hit and a track which will get the numbers from its superhit creator, it is the original music from Trivedi that makes it redeemable – three solid songs from the 38-year-old. Perhaps this is the indicator that the rest of 2018 will be better for Bollywood music than the start has been. We’re hopeful.