Sanjay Leela Bhansali churns out the same old for Padmaavat and the result is ordinary

5
Rehashed

Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s film Padmaavat will finally see the light of day on January 25, almost two months after its initial release date. The belated release of the film albeit with several disclaimers and a changed name would come as a relief for the filmmaker, who has once again also donned the composer cap for his film.

Bhansali’s movies used to boast good music. He frequently collaborated with Ismail Darbar and the duo’s Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam and Devdas are often remembered with fondness for the respective soundtracks. Monty Sharma composed the memorable music of Ranbir Kapoor and Sonam Kapoor’s debut, Saawariya.

However, since 2010’s Guzaarish, SLB seems adamant on being the music director for his films as well. Ram-Leela was quite an average effort, but even aficionados who don’t enjoy the Bhansali sound would applaud his efforts as a composer in Baajirao Mastani. The soundtrack sat well within the film, and a fair number of songs were enjoyable independently as well.

Padmaavat – another historical drama, another film with Deepika Padukone and Ranveer Singh as leads, and another set of songs that sound like they have a counterpart somewhere in SLB’s existing repertoire.

The visuals would certainly increase the appeal of ‘Ghoomar’. The Rajasthani folk number has been sung well by Shreya Ghoshal and Swaroop Khan although the tune is forgettable. Shivam Pathak sings ‘Ek Dil Ek Jaan’, and does a good job with the vocals for a typically melancholic Sanjay Leela Bhansali melody, set on his favourite Yaman raag. The aalaps, the qawwali style segue and Pathak’s vocals make this number Aayat 2.0; the saccharine song genuinely could seamlessly fit into any of Bhansali’s last two films (with Deepika-Ranveer), and no one would notice. Shivam Pathak and Shail Hada come behind ‘Khalibali’, another warrior style composition that falls in the same league as Bajirao Mastani’s ‘Malhari’. This one doesn’t leave the same impact as it misses powerful vocals like that of Vishal Dadlani.

Neeti Mohan sings ‘Nainowalon Ne’, the most creative and arguably the best composition from this soundtrack, and she does a fine job with her teasing and playful vocals. Richa Sharma and Shail Hada deliver ‘Holi’Holi, the traditional Manganiyar/ Langa song in Padmaavat. There isn’t much to take away from this track despite the strong vocals. ‘Binte Dil’ is Bhansali’s song with a weird combination  Persian orchestration and hints of Bollywood melody, likely for Alauddin Khilji, and it is thoroughly awkward. For a change, even Arijit Singh cannot be the saving grace.

Padmaavat sounds like a weak extension to a decent Baajirao Mastani album which begs the question – why didn’t Bhansali rope in someone else to compose the music for the film considering his last venture was also a historical drama? Getting a composer who could give the album a fresher sound would have been a smarter choice. There’s no saying what the future of the movie and music commercially holds, and it’s likely that the masses will enjoy the album, but in terms of musicality and mere pleasantness, this rehashed album falls entirely flat.

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