Posted on November 25, 2015 at 12:31 am

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Music Review: Bajirao Mastani

Eros Now has finally released the soundtrack for one of the most awaited films of the year, Bajirao Mastani. The music has been composed by Sanjay Leela Bhansali himself, with lyrics penned by Siddharth–Garima, Prashant Ingole (Gajanana), Nasir Faraaz (for the qawwali in Deewani Mastani), Ganesh Chandanshive (for the Marathi lyrics in Deewani Mastani), and Samarth Ramdas (traditional Sukhakarta Dukhaharta lyrics). Check out the entire album here!

“Deewani Mastani” was unveiled last month and has become extremely popular since the video was launched. While the Marathi intro is a bit strange, the intense orchestration sets the mood for Mastani’s (Deepika Padukone) court dance. Shreya Ghoshal has been a Bhansali favorite since her debut in Devdas. Her modulation in this song is amazing, not to mention her crisp pronunciation. As is the case with many songs in this album, “Deewani Mastani” is somewhat similar to “Ang Laga De” from Ram Leela, which may lend listeners to believe that perhaps Bhansali is copying himself musically (as many other music directors have frequently done in the past).

“Aayat” begins with an alaap in Arijit Singh’s rustic voice and is characterized by typical Bhansali melodic shifts. While Arijit Singh is an undoubtedly talented singer, this song unfortunately does not suit or do justice to his voice. “Aayat” probably could have been better rendered by someone with a voice texture like Rahat Fateh Ali Khan or Shafqat Amanat Ali.

As soothing and calm as “Aayat” is, “Malhari” is the exact opposite with high energy celebration. Vishal Dadlani is the perfect choice for this number, and he executes it well in his strong vocals. Hearing this song will just make you want to get up and dance! From the beats to the fast lyrics to the orchestration, this track has the same vibe as “Tattad Tattad” from Ram Leela.

“Mohe Rang Do Laal” (sung by Shreya Ghoshal) starts off like a typical mujra and transitions into a unique melody that is rooted in Indian classical music and dance, with Kathak bols by Pandit Birju Maharaj interwoven. While the lyrics are reminiscent of “Kaahe Chhed Mohe” from Devdas, we have to wait and see how it will be picturized in the film and if the dancers do justice to Pandit Birju Maharaj’s choreography.

“Albela Sajan” in this album is essentially a 2.0 version of “Albela Sajan” from Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam. Although the lyrics for both are the same, the melodies are completely different and this new version is structured more like a group bhajan one would hear at a temple. There is no doubt that this track’s artists (Geetikka Manjrekar, Raashi Raagga, Kanika Joshi, Prithvi Gandharva, Kunal Pandit, and Shashi Suman) are very well-trained singers. Indian classical music and bhajan aficionados will love this song.

Compared to the previous tracks in the album, “Ab Tohe Jaane Na Doongi” has a more modern touch with the use of piano and guitar background. Yet, this romantic melodious number seems to have classical roots as well, as it is based on the raga Mohanam (Carnatic) or Bhupal (Hindustani). Payal Dev and Shreyas Puranik have interesting voices that are well-suited for this melody.

“Pinga” is a song whose video has received lots of mixed reactions from many folks. Speaking strictly about the music, it has certain lavani touches, particularly the alaap in the middle and the fast tabla beats throughout. This song gets more and more addictive with multiple listens, and the increase in tempo towards the end makes it even more high energy and adrenaline-pumping. Needless to say, Shreya Ghoshal and Vaishali Made’s voices blend quite well together in this track!

The first thing that comes to mind when hearing “Aaj Ibaadat” is how similar it is to “Laal Ishq” from Ram LeelaJaved Bashir’s voice really suits this song, and the 7-beat tempo is not uncommon but difficult to discern, a nice challenge for rhythmically oriented listeners.

Unlike Pinga, “Fitoori” (sung by Vaishali Made) is the more traditional lavani track in this album. Even though it is relatively slow, the authentic lavani beats and melody come in every now and then. So far, this is definitely one of my favorites from this album.

“Gajanana” was the very first song to be unveiled from this album, and it sounds very much like an Ajay-Atul song. Co-composed by Shreyas Puranik and sung by Sukhwinder Singh, it is reminiscent of Bollywood’s other odes to Ganesha, such as ABCD 2’s “Hey Ganaraya” and Agneepath’s “Deva Sri Ganesha”.

Final Verdict: The songs of Bajirao Mastani somewhat blend together in the mind, especially the first time you hear them. Bhansali’s orchestration and melodies are soulful but repetitive and evoke feelings of deja vu. Nevertheless, it is certainly a grand album that will suit the film and nothing short of a typical Bhansali musical.