Mumbai: Vishal Bhardwaj has been an inspiration for cinephiles across two decades, with his exemplary command over his craft, ranging from the screenplay to direction, right up to the soundtracks.
Such has been the potency of his music that they’ve had a dissociatedly lasting life, way after his films left the theatres.
His last venture ‘Haider,’ the final instalment in his Shakespearean trilogy, had one of the best soundtracks in recent times. And now, the filmmaker is back with his ambitious Casablancaesque love triangle, ‘Rangoon,’ with a 12-song OST, almost at par with ‘Haider’.
The album starts with ‘Bloody Hell,’ mischievously crooned by the dependable Sunidhi Chauhan. The song, flanked by Vishal’s characteristically vast orchestral range, serves for the ideal ‘Victorian item song,’ for lead actress Kangana Ranaut.
‘Ye Ishq Hai,’ has been ably sung by the indispensable Arijit Singh, who had also sung the timeless ‘Khul Kabhi Toh' from ‘Haider’. The mellifluous vocalist justifies the earthy composition, which almost reminds one of AR Rahman’s ‘Dil Se Re,’ but stands out, nevertheless, due to its poignantly collated instrumental interludes.
The female reprise version, with its stirring Sufi undertones holds its own against Arijit’s stellar job, courtesy Rekha Bhardwaj’s haunting rendition. A regular across VB soundtracks, Rekha gives the track a life of its own, exclusive from the original.
Tippa, the quirkiest song in the album, pays ample testimony to Vishal’s willingness to evolve with changing times whilst keeping his own musical sensibilities intact. The song is quite reminiscent of AR Rahman’s indulgence with ambient sounds, circa 90’s, and also the genius Ajay-Atul’s grossly underappreciated A Capella track, ‘Sajvun Sanj Jashi’. Vishal also seems to have taken a cue from Ajay-Atul’s heavy symphonic orchestration for ‘Sairat’. The song has Sukhwinder Singh, Rekha Bhardwaj, Sunidhi Chauhan and O.S. Arun collaborating on one of the classiest ‘multi-star’ efforts in recent Bollywood music memory.
However, the pick of the album has to be the achingly melancholic ‘Alvida,’ sung by Arijit. It has to be said at this point that very few musicians have appropriately exploited the mammoth talent that Arijit possesses, as much as Vishal does. The singer gives his everything, emoting with every syllable and note, aggrandising Vishal's masterpiece of a song.
‘Mere Miyan Gaye England,’ a zany tribute to the 1949 cult song ‘Mere Piya Gaye Rangoon,’ from ‘Patanga,’ works majorly owing to Vishal’s heart-warming composition, sung by Rekha Bhardwaj, expectedly enough. The borderline parodical song has multiple parallels with Piyush Mishra’s ‘Ranaji Mhare’ from ‘Gulaal,’ which incidentally had also been sung by Rekha.
‘Be Still,’ and ‘Shimmy Shake,’ are quintessential Swing and Jazz tracks, that allude to the period the film is set in.
‘Julia,’ arguably the weakest track in the soundtrack, comes across as a meek imitation of ‘Chali Kahani,’ from AR Rahman’s ‘Tamasha’ soundtrack. Sukhwinder Singh, Kunal Ganjawalla, KK and Vishal himself, despite their best efforts, barely make up for the song’s orchestral inconsistencies.
‘Ek Dooni Do,’ and ‘Chori Chori,’ are inimitable Vishal-Rekha songs, that one might relax to on a dreary day; the expected leisurely take-aways from a VB soundtrack.
All in all, Vishal has reiterated once again, why he’s amongst the best musicians the industry has hosted. ‘Rangoon,’ is a soundtrack worth savouring, one that won’t take its own sweet time to mesmerise you.
Listen to the songs here: