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Music Review : Shanghai

Director :  Dibakar Banerjee
Music :  Vishal-Shekhar
Lyrics :  Dibakar Banerjee, Anvita Dutt, Kumaar, Neelesh Mishra and Vishal Dadlani
Starring :  Abhay Deol, Prosenjit Chatterjee, Emraan Hashmi, Pitobash Tripathy and Kalki Koechlin

May 19, 2012 11:54:36 AM IST
By Satyajit, Glamsham Editorial
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SHANGHAI...the largest 'city proper' by population in the world, and now the title of a much-awaited Bollywood film hits the marquee as one of the most hard-hitting social saga of this year. Dibakar Banerjee, the brainchild behind surprise hits like KHOSLA KA GHOSLA and OYE LUCKY! LUCKY OYE! directs this theatrically sound potboiler. Music...expectations, can't expect much as theme-centric flicks are hell-bent on screenwriting, technicalities, performances and background score, but still a decent musical score is on the cards. Vishal-Shekhar, experienced campaigners, hold the musical torch for some really amusing hard-hitting numbers, and promise to deliver the finest from their stable. Can they deliver it this time? Let's check out!

Acrimoniously satirical! After hearing a modest track titled 'Gali Gali Shor Hai' (GALI GALI CHOR HAI) this year, it was quite evident that more such socially relevant tracks are going to make their way into the marquee. 'Bharat Mata Ki Jai', a satirically loud track on corrupt and incompetent Indian system opens up the musical proceedings of the album in most enthused way. Do we call it an enthralled antithesis to pop-patriotism? Bombastic in concoction of drumming, horns and trumpets, and boisterously loud in chorals. Vishal Dadlani along with Keerti Sagathia sings out the realistic picture of in competency and haplessness of our corrupt system. Dibakar Baneerjee's satirical punches ('Sone ki chidiya, Dengue Malaria, Gud bhi hain Gobar bhi...') forms an intermittent loop in this humorously penned track that is likely to be a pivotal melodic factor in the narration of the flick. Conceived to be extremely energetic 'street-dance' (featuring Emraan and Pitobash) celebratory track, it takes a satirical dig at politician's tall claims and false promises of converting Mumbai into a posh city like 'Shanghai' with a zealous 'Mumbaiya-tapori' feel and has a desired 'catchiness' in its signature 'dhol' beats. 'Bharat Mata Ki Jai (remix)' accelerates the tempo to higher gears and enthralls with its thrilling rhythmical beat patterns; overall an enjoyable musical outing that will be a major feature in the story-telling of this socially relevant film.

India Bana Pardes and burns dance floor with 'Imported Kamariya'! The rigorous imports of foreign beauties in B-town are now a modish feature and it continues with another sweltering hot 'item-song' titled 'Imported Kamariya'. Choreographed on British model Scarlet Mellish Wilson, it has flavor of roguish and raunchy UP stylized 'nautanki', with satirical tones, depicting the wishy-washy mindsets of foreigners about modern India. Richa Sharma's deep-throated folksy tones with strong humorous tinges at varied places complement the mood well and serenades out the desired expressions of a garish dancing track. Like realistically humorous but unnoticed 'Ranaji' (GULAAL), it has brawny writing references with a couple of bizarre one-liners that should be raising humor-quotient in the flick. As compared to popular item-songs ('Munni Badnam', 'Sheila Ki Jawani' etc.), it comes more like a pale comparison but is still better than recently heard raunchy tracks and should be a plus factor in the promotion of the flick.

'Bhare Naina', a meticulously conceived emotional musical tear-jerker by Nandini Shrikar brought the flavor of divinity in this melancholically crooned dark romantic number, a worthy performance that made her a notable figure and brought laurels to composers too. The dexterity of similar melodic finesse returns back with similar grit and strength in 'Duaa', a subtle paced track about the blessing of God Almighty with finest of poetic wordings as its strong credits. Kumaar's thought-provoking lyrics ('Saanson ne kahaan rukh mod liya, Koi raah nazar mein naa aaye, Dhadkan ne kahaan dil chhod diya, Kahaan chhode in jismon mein saaye...') add the desired emotional depth and pathos in the pacing of the track. Arijit Singh's well-balanced voice in lower to higher octaves matches well with Nandini's voice and delivers the desired soul-healing touches. Vishal-Shekhar's serene soft-rock maneuvers are upbeat in mood and ushers out a typical live-concert performance that should work with urbane listeners. This meaningfully crafted track is indeed a remarkable (if not chartbusting) listening fare that should be adding relevant substance in the narrative flows of the script, a likable classy musical toil by V-S that should going well with niche audiences. Impressive!!!

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Subtle tonality refurbished back in poignant sounding Sufi track ''Khudaaya'', a traditionally composed number about finding real identity in this world. Shekhar Ravjiani along with Raja Hassan renders out this thematically oriented track in soft tones with brief ''qawwali'' works and blend of soft-rock and Indian classical works. It's not as impressive as ''Duaa'' but still an audible situational number that should be adding substance to the dark moments of the track. ''Khudaaya (remix)'' sounds more like Pakistani pop band work, where subtle tones of track are mixed with fine amalgam of ''club'' disco beat fillers.

In a few recent albums, there has been a trend of delivering out revolutionary tracks ((''Ekla Chalo Re'' (KAHAANI), ''Roshanee'' (AARAKSHAN)) that promises to connect with the socially relevant theme of the flick. Fuelled with similar jingoism and youthful enthusiasm, Vishal-Shekhar join this bandwagon with a track titled ''Morcha'', a song that comes out as a vision of a better India with better services and amenities for its people. Despite being noble in thoughts and performance, it proves to be an average fare by all standards. Raja Hassan's contorts his vocals in throaty ways (similar to Sukhwinder Singh) to exude out mediocre wordings and all it ends up as amateurishly played political party manifesto musical piece with a typical Maharastrian folksy base (blend of dhols, manjeeras, nagadas) as its backdrop.

For all those who are religiously minded and have been following series of TIMES MUSIC devotional musical series, the final track ''Mantra Vishnu Sahasranamam'', rendition of one thousand names of Lord Vishnu in a customary sacred chants will surely be a pleasant surprise and a great innovative feature. Srivatsa Krishna's classically refined vocals in pure diction delivers these centuries' old chants that epitomize the attributes, powers, strength and might of Lord Vishnu. On innovative quotient, it scores a perfect ten as now composers and producers are ready to experiments with finest of our literatures, religious texts and it will really be interesting to find this musical piece finding its worthy place in the narrative flows of the flick. After Shankar Mahadevan's beautifully rendered ''Shree Ganesha Dheemiya'' (VIRUDH, a film on social justice with Mumbai as its backdrop), this devotional musical work is the second in its league that has arrived pure and unadulterated, a great musical effort that deserves to be respected by every sanctimonious listener. Great!!!

On the commercial front, SHANGHAI does not spring any major surprise and arrives more like any routine musical entertainer in B-town. If one goes by the catchiness of the tracks, ''Bharat Mata Ki Jai'' and ''Imported Kamariya'' are likely to be hot favorites among masses while ''Duaa'' and ''Mantra Vishnu Sahasranamam'' will find its select sect of listeners. As one would have expected from the theme of the flick, this Vishal-Shekhar's album will be more of situational scores and will work as a catalyst in the narration of events, characters and premise. It could have been 2.5/5 but an extra 0.5 star for being creatively positive and righteously bold in adding track like ''Vishnu Sahasranamam'' in a conventional B-town album.

Rating - 3/5

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