Music Review: ‘Kahaani’
Sometimes an album’s lead single, or in the case of Hindi film soundtracks, first promotional video makes such a strong impression that it’s hard for the rest of the songs to match up to the expectations built up by that track. Case in point: “Bhaag D.K. Bose” from last year’s Delhi Belly. March release Kahaani—you know, the one where Vidya Balan plays a pregnant woman searching for her husband in Kolkata, not to mention the controversial “Missing” posters—is the latest OST where they might have just opened the game with their trump card. “Aami Shotti Bolchi” (Bengali for “I Speak The Truth”), for which music directors Vishal and Shekhar roped in Kolkata resident and singing legend Usha Uthup to add her irrepressible joie de vivre, could very well be the most novel thing you hear out of Bollywood this year. An ode to life in the City of Joy, it alternates, remarkably seamlessly, from big band-era jazz to a growled one-line heavy metal chorus courtesy of Scribe’s Vishwesh Krishnamoorthy, incorporating some R. D. Burman-esque 1970s spy thriller music along the way.
How do you top that? The composer duo gets Javed Bashir, the classically-trained star vocalist of Pakistani Sufi rock group Mekaal Hasan Band, to sing the slow-headbang inducing “Piya Tu Kaahe Rootha Re”. For the title track, they give KK the kind of pensive pop tune he built his name on in the 1990s, before his voice became synonymous with the bombastic Bollywood ballad. They do Sukhwinder Singh an even greater service by bypassing the bhangra stereotype and asking him to render the sort of thumri soft rock that we’re used to hearing from Roop Kumar Rathod. But none of these comes close to “Aami Shotti Bolchi” in terms of out-of-the-box thinking, though Vishal and Shekhar should get points for fashioning a fresh twist to Rabindranath Tagore’s oft-covered “Ekla Cholo Re” (Walk Alone) by employing the services of Amitabh Bachchan and juxtaposing the distinct texture of his voice with music producer Clinton Cerejo’s gospel chorus.
Given that Kahaani centres around a woman, and that all but one of the six songs are sung by men (the “female” version of “Kahaani” is by Shreya Ghoshal), we get an inkling that the tunes may be used as background music. We hope that director Sujoy Ghosh doesn’t snip them down in the film because they’re some of Vishal and Shekhar’s best work in years.
Kahaani, Soundtrack, T-Series, Rs160. Buy it from Flipkart.com.