After Clinton Cerejo and Amit Trivedi, third composer from Season 2 to do a repeat on Coke Studio at MTV Season 3. Hitesh Sonik. Last single composer episode of the season. Hitesh’s episode was not my favorite from last season, so was curious to see if he would deliver a better show this time. My thoughts after seeing the episode.
Haal Ve Rabba – But for that short-but-superb solo by Shruti Pathak, this song is Hans Raj Hans’ show through and through; good to hear him after so long. Hitesh Sonik’s arrangement plays the support role very well, the strings in particular (Hitesh, Warren Mendonsa, Kalyan Baruah on guitars, Rushad Mistry on bass, Tapas Roy on bouzouki).
Maajhi – The soothing breeziness of the song and Sukhwinder Singh’s rendition evoke memories of folk-tinged songs such as Katra Katra (Apna Aasmaan) that the man has in the past; a factor that works against the song after a while. The arrangement does have its highs though; Tapas Roy’s oud, Paras Nath’s flute and Gino Banks’ drums during the sinister turn the song takes in the latter half. That alone does not suffice nevertheless.
Ramaiyya – Meera Bai’s multiply covered bhajan gets a trippy reimagination at the hands of Hitesh Sonik on Coke Studio courtesy an arrangement that features some beautiful flute over the addictive guitar-drum template even as Jose Gomes’ melodica bits add a nice touch to the proceedings. And carrying off the vocals in spectacular fashion is the composer’s better half Sunidhi Chauhan (the raaga seemed like maand in places).
Moh – Pandit Sanjeev Abhyankar. There is a high chance that that is all you will remember after you are done with this song, such is the feel the man imparts Kabir’s lines with his immensely nuanced rendition (maru bihag raga, the comments section says). Hitesh does a fab job at his end too, making lovely use of keys (Jarvis Menezes and an uncredited harmonium player) and tabla (Vinayak Netke). The occasional segueing to Nikhil D’Souza’s English bits makes for an engaging contrast to the proceedings.
Ghar – The man behind the best song from Hitesh’s episode last year, Husna, returns this time with another of his compositions. And it is haunting as always, the man’s singing, backed well by Hitesh’s strings-led arrangement. The only problem is that Ghar has too much of Piyush Mishra in it; I was half expecting Mishra to break into O Re Duniya any moment! That still might not stop you from bobbing your head to zu zu zu.
Chan Kitthan – Hitesh Sonik makes super utilization of Sukhwinder Singh’s vocal range in this traditional Punjabi piece, with a competent chorus to support him. The arrangement too keeps the traditional feel of the song intact for most part, prominently featuring the dholaks (Yusuf Mohammad, Hafeez Khan), tablas (Manoj Bhati, Sharafat Hussain, Shankar Vitthalrao Kamble) and Tapas’ mandolin (interesting replacement for the tumbi).
So Hitesh Sonik does indeed produce a better set of songs than his season 2 episode. I like!
Top Recos: Ramaiyya, Moh, Haal Ve Rabba