One of the highlights of Kill Dil’s soundtrack is Gulzar saab’s narrative prelude to the songs; it is a joy to hear the man speak (wonder if Gulzar’s voice has a role in the movie akin to what Bachchan’s character had in JBJ). And where the combination works best is in the title song – Shankar Ehsaan Loy’s brilliant desi tribute to the legendary Ennio Morricone. The whistles, the wah wah sounds, yodelling, the chorus – composers go the whole hog in recreating the man’s trademark sound. Shankar Mahadevan and Sonu Nigam evidently have a field day delivering the vocals! There are three more songs that feature Gulzar’s intro. Sajde is next – a dulcet classical-flavoured melody that takes an adrenaline shot around that title refrain – a transition that is handled splendidly each time. Arijit Singh gives an unsurprisingly fluent rendition of the classical nuances et al, but matching him with equal adeptness is Nihira Joshi, returning to SEL camp (and to Bollywood playback itself) after a long gap. Nihira does very well in her second song too, this time leading the happy digression in an otherwise melancholic rendition by Shankar Mahadevan (curious to know what the raga is; sounded like shivranjani at times but there seem to be other notes too, at least in the sargam) in Baawra. I have said this before too; there are few things I love listening to more than Shankar Mahadevan singing classical style; and this song has a lot of it! Excellent arrangement too, the classical sounds (nice use of sarangi), rock elements, even an interesting Celtic bit, all brought together skilfully. The happy digression earlier referred to is also handled very neatly. Oh, and I quite liked the Dil waali naukri ne maara usage! SEL’s attempt at a nod to the yester-year filmy qawwali style through Nakhriley isn’t as effective as the first tribute, partly because of the inherent datedness of the format. Shankar Mahadevan, Mahalaxmi Iyer and Ali Zafar help mitigate that problem to an extent though.
The violin-accordion combo and Adnan Sami’s immensely endearing rendition will definitely have you cursing when Sweeta ends at just two minutes. There is something of Hulla Re (2 States) in Bol Beliya – both built on a predominantly dark, Punjabi core. And this one too is as engaging as the former, courtesy a very groovy arrangement. Sunidhi Chauhan, Siddharth Mahadevan do the vocal honours here, with support from Shankar. Happy Budday has a lot of random things going on, some of which work. And most of what worked for me happened in the arrangement; the song as such didn’t impress much even with Sukhwinder Singh’s energy going for it. Similar situation with Daiyya Maiyya. The arrangement has its highs, the song part not so much. It is good to see names like Udit Narayan and Javed Jaffrey (along with Shankar Mahadevan and Rasika Shekhar) on the vocal credits, but I found the excessive processing (especially around the title) annoying.
So barring the couple of songs in Kill Dil, Shankar Ehsaan Loy deliver yet another winner with Gulzar and Shaad Ali!
Music Aloud Rating: 8.5/10
Top Recos: Kill Dil, Baawra, Sweeta, Sajde