You can listen to the songs at the end of the review (link via @kaurvaki).
Mikey McCleary’s remix of Mohabbat Buri Bimaari is oddly titled version 1. And it has a nice groovy rhythm amidst all the boisterous brass paraphernalia. Shalmali Kholgade does well too, her drawling rendition goes very well here. But version 2 by Amit Trivedi squarely beats Mikey’s version on all counts! The rhythm changes to a more waltzy one, the brass section a tad softer. There is an Indian flavour to what the brass section plays here, especially in the interludes, evoking faint memories of Shankar Jaikishan’s Raga Jazz Style. And what brilliant singing by Neeti Mohan; she just owns the drunken style! Version 3 is actually redundant given that it isn’t any different from Version 2, except for Shefali Alvares on vocals. While she is good, Neeti is the clear winner among the three versions. Lyrics remain same in all three variants; Amitabh Bhattacharya’s colourful portrayal of love as a deadly illness. Shefali also gets the longest track of the album, Aam Hindustani that falls just shy of 9 minutes. A song that goes through multiple modes over that duration; starting with a gentle clarinet (oboe?) solo that quickly escalates into a long carnivalesque instrumental prelude which then settles into a laidback rhythm just in time for Shefali to start off. The lady handles the vocals excellently, complete with the scatting as the song switches back to the carnival mode towards its close. A little too long overall I thought. But for its Hindi lyrics, Shefali’s third song Shut Up could fit right into a Disney soundtrack!
We get back to Neeti Mohan who is the star singer of the soundtrack; the lady features in five more songs! Wiki says she is the voice of Anushka Sharma in the movie, though I am not sure how true that is given that the Fifi video had her lip-syncing to Suman’s voice. And Neeti rules Ka Kha Ga with her singing, while in the background Amit produces another engaging jazz-based combination of the brass and keys and double bass. Dhadaam Dhadaam has an unmistakable La Vie En Rose whiff about it, and the arrangement here is just beautiful, even as Neeti sings her heart out conveying the pain in the lyrics. Naak Pe Gussa also follows on a similar note but with a more foot-tappy rhythm and lighter lyrics. And not as effective. Sylvia came across to me like a possible tribute to OP Nayyar (incidentally the first song from the movie that came out was Mikey’s remix of an OPN song). While the underlying rhythm amidst all the big band sound isn’t explicitly a horse-cart one so famously associated with the composer, it definitely seems to have derived from that template. The other standout elements in the arrangement are the muted trumpet solos, joined at the right spots by the other brass instruments. On top of all this is a well-delivered charming melody. Neeti’s final song Behroopiya is a duet, Mohit Chauhan being the rare male presence in the soundtrack. And this happens to be the only vocal track that doesn’t follow the classic jazz format, in fact Behroopiya sounds very contemporary. Lovely song by the way, Amit shows how to make a sombre melody without following the Bhatt style. Eventhough there’s no jazz, the arrangement does prominently feature a trumpet.
The other male voice in the soundtrack comes from Papon, in Darbaan. Lovely use of trumpet here too, even as Papon does a sedate rendition of the pensive melody. Final vocal track of Bombay Velvet comes from Mikey McCleary, an adaptation of OP Nayyar’s 1956 song Jaata Kahaan Hai Deewane, called Fifi here. The arrangement is nice, albeit very typically Mikey. In a soundtrack marked by its superior vocal effort so far though, where this song really gets let down is in Suman Sridhar’s rendition. Her offbeat style has worked for many covers in the past, but not here. Of the three instrumental tracks, only one really follows the jazz track, the drums-laden Tommy Gun. It is no Birdman, but still makes for an engaging hearing, punctuated by the horns. Conspiracy lives upto its title with its twists and turns mostly dominated by the strings section. The interesting part of Bombay Velvet Theme starts about 1.5 minutes into the track. Nothing particularly brilliant, but like the way the guitar has been used.
Bombay Velvet. Amit Trivedi’s second soundtrack for Anurag Kashyap after his National award winning effort six years back, Dev.D (I am discounting the short film from Bombay Talkies). And the man delivers yet another massive, esoteric soundtrack, this time (mostly) within the confines of jazz music. And yet again it is a keeper!
Music Aloud Rating: 9/10
Top Recos: Too many to list!
Complete music credits after the video, as supplied in Amit Trivedi’s official fb page (thanks to @prashanthtechno for the tip-off). The Big Band is from Prague, apparently.
Produced, Arranged & Programmed – Amit Trivedi
Co-Arranged & Programmed – Sovon Mukherjee
The Big Band Sessions Produced – James Fitzpatrick for Tadlow Music
The Big Band Orchestrations – Nic Raine
A T Studios – Producers – Krutee Trivedi & Aashish Narula
The Big Band Recording Studio – Smecky Music Studios – Prague
Vocals Recording Studio – A T Studios – Mumbai & YRF Studios Music
Additional Recording Studio – A T Studios – Mumbai, YRF Studios Music, Mumbai, Nysa Studio – Mumbai, The Click- Mumbai & Raj Jhon Studio – Chennai
The Big Band Recording Engineer – Jan Holzner, Assisted By Michael Hradisky & Vitek Kral
Vocals Recording Engineer – Shadab Rayeen & Dipesh Sharma
Additional Recording Engineers – Shadab Rayeen, Praveen Murlidhar, Dipesh Sharma ,Vijay Dayal, Raju, Assisted by Firoz Shaikh
Mixed by Shadab Rayeen & Amit Trivedi, A T Studios – Mumbai
Mastered by Donal Whelan, Masteringworld -U.K.
Musicians From Prague:
THE CITY OF PRAGUE BIG BAND – CONDUCTED BY NIC RAINE
TRUMPETS – Marek Zvolánek, Miroslav Hloucal, Radek Němec & Julius Baroš
TROMBONES – Stanislav Penk, Václav Kopta, Tomáš Bialko & Vit Kořínek
ALTO SAX / CLARINETS – Jiří Kudrman Jiří, Pavel Pivarči
TENOR SAX – Martin Mynařík , Bharata Rajnošek
BARITONE SAX – Vlastimill Trllo
SOLO CLARINET – Ales Hustoles
PIANO – Vit Křišťan
DRUMS – Jiří lavíček
BASS – Robert Balcar
GUITARS – Jaroslav Novák
ACCORDION – Pavel Drešer
FLUTE – Martin Čech
PERCUSSION / BONGOS – Oleg Sokolov
VIBES – Dalibor Němec
SOLO TROMBONE – Štěpán Janoušek
ADDITIONAL BASS – Taras Vološčuk
FIRST VIOLINS – Lucie Švehlová, Kateřina Adamcová, Tomáš Bařinka, Miroslav Kosina, Boris Chomča, Radana Večtomová, Petr Pavlíček, Jakub Marek, Pavel Štecher & Ondřej Skalický
SECOND VIOLINS – Miloš Černý, Radim Šisler, Martin Kameš, Jiří Sládek, Gabriela Pokludová, Hana Šimečková, Jaromir Štěpán & Jan Šimůnek
VIOLAS – Dominik Trávníček, Zdenek Suchý, Jana Šislerová, Ivo Gorlich, Michal Trnka & Libor Dostál
CELLI – Marek Elznic, Ctibor Příhoda, Josef Pražák, Jonáš Lhotka, Jaraslav Ondráček & Marek Trykar
Translator – Stanja Vomackova
Orchestra Contractor – Josef Pokluda
Musicians From Mumbai:
Drums – Gino Banks
Drums (Behroopia) – Darshan Doshi
Bass Guitar (Behroopia) – Rushad Mistry
Trumpet (Behroopia & The Bombay Velvet Theme) – Kishore Sodha
Programmer (Behroopia) – Gourab Dutta
Programmer (The Bombay Velvet Theme & Conspiracy) – Sourav Roy
Saxophone ,Clarinet & flute (The Bombay Velvet Theme & Conspiracy) – ID Rao
Electric Guitar (The Bombay Velvet Theme) – Warren Mendonsa
The Chennai Strings – Violins (The Bombay Velvet Theme)
The Chennai Strings – Conductor – M. Kalyan
VIOLINS – Hamanthraj Muliyil, Grijan, K SasiKumar, Sasthri, Gopinath Sett, B. G. Venkatesh, Chandran, Sebastian P J, J David Ling & K Murli
CELLI – Viji & Seenu
Double BASS – R Selvaraj
Strings Co-ordinator – Ramanajhnn
Backing Vocals – ( Sylvia ) – Kumar Sonik, Rahul Chitnis, Nitin Karandikar & Suresh Kumar