Gulzar in Conversation With Tagore – Music Review


Songs and partial credits at the end of the review.

Main Ghoomta Hoon has Shantanu Moitra turning on Parineeta mode – the old world, O P Nayyar-esque setting the composer gives the sweet tune works like a charm (special props to the use of flute and accordion). Shaan does a fine job with his rendition, buoyed by Gulzar’s narrative nuggets from the poem that compares the protagonist’s search for love to the endless quest of a musk deer, and Shreya Ghoshal’s humming that is presumably representative of the elusive target. Having spent the better part of two hours in a train looping this track, I can attest to the fact that it makes for a perfect travel companion! Singaar Ko Rehne Do begins with Gulzar’s brilliant analogy between Tagore’s poetry and a lump of jaggery, and Shreya Ghoshal then takes over with a pitch-perfect rendition of the classical-tinged piece (shades of raag khamaj, perhaps). The shehnai and dotara (I think) play excellent companions to the lady throughout the song. Main Wohi Hoon follows a similar template, except here Gulzar recites the whole poem (some fabulous writing here!) in the prelude before Shreya launches into a musical rendition of the same verse. Moitra’s orchestration is serene, building on the soothing aspect of the 7 beat cycle, and particularly excels in the interludes where the Western-style chorus kicks in. A Western classical-based diversion happens in O Sakhi Sun as well, as a surprise waltz-based twist to the folk arrangement (sounds almost South Indian the orchestration, mainly due to the mridangam-kanjira-morsing percussion). Shreya leads this one as well, and instead of opening the song Gulzar presents the epilogue here, to the backdrop of one of those Western classical bits.

People who are familiar with that massively underrated track called Tu from Bobby Jasoos would find echoes of the ghazal-flavoured bits from the song in Bujh Gaya Tha. Purbayan Chatterjee’s brilliant sitar solos rule the background, and the infusion of Bengali folk elements (Deepak Borkar’s percussion) accentuate the endearing quality of the melody. As does the fact that Shaan and Shreya shift to the original Bengali poem at one point. Maine Toh Kuchh Maanga Nahi is another of the album’s finest written songs; Gulzar himself marvels at Tagore’s imagination during his narration. Moitra’s soft tune and subdued orchestration go perfectly with the protagonist’s quiet reminiscence that Shreya delivers exquisitely. Dono Behne closes the album in fine fashion with Shaan at the helm. Arrangement is highlighted by the flute and mandolin, and that interlude where the happy song takes a melancholic turn (hint of raag pilu, I am guessing) riding on beautiful harmonies by the chorus is one of my favourite moments from the album. Gulzar in Conversation with Tagore quite fittingly ends the way it began, with Gulzar’s voice.

Gulzar says at the end of the album that what we understand of Rabindranath Tagore is only the tip of the iceberg. With its seven songs, Gulzar in Conversation with Tagore is an attempt to scale a small section of that tip, but it is one hell of an attempt! Shantanu Moitra has consistently excelled at melody-oriented songs; here with a veteran lyricist adding his trademark flavour to the works of a legend and an immensely talented set of musicians, the man delivers one of his career-best works!

PS: On the subject of Tagore, if you haven’t heard it yet, do check out Bickram Ghosh’s Kadambari from last year, another exceptional tribute to the poet.

Top Recos: All the songs!


Song: Main Ghoomta Hoon
Music Director: Shantanu Moitra
Artistes : Gulzar Saab, Shantanu Moitra  & Shaan
Original Lyricist: Rabindranath Tagore
Additional Lyricist: Gulzar
Singer: Shaan
Additional Vocals: Shreya Ghoshal
Music Arranger: Daniel B George
Guitars & Ukulele: Ankur Mukherjee
Keyboards: Daniel B George
Bass Guitar: Brennon Denfer
Percussions: Deepak Borkar
Recorded By: Yogi Dholakia

Song: Bujh Gaya Tha Kyun Diya
Music Director: Shantanu Moitra
Original Lyricist: Rabindranath Tagore
Additional Lyricist: Gulzar
Singers: Shaan & Shreya Ghoshal
Music Arranger: Ankur Mukherjee
Guitars & Ukulele : Ankur Mukherjee
Keyboards : Daniel B George
Bass Guitar : Brennon Denfer
Sitar: Purbayan Chatterjee
Percussions : Deepak Borkar
Tabla: Sanjeev Sen
Recorded By: Yogi Dholakia
Mixed By: Biswadeep Chatterjee


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