Chef – Music Review (Bollywood Soundtrack)

Songs at the end.

The folk infused mix in Shugal Lagaa Le starts off sounding a bit like Junkyard Groove’s Folk You, before moving into familiar Raghu Dixit territory, invoking the happy vibes of his Jag Changa from 2013. Given the movie’s setting, this one is more Kerala aligned – neatly incorporating boat chants, chenda, edaykka et al in its arrangement. Equally alluring are the lyrics by Ankur Tewari; thanks to the man for introducing me to a new urdu word, shugal (the title phrase apparently translates to “do something/have fun”). The other high energy song of the album, the travel themed Banjaara, doesn’t have much going for it aside of its energy levels though, induced by Vishal Dadlani’s singing and the Celtic-style percussion that dominates the arrangement. Ankur Tewari’s skill with heart-touching lines comes to the forefront in Darmiyaan which the composer himself sings. The song’s mellow arrangement sees some exceptional guitar-play, both acoustic and electric.

Raghu Dixit gets the under-utilised Shahid Mallya to sing Khoya Khoya, and the man produces a brilliant rendition that once again drives home the point that he deserves more opportunities. The song is standard fare otherwise, except for the nice addition in the form of sarangi. Nikhita Gandhi gets the soundtrack’s best, Tan Tan, and she absolutely nails it. The composer too is in exceptional form here, producing a heady melange of guitars and horns (the latter arranged by bassist Guy Bernfeld). Final song of the soundtrack is a guest composition from Amaal Mallik, written by Rashmi Virag and sung by Mallik’s brother Armaan Malik.  The melody and arrangement both traverse familiar soundscape but the song engages, and Armaan Malik is splendid with his singing.

Like Raghu Dixit’s last Bollywood outing (Bewakoofiyaan), Chef too has two standout tracks from the man. Though I feel the movie’s happy settings will help the soundtrack’s cause at the cinemas. And much obliged to the makers for not making the composers do a remix.

Music Aloud Rating: 3/5

Top Recos: Tan Tan, Shuga Lagaa Le, Darmiyaan

This review first appeared in the Mumbai edition of The Hindu.


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