Gulaal – Music Review

gulaal2Apart from controversies, one other thing that has been consistent in Anurag Kashyap movies is their good music. But coming so soon after the phenomenal success of Dev D, I was apprehensive whether this soundtrack would really be able to match up to that. My fears were allayed as I started listening to the tracks, and here is what I found.


The first song of the album has Rekha Bharadwaj belt out a folksy song bearing the elements of a mujra. With some excellent songs in movies like Omkara, Laga Chunari Mein Daag and Dilli 6, Rekha Bharadwaj has kind of evolved to become an ultimate authority in rendering folk songs, as Sunidhi Chauhan is with item numbers! The sarangi has had a superb effect on the proceedings. The chorus gives excellent backing, especially towards the end of the song.


Piyush Mishra goes on to prove that his multiple facets encompass singing as well, as he gets behind the microphone to eulogize the memorable Yeh Duniya Agar Mil Bhi Jaaye from Pyaasa with a philosophical song. The instumentation keeps increasing progressively with the song. The voice of Piyush Mishra sounds unconventional in the delivery style in many places but that doesn’t take any credit off the song.


An out-and-out battle song, the song makes allusions to the battle of Kurukshetra. And due to this theme, the lyrics are all Sanskritised Hindi. The strong voice of Piyush Mishra does perfect justice to the song. The instrumentation does a great job of bringing the war-background, conchs, trumpets, bells et al. Wonder why Piyush Mishra chose to slightly dampen the effect by bringing in an unconventional whistling of the song for a brief moment towards the close of the song, before reverting back to battle mode.


A song with dark overtones, again marked by some powerful lyrics. The lyrics by Swanand Kirkire especially gain importance in this song as there are long sequences in the song where there is absolutely zero instrumentation while Piyush Mishra and Swanand Kirkire go about their aggressive description of the city night. There are glimpses of Gulzar-esque unconventionality in the lines with use of English words like lamp post. I am wondering what the wind instrument (from the sound I am assuming it is a wind instrument) used at the start of the song is. If my knowledge is correct the same instrument was used by A R Rahman as well in the song Jiya Se Jiya in his album Connections.

Raat Ke Musafir

Indian Ocean vocalist Rahul Ram ( I am assuming it is the Indian Ocean vocalist as they have previously been associated with Anurag Kashyap composing the music for Black Friday) joins the party with a softer song having only an acoustic guitar for accompaniment. And in the quietness lies the beauty of the song. Piyush Mishra returns to his philosophical mode with the lyrics. Rahul Ram however is seen to use excessive force on some words (which is usual style in Indian Ocean songs too for that matter) which I felt was not quite required, at least in this context. But if you ignore that, a brilliant song.

Aisi Sazaa

Since her debut in 2007, Shilpa Rao has been growing in stature with every song she performs, and Aisi Sazaa happens to be yet another of those milestones. A touching song marked by its sparse instrumentation, and of course the beautiful vocals. She tones down her usually lively style to portray the emotions conveyed by the song. Piyush has done well to include the sound of rains in between, complete with the sounds of thunder.


Vishal Bharadwaj is in for a lot of competition in the folk song arena with Piyush (the composer) establishes his prowess in folk music with Ranaji. Bolstered inevitably by Rekha Bharadwaj’s brilliant vocals, Ranaji continues from where Beedo left off. The song seems to be the story of some US-returned guy, the changes in his mannerisms et al. In the process Piyush the lyricist takes a lot of digs at the USA, talking about the September 11 attacks (Jaise Door Des Ke Tower Mein Ghus Jaaye Aeroplane), the Iraq invasion (Jaise Sare Aam Iraq Mein Jaake Jam Gaye Uncle Sam), Afghanistan and so on. An entertaining song on the whole.

Yaara Maula

Awesome song to end the album with!! Piyush declares that he is not just about conventional music alone, with this song that starts with silent instrumentation, suddenly switching gears to a rock mode in between and then again fading out into silence towards the end. The vocals by Rahul Ram and Aushim have been superb and this one almost cements my assumption that this is indeed Rahul Ram of Indian Ocean. On the same note, I wonder if this Aushim is in fact Asheem Chakravarthy, the other vocalist (cum-tablist) of Indian Ocean. Hopefully I will get my doubts clarified in a few days.

A fitting tribute to the legendary lyricist Sahir Ludhianvi. A swashbuckling music directorial debut from Piyush Mishra. And Anurag Kashyap reassertains the fact that he ensures the best music in his albums. And it has been a real treat to have another great album from him even before the effects of DevD have quite settled down. Looking forward to his next album!!

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Roby says:

Cheers pal. I do apprciatee the writing.

Saurabh Sinha says:


Frankly, am impressed by the detailed reply. Haven’t seen the movie, so was expressing my views based on the lyrics of the song. I might have sounded too strong on saying that its not about a US returned guy ;). Anyways thanks… appreciate and understand your viewpoint.

VIP says:

@ Saurabh
Thanks for the feedback. As much as we would have loved to discuss the lyrics of the songs at length, lyrics with such depth and quality have to be reviewed by more experienced hands. We at Music Aloud are a bunch of musicians more adept at analyzing the musical quality than the lyrical quality. Hence we did not want to do injustice to the lyricist by doing an improper review. And that is why we restricted our mention about the lyrics. Apologies for the same.
Regarding Ranaji, we did notice the various references and digs, but like we have written we imagined it to be directed at an NRI rather than the western culture as a whole. The trailer of the movie also seemed to suggest one of the protagonists of the movie going abroad for his studies. That is what led us to the conclusion. Turns out we were not right after all. Keep sending in your valuable feedback in future as well.

Saurabh Sinha says:

Good review, but you completely ignored the poetic value of the songs. Also, Ranaji is not about a US returned guy, but about globalization. There are clear references to Coke, Pepsi, Bisleri…the brand wars, the idea that anything “English” is worthy, the way we embrace western goods and values…since the lyrics are interwined with the choice of music/vocals in this album (unlike conventional bollywood music), a detailed discussion is pertinent.