Bajirao Mastani – Music Review (Bollywood Soundtrack)

bajirao mastani posterYou can listen to the songs here.

Sixteen years after he got Ismail Darbar to adapt the classical song for what is probably still his biggest musical blockbuster, Sanjay Leela Bhansali gives Albela Sajan another makeover in Bajirao Mastani. The raga is different (bhupali/mohanam perhaps, the HDDCS version was in ahir bhairav) as are the singers (Shashi Suman, Kunal Pandit, Prithvi Gandharva) and the arrangement is grander (splendid shehnai); pleasing adaptation overall – nevertheless if one were to compare, the HDDCS version wins! Deewani Mastani starts off with a Marathi folk rendition (A powada extolling the virtues of Mastani, @mpmainka tells me) written and sung by Ganesh Chandanshive before seguing into Shreya Ghoshal’s lead segment and a qawwali-ish bit towards the end. It is Shreya’s Mastani narrative that has captures your attention though, for the beautiful singing and the oud/mandolin-laden arrangement. Shreya sings two more songs in the soundtrack. Mohe Rang Do Laal has the singer flaunting her classical prowess in a traditionally arranged piece, amidst kathak bols by Pandit Birju Maharaj. And in the third song she is joined by Marathi singer Vaishali Mhade, the song of course being Pinga, one that features a dance-off between the movie’s leading ladies Deepika Padukone and Priyanka Chopra. Bhansali seems to have borrowed elements from older Marathi songs here and mixed multiple dance genres, but the end product is quite engaging and it helps that the video is excellent. Vaishali Mhade sings another dance track too, Fitoori, a more folksy track (lavani-based, I am told) and does a fine job of it. The song isn’t as engaging though, the monotony in the arrangement being the prime reason.

SLB’s handprints are clearly visible in the pensive melody Aayat but that does not stop it from being one of the picks of the soundtrack, thanks mainly to Arijit Singh’s stellar singing. Even the qawwali-styled digression the song makes (Mujtaba Aziz Naza and Shadab Faridi the singers), works really well. Aaj Tohe Jaane Na Doongi is another track that reminds of the composer’s older tracks, but is beautiful enough to make you overlook that aspect. The singers Payal Dev and Shreyas Puranik are both spot on with their rendition. Gajanana starts off like another pumped up rendition of the Ganesh Aarti before Prashant Ingole’s lyrics kick in. Nothing particularly new in the arrangement here, it is all about the energy – Sukhwinder Singh too matches the exuberance quite comfortably on the vocal front. Malhari carries a bit too contemporary a sound for the period the movie seems to be set in. Once again the energy levels in the percussion-heavy orchestration make the song engaging all the same, and behind the mic is another powerhouse singer, Vishal Dadlani. Javed Bashir leads another of the soundtrack’s highlights, the prayer-like Aaj Ibaadat with Shadab and Altamash Faridi in tow. Gorgeous melody (yaman raag I think) that is serenely orchestrated by the composer (excellent use of sitar, and that soothing lullaby-ish cadence) and brilliantly delivered by the singers.

Don’t know how the movie will turn out, but Bajirao Mastani definitely has the best soundtrack that Sanjay Leela Bhansali has delivered as composer!

Music Aloud Rating: 8.5/10

Top Recos: Aaj Ibaadat, Deewani Mastani, Aayat, Aaj Tohe Jaane Na Doongi

PS: Thanks to @mpmainka for clarifying the Marathi folk aspects in the songs.

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