Half Girlfriend – Music Review (Bollywood Soundtrack)

Songs at the end.

It is a relief to see Tanishk Bagchi’s name credited against a track that is not the remix of a yesteryear song! Sadly, Baarish does not provide a lot of relief otherwise – the melody is banal, helped on its way down by the middling lyrics (written by Bagchi himself, with Arafat Mehmood). Ash King’s impassioned singing makes him sound like Arijit at times, but manages to elevate the song a tad. Mithoon milks his Tum Hi Ho template once again to create Phir Bhi Tumko Chaahunga, also headlined by Arijit Singh (joined by Shashaa Tirupati briefly, it’s Manoj Muntashir doing the lyrics this time though). And as much as I hate the fact that the song offers almost nothing new in comparison, it has to be grudgingly admitted that the formula still works. Mithoon does two more songs for the soundtrack, both essentially based on the same piece. In the reprise version titled Pal Bhar, he amps up the song’s ambient effect with something like a hang/steelpan, but otherwise things remain largely the same. The third song, Half Girlfriend Love Theme, is an instrumental arrangement of bits and bobs of the song in a thematic fashion, including a climactic scale change with the instruments going into an overdrive. Effective, but need not have been four and a half minutes long.

More datedness follows in the soundtrack with composer-singer Rahul Mishra’s filmy qawwali-ish Tu Hi Hai. Mishra is definitely a better singer than a composer, to his credit. Ami Mishra, who debuted with director Mohit Suri’s Hamari Adhuri Kahani, packages his song Lost Without You in a smarter fashion, mitigating the familiarity in the song’s main melody (rendered by Mishra himself) by interspersing it with English bits written and sung by Anushka Shahaney and a breezy arrangement that features, among other things, an erhu (Chinese violin). Shahaney gets one more song in the soundtrack, composed by former Jal man Farhan Saeed, Stay A Little Longer. I like Shahaney’s voice texture, but her singing comes across as odd, and that bogs down the song that has a decent melody. Saeed has a better offering in his other song titled Thodi Der that he renders himself, alongside Shreya Ghoshal. And like a lot of Pakistani composers who have ventured into Bollywood in the past, Saeed too rehashes one of his older compositions to create this song. Thodi Der is a rehash of Tu Thori Dair that Saeed composed as a Pakistan Army Song, the revised lyrics supplied by Kumaar. Rishi Rich’s Mere Dil Mein is the only song that comes as a surprise entry in the otherwise standard Mohit Suri soundscape. The track is passable fare though, if you are familiar with Rishi Rich’s works. An alternate version of the song features some dialogue snippets from the movie, mostly by Arjun Kapoor.

Mohit Suri may have increased the number of composers, but the sound remains pretty much the same he (and the Bhatts, though they are not involved in this movie) has been consistently maintaining in his movies for the past few years. And in this case the end product is just middling and dated.

Music Aloud Rating: 2.5/5

Top Recos: Phir Bhi Tumko Chaahunga, Thodi Der, Lost Without You

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

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