Karwaan – Music Review (Bollywood Soundtrack)

Songs and credits at the end.

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

After having composed arguably the best song for Akarsh Khurana’s last venture earlier this year (Prabhu Ji – High Jack), composer Anurag Saikia’s services are employed by the director once again for three songs in Karwaan. In Chhota Sa Fasana, with the help of the director’s own pensive lyrics, Saikia produces a perfect theme for the road trip that the movie appears to be revolving around. The tune or the treatment are not fresh (even the presence of Arijit Singh behind the mic adds to the déjà vu), but together they do impart a very likeable breeziness. Where Anurag Saikia delivers a proper winner is in his other song though. Heartquake (in its original version) is a beautifully crafted ditty that Papon delivers in style. While the tune itself is incredibly likeable, the light-heartedness is accentuated by Khurana’s shaayari-jo-zyaada-deep-nahi, replete with quirky rhymes. Love the way the guitar-dominated backdrop makes way for a folksy instrumental segment led by harmonium/accordion, tabla and sarangi/esraj (all of which keep appearing in the backdrop through the song) in the interlude. Composer gives the lyrics a totally new, and very electronic, treatment in the alternate version of the song titled Aftershocks, that also features another of the movie’s composers Slowcheeta on rap. Though I would rate the original version higher, this is still a highly imaginative repackaging of the song by Saikia (possibly just me, but enjoyed the way quake is split to ku-ek).

Slowcheeta teams up with Shwetang Shankar (as he did in High Jack) to produce Dhai Kilo Bakwaas. Lot of catchy, wacky elements in the song, but nothing really sticks in your head at the end of it – also not helping is the failed attempt at the Malayalam accented English rapping in between. Two more of the album’s songs go to the man who always manages to evoke a sense of nostalgia with his voice, melodies and words (though in a slowly but increasingly repetitive fashion) – Prateek Kuhad. Kadam is everything you associate with Kuhad’s trademark style – the gentle guitars, the soothing voice all putting you into a pleasant lull. Saansein on the other hand has a relatively richer arrangement – piano being the mainstay of the arrangement – and is more road trip-y in its disposition. I prefer the former among the two tracks – I find the melodic progression more interesting there. Bhar De Hamaara Glass comes from Imaad Shah, with Saba Azad behind the mic – surprisingly not under the banner of their collective act Madboy/Mink. A bit laidback and immersive in comparison with the duo’s usual songs, but the packaging otherwise is a similar mix of retro jazziness with contemporary electronic elements – and the end result too is immensely engaging (the melody reminds me of Ajeeb Daastaan Hai Yeh at times).

There is a case to be made that multi-composer soundtracks turn out best when the musicians involved are from the indie scene. To quote some top examples, we have had Detective Byomkesh Bakshy in Hindi in 2015, Solo and Humans of Someone in Tamil and Malayalam last year. Director Akarsh Khurana himself provided an earlier instance with the underrated High Jack earlier this year, and now he returns with an even better collection in Karwaan!

Music Aloud Rating: 3.5/5

Top Recos: Heartquake, Bhar De Hamaara Glass, Kadam

Musician Credits

1. Song : Chota Sa Fasana
Singer : Arijit Singh
Music : Anurag Saikia
Lyrics : Akarsh Khurana
Arrangers &Programmers : Anurag Saikia, Ishan Das

2.Song : Saansein
Singer : Prateek Kuhad
Music : Prateek Kuhad
Lyrics : Prateek Kuhad
Arrangers &Programmers : Prateek Kuhad

3.Song : Heartquake
Singer : Papon
Music : Anurag Saikia
Lyrics : Akarsh Khurana
Arrangers &Programmers : Anurag Saikia, Ishan Das

4. Song : Dhaai Kilo Bakwaas
Singer : SlowCheeta with Anish John, Sanjeevkumar Nair, and Shwetang Shankar
Music : SlowCheeta and Shwetang Shankar
Lyrics : SlowCheeta
Arrangers &Programmers : Shwetang Shankar

5. Song : Kadam
Singer :Prateek Kuhad
Music :Prateek Kuhad
Lyrics :Prateek Kuhad
Arrangers &Programmers : Prateek Kuhad

6. Song : Bhar De Hamaara Glass
Singer : Saba Azad
Music : Imaad Shah
Lyrics : Imaad Shah
Arrangers &Programmers : Imaad Shah

7. Song: Heartquake (Aftershocks)
Singer: Papon featuring SlowCheeta
Music: Anurag Saikia
Lyrics: Akarsh Khurana and SlowCheeta
Arrangers & Programmers: Anurag Saikia, Ishan Das, Manash Borthakur

Music Label: T-Series

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