The Zoya Factor – Music Review (Bollywood Soundtrack)

Songs and musician credits at the end.

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

A few days we had a song from Khandaani Shafakhana that had the music label incorporate “subscribe to T-Series” at the start of one of the songs. In The Zoya Factor the makers take brand placement to the next level by naming a song Pepsi Ki Kasam. One could have argued that this is perhaps an ad of some sorts – the main man Dulquer Salmaan does after all play the captain of the Indian cricket team and in real life these players are known to endorse such products – but Shankar Ehsaan Loy’s composition does not sound anything like a jingle. In fact, the song does not sound anything remarkable at all, barely rising above a standard dance fare, delivered confidently by Benny Dayal. One of the things that had caught my attention in the movie’s trailer was a Celtic refrain – thankfully this does appear in the soundtrack as well, in the song Lucky Charm. Musically though, the Celtic hook punctuating a filmi qawwali-ish setting somehow didn’t turn out as exciting as I had hoped it would, unfortunately. What make the song a winner however are Amitabh Bhattacharya’s lines – his quirky takes on our obsession with omens and superstitions as a country, are very effective; have to say the man has been consistently brilliant with his output on the humorous side, for a while now. And of course there is Shankar Mahadevan delivering behind the mic with his trademark exuberance, alongside Raghuvir Yadav.

After two energetic tracks, the composers and the lyricist go into a wistful mode for the other half. Yasser Desai leads Maheroo, a sedate melody that once again makes more of an impact lyrically than on the musical front. Kaash, the final song, is a pacier piece, and instantly reminiscent of multiple SEL songs of yore. Nevertheless, the tune has a likeable quality to it, and is sung splendidly by Arijit Singh and Alyssa Mendonsa. An unplugged version of the song sees Arijit Singh go solo – it does not sound quite “unplugged” to my ear, but the mellower tone does suit the mood conveyed in the lines better. On an aside, interesting point I noticed in Kaash’s lyrics – at one point the song goes “main raat hoon.. aur chaand ki surat ki tarah hai tu”, and as per Google, the latter half is exactly what the previous song’s title, Maheroo, means!

It appears that even Shankar Ehsaan Loy cannot help Bollywood out of its current slump. The Zoya Factor is an average soundtrack by the composers’ standards.

Music Aloud Rating: 2.5/5

Top Recos: Kaash, Lucky Charm

Musician Credits

Song – Kaash
Vocals – Arijit Singh & Alyssa Mendonsa

Song – Lucky Charm
Vocals – Raghuvir Yadav & Shankar Mahadevan
Backing Vocals – Tipu, Swaroop Khan & Ravi Mishra
Banjo / Mandolin – Tapas Roy

Song – Pepsi Ki Kasam
Vocals – Benny Dayal

Song – Maheroo
Vocals – Yasser Desai
Backing Vocals – Loy Mendonsa & Ravi Mishra

Song – Kaash Unplugged
Vocals – Arijit Singh

Composer – Shankar Ehsaan Loy
Lyrics – Amitabh Bhattacharya
All songs recorded at Purple Haze Studios by Abhay Rumde assisted by
Sreejith Padmakumar
All songs mixed by Vijay Dayal at YRF Studios assisted by Chinmay Mestry
Mastered by Donal Whelan at Hafod Mastering, Masteringworld, UK

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