Panipat – Music Review (Bollywood Soundtrack)

Songs at the end.

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

For the third time since his iconic partnership began with A R Rahman in Lagaan back in 2001, director Ashutosh Gowariker goes for a different composer (the previous two being Sohail Sen for What’s Your Rashee and the very underrated Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Sey). Despite their recent patchy run in Bollywood, Ajay Atul make perfect sense as composing choice, given the movie’s setting. Interestingly, while director Gowariker has switched composers on multiple occasions, his loyalty doesn’t appear to waver in the lyrical department – in Panipat too he entrusts this duty with the veteran Javed Akhtar. The first song, a paean to the Maratha men (with a brief passage dedicated to the women as well) titled Mard Maratha, belongs to the same mould as multiple such heroic songs, except with an understandably pronounced Marathi bent in the arrangement (the percussion, mainly). To be picking an example from the Gowariker stable itself that it takes the mind back to, Azeem O Shaan Shehenshah, incidentally a song extolling the man who won the Panipat battle that preceded the one this movie is based on. Coming back to Mard Maratha, enjoyable song – it is hard not to like those heavy percussions and that rhythm. While the composers lead the singing with a host of singers in tow (good to see names like Sudesh Bhosle and Kunal Ganjawala), the one person that caught my attention despite a very brief appearance was Padmanabh Gaikwad, assuming he is the owner of the young voice that appears towards the end of second verse.

Judging by its video, Mere Mann Mein Shiva seems to be this movie’s attempt at Malhari, albeit dressed up as a devotional piece. The composers however appear to model this on another dance song of theirs, Gun Gun Guna from Agneepath (still their best Hindi soundtrack by miles), with entertaining results. Kunal Ganjawala gets to the forefront on this one, with Deepanshi Nagar leading the female portions. Ajay Atul get one of their favourites, Shreya Ghoshal, and Abhay Jodhpurkar – a singer who debuted in Hindi last year with the same duo – to croon the final piece. Sapna Hai Sach Hai is a poignant melody that the two singers ace, but once again the composers seem to channel one of their older compositions, yet again from AgneepathO Saiyyaan. Not to say the composition isn’t effective – the quality singing, the minimal yet resonant orchestration that intensifies at just the right moments only to fade away again, and the mantras (I presume the song is set around their wedding) all come together rather well.

With just three tracks, Panipat is a surprisingly short soundtrack for an Ashutosh Gowariker movie. And while Ajay Atul’s songs are enjoyable, they don’t count as particularly memorable owing to their derivative nature. It speaks volumes about the lacklustre year Bollywood has had, that Panipat still counts as one of the better albums we have had in 2019.

Music Aloud Rating: 3/5

Musician Credits

Song – Mard Maratha
Composer – Ajay-Atul
Singers – Ajay – Atul, Kunal Ganjawala, Sudesh Bhosle, Swapnil Bandodkar, Padmanabh Gaikwad, Priyanka Barve
Lyricist – Javed Akhtar

Song – Mann Mein Shiva
Composer – Ajay-Atul
Singers – Kunal Ganjawala, Deepanshi Nagar & Padmanabh Gaikwad

Song – Sapna Hai Sach Hai
Composer – Ajay-Atul
Singers – Abhay Jodhpurkar & Shreya Ghoshal
Lyricist – Javed Akhtar

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