Shamshera – Music Review (Bollywood Soundtrack)

Songs at the end of the review.

There is just a brief segment in the otherwise routine Parinda that made my ears perk up – when about 3.5 minutes into the song, Sukhwinder Singh sings a series of lines ending pee aaya, jee aaya and so on. The mind instantly went back to the many pee aaya’s and jee aaya’s that the man had delivered for Anand Bakshi and A R Rahman in Taal (Ramta Jogi). Don’t know if lyricist-director Karan Malhotra did actually mean this as a nod to Bakshi saab, but what is incredible is to hear Sukhwinder deliver at pretty much the same level, 23 years later! In fact, one of the best things about Shamshera’s soundtrack is composer Mithoon going for Sukhwinder Singh in three of the six songs – man still owns those soaring notes like nobody’s business and is a terrific choice for the grand sound that the composer is gunning for in this album. Sukhwinder is joined by Abhishek Nailwal in the title track, which once again turns out a humdrum affair despite the attempts to liven things up with booming percussions, horns, chants and the like. My favourite among the Sukhwinder songs is Hunkara – an engaging, albeit familiar and a tad dated, folk number (penned by guest lyricist Piyush Mishra) that he delivers alongside another vocal powerhouse, Richa Sharma and a fine chorus.

While Sukhwinder does not exactly get songs that do justice to his skills, the singer who does manage to get lucky on that front is Neeti Mohan. Fitoor, her duet with Arijit Singh (incidentally the second Fitoor of his career), is the best song of the movie – the haunting ambient melody is a genre that is bread and butter for Mithoon, but the man does offer more here than usual; those occasional classical touches (raag darbari I think?) for instance almost sit in the Sanjay Leela Bhansali zone, and I very much mean this as a compliment. With two top quality singers behind the mic, the delivery was of course never in doubt – although Neeti does most of the heavy lifting here. Neeti’s other song is a qawwali – once again rather formulaic both melody-wise and arrangement-wise, but lively enough and sung well enough, both by the lady and Altamash Faridi (I see Sudesh Bhosale in the credits as well but could not spot his voice) to make you overlook that fact. Ji Huzoor is all about that hook (targeted at the insta reel crowd, surely) that I must admit I have gotten quite addicted to over time! Good rendition by Aditya Narayan.

While it is a welcome sight, seeing Mithoon get a project that has him trying something different to his usual line of songs, I wish it had resulted in a better end product here. The grand soundscape is all there, but not enough substance to fill it with. That said though, to compare with Thugs of Hindostan (which Shamshera has been getting compared with since day 1), I like this soundtrack a bit better.

Music Aloud Rating: 2.5/5

Top Recos: Fitoor, Ji Huzoor, Kaale Naina


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