All India Rank – Music Review (Bollywood)

Songs and complete credits at the end (It is nice to see complete and properly annotated credits for the songs, with proper lyrical subtitles etc. Just an example of people who actually care about film songs putting them up for public consumption)

While working on my annual roundup for 2023 late last year, I noticed All India Rank among the 2023 movies listed in wiki, and was disappointed to see no songs associated with a movie directed by Varun Grover of all people. So it was really a happy surprise to notice the first single from the movie come out a few days back, and a full soundtrack soon after that. Which brings us to this review. The movie obviously released in cinemas on Friday, and one of the points common across reviews has been how this movie succeeds in evoking that 90s nostalgia. And this is mostly true of the movie’s songs as well. While introducing Noodle Sa Dil, Grover put out an amusing tweet about how they wanted to adapt Biddu-Alisha Chinai’s Made In India but ended up making it a tribute song due to budgetary reasons. And the song indeed a solid tribute, armed with a wonderfully done animation video that is full of 90s references, and Aditi Paul modulating her voice well to suit the era. Musically, however, debutant composers Mayukh-Mainak seem to draw more from a slightly older era of disco – Biddu’s own Nazia Hassan track Boom Boom was one of the songs that kept playing in my head as I listened to this one. Thoroughly enjoyed this one though, and not sure if Varun intended this, but apart from being a smart simile for the romantic entanglement, I found “noodle” quite a fitting choice of word for a movie that presumably portrays a lot of hostel life. 😀 Sab Achchi Baatein Hai has the lyricist in top form in his putdown of the idealism in our textbooks. The fact that one of the lead singers is Bodhisattva Sharma (Araham Khan, the other singer), the movie’s main man, lends well to the informal setting in which the song appears to be delivered.Quite liked the country-ish segues the composers take the song through from time to time. A hat tip also to the lovely flute phrases from Paras Nath. The rap track Choice Hi Nahi by Sumit Roy (who also supplies additional lyrics here) has some hard hitting (and very relatable) words, but musically there isn’t much that stands out here.

Varun’s intro for Theher Zara said that since this is a “sukoon aur thehraav ka geet”, it required a voice that makes us stop and introspect. And the makers do indeed the perfect choice in Vishal Bhardwaj. In the process of recording the veteran though, the composers also seem to have gotten influenced by VB’s repertoire, making Theher Zara sound more like a Vishal Bhardwaj song than a Mayank-Mayukh song. Good composition nevertheless, ID Rao’s sax/clarinet solos being another prominent element in the backdrop contributing effectively to the sukoon factor. My current favourite from the album is Haq Hai, particularly for the brilliantly amusing metaphors that the writer crafts out of engineering entrance fundas! Not to take anything away from the composers’ efforts of course, they produce an immensely hummable folkish tune to go with Grover’s words, and the ever dependable Shahid Mallya to deliver it – the singer seems to have made his voice a bit more nasal, which is a great touch here. Tapas Roy and Rickraj Nath’s work on the plucked strings also deserves a mention. Bringing up the rear of the album is surprisingly a guest composition, a 2021 indie song by Chitrangada Satarupa. While Not A Dream was most likely not composed for this movie, it still is a nice fit thematically. And a nice song too, a pensive melody rendered neatly by the singer-songwriter.

All India Rank. A commendable debut for Mayukh-Mainak, helped hugely by Varun Grover’s words. Even if the songs do not always land, full marks for staying true to the theme of the movie throughout.

Music Aloud Rating: 3.5/5

Top Recos: Haq Hai, Theher Zara, Noodle Sa Dil

Soundtrack Credits

All songs* composed and arranged by: Mayukh-Mainak
All songs* mixed and mastered by: Rupjit Das
Audio recording engineers: Rupjit Das, Mrinal Kanti Das
Lyrics* by: Varun Grover
Recording Studio: Playhead, Mumbai

(* except Not A Dream)

Sab Achhi Baatein Hain

Singers: Araham Khan, Bodhisattva Sharma
Chorus: Nachiket Lele, Chaitanya Mauli, Shubham Kabra, Arhaan Hussain
Guitars (Acoustic & Bass): Rickraj Nath
Strokes (Banjo, Mandolin & Dotara): Tapas Roy
Flute: Paras Nath
Percussion: Arun N. Solanki
Percussion: Bhaskarjyote Das

Choice Hi Nahin Hai

Singer and Additional Lyrics: Sumit Roy
Track coproduced by: “Roy”/RollsRoys
Keyboard programming: Mayukh – Mainak
Sorolin: Abhijit Mazumdar
Harmonium: Mainak

Noodle Sa Dil

Singer: Aditi Paul
Backing Vocals: Aditi Paul, Shreya Banik Biswas
Keyboard programming: Brince Bora
Guitar: Rickraj Nath

Thehar Zara

Singer: Vishal Bhardwaj
Guitars (Acoustic, Electric, and Bass): Rickraj Nath
Rhythm programmer: Sobuj Mukherjee
Clarinet, Sax: ID Rao
Voice recorded by: Debarpito Saha (Satya Studio)

Haq Hai

Singer: Shahid Mallya
Chorus: Shahid Mallya, Saheb Biswas
Guitars (Acoustic, Electric, & Bass): Rickraj Nath
Strokes (Ektara, Saaz, Mandolin): Tapas Roy
Ravanhatta: Abhijit Mazumdar
Percussions (Dholak, Bongo & Hi Percs) : Bhaskarjyote Das

Not a Dream

Written, composed, and sung by: Chitrangada Satarupa
Arranged and produced by: SambitC
Guitar, percussion, piano, bass and backing vocals by: SambitC
Vocal arrangements by: Isheeta Chakrvarthy
Mixed and mastered by: Adhiraj Singh

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