Music Review Gulaab Gang

Expectations:

The film is a theme-based saga inspired from real life, and the music has to be offbeat, with a rural touch. Trendy grooves and pub-friendly songs cannot be the prescription here.

Music:

Complex musical structures, a lot of raag-daari, a strong and necessary tinge of folk, and some inspired and full-throated singing elevate this score from the norm. Though composer Soumik Sen falls prey to the guitar in more than one track, we understand that it is only to create a trendy impress. For this apart, the orchestration is brilliantly apt with the right dhol-based percussion, choral refrains and rich sound.

The star of the show is Malabika Brahma, noted Baul and classical singer, whose fiery vocals adorn 'Gulabi' (with Shilpa Rao), 'Dheemi Dheemi Si' (with Kaushiki Chakraborty) and 'Sharm Laaj' (with Pavni Pandey), dwarfing her co-singers completely as she takes on the strident, inspirational tenor (and lyrics) of all these numbers with a rare vocal potency.

The score gets a shade slow with 'Ankhiyaan' (Kaushiki Chakraborty), which sounds somewhat in the Rahman mould but is quite evocative, thanks to Kaushiki's inspired and spirited rendition. Kaushiki is the next best thing in the score as she helms the most vibrant track, 'Rang Se Hui Rangeeli Re Chidiya'. She sails through the song with a rustic charm, lending added virtue to what appears to be a Holi song but has deeper dimensions.

The simple lyrics add to the effortless allure of the song. Here is a song that would have been a chartbuster back in the acoustic era, with the same instruments but a different colour to the recording. The orchestral pattern and sound are like a revisit to Laxmikant-Pyarelal's style of a complex but superb sound that also amalgamates folk and raags in a seamless melody.

A superb prelude with the shehnai starts 'Rangi Saari Gulabi', a simple traditional number that boasts of two unusual singers – leading lady Madhuri Dixit and her mother Snehalata Dixit, who opens the song. Madhuri, as in her thumri 'Kaahe chhed mujhe' in Devdas (2002), excels in the singing, considering that she is not a professional. The shehnai flows through the under-layer of the song with rare evocativeness for a film song, and lifts the song to a higher level. Anupama Raag comes in to sing some portions as well.

Soumik Sen's self-rendered 'Teri Jai Ho' (which he also writes) tries to be poignant, and succeeds only partially. The Western feel brings down the appeal, though Sen brings in a lot of emotion to the subdued words. The lyrics of the score in general are more than competent and – delightfully – comprehensible, a rare commodity in today's times that must be lauded, endorsed and treasured.

Overall:

The score is perfect for the film. As the director is also the composer, he understands the innermost needs of the subject. His title-song and a traditional track apart, the film's lyricists are also women. This is a soundtrack where the film's success will carry the music rather than the other way round.

Our Pick:

'Gulaabi', 'Sharm Laaj', 'Rang Se Hui', 'Rang Sari Gulaabi'

Music: SOUMIK SEN
Lyrics: Neha Saraf, Shreya Narayan & Soumik Sen
Music Label: T-Series

Article written by staff at Bollywood Hungama. Read more

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