This is a light love story between a Punjabi and a South Indian and we expect the music to have an apt tenor with a possible blend of elements from both regions.
'Offo' (Aditi Singh Sharma-Amitabh Bhattacharya) is the lead track – superficially catchy and with an alluring-in-passing hook in this word. However, the song has only a transient appeal in botgh lyrics and composition. Aditi's slightly Westernized tweaks are at variance with a South Indian girl even otherwise, and sound overdone. Amitabh is flat, as per the song's diktats.
It is the recurrent riff (played on Scottish bagpipes, we think) of 'ocha-E-Ulfat' (Benny Dayal) that is one of the most arresting parts of this song, but happily for us, it is not the only alluring aspect of the zingy number. In fact, Amitabh Bhattacharya's verse is the highlight of this track and this innovative phrase only becomes a part of the infectious nature of the song. Benny's singing is spirited and correctly unfettered, and a lot of the song's appeal is due to this no-holds-barred approach.
But the main assets of the song – the haunting rhythmic guitar riff, Arijit's vocals and the placidity of the composition – are what finally elevate it to an almost spiritual level and makes it the soundtrack's finest number. Interestingly, Arijit, whose vocal tenor seemingly changes in every song, seems to be singing exactly like Shankar Mahadevan, indicating in a way which of the three composers seems to have composed and taught him the song!
The deep melody in the lines 'Odh Ke Dhaani Reet Ki Chaadar' offsets beautifully the recurrent riff mentioned earlier. And this is the only song in which we get a hint of the South with the use of the mridangam and some typically Southern inflections coming in at the right junctures. Co-singer Chinmayi Sripada spreads her wings in a delectable way in the limited zone she is allowed here.
After that we are back to Punjabi lexicon in the supremely catchy 'Iski Usski' (Akriti Kakar-Shahid Mallya-Shankar Mahadevan-Siddharth Mahadevan-Amitabh Bhattacharya -Gaurav Gupta), which reminds us of vintage S-E-L froth like 'Koi Kahe' (Dil Chahta Hai) and 'Slow Motion Angreza'. Bhattacharya's words are by and large comprehensible and showing flashes of great wit ('Jatta da commitment /Legal document').
This song bubbles with energy and the intentionally raw vocals get a superb contrast when Akriti Kakar takes on her lines in a staid manner befitting a South Indian lass amidst rambunctious Punjabi puttars.
The Punjabi ethos gets a wedding boost of sorts in the song 'Hulla Re' (Shankar Mahadevan-Siddharth Mahadevan-Rasika Shekhar-Amitabh Bhattacharya-Gaurav Gupta). S-E-L's orchestration and a melodious approach to this layered and percussion-rich celebration number makes all the difference between a mere music maker's approach and that of true-blue composers. And this track should be carefully heard to fathom what we mean when we say that!
'Chaandaniya' (K. Mohan-Yashita Sharma), a guitar-based melody whose treatment is absolutely fresh for the genre – pathos – underscores the tangential approach of the composers to the mood of the song. However, the unconventional nature of the song will not find many takers despite the haunting base-lines of the track.
Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy's score is unusual and fresh in many aspects. Like Bhaag Milkha Bhaag and D-Day, it increases respect for them as composers, even if the popular connect and whether the soundtrack will benefit the film will depend on the marketing of the music and the within-film use of the score.
'Locha-E-Ulfat', 'Mast Magan', 'Iski Uski'
Lyrics: Amitabh Bhattacharya
Music Label: T-Series