Bombay Velvet Music Review: Experimental And Unconventional
One expects only the unexpected from Director Anurag Kashyap and that is exactly what the maverick director promises in his latest venture, Bombay Velvet. Starring Ranbir Kapoor and Anushka Sharma along with Director Karan Johar (who plays the main antagonist in the film), Bombay Velvet promises to be a visual treat and is expected to give the audience a peep into the world of glitz and glamour in the 60s era. Composer Amit Trivedi joins hands with Anurag yet again for the music of this film naturally increasing our expectations by leaps and bounds. This being a period film, one cannot hope to listen to ‘modern’ music in this album. Rather, one expects not just the old world charm in the music but also a heavy influence of jazz, since Anushka plays an aspiring jazz singer in the film. So let’s see whether Composer Trivedi and lyricist Amitabh Bhattacharya have ‘Jazzed’ up the music in style!
The opening sequence of Aam Hindustani has nearly a 3 minute Band music-like instrumental arrangement (with horns, clarinets, trumpets et al!) which actually made me think that this is just an instrumental track. But finally Shefali Alvares arrives with her bindaas singing which takes some time to digest but after a couple of listens, one begins to appreciate not just the hilarious lyrics but also Alvares’s ‘jazzed up’ singing style. Well done Shefali!
The next track Mohabbat Buri Bimaari appears in three versions in the album. The first version is Mikey McCleary’s take and has Shalmali Kholgade behind the mike. Kholgade in fact steals the thunder with her nasal twang and sultry drawl and is a revelation indeed in this track. It also makes one realize that this versatile lady is under-utilized and is capable of so much more than just the standard fare dished out by today’s composers. Amit Trivedi handles the second version and gets Neeti Mohan behind the microphone to sing, what can only be described as a much softer and mellowed down version of the first one. But Mohan adds her personal charm and touch to this track by interspersing her performance with some laughter and hiccups giving a very real ‘Club Feel’ to this track. Compared to the first two versions, Shefali Alvares’s rendition is quite straight-forward and rather thanda in the third version. Though not a bad performance by any standards, it is not exactly mind-blowing either.
The opening trumpet sound in Ka Kha Gha reminds you of Arre Re Kya Hua from Dil To Pagal Hai but that’s about it as the song changes course and flows into a different trajectory altogether. Neeti gives it all for getting the jazz mode right and is flawless behind the mike.
Neeti continues where she left off in Dhadaam Dhadaam which is a melancholic sweeping melody-jazz style! So we have Neeti doing a Whitney Houston / Celine Dion with an Opera styled performance. With the hint of sadness in her vocals, Neeti gets the mood and tone right and is spot-on in her rendition of this beautiful Amit Trivedi composition.
Naak Pe Gussa sees Neeti Mohan at her flirtatious best in a track which reminds you of the good old Bollywood tracks of the 50s! Fun and breezy, this one definitely is a marked change from the general mood of this album.
The circus-style musical arrangement of Sylvia reminds you of Aam Hindustani but that is where the similarity ends as the lyrics of the former (Yeh Kya Kiya, Sylvia) seems to hint at the Nanavati murder case which rocked the tabloids and newspapers of that era. The composition is again out-of-the-box but except for the catchy hook and of course Neeti’s superb rendition, there is nothing much that one can take away from Sylvia.
Darbaan finally sees a male singer get behind the mike but is unfortunately not as good as one expected, especially coming from Papon. Though Amit Trivedi stays quite true to the Jazz genre with the trumpet interludes and the piano melody, the track just does not have enough meat to travel the extra mile.
Shefali Alvares takes centre-stage yet again with Shut Up which sees her jazzing up in style. Trivedi’s orchestration is quite grand but feels a little disconnected with Alvares’s singing with the result that the song turns out to be another weak spot in this album.
Behroopia is next and turns out to be the most ‘modern’ track of this album. The gorgeous vocals of Mohit Chauhan and Neeti Mohan add beauty to this romantic melody which, at least commercially speaking, will turn out to be the most successful song of this album. The jazz element in this track is limited to the restricted use of trumpets and flute and is not as evident when compared with the rest of the songs in this soundtrack. As a matter of fact, this track could have fitted very well in any other films of Ranbir and Anushka too and that makes this track more commercially viable as compared to the others in this album.
The last three pieces in the soundtrack are instrumentals with the Bombay Velvet theme being the first of the lot. An edgy piece with a hint of mystique accompanied by some high energy arrangements that one usually expects in a movie such as this, The Bombay Velvettheme is utterly compelling and fascinating. Next in line is Conspiracy and needless to say, as the name suggests, the composition has a menacing feel to it and should appear in a critical juncture in the film as a background theme. There is a superb drum solo in Tommy Gun which proves to be the highlight of this last instrumentation track which also happens to be the final track of this voluminous soundtrack.
To sum up, the soundtrack of Bombay Velvet is one of the most esoteric tracks to have come out in recent years in Hindi cinema. Though one might continue to debate about the commercial viability of this album, one cannot fault the composer Amit Trivedi for sticking completely to the jazz format in line with the running theme of the film. Considering the fact that that this is a big budget film and the associated risks, in turn, are quite high, it is indeed a brave step taken by the makers for staying true to their product without a thought for the commercial aspects. Hats off indeed!
Our Picks: Behroopia, Mohabbat Buri Bimaari and Dhadaam Dhadaam
Release Date : 15 May 2015
Director : Anurag Kashyap
Genre : Thriller
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