Music Review: Bhaag Milkha Bhaag is a mixed bag

Shankar, Ehsaan and Loy, after a two year gap from mainstream Hindi music, are back with Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra’s Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, inspired by the life of Indian athlete Milkha Singh.

Among the high points in Bhaag Milkha Bhaag are Zinda and the title song Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, both of which became instant hits on YouTube upon release. Ehsaan uses Western elements in the rock version of Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, in which Shankar Mahadevan’s son, Siddharth, makes his debut. Siddharth also sings Zinda, another rock-influenced song in which Joshi’s fiery lyrics teamed with heavy electric guitar and drums create an impression with the very first listen.

A still from the film, Bhaag Milkha Bhaag

A still from the film, Bhaag Milkha Bhaag

Saluting Milkha Singh's Punjabi heritage, Shankar, Ehsaan and Loy have used instruments like the iktara and the tumbi. The voices of singers like Arif Lohar and Daler Mehndi (he's sung "Gurbani") emphasises the Punjabi elements.

Sufi music also makes its presence felt through the song "Mera Yaar", in which the music directors manage to bring together the guitar and qawwali. The romantic "O Rangrez", which is strongly influenced by Hindustani classical music, is sung Javed Bashir and Shreya Ghoshal, whose voices are beautifully accompanied by the sarangi.

However, in spite of its high points, Bhaag Milkha Bhaag falls short primarily because the blend of the various influences don't work as well they have in Shankar, Ehsaan and Loy's previous albums like Dil Chahta Hai.

The glaring examples of fusion gone wrong are "Maston Ka Jhund" and "Slow Motion Angreza". "Maston Ka Jhund" though begins with Punjabi folk and ends up to be a confusing combination of Punjabi and Western music. "Slow Motion Angreza" has run of the mill lyrics that hardly make sense and the shoddy attempt at country music doesn't help.

Shankar Ehsaan Loy have to their credit some superb soundtracks, like Rock On, Bunty Aur Babli and Wake up Sid. In comparison, Bhaag Milkha Bhaag is far less impressive. While the album has some solid tracks, it's not one of Shankar, Ehsaan and Loy’s best.

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