Bajirao Mastani music review: The soundtrack melodiously connects the past with present

Subhash K Jha

Nov,27 2015 12:07:47 IST

Like Satyajit Ray, Sanjay Leela Bhansali is the best person to understand the music that surges through the veins of his characters. The soundtrack of Bajirao Mastani merges traditional raga elements with  contemporary sounds that would perhaps gel with the average 20-something youth who probably don't know that film music was once created live on studio floors.

Flashback to a time when the mighty composing maestro Naushad’s 60-member orchestra played while Lata Mangeshkar sang Pyar kiya toh darna kiya to immortality.

Priyanka Chopra and Deepika Padukone in Pinga from Bajirao Mastani. Screengrab

Priyanka Chopra and Deepika Padukone in Pinga from Bajirao Mastani. Screengrab

The soundtrack of Bajirao Mastani, alas, has no Lata Mangeshkar. But it has lots of Shreya Ghosal, Lataji’s most melodious disciple. This girl can bend the most evocative lyrics into seductive shapes and leave us wondering if she is trying to tell us something beyond the words.

Ghosal is in splendid form in the tracks Deewani Mastani, Mohe rang de lal and Pinga. Her voice caresses the erotic and evocative lyrics (take a bow, Sidharth-Garima) as though she were making love to the poetry. Two excellent new female singers emerge in Ab tohe jaane na doongi and Fitoor. In the former the singer Payal Dev pleads with her lover to spend the night with her. The seduction is so sublime it skirts the spiritual. In the ‘tamasha’ ambiance of Fitoor, Vaishali Mhade dazzles with her control over the scattered rhythms.

Layered, luminous and expansive, the 10 songs of Bajirao Mastani are shaped into curvaceous odes to an era when royalty romanced while the universe sang and danced in approval. Indeed the songs are so elegantly arranged and so opulently orchestrated one wonders how the producers could squander the precious sounds by releasing them on the internet!

Imagine Naushad releasing his Mughal-e-Azam album on the internet. Or Laxmikant-Pyarelal pouring out the pure-gold sound of Parasmani on a portal!

The magic of melodies, that somehow seems to have gone, is revived in the songs of Bajirao Mastani. They sing to the spheres and hit the highest notes that ricochet into our hearts. The captivating chorus number Albela ajan aayo re may remind us of a song with the same title from Bhansali’s Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam to begin with. But then the melody gathers momentum beyond anything we have heard . The numbers Gajanana (sung by Sukhwinder Singh) and Malhari (Vishal Dadlani) rise to crescendo of expressionism, thanks to the robust singing.

The most amazing aspect of this exhilarating soundtrack is that it recreates an era gone-by through sounds that are authentic but not blindly faithful to the period. The idea is to connect the past with the present, and this album does that with swimming sonority.

If there is anything like a soundtrack that is Maharashtrian in flavour, yet operatic, steeped in the classical ethos, yet contemporary, then this is where to look for it. The composer in Sanjay Leela Bhansali throbs with a passion that belongs to an era almost lost, but retrieved just in time.

Updated Date: Nov 27, 2015 12:14 PM