Pataakha music review: Vishal Bhardwaj, Gulzar rediscover their quirky selves through this desi soundtrack
Through tracks like 'Balma', 'Gali Gali' and 'Pataakha', Gulzar goes back to the 'zabaan-e-footpath' that he claims Vishal Bhardwaj brings out of him.
The magical combination of Vishal Bhardwaj and Gulzar return for yet another tale from the hinterland, Pataakha. And needless to say, the album is as explosive as the title, courtesy the chemical reaction that these two make every time they collaborate.
The first song of the film, 'Balma', is the best of the album, thanks to the two powerhouses that Vishal ropes in for the vocals. The rustic voice of his wife, Rekha Bhardwaj, is joined by the more refined one of Sunidhi Chauhan. But the latter makes up for the lack of texture by getting the accent right. Both of them, in their individual capacities, have created memorable songs with Vishal, like 'Namak Ishq Ka' (Rekha) and 'Beedi Jalai Le' (Sunidhi) in Omkara. Nine years after singing 'Raat Ke Dhai Baje' together in Kaminey, Sunidhi and Rekha reunite for another song. But here, the absence of male voice allows the two seasoned singers to take the centerstage and engage in a war of words.
Gulzar lends just the right amount of playfulness to their bickering. Vishal treats it like a typical small town wedding song, big on petty one-upmanship. It feels like he took a backseat and watched the two singers battle it out in a cute, harmless manner.
Vishal does take the forefront, however, in the title song. He takes to the mic for a rare playback rendition, and comes out as a revelation. Though he has sung the title track of Kaminey and 'Jhelum' in Haider, 'Pataakha' sounds like only the composer could have carried the vocals off. Well-versed with every note, he gets all the nuances of the song right both musically and lyrically, including the dozen times he says 'Pataakha', enunciating on 'kh' from the epiglottis. Listening to him sing, one almost feels like he is enjoying every bit of the job. The joy of translating his composition into vocals is evident in his mischievous voice. Gulzar plays along, sticking to minimalist lyrics.
'Hello Hello' is relatively the weakest song of the album. Though Vishal's tunes does evoke a thumka or two, the desi 'item number' is not a patch on the unforgettable ones that Vishal has offered in the past (Read: 'Beedi Jalai Le' and 'Namak Ishq Ka'). Rekha gets into the mood that the song demands, sculpting every harkat effortlessly. Gulzar's choice of words in this track laced with double entendre is interesting ('aaja mere WhatsApp ke teetar'). The language is what he amusingly calls 'zabaan-e-footpath'. But his perspective on the penetration of modern communication devices into the rural areas seems distanced. It feels as if an old uncle is cracking a joke that was vogue a few years ago and laughing heartily at it.
Arijit Singh joins forces with Vishal over a year after the haunting melody 'Yeh Ishq Hai' from Rangoon for 'Naina Banjare'. Just like that one, this song also has a meditative pace but more stylised. In fact, it is the only song from the album which does not employ any indigenous musical instrument. The veteran lyricist paints a picture of two forlorn lovers discovering comfort in each other's company, a bird of the same feather. Since the film is set in Rajasthan, he aptly uses the word 'banjara' (nomad) for the lovers' eyes.
The final song, 'Gali Gali', is a foot-tapping number that boasts of Sukhwinder Singh's pulsating vocals. He gets the accent spot on and also makes his voice a little shaky so that it comes across as intoxicated. It feels like he enjoys each and every bit of Gulzar's lyrics, savouring every word. Vishal uses a lot of street musical instruments from the milieu, like the dhol and the Ravanatha, to lend it a festival song appeal.
The music of Pataakha deviates from the ruminating, meditative music that Vishal and Gulzar have created in the recent past. They rediscover their quirky selves and put together an album rooted in the heartland but with an appeal that will take no time to migrate to the cities.
Listen to the full album here.
Pataakha stars Sanya Malhotra, Radhika Madan and Sunil Grover. It is co-produced by Kyta Productions, B4U Motion Pictures and Vishal Bhardwaj Films. It is slated to release this Friday on 28 September.
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