Gold music review: Sachin-Jigar's album is high on drama, with hints of jazz and Indian classical

Devansh Sharma

Aug 10, 2018 18:19:14 IST

A month after the release of Shaad Ali's sports biopic Soorma, comes yet another sports drama based on real-life events. Reema Kagti's Gold, though dominated by signature high-powered anthems, also has a softer side to it, in the form of romantic or lighthearted dance tracks. It follows in the footsteps of predecessors like Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra's 2013 film Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, and Soorma, by striking a balance between the action on field and instances behind closed doors, though the balance here is quite lopsided.

There are four inspirational/patriotic songs in Gold, all of them composed by Sachin-Jigar and written by Javed Akhtar. The first such song is 'Khel Khel Mein' in which the music composer duo invent an extremely enigmatic theme score for this song, which is also the pulse of the film's trailer. It has the urgency of a hockey match of high stakes and also encapsulates the spirit of a life full of determination. Its range sets the stage for an obstacle course. It also builds momentum for a climax and leaves it unexplained, lending the song an air of suspense.

Akshay Kumar in a still from Gold

Akshay Kumar in a still from Gold

Javed puts his poetic wisdom to good use by choosing inherently intense words 'toofan' and 'bandish'. While these words represent the challenge, he uses onomatopoeic phrases like 'patak patak' as symbols of the players' resolute state of mind. KK, who has given Hindi cinema gems like 'Yaaron Dosti' and 'O Meri Jaan' returns, but in a completely different vein. He fronts this impassioned rendition with commendable conviction, ably supported by Sachin-Jigar who double up as backing vocalists.

The second song, 'Rasta Rasta' ironically has a more 'playful' composition by Sachin-Jigar. Sukhwinder Singh also shows restraint by keeping his vocals more cheerful, as opposed to aggressive as is his signature style, particularly in sports dramas (read: Chak De India!). Javed counters the frolicsome mood of the song with philosophical and inspirational lyrics. It is solely because of his craft that the track turns into a traveler's song, only to be elevated by the frisky treatment by Sachin-Jigar and Sukhwinder.

'Ghar Layenge Gold' lands somewhere between 'Khel Khel Mein' and 'Rasta Rasta' on the intensity scale. Sachin-Jigar's arrangement seems interesting initially as the chorus arrives quite quickly. But the endless loop that it falls prey to makes the track monotonous to an extent. It ends up sounding more like a chant, rather than a chorus. But Sachin-Jigar make up for the lost pace by picking up towards the end, where the chant's accelerated rhythm adds character to the song. What is not in character is Daler Mehndi's voice. It sounds jaded but he still manages to bring a unique energy to the song, which is otherwise riddled with underwhelming lyrics by Javed and chorused chanting by Sachin-Jigar, Rakesh Maini and Madhav Krishna.

'Jaaga Hindustan' is the token patriotic song of every sports film ever. Javed's lyrics make this one sound like a love letter to the nation, but the song pales in comparison to say a more felt 'Ae Watan', penned by Gulzar, from Meghna Gulzar's recent espionage thriller Raazi. The vocalist Divya Kumar, however, proves that he is a rare find. His textured voice springs to life at the first distant echo of music. The song is a great catch for Divya, who made a mark jamming with Sunidhi Chauhan in 'Halka Halka', Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan's recreated ghazal from Atul Manjrekar's recent musical Fanney Khan. 

Sachin-Jigar let their hair down in this composition, which still boasts of a controlled chaos. There is a qawwali arrangement in the song that adds pace to the song otherwise heavy on aalap. But what hoists this song to glory are the side guitars by the invincible Pandit Vishwa Mohan Bhatt. The Grammy Award-winning Mohan Veena artist adds an inherent charm with his cathartic undertones.

Akshay Kumar and Mouni Roy in a still from Gold

Akshay Kumar and Mouni Roy in a still from Gold

Out of the two dance songs, the better one by a mile is 'Monobina'. Vayu wields the pen for this track and kicks its off with an English intro, characteristic of the effluent classes during the Independence phase. Monali Thakur's English vocals reflect the colonial hangover that the rich acquired from the British at that time. Monali also gets to belt out a couple of lines in her mother tongue of Bengali and needless to say, she does so effortlessly. She also finds the perfect co-singers in Yasser Desai, Shashaa Tirupati and Farhad Bhiwandiwala.

Tanishk Bagchi, who specialises in painting classics in modern colours, reverse engineers as the composer here. He concocts a completely new number but adopts the jazz style that Bollywood inherited from the British during the late 1940s and 1950s. His research is on point as he incorporates a number of patented jive elements in the song, like claps and trumpets. The song, thus, has the freshest verve in the entire album, despite its retro theme.

'Chad Gayi Hai' is a fun dance number that could have done better with a chorus as catchy as the rhythm of its stanzas. Sachin-Jigar add a minor Arabic touch to this track in order to ensure a distinct flavour from the other dance number. Vayu pens this drunkard song as well. He does a decent job; the use of adverb 'lapak' is particularly interesting. Kudos to Vishal Dadlani for giving just the right amount of tipsiness to the song. He is energetic but does not seem completely in control of his vocals, like in his career-defining tracks 'Jo Bheji Thi Dua' and 'Chhokra Jawan'.

The most generic song of the entire album is Arko's 'Naino Ne Baandhi'. It is a simple, sweet melody that starts sounding rather simplistic as it progresses. Though Yasser Desai does not do a bad job at the vocals, Arko may have done a better job given that he has not only composed and written the song but also is an accomplished singer himself. But the music and lyrics are strictly average, which may have compelled Arko to rope in another voice instead. Well, that is what a sports film stands for: You win some, you lose some.

The music of Gold has three gems to boast of. The first is its theme ('Khel Khel Mein') that resounds in its trailer and is bound to play an integral role in the film's key scenes. The second gem is Pandit Vishwa Mohan Bhatt's addition, which adds nuance to its token patriotic song 'Jaaga Hindustan'. And the third one is Tanishk Bagchi, who makes his retro jazz number stand out in an album comprising several considerably effective compositions by Sachin-Jigar.

Listen to the entire album here.

Gold stars Akshay Kumar, Mouni Roy, Kunal Kapoor, Sunny Kaushal, Amit Sadh and Vineet Kumar Singh. It is produced by Farhan Akhtar and Ritesh Sidhwani's Excel Entertainment. It is slated to release this Independence Day on 15 August.

All images from YouTube.

Updated Date: Aug 10, 2018 18:19:14 IST