MUSIC REVIEW: ‘Pataakha’ is a laboured labour of love

By Bryan Durham - September 12, 2018

PATAAKHA; Zee Music Company
MUSIC: Vishal Bhardwaj
LYRICS: Gulzar
RATING: ***1/2

1. Balma
Rekha Bhardwaj and Sunidhi Chauhan’s battle of verse (courtesy, Gulzar) is the most play-worthy track because who doesn’t love a good face-off, right? The vibe is that of a good-natured ribbing that gets a bit nasty as the song plays on. Voicing for Sanya Malhotra and Radhika Madan, who play perennially warring siblings in the film, it sounds like Rekha and Sunidhi had a lot of fun getting all riled up (for show, of course) with each comeback getting wilder than the last. Vishal has a stringed instrument start off the action followed by a harmonium and dholak giving a fevered flow to the track.

2. Pataakha
The title song has the composer-director double up as a singer as he likens his lead pair to fireworks. Gulzar’s poetry underscores the violence between the siblings, but it is VB’s guttural ‘Pataakha’ rendition that sticks in memory, once you’re done hearing the song. The music itself has a decidedly brassy sound, but doesn’t really feel out of place.

3. Hello Hello
The raunchy harkat-filled item number has Rekha Bhardwaj voice Gulzar’s technology-obsessed light-hearted Hinglish verse. The song goes the come-hither route, is as filmy as they come, but while it is catchy, it feels rather ordinary as a whole.

4. Naina Banjare
Arijit Singh features on the most mellow song you’ll hear on the album. An out-and-out moody love song, it’s about falling in love for the first time. In stark contrast to the energetic tracks on offer here, it’s the sort of track that takes its time to grow on you. If it isn’t Arijit wooing you with his voice, it’s Ankur Mukherjee’s haunting guitar strains.

5. Gali Gali
Sukhwinder Singh comes in for the colourful closer. It’s perfect for his timbre of voice and while it’s a Holi song, you’re actually pleasantly surprised when VB brings in the country music flavour.

The film’s rural setting doesn’t burden the film’s overall sound with its limitations of subject. In fact, Bhardwaj’s compositions are quite on-point with just the right mix of modernity and the small-town feel. One does, however, feel that this isn’t Gulzar’s best work by far. We’ve come to expect a lot more finesse and a lot less populist writing from him and while competent, his lyrics come off as laboured. It does tie in with the film’s script, we feel, but it feels rather ordinary, going by his ouevre.


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