Originally published in The Hindu.
Ae dil hai mushkil – Ae Dil Hai Mushkil (Hindi – Pritam)
When you listen to the title song of Ae Dil Hai Mushkil, you easily sense the kind of grandeur and scale Pritam wanted it to be in right at the beginning when the splendidly arranged strings accompany ‘Tu mera khuda’ and stay on, in style. Arijit’s vocals are absolutely delightful, expressing the melody’s sweep perfectly. The song eventually settles into a steady thrumming rhythm that is at once comforting and portending melancholy!
Yendi unna pidikkuthu – Maanagaram (Tamil – Javed Riaz)
Javed, who evolved from scoring for short films to feature films with his single in Aviyal, further evolves as a solo composer in Maanagaram and does fairly well for himself! The highlight of the soundtrack is Karthik’s spritely rendering of Yendi unna. The song’s guitar-layered melody builds steadily, banking on Karthik’s vocal dexterity, even taking on a fantastic celtic sound mid-way and moving on to a punchy, highly rhythmic interlude!
Dil nawaziyaan – Tum Bin 2 (Hindi – Ankit Tiwari)
If you—with great difficulty, at that—ignore the fact that Jagjit Singh has sung again for the new version of Koi fariyaad (Teri fariyaad), then the soundtrack of Tum Bin 2 has another lovely song on offer. Ankit Tiwari’s first solo track sees him concoct a beautiful mix of pop and ghazal, with Arko picking the pop part and Payal dev picking the ghazal. The base tune has a nice retro lilt before moving into pop and ghazal portions respectively seamlessly. Payal, in particular, handles the ghazal/semi-classical portions wonderfully. Though Arko’s eventual English utterances are mildly cringe-worthy, that’s a minor quibble in the overall scheme of things.
Neeye – Phani Kalyan (Singers, in Tamil: Yazin Nizar and Sharanya Srinivas)
That Phani Kalyan is a protégé of A R Rahman is mighty apparent in the way the tune is constructed and orchestrated. Not to take anything away from Phani, the melody is wonderfully rich and flows as seamless as the lead dancers move all across the music video (featuring Shreya Deshpande and Niranjan Harishth, and choreographed by Vishwakiran Nambi) at appears for the song, and is an innate part of the song.
Darkhaast – Shivaay (Hindi – Mithoon)
When Darkhaast starts, it seems like an open invitation by Mithoon to dismiss it as yet another Mithoon’ish template, but the composer does surprise by upping the sound ante shortly. The energetic Coldplay’ish backgrounds that Mithoon mounts, with Kalyan Baruah’s guitar and Bobby Shrivastava’s drums, are refreshingly good for the duet led by Arijit Singh and Sunidhi Chauhan.