Music Review: Ram-Leela

Ram-Leela Poster

Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s next, a modern day romance set in Gujarat based on William Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet, Ram-Leela, is releasing next month, and the soundtrack for the film was released this week. For a second time, Bhansali has composed the songs for his own film (or third, if you consider the one song he did  for Saawariya), and the lyrics are by Siddharth-Garima. The album has 10 songs, thankfully no remixes, and no versions of songs either, though that’s not something Bhansali usually has in his films anyway.

The album begins with a sort-of title track, Ram Chahe Leela, sung by Bhoomi Trivedi. The track as a bit of chatter at the start, though I assume that will make more sense once I’ve seen the film. The song itself is ok, kind of upbeat and catchy, but it’s not an impressive start to the album. The lyrics suggest maybe it’ll be an opening credits number, or background/montage type.

Next is Lahu Muh Lag Gaya, sung by Shail Hada, who sung the title track(s) for Saawariya, and a number of tracks for Guzaarish, and this is more like a SLB song. The melody could belong to any soundtrack of his films. Again, it’s alright but doesn’t really grab me. It features a little bit of Tattad Tattad‘s melody, another song, which is sung by Aditya Narayan, son of Udit Narayan, but comes right at the end of the album, which is a little strange considering it’s the first song they’ve used in promoting the film. Not that they have to go in order, but it is unusual. I like the music of Tattad, and the lyrics are alright, but it is much more listenable than it is watchable. Maybe after watching the full video in the film I’ll prefer it, but Ranveer Singh is too believably cocky to pull it off, and don’t get me started on the choreography. But the song itself is good, and shouldn’t come so late in the album.

Following Lahu Muh Lag Gaya, is Ang Laga De, sung beautifully by Aditi Paul. I don’t think I’ve heard her voice before, but it’s lovely to listen to. The songs are getting better as we go through the album, and I look forward to seeing what SLB does with this. Shail Hada appears again following this, with Poore Chand, which is more mellow than Lahu Muh Lag Gaya, but a nicer song. Again though, with both these songs, it sounds like the lyrics could be rewritten to fit any other SLB film, even the ones he didn’t compose the music for himself.

ram-leela deepika

The next song is where the album peaks, Nagada Sang Dhol, sung by Shreya Ghoshal,who is always nice to hear on any album. It is very similar to Dholi Taro from SLB’s Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam, and not only because it’s also about dhols. It’s almost like a sequel, if songs could have sequels, but I think that’s okay, as it has been a long time since HDDCS, and the song is very good. It’s the only song from the album I listened to again straight away, and is currently getting the most plays on my iPod. It’s not that it all goes downhill from here, but the songs track six onwards aren’t quite as good.

The next song, Laal Ishq, is quite different, which I thing was the best way to follow Nagada Sang Dhol. Arijit Singh has had a great year with the popularity of his songs for Aashiqui 2 and Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani, so I’m sure most people will know his voice, and he does has sung his wonderfully. I’m glad SLB didn’t go for Shail Hada again, as it might have made it quite boring after hearing him on two other tracks. A new voice to the album was definitely needed.

994339_679731675370397_276112133_n1After a slow and soft, very SLB number, there’s a bit of fun, Ishqyaun Dhishqyaun (yes, really). It’s actually a good song and despite the silliness of the title the lyrics are better than it suggests, and it goes well with the violent aspect of the story. It’s the first of two Aditya Narayan songs on the album, and I think you can definitely hear a hint of his father’s voice in his.

Despite being romance, the only duet of the album is Mor Bani Thanghat Kare, which is actually a traditional Gujarati song. This version sung by Aditi Paul and Osman Mir, and not that I’ve heard any other version of it, but this is quite alright to listen to. I’m sure there’s some justification in the film for the use of this, and not having another original song. Track number 9 is Shreya Ghoshal again, but with slower, and slightly eerie Dhoop. It’s decent, but it’s rightly place in second to last, towards the end where the lesser songs tend to go, but right before Tattad Tattad that ends the album with a mild bang.

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As a director and storyteller, I have complete faith in Sanjay Leela Bhansali; he’s one of my favourite Indian film directors. He composes decent songs, and it’s nice that he’s trying, but not every director is Vishal Bhardwaj (composes his own very good music for his films). SLB’s films always have a sense of epic-ness about them, whether they be the grand HDDCS or Devdas, or even if they’re simpler, like Black. I imagine Ram-Leela to be closer to the Devdas end of the scale, but because music is not his forte, the music for his musical lack that extra bit to make the soundtrack great. I quite like a number of the songs, Nagada Sang Dhol, Laal Ishq and Ang Laga De especially, and hopefully the rest will grow on me with time.

Ram-Leela YouTube Jukebox 1

Ram-Leela YouTube Jukebox 2

Ram-Leela‘s music is out now, and the film will release 15th November 2013.

 

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