BizAsia Music Review: ‘Udta Punjab’

DJ Munks

Music Reviewer


Director Abhishek Chaubey hasn�۪t been a part of a hit project since ��Omkara�۪ (2006). His directorial projects ��Ishqiya�۪ (2010) and ��Dedh Ishqiya�۪ (2014) received a lukewarm response but surely got the critics talking. For him to now take on one of the biggest social issues in northern India in the recent times of wide-spread drug addiction would be daunting challenge and it would be interesting to see how he handles it. The trailers look offbeat unlike any others out there but at the same time quite radical as well which might not be suitable for family audiences. The very look of Shahid Kapoor is radical in itself to scare the little ones away while the casting of Alia Bhatt and Kareena Kapoor Khan along with Punjabi superstar Diljit Dosanjh seem rather drastic but very interesting at the same time. The characters look well groomed which director Chaubey always does well in his films. For an off-beat film, Amit Trivedi would be the ideal person to get into the music to deliver the right balance between commercial music that is fresh and different at the same time. Lyrics include the original work of Punjabi legendry poet Shiv Kumar Batalvi and mainly Shailender Singh Sodhi aka ��Shellee�۪ of Dev D fame.

Shahid Kapoor - Chitta Ve - Udta Punjab

Chitta Ve acts as the title song of the film and has been doing the most rounds from the film online, TV and radio thanks to Shahid�۪s crazy execution of the song on a bonnet of a truck parked on stage. His erratic look in itself is good enough to attract attention and get audiences checking the song out. Amit Trivedi�۪s composition only adds to the originality of this song making it awfully exciting and novel. Lyrics are a piece of awesome work that is well thought and arranged to match up to Trivedi�۪s musical brilliance as he bends and stretches words and beats in a masterful way to make this a very exciting song this summer for the youth. The song is very cool and Punjabi in a balanced way so as to appeal to a wider audience as well who will be attracted to the song thanks to its beat in the first place. The vocals of Babu Haabi, Shahid Mallya & Bhanu Pratap are very refreshing and nothing like one hears normally just like the song. Shahid is brilliant in executing each word to precision like he always does in all his songs with a Punjabi touch going from Kukkad, Rabba Main Toh Mar Gaya Oye to Iski Uski. The teams combined effort on the song is some brilliant work backed with amazing talent to make this song a cult as a unique song for modern and dark Punjab. This is not a masses song but surely worth some appreciation.

Hearing Kanika Kapoor back in her original avatar in the style of Jugni Ji and far away from item numbers is just refreshing to hear as Trivedi lets her lead Da Da Dasse next. The novelty of lyrics here by Shellee of how he describes the dark scary night and its relation to a drug addict is revolutionary to say the least. Although it sounds folkish the words are quite simplistic Punjabi and thus a quite easy to understand with some attentiveness to it. The rap treatment in Babu Haabi�۪s voice mixed with Kanika�۪s folk voice and supers lyrics by Trivedi is quite an amazing mix that will surely get some praise from listeners around the world. The song overall works really well within the audio domain and is perfectly designed as a radio song with amazing lyrics that should make this song a sure shot commercial success.. even more so than Chitta Ve.

Shahid Mallya goes solo on Ikk Kudi next which is the original work of one of the most iconic and legendry poet of Punjab ��� Shiv Kumar Batalvi. The famous writer who has written some amazing love poems is widely known across northern India. Trivedi now takes his gorgeous and deeply romantic work and makes it mainstream with a soft melodic rendition of it that is mesmerising to hear. Mallya brings out the emotions of the song in a really touching and captivating way as he describes the beauty of his love but also the sadness of her not being around. The contrasting emotions are really heartfelt in his deep & folkish vocal delivery. The use of acoustic guitar and drums work perfectly for this centuries old poetry revived for this film. Although the lyrics are authentic Punjabi that only the proficient Punjabi speakers will understand, the melody of this song is very strong to easily win a few hearts.

Alia Bhatt - Udta Punjab 340x

Ud-Daa Punjab features the voices of rock star Vishal Dadlani and Amit Trivedi himself. This song describes the state of affairs of the youth in Punjab loaded with drugs, alcohol, abuse and violence totally in sync with the theme at the heart of this film. Lyricist and comedian Varun Grover has pend this song in a charming desi hip-hop rap with constant rhymes that truly demonstrate his awesome writing capabilities. Trivedi�۪s strong synthetic drum beat combined with a lot of synths and the two really powerful and dynamic voices give this song a lot of attitude and personality that is highly targeted toward the youth. And it should work with them making this a college campus favourite with the non-commercial music lovers.

Hass Nach Le features Shahid Mallya again but in a slightly more upbeat avatar with a very positive song. Shellee�۪s authentic Punjabi lyrics invites the youth of Punjab to look deep inside their heart and find God in there and come off their wild ways and addictions. The slightly sufi composition balanced very well with traditional Punjabi folk set to the beat of a dholki and harmonium gives the song a genuine touch that tugs on the heart strings. The music & lyrics work together to make one emotional listening to the song even if you don�۪t understand the lyrics completely. The feel of the song with Mallya�۪s vocal style is enough for the music to work its magic. Perhaps only if the song had more simplistic use of words that would make it universal would have helped the cause of the message therein and thus the success of the song. But at the same time that would have taken the authenticity at the soul of Shellee�۪s amazing lyrical work. Nonetheless a good positive listen sitting amongst some dark songs on the album.

Amit Trivedi goes solo next with Vadiya that is truly set in the dark world of a drug addict and is exactly opposite in its domain to Hass Nach Le. This is clearly a drug addict�۪s anthem song describing the high state when everything seems vadiya (great). The electronic psychedelic music puts the listener in the same space as the character in his high state and is thus very situational. The music is not the usual Trivedi style but demonstrates his ability to deliver what is really required out of him in any genre. The lyrics are not great as the situation demands the simplicity that defines the extreme high point where words get repeated and the thoughts are limited. The song is just about vadiya and perhaps the weakest on the album.

Diljit & Kareena in 'Udta Punjab'
Diljit & Kareena in ‘Udta Punjab’

Diljit Dosanjh takes on Ikk Kudi ��� Reprised Version finally with a soft rock rendition of it that is perhaps better than Mallya�۪s version. Diljit�۪s voice is very commercial pop and that brings out a totally contrasting feel to this song with a completely different listening experience combining pop, rock and folk together. His voice is not as deep as Mallya�۪s and that works in favour of this version as Trivedi aims to let Diljit do his thing and make this a song that will be palatable for every listener of every age group even if they don�۪t understand the lyrics. The use of electric guitar and brilliant bass guitar sound really good giving it a modern take making it perfect for a 2016 sound track.

Final Word

Amit Trivedi does not disappoint his listeners and continues in his string of successes while delivering innovation in music through his albums. The soundtrack of ��Udta Punjab�۪ is no different where he combines his talent with a group of talented singers, lyricists and musicians to deliver yet another fresh sounding album to Bollywood unlike any heard in Bollywood history before. His balance of delivering dark and positive songs, party and romantic songs, sufi and traditional folk songs is worth noticing on this album as he gives a wide landscape to this OST to deliver variety to the listeners. A major part of the credit goes to lyricist Shellee whose work is simply amazing on this soundtrack. Each song is exceptionally well written retaining the Punjabi flavour of music that defines the popular music landscape for all of northern India and beyond. Shahid Mallya is clearly the leading voice of the album maintaining his standards all through of giving great vocals to his music director. Kanika Kapoor is back in a big way with Da Da Dasse which is the star song of the album along with Chitta Ve, Ikk Kudi and Hass Nach Le closely behind and are great songs to listen to as well. Overall there is not one bad song on this album and thus is a good collectors album to have that defines the changing sound of Bollywood music with a balance of folk and traditional music retained and adapted for the modern time.

BizAsia Showbiz Rating ��� 8/10