Akshay Kumar’s much awaited movie ‘BellBottom’ is set to launch the return of big A-grade Bollywood movies to the cinemas. Although set in the 1980s, the movie has been shot entirely during the pandemic in 2020 across various locations in India and the UK. The promo looks good and reminds one of Kumar’s spy & thriller movies like ‘Baby’ (2015), ‘Holiday: A Soldier is Never Off Duty’ (2014) and ‘Special 26’ (2013). The retro 80s vibe gives the movie an extra edge and the fact that it is based around true events of hijacking that plagued India gives this film more excitement. But even more exciting is the shocking look of Lara Dutta in the movie who has been transformed with prosthetics into Indira Gandhi. She is unrecognisable as Dutta and spot on as the first woman PM of India. The film also stars Vaani Kapoor & Huma Qureshi in pivotal roles. The music is a mix match of singles of various artists picked by Director Ranjit Tewari. There is not much of go by here and the music in most of Kumar’s thrillers is usually mediocre so we look forward to hearing what is on offer on the soundtrack of ‘Bell Bottom’.
First song, Dhoom Tara feature the lyrics and music of Tanishk Bagchi and the vocals of Zara Khan. This is really the movies background score / partly a title track and packs a punch at that. The music is upbeat and quite edgy at that. It’s got a rush about it signifying the thrilling action moments in the movie but with a contemporary feel combining traditional words Dhoom Tara & Ta na na backing vocals programmed with fast beats and electric guitar. There are no lyrics really with Bell Bottoms & Dhoom Tara repeated throughout but the music fills the void. There is good amount of musical variation and it is nicely arranged making this completely different than what title songs usually sound like. A decent tempo and melody to start the album at for a short track but lacks any substance or characterisation. 3/5
Marjaawaan is truly the first single of the album and it is a gentle Punjabi romantic number set to a very delicate sound of guitars and piano. This song marks the entry of new talent Gurnazar Singh who has written, composed and sung the song. He has a very distinctive sharp voice with a folkish touch. His Punjabi-style delivery has a bit of crudeness to it which makes it more authentic. He is supported well by Asees Kaur who is slowly turning into the leading female voice for love songs. She is good with a great amount of depth here but sounds rather monotonous in parts. Clearly she is supporting the leading man letting him shine but her vocal works well for Kapoor in the video. She sounds more modern and Bollywood while Singh is the traditional voice here and there is a major contrast in their styles. The lyrics are the best part as it is a promise of love and support for eternity and are nicely arranged around the soothing music. The melodic flow is what is catchy and has the potential to propel the song onto commercial airplays to make this a hit number. Worth a listen. 3.5/5
Kumar’s love for Punjabi remakes is no secret. The latest single release Sakhiyan 2.0 is a very cool remake of Maninder Buttar’s 2018 No. 1 Punjabi chart-topper Sakhiyan. Bagchi leads this remake and delivers what is the best remake delivered this year by him. This is truly the hitmaker Bagchi we know who made remakes cool. His balance of retaining the iconic best bits of the original and adding a whole new fun aspects is best demonstrated here. He adds pack to a rather slow original with a cool club bass beat that makes this fit the urban lounge genre but also makes it a really cool club tune. The programming is exquisite with an arrangement that works while retaining Buttar’s original composition. Babbu Maan’s original lyrics combined with Bagchi’s new Hindi lines makes this a nice duet song. The new lyrics flow well with the original making this quite easily the best Punjabi romantic number of ’21. Khan finally gets some good exposure here compared to the first song and she sounds blissful. Her soft voice has an in-built sensuality to it that compliments Buttar’s unique voice. As a remake it just right with a great new musicality added to a well retained original. This is an exciting number overall that has a commercial superhit written all over it! 4/5
Tum Aaogey is the work of Amaal Mallik, written by Rashmi Virag duo and sung beautifully by Armaan Malik. A sad separation song but not of lovers that exists in most Bollywood romantics, but separation of every other relation. The song is a background number for the film reciting the story of the families of those stuck in high jacked airplanes that the movie is about. There is this whole bag of emotions that Malik has to carry as a singer and it must be quite a lot to deliver on to do justice to each stanza which is a story in each para. He does it in his stylish & melodic way that sounds very contemporary while being very poetic in his delivery style. The high parts of the song blend into the chorus very well and tug at the heart strings. Music is very well balanced between simplistic instruments. The use of flute is quite defining here that creates a sombre atmosphere around. Guitars & violins amplify this ambience. The composition is nice and flows well while the arrangement of the words is credit to the lyricist duo who have a great flow in the lines. They deliver the heart-warming message with an in-built comfort that makes it very easy to listen to. The delivery is very strong here in this song and thus makes a very good listen. 3.5/5
More singles from ‘Bell Bottom’ will be reviewed on this page when they become available.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author.