Director & producer of TV serials Abhishek Dudhaiya is making his Bollywood debut with ‘Bhuj: The Pride of India’ releasing soon on OTT platform Hotstar in time for the Indian Independence Day on 15th August. A war drama set around the India-Pakistan War of 1971 in the city of Bhuj in Gujarat, India, the movie has an extensive star cast with Ajay Devgn, Sanjay Dutt, Sonakshi Sinha, Ammy Virk and Nora Fatehi in the lead cast. The long trailer seems to have a lot going on in the storyline with various story fronts with some good sets and visual elements to the production. Since this is the first Bollywood project for Dudhaiya there would be a lot riding on this movie for him. Not sure what to expect of him on the music front but going by Devgn’s reputation there should be a decent soundtrack here. The patriotic angle is ripe of course for a war drama and that will bring aggression and vigour to the album. Perhaps there will be a limited genres here considering the nature of the movie but hopefully the soundtrack will deliver good songs with a mix of talent and artists contributing here.
The first single release is a romantic song surprisingly rather than a powerful war song. And it is a good one at that with Jubin Nautiyal leading the vocal. Hanjugam has soft tonalities that are soothing to listen to and that is partly down to Nautiyal’s husky soft vocal. He has a good range to his vocal but his voice does the real magic here. He has a bit of a classical delivery to his vocal that gives the song the 1971 period touch. There is a big amount of echo reverb to his vocal that gives depth and emotion to his singing and the revarb rings through at the tail end of the song. Composed by Gourov Dasgupta, the arrangement has a familiar Bollywood styling to it which makes it easy to listen to and memorable although it lacks a bit of creative spark to it. The instrumentation is simple with minimal percussions to it but with nice electric guitars delivering consistent background to the vocals. The choice of a solo of Shenaai is quite an interesting choice though and a pleasant surprise. Although with mostly western instruments, the Shenaai’s give the song the classic Indian touch and also a hint of a wedding setting which is perhaps where this song fits in the movie. Lyrics by Devshi Khanduri are good with a simple but effective flow. The choice of words really does the job here making it easy to sink to the heart and connect with the listener. Nautiyal brings the emotions of the words alive which is an asset overall. This song has good potential of airplay on radio and capable to getting on some charts although it is not a brilliant number that would get to the top. A good listen nonetheless. 3.5/5
The item number of album is the next single to release with the stunner Nora Fatehi leading the video. Zaalima Coca Cola is a dated item number going back to the 70s setting of the movie. As a result the composition and instrumentation has been kept purely classical by Tanishk Bagchi. This is quite a change for remix king Bagchi and has given him an opportunity to demonstrate his classical proves. The instrumentation is precise with use of clean Tabla and Dholki leading the percussions while Harmonium, Mandolin & banjo are some of the other traditional instruments giving it the 70s flavour. The composition has a tinge of mujra and qawalli genres to it which it an interesting retro sound for the current times. His choice of taking on Shreya Ghoshal is spot on as the vocal has the seductive oomph of a mujra to it delivered with a slightly modern item number styling. There is a good classical factor to her vocals too that no other female vocalist would have been able to deliver. The lyrics by Vayu are quite a sleaze going with the setting of the song and that is what pivots the song more to an item number than a mujra. This brings on a disconnect as the music is more 70s in its appeal. The chorus is terrible really and sounds very weird for any era that this song is trying to fit into. Overall this is not a party item number that will make it to the dance scene nor does it have the persona to become a big hit on radio. The video is the only saving grace with the moves that Fatehi delivers. 2.5/5
Latest single Bhai Bhai released today feature the fun party animal Mika Singh delivering the vocal for Sanjay Dutt. Singh’s powerful vocal works perfectly for the genre and style of the song while also being perfectly suited for Dutt on screen. He has a more Punjabi touch to his vocal styling than Gujarati as in the movie but that’s a very minor nuance. He has a big range to his vocal and he brings his natural fun side to his performance. Music by Lilo George – DJ Chetas is pretty good. The celebratory feel is quite strong and the flavours of Gujarat come through in some of the instrumentation. The composition is more 20s than 70s which makes this song more palatable for current listeners. The huge amount of trumpets and synth sounds albeit all programmed, give a grand sound to the song. The beat is strong while the arrangement is progressive making this a good party tune. Manoj Muntasir does a good job on the lyrics here making this song very memorable. The stanzas are built nicely around the Bhai Bhai chorus with some easy Gujarati bits giving the song a broader appeal for the masses. Overall this is a proper party number and works well in the setting of the movie. It is well composed and nicely delivered for a proper commercial audience. 3.5/5
With 10 days to the Indian Independence day, the newest single Desh Mere is a salute to all those for whom there is nothing bigger than their love for their country. The patriotic emotion is delivered with a mix of pride, happiness and even melancholy in the face of sacrifice, all well captured by Arijit Singh in his vocal. He is brilliant on patriotic songs as his natural depth and ability to bring his heart out to his voice really helps this genre like some of his past hits, and this song is no different. This song has a high pitch for almost most of the song and Singh keeps it note perfect. Working with Arko on the music is a match of perfection as the composition is brilliant. It has a very typical arrangement for patriotic songs but delivered in a humbling and soulful style. The soft instrumentation using sarangi, guitars & duff beat gives it more depth and sadness that amplifies the emotions presented in the lyrics by Muntashir. The song is very well written for a genre overdone to a certain limit in Bollywood and a genre that is saturated in many way as one can present the feelings of patriotism in limited number of ways. But Muntashir brings in ease, simplicity and flow in his poetic style while highlighting pride, dedication and sacrifice through his lines. This is a great number and very touching in many ways. 4/5
Rammo Rammo composed by Bagchi is a good number for the forthcoming Dandiya Garba season that will finally happen after missing the festivities last year due to the pandemic. Bagchi has given it a grand sound set to a big beat with nagadas and the typical bass guitar and keyboards that go with Dandiya songs. The music has a lot of backing vocals programmed nicely on the beats itself giving it a fuller sound as of a full house of people on the dancefloor making this a good participation song. Muntashir does a decent job on the lyrics but its nothing great. The lyrics ride a lot on repetition which is good for a dance number but its boring when it comes to an aural experience. Vocals are a combination of Neeti Mohan & Palak Muchhal who sound great together with Udit Narayan bringing in his smiley male vocal to it. There is good consistency in the vocals throughout the song and they work well for a garba song. On the whole this is a good song for the forthcoming festive period but other than that it is a bit flat and lacks a zing to it. 3.5/5
More singles from ‘Bhuj: The Pride of India’ 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.