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Music Review: ‘Chakravyuh’

Talk about intense Hindi movies with an agenda��and an overdose of realism to them from the Indian society and Prakash Jha movies will be the first on the list with recent titles like ��Raajneeti�۪ (2010) and ��Aarakshan�۪ (2011) to his credit. The man creates dynamic and hard-hitting cinema packed with intense performances that he drives well out of his actors. This time for ��Chakravyuh�۪, he has Arjun Rampal, Abhay Deol and Manoj Bajpai who are already well-known for their intense roles, and promising Esha Gupta joins in for her��third release this year after ‘Jannat 2’ and�ʉ�Raaz 3�۪. For a movie touching on the tenacious problem of naxalites in India, the trailers say it all and build up anticipation for a very strong movie.

Abhay Deol and Arjun Rampal in 'Chakravyuh'
Abhay Deol and Arjun Rampal in 'Chakravyuh'

Music has been a small part of Jha movies and has been treated like a step-child in most of his projects with full attention and focus on the scripts. ��Raajneeti�۪ was perhaps the only one that delivered some big hits when��compared��with average soundtracks otherwise. It is up to Jha�۪s vision and inspiration along with the handy work of maestros Salim-Sulaiman to make that happen and deliver something new. Working together for the first time, there could be good fusion to be heard in the music of ��Chakravyuh�۪. There are also a number of lyricists and music directors contributing to various songs on the album.

Vijay Verma delivers the music on the opening song of the soundtrack called Mehangai. With the vocals of Kailash Kher, the song sets pace for the village theme of the song and talks about the troubles of the average villager of India. This is a song designed for the authentic rural theme of the movie and is very situational. The lyrics by Turaz are very realistic and rebellious at the same time, talking about the bureaucracy and sufferings of the average Indian. The composition is traditional with very basic instrumentation, including harmonium and dholki, to keep it pure and authentic -��although the filming on Deol wearing Ray Bans gives it a funky touch. Mehangai lacks innovation overall and not for the commercial masses.

A huge change is felt as soon as the genius touch of Salim-Sulaiman takes over with Chheen Ke Lenge in the voice of Sukhwinder Singh. This song is an anthem of revolt and mutiny, filled with pride of the land in the lyrics of Irshad Kamil. What works well for this song is the exquisite arrangement and fine instrumentation including folk drums, flutes and a mix of strings in the true style of the Merchant brothers. Singh�۪s vocals are an icing on the top and remind of his brilliant work in ��Taal�۪ (1999) with Rahman.

Sameera Reddy in <em>Kunda Khol</em>
Sameera Reddy in Kunda Khol

Kunda Khol is the sultry item song in the voice of the expected Sunidhi Chauhan and filmed on the gorgeous Sameera Reddy. The upbeat and sticky tune of the song complement Chauhan�۪s powerful vocals really well keeping a perfect balance of innovation and traditional that will work well with the village masses of India. The overall compositional work by Sandesh Shandilya is good with equally impressive lyrics by Ashish Sahu on this track keeping the fun and sultry nature of the song on the point.

Aiyo Piyaji is a sufi love song in the voice of Rashid Ali Khan who makes one fall in love with every song he sings. Aiyo Piyaji is no exception. Irshad Kamil does a phenomenal job on the classical sufi lyrics of this song that give Khan a lot of room to show his vocal abilities on every word. The depth and purity in the song is just brilliantly soothing. Music for this is by the Shantanu Moitra who is a legend when it comes to such songs and gives it a touch of Bengal typical to his style. A must-listen track!

Salim-Sulaiman take over once again for Tambai with Kamil�۪s lyrics and vocals from Salim, Benny Dayal and Shadab Faridi. Tambai that means brass colour is a creepy sultry song that has an intense feel to it with good arrangement to it. The instrumentation is pretty much non-existent with just a deep bass and mainly voice harmonies doing the trick. This a short and unique song that is purely to fit in with a scene in the movie and so very situational rather than musical.

Paro is the composition of Aadesh Srivastava who lends his voice to the song too along with Shaan and Chauhan. This is another slow village item song with focus on fun and love for chamiya paro. Chauhan makes an entry on the song in style and gives a new tempo to the song. The lyrics by Panchhi Jalonvi are a mix of new-age and typical rural styles. Srivastava�۪s quick change of melodies from slow to fast and back to slow is quite unique and works well for the style of the song. Unfortunately, the song is very limited in its appeal.

Mehangai (Remix) by Siddharth Suhas is just a waste of��four��minutes and a failed attempt to commercialise and take a traditional song to the club. There is no need to do that as the original fits well in its category and has been composed to cater to that category.

Chakravyuh Theme is composed by Salim-Sulaiman and performed by Benny Dayal to a very penetrating and forceful composition in a very quiet musical arrangement for the first half of the song. The depth and vigour of the topic that Jha deals with in this song comes out very strongly in this predominantly instrumental composition by the Merchant brothers.


The soundtrack of ��Chakravyuh�۪ as expected is very thematic and typical to Jha�۪s style of films packed with passion, force and attitude. His love of traditional is inherent to the topics he picks up for his movies and so the representation in the music is obvious and expected. Considering that the rustic and country flavour of the music is no surprise. Once again there is no major production work delivered in the music of a Jha film although some songs do stand out, albeit��only on an average level. Irshad Kamil is the real star on the soundtrack delivering a very specific role effectively to fit the theme. Vocals by Sukhwinder Singh and Sunidhi Chauhan stand out with good compositions by Salim-Sulaiman, Shantanu Moitra and Sandesh Shandilya. Overall the soundtrack will fail to make an impact on the international audiences and commercial radio plays but will do reasonably well on TV sets with cinematography that Jha always delivers well. Aiyo Piyaji, Chheen Ken Lenge and Kunda Khol are recommended.

BizAsia Showbiz Overall Rating ��� 6/10