Music Review: ‘Chef’

DJ Munks

Music Reviewer


The much anticipated role of Saif Ali Khan in and as ‘Chef’ will be out soon on the big screens around the country. Directed by Raja Krishna Menon, he has a lot to live up to after his recent success with ‘Airlift’ (2016). The trailers look good and very close to the Hollywood original. Food is central to the journey of a family and bringing togetherness & happiness which is what this film is about. The music of the film is the work of Raghu Dixit to the lyrics of Ankur Tewari with a song contributed by brothers Amaal and Armaan Malik. For a film that feels like travel diaries and discovering the priorities of life, the expectations from the soundtrack is to be one of non-commercial flavours with possibly no party songs packed in that would fit with the story-line.

The album starts off on very positive and fun vibes with Shugal Laga Le. The song has tons of energy with its upbeat and peppy music. There is a great ensemble of Spanish guitars with a range of percussion thrown in from African to Spanish to Karnatic beats that create a great sound full of masti to the max. The vocal chorus has a lot of ambience in it and is really catchy. Dixit does a fab job on the vocals himself to create an exciting harmony between his vocal and the instrumentation on the son. His rustic but almost flat vocal is perfect for the nature of the song as it does not need that depth for this to work considering the nature of the song. Tewari’s lyrics are just fantastic and can get anyone singing along while bobbing to the beats of the song. The elements of freedom & fun are so aptly captured in his poetry that it flows through seamlessly. This is a top song that is addictive and oozes youth & fun from it.

Amaal Mallik collaborates once again with his cousin Armaan Malik to give us yet another romantic song with Tere Mere. A very typical Mallik composition that is gorgeous while being simple and pure. It sounds great but at the same time doesn’t sound new or fresh which is the only negative against it. Musically it is peaceful and calming to listen to with the depth of Armaan Malik’s vocal working it’s magic all over to make it a beautiful song to listen to. Rashmi Virag does the best job on the song with her lyrics penned to perfection. It talks off how personal circumstances lead to parting ways at times but the loving bond is strong and the need to be together. The easy flow of words pronounces the emotions & the thought behind the song that will gravitate with any anyone in love making it easily a very likeable song.

Rock man Vishal Dadlani takes on Banjara next to the music of Dixit and Tewari’s lyrics. The song is a salute to all those who pursue their aspirations and dreams referring to each one a Banjara setting out on their own paths. The music is uplifting and completely in the travel diaries space in sync with the film. It has the excitement and rush of setting out chasing dreams but it has the subtleties of mixed emotions that go with it as well. The tribal drums work synonymous with the Banjara title while creating a different pace in various parts of the song as if in a journey itself.. walking and then running at times. The song is really well thought and has a very memorable melody. Part of the credit it to the strong and confident vocals that represent the characters determination. Lyrics are very measured on this song but very easy to sing along to.

Tan Tan features Nikhita Gandhi in the lead vocals and is a modern cabaret number. The brass and piano execution has tons of jazz vibes to it that is very refreshing to hear. The musical execution on this song is very well conducted but the overall nature and lyrics of the song are quite unrepeatable and come with a cheesy topping to it. Gandhi’s vocals have the sexiness & styling delivery of a jazz song but the lyrics let her down a bit. Although the song has a unique sound and composition it doesn’t really work and seems rather randomly placed with the rest of the songs.

Khoya Khoya is a lovely song to listen to. It is what one can only describe as a modern day ghazal ballad that only Shahid Mallya could have done justice to. His soft but deep vocal is really nice to hear as he crosses a range of notes from top to bottom with precision. The musical mashup between soft rock drums, bass and lead guitars with a classical sarangi rendition sets this song apart from many in this sad music genre. The lyrics are very well written and are deeply emotional to listen to as it talks about the pain and disappointment of someone having lost direction in life. Overall this is a very unique mix of sad ghazal set to a soft rock instrumentation with the exotic voice of Mallaya adding to its sad quotient.

Dixit takes on the mic again for the final song of the album with a sad song titled Darmiyaan. His tonality and delivery is completely different from the opening song that gives a good variation to the album. The composition of the song is really nice with the use of just an acoustic guitar for its instruments but focusing on the lyrics and their melodic arrangement. Even the bridges feature more exciting guitar work of the highest calibre that really speaks volumes of Dixit’s musical talent as he showcases how to make a powerful song using just a few simple strings. Major credit go to Tewari for some brilliant lyrics that help Dixit drive all the attention to them by keeping the music simple. The sad lyrics are completely contrasting to the vibrant guitar work on the song that is quite interesting to listen to.

Raghu Dixit does a fab job with the music of ‘Chef’ delivering a very unique sound to the album. He completely owns the music giving it an interesting mix of melodies and emotions through a good range of songs that are not over the top. Each song is quite different from the other with him being a common thread connecting them together to deliver a good quality soundtrack that is far from the commercial race but still has the potential to climb the charts. Shugal Laga Le and Tere Mere are easy hits that can work with masses and thus worthy of chart success while Darmiyaan, Banjara and Khoya Khoya are hidden gems that sound mediocre but with something attractive in them that really gets to a good ear. Dixit is brilliant as a singer and even better as a composer delivering good music consistently while Tewari does a grand job on the lyrics of most songs. His writing flow and simplicity are his best tools that deliver well on the songs. Overall the album features a good mix of vocal talent, music and lyrics that has a class to it but lacks commercial acumen. Rating – 7.5/10

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author.