Music Review: ‘English Vinglish’

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With a new director in the Bollywood circle with a very niche topic at hand and a superstar actress of the last decade, the combination could surprise and impress the audiences as much as disappoint them. The factor that could tip the scales towards impressing the audiences is music that can build excitement towards ‘English Vinglish’ and drive audiences to the theatres.

Director Gauri Shinde has picked a topic and return of the ‘Chaalbaaz’ (1989)��Hawa-Hawai Sridevi to the silver screen for a story ideal for international audiences. ��Explorations of the English language in foreign land�۪ is as much of a fun topic as it is sensitive and full of trials. Set in America, the music of the film would need a world music touch reflecting a mix of hip America with a��cultural background of the character. Amit Trivedi is a pro when it comes to such niche projects and has a trademark style of his own to match AR��Rahman’s level with a distinguished sound. With projects like ‘Aisha’ (2010) and ‘Dev D’ (2009) to his name, he not only created hits but also a statement in innovative compositions that one can also look forward to in ‘English Vinglish’ with Swanand Kirkire by his side with his poetic lyrics.

Music Review: 'English Vinglish'
Music Review: 'English Vinglish'

Starting off with the title song English Vinglish in the voice of Shilpa Rao is an upbeat fast-paced song truly with the American vibe ranging from Texas to LA. The music flavours are well laid out in a simple but groovy and catchy format. A mix of simplistic English and Hindi lyrics with a repeat of each word pretty much works as an English language class delivering to the movie�۪s theme. The arrangement and solo of mandolin and wooden horns are just fantastic. Enjoy Rao�۪s vocals on this one on repeat cause this song truly stands out and stays on the tip of the tongue.

Dhak Dhuk in the voice of Trivedi himself is a work of genius. The song is traditional with perhaps one of the most soothing compositions heard in a long time. With a mix of traditional instrumentation and a Bengali music melody the song is sweeter than sugar. The lyrics talk about the emotional journey of a girl heading to foreign land leaving her paternal home but it still sounds happy. Only Trivedi and Kirkire could have delivered such a mix of emotions in a song. To top his musical talent, Trivedi delivers flawless vocals making him the best fit for this song.

Starting off with dialogues in the voice of the amazing Sridevi pronouncing Manhattan, this song sets expectations to be a fun song translating ���tan�۝ as ���dhoop ki chaao�۝. Vocals by Clinton Cerejo and Bianca Gomes are very modern with an urban touch and accent to them. The music with a good mix of bass, flute and synthesizer keyboard is perfect for a car drive in New York with this turned up loud. The lyrics that are average in ways depict the fun of a tourist walking around the city checking out some of the biggest shopping brands.

In Gustakh Dil, Shilpa Rao once again delivers a great vocal that is powerful and soft at the same time. Once again Trivedi demonstrates his ability to bring forward new sounds with innovative instrumentation that can jump into style from his niche music circles. The lyrics are very deep typical to Kirkire�۪s style and full of poetic emotions. A good listen for sure on a quiet evening, but it lacks potential of a mass appeal hit song.

A Marathi-Hindi song Navrai Maajhi in the voices of Sunidhi Chauhan, Natalie Di Luccio and Neelambari Kirkire must have been fun and a piece of cake to write for Swanand Kirkire who gets his wife to recite the hook of the song as well. Luccio does an accent rendition of the Marathi vocals to represent the American characters while Swanand Kirkire does a vocal bit in the middle too. Chauhan is just amazing and proves that one can throw whatever at her and she will sing it effortlessly. On the production and arrangement front, this song can be used for a master-class for music students for its sheer brilliance. The use of banjo, dholki, harmonium, tumbi mixed to a beautiful drum beat and bass gives the song a texture that one will need to focus on to understand the amount of talent Trivedi has. A must listen!

Trivedi once again gets behind the mic for the male version of English Vinglish making it hard to decide if Rao�۪s version or his is better. Nonetheless, it is a pleasure to listen to this really cool song once again.

Sridevi in 'English Vinglish'
Sridevi in 'English Vinglish'

FINAL WORD

Director Shinde has made a number of correct decisions to deliver ��English Vinglish�۪ for her first movie. Apart from the story angle and choosing Sridevi as the leading lady, believing in the talent of Trivedi and Kirkire is the biggest blessing for her. For a niche and offbeat non-commercial project like this, the soundtrack should not have been commercial either to match the overall feel of the movie. Trivedi once again stamps his innovative genius all over this six-track album with great contribution to the vocals as well. Rao and Chauhan are the other two superstars for this female lead movie. The music might not deliver well on the international music charts but if one has an ear for good music, this is a must-buy album with a global sound. Navrai Maajhi, English Vinglish and Dhak Dhuk are the picks to sample great talent, variety and maturity in Indian music.

Overall Rating ��� 8/10

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