Music Review: ‘Half Girlfriend’

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Talk about contemporary Bollywood romance and Mohit Suri is the man for that. Directing Chetan Bhagat’s novel adapted for film, ‘Half Girlfriend’ should be exactly that… romance in the modern day in a coming of age Indian society. Starring Arjun and Shraddha Kapoor the film has an exciting look as seen in the trailers with a good bit of chemistry between the leading pair spread across multiple cities and locations. Mohit Suri has always managed to deliver a very high standard of commercial romantic music in his films setting big expectations from the soundtrack of ‘Half Girlfriend’. A range of music directors and lyricists have come together for this album putting a big 10 song album together with a strong UK influence to the album.

The melodic gravel-y voice of UK box Ash King opens the album with Baarish. A strong romantic song set to the ambient sounds of following waters and representative water-sound instruments Santoor and Violins set the landscape of the song very well in this composition by Tanishk Bagchi. The urban beat is set with a delicate texture to it to balance the calm and deep ambience of the song. King’s voice itself is a gorgeous instrument and his delivery is exquisite to listen to. The gravel sounds of his voice complement the water music quite well as a metaphor to the sounds of a flowing stream in the quite of a wilderness. Shashaa Tirupati has a small part with backing vocals only to her credit. Lyrics are the combined work of Bagchi and Arafat Mehmood. The poetic flow of the words and their romantic connotations are a pleasure to listen to with a catchy flow making this the romantic song of the monsoon season in India. Great job to Ash King!

Thodi Der features the music and voice of Farhan Saeed along with Shreya Ghoshal on the female lead. It’s good to hear the leading man of Pakistani rock band – Jal back on the mic making a big Bollywood song that should be an easy hit. The song has the cross-border musical touch to it with its strong Punjabi influence and folk touch. The combination of Sarangi and guitars gives a nice endearing flavour to the song in a very acoustic style. Saeed keeps the music simple and pure allowing Ghoshal to take the lead and deliver a very sweet and classy vocal. This is one of her best songs in recent times where she clearly shines on a very melodic song. Saeed sounds really good too in a soft & deeply romantic male vocal to some very powerful lyrics by Asad Chauhan. The thought behind the words are very charming to the simple thought of separation and holding on for another moment. A very classic romantic song that should find it easy to climb the music charts.

Rahul Mishra composes and sings Tu Hi Hai next. Another romantic song but with a slightly more aggressive macho stance that also has the desperation and the addition of love that one doesn’t want to let go… or finding it hard to let go with separation. Thus the song has a dark side of lonliness to it too in its lyrics by Laado Suwalka. Mishra’s vocals have that pain of being far from their love but doesn’t cross into a heartbreak and thus is well controlled. He doesn’t have the depth to go with it but it is a good vocal nonetheless. Musically the use of electric guitars with dholki is a good combination that works well on the chorus but the music lacks variety thanks to the nature of the song and its composition thus turning into a rather monotonous melody making it an overall depressing song to listen to.

The powerful combination of Mithoon and Arijit Singh is back with a song that has the potential to become as big a hit as Tum Hi Ho. Manoj Muntashir has beautifully penned Phir Bhi Tumko Chaahunga with some amazing words that anyone would fall in love with this song on the first listen. There is amazing amount of depth and pain of love in the song that comes through every word. The gorgeous melody and flow of the song is done to perfection and is super easy to listen to. Simplicity with a hero piano & acoustic guitar are supported by a lovely flute and Santoor performance. The arrangement is the best part of the music that Mithoon delivers like a master making it a very memorable song.  Singh’s voice itself is fabulous with a deeply moving rendition to it that has some amazing control on each word he delivers. As the song seems to end, it starts again with an equally good vocal by Tirupati. The sadness is strong in this song but love is a rather stronger feeling here. A must listen song overall.

Pal Bhar (Chaahunga reprise) features extended lyrics from the original song. Vocally and musically the song is equally moving as the former but with a bigger musical ensemble this time and violins taking centre stage in the musical domain. Singh maintains the same consistency in his delivery but with what sounds like with more pain in his voice as he takes on the really high notes and the sound of water drops signify that. The lyrics are brilliant yet again but with very emotional choice of words thus the song goes down a more depressing route here.

Ami Mishra takes on the music and vocals of Lost Without You next. A sad love song again that is about missing and being lost without the love yet again, this song lacks the personality of a lead song. It sounds more like a background situational song for the film with a more western setting in the story. The English lyrics and vocals are by Anushka Sahaney and are just about average. Mishra’s vocals are nothing great either and quite average to listen to. Kunaal Verma’s lyrics are quite vanilla and seem flat at parts but get better as the song progresses while the composition is rather clichéd and doesn’t have a crescendo to go with it. A rather average song to listen to.

Stay a Little Longer features the voice and lyrics of Sahaney set to the music of Saeed as the song is the English version of Thodi Der. The composition and arrangement has been retained from the original but with a musical twist with more western instrumentation added in. Even the Sarangi has been tweaked to sound like a high pitch violin to fit it in the western setting of the song. Acoustic guitar combined with Scottish pipes gives the song a global appeal. The English lyrics sound a little pretentious here after one has heard Thodi Der but they are good overall. The lack the same depth and expression that Hindi lyrics have but that is the limitation of the language really.

The song that got UK boy Rishi Rich to move his base to Mumbai is Mere Dil Mein. He sticks with his crew with Veronica leading the female vocals along with Yash Narvekar. Both the vocals have a very strong Brit-Urban delivery style that works well for the cool style of the song. Narvekar leads the song and has a lot of personality and panache in his singing. The big fat Rishi Rich beat is very groovy and is refreshing to hear coming from the man who brought urban to desi music and especially to Bollywood in the 90s. He has still got it and this song proves it well. The use of vocal scatting and sampling works very well and is refreshing to hear. The lyrics are the combined effort of R. Rekhi, Veronica, Yash Anand, Narvekar and Ishita Moitra Udhwani. Too many cooks spoil the broth but this one is well balanced for a cheesy young urban song. It is nothing great but they are catchy and work well for a Rishi Rich production. It’s good to hear a song finally that is not emotional & romantic.

Half Girlfriend (Love Theme) is composed and performed by Mithoon who renders the melody really well on this song. The piano work is really engaging and draws the listener quite easily with its intensity. The orchestration with some amazing violins is really nice to hear. The flutes give the song a wide ambience and depth to amplify the different moods of love. The theme music has a good amount of progression to it making it a decently good theme melody.

Mere Dil Mein (Dialogue Version) sums the film well with the voices of Arjun Kapoor dropping in ever so often with his Bihari accent but it is a pointless addition to the album as it makes sense on the video trailer but for a song on the album it feels a little out of place.

FINAL WORD
The film adaptation of Chetan Bhagat’s ‘Half Girlfriend’ soundtrack has the big Mohit Suri stamp on it. The OST sounds like that of his previous work like ‘Aashiqui 2’ (2013) or ‘Ek Villain’ (2014) with a very strong romantic vibe to the album. For a big 10 song album, 8 are love songs with either a sad or a happy feel to them but romantic nonetheless. After the first four it seems to get a little too much as the songs head down a more depressing route and it thus becomes a little overwhelming. Thodi Der, Baarish and Phir Bhi Tumko Chaahunga are all really good song in their respective styles. The lyrics and vocals are the real stand out factors in each composition with Ash King, Arijit Singh and Shreya Ghoshal all doing really well. The English versions of the songs are a good addition to the album but feel a little out of place following on the big romantic lead songs. Mere Dil Mein is a good addition that breaks away from the overdone romantic tunes and has a big fat groovy beat to go with the real Rishi Rich style. This is an extensive and good soundtrack with a few good numbers in there especially for those who appreciate the deep melodies and romantic lyrics. There are some big hits in that genre but the album has limited variety beyond that.

BizAsiaLive.com  Rating – 7.5/10

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