Music Review: ‘Kaalakaandi’


January will see the offbeat & exciting release of ‘Kaalakaandi’ starring Saif Ali Khan in the lead role with a supporting cost of Vijay Raaz, Akshay Oberoi & Kunaal Kapur. After writing the super wacky script of ‘Delhi Belly’ (2011), he is now making his directorial debut with this movie having written it as well. Audiences should expect the movie to be equally funny. The trailer looks cheeky, rude and blunt… quite possibly at the next level of what the 2011 film did. ‘Delhi Belly’ defined an era of in-your-face Bollywood films that presented a different face of Indian youth. This would be yet another crazy journey with sex, drugs and tons of bad mouthing… but all with a layer of black comic timing to it. The music of ‘Kaalakaandi’ is mostly the work of new talent Sameer Uddin along with the lyrics of Anvita Dutt.

Akshay Verma writes & sings Swagpur Ka Chaudhary to open the album. A cheeky and fun song with tons of attitude in a completely rural Haryanvi dialect vocal & lyrics, this song represents what the movie is about. The lyrics are goofy in parts and summarise the eccentric the fun that Khan’s character gets on to in the film. Verma’s vocals are rather straightforward with no range to them but that is exactly what is the nature of this song. The lyrics are rather difficult to get but the song is situational and only to that effect. The music is composed to an electronic psychedelic arrangement that would perhaps represent a high in the film but it lacks creativity and depth. There is not much to this song overall that is even worth a second listen to be honest.

Neha Bhasin takes on folk song Kaala Doreya next in a RnB composition that is just too groovy not to listen to on a repeat. Uddin really impresses with this execution with a soft balance of melodies while mixing in some rap with folk. The deep bassline is the hook that holds all of music together and is nicely done. The song even has various tempo sections that give it a good amount of variety. Bhasin is a true star with perfect vocals making this a song that is going to rule the mehndi parties this wedding season. The soft groove is ideal for bobbing along too but not a dancefloor killer. Possibly a remix of this version would do it but this is a good version nonetheless.

Jive With Me features the voice of Abhishek Nailwal along with the lyrics of Anvita Dutt. This upbeat jazz song is nicely composed with all the essential elements of the 60s jazz vibe. Tons of deep bass and brilliant trumpets with keys makes this a wholesome fun song. The electronic music elements kill the jazz element a bit but overall the music is well arranged. Dutt’s lyrics are brought to life well by Nailwal who brings in a good range through his execution. His vocal style works well & is quite entertaining. The lyrics are quite repetitive though and not the best work of Dutt to be honest. But the fact a strong party jive song has not been attempted in Bollywood for sometime this song is a great new addition.

Title song Kaalakaandi features the voice & music of Shashwat Sachdev along with the lyrics by Dutt. Sachdev is the true star of the song with the music and vocals being the clear standout elements of the song. A short composition, the music goes through a number of genres in this background situational song. From big band brass to Punjabi dhols to Karnatic bits to a strong party beat there is lots going on in this short song. Vocals are very powerful as required for a title song and have fun elements for being part of a comic project. Lyrics are well arranged around an odd word like kaalakaandi but there is not much going on beyond a few good rhymes. The nature of the song is its biggest limitation and lack of standout bits leaves it as a mediocre song to listen to.

Vishal Dadlani gets together with Nailwal behind the mic to deliver the final song Aa Bhi Jaa. A complete electronic song it is programmed with some unique electro sounds but it sounds little too much for a song that lacks character generally. The electro bits sound like a desperate attempt to make this song work with very average lyrics, vocals and composition as a whole. Lyrics are fair bit complex and detailed but lack a general flow that would make it catchy. Overall the music arrangement is the only exciting part but overdone.

The music of ‘Kaalakaandi’ is disappointing to say the least compared to what the music of ‘Delhi Belly’ had done in its time. It was revolting and broke many commercial music stereotypes at its time which is exactly what is missing here. There is nothing out of the ordinary here with all the songs attempting to do that falling into mediocrity flat in their face. Sameer Uddin tries hard with the music but other than Kaala Doreya and Jive With Me, the other songs on the album are rather boring. There is some talent there in each of the songs but they just don’t come along. Average lyrics and vocal performances are part of the reason with Anvita Dutt failing to bring the x factor to this crazy film project. Neha Bhasin and Abhishek Nailwal impress on their respective songs. On the whole the album doesn’t have something to shout about, neither in commercial music sense nor in the niche sectors. Kaala Doreya is a good remake and perhaps the only one that would see some success.  Rating – 6/10

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

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