Music Review: ‘Khoobsurat’

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Daddy Anil Kapoor is producing a film himself for his princess Sonam Kapoor in a romantic fairy tale story. A genre not very common in Bollywood so there sure is some interest in ��Khoobsurat�۪ with all the attention on Sonam as seen in the trailers. Directed by part-time director Shashank Ghosh, not very glitzy but surely glamorous considering its royal setup, Sonam plays a bubbly physiotherapist trying to fit in a royal family while clearly not doing a job right and flirting with the prince played by Pakistani actor Fawad Khan who is making his Bollywood debut. Music for the film is composed by Sneha Khanwalkar who has done brilliantly in the past in delivering music with a difference on films including ��Gangs of Wasseypur�۪ (2012) and ��Youngistaan�۪ (2014) recently. Bad boy rapper Badshah has also composed one song while Amal Malik is credited for a song as well. All three working with a range of lyricists there sure is some potential in this soundtrack that should be off-beat thanks to Sneha�۪s expertise with an innovative streak.

'Khoobsurat' starring Sonam Kapoor & Fawad Khan
'Khoobsurat' starring Sonam Kapoor & Fawad Khan

Setting the fun party mood with the first song, Badshah has composed and written Abhi Toh Party Shuru Hui Hai in the true Yo Yo Honey Singh style. The Punjabi rapper does well starting the album on a high with his funky rap that takes you straight to the club all the way till 6am. Also seen in the video, Badshah does well creating a possible hit with this song that has tasteful club music with good rap lyrics. Unfortunately, his style and even his voice texture matches very closely to that of Honey Singh almost making his sound like a copycat riding on Honey Singh�۪s fame. Female vocals by Aastha are plainly average and rather dull, lacking the oomph and classy vibe that would be ideal for a club tune like this.

Engine Ki Seeti in the lead voice of Sunidhi Chauhan with Resmi Sateesh on the supporting vocals is truly in Sneha�۪s style of mashing up urban and deep funk beats with classical Indian styles. In this instance Sneha experiments mashing Rajasthani folk with deep funk electro beats and bass underlying a strong Sunidhi fold vocal creating a unique blend of music that does work across different genre loving audiences. The song is a fun Rajasthani folk song written by Ikram Rajasthani that has been tweaked and revived by Sneha who does a decent job keeping a balance on the mash up. At points it does feel she has gone overboard on her instrumentation and use of effects but she nicely brings it down and lets the focus sit with the two female vocalists on the song. This is an interesting song to listen to.

Baal Khade is again in the voice of Sunidhi is yet another Rajasthani folk vocal style song thrown into Sneha�۪s experimental musical style. A stunning mash up of deep break beats with Sunidhi�۪s powerful folk vocals. Sneha pretty much plays around with the sequencer to create a good Drum n Bass version that is far from commercial music but works really well for a background score. The composition is well ahead of its time with interesting lyrics by Sunil Choudhary that put you in a village setting and dissing the street dwellers and their spikey hair. Overall, the song works as a lounge track and is a decent listen.

Preet is perhaps the best song on the album. Jasleen Kaur Royal sounds almost like a kid with her soft vocals that are beautifully recorded with ambience to it in this almost acoustic song. Lyrics by Amitabh Verma are just mesmerising while engaging that draw you into them. One can�۪t help but listen to each word carefully thanks to Jasleen�۪s gorgeous delivery of the lyrics as well. ���Jo mein jaanti ke preet mein pagal hoye, toh dhol nagada peet ke kehti preet na kariye koi.�۝ Sneha keeps this song beautifully simple with soft chimes and string instruments from the mountains, duff drums and even background chorus vocals that have traces of music from the hills. This is a really good song that grows on you with every listen and a melody that will stick in your head for days at end.

Maa Ka Phone is a fun funky youth song written by Amitabh Verma and Sneha herself. A composition that mashes up music from South India along with urban hip-hop break beats is set to mobile ringtones in the background in an interesting way. The composition evolves to trace music for the chorus to make this song a hit in the clubs. The arrangement of the song has capability to become an instant hit in the clubs with the right marketing push via its music video as every college student will relate to the lyrics as they avoid their mother�۪s call while out partying. The lyrics are cheesy but that is exactly what one would expect for a youthful song like this delivered to an average performance by Priya Panchal and Mouli Dave. One might rubbish this song at the onset as an annoying number but the more you listen to it you might decide to start liking it as it sticks in your head.

The album finishes to a warm Punjabi number called Naina in the soulful voices of Sona Mohapatra and Armaan Malik. Sona is just stunning with her vocals that are playful and warm at the same time. Armaan is equally good with good control and depth. Amal Malik does a simple arrangement for the song with acoustic studio style jamming session music that work really well with fine lyrics by Kumaar. He keeps this song Punjabi all through and deeply romantic to blend in perfectly with the fairy-tale genre of the film and its music. A good song overall and capacity to have a following with the right radio exposure to it.

FINAL WORD

For a fairy tale love story film, the soundtrack of ��Khoobsurat�۪ is more fun and party than romantic. With just one proper romantic song at the end with Naina, the album stays in a party mode from Engine Ki Seeti to Abhi Toh Party Shuru Hui Hai to Maa Ka Phone. Preet is a phenomenal heartbreak song is with the best lyrics and melody to it. Naina and Preet have the best vocals on the album with Jasleen Kaur and Sona Mahapatra stealing the show with their vocals on the album. Sneha is brilliant with her arrangements and creating a different setting with her mash ups, be it with Karnatic music in Maa Ka Phone or Rajasthani folk in Baal Khade. She doesn�۪t try to go commercial with her music which helps keep her innovations pure and one can appreciate her talent better. Badshah is a good find and helps create a commercial hit with Abhi Toh Party Shuru Hui Hai but lacks originality that Sneha makes up for in the album. Amal does a good job on the composition as well with Naina. Overall the album has a lot of meat and talent that one can appreciate without any bias. A short album of 6 songs with a mix of genres is fairly good for an album with not really high expectations.

BizAsia Showbiz Rating ��� 7/10

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