The hugely talented master of simplistic storytelling and critically acclaimed screenplays is back with ‘Ram-Leela’ (2013). Sanjay Leela Bhansali is presenting the epic Romeo-Juliet story in an Indian setting with a classic look and a Gujarati setting in this forthcoming film. In his last film ‘Guzaarish’ (2010) Bhansali not only presented a fabulous side of Hrithik Roshan and Aishwarya Rai’s acting prowess but also his own musical capability. He is doing it again in ‘Ram-Leela’ where the expectations would we similar to what he did with ‘Guzaarish’ creating a melodic sound but probably with not much commercial value. Making a debut in this Deepika Padukone & Ranveer Singh starrer love story are Siddharth-Garima duo as the lyricists and screenplay. They must surely have some mettle to win the trust of Bhansali and get a debut in a magnum opus.
Starting with Ang Laga De in the voice of Aditi Paul with the folk backing vocals of Shail Hada is a romantic melody that fills the space around you creating a powerful force of love and bliss. Paul۪s vocals are soulful on top of vedic chants and instrumentation that is a good mix of new with the old and multi-genre with Santoor as a lead instrument. Siddharth-Garima impress with their lyrics from the onset to create a beautiful overall opening song.
Dhoop in the voice of Shreya Ghoshal is a song where her voice is used very strongly for creating the tune of the song with a mix of high and low notes that none other than Ghoshal could deliver. Bhansali focuses more on folk instrumentation in this soft number that is very rich vocally and lyrically. A short song but leaves you wanting more if listening to it in the right frame of mind.
The prodigal son of the greatest lead male vocalist of the 90s makes his debut as a lead male vocalist himself with Ishqyaun Dhishqyaun. Aditya Narayan, son of singer Udit Narayan, gives his voice of Ranveer Singh in this fun song that lifts the tempo of the album. The beats of this song are designed to make this song a hit at weddings with the forthcoming Indian weddings season as a party starter for the groom. The composition is average but it surely brings in a change to the typical Bhansali style with a bit of fun in the music and lyrics as well but with keeping the romance alive. This song marks the arrival of Aditya who really does his father proud! Kudos to him!
Laal Ishq with the vocals of Arijit Singh is perhaps one of the strongest compositions of 2013 and by far one of our favourites. The melody is so engaging that it could make a heart-less body fall in love as well with the chants of Ishq_ all thanks to the soaked-in-soul vocals of Arijit Singh with breath-taking perfectly poetic lyrics by Siddharth-Garima. Can۪t compliment the simplicity of Bhansali۪s instrumentation precision in this song with a perfectly balanced composition. What sounds simple is just a masterpiece of intrinsic minute musical notes and details that are recorded and mastered perfectly on the technical side. A must listen!
Rajasthani folk singer Shail Hada takes a lead this time with Lahu Munh Lag Gaya that has hit the TV screens and reminds of Aankhon Ki Gustakhiya from Hum Dil Chuke Sanam۪ (1999) on the visual side of how it has been shot. The Gujarati setting comes out strongly in the arrangement and instrumentation of the song. The lyrics are the highlight of this song in their complexity with Lahu۪ representing the colour of love and colour of blood beautifully adapted by Bhansali on screen. This song is a piece of genius and is very soothing to the ears with a high at the end with some amazing royal horns and Shenai.
Mor Bani Thanghat Kare is a Gujarati folk song in the voices of Osman Mir and Aditi Paul. This song truly brings out the flavour of the rich cultural setting of Gujarat depicted in this film. A variety of folk instruments create a good blend of traditional musical style that Bhansali has tried to keep alive with this song.
Nagada Sang Dhol is THE biggest song to hit Dandiya and Garba events around the world this Navratri season since Dholi Taro from Hum Dil Chuke Sanam۪. Ironically both these songs have come from the same director over a gap of 14 years. Choreographers Samir & Arch Tanna give life to the slick dandiya beats of this song on screen while Shreya Ghoshal backs Deepika Padukone with her vocal versatility. This song is not as great as Dholi Taro but surely a dance floor burner for dandiya parties. Compliments to the music and lyrics with the Dhol being the real hero!
Shail Hada leads another folk romantic song with Poore Chand that reminds one of Woh Chand Jaise Ladki from Devdas۪ (2002) in some ways on the lyrical front. Although this song is richer musically with fuller instrumentation compared to the later. Hada is vocally stronger in this song compared to Lahu Munh Lag Gaya with more depth in his voice but once again the lyrics are impeccable in this song and worth listening to.
Ram Chahe Leela in the voice of Bhoomi Trivedi is a violent song that depicts the violent love story of Ram and Leela in this Bhansali magnum opus. The rock composition of this song surely demonstrates the range of of Bhansali۪s musical competency but is clearly not his strength. The composition is weak and a big drop and let down to what the album has been so far.
Ending on a super high note with a song designed totally for the charismatic women charmer Ranveer Singh (Ram), Tattad Tattad is a fast paced street party song that will surely make any women eyes fall in love with him while moving to the Tattad Tattad sound. Voiced by Aditya Narayan again the song has power in its performances, energy in its beats and charming fun written all over its lyrics with a great set of rhyming lyrics dug out from the Hindi dictionary depicting earlier times for the movie setting.
Bhansali proves yet again that melody is the true soul of music and nothing is more endearing to the heart (and ears) than simplicity. His ability to capture the soul of the song in its music can truly come from the director۪s mind only so that one can close their eyes and visualise the song without having even seen it. That is an outstanding quality to have that helps deliver a musical masterpiece. Surprisingly, Bhansali does deliver some songs that will have commercial success as well and is not just critically niche like his last work giving more depth and weight to the soundtrack of Ram-Leela۪. He brings love out in his music truly from the heart and should be able to capture the hearts of honest music lovers. Lyricists Siddharth-Garima are a fantastic find and capable to smashing their way ahead in the industry. Also the discovery of Aditya Narayan as a lead male playback singer will set a new career for the Narayan clan with this new generation. Overall Bhansali has created a great sounding OST of 10 songs that are mostly great. An album worth buying!
BizAsia Showbiz Rating 8.5/10