Music Review: ‘Roohi’

Bollywood Music Review: 'Roohi'

With cinemas fully open in India and vaccinations progressing well for mass populations, Bollywood is getting ready for a bumper year with back-to-back big releases backed up from delays in 2020. It seems it is going to be full house summer 2021 with the top stars coming back to the big screens. Just released is ‘Roohi’ that was originally scheduled for June 2020. This horror-comedy stars Rajkummar Rao and Janhvi Kapoor in the leading roles with Pankaj Tripathi and Varun Sharma adding to the laughs. Rao and Tripathi have been seen in this genre before with ‘Stree’ (2018) and that had some rocking and extremely successful music line up. Director Hardik Mehta has some big expectations to deliver a hit for Kapoor playing the part-human part-ghost role. He has roped in Sachin-Jigar and the outstanding lyricist Amitabh Bhattacharya to deliver the music on this soundtrack. The music duo were behind the hit soundtrack of ‘Stree’ and had a great start to 2020 with their contributions to the hit albums of ‘Street Dancer 3D’ (2020) and ‘Angrezi Medium’ (2020) so the expectations are fairly high from this album.

The album opens with a party number called Panghat in the voices of Asees Kaur and Divya Kumar. A deep slow beat dominates this tune driving a sex appeal to this song. The repetitive beat pattern layered with snake charmer style melody gives the song a nice edge that works really well when combined with the saucy vocals of Kaur. The vocals suit Kapoor’s avatar in the video very well. Kaur has this dark naughty style that blends well with the character and sounds sensual at the same time. Kumar has a small vocal part and not much to it really while the bigger role is of the rap element by Mellow D. It has a unique sound to it but with terrible lyrics. His delivery is also very raw and sounds very dry. The music has a good catchy hook but it is way too repetitive to keep punters on the dancefloor for the full length of the song. Lyrics are fairly average. It has a good song name and punch line but the rest of it is way too cheap for what has been tried to be a cheeky but classy number in video. Overall it is good to hear some good party numbers release, but this is just about hitting the good mark. 3/5

Kiston is the romantic number nicely delivered by Jubin Nautiyal in is iconic style. His sweet and soft style works really well for this song that truly banks of Bhattacharya’s real strength which is romantic lyrics. His subtlety of emotions is beautifully captured in words by him as he pacifies the heart to love in small parts rather than go all out and be overwhelmed. That is such a beautiful thought and it is really well delivered by Nautiyal as he expresses each word with tiny vocal nuances over a fairly big range. Sachin-Jigar do a stunning job with the music too and pack the two and half odd minutes of this song with great instrumentation. The violins and flutes set the mood perfectly for the lyrics and vocals to do their magic. The variability in sounds with organs and piano pieces are blended in very well. There is a massive range to the violins orchestration and worth a close listen. The only drawback is there could be more to this song in lyrics and almost feels cut short but still a worthy song to listen to. 3.5/5

The customary remakes are back in 2021 with a bang with this remake of Shamur’s 2008 global hit Let The Music Play. The remake is called Nadiyon Paar featuring additional lyrics by IP Singh and Jigar while keeping most of the songs original lyrics for the chorus. The new lyrics are quite basic and although are in keeping with the real theme of separation in the song, they are quite ordinary. One would only remember the Hind & English chorus after a listen of what was already an iconic song. The music is what pushes the bill forward on this song with some additional beats and programming added in. There are very strong Belly Dancing music vibes added in to blend Bollywood, urban electronic with middle eastern vibes to make this a strong party tune for 2021. Kapoor’s belly dancing training comes handy in the video as adds an additional serving of oomph to the song. The programming and arrangement of music is slick which makes it even more impactful. Vocals by Rashmeet Kaur are good and almost make her sound like part of the original group. This is a good remake on the whole and works well for DJs to warm up the dancefloor. 4/5

Mika Singh leads Bhootni next which is a situational comic number pertaining to the storyline in the movie. The arrangement is different and it has a comic music-line in its light composition but it lacks much character. The vocals are nothing much to boast off and Singh could have perhaps sung them in his sleep as there is limited range or variance in tonality for him. The lyrics work for the style and theme of the song but are pretty dull to be honest. Beyond hearing it as a background situational song in the movie, this is a hard song to listen to again. 1.5/5

Final song Bhauji is delivered by Kumar in a crude typical Bihari style almost sounding like a Bhojpuri movie song. The music is nothing great and average with mostly programmed synthetic music layered with trumpets to go with the wedding theme. It has elements of a typical Indian wedding brass band set to a slow beat but the arrangement and execution is quite mediocre. Kumar’s delivery is good for fitting in well with the Bhojpuri feel but it so doesn’t sound like his usual work. Lyrics are funny and cheesy to fit with a village wedding song. But the song lacks mass appeal in lyrics or music for this to work for everyone. There is also very little depth in the music of it to click with anyone beyond the Bhojpuri music lovers. 2/5

Sachin-Jigar open the soundtrack of ‘Roohi’ with a few goods songs but this short album of five songs fizzle out rather very quickly. Director Hardik Mehta had big shoes to fill in this category following on the success of movies like ‘Stree’ and he made a good choice of taking Sachin-Jigar and Amitabh Bhattacharya to deliver this album but they fall short on the expectations. The leading romantic song Kiston is good and the remake party song Nadiyon Paar are the best numbers on the album. The music, vocals and lyrics all work well together to deliver what could be the leading hits from the soundtrack. Panghat is another party number that has some legs to it but falls short on mass commercial aspects due to its dark side even with great vocals by Asees Kaur. Except these three songs the other songs are worth ignoring. This makes this album patchy and a bunch of singles rather than a consistent soundtrack. Overall one can enjoy some of the songs on this album that will put Janhvi Kapoor on the radar but this is not an album to put in one’s collection or one that will remain memorable by the end of 2021. Rating – 2.5/5

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