Music Review: ‘Toofaan’

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Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy rarely disappoint and this is not one of the albums where they would do that either. On the whole this is a good album that is only limited by the sports theme of the film.

BizAsia Rating

3.5

The brilliant and award winning collaboration of director Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra and Farhan Akhtar that created a legend of a film like ‘Bhaag Milkha Bhaag’ (2013) is back! Releasing next week, ‘Toofaan’ is one to look out for. The promos are equally impactful as were of their 2013 project where Akhtar’s dedication to his character stood out to create what is today regarded as one of the best sports drama movies out of Bollywood. Mehra’s ability to crystallise his vision into cinematic excellence is well known and that is something that is sure to make ‘Toofan’ a must watch. The film has a good supporting cast as well with the amazing Paresh Rawal in a pivotal role with Mrunal Thakur as the leading lady.

Mehra puts a strong focus on the music of his movies. Be it the super awesome revolutionary soundtrack of ‘Rang De Basanti’ (2006) or the romantic harmonies of ‘Delhi-6’ (2009) to ‘Bhaag Milkhi Bhaag’ (2013), he has delivered some great music every time. The sports theme here is a bit limiting but with the awesome threesome Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy here on the music of ‘Toofaan’, one can expect some good tunes here. Legend Javed Akhtar is leading the lyrics and he sure should be able to drive some aggression and power in this sports focused soundtrack.

The album opens with Toofaan (Title Track) in the voice of son Siddharth Mahadevan. No nepotism here as such powerful rock themed songs really suit his voice. He has the inherit qualities and vocal texture of his father along with some great technical skill in his voice to drive a hard rock vocal character. His father shines through him in the soft low opening vocal parts but then he is able to bring his own at the top end with brilliant precision. The music is that of a proper rock song that suits junior Akhtar really well on screen with his rock singing background. The guitar melodies and the rock drumming is pretty amazing on the chorus and the bridge solos. The composition is very catchy and beautifully composed making it stick in the head quite easily. The lyrics are brilliantly rendered around the character summarising his past journey and the impossible fetes he is about to achieve. The chorus has a resounding power that is perfectly motivating delivering on the values of the song. Overall a strong and well-balanced title track with a good message, which is everything one needs from a title track. 4/5

Dub Sharma takes on the musical reigns for this single as he collaborates with D’Evil to deliver a wicked desi rap song called Todun Taak. Sharma’s beats are just sick in every possible way! The layering of the beat with flute sounds in the chorus is really cool. The breaks in the beat create a groove that sounds amazing coming through the woofers with its deep textures. D’Evil brings the Mumbai vibes with his vocal delivery and choice of words. The song has the same levels of aggression as the Title Track but with a different edge in the form of a rap. The streets & challenges of Mumbai can quite easily be visualised through this song with the protagonist growing through its paces. The composition is quite standard for a rap song but the execution is brilliant making this an easy song to hook on to and fall in love with. This song has a lot more commercial legs to it as desi rap is real in thing. Quite simply a genius number! 4.5/5

Himani Kapoor, Siddharth Mahadevan and Divya Kumar deliver the next song called Star Hai Tu. A celebratory song about the character becoming successful, this song has a good fit in the story. The theme even helps give this song use in various celebratory settings giving this song extra legs. Musically this has solid and fitting instrumentation with Dhol’s and Shenaai’s. The arrangement is engaging but the composition is a bit lacking in charisma.  The vocals by all are quite average as being a community celebration song there is not much for each singer to stand out with. Kumar is real vocal star and there is good range in his vocals but none including him have a vocal edge to stand out. The lyrics are a bit haphazard as well and rather mediocre in parts. There is too much going on to make sense as a song without the video and story background to it. This would perhaps make more sense in the movie. 3/5

Arijit Singh makes an appearance with a solo on Jo Tum Aa Gaye Ho. It has to be a romantic song with Singh and this is good soft rock one. The music reigns are with duo Samuel-Akanksha who layer the standard rock drums with a lots of keys, violins and a good electric guitar solo on the bridge. The music on the chorus is really full and deep with lots of instrumentation. The composition is kept simple on purpose to let Singh shine on the vocals and it works for him well. His vocals go gravely at points on the high notes which always sound good on him giving his vocals some emotion and vulnerability making the romantic song more believable. Lyrics by Akhtar and Manoj Kumar Nath are rather simple in execution which takes away the uniqueness from the song. The lyrical arrangement is good for a soft rock song but there is nothing really special about the words here. 3.5/5

Purvaiya feature Shankar Mahadevan leading the vocals of this situational life song which is perhaps a background song in the movie. The classical tonalities of song make it a suitable song for Mahadevan to lead and he does a fair job with it bringing his trademark style to it. The arrangement of the song is a little off as it just doesn’t click or grow on one. The progression of the song comes in at various points and there is also a little too much classical mixed in with electric guitars that doesn’t gel well. The lyrics are rather smoother here telling a story in a simple way so easy to listen to. There are a bit too simple at times and don’t have a poetic angle to it at times which is a let-down. Overall this is not the best SEL work to listen to. 2.5/5

Singh comes back to deliver Ananya next, a sombre soulful number. It has been beautifully executed in its entirety with great lyrics, super vocals and gorgeous music. The soft acoustic guitar styling gives it a great ambience and air that is lovely to hear. The arrangement is really melodic and soothing to the ears making it very memorable. The violins on the bridge and the addition of keys and a duff bass gives the song a soft beat to bob along to. Add Singh’s deep vocals to it and we have a winner here! He is note perfect and sounds almost angelic in parts. The effortless delivery adds another dimension to it making it even easier to listen to. The lyrics are some of the best work of Akhtar saab and truly absorb one into the song. It is almost like hearing a bedtime story with its poetic flow. The description of the character Ananya almost would make anyone fall in love with her and that is the beauty of how well the lyrics are phrased. This is a good one to lift up spirits and break away from all the sporty aggression of the top songs. 4/5

SEL collaborate with D’Evil next to deliver another wicked rap number called Dekh Toofan Aaya Hai set to a speaker-busting DnB bass. The lyrics are the best part of the song. Simply sensational! D’Evil is clearly a “Toofan” himself as he creates a wicked rhyme out of dust with a huge amount of personality and attitude. He describes the journey of the character from rags to riches with just an effortless flow that it just sets one craving to watch the movie. SEL deep bass arrangement is brilliant and the beat programming is fabulously done. This one is perfect for those gangster summer drives with the windows down with this song turned up. This is truly a world-class song on par that one would see from western artists. 4/5

Can’t have a Mumbai based common-man story without blessings of Lord Ganesh in it. SEL recreate a sombre traditional version of Ganpati Vandana to deliver that devotional touch to the album. Meenal Jain, Vedanti Satyajit Prabu deliver a classically accurate vocal that is very pleasing to the ear. The vocalists gel well creative good harmonies that elevate the traditional sound of this track. The music is nicely done with good use of Tabla in the track giving it a soothing earthy sound. There hasn’t been a good devotional song in a Bollywood album in a while and this is a good one at that. 3/5

FINAL WORD
Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra & Farhan Akhtar have created another sporting legend story with ‘Toofaan’ and a soundtrack that resonates perfectly with the theme and story. Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy rarely disappoint and this is not one of the albums where they would do that either. Their sound is strong with the rock and rap genres playing a dominant role. The OST focuses on the storytelling aspect more than creating a romantic or dance styled commercial album which is a credit to the directors in itself. Toofaan (Title Track), Todun Taak, Dekh Toofan Aaya Hai and Ananya are some of the best songs on the album. D’Evil is really impressive as he writes & executes his raps to a perfection creating really impressionable music. Dub Sharma drops some brilliant beats on Todun Taak bringing alive the Mumbai rap scene. Lyrics by Javed Akhtar are up and down across songs but generally he is a legend as he always has been. His work on Ananya and the Title Track is commendable. Arijit Singh and Siddharth Mahadevan impress on the vocals on their respective tracks as SEL accumulate a varied amount of good talent on the album. There is good variety on the album and the background songs are pretty decent too. On the whole this is a good album that is only limited by the sports theme of the film. Rather than go after creating the standard commercial hits, this album creates a hits from niche genres which deserves a salute. Just a couple big good songs but really good songs that stand out from the crowd. This is a differentiated offering and a decent one at it. This album is not for everyone it sure is worth a listen.

 

 

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

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