Music Review: ‘Uri: The Surgical Strike’

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Vicky Kaushal’s much awaited lead role as an army man is due to release soon with debutant director Aditya Dhar’s ‘Uri: The Surgical Strike’ (2019). Based on the Indian Army’s 2016 surgical strikes on terrorist launch pads in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK) in response to the terrorist strikes on the Indian Army base at Uri that saw 19 soldiers perish while asleep. It’s one of the most momentous events in the history of India as it entered enemy territory for the first time in its history with the intention to kill. Produced by Ronnie Screwvala, this movie is a snap shot of what happened that September and is a salute to the martyrs and Special Forces of the Indian Army. The film also stars Yami Gautam and Paresh Rawal in the leading roles but Kaushal has hogged most focus throughout the trailers and promotions for the film building tons of excitement with his performance & what this movie will bring forth. There hasn’t been a good Special Forces movie in a while ‘Aiyaary’ (2018) was a big flop and ‘Parmanu’ (2018) wasn’t really an action film thus making the forthcoming release of ‘Uri’ even more exciting. Shashwat Sachdev is in charge of the music and that sure is an exciting choice by Dhar considering his recent success with ‘Veere Di Wedding’ (2018). His ability to get under the skin of the film is amazing and that would be core in delivering the soundtrack of such an emotionally charged, patriotic action film.

Challa (Main Lad Jaana) is a perfect summing number for the album as it brings together the aggression, patriotism and drive to do something together in its lyrics. For a song like this you need tons of experience and Kumaar is the perfect choice for this. His lyrics have anger and passion perfectly blended with Punjabi & Hindi wordings as he captures the emotions of the character as they prep to fight in an effortless way while making it catchy. The vocals by Romy, Vivek Hariharan & Sachdev himself are brilliantly rendered as they are high pitch throughout. It’s difficult to maintain control at that high pitch and Romy does it perfectly. The rustic aspects of his voice help amplify the emotions of the lyrics. Musically the song is just amazing in simple words. Sachdev has such a huge scheme of instruments that he brings in from Punjabi to deep bass to a killer electronic hard rock finish that within three minutes of this song one is taken through the full two+ hours of the movie to a hard hitting climax. The range of the song has been very well handled and the composition is extremely memorable. Considering the theme of this song is quite niche, the ensemble of the song is done so well that it makes it good enough to be played across primetime airplay on radio and TV. Kudos to the team for this one!

Beh Chala is one gorgeous number that features the voice of Yasser Desai with Sachdev’s supporting vocals. Desai is one amazing talent! His voice is pure gold and smooth as water in a calm lake. Listening to him on this song is one experience one has to enjoy on a repeat. He does sound like Arijit Singh in parts but his talent to effortless delivery each word in the song will give him is own identity. The complete musicality of this song is beautifully done with calming ambient styling with some of the best recording of various strings heard in a while! The western renditions and blend of beautiful acoustic and electric guitars on this song is worth a standing ovation. The overall arrangement is quite unique with such a powerful melody that it is really difficult to get it out of head after a single listen. If one can get off enjoying the vocals & the music of this song and turn their focus to the lyrics, then would be equally in awe. Raj Shekhar has penned a masterpiece about life and its journeys that is deep but his choice of words is feather light. The real genius is the flow and consistency in each line going from one stanza to the next. This song might not make it to the charts or high frequency airplays but it is one simply amazing song to listen to.

Dev Negi leads another of Kumaar’s songs called Jigra. This is another power packed action song that has been very meticulously arranged and programmed by Sachdev. The electro rock vibes are very well recorded although the composition is not very smooth or catchy. The instrumentation is very strong though with some great solos and strong vocal choruses. Negi delivers a high pitched and powerful vocal like a true rock star! He packs a punch with every word making this a very effective situational action sequence song. Lyrics are quite average to start with but as the sentiment of the song picks pace the lyrics keep pace getting deeper in emotions and stronger in their appeal. The strong end with some brilliant instrumentation showcases the amazing talent Sachdev is! Good listen.. could be better though.

Manzar Hai Ye Naya features yet another rare voice of Shantanu Sudame singing the lyrics of Abhiruchi Chand. This song is about determination, focus and a new self. It also feels like Chand is not just talking about the character in his lyrics but rather the country as a whole. The song is synonymous with a new India that is not afraid to strike and is determined to stand up for itself which is pretty much the ‘naya manzar’ that this song relates to. The thought is beautifully captured with some easy on the years poetry. Sudame’s vocals are ironically soothing to listen to even though he delivers it with power and conviction. That is quite unique and exciting to listen to. The composition is rather boring and unimaginative here. Perhaps after all the action they wanted to the album to soften up with this one but the overall song lacks flair to stand out.

Dee MC opens Jagga Jiteya next with some sas and personality. She is great find from the Mumbai underground rap scene making her Bollywood debut on a really powerful song. Daler Mehndi leads the vocals and he is as good as he has always been. The urban Punjabi feel of the song really suits him and he rocks his vocal completely. The chorus is the highlight but wait for the stanza and that is brilliantly delivered too alternating mic time with Dee MC. The back and forth really works and goes down the Mumbai cyper route blending Indian rap with mainstream Bollywood Punjabi. Kudos to Sachdev for creating this collaboration brining rap together with Punjabi in a commercial music setting. Musically the song is equally enigmatic and has some amazing beats and synths. The styling and programming of this song is totally innovative and out of the world in parts! It has such strong vibes and personality that it pretty much fills with room when playing on the speaker. Kumaar’s lyrics are quite effective as well capturing the celebration of victory really well. This song is a revolutionary piece of music and lays the foundation for new a brand new sound in Bollywood in 2019!

FINAL WORD
The music of ‘Uri: The Surgical Strike’ is a great piece of work from Shashwat Sachdev. He truly embraces the theme but brings out the intricate bits of the theme like representing “new India” with his path-breaking music. The album is one trick pony with every song about action, power, patriotism and determination but most of the songs are so well composed and have such powerful music that one doesn’t miss the typical commercial romantic & party songs that find mass appeal. Even vocally the album brings in some not commonly heard voices like Yasser Desai, Romy, Dee MC, Shantanu Sudame who all deliver well on their respective songs. Kumaar is mostly brilliant with his lyrics along with Raj Shekhar delivering a masterpiece song in Beh Chala. Jagga Jiteya is a phenomenal song with Daler Mehndi while Beh Chala is the best song on the album. Challa (Main Lad Jana) is the lead song and rightly so with some great work on it making it well balanced song perfect for marketing the film. Jigra although a good song musically, disappoints a little on the lyrics while Manzar Hai Ye Naya is the overall average song of the album. All in all, this album doesn’t disappoint with some terrific music work that leads in creating new trends and sounds for 2019. This might not be a commercial album for the masses but it can easily win hearts of the discerning listener. Salute to Sachdev for his work on this soundtrack!

BizAsiaLive.com Rating – 3.5/5

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

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