Special Feature: Top five Bollywood soundtracks to look out for in 2020

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As the world has been a full lockdown for sorts, it seems this is the longest absence of new Bollywood music that has ever been! While shoots still can’t happen, music composers with studios in their homes must be working in overdrive coming up with new melodies, compositions and recording new material. But with things slowing opening up in India and productions raring to get back on the sets Bollywood fans have lots to look forward to. With some big productions lined up this year, it remains to be seen which of these movies actually release this year or if they will get postponed to 2021 in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic but here we round up five most anticipated Bollywood soundtracks expected to release later this year.

When director Ayan Mukerji, producer Karan Johar and music director Pritam worked together last we got one of the most iconic Bollywood albums of all time. ‘Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani’ (2013) had some of the best music that still rule on playlists across every genre. If that success is anything to go by then the music of ‘Brahmastra – Part one of three’ should be something spectacular. With a sci-fi and fantasy aspect of the story here there could be a different dimension to the music of this movie that would perhaps be more futuristic or niche in its appeal. But then that’s what Pritam is really good at is where he balances the musical equation and makes the music commercially viable for the masses. It would be interesting to see how be bring the mytho touch with a sci-fi element to his commercial music for this soundtrack. Rest assured that this would be a big sound with detailed orchestration for every piece of music that comes out. To make things are better, Amitabh Bhattacharya is on with the pen and when he and Pritam work together it always turns out to be something worth a listen. With fantasy, love, action, all elements in here, there is a lot of room for Bhattacharya to come up with a lot of great music. There are also rumors of British Hip-Hop producer of Punjabi origin, Steel Banglez being roped in by Pritam to deliver an international futuristic sound. This adds more of a UK Hip-Hop touch to this soundtrack giving a whole new dimension making this album even more interesting!

Farhan Akhtar and Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra are getting back together for another sports drama called ‘Toofan’. Going by their last collaboration ‘Bhaag Milkha Bhaag’ (2013), this movie should be yet another explosive piece of work. Akhtar puts in some dedicated effort into his roles and this one as a boxer will hopefully go down a storm with audiences. While the 2013 movie was a great piece of cinema, it was also a great soundtrack that delivered a unique sound blending music inspiration of 1950s with 2013. This was delivered by Bollywood best music trio Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy (SEL) who are back with Mehra on this project raising great expectations from the music of this movie. The music should have the pace and drive required for a sports movie but also the touches of romance and fun that would bring the leading character alive. SEL worked with the amazing Prasoon Joshi on the last movie which was one of the reasons why the songs worked so well with the story Joshi recited in each song. But this time it is the outstanding Javed Akhtar joining the team and he is capable of delivering even better songs with a poetic touch that should hopefully make this a great movie album to listen to.

Sanjay Leela Bhansali always brings a different edge to his movies, and music is perhaps one of the most important elements that deliver that edge. Expected to release in September, ‘Gangubai Kathiawadi’ stars Alia Bhatt as a brothel madam who ruled the red light areas of Mumbai and became one of the most influential criminals in the dark alleys of Mumbai. Far from the elegant ‘Umrao Jaan’ (1981) scene, this soundtrack could have a tinge of dark earthy vibes. It would be interesting to hear if Bhansali brings any Qawwali folk styling to the music with a slightly modern touch to it. Being a heart-break turning into a mafia kingpin story there could be some dark tonalities to the lyrics here with a sophisticated sound delivered with a strong classical touch to it. Bhansali is known for his orchestration so that should make this sound big and bold. But it would be interesting to hear how Bhansali tackles the dark side as he is best known for his romantic music. If rumors are to be believed then this movie is expected to have very few songs and that too mostly in the background as it doesn’t work with the character. Nonetheless, hopefully Bhansali will make it count even with a couple songs.

Sadak 2’ will be releasing soon if lockdowns are lifted and that would mark the return of Mahesh Bhatt to direction after missing in action for a decade. A sequel to his biggest hit ‘Sadak’ (1991) will see his daughter Alia bhatt come together with Sanjay Dutt and Aditya Roy Kapoor in this romantic thriller. It would be interesting to see not just how he progresses or reinvents the original ‘Sadak’ story but also how he directs his own daughter in this film. Furthermore, music would be an important element as the original had a brilliant score by Nadeem Shravan that topped the charts with its beautiful romantic songs. For this sequel Bhatt has gone for a mix album picking a whole host of romantic songs from a lineup of great talent including Ankit Tiwari, Jeet Gannguli and Samidh – Urvi who are making their debut. There might also be some remakes from the original film on this new soundtrack. Rumor has it that Alia Bhatt is singing a romantic song for her dad’s movie so that is something to look forward to in this album. But other than her, Bhatt has brought in the best romantic singers in the industry including Javed Ali, Arijit Singh, KK, Jubin Nautiyal to name a few with Nautiyal already claiming that this soundtrack will be path-breaking in many ways thus further pushing the excitement for this major comeback for one of the best directors in Bollywood.

Akshay Kumar will be playing the role of one of the most iconic kings of India under the direction of Chandraprakash Dwivedi. ‘Prithviraj’ will also see the debut of Miss World Manushi Chhillar in the leading role along with Sanjay Dutt, Sonu Sood and Ashutosh Rana. For a royal historical drama there will be a grandeur about this Yash Raj project that will fit for the big screen. Also with Kumar playing one of his only period historical roles this must be a movie to watch. It is understood Vishal-Shekhar will be will leading the music of this movie. For these two also this is perhaps their first historical movie so it remains to be seen how these dance and romantic music specialists handle the music of this movie and use their talent to crossover 1100s into 2020. Expect a lot of folk and earthy sounds blending in into some big compositions by these two music icons. There is a lot of depth and versatility in their music abilities and combine that with the hard work and detail Kumar and Dwivedi put in and one can expect some great music here that might also be commercially viable.

 

A few other mentions – Ranbir Kapoor and Sanjay Dutt’s big budget Yash Raj production ‘Shamshera’ will definitely be a mega big screen movie to watch. But how much focus is on the music of this dated 1800s movie will be something to look out for. Ajay-Atul are behind the music and they are rather purist so they might stay away from a commercial soundtrack and focus mostly on the authentic sound. It could be great on the classical perspective but thus so with some limited appeal. Nonetheless, the duo are super talented and this will be one soundtrack to listen with its big orchestra sound.

On the comedy front, Ranveer Singh’s ‘Jayeshbhai Jordaar’ will be an interesting release this year. Combine his energy and fun personality with his Gujarati character and one can expect some engaging music coming out of this movie. South’s big music director Devi Sri Prasad is leading the music on this project it would be interesting to see how he combines the masti and of Singh’s character with his commercial persona.

Abhishek Bachchan will play Harshad Mehta this year in ‘The Big Bull’ starring alongside Nikita Mehta, Ileana D’Cruz and Ajay Devgn.  Playing such a unique negative character brings in a whole range of colours to the movie and thus also to the music. There should be lot of party music in this movie as the cheat stockbroker splashes around the money. A strong team of Guru Randhawa, Jam8 and Chandan Saxena, Irshad Kamil and Amitabh Bhattacharya are leading the music of this album. This movie has all the elements of a strong commercial soundtrack.

Some of the other albums to mention that perhaps would have been in our top 5 for 2020 but have already announced being postponed include Kareena Kapoor & Aamir Khan’s ‘Laal Singh Chaddha’. Another Pritam project and that too with Khan’s attention to detail, this will be one to watch.. rather listen to when the music comes out. Sadly that won’t be on Christmas this year but this is one to watch.

Rohit Shetty’s ‘Sooryavanshi’ would have already been out on the cinemas but had it not been for the pandemic and we would have been already enjoying the fun music from this soundtrack with a number of remakes by Tanishk Bagchi, Lilo George and Jam8 group. There would be lots of party and fun commercial numbers on this album for the summer season that we have now missed and don’t know when we will get to hear them.

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

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