Friendzone – A R Rahman
Friendzone is a simple song, a song to impress a woman, with enough corn and cheese to help you safely tread the pandemic. ARR has been impressing us with his singing across genres and moods– From Arabic Kadaloram (Bombay) to New York nagaram (Sillendru oru Kadhal), from Tere Bina (Guru) to Ye jo des (Swades), from Aise na dekho(Ranjhna) to Theera ula (OK Kanmani). It has been a while since ARR sang a “youth” song, without a message for world peace and universal love, you know, just a vain song – here it is, Dil bechara with its slow thrum, funky lyrics, and Gen-Z angst. It is interesting that the grooviest song of the movie is not an in-your-face-dance-till-you-drop type song that Bollywood is used to, but more of an (ath) leisurely tap that you can’t not nod your head to.
Khulke jeene ka – Arijit Singh, Shashaa Tirupati
The mood of this album is synchrony. If you understand the concept of soul mates, or at least of people vibing well with each other from the word go, you can intuitively grasp that Ukelele and Guitar are meant to be together. The boy is the Uke, sprightly, mercurial and the girl, is the Guitar, completely in control of her music, allowing him to take over, but staying in the background, like a constant note. Strung together, a joyful marriage. They sing in two different scales, yet, there is harmony and liberation. Pain is expensive and a smile is free of cost, they observe. He wonders, am I crossing the imaginary line, sarhad, between friendship and love and quickly pacifies himself, for it is only the vice, buri aadat, of the heart. Almost every song in the album is mindful of the ticking clock, there is a musical emphasis on the pointlessness of keeping track of time.
Taare ginn – Shreya Goshal, Mohit Chauhan
ARR is often, and unfairly if I may add, accused of creating songs that do not fit into the theme of the plot. Notice how Shreya doesn’t have to pause for Mohit Chauhan to chip in. Their song is structured like a Venn diagram, where each one of the couple is a completed circle and at the curved intersection is their love. The initial tiptoeing, the sweet whispers, the giddying desire flowing through veins, ah, the moment of realization of love. As the initial heart thud of bass following the lovers leads itself a steadier plane, they look at the infinite stars blinking at them and speculate, is this a fun ride or a punishment? Definitely a fun ride to the la la land for the listeners.
Mera Naam Kizie – Aditya Narayan, Poorvi Koutish
The playful contrast of using a 70s’ style tune for a Millennial/Gen-Z love story hits you almost instantly. The flowy tease in Poorvi Koutish’s voice and the deep yearning in Aditya Narayan’s is what they call, silk and smoke. One can almost picture Kizzie, the free spirit, pouting her mouth to form temporary dimples, holding an unlit cigarette between her lips, looking at her reflection at the mirror and going ‘Do you love me? Yes, that makes two of us.’ For a movie that is based on the love of two cancer-stricken young adults, there is very little bitterness that one senses in the music. There is a bit of restlessness (bechaini), there is the classic heightened self-consciousness of a young adult (apne jaise na milega koi sample) and a sense of wide-eyed wonder towards the unexpected love that has knocked their doors.
Afreeda – Sanaa Moussa, Raja Kumari
Afreeda is the only female solo of the movie. Going just by the texture of the lyrics and the music, the boy seems like the more flamboyant of the two and the girl is probably introverted and thereby perceived as mysterious. The Arabic influence jumps and screams a tonal shift in the movie, some sort of celebratory trance?
Maskhari – Hriday Gattani, Sunidhi Chauhan
Is it possible to have fun all the time? Little things, like getting drenched in the unexpected rain, catching a gentle breeze by the window, slurping a popsicle in the middle of the night, dunking spicy panipuri one after another, chasing someone who wants to be caught in your arms – don’t we all live for the moments that need a reason? The song is the sugar rush we all didn’t know we craved, the samosa that is always welcome.
Tum na hue – Hriday Gattani, Jonita Gandhi
Every time the first line of this is sung, Tum na hue mere toh kya? it is sung twice. The first time is always plain, a quick retort, “sure, you won’t be here, what of me?” Maybe there is a shrug, a tendency to theorize and accept. Is it perhaps pretense or just denial? We find the answer the next time it is sung, with the mildest of variation in the word “mere.” The rhetorical question that is repeated over and over finds its answer in the thaw. What she means to him and him to her, main tumhara repeated multiple times. Like a sacred chant, mumbled softly, intimately, with no one but the self as an audience, both of them go, I’m yours, I’m yours, I’m yours. Hriday Gattani’s voice can cut through adamantium hearts, who are we, but mere mortals made of flesh and blood.
The Horizon of Saudade
‘Saudade’, Google informs me, is a Portuguese word referring to intense yearning expressed through arts. The soft piano and the gentle saxophone speak in a language that is beyond the tiny boundaries that we have drawn around ourselves. From nowhere the violin hits you, reaching to the stars (pun intended) and falling, back and forth, back and forth, leaving you temporarily blinded with tears. Is this peace?