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Music Review: Agneepath

Music Review: Agneepath

January 02, 2012

As far as albums go, this is a breath of fresh air from a Dharma Productions film.

This is a review of the soundtrack of Agneepath.

For the full review of the film, click HERE.

In the ongoing trend of remakes of cult classics - and mostly the films of Amitabh Bachchan - comes another one to add to the pile. Producer Karan Johar revives the 1990 Dharma Productions film, Agneepath, which was directed by Mukul S Anand. This time, he ropes in newbie director Karan Malhotra, and brings in Hrithik Roshan to essay the iconic role of Vijay Dinanath Chauhan. Pitted against him is Sanjay Dutt as the wicked Kancha (played in the original by Danny Denzongpa) while Priyanka Chopra plays Kaali, the woman by Vijay's side. From the trailers, Agneepath looks like the most non-Dharma Productions film from the production house in a very very long time. It looks dark, edgy, violent, and gritty, a far cry from the saccharine romantic comedies that has been Johar's modus operandi for over a decade. If for that reason only, this incarnation of Agneepath already has an intrigue factor.

The musical team of Agneepath is also something you wouldn't expect from a Karan Johar production. Composer and brother duo Ajay-Atul (who also did the music for Singham) join forces with lyricist wunderkind Amitabh Bhattacharya to deliver an album that is dark and intense, and stays well clear from the frothy sounds of previous Dharma films.

What is a film these days without an over-hyped item number? Not to be left behind, Agneepath has Chikni Chameli. Sung by Shreya Goshal, the song is pictured on Katrina Kaif, who seems to be in the business of racking up item numbers after her hugely popular 'Sheila Ki Jawani' last year. 'Chikni Chameli' is based on the Marathi song 'Kombadi Palali' from the film Jatra, and is given enough punchy lyrics by Bhattacharya to make it catch on. However, perhaps it's the saturation of such item songs, but Chameli doesn't impress that much or stick after listening to it.

Next up is the romantic number O Saiyyan. No one does soulful singing like Roop Kumar Rathod and he gives this number his all. It's a somber song about incompleteness and pain. It's a pretty dramatic song, even more so by the interludes of heavy orchestration that punctuate the otherwise mellow piano track. Rathod keeps it from becoming downright depressing, his smooth voice carrying the song through and giving it repeat value.

The only song approaching an upbeat mood is Gun Gun Guna, sung by Sunidhi Chauhan and accompanied by Udit Narayan. The song is about a woman trying to make her man feel better and distract him from his troubles. And since it's the character of Vijay, we know he has a lot on his mind. It's a peppy song and Chauhan's spunky rendition makes it a fun listen. Of course, the icing on the cake is Bhattacharya's ever-imaginative lyrics: "Hai tere sar pe ye uljhanon ke ye tokre, la humko dede halka ho ja re tu chhokre" (These baskets of troubles on your head, Give them to me to lighten your load). The man knows his metaphors.

The moment Shah Ka Rutba kicks off, it sounds like 'Tu Na Ja Mere Baadhshah' from Khuda Gawah, which is already a hint of the intensity level of this song. It's a quintessential qawwali number sung by Sukhwinder Singh, Anand Raaj Anand and Krishna Beura. It's a boisterous song, both in the heavy percussion instrumentals and the impassioned vocals. This one isn't for everyone - it definitely needs an appropriate situation in the film to have its full effect.

The treasure of this album is Abhi Mujh Mein Kahin, crooned by Sonu Nigam in a way we haven't heard him in a while. The song has a subtle piano tune throughout that flows in and out of string and percussion accompaniment. It's a philosophical song, an internal dialogue of sorts. Nigam handles it expertly, offering his full vocal range to ebb and flow with the moods of the song.

What "angry young man" film soundtrack is complete without the trademark dramatic song dedicated to Ganesh? Deva Shree Ganesha is loud, fast-paced, and oozes enraged passion that combines with unwavering faith. Sung by Ajay Gogvale (one half of the composer duo), the track also has a heavy chorus of backup singers that give the song its depth and intensity. The chanting and drumming give the track a foreboding mood, the perfect setting for a showdown of sorts (speculation, of course).

Agneepath isn't a pathbreaking album but it is a breath of fresh air in terms of music from Dharma Productions. Ajay-Atul, partnered with Amitabh Bhattacharya, bring an earthy, gritty and intense soundtrack to Agneepath. The songs definitely require a specific mood and there isn't much of a feel-good factor. But that was never the intention. Going by the promos, this film is lightyears from feel-good and the album seems to be a good way to get ready for the film. As far as film soundtracks, go Agneepath is a high note on which to end the year.

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