Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s first film ‘Khamoshi’ had some wonderful music by Jatin-Lalit. The soundtrack of his next two films ‘Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam’ and ‘Devdas’ are widely regarded as modern day classics. Even ‘Black’ was praised for its background score and “Haan Maine Chukar Dekha Hai” in the film received a lot of appreciation. The ‘Saawariya’ soundtrack (which had music by Monty Sharma and one song composed by Bhansali) was good, though not as great as great as the music of his last two films. Bhansali decided to take matters in his own hands and scored the music of his next two films ‘Guzaarish’ and ‘Goliyon Ki Raas Leela – Ram Leela’. The music of both these films came across as a pale imitation of the sound his earlier films had carried. Notwithstanding the questionable quality of the soundtrack, the music of ‘Goliyon Ki Raas Leela – Ram Leela’ went on to become fairly popular with the listeners. With ‘Bajirao Mastani’ being Bhansali’s dream project, one expects him to put in some extra effort as a composer to ensure that the music of this film turns out to be better than his last few films.
Sanjay Leela Bhansali brings in elements of Marathi folk music, Middle Eastern sounds and qawalli and incorporates them pretty well in “Deewani Mastani”. Though the song boasts of some heavy arrangements, the tune and the lyrics are simple. The simplicity of the song helps it in making an impression with the first listening itself. Shreya Ghoshal brings out the pain and anguish of Mastani (Deepika Padukone) beautifully with her poignant rendition.
“Laal Ishq” was, arguably, the best track in ‘Goliyon Ki Raas Leela – Ram Leela’. Arijit Singh, who had sung the aforementioned number, is also the voice behind “Aayat”, a romantic number with a sufi bend to it. The texture of the song is similar to “Laal Ishq”. This haunting track has Ismail Darbar’s stamp over it and reminds one of the sound the composer brought in back in the day. “Aayat” carries a raga based tune interspersed with some qawalli styled rendition by Mujtaba Aziz Naza, Shahdab Faridi and Altamash Faridi.
“Malhari”, publicised as the victory song for Bajirao Peshwa (Ranveer Singh), is let down by an unimaginative composition and weak lyrics. Even though the song has a fast paced to it, the tune lacks punch. One fails to understand as to why lyricist Prashant Ingole used a modern slang like ‘waat’ in a song placed in a period film. Also, the overuse of another slang ‘saali’ gets to one’s nerves after a point. The only thing Bhansali should be praised is for getting Vishal Dadlani to sing the number. The singer, as always, infuses the song with a lot of energy which helps you sit through it.
The Devdas sound is revisited with “Mohe Rang Do Laal”, a semi-classical number which sees Shreya Ghoshal teaming up with Pandit Birju Maharaj. Though the song is filled with intricacies of Indian classical music, it would appeal to listeners who do not follow classical music. Sanjay Leela Bhansali weaves a very pleasant tune around ragas. The lyrics (Siddharth-Garima) are praiseworthy.
Bhansali had used portions of the traditional classical song “Albela Sajan” in ‘Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam’. He reproduces the track here in an organic form and it comes out well. The track has been sung by Shashi Suman, Kunal Pandit, Prithvi Gandharva, Kanika Joshi, Rashi Raagga and Geetikka Manjrekar mostly in unison/chorus. Though the song does not have too many variations, it makes for an engaging piece.
The arrangements in “Ab Tohe Jaane Na Doongi” are suitably minimal, giving newcomers Payal Dev and Shreyas Puranik to bring their vocal prowess to the fore. Both the vocalists leave a good impact with their rendition. Even though the composition is not a memorable one, it leaves a soothing impact on one’s senses. The track moves at a slow pace and the soft arrangements and the smooth voices of the singers make it a track worth hearing.
“Pinga” has been compared to “Dola Re” (‘Devdas’) as it, just like the Madhuri-Aishwarya number, sees the two leading ladies Deepika Padukone and Priyanka Chopra sharing the stage as dancers. “Dola Re” was a far better track than this but it would not be fair to compare as “Pinga” has a different sound altogether. “Pinga”, based on Lavani, is fairly engaging. There is just one ‘antara’ in the song and one wishes it was repeated once as it makes an impact.
The sound of the flute sets the tone for “Aaj Ibaadat”, a song with a devotional feel to it. The arrangements are led by percussions and sitar which serve as good accompaniment to the track and help in retaining the devotional feel throughout the song. Although the tune does not really catch your attention, it gels in comfortably with the arrangements and Javed Bashir’s compassionate vocals.
There is a change of mood with the arrival of “Fitoori”, a song with a faint sensuous tone to it. There is an influence of Marathi folk music here and guess that is the reason there is a touch of Marathi accent overriding Vaishali Made’s rendition. Bhansali gets the folk texture right but the tune is just about average.
A devotional number that is an ode to Lord Ganesha, “Gajanana” has a functional tune, good arrangements and Sukhwinder Singh’s energetic voice. Although the track is not expected to be a chartbuster, one expects to hear it with some exciting visuals on screen as it seems to have mounted on a grand scale.
The music of Bajirao Mastani stays true to the film and takes one back to the period the film is set in. Though Sanjay Leela Bhansali still seems inspired by the composers he worked with in the past, one sees some growth in him as a composer. With his next film, one hopes Bhansali develops his own style as a composer. There are a couple of songs in the soundtrack which have the potential to become popular. As for the rest, they could make a good impression visually.