Banjo Music Review

Photo Credit: Supplied

A film, which has the name of a musical instrument as its title and features a bunch of characters who happen to be musicians, should carry a good number of songs. As far as the quality part is concerned, one expects established names like Vishal–Shekhar and Amitabh Bhattacharya to take care of that. As the film is called ‘Banjo’, the instrument is expected to be heard predominantly in the soundtrack. The film, starring Riteish Deshmukh and Nargis Fakhri in principal roles, marks the Hindi film debut of Ravi Jadhav who has several acclaimed Marathi films to his credit.

Devotional songs in the honour of Lord Ganesha have been heard in several Hindi films. In the recent past, Ajay–Atul and Sachin–Jigar presented the listeners with some intricately composed devotional songs in ‘Agneepath’ (“Deva Shree Ganesha”) and ‘ABCD’ (“Shambhu Sutaya”) respectively. Here, Vishal and Shekhar come up with a melody that seems to have landed straight from the 90s. One is not complaining as the simple tune is what works for the song. Unlike the aforementioned songs, which had a fairly complex compositional structure and took some time to grow on the average listener, “Bappa” grows on you in the very first listening because of a very simple and likeable tune.

Hriday Gattani, who had sung for a couple of A.R. Rahman compositions in the past, is the voice behind “Udan Choo”, a breezy romantic number. When one hears bits of the song in the trailer, one can almost mistook Hriday’s voice to be that of Shekhar Ravjiani. Listen to some of the songs rendered by Shekhar (“Bin Tere” – ‘I Hate Luv Storys’, “Hamesha Tere Saath” – ‘Krishna Cottage’) and you might be compelled to draw a similar comparison. The young singer does very well on his part and carries the song (which reminds one of the kind of love songs composed by Vishal-Shekhar in their heydays) on his able shoulders.

Though the song does not have any reference to Lord Ganesha, “Rada” has the boisterous sound of the songs that are played in Ganapati festivals. Though Nakash Aziz has been credited as one of the vocalists, his voice gets drowned in the exuberant energy that Vishal Dadlani and Shalmali Kholgade lend to the track. Even though the tune is not as memorable, the song blends a rock based sound with the indigenous street style music pretty well. The infectious energy of the track makes you invest in it as a listener even as the tune is bit of a downer.

“Pee Paa Ke” seems like an extension of “Rada”, as it has a similar sound and the male vocalists (Vishal Dadlani and Nakash Aziz) have been repeated as well. This one is a better composition though and the hook line is quite catchy. The song is expected to arrive at a time when Riteish and his gang are having a lot of fun. Amitabh Bhattacharya brings some method into the madness as he writes some super fun lines that accentuate the verve of the song.

Ajay Gogavale, one half of the music director duo Ajay–Atul who had scored music for Ravi Jadhav’s Marathi films, is brought in to sing “Rehmo Karam”, a sombre melody that has a devotional touch to it. While the composition is quite simple and easy on the ears, Ajay’s heartfelt rendition and some devout lines written by Amitabh Bhattacharya contribute significantly towards the serene quality of the track. The choral vocals ‘Hey Ram’ have been interspersed well in the song to add to the devotional feel.

The harmonious chants of “Om Ganapataye Namah Deva”, heard at the beginning and then, sporadically throughout the track, get you into the groove of the song. As the title of the song suggests, this one is a devotional track centering around Lord Ganesha but English lyrics have been incorporated in it as well. The treatment of the song is much more modern as compared to the other devotional tacks in the album. Nakash Aziz did not get to do much in the other songs he was credited for in the album but he takes centre stage here. Co-singer Vishal Dadlani chips in for the lines written in English.

Vishal Dadlani’s voice is heard predominantly in the soundtrack – is it because the central protagonist plays a musician/singer and Vishal’s voice was used in multiple tracks to lend some uniformity to the soundtrack? But then, Hriday Gattani, Nakash Aziz and Ajay Gogavale also sing for the actor. Opting for other voices would have brought some variety to the album. The album does not boast of a single track that has the potential to become a chartbuster but the songs seem to be in tandem with the theme of the film and the album is consistently engaging.

Rating: 3/5

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