The first three films helmed by director Dibakar Banerjee had at least one track that went on to become very popular. Songs like “Chak De Phatte” from Khosla Ka Ghosla and the title track of Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye! and Love Sex Aur Dhokha are popular till today. Then, he roped in Vishal-Shekhar to create a more commercial or mainstream soundtrack for Shanghai. One expects an experimental soundtrack from this crime thriller with songs being made for the different situations in the film.
The first song, “Calcutta Kiss” comes across as an interestingly done cabaret number. Drums, guitars, piano, percussions and trumpet have been played in a way to give the song a retro and jazz based sound. The song is extremely catchy because of a simple melody and playful lyrics that make an instant impression. The song has been written and composed by Madboy/Mink and has been sung by band members Saba Azad and Imaad Shah (son of actors Naseeruddin Shah and Ratna Pathak Shah). Imaad signs a few lines in English but it’s Saba who makes a solid impression. She renders very well and adds that zing to this song with the oomph in her voice.
“Bach Ke Bakshy” starts off with some thumping beats that sound very organic, almost as if some objects are being hit upon. Then, one comes across some interesting rap portions accompanied by some energetic beats. After that, one gets to hear some distinctive music pieces that have a haunting feel to them. Wait, there is EDM too! The song moves back and forth between all these elements. The wonderful thing about the track is that there are so many layers to it and each of them complement each other and stand out as individual music pieces as well. The track, though sheds some light on the character of Byomkesh Bakshy, is frivolous in nature and it works! Composed by Sneha Khanwalker and Dibakar Banerjee, it has Gowri Jayakumar, Big Deal, Thomson Andrews, Trevor, Smokey the Ghost, Craz Professa credited as singers.
The first few lines sung by Rishi Bradoo and Anil Bradoo give the listener an impression of “Byomkesh In Love” being an electro-pop number. Thus, one is bound to feel surprised when Usri Banerjee makes an entry with her Thumri based rendition. The boys come back and join Usri in this wonderful fusion of a track. The techno based arrangements are breezy and go well with the song. Composed by Blek, it would be interesting to see its picturisation.
“Jaanam” with a waltz or ballroom dance like setting, reminds one of the several club based numbers from Bollywood of the 50s. The music, lyrics and vocals have a sense of merriment to them. Suryakant Sawhney sings it in a drawl like manner and his voice has an old world charm to it. He could have done a much better job as a lyricist though as the words fail to make an impression. Peter Cat Recording Co., the band does a good job at recreating the magic of a bygone era effectively.
One got to hear bits of “Chase In Chinatown” in the trailer of the film. Mode AKA does a good job at creating a techno heavy sound. As far as the vocals are concerned, one gets to hear some well performed rap portions. The music that one hears in the background is very good and it would be interesting to hear it when it plays out on the screen.
Akshay De writes and performs “Life’s A Bitch” which can be categorized as a death metal track. Akshay renders with the attitude of a rockstar and impresses. However, the song stands out because of the arrangements. Remove the vocals (and the lyrics) and you have a very interesting piece of music which can be used in various important points in the film. Joint Family has come up with a good heavy metal number that resonates with the mood of the film.
Yang Guang, supposedly, is the name of the main antagonist in the film. The track “Yang Guang Lives” composed and written by IJA has a dark and eerie feel to it with some faintly heard voices adding to the intrigue factor. This piece could well be used when the Yang Guang, the villain, makes an appearance in the film. Surprisingly, the sound takes a different turn after a while. The track comes across as a little disjointed but is good nevertheless.
Detective Byomkesh Bakshy is one of the most experimental albums to have come out of Bollywood. It is evident that Yash Raj Films gave Dibakar the freedom to create the kind of soundtrack that he wanted to for this film. It is a brave and honest attempt at creating a fresh and unique soundtrack. This is a Hindi film album that will surprise you with its unique sound.