Seven years after he made Manorama Six Feet Under, director Navdeep Singh makes a comeback with NH10, another thriller. He did shot some portions of the zombie comedy Rock The Shaadi (also known as Shaadi Of The Dead) but that never saw the light of the day. Manorama – Six Feet Under had a couple of interesting songs, the most memorable of them being “Tere Sawaalon Ke”. One expects this thriller, based on a road trip gone wrong, to have music that will suit the mood of the film and help in taking the story forward.
The first track on the album is “Chhil Gaye Naina”, composed by Sanjeev-Darshan. The song depicts the angst and sorrow of Meera (Anushka Sharma). “Chhil Gaye Naina”, with all the rock influences, has a 90s feel to it. The tune is sufficiently powerful and Kanika Kapoor renders it with gusto. It’s a pleasant surprise to hear sing a song which is in a completely different zone from her earlier numbers (“Baby Doll”, “Kamlee”/”Lovely” and “Chittiyan Kalaiyyan”). Although the metaphor “Chhil Gaye Naina” (my eyes were scratched) comes across as a little gruesome, Kumaar writes lines that do complete justice to the feel of the song.
“Le Chal Mujhe”, with its dreamy vibe and atmospheric sound, is exactly the kind of song you expect to hear in a road trip movie. The song has a laidback feel to it, wonderfully accentuated by Mohit Chauhan’s voice. Composer Bann Chakraborty has composed the song in a rock-jazz style and has used instruments like piano, drums and electric guitars in a similar manner. The composition is reminiscent of a few songs composed by Vishal Bhardwaj like “Dekho To Aasman” from Jahan Tum Le Chalo, “Kaminey” from Kaminey and “Khul Kabhi” from Haider. The haunting tone of the track complements the melancholic subtext beautifully. The song has two other versions sung by Arijit Singh and Shilpa Rao respectively. While Shilpa sings like a jazz singer, Arijit sings in a droning voice. All the three versions are worth checking out as each of the three singers brings their own distinct touch to the track.
Things get a bit lighter and frothier with the arrival of “Main Jo”, a playful, romantic number. Nayantara Bhatkal’s childish voice works well for the song but one is not too sure whether it will suit Anushka Sharma, even though the actress does not lip sync the song. Co-composer Savera Mehta joins her behind the mike briefly. Ayush Shrestha and Savera Mehta’s tune is simple and hummable.
“Khoney De” is a derivative of “Le Chal Mujhe”. It’s the only version of the song which features both a male and a female voice. The tune is largely similar but the composer experiments with the arrangements, giving the song a slightly edgier texture. Having a male and a female voice seem like a good decision as the song has a conversational quality to it. The instrumental version is very soothing. The techno beats and the saxophone create an uplifting atmosphere.
From the cities we now move to the rural landscape with “Maati Ka Palang”. Even though the track has contemporary orchestral arrangements, with some occasional use of sitar, the folksy quality of the song is easily recognizable. Samira Koppikar’s earthy voice is appropriate for the song and she sings well too. She does not disappoint as a composer too as the tune is unpredictable and engaging. The lyrics by Neeraj Rajawat are thought provoking and heartfelt. The song has a tense mood and is likely to be heard in a crucial juncture in the film.
“Kya Karein” is a three minute piece, is a sad number where the protagonist talks about being in pain and giving up hope. The music is very situational and the song rests on the shoulders of lyricist Varun Grover who writes some poignant lines. One waits to see the way this track is used in the film.
The music of NH10 stays faithful to the theme of the film and yet is engaging as a standalone album. There is a common thread that runs through all the songs. Most of the songs adhere to a common theme but are different from each other in terms of composition and style.