Udta Punjab Music Review

Director Abhishek Chaubey, with the help and able guidance of mentor Vishal Bhardwaj, had got some wonderful music for each of his two films, ‘Ishqiya’ and ‘Dedh Ishqiya’. Though Bhardwaj, who co-produced and scored the music for both the films, is not a part of his protégé’s new film ‘Udta Punjab’, Chaubey has got Amit Trivedi to create the soundtrack for this drug drama. As the film is based in a particular region (Punjab) of the country, one expects the music to carry a particular flavour that one associates with that place. Shahid Kapoor, one of the lead actors of the film, plays a rapper/singer. That increases the scope for music in this seemingly dark film.

The opening track “Chitta Ve”, which has the three male singers Babu Haabi, Shahid Mallya and Bhanu Pratap going berserk with their voices, goes well with the colourful character of Tommy Singh (Shahid Kapoor). The electronic beats transport one to a state of trance and gives one a glimpse into the psyche of Tommy who is high on drugs. By the way, ‘Chitta’ is a Punjabi slang used to refer to cocaine. Unlike most of the tracks these days, the rap portion (performed by Babu Haabi) in this song does not seem forced and is naturally integrated in the song. Though the tune and the arrangements remind one of “Pardesi” (‘Dev D’) and a couple of other Punjabi folk inspired tracks Amit did back in the day, it makes for a fun hear.

After her stellar debut with “Baby Doll” (‘Ragini MMS 2’), Kanika Kapoor has been offered similar tracks to sing. With “Da Da Dasse”, Amit gives her a song which suits her voice but at the same time, it is anything unlike she has lent her voice to. The ‘Dev D’ hangover comes across in this number as well but the song manages to hold its ground. The lyrics and the way the song has been designed give one an inkling of a major incident or some key events taking place in the film. Shelle’s lyrics help a great deal in adding the narrative elements to the song.

Amit Trivedi weaves his tune around Shiv Kumar Batalvi’s verses in “Ikk Kudi”. The same verses have earlier been put to tune by artistes like Hans Raj Hans and Rabbi Shergill. Amit’s sombre tune does complete justice to the late Punjabi poet’s subliminal lines. Those who have seen the video would know that the song brilliantly portrays the character played by Alia Bhatt in the film. The song has two versions sung by Shahid Mallya and Diljit Dosanjh respectively. While Shahid does well in the original version, Diljit’s reprised version, which is slightly less gloomy and more spirited, has an edge over the original.

“Ud-Daa Punjab” cracks you up with an upbeat tune and some blithesome lines written by Varun Grover. Amit Trivedi, who often miscasts himself as a singer, lets himself loose and renders the song with gusto. Vishal Dadlani chips in for a fun rap portion. “Udd-Daa Punjab” can well be well termed as the theme song of the film as it encapsulates the spirit of the film in a rather amusing manner. Amit gives the song his own touch while retaining the Punjabi flavour.

Amit restrains himself from getting into any sort of experimentation and designs a pure, traditional sound around “Hass Nach Le”. The song, which has a devotional touch to it, is steeped in the folk music culture of Punjab and is driven by a soothing harmonium piece. Shahid Mallya’s rendition of “Ikk Kudi” was nice but here he comes into his own and his voice blends effortlessly with the song. Owing to the conventional composition structure, the song has a slightly familiar feel to it. But, it fits in well within the soundscape of the album.

“Vadiya”, sung by Amit himself, describes the feelings of a character after he takes drugs. The song has, presumably, been picturised on Shahid Kapoor and will be played in the background as he gets high on drugs. Just like “Chitta Ve”, the trance based arrangements gives us a insight into the character’s state of mind. That, unfortunately, is the only thing that stands out in this song as the tune is just about average.

After two successful musical collaborations with Vishal Bhardwaj, Abhishek Chaubey strikes a good professional partnership with Amit Trivedi and gives the listeners a highly engaging soundtrack. Amit gives a fresh new spin to the kind of Punjabi music Bollywood is known to churn out and delivers a winner of an album.

Rating: 3.5/5

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