By Subhash K Jha
Film: Ram Leela
Music by Sanjay Leela Bhansali
Lyrics by Siddharth-Garima
Rating: **** ½(4 and a half stars)
MUMBAI: Very rarely does a soundtrack create an epic impression so immediately and so permanently. Not in this day and age when the average shitty-ditty about chikni chamelis and Dilliwalli girlfriends has the shelf-life of exactly 2 and a half months. Give or take a few weeks.
Not when music has become a downloaded disgrace.
The 10 songs of Ram Leela (yes, there are that many tunes, and no one is complaining) are creations of spellbinding beauty. Each song tells a story. Yes, let me tell you about the stories that the songs of Sanjay Leela Bhansali (SLB)’s film tell. Each number is visually so rich replendent and vivid, we can see every visual detail come to life. These are visual experiences in audio forms.
Right away, let me declare two of the tracks to be among the greatest musicals creations of the past five years. Ang laga de sung by Aditi Paul is so curvaceous, seductive and intense, every note seems to flow out of the arteries of the heart flooding the listeners’ senses with a sound so steeped in the ethos of yearning we can hear the pain underlining the passion. Full marks to new singer Aditi Paul for infusing this melody with emotions that echo the music goddess Lata Mangeshkar’s style.
But my favourite song and singer in this soundtrack of severe sublimity is Yeh laal ishq and Arijit Singh. I had cursorily heard Arijit sing in Aashiqui 2. I never realized his voice would rise to such spiritual heights in no time. In Yeh laal ishq, Arijit takes a composition imbued with the insignia of immortality to new heights.
Laal ishq is not just my favourite song in the soundtrack, it is the best love ballad of the year. It clearly establishes Sanjay Leela Bhansali as one of the most exciting vibrant music composers of our cinema. He knows the history and geography of Hindi film music. However the infinite influences sit lightly on his compositions.
Shreya Ghosal, who sang her way to stardom in Bhansali’s Devdas, here gives an ear-ful of enchantment in the spiralling composition Dhoop se chan ke. Shail Chadha hops into a state of blissful self-expression in two of the tracks Laal mooh lag gaya and Poore chand. The lyrics by Siddharth and Garima are simple and yet profound. The images that songs create are sly subtle and sexy.
The Gujarati folk element is not very strong in just the traditional Mor bhani thangat but also the gorgeous Garba nagada sang dhol baje.The opulence, energy and the effervescence of the colourful swirling ghagras and shimmering cholis sweeps us into a world where love and music go hand in hand.
Yes, the soundtrack of Ram Leela creates a universe of scintillating emotions. Every song, even the very chalu tapori-type songs Ishqiya and Tattad tattad sung with roguish gusto by Aditya Narayan, conveys a wealth of engaging notes packaged into pulsating melodies.
A word about Monty Sharma arrangements. They harness Bhansali’ss extraordinarily voluptuous compositions.
The music of Ram Leela is no ordinary experience. For those of us who had given up on film music as an aaya-ram-gaya-ram experience Ram Leela delivers.
Honestly, if God lies in the details then the songs of Ram Leela are conversations with divinity.