There are very few music composers out there that have the ability to excite you like Vishal Bharadwaj does! Somehow and very quietly, his collaboration with Gulzar has become the hallmark of fantastic music over the years carrying a whiff of freshness, style and beauty very few can match. So when you consider the same composer is also a producer, writer and director for many of his films you begin to appreciate the magnitude of talent that lies beneath. Anyway, his latest release is the wacky looking indie film Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola starring Pankaj Kapoor, Imran Khan and the lively Anushka Sharma. Haryana is the locale of the film and you expect a mixture of rustic / comic music - so what has the master in store for us?
The title song “MKBKM” is supremely catchy thanks to Vishal’s unique composition based on some stylish strings playing alongside addictive and peppy drums that make you want to dance away! Of course Sukhwinder Singh is splendid in his carefree avatar and enjoys every second of his rendition and he is supported by a host of backing singers including Ranjit Barot and later some African chanters. The lyrics by Gulzar sahib are completely off the rails but that’s the whole purpose of the song; to sound wacky and odd! This is a perfect song to promote the film and only adds intrigue for the audience. FUN! FUN! FUN!
“Khamakha” is a light romantic song that is composed in a manner that we have become accustomed to from Vishal Bharadwaj so don’t expect anything outlandish here as in the previous track. With very soft western arrangements at the core, he adds a dholak to give the song melody which, over the 6 minutes slowly cements into your heart. By far the most innovative feature in this song is the backing chorus and in particular the striking vocals of Prem Dehati who provides contrast to Vishal’s own soulful rendition. It’s always a privilege to hear Gulzar sahib’s poetry in this genre and if you enjoy your romantic songs you will want to wrap this around yourself and not let go. Oddly enough this is the only non-rustic song from the album.
After a hardcore romantic Vishal lights up the mood with the gorgeous satire “Oye Boy Charlie” that is a full on entertainer thanks to an awesome qawwali sounding bash lead by Rekha Bharadwaj, Mohit Chauhan and Shankar Mahadevan. However the USP here is the background chorus featuring Mahesh Kumar B., Shanker Kamble, Tahir Hasan, Abdul Shakur Sadani, Yusuf Gulam Mohd., Raju Sardar, Hafeez Ahmed Khan and others. They are simply fantastic and raise the attraction ten fold. Gulzar’s smart lines will put a smile on your face. Easily one of the best songs.
The rest of the soundtrack is an intriguing mixture of short experimental snippets used in the film, probably to help add amusement and atmosphere to the plot. There are comical and emotional pieces here but the highlights include a mesmerising sarangi used in “Badal Uthiya” (two versions one featuring Rekha Bharadwaj and the other Prem Dehati) and the African music used in “Nomvula” featuring Umoja. If that isn’t a taste of extreme flavours then nothing is!
Overall the composer delivers yet again although it won't be to everyone's taste. The sheer wacky nature of the film means the music was never going to be a masterpiece like his classic Omkara nor does it contain the memorable melodies found in Ishqiya or Saat Hoon Maaf. But the experimental music to Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola has its own style, oozes charm, fun and amusement and is a perfect rustic blend for his forthcoming film. This is class in a different avatar courtesy Vishal Bharadwaj so either appreciate it or miss out on a master on top of his game.