Deconstructing the Musicals of the year—Part 2: Animal

A scene from the song Pehle bhi main from Animal. Photo: Trailer Video Grab

It’s touted to be a mega-hit of humongous proportions. The film, Animal, which uninhibitedly glorifies and projects a toxic Alpha Male, has become, however, surprisingly known for its music as well. Ranbir Kapoor may well be termed this generation’s only musical star going by his track-record (pun intended) of his debut movie, Saawariya, Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani, Rockstar, Barfi!, Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani, Ae Dil Hai Mushkil, Jagga Jasoos, Brahmastra—Part One: Shiva and now this film.

Pritam, who has done all the above musicals except for Ranbir’s debut film and Rockstar, has been Ranbir’s favorite composer and this time, Raghav Chaitanya’s Hua main, with intense lyrics by Manoj Muntashir follows the now-prevalent Hindi film norm of very high-pitched male singing with the complex mukhda ending in the  hook, Hua main. The singer has the miasma common to most new singers today—he is another version of top singer Arijit Singh! Pritam has stopped doing piecemeal work and this exception seems to be only for T-Series (Yaariyan, I think, was his last as co-composer) and his favorite star Ranbir Kapoor.

Arijit himself appears in the melodic Satranga, which has been composed by Shreyas Puranik in a Pritam-esque mode with lyrics by Siddharth-Garima. Though poetic and placid, the song is barely memorable. The ubiquitous Punjabi words and sentences again come in. The situational lyrics rue the blood-tinged romance of the hero amidst the poetic floss.

The lead track, Arjan vailly, is written and sung by Bhupinder Babbal and composed by Manan Bhardwaj is a completely Punjabi song that is aggressive and glorifies the violent hero, This song has raised controversy for hurting the sentiments of Sikhs who should be portrayed as valiant rather than violent souls! And, of course, the trend of using entirely Punjabi lyrics so frequently for a Hindi film made for a pan-Indian audience has to be deplored by all right-thinking people. Would a Punjabi audience, for example, accept several Tamil or Marathi—or even for that matter, Hindi—songs so frequently in their movies? Within the movie, the filming is also extremely blood-spattered!

Papa meri jaan has the catchiest riff on the album and is composed by Harshavardhan Rameshwar and written sensitively by the talented but underused Rajshekhar of the Tanu Weds Manu franchise fame. Sonu Nigam sings it adequately. The orchestration is very apt and mood-inducing and it epitomizes the theme of the film—the father-son bond. This is a song that would have been taken to the skies by the emotionally expressive late KK. It still remains the best track on the score and can be considered its theme song.

A close second, also written by Rajshekhar, is Pehle bhi main composed and huskily delivered by Vishal Mishra, and the negative angle is that Vishal stretches the wrong words or syllables in best Western music syntax and also attempts to be another vocal ‘worse’ion of Arijit.

The word dafaa, incidentally, is being a shade overused (just like sanam and dilbar in the 1990s!) in today’s film lyrics and this can be corrected, though it merely means ‘again’ or ‘number of times’ and is a synonym for the Hindi word, baar. The piano notes are pleasantly used in the background here.

Manan Bharadwaj has written, composed and sung Kashmir with the silken vocals of Shreya Ghoshal. It is a song of passion that invokes dreams of sublime love, promising to deliver love with a vision of idyllic colors and valleys and everything romantic. The lyrics are fresh, though Manan sings in the now-trendy style of male singers who either holler out their vocals as if they are in pain or sing as if they have just out of a deep sleep!

B. Praak with his high-pitched but soulful voice renders yet another song mainly in Punjabi, with lyrics and music by Jaani. The melody is all-enveloping as are the lyrics, but other than the mukhda and the last decisive, Saari duniya jalaa denge, they don’t sustain in memory. It is another ode here to violence.

Ashim Kemson writes, composes and sings this third Punjabi song, Haiwaan, which is again not so comprehensible for non-Punjabi listeners who simply know enough Hindi to enjoy a film. It is a message song, but other than the transiently-appealing melody, it hardly registers, signifying the perennial truth that the strength of a song in any language lies in the easily-understandable words first and then the tune and vocals.

The last is the add-on Jamal kudu number, reworked from 1950s Iranian Bandari music, and filmed on Bobby Deol in a very adult manner as his ‘entry’ song.  Why do I say ‘adult manner’? It is simply because this romantic poem (translation available online) was written by Iranian poet Bijan Smandar, but was first sung in a girls’ high school there! It is sung by a group of children here as well: Sounik, Harshita, Keerthana, Vagdevi, Meghanaa Naidu, Sabiha, Aishwarya Dasari and Abhikhya under the supervision of Harshavardhan Rameshwar. This is the headiest song on the score and its haunting tune reverberates in my mind. But it is not featured on the soundtrack!

As I look back after deconstructing this score, and possibly because I am not a Punjabi (most Hindi film viewers are not!), I can only recall Papa meri jaan and Pehle bhi main besides the riffs of Saari duniya jalaa denge and Jamal kudu. The songs, as used within the film, did not really register either. Good for those then for whom they did. But I would say that the shelf-life of the score is not going to be all that long.

Rating: Almost 3 stars






Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here