EROS International’s Ravi Jadhav (Marathi film BALAK PALAK fame) directed, BANJO, comes across as an interesting venture and appears to be a musical drama carrying the title of a musical instrument. Expectations are high from V-S who have been entrusted with the task of helming the music. Though one does question why Ajay-Atul who are Marathi and Mumbaiyya music specialist (since the movie has a strong Marathi flavour) have been chosen instead.
It’s just the start that one expected with a Ganapati arti, ‘Bappa‘, sung with zeal and fervour by our rockstar Vishal Dadlani. One compliments V-S for coming up with a not heard before devotional number (unlike the norm) dedicated to the Lalbaugcha Raja which showers praises and asks for blessings and mercy, at the same time seeking to punish the evil doers.
Next is a soft romantic interlude ‘Udan Choo‘ sung well by Hriday Gattani whose sweet mellifluous vocals add to the charm but the tune that V-S chose is not very fresh and it brings to mind their super-duper hit chartbuster ‘Main Agar Kahoon‘ (OM SHANTI OM).
‘Rada‘ (meaning chaos/mess in Mumbaiyya lingo), has a lively racy rhythm that is a lovely fusion of street music with rock and desi and banjo playing all through and it appears to be a either a club or concert/ stage number. The strong beats of banjo gels well with the free spirited, oozing with confidence mood of the protagonists and so do the lyrics. Vishal leads the way and is supported well by Naksh Aziz and Shalmali Kholgade.
Vishal and Naksh join hands once again in this boisterous, free spirited, care a damn dance number, ‘Pee Pa Ke’. Street music comes to life in this situational number which also introduces the male lead protagonist in an interesting manner. The ‘antara’ has resemblance to Kishore da’s iconic, ‘Hum The Woh Thi‘ (CHALTI KA NAAM GADI).”
Ajay Gogavale renders the next track , ‘Rehmo Karam‘, with emotions and it is a plea, a prayer to the one up there, questioning the system. A sombre, sad, thought provoking and soul searching situational number that acts like a narrative to the plot. The chants of ‘Hey Ram‘ and ‘Deva‘ and spirited banjo and conch shell (shankh) in the end raise goose pimples.
The album appears to have ended with another devotional outing, ‘Om Ganapataye Namaha Deva‘ but no! It turns out to be a ‘zabardast‘ fusion rock based stage song that is not only devotional, but situational, motivational and narrative in its spirit. It essays the whole story in sort of a concert (climax) song. V-S and Amitabh have certainly got this one right with a unique blend of rock and desi. Vishal and Naksh Aziz put up a spirited performance that rocks.
Summing up, V-S do deliver as per expectations, and even though the compositions may not appear universally chartbusting (as they appropriately carry a regional flavour), but they are thematic and situational and are likely to attain popularity once the movie releases. Our picks – ‘Rada’, ‘Pee Pa Ke‘ and ‘Om Gapataye Namah Deva‘. It is indeed a praiseworthy performance from the team, (different songs for different situations) and album worth a hear.
Music Review Rating Chart :-
Excellent – 4.5 & above
Very Good – 4
Good – 3.5
Average/Passable – 3
Pathetic – 2.5 & below