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Music Review :: Shanghai

We present to you the exclusive music review of Shanghai.

Director Dibakar Banerjee can be trusted with whacky movies – Khosla Ka Ghosla, Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye!, Love Sex Aur Dhokha – each film, in a way, outdid the other in terms of artsy cinema, good story and streamlined execution. His next directorial venture is Shanghai. Before we delve into the review, we need to understand the idea behind Shanghai – starring Abhay Deol, Emraan Hashmi, Kalki Koechlin, Prosenjit Chatterjee & Farooq Sheikh.

As per the official synopsis:

In a bustling Indian city gearing up for the latest celebrated political elections, 4 individuals find themselves tied up into a gruesome game of crime and politics. A young activist encounters a shocking and disturbing road accident which leaves a prominent political figure in critical condition. A lone girl on the street believes it to be a murder. A porn film maker claims to have documented proof that will bring the government down. A high ranking bureaucrat is brought in by the government for damage control. As days go by, the individuals discover a hidden secret in the governments sector: a vision of a new metropolis… a pipe dream…. a dream called “Shanghai”.

Understandably, one would presume a multitude of situational songs. C’mon, which was the last movie of the political thriller genre which required the protagonists to run around trees (unless forced into the screenplay)? Aside from the brand value of musicial duo Vishal-Shekhar, one doesn’t really have high expectations from this soundtrack.

Initially, one would easily mistake the much spoken about Bharat Mata Ki Jai for a run-off-the-mill patriotic track. But you are oh-so-wrong and surprisingly, deceived. This rebellious anthem speaks about everything wrong with the internal functioning of our country as well as the state of our nation. Taking a sarcastic-and-ironic route, it then shouts out praises for our motherland.

[youtube_video id=8CuIax5CMB4]

Tak Dhina dhin maar lapad phaad chapad chaat pyare
Na sune baat koi haath hai aur laat pyare,
Apun ko bhi na, ab habit lage la,
Naach magan kaat mutton roz hai khaana,
Bharat Mata ki, Bharat Mata ki,
Tum jai bolo jai, Bharat Mata ki jai,
Sone ki chidiya, Dengue, Malaria,
Gud bhi hai gobar bhi, Bharat Mata ki jai.”

Sample these lines which portray India analogous to the communist city of Shanghai:

“Kasam ye khayi hai, sheher Shanghai hai,
Jo humne kahi rule wahi dhin ta na na na”

Overall, this song is one-of-a-kind with sheer brilliant lyrics by Dibakar Banerjee himself. Lead by Kirti Sagathia, it has added vocals by Vishal Dadlani, Mandar Apte & Chintamani Sohoni. Kirti breathes life into the song and one really misses the rustic Sufi voice of Kailash Kher (which would have been an added bonus). All-in-all, a magnificent start to the album. A remix version ensues which isn’t very different from the original track. Kind of redundant, isn’t it?

The quirkily titled Imported Kamariya instantly blows your mind considering it puts forth a reality check within an item song with subtle comical overtones.


Till date, foreigners have this skewed image of India being inhabited by snake charmers and cows, and to some extent, magic carpets being the only mode of transportation. Richa Sharma (in an amazingly new avatar), along with Vishal Dadlani & Shekhar Ravjiani, negates these beliefs with Imported Kamariya. How so? Read on:

“Door sehar se humka laga India aisa place,
Oont-gaay pe aata jaata hoga sara des,
Hum kaah jaane, hum kaah jaane,
Hum kaah jaane the,
Skyscraper hoga har kone kone pe
Arey nikli India aage jeeti pogress ki race,
Tabhi toh… tabhi toh…
Oh mori imported kamariya chhant ke aayi duniya
Welcome welcome karti India jaan le gayi “

[youtube_video id=-7Wm0R2yhl4]

I bow down to both, lyricist Anvita Dutt Guptan (for writing this song) and Vishal-Shekhar (for composing it). To be honest, the tune isn’t something to talk about. I mean, it just seems to be a rehash of all their previous dance tracks. Yet, at the end of the day, they are THE duo to go to for addictive beats and instant chartbusters. And Imported Kamariya is rightfully one.

Woo hoo – Nandini Srikar sings yet another Bollywood song, titled Dua (co-sung by Arijit Singh). Vishal-Shekhar have really exploited her Carnatic prowess with the vocal modulations amidst the intense singing. At first hear, the listener probably would not register the beauty of this sad song. You can truly appreciate this song after listening to the intricate lyrics carefully. Mid-way, the song blossoms into a power-packed musical crescendo, escalated by Nandini’s delicate voice.

Jo bheji thi duaa, woh jaake aasman se yun takra gayi,
Ke aa gayi hai laut ke sadaa”

Khudaaya starts off leisurely with Shekhar Ravjiani’s soothing voice. The beats do not take the predictable route, once again surprising the listeners with the soft Sufi overtones by Raja Hasan. Lyricist Neelesh Misra rises to the occasion by penning a very difficult song. Unfortunately, there is a remix version of this too. Stupidly redundant would be an understatement for it.

“Rehmat khuda kar zara ik dafa,
Dil dene ka keh zara falsafa,
Ye naacheez, ik cheez uski maange hai tujhse
Musafir ye dehleez uski maange hai tujhse
Khudaaya tu bata, Kahaan uska pata?
Pataa kar.
Main uske bina be-pata hoon
Be-pata be-pata be-pata hoon”

Morcha suffers from a Gun Gun Guna (from Agneepath) hangover. Despite having the noblest of intentions, Morcha comes across as the anti-Bharat Mata Ji Kai. Written by Vishal Dadlani, it plausibly sounds more like the speech of an election rally contender – assuring the huk (rights) of citizens over continuous electricity in households along with regular water supply. You can expect this song to blast the speakers on loop during the next elections.

“Huk se milega sabko, Sabko huk se milega rey
Ek unnatti ka chakka, Aur jaldi chalega rey
Har ghar mein light bhi hoga,
Ghar ghar mein pani bhi,
Mauka hai yehi hai ab toh,
Aaja rey aaja rey aaja rey aaja,
Morcha morcha
Bhakti hai shakti hai, mukti hai mootthi hai”

Finally, Srivatsa Krishna chants the Mantra Vishnu Sahasranamam. Not much can be said about this track since it is pretty straightforward – a chant used somewhere in the movie. Though I must admit, it paves way for a peaceful end to an otherwise fully-charged soundtrack.

Overall, Shanghai is one of the best albums released till date in 2012. Vishal-Shekhar have yet another winner in hand. Grab a copy NOW!

Shanghai releases on 8th June, 2012.

SHRESHT’S PICKS: Bharat Mata Ki Jai, Imported Kamariya, Duaa, Khudaaya.

RATING: ***1/2 out of *****

Stay tuned to for regular musical updates.

Hark ye, padawaans! Follow the musical force on Twitter @highonscore

Follow Shresht Poddar on Twitter @shreshtpoddar & Facebook @shreshtpoddar

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