NH10 critic review: Anushka Sharma-starrer soundtrack fits the overall modest expectations

By: | Published: March 11, 2015 12:37 PM

NH10, the Anushka Sharma-starrer road movie, is anticipated for a powerful storyline...

NH10, NH10 review, NH10 movie, Anushka SharmaNH10, starring Anushka Sharma, is expected to have a powerful storyline.

NH10 music review; Cast: Anushka Sharma, Neil Bhoopalam, Darshan Kumaar;  Satbir Music: Sanjeev Rathod & Darshan Rathod, Bann Chakraborty & Abhiruchi Chand, Ayush Shrestha, Savera Mehta & Samira Koppikar
Lyrics: Kumaar, Bann Chakraborty, Manoj Tapadia, Neeraj Rajawat & Varun Grover
Music Label: Eros Music

Expectations: 

This road movie is anticipated for a powerful storyline. That and the film’s setup do not lead to great expectations from the score, and the multiple music makers support the premise that no composer is truly involved with the film as a whole. 

Music: 

Kanika Kapoor delivers a fiery rendition of ‘Chhil gaye naina’ (with Dipanshu Pandit’s valiant attempt to keep pace). The rock-heavy song exhibits the resonant Kanika in a range and octave different from earlier songs (like ‘Baby Doll’ in Ragini MMS 2, ‘Lovely’ and ‘Kamli’ from Happy New Year and ‘Chitthiyaan Kaliayaan’ from Roy). Such range can only come from a highly-trained singer, and Kapoor, happily, is surely moving up fast. 

The lyrics (Kumaar) are angst-heavy, meaningful and simple (‘Kaanch ki neend aayi/Patthar ke khwaab laayi’) and probe deep into the emotions of a scarred life. This is the kind of rare beauty Kumaar writes among his conventionally trite and Punjabi-heavy trash-and marks him as a talent who sadly does not let himself flower. 

The music by Sanjeev and Darshan Rathod is a surprising blend of contemporary youthful angst and melody. One could almost say that this is the March 2015 version of last month’s angry masterpiece ‘Jee karda’ from Badlapur! Kudos to the music makers (who arrived in the late ’90s) for this trendy piece. 

Before we discuss the other good songs in this soundtrack, let us look quickly at the three trivial songs on this album. Savera Mehta recites her own composition with Ayush Shrestha, ‘Main jo’ like a child reciting a nursery rhyme in class! The song also is no weightier, though it lacks the lasting appeal of that genre. Nayantara Bhatkal sounds like a wannabe Ash King, and that’s no compliment at all! The lyrics by Manoj Tapadia are merely serviceable for a forgettable song. 

‘Khoney de’ is well-sung by Mohit Chauhan and Neeti Mohan (music and lyrics by Bann Chakraborty), but the heavy orchestration and needlessly high pitch distracts and takes what could have been a decent melody to below-par levels. This can be also made out from the comparatively gentle notes of this song’s instrumental version. Nothing classic here, but they could have saved the song, for it had a nice and retro lounge feel. 

‘Kya karein’ (Rachel Verghese) is written by Varun Dum Laga Ke Haisha Grover and composed by Savera Mehta and Ayush Shrestha. We wonder why the song sounds so much like ‘Kahaan hoon main’ from last year’s Highway, complete with the singer’s tone and the feel of the orchestration. However Varun’s words (Bachpan mein sau baar humne suna / Bholi si duniya / Jaana jo seene ke paar hui / Goli si duniyaa) compensate considerably in this all-too-brief (10-line) litany. 

Now for the songs that matter. 

The Samira Koppikar sung and composed ‘Maati ke palang’ is a mood number with good lyrics by Neeraj Rajawat that actually showcase a deep philosophy-of everyone ending up on a bed of soil after their life’s journey is over. The deliberate effort to skip beats and simple meters aims at novelty but distracts too much because of its overuse in a short track. But the song scores when the music follows the straight path, helped by Samira’s interesting vocals. 

We come next to the three-version ‘Le chal mujhe’ composed by Bann Chakraborty and Abhiruchi Chand and written by the former. Nice and placid piano riffs begin the three songs, and Arijit Singh exploits this fragile serenade of love with his expert nuances in the reprise version, complemented by the soft strings and the very fleeting use of chorus. Arijit caresses the composition like someone deeply in love with it. 

Mohit infuses his own brand of melancholy effortlessly in his version, with a stronger, more resonant rendition of the haunting composition. He does not throw in as many nuances, but somehow this version is sharper, and finally works as well as the Arijit one. Some fusion orchestration is tried out before the second antara, and the fleeting chorus is also present. 

It is Shilpa Rao’s version that takes a complete tumble. Eight years after her film debut, we wonder why this talented and classically-groomed singer does not render songs in the right, deep-throated manner. The extra guitar twangs prove that the song has an important placing, but her voice actually drowns at junctures within the orchestration, so much so that we wonder why such a rendition was even passed. 

Overall: 

The soundtrack just fits the overall modest expectations. But for ‘Chhil gaye naina’ and (strictly) the two male versions of ‘Le chal mujhe’, which are haunting and remind us vaguely of some old Kishore Kumar classics, the music does not work overall and is unlikely to boost the film. However, one must thank the makers for sticking to a certain level in the lyrics. 

Our Pick: 

‘Chhil gaye naina’, ‘Le chal mujhe’, ‘Maati ka palang’

– By Rajiv Vijayakar

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