Album: Bole Naina
Artistes: Gulzar, Pratibha Singh Baghel, Deepak Pandit
Genre: Ghazal, thumri
Rating: 9/ 10
For every young ghazal singer, working with the veteran Gulzar would be a dream come true. On the six-track album Bole Naina, Pratibha Singh Baghel does a commendable job. With music composed and produced by the talented Deepak Pandit, the songs grow on you.
The album also has tabla maestro Ustad Zakir Hussain appearing as a guest, and the Budapest Symphony Orchestra accompanying the Indian musicians. The title song uses a thumri style and influences of Sanjay Leela Bhansali films, and yet stands out on its own.
In his trademark style, Gulzar recites, “Kisine kaha naina ki mat maaniyo naina thag lenge” against a mild piano backdrop. Pratibha then sings, “Bole naina, naina bole, hum bole na woh bole” as a string section and tabla join the arrangement. The video, directed by Ravi Jadhav, has a palatial grandeur and brilliantly choreographed dance.
Four of the songs are ghazals, mostly written in chhoti behr (short meter). Pratibha’s rendition of “Beqaran kaaynat hai shayad, itni lambi yeh raat hai shayad” is delicate, and the subtle orchestration goes perfectly with the words.
All songs have sections with Gulzar’s recitation. The flute has been charmingly used on ‘Behti Bhi Nahin Ankhen’, which uses a different writing pattern, with rhyming words in the first half of the line. On the nostalgic ‘Khushbu Jaise Log’, rendered earlier by Ghulam Ali, Gulzar writes, “Khushbu jaise log mile afsaane mein, ek purana khat khola anjaane mein”.
The next track begins with beautiful back-up vocals, before Pratibha sings, “Raat ko jaane kya hota hai, hasne lagti hai”. The line “Saara din main is dil ko dafnaata rehta hoon, raat ko uthkar yeh parchaayee chalne lagti hai” is evidence of Gulzar’s brilliance. Bhupinder had recorded this earlier.
The album concludes with ‘Gin Gin Boondein’, which has the lines “Gin gin boondein akhiyaan chalki, saari rain palak na jhapki”. Deepak’s orchestration is seamless, and the rhythm is vibrant.
The best part of Bole Naina is the sense of balance. Everything fits in perfectly, from the vocals to the words to the tempo to the orchestration. A special feature is that it has been recorded on Dolby Atmos.
On initial listening, one may find a bit of monotony on the second half, but the depth comes across after a few repeats. While Deepak’s compositions are marvellous, Pratibha impresses with her pleasing voice and strong command. One has seen her in many online shows last year, but this set is obviously a boost to her career. Bole Naina also proves that the younger generation has the ability to produce great music in traditional genres, without getting into the commercial space.