Divine/ Kohinoor, Mass Appeal
The release of the film Gully Boy earlier this year helped expand rapper Divine’s audience further, as it was inspired by his and Naezy’s life stories. His song ‘Kohinoor’ was thus eagerly awaited by the rap-loving community.
It’s a typical Divine song, offering nothing new in sound but yet capable of making a mark with its street jargon. So you have the lines “Cement se nikla gulaab”, “Gully gang sab se hard parivar” and “Kohinoor, Kohinoor, kabhi jhuke na, kabhi ruke na”.
There’s also the standard dissing of rivals, with Divine calling himself “rap ka Kishore”, whatever he means. The black and white video goes perfectly with the words. The only hitch is that the song seems to ramble on after a while.
Rating: 7/ 10
A.R. Rahman/ For You My Love (O Bandeya), Sony Music
For a really long time, music director A.R. Rahman hadn’t done anything great. He recently had no marvellous Hindi soundtracks and his Avengers Endgame Anthem was a disaster. Luckily, ‘For You My Love’ goes back to his early brilliance.
Used in Gurinder Chadha’s film Blinded By The Light and also released as a music video, the song is a mix of simple English melody (sung by Hriday Gattani) and Sufi-influenced Punjabi (Parag Chhabra). The combination may sound odd initially, but soon grows.
Amith Krishnan’s video blends scenes from the film with shots of Rahman on piano. A must for the Chennai star’s fans.
Rating: 9/ 10
Gajendra Verma/ Milo Na Tum, self-released
The video of the remake of the Heer Ranjha song ‘Milo Na Tum’ is all about a guy who smiles more than all Colgate models put together, wearing a hat that just doesn’t suit him. As if we weren’t getting tired of film adaptations of classics, we are getting them in the non-film segment too.
Verma tries to add some new words and a fresh interlude to make it sound like a mash-up between the old hit and his own original creation. Tina Ahuja tries to add glamour through her fashion-perfect appearance. Some villains try to look angry. Everybody tries, nobody succeeds.
Rating: 5/ 10
Sonam Kalra and the Sufi Gospel Project/ Alfat, self-released
This is an absolutely wonderful song based on a traditional Sufi kalaam by the legendary Baba Bulleh Shah, with singer Kalra adding a few lyrics. It talks about how one’s place of worship is not within the walls of a building, but inside the hearts of people around.
The song starts with a beautiful instrumental part, with Rael Armstrong’s video showing the musicians offering prayers in different ways. The rest is shot in the studio, and the melody is addictive. The sarangi, bansuri, tabla, morchang and keyboards add to the charm, which grows on repeated viewing.
Rating: 9/ 10
Ananya Birla ft. Sean Kingston/ Day Goes By, Universal Music
Pop, rap and reggae blend smoothly on Ananya Birla’s new single ‘Day Goes By’, where she’s joined by Jamaican-American singer Sean Kingston. The song is hummable, and has a club feel and sing-along vibe, with the lines “Not a day goes by, not a day goes by, when you’re not on my mind, Boy I miss you.”
‘Day Goes By’ should be able to attract the younger generation, and definitely has an international flavour. The video shows the singers doing some cool steps, making this number ideal for the dance floor. One only wishes Birla smiled more.
Rating: 8/ 10
Kasam Khan and the Saptak Collective/ Sawan, Anahad Foundation
In its Equal Sessions series, Abhinav Agrawal of the Anahad Foundation has attempted to fuse traditional folk forms with modern sounds. In its third episode ‘Sawan’, singer Kasam Khan and his troupe are joined by the folk-fusion group Saptak Collective.
Based on a traditional piece by Rajasthan’s Langha community, ‘Sawan’ is about a woman who asks her husband to return after monsoons for the festival of Teej. Typical Rajasthani instruments like sarangi and khartal mingle with guitars and drums. The strong vocals by Kasam Khan and Saptak Chatterjee bind the piece.
Rating: 8/ 10