There are very good expectations from the music of Bombay Velvet. After all, this is one of those rare films in the current era of Bollywood which is celebrating a cocktail of ingredients from the past, including jazz music. Hence, it is also pretty much on the cards that the music would be unconventional. With composer Amit Trivedi and lyricist Amitabh Bhattacharya at the helm of affairs, you are in for a quality outing.
As you play on the soundtrack, you do realize that it is heavy duty by all standards, what with an hour long music packaged together. With as many as 14 tracks out there, you do realize that after Dev D, this is one of the most ambitious musicals from director Anurag Kashyap. It also turns out to be a ladies-only show all the way, what with just a couple of songs featuring a male vocalist. While Neeti Mohan gets to sing a majority of tracks, Shefali Alvares gets her fair share as well. In fact it is Shefali who kick-starts the proceedings with 'Aam Hindustani' which immediately sets the mood of the film by acting as a prelude.
Next to arrive is 'Mohabbat Buri Bimari' and from this point on, Bombay Velvet turns out to be an out and out jazz score. There was a time when Geeta Dutt crooned in a club and K.N. Singh looked on. It is back to the same stage and arena, courtesy Neeti Mohan whose relaxed version of this song is bang on with the kind of mood, which was expected in Bombay Velvet. With easy lyrics that compliment the mood of the 50s, there are two more versions to follow. First to arrive is Shefali Alvares version that basically is the continuation of Neeti's version. However, the one which is bound to see bigger popularity is Shalmali Kholgade's version which is put together as a 'remix version' by Mikey McCleary. This is the one which is currently on air and has a good role to play in ensuring that it reaches out to today's generation as well.
Neeti Mohan returns on the scene with 'Ka Kha Gha' which has the sound of saxophone coming quite close to the theme of 'Are Re Are Yeh Kya Hua' [Dil To Paagal Hai]. However the similarity just ends there as it is jazz that continues to make its presence felt all over again. Neeti Mohan is pretty relaxed here as well and though the song is not the kind that would go on and find a long run for itself, it does well for its playing time and should compliment that narrative of the film.
Neeti continues her dominance in the album with 'Dhadaam Dhadaam', which from the title, appears to be a 'dhamakedaar' number. However, this is not really the case as the sound stays consistent with the mood that has been created so far in the album. As a matter of fact, at places it comes across as an Opera outing and turns out to be strictly situational. Things turn upbeat though with Neeti's 'Naak Pe Gussa' and at this point one wonders if the music would actually be a conversational tool in the storytelling of the film. With so many songs in the album, it is impossible to believe that they would play in isolation.
There is disappointment though on the cards with 'Sylvia' which just doesn't fit in and though the arrangements and overall presentation are in synch with the film, what one eventually gets to hear is a number that is strictly 50s. Now that's understandable considering the time period of the film; however the moment you hear the lines 'Ye Kya Kiya, Sylvia', it turns out to be an instant put off.
For the first time in the album, a male voice is heard with the arrival of Papon. He goes about rendering a somber number, which is rather dull in its treatment and makes one wonder how Ranbir Kapoor's fans would actually accept him with such a musical presentation. Though one has to credit Amit Trivedi for staying true to the genre, era and setting of the film, the end outcome is rather too sober for a superstar actor's presence. Thankfully, things do pep up a little with the arrival of Shefali Alvares. Though she goes about singing 'Shut Up', you actually want the song to go on as it does enliven the proceedings.
The best is reserved for the last though with Mr. Reliable Mohit Chauhan coming on the scene. Now this is one voice that makes Bombay Velvet come across as an altogether different journey, hence bringing in a high. Even though 'Behroopia' too isn't quintessentially Bollywood, it still has a contemporary feel to it which ensures that as a listener, you do play it on loop. Moreover, with Neeti Mohan joining the scene and leaving behind the 50s era to sound much more contemporary, there is certain spark that comes in. A winner all the way.
From this point on, it is 15 minutes of instrumental/theme scores and the first to arrive is 'The Bombay Velvet Theme'. Slow and somber with a hint of pain to it, this one does go well with the film's genre and should make for an instant play as a part of the background score. 'Conspiracy', as the word suggests, has an ominous sound to it. It does take a while to get to a point from where interest starts developing in knowing what is transpiring in the background. Once that happens though, it does arrest you. Meanwhile, 'Tommy Gun' has a slightly abstract start to it and one waits to see how it actually plays on screen.
The music of Bombay Velvet is pretty much on the expected lines, which means it doesn't really follow Bollywood norms and instead treads a path of its own. While this doesn't necessarily mean that there is a plethora of chartbusters in the offering, the songs seem good enough to fit into the storytelling of the film.
Behroopia, Mohabbat Buri Bimari, Shut Up