Music: Madboy-Mink, Sneha Khanwalkar-Dibakar Banerjee, Blek, Peter Cat Recording Co. (Pcrc), Mode Aka, Joint Family & Ija
Lyrics: Madboy-Mink, Sneha Khanwalkar-Dibakar Banerjee, Rishi Bradoo, Suryakant Sawhney, Sandeep Mahadevan, Akshay De & Ija
Music Label: Yash Raj Music
After Dum Laga Ke Haisha, expectations are sky-high from Yash Raj Films. The fact that the film is based in the 1943 Bengal, we expect a score that also does well.
But all hopes crash when we get into the score. In sheer energy quotient and the retro Western rhythm, the song 'Calcutta Kiss' (Imaad Shah-Saba Azad) just passes muster, though we cannot exactly say that it recreates the atmosphere of that time or lingers in our mind after it is over: The song is actually eminently forgettable and after the track ends, we do not recollect even its hook. The music and...er, lyrics are by Madboy, Mink (that's how the billing goes).
'Bachke Bakshy' (Gowri Jayakumar, Thomson Andrews), complete with modern gimmicks and rap-like sections, is the kind of song to which you can listen once-provided you have a firm assurance that you will never have to hear it again! The song hardly represents Bengal, forget the 1940s. It's like a cigar with strong, foul smoke instead of the expected aroma of mishti doi! By the way, it is 'written' and 'composed' by Sneha Khanwalkar and Dibakar Banerjee.
The musical mayhem continues with 'Byomkesh in love' (Rishi Bradoo, whom has also 'written' this one, Anil Bradoo, Usri Banerjee), which attempts to create the ambience of the era with spectacular lack of success. The contemporary feel of the tracks defeats again the whole purpose of keeping film music in sync with the ambience needed-all over again! The music is by Blek, and is ble(a)k indeed!
'Jaanam' sounds like a Hindi film waltz gone astray, with its night-bar band feel. The lack of a good and evocative voice that rises above the orchestra is keenly felt and is another downer. The music has been done by Peter Cat Recording Co. (PCRC)-whatever that means!-and the lyrics are by the singer himself-Suryakant Sawhney.
'Chase in Chinatown' (Vyshnav Balasubramaniam, Sandeep Madhavan, Manas Ullas) is intended and unlimited cacophony. The music is by Mode AKA with lyrics by Sandeep Madhavan. The same is true of the rock guitar-driven 'Life's a bitch' sung with lyrics by Akshay De with the music by Joint Family. 'Yang guang lives' has a weird Chinese-sounding name and some weirder English lyrics and some really screwball sound effects in the name of orchestration. The song is written, composed and sung by IJA.
Words fail us, and the score fails the film. Is this a Hindi film score?! That too, from a Yash Raj film? How can someone cold-bloodedly and deliberately forget the needs of a film, its era and its location, just to appease a miniscule minority of listeners who may crack up and jive at such hybrid noise? The music of Detective Byomkesh Bakshy! actually works heavily against the film's allure for the Hindi film buff.
This album defies description and can truly be suffered only once. But we had to listen thrice just to try to be fair to it. A detective is needed to find out why such indignities have been heaped on good melody, lyrics, vocals and everything else that Hindi film music has stood for all along.
'Calcutta Kiss' (if we must choose!)