Music of Vishal Bhardwaj's films may or may not turn out to be hugely popular amongst the masses (Omkara and Kaminey were huge, 7 Khoon Maaf wasn't) but one thing is for sure that there is always immense curiosity to check out what he has to offer. There is one plain and simple reason behind it; he doesn't follow a set path and aims at surprising audience as well as himself in each and every outing of his. This is what makes the music of Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola special as well since along with Gulzar, he promises an entertaining, yet different score.
The album kick-starts with 'Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola' with a brilliant play of instruments that catches your attention there and then. While the lyrics carry a good dose of with, it's Sukhwinder Singh's rendition which makes it all the more exciting. This one is a complete package affair as one gets to sense a Haryanvi touch to the overall composition as well as arrangements that not just lend a good authenticity to the play of affairs but also bring in good entertainment value. Ranjit Barot chips in as well for this riotous outing which has the 'antara' taking forward the good work of the 'mukhda' and ensures good pace and fun.
Vishal Bhardwaj gets into the zone with 'Khamakha' where he also comes behind the mike. It is always a pleasure to hear what he has to sing and 'Khamakha' is no different. Right from the days of his lesser heard work in Betaabi to such beautiful melodic outings in Kaminey where he has brought his vocal cords into play, Vishal has always delivered. He makes it count this time around as well as a result of which 'Khamakha', which has Prem Dehati chipping in as well along with some good chorus into play, turns out to be the kind of song that can be played at leisure and in a repeat mode.
Fun returns to the proceedings with 'Oye Boy Charlie' which has a unique combination of Rekha Bhardwaj, Shankar Mahadevan and Mohit Chauhan coming together. Though one wonders what made Gulzar come up with lyrics like 'Tu Meri Timbaktu Hai', all of that is diminished once Rekha comes into an Asha Bhosle mode with Vishal coming up with the kind of composition that reminds one of Lakshmikant-Pyaarelal's work. While Shankar is good once again, it is particularly surprising to see Mohit Chauhan letting his hair down, albeit in his own style yet again, as a result of which 'Oye Boy Charlie' turns out to be a highlight song.
With everything going right for the album so far, one just wishes that rest of the album follows a good route as well and continues to bring something interesting for the listener. Since this is a song heavy album, one just wishes that there is no slip whatsoever. 'Lootnewale' turns out to be a song which has a situational appeal to it and doesn't really bring with the kind of flavour that would make one play it on a loop. A song with a revolutionary touch to it, this Sukhwinder Singh and Master Saleem song (also appearing in a 'reprise version') is vociferous and makes one wonder about the situation it is placed in.
Prem Dehati gets into an out and out Haryanvi mode with this celebratory 'band baaja' number which gives one an impression of being recorded in the middle of a procession itself. Of course, this 90 seconds piece is a studio work and while it may be of some relevance in the film's narrative, as a standalone number it doesn't have in it to make you revisit it.
Quintessential Vishal returns though with 'Badal Uthiya' which has a folk flavour to it and would be liked by those who like their music to be different from the routine Bollywood scores. As is the flavour of the film itself, this song too is set in the land of Haryana and carries the local flavour. Rekha Bhardwaj does well in this serene outing that is far detached from what is used to hearing in a Hindi film score. To re-emphasize on the impact, there is a 'reprise' version of the song as well with Prem Dehati taking charge.
Matru along with Mandola, i.e. Pankaj Kapur and Imran Khan come behind the mike for 'Chaar Dina Ki', a fun number where the duo seems to be taking on a female protagonist. A barely two number piece, it makes one wish that it was a tad longer so that Pankaj and Imran were heard for some more time. However it is Prem Dehati who comes on the scene immediately which makes one wish that at least Imran gets to exercise his vocal muscles for a film's song on some other day. Reason being that Pankaj Kapur still gets that opportunity with a minute long piece which starts and ends before one says 'Chor Police'.
There is a surprise in store, not a 'grab-me' kind though, with an African track 'Nomvule' arriving next. Right through the promotion of Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola one has come across African characters in quite a few frames. Now with a dedicated song by Africa Umoja, one only wonders aloud about their relevance in the film.
Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola starts off quite well with a definite chartbuster (the title song) followed by a fun number 'Oye Boy Charlie' and a soothing melody 'Khamakha' thrown in. However, beyond that the six songs that follow either lend an indifferent feel or turn out to be barely situational, hence belying the high expectations one had from the score. With the music release happening quite close to the film, there would have to be some quick and aggressive promotion to allow Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola make the kind of mark that would hold true to Vishal Bhardwaj's stature as a composer.
Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola, Khamakha, Oye Boy Charlie