Music review Issaq: Love in Banaras

IssaqMusic review Issaq: Love in Banaras

Composer: Sachin-Jigar, Krsna, Sachin Gupta

Lyricist: Rajshekhar, Neelesh Misra

Rating: ***

The album starts on a breezy note with Issaq tera, the album's centrepiece that is already the most popular song of the album. Composers Sachin-Jigar employ the most convenient template of a hummable Bollywood romantic song but makes it work, mainly through Mohit Chauhan's vocals, who has sort of mastered an unbeatable playback voice for songs like this. Rashid Khan's vocals resonate with the dark clouds hovering around the ghats of Banaras in Jheeni re jheeni, a song that works simply for its pleasant semi-classical flourishes that get able female support by Prathiba Baghel. Indian Ocean frontman Rahul Ram brings his signature fervour in Bhole chale, a song about innuendos of the revered cannabis plant of Bholenath. Ram's vocals are curiously off-key and the composition sounds too flat to leave any mark. Ankur Tiwary supplies his livewire vocals to Aag ka dariya. It has a catchy hook line but the rest of the composition has little to offer, underlined by a hackneyed arrangement of drums and guitars format. Krsna had got his small town flavours right in Tanu Weds Manu, and he does the same here with Enne unne, with an interesting mix of voices of Kirthi Sagathia, Papon, Mamta Sharma and Tarun Sagar, and apt lyrics written by Raj Shekhar. Krsna offers more with Bhagan ke rekhan ki, a song that delicately balances folk tune with the elegant strains of shehnai. It's refreshing to hear the raw, uninhibited voices of Malini Awasthi and Raghubir Yadav who add much character to the song. The rest—the duet (Issaq tera) and unplugged (Aag ka dariya) — are just redundant album-fillers.

Issaq isn't ambitious and imaginative in the way Raanjhanaa captured the Banarasi flavours in its music, but it is pleasantly surprising in parts. Composer Krsna, with two of his compositions, and the two of Sachin-Jigar's stand out in the album.

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