Music Review: Bombay Velvet

Music Director: Amit Trivedi and Mickey McCleary

Lyricist: Amitabh Bhattacharya

Music Label: Zee Music Company

Bahaaro phool barsao for here comes one of the much-awaited albums of 2015!

Bollywood hardly offers any movie with apt musical tracks (The last one was probably the album of ‘Lootera’ by Amit Trivedi) But here we have this album of Bombay Velvet which is keeping the authenticity of this period movie alive (Again, Amit Trivedi!). Or are we made to believe that 60’s era only had the swing jazz scene, that too with some whacky lyrics? But it anyhow goes with the cinematic track of the film presented to us, with the complete gangsters and underdog scenario of the 60’s era, so, no issues as such.

Bombay Velvet’s album is a blend of classic Jazz and Bollywood music, with a pinch of modern-day spiced up-steamy music (To appeal to the masses, of course!). They have actually used an actual jazz band (apparently The City of Prague Philharmonic Big Band) to bring out the authenticity.

Fifi- Jaata Kahaan Hai Deewane is not there on the official album but it has been doing rounds these days and is probably the most loved track from the movie. The song is by Mickey McCleary (typically so) and is a remixed version of the old song from the Dev Anand and Geeta Dutt starrer CID. Sung by Suman Shridhar, the song has a nice peppy touch. Mickey and Suman have earlier successfully paired up for the remixed versions of ‘Khoya Khoya Chand’ (My favorite!) and ‘Hawa Hawai’  for the movie Shaitaan.

Aam Hindustani is the first track on the album and my favorite one. It is also the longest track. All credit goes to the beautiful musical prelude and Shefali Alvares for those amazing vocals. The prelude reminds you of those old English comedy classics for it has that jubilant-jumping-gleefulness.

Next up is Mohabbat Buri Bimari, which has 3 different versions (which was not required!) – One with Neeti Mohan, one with Shefali Alvares, and one with Shalmali Kholgade. Amongst these, my pick would be the one with Shalmali which is a remixed version by Mickey McCleary with that brassy, dawdling effect added by Shalmali. Shefali Alvares’ version is more simple yet a good one. Neeti’s version has little beautiful elements which she adds herself, improvising like a pro jazz singer, which almost sounds like an interaction.

Ka Kha Gha is a classic simple jazz number yet it sounds so good. Neeti Mohan is scatting like a pro in this one. Amazing vocals by Mohan, nice soothing music by Trivedi, and romantic lyrics by Amitabh Bhattacharya make it a good romantic song.

Dhadaam Dhadaam belongs to Neeti Mohan *Taaliyaaaan!*. No, seriously she has done an amazing job with all those high notes and that beautiful trembling vocal towards the end. Wow! Take a bow, Mohan.

Naak Pe Gussa has a lovely Indian touch that definitely takes you back to the 50’s and 60’s eras. But honestly, watching Anushka Sharma perform this number has ruined the charm of the song, for me at least.

Sylvia is an avoidable track. It is an ordinary song but it certainly reminds you of all those old Bollywood melodies with the quirky-gimmicky elements, like the ones in Kishore Kumar songs.

Darbaan is again a simple yet beautiful track of the album. One would expect something extraordinary out of it since it is composed by Amit Trivedi and sung by Papon, but the simplicity of the song rules here. It beautifully depicts the distinction between aristocracy and mediocre poor life. The distinctive element here is the ‘Darbaan’ or the doorman who is the obstruction and is keeping him away from his opportunity- “Mauka hai saamne, tu bhi taiyaar hai. Tere aage mehel aalishaam hai, bas darwaaze pe ek darbaan hai.”

Shut Up is a good vivacious track sung by Shefali Alvares. *drum roll*. No, we don’t have anything to reveal but the song begins with a drum roll. It also has a persistent cello plucking going along the song which gives it a different twist.

Behroopia is a pure romantic track sung by Mohit Chauhan and Neeti Mohan (Again!) It has very ordinary, everyday Bollywood music that we are used to hearing. Certainly not expected from Trivedi.

Then there are two graceful and purely instrumental tracks. Conspiracy is as intense as it sounds. The Bombay Velvet Theme has a thrilling effect to it with some spooky overtones.

Tommy Gun is another instrumental track of the album. It is an average song and maybe uncalled for.

As a huge Amit Trivedi fan I would say that it is a great album, surely the best in 2015, up till now, but using Neeti Mohan for most of the songs was not a good decision. Trivedi could have partnered up with some amazing Indian jazz vocalists like Mili Nair (Btw she has sung for Trivedi before, for his songs ‘Meethi Boliyaa’ from the movie Kai Po Chhe and ‘Badri Badariyaa’ from Coke Studio 2) or he may have used Shalmali for a couple of songs.

All in all, the ladies rule this album. Most of these songs have the capability to grow on you. The music is unconventional yet glorious and you may end up playing some songs over and over again.

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