The trailer of the upcoming Marathi movie Jau Dya Na Balasaheb that is being shown with the new release Sairat suggests that music composers Ajay-Atul are not content with their preeminent status in the Marathi film industry.
The brothers Ajay and Atul Gogavale are taking strides beyond music. They have turned producers with Jau Dya Na Balasaheb. The placement of their names above the film’s title is proof of their celebrity status and indicates that the fate of Girish Kulkarni’s debut rests on their crowd-pulling charisma.
Ajay-Atul’s music has rightly been one of the high points of Nagraj Manjule’s Sairat too. Sairat is the first Indian film to record with the Symphony Orchestra of Hollywood. The composers support the four-song soundtrack with an equally operatic background score. The scale and grandeur of their music are reminiscent of the sounds of Illaiyaraja and AR Rahman to cineastes, but for the Marathi film industry, the success of the Gogavale siblings has been a long time coming.
It began with Aga Bai Arrecha in 2004, for which they gave a symphonic make-over to a Durga aarti in the song “Durge Durgat Bhari,” apart from other popular songs. The same year, they scored for the Hindi movie Gayab. Like the film, the music went unnoticed. The song “Tanha”, sung by Sonu Nigam in Gayab, is an early indicator of what the brothers would later achieve with the singer in the song “Abhi Mujh Mein Kahin” (Agneepath, 2012) with a similar depth in vocals and orchestration.
They have often rejigged their Marathi songs for Bollywood. “Kombadi Palali” (Jatra, 2006) became “Chikni Chameli” (Agneepath) and “Ye Go Ye Ye Maina” (Jatra) became “Mera Naam Mary Hai” (Brothers, 2015). In 2009, the composers won a National Award for Best Music Direction for Jogwa. Their interpretation of the traditional Gondhal music in the song “Lallati Bhandar” was appreciated for popularising the form. The next year, they explored the lavani and gavalan music forms in Natarang to great success. The songs of Lai Bhaari kept their mast high in 2015.
Ajay-Atul’s fusion of folk forms with western instrumentation and pulsating rhythms breathe new life into traditional music styles. In the 2014 release PK, Ajay-Atul had one song on the ensemble soundtrack. “Tharki Chokro” stood out for its bawdy mix of lyrics, Rajasthani folk elements and robust singing by Swaroop Khan and chorus. It was the one song that drove an otherwise passable soundtrack.
In Manjule’s Fandry (2015), the Gogavales composed the highly energetic “Tuzya Priticha Vinchu Chawla”, which was well received and bagged them Sairat. Ajay-Atul are only going to be scaling higher with their next release .