The September 23 release Banjo marks the Hindi film debut of director Ravi Jadhav, whose Marathi debut Natarang (2010) won a National Award for Best Feature Film. He followed the success of Natarang with Balgandharva (2011) and Balak-Palak (2012).
Banjo features Riteish Deshmukh in the lead role of a street musician opposite Nargis Fakhri. Vishal-Shekhar’s soundtrack, with lyrics by Amitabh Bhattacharya, is appropriately rambunctious.
Bappa, sung by Vishal Dadlani, is ear-piercingly loud. Designed as a street song celebrating Ganesh Chaturthi, the accent is on high-energy drumbeats and gruff vocals. Dadlani delivers on both counts.
After rupturing the eardrums, the composers apply the balm with Udan Choo. Sung by Hriday Gattani, the soothing sounds take a drastic detour midway as the track hurtles into a percussion-lead finish.
Rada, sung by Dadlani, Nakash Aziz and Shalmali Kholgade, is a track about friends having a blast. It is trying hard to be the rousing number that Zingaat (Sairat, 2016) was, but it doesn’t have the same spunk. Rada is a sore example of why Sairat composers Ajay-Atul, who previously worked on Natarang, would have been a better bet for Banjo since they have a proven record of putting street sounds to good use.
The refrain in Pee Paa Ke is closer in sound to the nonsense words “Tyaauntyaauntyaaun” from Desi Beat (Bodyguard, 2011). Dadlani and Aziz ratchet up another frenzied tune. Ajay Gogavale, one half of Ajay-Atul, sings Rehmo Karam. Its symphonic sound is similar in spirit to the grandeur of Ajay-Atul’s Abhi Mujh Mein from Agneepath (2012).
The closing song Om Ganapataye Namaha Deva, sung by Aziz, features Dadlani rapping in English with an energised chorus following him. Their vocals are extremely loud and that is not music to the ears, as all street processions will confirm.