Shree Narayan Singh’s Batti Gul Meter Chalu, starring Shahid Kapoor and Shraddha Kapoor, is a social issue-based drama like the director’s Toilet: Ek Prem Katha (2017). This time, the villain is a corrupt electricity board overcharging a small town for its services. Like Toilet: Ek Prem Katha, Batti Gul Meter Chalu has a soundtrack that is nothing to write home about. The film opens on September 21.
The only bright spot in this otherwise dim multi-composer album is Har Har Gange, composed by Sachet-Parampara and written by Siddharth-Garima in praise of the Ganga river. It has a pleasant melody. The instrumentation is sparse, which lets the tune breathe. Arijit Singh is characteristically brilliant. Sadly, at three minutes, Har Har Gange is the album’s shortest song.
The film stars Shahid Kapoor, so you need songs to make him dance. One is Gold Tamba from Anu Malik, a throwback to the kind of songs that made Govinda a star in David Dhawan’s 1990s films. Lyricist’s Siddharth-Garima’s brief appears to have been to create lyrics for a song in which the hero serenades the heroine with a hundred backup dancers. They oblige with “When you getting gold, why go for tamba?” and “When you getting Gabbar, why go for Sambha?”
The other dance song, Hard Hard, is sung by Mika Singh, which should tell you everything about the kind of song it is. Composed by Sachet-Parampara, Hard Hard is a cacophonous mess that crashes into your ears hard hard, and should end fast fast when it comes in the film.
And finally, the recreated classic song without which a T-Series soundtrack is incomplete. Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan’s Dekhte Dekhte (Sochta Hoon Ke Woh Kitne Masoom) comes in two versions, one by Atif Aslam and the other by Rahat Fateh Ali Khan. Both versions feature new lyrics, by Manoj Muntashir, and additional music by Rochak Kohli.
Were the recreations necessary? To sell the film, of course, but that aside, these versions don’t do anything new with the original. Kohli goes for a radio-friendly Bollywood-ballad sound. Both versions are snappy, ending after a little over four minutes. They are also not bad. One wouldn’t, perhaps, seek out these songs to listen to when the original exists, but if they do appear on a playlist, they won’t sound as blasphemous as alarmed puritans make them to be.
The review had earlier erroneously noted that ‘Har Har Gange’ and ‘Hard Hard’ were composed by Anu Malik. This has been corrected.