Half the soundtrack for Ali Abbas Zafar’s June 5 release Bharat has great-to-very good original compositions, which is a lot these days. Although there is an attempt to mask mediocre tunes with over-production, when composers Vishal-Shekhar hold back and let the melody breathe, as they usually do with the ballads, the results are stellar. In Student Of The Year 2 this year, the duo proved it with Fakira. Here, they have Chashni.

Bharat (2019) jukebox.

The romance is literally syrupy in Irshad Kamil’s lyrics. The mukhda is an instant earworm. Chashni is an all-round beauty, which blooms in the stripped-down Neha Bhasin version. Bhasin has sung unplugged renditions of the key Vishal-Shekhar ballads in Zafar’s previous films with Khan (Jag Ghoomeya, Dil Diya Gallan), and here too, she delivers the better version.

Chashni by Neha Bhasin, Bharat (2019).

Slow Motion earns its spot in the lifetime list of staple Salman Khan smashers. Everything is in the right place and in the right amount: a catchy hookline, wacky lyrics, an infectious beat, powerful singing by Nakash Aziz and a good supporting performance by a curious choice for this kind of a song (Shreya Ghoshal).

Slow Motion by Nakash Aziz and Shreya Ghoshal, Bharat (2019).

Aithey Aa, like the soundtrack, is almost great. Akasa Singh’s portions, which kickstart the song (and keep coming back), have delightfully suggestive lyrics. Kamil’s spunky lines find their match in Neeti Mohan, who is on fire here. The bass-and-shenai combo is a delight. Kamaal Khan is the song’s weakest link. Perhaps, the presence of the Oh Oh Jaane Jaana singer is a hat-tip to the fans.

There’s another version that is an all-Nakash Aziz show, now meant for Salman Khan to lure his lover.

Aithey Aa by Akasa Singh, Neeti Mohan and Kamaal Khan, Bharat (2019).

Only if Zinda were longer. The tune has a mindblowing hook, whose composition is credited to both Julius Packiam and Ali Abbas Zafar. The lyrics are by Zafar too. At barely two minutes and twenty seconds, the song registers its presence as a moving and sturdy tribute to the film’s hero.

Zinda by Vishal Dadlani, Bharat (2019).

However, the law of averages catches up with the soundtrack. Sukhwinder Singh sings Turpeya, which is about living far from home and missing it, but for some reason, it’s a thumping dance song. At times, the song is relentlessly loud. Kamil’s lyrics are on point. Singh is, as always, stellar. But the cacophonous production is distracting.

Turpeya by Sukhwinder Singh, Bharat (2019).

The other Sukhwinder Singh song, Thap Thap, is also one whose arrangement and production betrays the tone of the lyrics. Kamil’s lines about longing to meet a loved one for years drip with angst, but the song sounds like it wants you to grab a dafli and dance.

Thap Thap by Sukhwinder Singh, Bharat (2019).

Finally, we reach the album’s six-minute bore. It really is a marvel when a track meant to stretch over a time-consuming montage is not just a filler but also has a sensational tune. Case in point: Vishal-Shekhar’s Bhare Naina (Ra.One, 2011), which, despite meandering interludes, had a tune great enough to hold attention. Aaya Na Tu is just as long and the attempt is to be just as operatic, but it has zero recall value.

Aaya Na Tu by Jyoti Nooran, Bharat (2019).

Also read:

‘Bharat’: Salman is Salman, but also watch out for Katrina Kaif, says director Ali Abbas Zafar

‘Student Of The Year 2’ music review: Equal parts fun and beautiful

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