Gangs of Wasseypur has definitely become one of the Anurag Kashyap’s most talked about and profitable ventures. The second film is being released on August 8th, which is a good way to keep the momentum and audience hooked to the revenge saga of the Qureshis and Khans of Wasseypur. If the film was praised for its actors and director, then it got as much love for the wonderful music director Sneha Khanwalkar. The first soundtrack was one of the most innovative and brilliant creations to come around in such a long time. Along with ‘Dk Bose’, and its cousin songs, the sleeper hit ‘Keh Ke Lunga’ is one of the most addictive songs in quite a while. Album 2 is out, with 13 songs that showcase Khanwalkar’s superb compositions and artistry in making sirens, synths, dubstep, and so many other sounds mesh seamlessly with that Bihari spirit of the film.
We start with the tremendous, Chi Cha Leather, which is sung by 12 year old discovery Durga who has such a powerful voice. It is not a saccharinely kiddish voice at all, the gal has got some gritty vocal chops on display here. The electronic feel of the song is addictive as it integrates Durga’s voice into such a great fusion. The lyrics are by Varun Grover, who also wrote the songs on the first album. The lyrics are very fun and Durga delivers them with such speed and verve. The dubstep beats that line the track are great, and I think Bollywood seems to be the best place to find interesting dubstep songs that are not grating on the ears! The arrangements of the song are just perfect and I dare you not to start dancing to this track.
Following that great track is Kaala Rey, which is already making the promo rounds and it is another winner. Sneha Khanwalkar takes the vocals, and she has such an unconventional voice, which is so versatile. Her voice is so fresh and innocent here as she sings about the coal business and its corrupting influence on her ‘saiyaan kaala rey.’ The opening is hypnotic with the repetitive drum beats, which gives way to a great melody on the bass guitar. The arrangement is minimal but it feels so expressive and haunting, which emphasizes the powerful lyrics. Again the lyrics by Varun Grover are sophisticated in the subtlety, and the chorus which hinges on ‘coal coal’ chorus is just an added bonus. During the bridge when the jangly piano comes in and the tempo speeds up, it just adds to Khanwalkar’s fabulous voice and makes this a track worth savouring over.
Next we have the hilarious, Electric Piya, which has some of the funniest Hinglish verses to be used in a very desi number like this. It may be a bit boring and uninspired to some, but the charm is definitely there in singer Rasika D Rani, who has an earthy and authentic voice. The simple arrangements of the harmonium, tabla, and dholak make for a very frenetic melody. It comes together quite well, as it seems to be all about the ‘As thin as wire’ (yep that’s one line in this song!) Faizal Khan (Nawazuddin Siddique), which makes it quite an unusual romantic tune. Grover and Khanwalkar come up with a very inventive tune with eclectic lyrics and desi sound that just works with its chaotic sound. There is an alternate, Electric Piya –Fused, which could appeal to the fans, who want the rough edges smoothened out and sped up. There’s a heavier bass line, and more beats added to enhance the melody and Rani’s voice. Even with a remix track, Khanwalkar makes sure it’s wildly different from the usual remixes we get offered. This one’s a lot more danceable and will probably appeal more in the longer run.
Next up is another mixed up number, Bahut Khoob, sung by the Kids of Musahar village. It certainly is an interesting track that makes use of the kids reciting a ditty, while Khanwalkar remixes it. You can’t fault Khanwalkar for her arrangement skills, because she is fabulous at making something as small and inconsequential like this into a compelling track. We do get another version, Bahut Khoob – 8 Bit, which takes the mixing a little further by adding more vintage video-game electronic beats into the fray. It makes the track incredibly baffling but so much fun! Give this one a try.
As a companion song to Electric Piya, we have the raucous Taar Bijli, which makes more satirical digs at Faizal’s thinness! It is a lovely song, simply for Padmashree Sharda Sinha and her chorus of women who sound like their having a lot of fun. It sounds authentic, rustic and a perfect ladies sangeet song. The acoustic style of just a tabla, harmonium, and tabla make this song sound as if you’re right there alongside these gals. The song does take some time to warm up to, but when the lyrics get funnier near the later portions, it makes it all worth a listen.
If Piyush Misra impressed with ‘Ik Bagal’, then you’ll definitely love Aabroo, a very peppy and energetic qawalli. He’s accompanied by the great Bhupesh Singh (who sang ‘Bhoos’) and they sound so fun together and take turns to duel as the drums get louder around them. The song is arranged so well, with its aggressive drums and band bajaa sound. The lyrics too have their own innate charm, and Grover has such a flair for capturing the Bihari lingo and verve. Give this one a listen!
Time for the instrumentals, as we have Perpendicular’s Theme, which again showcases Khanwalkar’s skillful mixing, as she uses a lot of brass band sound mixing that up with some interesting layered electronic beats. It’s a compelling track, but it does feel a bit too short as a standalone track. Next is Tunya, and it is a better instrumental as it uses a twangy beat to recall a bulbul tarang, which makes it an unusual but a cool track.
One of the best songs on the album is Moora, which utilizes that easygoing Calypso sound into such a breezy song. Sneha Khanwalkar and Robbie Styles take the vocals and sound so serene and lovely together. The use of the mandolin and cascading guitars are just a perfect combination and contribute to making this a song you won’t forget. Varun Grover’s lyrics are very cute with the Hinglish lyrics like, “Upsettaao nahin moora, anytime moodwa ko/Jo bhi wrongwa hai usey set right-wa karo ji.” Gangs of Wasseypur was definitely noted for its sweet and tender romance between Faizal and Mohsina, and this looks like a perfect tune for them. We get another version with, Moora –Morning, which speeds up the tempo of the song, and loops it with electronic beats. This version enhances the dreamy feel of the song without losing the mesmerizing guitar melody. This version also seems to draw attention to the lyrics by using Deepak Kumar. Kumar is the 15 year old, who sang the haunting ‘Humni Ke Chodi Ke’ in the previous album, and he sounds really crisp and versatile on this track too. Pick your favourite, as its hard to choose just one!
Another gem is KKL, which loops ‘Keh Ke Lunga’ and the faster ‘Loonga Loonga’ from the previous album into the crazy and awesome redo. Khanwalkar goes to town on this song, and lays on the dubstep beats and fuzzy electronic beats thick. This is such an amazing track because it sounds so chaotic but Khanwalkar makes this one work so well because she knows how to balance the vocal loops and showcasing her wicked arrangements. This one landed on my most played listed already, it’s just that addictive.
Gangs of Wasseypur 2 is a worthy companion piece to the excellent first album. Again, I cannot stress it enough how much I adore Sneha Khanwalkar’s versatility and originality in creating two albums that are so fresh and large in scope for such a game-changer movie as well. Of course, we may be pressed to choose the best of the two, but the two albums make up such a complete and realized testament to Khanwalkar’s innovation. There really wasn’t a sore track on this album or the other one for that matter, as even the ones that didn’t appeal at the beginning grew on me. Take this one for a listen!