Knowing the story and setting of Peepli Live, I knew when I sat down to listen to the OST that many of the songs would probably be very situational, more than likely very rural while classic in form and feeling. I was looking forward to listening to the tracks and writing this review because of that. I love the essence and basis of Indian music, and I feel that much of the so-called “modern” soundtracks have lost their roots to the very beat that makes it speak to your soul…but that is another article to write later. Getting back to Peepli Live, if you see Aamir Khan’s name attached to a project then you know you are going to hear good music and that is the case with this film. Composed by Nageen Tanvir, Indian Ocean and Ram Sampat, the album is full of scene setting pieces, each one unique, and they all keep you wondering what will be happening in the film when they are playing…
Chola Maati Ke Ram
A very simple song with the deep and soulful voice of Nageen Tanvir, this track has the essence of what we will see in Peepli Live. It sets the scene for the film: that of rural India, and you know you are not going to be seeing any big club numbers (at least I hope not!). It is sung with feeling and the music played with such skill and energy that it flows out of the speakers. It has almost a devotional feel to it. I love regional songs like this and this one is really so well done. Even if you are a full straight up rock or hip-hop head give this one a listen, it might add some new flavor to your musical tastes.
Musically ‘Des Mera’ is outstanding. The track with the instruments and phrasing that Indian Ocean used is regional in spirit once again. However, there were some surprising modern touches including a bass guitar, and some of the phrasing of the vocals. Both genres mixed really well to make a unique sound. All the vocals were wonderful. The song did get overwhelming with too many sounds by the end, but I can see how the music and vocals were building to get to that point. Maybe if they had taken it just one layer down, it would have been better on the ears. It seems perfect for the setting of this film; I loved this song and added it to my, “I must listen to this again” playlist. I cannot wait to see what will be happening in the film.
I totally did not expect the jazzy, modernish vibe in the beginning of this version of ‘Des Mera’. I am a little confused with what they hoped to accomplish with this and why it was it needed. Cool sound, most definitely, but this just did not work. If the music was separate and if it was not combined with this vocal or if I did not know this was a different version of the original, I might have liked it better. So, my take is listen to the cool sound of the music, but go back to the original to get the real feel of what I feel the song is trying to convey.
‘Mehngai Dayain’ is simply a harmonium, Raghuveer Yadav, and what sounds like a “sing along” or the cast (townspeople) singing a tune together right there on set. No remixing, just recorded as it was performed. This track really puts you inside the movie. Raghuveer does have the perfect rustic quality to his vocal. I really can’t rate it and say yay or nay without seeing the film because it is totally situational, but it seems to perfectly fit the story and setting.
Mehngai Dayain – Remix
When I started this song I had to look to make sure I was still listening to the Peepli Live soundtrack because this remix is beyond! Beyond what, I am still not sure. It takes the rural vocals of Raghuveer Yadav, adds a male chorus, refines the music and then somehow adds modern beats and English rap. Yes, you read that right. You would think OMG that must be so bad, but it actually works, in a way, in parts. I think because the underlying rhythm has that fabulous Indian beat and then sounds are layered on top. The end has too much going on, too many sounds and I really wanted to turn it off. Overall, an interesting experiment. My cup of chai, no, but some may find it fits their groove.
Zindagi Se Darte Ho
The track has a lovely beginning that is a nice change-up from the other songs on the album. Very modern in musical style with essences of rock throughout the track. The opening chorus is powerful with strong rock inflected vocals that has a very haunting and powerful feeling to them. The 7-minute long track could be called a mini rock opera. The composition of the music is very hard hitting, but it also has it’s soft moments, which make it all the better. It is outstanding in vocals, music, and composition. It literally blew me away and that was only about 2 minutes into the song. If you are rock fan, you must check this out, and if you are not, check it out just to hear a really fab jam! Not only do I applaud the singers, but also the musicians who are incredible. How this is going to fit into the movie I have no idea, but I cannot wait to see! I could go on but will just say go experience the excellence and wickedness of this track for yourself. I can’t say enough good about this song. Do you know even after 7 minute I was sad it was over? I wanted to hear more. It gets 5 out 5 stars from me!
It is very, very hard to come up with a star rating for an album like this; so much of the music is steeped into the story and situations of the film. Are there are chart busters? Well, probably not, but is that a true measure of what makes a good album? I will base my final rating on the quality of the compositions, on the excellence of the singers, the brilliance of the musicians and for how I feel it conveys the time and place of the story of Peepli Live. For me, it hits all those points and so I will go with a 4.