In Rann, director Ram Gopal Varma tackles the subject of India’s media and he has roped in talented actors from Amitabh Bachchan to Riteish Deshmukh for this hard-hitting film. For the album, five composers have crafted eight songs that play more like a Hollywood film score than a typical Bollywood soundtrack.
The album opens with Sikkon Ki Bhook (Anthem of Rann) and it sets the mood for the entire album – dark and angry. Written by Dharamraj Bhatt and Sandeep Patil and sung by Vardan Singh, Aditi Paul, and Shadab Faribi, this is an epic sounding song that uses lots of muddy reverb and heavy drums to support the melody line. The three singers each alternate on their verses and come together for the choruses, which heavily reference traditional chants. This is the only track on the album to feature a female voice.
After the epic opening, the second track Remote Ko Baahar Phek is a bit of a disappointment. This hip-hop sounding track is both written by Jayesh Gandhi and also sung by him. Interspersed with dialogue recitations by Rajpal Yadav and clips from various news programs, the clever backing track cannot make up for the triteness of the lyrics. The song is gives one the feeling of being lectured to.
With relief comes the next track, a moody song sung with powerful emotion by Sukhwinder Singh. Kaanch Ke Jaise, written by Bapi-Tutul, opens with Sukhwinder’s pleading voice over a sparse drum track. As the song progresses, the instrumentation builds and builds until it echoes the desperation heard in Sukhwinder’s voice. The use of percussion in this track is especially nice, with sleigh bells coming in on the choruses. This is by far the highlight of the album.
The next song, Rann Hai, is written and sung by music director Sanjeev Kohli. It’s another dark, moody, and angry track that combines a swirling backtrack of synthesizers, drums, and bass guitar with a driving vocal track. Sanjeev spits out the lyrics with an accusatory tone that is not easy to listen to but should be very powerful on-screen.
Bringing yet more anger to the soundtrack is the rocking Gali Gali Mein, sung by Jojo and Earl d’Souza, the lyrics bash India’s politicians and political system. The result is much more enjoyable than one would expect and rock fans will definitely find something to like here. The song opens with a tender sample of a flute that is soon interrupted by screaming electric guitars, which serve as a counterpoint to the singers, echoing their ironic calls of “Jai India” with wailing feedback. There is a remix of the track also included on the album. It perfectly captures the rage for the dance floor, although whether one would want to dance to this is debatable.
Besharam is a tedious song. Sung by Abhishek Nailwal, the track uses Western instrumentation, including a classical brass section, symphonic percussion, and synthesized strings with the main melody line is done on a piano. The hook echoes Holst’s ‘Mars’, which is appropriate since he was the god of war. The vocal line is more chanted than sung, which makes it difficult to listen to. An instrumental version is also included. It’s a bit more palatable.
Finally, the album ends with the punchy Mera Bharat Mahaan. It’s another angry song but unlike the rest of the album, the angry verses give way to melodious choruses that sound blissful to the ears after the hard-hitting assault of the rest of the album. Written by Amar Mohile, ‘Mera Bharat Mahaan’ is sung by Kunal Ganjawala, who layers his vocals for some nice textures. The backing track is driving combining blazing guitars with electronic elements.
Overall, the Rann soundtrack is not pleasant to listen to but it is powerful. Most of the songs were well crafted and should fit their scenes perfectly. Listened to as a whole, the sameness of the tone of the songs is soon wearing but ‘Mera Bharat Mahaan’ and Sukhwinder’s ‘Kaanche Ke Jaise’ are worth listening to on their own and rock fans should find ‘Gali Gali Mein’ quite enjoyable, too.