Ravi Jadhav’s Banjo is an underdog story that takes a look at the journey of a street musician to stardom. Riteish Deshmukh and Nargis Fakhri play the lead actors and just like the combo, the album is not the sort of package we expect from the Vishal – Shekhar duo. With Amitabh Bhattacharya penning the lyrics, the dynamic duo have offered something as peculiar as the banjo itself. So let’s dive straight in.
Whenever you start something new, it is to be expected to pray to Ganesha for guidance and assistance. Bappa is that prayer, sounding like a mashup of the banjo and English marching band trumpets, with heavy dose of local drums. Having said that, the song is not without merit. Vishal Dadnani is somewhat of an expert when it comes to these sort of tracks. Yet it seems to be a remake of your usual loud as ever constantly drumming tuning for Ganpatti that we have seen in the past.
Next up is Rada, a club song with all the classic elements. The bass beat is so loud at points it’s hard to make out the words, but once again there is a fusion of sounds between the Indian drums and the electric guitar. Each seems to have its own motif dragging club goers to dance the night away. And just like all other club songs the idea is not to be swooned by amazing locals so Nakash Aziz, Vishal and Shalmali Kholgade don’t have much to boast on.
Udan Choo is the butterfly effect of a boy infatuated with a girl as she roams around oblivious. Amitabh’s spirited lyrics add to the romantic nature of the song but the song one we have heard before. A classic 60’s tune set in Mumbai that leaves you swinging along as Hriday Gattani caresses with his gentle sweet love song.
Another drinking anthem arrives with Pee Paa Ke. Heavy drums with a smidgen of vocals to break the monotony. Nakash and Vishal take the mike again and it’s drinks all around. It’s strictly okay and a one-time listen. Hoping the video will add a new element to the track since this one is a done-to-death affair.
Sometime you need a word with the man upstairs. Rehmo Karam, rendered by Ajay Gogavale, has a strong pathos dimension to a conversation with the almighty. He effortlessly transport us back to a place of peace and prayer but it is hard to say when this is. Situational yet soft and embracing.
Another Ganpati influenced track and the last one of the album is Om Ganapataye Namaha Deva. There’s an equal portion of western and eastern influence in the song. A nice play of western instruments with eastern words, western instruments with eastern instruments in tandem. However it has a stadium effect in the production steering it away from ‘Bappa’. Nakash and Vishal make quite the duo for the track.
So there you have it. Banjo is somewhat an ode to the Mumbai soul and heavily influences the album. It is great to hear a very urban Vishal-Shekhar try something a little different. But with the exception of ‘Udan Choo’ and ‘Rehmo Karam’, the album doesn’t make a good impression.