2013 has been a brilliant year for composers Sachin and Jigar, with the rollicking ABCD, the trippy Go Goa Gone, and their additions to the Issaq and Ramaiya Vastavaiya displayed their versatility and growing confidence. However, their big ticket looks to be Yashraj’s Shuddh Desi Romance, which is Maneesh Sharma’s third feature after his smash Band Baaja Baaraat and Ladies VS Ricky Bahl and teams up with Chak De India writer Jaideep Sahni. The film looks at modern relationships tackling topics of commitment and attraction with Sushant Singh Rajput, Parineeti Chopra, and newcomer Vaani Kapoor in the lead. The album is an enjoyable and fun ride that doesn’t curb Sachin-Jigar’s sound despite such a big banner and the pressure to deliver.
The first song, Tere Mere Beech Mein, is a jaunty and energetic number that opens with bustling traffic, the “oye chokro” from the boys, the tooting horns from the bicycles, and rickshaws, which immediately places you into the mood of the track. I love that little touch, as it segues perfectly into the jangly Spanish guitar and trombones that make up such an attractive melody. Sunidhi and Mohit Chauhan have an easy and crackling chemistry with the conversational banter of the lyrics by Jaideep Sahni. The melody grabs you and will likely have you bopping your shoulders by the bridge that intensifies the guitar-trombone-accordion arrangement that works seamlessly. Put this on repeat!
I am hook line and sinker in love with Gulabi, that wonderful gem of a track, which is definitely one of the best tracks of 2013 and requires a daily listen! From the opening fuzzy synths, to Jigar and Priya Saraiya’s heavenly and dreamy vocals, Gulabi thy name is addictive. The structure of the song is stunning in the electro and folk confluence, which uses a catchy hook with the best instruments with the sarangi-esraj and the cheery harmonium interludes. While the composition and arrangements are fantastic, the lyrics are just as rosy with Sahni’s loving ode to the pink city and being deliriously in love. The song is a complete standout and worth all the multiple listens!
Next up is the Chanchal Mann Ati Random, which has Divya Kumar at the helm who seems to have such an infectious delight with the witty lyrics by Sahni. Again, the song opens the early morning honks of traffic and birds’ chirping away before the quirky harmonium and twangy guitar comes on. The addictive chorus was heard in the initial trailer of the film, but hearing the whole track makes one appreciate the way the Punjabi, folk, and rock sounds converge so seamlessly in the final product. During the bridge, the tempo picks up with a killer jugalbandi between the guitars and harmonium. The song may take time to grow on you but give it a couple of listens and in no time, you’ll be singing “Renndom Renndom” anywhere!
The title track, Shuddh Desi Romance, is another zesty and energetic number that teams my two favourites Benny Dayal and Shalmali Kholgade together for this enjoyable romp into a more retro space. Barring the similarities to “Jeth Ki Dopahri Mein” from Coolie No. 1, the song achieves its sense of fun and zing with Dayal and Kholgade who have an effortless chemistry and keep up with the fast-paced verses and music around them. Once again, the key instrument of the entire album is the harmonium, which is utilized to great effect alongside the violins-horns that pepper the chorus. Kholgade channels her Bartender sound from Mickey McCleary’s albums during the hook in the chorus, which is funny and lends the track some of that retro charm. This one is definitely going to get you dancing so give it a try!
The album is also packed with 5 worthy instrumentals that seem to rise above their situational appeal and give you elements to savour. The first one is Mujhe Kiss Kar Sakte Ho, which is a broody number that utilizes the electric guitar to create a moody tone before bringing the Spanish guitar and ubiquitous harmonium into the mix. It’s a delicate number that ends on a lovely note with the flutes chiming in.
Next up is the jazzy number Love in Jaipur, which creates a light fusion of Rajasthani sounds with Priya Saraiya’s vocals, which match the spry piano and drums. It’s a quick number that sticks with you, especially when the harmoniums kick in.
However, the standout of this bunch is Boyfriend Banogey, which reimagines the Gulabi tune, but splices all the different instruments together in such a cool and innovative way. The fast cutting along with the harmonium and guitar strands, it just works perfectly here that you almost wish this song was a tad longer than its 1:40 length. During the bridge, when the tempo slows down and the thumping drums come in, it sends it into addictive territory again.
The album ends on a nice note with Bhanwara Ma Bhatke, which has Divya Kumar taking over the short verse with more electro beats, and a stunning flute solo near the end ensures that this middling tune wins you over as well.
Shuddh Desi Romance is another gem by Sachin and Jigar who are going from strength to strength this year. You can tell they are experimenting with their style and keeping with folksy sounds of Rajasthan and the film’s style and it’s to great effect with this album. They produced a stellar album that will likely end up on most best of the year lists, along with several of their others!