Shaitan Bollywood Music Review

Confession time. The first promo of Shaitan, featuring a snippet of the soundtrack that was to arrive later, had me reaching out for poppers…erm…I mean popcorn, or popsicle, anything that would put me into a frenzy. The little that I saw and heard was Bali- The Sound of Shaitan. Listen to it, and if it does not put your head into a spin, what are you smoking?

Savaal sava lakh ka, who has not been waiting for the ecstasy-laced soundtrack of Shaitan? With its now cult-following arrival, is also the inevitable delay in trying to analyze it. The music, like the film’s psychedelic poster art, is bewilderingly a Rorschach test of your music reviewing acumen. 

Enter, the first track, clocking at a minute is, oh and is this just me, why do I think I am entering Gaspar Noe – Enter The Void territory? The track is a vestibule that could lead you into a trapdoor – opening into a whole new arena of sounds that, for a start, hindi cinema, has not heard. 

Follow this with Bali, and you’re hooked. Composer Prashant Pillai experiments and you can practically hear a Dj scratching this one right up there, fusing genres with such ingenuity, there’s trip and there’s hip-hop and there’s Carnatic, and it still fits so well into our Bollywood soundscape. 

Moving on, Nasha performed by Pillai and Bindu Nambiar is breezy, and the song has a metered rhythm, passable lyrics and a wave of coolth that is hard to tack down and say what does this remind you of? Good music makes one nostalgic. Think Shankar Mahadevan’s ‘Kaisi Hai Yeh Ruth’ from Dil Chahta Hai in the hands of Prashant’s sound engineering finesse for today’s synth times. The same track gets a reprise by Ranjit Barot, a wholly different take, one that lapses into a chorus jingle midway, but manages to resurface promisingly. 

Amar Mohile, who has previously worked for Ram Gopal Verma, contributes to the sound of Shaitan his Josh – and all he gives to it. You cannot miss its nods to grunge, with sax, through rap and jazz, segueing into full blast drums and dhinchak. Take this one to the dance floor and flat out.

Suraj Jagan croons the slo-mo Fareeda, building up a tempo with fantastic guitar work that then brings the song to an edge-of-the-cliff climax. 

Suman Shridhar’s rendition of Mr India’s Hawa Hawai is parody alright. The syncopated use of curry western motifs in backbeat is an interesting addition. 

The Kirti Sagathia – Preeti Pillai sung O Yaara is sufi-rock in style which oscillates into explosive interludes of guitar riffs. The end product is hotch-potch, a bit like two songs over-lapping into one groove. I found the mix-match patchy, disconnected, too much going on. 

Ace arranger Ranjit Barot’s Pintya is street side celebration time. Maharashtrian folk marries contemporary funk, at once bouncing with energy and driving in circles. Its anthem chant of the name Pintya is the musical equivalent of the original concept of the Greek anathema – an offering to god, a gift often interpreted as evil. 

Barot’s Zindagi slacks and seems like that one semi-soft ballad – an afterthought to most soundtracks which are not catering to middling tastes in music. 

Amy’s Theme, is slightly cuckoo-fairyland sweet. That one drop of amber honey on a largely acid-washed album. 

Retro Pop Shit is so good. No more words to describe its buoyant incandescence. Anupam Roy ko mera salaam. 

That death metal band Bhayanak Maut spooks us with Unleashed. I don’t follow heavy metal, but this much I know, whatever it is that they are cursing and malignantly fork-tuning the world with, these guys know their shite!

Outro, the last instrumental track…phew! Its a grand slam closure to this hyper-kinetic soundtrack. 

Shaitan’s score does for Prashant Pillai what Dev D did for Amit Trivedi, both A R Rahman bhakts, both letting their music speak of their talent, their devotion, their love. If these up and coming musicians are children of a lesser god, then may we all rise up for their wicked genius when they sit down, isolated, in the dead silence of the night, in a sound proof room, ratcheting a tune, and wondering, why can’t they be regular Bollywood grind?
Sabung Ayam