‘Heeramandi : The Diamond Bazaar’ music review

Girish Wankhede | mumbai@bollywoodtown.in

If its grand, grandeur and grandiose, its exceptionally Sanjay Leela Bhansali in his intrinsic semblance. He has the power and imagination to make an inconsequential story into a larger than life saga with all the elements of magnum-opus offered in excessive propositions, including actors and stars. Actors tend to overact in his enterprises and intend to call on a lifetime opportunity and so on. Heeamandi ‘on Netfix is again not an exception for actors and non-actors to ham continuously with overindulgent make-ups and trying incessantly to make it relatable to extremely detached mortals. This Indian Period Drama Web Series is streaming on Netflix with eight episodes and nine songs and is one of the most watched series globally and is also one of the most debatable series in recent weeks.

Sanjay Leela Bhansali dons several hats as Official Producer, Director and Music Composer but understands choreography and art direction to the hilt,;also combining his vision of aesthetics and his other penchant for perfection. Heemandi’ is another ambitious venture as a full-fledged Music Composer after Guzaarish, Goliyon ki Raasleela Ram-Leela, Bajirao Mastani, Padmavat, Malaal and Gangubai Kathiawadi. While his filmography as a filmmaker is astonishing, his slate as a Music Director is also exceptionally vivid with volumes speaking about his grasp of the craft. In Heeramadi, his song Tilasmi Bahein’ reminds the arrangement of his brilliant Udi’ by Sunidhi Chauhan from Guzaarish’ and has a certain allure and foot tapping western feel to it. It goes with the verve and dynamism of singer Sharmistha Chatterjee. Then is Azadi’ which is a modern tribute to celebrated Pakistani Shayar Faiz Ahmad Faiz’s Hum Dekhenge’. Penned by Turaz’ who is now SLB favorite after his debute with magical Tera Zikr from Guzaarish’, this song is just an ode and extension to Faraz’s restlessness. . While Turaz’ has a certain distinctive voice and traditional charm in his writing, his grit to combine his philosophy in his lyrics is something which makes him singular. He has written five songs for Hiramandi’ while the rest three are traditional and one is another traditional by Amir Khusro’. Azadi’s chorus is routine yet impressive.

Chaudhavi Shab’ is a number with a retro feel by Shreya Ghoshal which lifts the tempo with her sophisticated voice. Picturized on Sharmin Segal, this song has all the popular elements of our golden era songs sung by Ashaji for Khayyamsahab. Then is Masoom Dil Hai Mera’ which is heavily borrowed from the style and composition geniuses of Naushad and Madan Mohan. We can hear this resemblance in even Roshan Sahab’s (Senior) compositions. Sung by Shikha Joshi, it is very customary and sounds like just another lift. Even Richa Chadha looks struggling and out of place in its filming. Then is Phool Gendva Na Maro’ which is traditional and is sung by Barnali Chattopadhyay. Her voice boasts of a certain authority and the rendering is also noteworthy, but it somehow misses the intimacy and charm of Manna Dey Saahab who has immortalized this song in Roshan sahab’s Dooj Ka Channd’ written by another stalwart, Sahir Sahab. Barnali sounds more technical than intimate. Her another rendition Saiyaan Hato Jaao’ again extends her authority and technical finesse with all the needed murkiyaan’ but somehow leaves you dry. Here, the Composer in SLB exhibits his fondness and respect for Indian classical music. Then is Ek Baar Dekh Lijiye’ which is a typical mujra in the league of Composer Ravi (Tawaif ) and Khayyam( Umrao Jaan) and is more vocal for memes on Sharmin Segal and lacks novelty. Nazariya Ki Maari’ is another classic rehash thumri from Pakeezah’ which was sung by Rajmurai Dubey for Naushad Sahab and now with Madhubanti Bagchi’ as a singer, it has quite a decency but it falls short of the innocence and charm of the original.

Then is Sakal Ban’ which is extraordinarily brilliant and takes the apex position in this album owing to its composition and appeal. This 700 years old song by Indo Persian singer, Poet and Scholar, Amir Khursro has a definite mysticism and spiritual bend which makes it distinct. Magnificently sung by Raja Hasan, this SLB composition is one rare combination of class and grace. This song is indeed the winner of this coveted album. While the series will always be discussed and weighed over its texts and subtexts, the music album stands out for the sheer genius of Sanjay Leela Bhansali.