Music: Vishal Bhardwaj
With the title track, Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola, Vishal Bhardwaj takes Sukhwinder Singh (with Ranjit Barot) back into the territory of Beedi (Omkara) to give us a foot-tapping introductory track with Gulzar's pennant lyrics: "Koi na jaane, re kaun tha bulla; padhi jo pothi, toh khullam khulla!" Heavily based on percussion, mostly African style, it has well placed peppy strings too. Listen for it!
Very reminiscent of Beedo (Gulaal), Rekha Bhardwaj in Oye Boy Charlie is accompanied with very interesting female chorus (catch those hoyes, ahas, and hmms), Mohit Chauhan and Shankar Mahadevan, who is entertainingly nasal in parts, to throw you in motion with cheeky lyrics and playful qawwali-ish arrangement.
Those who have read the script of this film are of the view that it has potentially controversial and an underlying dark theme. Lootnewale hints you in that direction. With strokes of sufi in the starting strings and Master Saleem's voice, this dhol-laden track sings protest. Chances are that you may thrash this one as noisy but careful, multiple listen may develop some liking. Because there's angst in everyone, I believe.
An equally thumping, slower, shorter version of this track exists with (even more) haunting arrangement and only Sukwinder Singh: Lootnewala (Reprise).
On the same grounds of Lootnewala, Pankaj Kapur agitates with some African backing vocals and chorus on a brass-band template in Chor Police which lasts only a minute. Other such short and brass-band based tracks are Shara-Rara-Ra and Chaar Dina Ki where the former, sung by Prem Dehati, is based on some bhajan-folk music; the latter is quirky and is more filmy a tune with Pankaj Kapur, Imran Khan and Prem Dehati behind the microphone. (Inclusion of these negligent tracks in the album just inhibits the scope of background-score discovery for us in the film.)
Nomvula by Umoja is for the African angle in the film (as seen in trailers). Interesting, nonetheless, especially the flute and whistles amidst the percussion.
Based on a classical raag, Badal Uthiyo, sung by mellifluous Rekha Bhardwaj, has lazy ambiance to it, though the sitar feels very electronic. Leaves you with a craving for a lengthier version. Sadly, we are offered with a reprise version which is nothing but an opportunity lost: exactly same but Prem Dehati singing this time, whose voice is not much in flow with the arrangements.
Vishal Bhardwaj, known for his exploration of interiors of India in his films where the real location plays as good as a character, is up with Haryana this time. In the later part of the song Khamakha, we have Prem Dehati singing the folk "Kasam yo des mera se harya bharya Haryana; seedhe saade log ade ke doodh dahi ka khana." This part concludes as a marriage of the Indian folk with gospel style African vocals which initiate this slow-burning love ballad:
"Saari saari raat ka jagna, khidki pe sar rakhke unghte rehna;
ummeedo ka jalna bujhna, pagalpan hai aise tumpe marna;
khaali khaali do ankhon mein,
yeh namak, yeh chamak,
toh khamakha nahi!"
Ladies and Gentlemen, this is VB-Gulzar magic for you!
P.S.: In the film 7 Khoon Maaf, we missed the Suresh Wadkar song (Tere Liye) which was present in the album. Can we expect a reversal this time, Bhardwaj Saab?