Music Review: Bajirao Mastani (2016)


Directed by Sanjay Leela Bhansali
Produced by
  • Sanjay Leela Bhansali
  • Kishore Lulla
Written by Prakash R. Kapadia (Dialogue)
Screenplay by Prakash R. Kapadia
Additional Screenplay:-
Sanjay Leela Bhansali
Based on Raau
by Nagnath S. Inamdar
  • Ranveer Singh
  • Deepika Padukone
  • Priyanka Chopra
  • Tanvi Azmi
Narrated by Irrfan Khan
Music by
  • Songs:
  • Sanjay Leela Bhansali(Assisted by “Shreyas Puranik”)
  • Background score:
  • Sanchit Balhara
Lyrics by
  • Siddharth–Garima
  • A. M. Turaz
  • Prashant Ingole
Release date
  • 18 December 2015

Sanjay Leela Bhansali had set out to make Bajirao Mastani since 2003, and remained unsuccessful due to casting problems, that is until July 2014, when his three main leads successfully signed the dotted line. Other actors that were in line for main roles included Salman Khan (Bajirao), Aishwariya Rai (Mastani), Kareena Kapoor (Kashi) and Rani Mukherjee (Kashi). Unsuccessful, Bhansali went on to make Black (2005), Saawariya (2007), Guzaarish (2010), and Goliyon Ki Raasleela Ram-Leela (2013). The speculation continued, until the announcement was made. Bajirao, Kashibai and Mastani had been cast: held by Ranveer Singh, Priyanka Chopra and Deepika Padukone respectively. Priyanka has mentioned that she had signed the dotted line way before Ranveer and Deepika had been cast. So far, from what we have been privy to watching, the cast is going to cast their magic on us.

Bajirao Mastani is based on the love story between Peshwa Bajirao I and his second wife Mastani; set in the time period between 1720AD – 1740AD; the epic also depicts the angst and sacrifices of Kashibai (Bajirao’s first wife). The music, while staying relevant to the time period, has to also cater to the titular characters Marathi heritage and be fresh enough to cater to the current audience. Does Sanjay Leela Bhansali succeed at his at his third attempt of music composition? Does the music satisfy the masses and the classes? Does the music raise the enthusiasm for the movie?  The answer to all three is a resounding yes. Bhansali not only raises the bar, this is by far his most satisfying soundtrack; it has all the components that one looks for in good music. Good solid melodies, strong vocals, enticing lyrics and most of all, it appeals to the heart.

No. Title Lyrics Music Singer(s) Length
1. “Deewani Mastani” Siddharth–Garima Sanjay Leela Bhansali Shreya Ghoshal, Ganesh Chandanshive, Mujtaba Aziz Naza 05:40
2. “Aayat” A. M. Turaz Sanjay Leela Bhansali Arijit Singh 04:22
3. “Malhari” Prashant Ingole Sanjay Leela Bhansali Vishal Dadlani 04:05
4. “Mohe Rang Do Laal” Siddharth–Garima Sanjay Leela Bhansali Pandit Birju Maharaj, Shreya Ghoshal 03:52
5. “Albela Sajan” Siddharth–Garima Sanjay Leela Bhansali Shashi Suman, Kunal Pandit, Prithvi Gandharva, Kanika Joshi, Rashi Raagga, Geetikka Manjrekar 03:29
6. “Ab Tohe Jane Na Doongi” A. M. Turaz Sanjay Leela Bhansali Payal Dev, Shreyas Puranik 03:54
7. “Pinga” Siddharth–Garima Sanjay Leela Bhansali Shreya Ghoshal, Vaishali Mhade 04:16
8. “Aaj Ibaadat” A. M. Turaz Sanjay Leela Bhansali Javed Bashir 04:45
9. “Fitoori” Prashant Ingole Sanjay Leela Bhansali Vaishali Mhade, Ganesh Chandanshive 03:56
10. “Gajanana” Prashant Ingole Sanjay Leela Bhansali, Shreyas Puranik Sukhwinder Singh 03:34
Total length: 41:53

We were introduced to the soundtrack with the release of Gajanana over the internet; the only track not composed by Bhansali. It released with much fanfare and started the anxious build up to the release of the rest of the soundtrack. Gajanana is a rousing Bhajan; that elates the heart. Sukhwinder Singh helms the masterful singing with an able chorus that gives the songs it. Shreyas Puranik composes this one, with vigour; from the time the shank begins, to the infectious trance-like percussion beat, it resonates deep within the heart and soul.  The chorus adds to atmosphere the song; with a hint of pakhawaj during the antaras, Shreyas Puranik creates an enticing sound. Gajanana is composed of two parts lyrically, The Sukhakarta Dukhaharta (Marathi Aarti) composed by Samarth Ramdas in early 1600’s and the additional lyrics by Prashant Ingole. Sukwhinder give the song a huge jolt of energy, especially towards the end, the intensity is sheer beauty.

Bhansali stunned us with visually attractive Deewani Mastani, the second song to be released over the internet. The reactions were immediate; aurally and visually, the song was appreciated far and wide. The visuals of Deepika Padukone in the Sheesh Mahal, conjured up images of a Love Struck Madhubhala in Mughal-E-Azam; as Kashibai and Peshwa Bajirao stare at her in amazement. The track is instantly gratifying; Trumpets usher in the percussion and the Marathi flavoured introduction by Ganesh Chandanshive and the chorus; and what entry she makes, holding an Intricately carved golden mandolin.

“Navatunni Aali Apsara
Navatunni Aali Apsara
Aashi Sundara Saaj Sathpudha
Aali Aali Aali, Aali Ho Aali
Jaisa Maathi Maanla Gajra
Dokyecha Nazra Theel Tichyaavar
Aali Aali Aee Haan”

The mandolin serenades us once again, Persian style; Shreya seduces us with her haunting voice, singing in the lower octaves. The song is layered with a range of percussion. The tabla makes itself know, however hear closely for the Dafli and Bass Drum; it creates a buzz around Shreya Ghoshal’s voice, like moths flying around a candle. The lyrics are equally evocative, they relate the immortal love of Mastani:

“Mashoor Mere Ishq Ki Kahani Hogayi
Jo Jag Ne Na Maani Toh Maine Bhi Thaani
Kahan Thi Main Dekho Kahan Chali Aayi”

The qawalli interludes were an ingenious addition. It makes the melody richer, with an inherent semi-classical feel. Mujtaba Aziz Naza, Shahdab Faridi, Altamush Faridi & Farhan Sabri provide exceptional vocals; lyrically they also speak of the immortal love Mastani and Bajirao share:

“Sab Noor Noor Sa Bikhra Hai
Ek Tu Hi Khayalon Mein Utra Hai
Bas Jhoom Jhoom Jhoom Jhoom Jaata Hai Dil
Tu Mastani Hai Ay..
Tu Deewani Hai Ay..
Paakezah Hasti Hain Teri Tu Noorani Hai
Sab Noor Noor Sa Bikra Hai
Ek Tu Hi Khayalon Mein Utra Hai”

The last 45 seconds of this song creates magic in your heart and mind. The chorus of damsels spring in to Sargams, singing with abandon yet so grounded; so intense, yet so soothing. Lyricsts Siddharth–Garima, Nasir Faraaz (Qawwali lyrics) and Ganesh Chandanshive (Marathi lyrics) need a special mention. Even without the Sheesh Mahal visuals, the lyrics paints a wonderful portrait of the shining love between Bajirao and Mastani. Bhansali’s instrumentation is spot on and melody is rich and wholesome.

Pinga was the third song that released on the net. The one that was most talked about even before the soundtrack started releasing. This was the song that would be a Dance Muqabla between Bajirao’s wives. Visually once again, the song is great, both Deepika and Priyanka really taking full advantage of this Lavni. While debates erupted over the similarities between Dola Re Dola and Pinga visually, thankfully, the tracks are completely dissimilar. What is supposed to be a muqabla, quickly becomes almost a duet. Bhansali has upped his ante for the song, knowing this was going to be a huge dance song, he had to make the instrumentation suit the Lavni. He creates an irresistible folk song seeped in Marathi zest. Siddharth–Garima once again gets the feel of the lyrics perfect; relaying both Kashibai and Mastani’s emotional states:

“Mere Jiya Mein Utari
Thune Paini Piya Ki Kataari
Ha Tu Jaane Ye Duniyadaari
Main Toh Hun Bas Mohabbat Ki Mari
Jo Peer Meri Hain So Peer Teri
Arre Dono Ki Maang Lagge Suni Adhi Adhi Na”

Shreya Ghoshal and Vaishali Made sings Pinga with verve. They relay the emotional state of the women with ease, their vocals adding that extra zing.

Close your eyes, hear the Kasht Tarang introduce the Shehnai, birds chirping in the background, the peacock sings; Ghungroos lightly sound as the dancer gets closer; the Sitar strums to perfection. That, my fellow Indian music lovers is the imagery Bhansali paints in your mind while composing Mohe Rang Do Laal. He brings back an old charm with this introduction that we have not heard in eons. That introduction is in Raag Maand; as the sitar strums, Shreya Ghoshal sings the Mukhda in Raag Puriya Dhanashree. In the antaras, the track blends into hints of Raag Bihag. The transition from the Mukhda to the Antara with the change of Raags is not an easy one, but a gifted singer like Shreya Ghoshal handles this classical song with utmost beauty and perfection. The ability to sing with slight nuances in the lyrics, with changes to octaves is a difficult skill and Shreya handles all this almost instantly. The interludes are superb; the Bols by Pandit Birju Maharaj are exquisitely rendered. These interludes are actually a Jugalbandi between the vocal Portion, Tabla, Ghungroo and Santoor. The concluding piece moves into teentaal with Pandit Briju Maharaj reciting Bols in Raag Puriya Dhanashree with the addition of the Bansuri.

Flute embellishments commences the next track; a melancholic alaap rendered by debut singer Payal Dev follows. The track immediately introduces its percussion and it enhances the catastrophe facing the situation. ‘Ab Tohe Jaane Na Doongi’ is based on Raag Bhoopali and is sung in a subdued manner. This creates more impact with its vocal rendition. Payal Dev stuns the listener with Kashibai’s emotional state; it immediately transports you to those heart aching moments that never truly left your soul.

“Kuch Bhi Na Bolun Aisa Kar Jao
Honthon Pe Mere Honth Dhar Jao
Sukh Wali Ruth Jane Na Doongi
Prem Barsao Sang So Jaao
Jane Na Doongi
Ab Tohe Jane Na Doongi”

This would probably appear in the movie where Kashibai first hears about Mastani. The lyrics by Siddharth-Garima are tragically perfect. We are introduced to Shreyas Puranik towards the latter half of the song and he too adds spectacularly to the track. The singing by the two newcomers are a treat, Bhansali has a keen ear for good singers; he gave us the one and only Shreya Ghoshal. They croon this Raag Bhoopali track that is not only mesmerising, but heart achingly striking. Bhansali once again proves his mettle here, the addition of the shehnai during the middle portions of the track make sure that you will be left with yearning.

Get ready for the celebratory welcome, ‘Albela Sajan Aayo Ri’ fills the listener with glee; it elates your heart. Classical music makes a thrilling comeback and with this track, Raag Yaman gleams beautifully.  Yaman (also known as Emaan in West Asia and ‘Kalyani’ in Carnatic classical music) is a heptatonic (Sampurna) Hindustani Classical raag of the Kalyan Thaat; heptatonic means that it contains all seven notes of the musical scale. The Aaroha and Avaroha is used in an exquisite manner, and creates an astounding sound when vocalised. Listen to the track Ang Ang Rang Chalkayen sung with gusto by Sulakshana Pandit from the movie Sandhya for more context. There has been a lot of comparison to the track from Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam, and reports are saying the song is rehashed. It is completely unfounded. Bhansali retains the Bandish (lyrics), however does not rehash the track; the previous one was based on Raag Ahir Bhairav. The trumpet blows with immediate force, followed by a march of sounds. Sitar, Pakhawaj and Shehnai powerfully fluster the energy. Shashi Suman, Kunal Pandit, Prithvi Gandharva, Kanika Joshi, Rashi Raagga and Geetikka Manjrekar begin their welcome with vitality; singing the Bandish in chorus. Bhansali composes a powerful track. The interludes highlight the Shehnai and Sitar respectively while the Antaras highlight the Pakhawaj. The beauty though is the singers’ rendition, they move between the bandishes with precise movements in gamak and meend. A special mention must go to Kunal Pandit when he sings the concluding part of the track. Take a huge bow Sanjay Leela Bhansali!

If there was ever a song of recent times that produced tolerance amongst communities, “Aaj Ibaadat” would have to be that song. The main singer is Pakistani, The Vedic Shloka is from Hindu wedding ceremonies, Maula is a term used by Muslims to call upon God which means Master / Protector. The bansuri opens this track with a forlorn sound, the chorus begin with the mantra, with a commanding Javed Bashir singing alaaps in between. The track is based on Raga Yaman. Javed takes over, and his vocals on this semi classical track are mind blowing to say the least; the lyrics too, are potent.

“Om Mangalam Bhagwan Vishnu
Mangalam Garuda Dhawaja
Om Jai Jai Om Aa..
Mangalam Pundarikaksham
Manglaaya Tano Hari
Aaj Ibaadat
Aaj Ibaadat Rubaru Hogayi
Rubaru Ho Gayi
Jo Maangi Thi..
Jo Maangi Thi
Uss Dua Se Guftgu Hogayi
Mere Maula, Mere Maula
Mere Maula, Mere Maula
Tera Shukriya”

Bhansali highlights the virtuosity of the Sitar, especially after Javed sings ‘Tera Shukriya’ and the interludes. The sitar too becomes one of the main components of this track; it enriches the emotion that Javed Bashir puts forth; technically, the meend between the stressing notes are fast and effective.  This song made my heart weep, its melody is seeped in sheer brilliance. The unification of the Mantra and the term Maula in the concluding segment is hypnotic. With each listen, the effect of this song became even more apparent.  Take another huge bow Sanjay Leela Bhansali!!

Aayat emanates forth with lyrical genius; Siddharth Garima have written this beautiful ghazal in the most mesmerising way. It tugs at your soul, and brings the listener close to their most loved memories. Arijit Singh provides a soulful rendition of this ‘Aayat’; he works his magic Bhansali style. The bass drums begin in sublime way, as if far away, then draws closer, the way a scent would bring forth a most loved memory. Arijit sings an Alaap that has shades of Raag Basant; the Veena strums its magic; an intimation of Tabla seals the deal;

“Tujhe Yaad Kar Liya Hai
Tujhe Yaad Kar Liya Hai
Aayat Ki Tarah
Kaayam Tu Ho Gayi Hai
Kaayam Tu Ho Gayi Hai
Riwayat Ki Tarah…..”

Qawalli interludes are interspersed within the track; Mujtaba Aziz Naza and Shahdab Faridi sing the Qawalli segments with an almost honey encrusted tragedy. Aayat literally means: a sentence from the Quran. The use of this word creates an even stronger bearing. It moves the listener when taken in context of the track.

Raag Puriya Dhanashree makes a second appearance in Fitoori, this time Bhansali give the core tune an elaborate melody that begins with Marathi lyrics sung with passion by Ganesh Chandanshive. Vaishali Made also makes a second appearance here after Pinga. Fitoori is derived from the Arabic word Futuur which means ‘Disorder’. As the lyrics suggest, the song is about the emotional state of one of the characters:

“Mere Irrade Hai Aadhe Se Waade Hai
Mera Har Rang Nirala
Jo Bhi Mila De Nazar Is Nazar Se
Bana Dil Phenkne Wala
O Mere Iraade Hain Aadhe Se Waade Hai
Mera Har Rang Nirala
Haan, Jo Bhi Mila De Nazar Iss Nazar Se
Bana Dil Phenkne Wala
Doon Main Aadat Rangat Thodi Si
Chamka Dun Kismat Thodi Si
Fisla Dun Niyat Thodi Si
Aa Leke Aayi Hoon Main Ishq Ja Nazrana
Jaanu Main Palkon Se Meh Ko Chalkana
Main Hoon Fitoori”

Vaishali gives the track a sort of perilous state of mind; hear the octave changes in the Mukhda. Added to this, The Marathi interludes adds to the emotional Fitoori. Bhansali makes use of the santoor and harmonium to enhance the effect.

The final track is Malhari, which is the victory song for Bajirao. Vishal Dadlani helms responsibility as the main singer; he sings the track energetically. The trumpet and drums sound, the mandolin crashes in, the drums beat faster, we hear the army chorus with their leader and then he leads them in victory with encouraging lyrics. The shehnai appears once again in the interludes with the trumpets. The track is situational, but the mood it creates is one of dancing and delight.

Sanjay Leela Bhansali handles the soundtrack of Bajirao Mastani with great care, he brings to us an old world charm that our hearts were yearning for. Music has always been a key highlight in all of Bhansali’s films, and they do not only add depth to the characters but they also enhance the narrative. This is definitely one of the best soundtracks that has released in 2015, if not the best.



3 Comments Add yours

  1. Pritha Das says:

    I love the way you described the tracks. The metaphors you use including the drums that stay low and add depth to Shreya’s voice were compared to bees to a flower…and other descriptions are incredible. I was myself appreciating the sound tracks but your descriptions gave me a completely new perspective. It’s not just the songs, I feel that the entire film is a poetry… A cinematic masterpiece, pure art. Thanks for sharing your knowledge with us. Your perspective felt like a treat to the soul.


  2. Rasika says:

    Thanks for the beautiful comments. I love the songs of Bajirao Mastani and listen to those, specially AAyat, often.


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