Composer duos are a ten a penny in the Bollywood music industry, so it’s no surprise that Ajay and Atul Gogavale may have escaped the public’s notice. To date the siblings’ body of work under the alias of Ajay-Atul has been mainly associated with Marathi film soundtracks, for which they have received domestic awards. Their recent foray into the Hindi arena, with the music for Singham, may have not created a commotion, but with Agneepath (Path of Fire) they trumpet their official arrival.
In creating the score for producer Karan Johar’s highly anticipated remake of the cult 1990 action thriller of the same name, Ajay-Atul here showcase their talent to a wider, mainstream audience. Concentrating on their strengths, they open with Chikni Chameli, a rehash of the popular Marathi song Kombdi Palali, which they previously composed for the movie Jatra. The new treatment is just as energetic, leaving it impossible not to love the item song focused on Bollywood bombshell of the moment, Katrina Kaif. Designed to get pulses racing, there’s no escaping the song’s thumping beats, Amitabh Bhattacharya’s cheeky lyrics and seductive vocals by Shreya Ghoshal.
Inducing a more sedate reaction is Gun Gun Guna, a delicate duet by Udit Narayan and Sunidhi Chauhan with the message that song can lift the human spirit and unite a community. Similarly melodious is Roop Kumar Rathod’s rendition of O Saiyyan, a gentle ballad that almost seems out of place in a soundtrack for a film that is essentially about violence and vengeance. Nevertheless, its beautiful use of stringed instruments like the santoor and violins sets the spirit soaring.
Sufi and tribal chants come to the fore in Shah Ka Rutba, a macho track voiced by Sukhwinder Singh and others. Beginning quite serenely, it builds to a rousing crescendo, much like Deva Shree Ganesha, a hypnotically devotional song which rounds off the six-track album on a high note. Ajay also proves he’s a top class vocalist by singing solo on this.
Blessedly free of unnecessary remixes, Agneepath is a well-crafted, evocative collection of songs that proves the adage that, when it comes to Indian music composers, sometimes two heads can be better than one.