Mangal Pandey: The Rising Music Review

Mangal Pandey: The Rising” comes four years after the historic Lagaan in which A.R.Rahman – Javed Akthar – Aamir Khan join hands to create a masterpiece of music. Obviously the expectations are very high and comparisons with Lagaan are inevitable. First of all, let me declare that “Rising” is not another Lagaan but that doesn’t mean the album is bad, it is pretty good effort from A.R.Rahman. Though Lagaan and Rising belong to same era, the sound of “Rising” is extremely different from that of “Lagaan” and there lies the brilliance and versatility of the composer.

What makes ARR’s composition to stand out is that within all given constraints he has always been able to deliver music that appeal to all kind of listeners. Here the constraints being the period and the need of songs to fit in situation rather. ARR mastered this technique of making catchy situational tracks in Lagaan and does it once again in this album. He is not the one who blame on the situation in the movie for the song not being catchy. Rahman does what M.M.kreem failed to do in “Paheli”.

As always this album carries a unique sound of its own. It is because of the choice of singers, catchy Indian rhythms, multi layered sound of various Indian percussions and an element of pulling bass in all the songs that makes it catchier. Also I should admit that ARR fails to register the sound of the era in some of the song by using techno sounds and synth stuff. But it sounds great if you don’t care about the song fitting with the period of the plot.

The album really works mainly because of ARR’s ability to pull various rhythm patterns that are folksy, classical, foot tapping and also that fits well with the situation in the movie. Each and every song has domination of percussions. The album has totally 8 tracks.

The title song which is famous even before the release of the movie through promos Mangal Mangal has got the catchiest rhythm which sounds like a street drama player narrating the story of Mangal Pandey. One will instantly like this song. While I was just wondering the beauty of the rhythm of this song, the second version Agni comes with more additional percussion in it and is more appealing. The third version Aatma is highly situational that starts in a slow tempo with banging percussion strokes. It registers the mood of the death scene and finally shifts to the folk rhythm again. The lyrics flow seamlessly and fit to T with the tune irrespective of the tempo with which the song is sung. What I liked most is that there is no unnecessary stretchings or ghamukkas. The notes are very simple, down to earth and instantly appealing. Kailash Kher gives a splendid performance in this song with his unique voice. He is for sure a great find by ARR.

Main Vari Vari has complex tabla mukdas and Indian percussions which sounds so familiar yet so refreshing. It can be said as the most captivating qawwali number and the reason lies in the tempo of the rhythm and also the way the clapping sounds are interwoven with it. Kavitha Krishnamurthy excels with ease in this classical number. Reena has got very few lines and her innocent voice adds pep to the song. As always Rahman uses heavy bass in the background of this classical number which pulls your heart and feet as you listen to it thereby making it appeal to listeners of all age groups.

Holi Re surprisingly starts with familiar “Daud” beats and dandhiya beats but soon turns to a unique rhythm of its own that keeps up the energy, the pace and the celebrative mood of the song. Udit and Madhusree dominate the track leaving us to search for Srinivas and Chinmayee’s voice but I was able to catch Chinmayee in a sweet humming in the second interlude. Amir Khan speaks alias sings few dialogues/poem in the start and the middle and does it to perfection and also this part should have been the difficult part to compose, but ARR excels in bringing a definite rhythm to the dialogues and also with Shehnai playing in the background, it creates a typical Holi feel in our place.

Raisya is a very different number and it is only song that can be called a melody in this album. This is the song which has got some techno stuff in it. It sounds like ARR has used some ethnic percussion but I am not sure. The rhythm of this song reminds me many other songs like “Nimma Samaj Gaye”, “Dhuan Dhuan” but anyway this is my favorite song of the album as of now as it has got an extremely catchy chorus part and humming. A tune played with guitar or similar string that is looped in the background all through the song is excellent. The layering of strings, mild percussions and vocal in the start is another highlight of the song. Richa Sharma and Bonnie Chakraborthy’s singing gives an unconventional sound to the song.

Takey Takey is a fun folk number which according to me is not at par with other songs in the album. Though Takey Takey part is catchy, it somehow slips off in the middle and also the rhythm is pretty ordinary. Sukhwinder singh’s voice lacks energy in this song or was it because of final mixing in the sound.

Al Maddath Maula is yet another beautiful Islamic devotional number like “Zikr”. It has got some thundering percussion arrangements and complex tabla rhythms at the end as the gradually raising tempo reaches its extreme at the end. The string section in the background throughout the song creating some serious sound adds to the mood of the song. This time Kailash joins with Murtaza and Kadir Khans and renders an excellent devotional number with ARR rendering the “Maula” alap with perfect pitch and divine feel in his voice.

Having said enough, please don’t judge the album on first or even the second listening. It is a kind of album that will definitely grow on you on more listening. Listen to it with an open mind and without any comparisons, the album is really worth for what it is and I am enjoying listening to it again and again.


ramji said...

nice review. going to grab a copy.

sriraman v.k

Prasoon said...

I grabbed a copy n i too believe that the songs get over you as you keep listening to them.
Good thats one good album -n know what - I found a blog of chinmayi - who u know is a singer in Holi re. Chk the blog out - http://chinmayisripada.blogspot.com

Have to congratulate her..

Arvind said...

Hi Suresh,

Nice to see an early-bird detailed review :-)

I write a lot of musical reviews as well. You can find them here.

Ganesh said...

you have beaten everyone with your review.
I used to review lot of album in tfmpage.com as UV, but I guess I have passed the baton to you guys,
your TIS review was very nice

Narayanan Venkitu said...

First time here. Thanks for the review. I bought a CD this afternoon.

Suresh Kumar said...

Ramji: Thanx for ur comments
Prasoon: I know that, i have been to her blog before
Arvind: Thanx and i have already read many of your music reviews in your blog but never registered a comment but i liked all ur revus
Ganesh: thanx for those encouraging words.
Narayanan: Tell me your opinoion about the album.


Arvind said...


Cool and thanks :-) and feel free to express your views/comments on the reviews ;)

Mangal said...

Mangal mangal, rasiya, and Main Vari Vari are good, rest are ...

Harish said...

nice review..
I've written one too :)

Anonymous said...

"It is a kind of album that will definitely grow on you on more listening." Very true for all Rehman albums (except for Roja, which I loved at first hearing). I always listen to Rehman Songs 3-4 times the first time and then start loving it. This album is one of them.

Suresh, your reviews are great. Henceforth I am going to read ur reviews before deciding to listen to the songs of any movie. Keep up the good work. Do you also write movie reviews?