Movie Soundtracks

Soundtrack review: ‘Rangoon’ is an eclectic and often dazzling mix of old and new musical styles

Composer Vishal Bhardwaj and lyricist Gulzar experiment with sound as well as language for the February 24 release.

Vishal Bhardwaj’s dual role as music composer and director can sometimes be his undoing. In the February 24 release Rangoon, Bhardwaj’s tunes carry the familiar signature of his style, but with ample help from Gulzar’s quirky lyrics, the filmmaker is able to reinvent even jaded harmony as a refreshing melody.

Rangoon is a period romance in which Kangana Ranaut plays a glamourous 1940s movie star named Julia. Set during World War II, Rangoon is a love triangle featuring Saif Ali Khan in the role of her studio boss and Shahid Kapoor as a guard accompanying her on an Indo-Burma border trip.

The soundtrack kickstarts to the jaunty rhythm of Bloody Hell, which contains the bewildering idea “Ishq kiya angrezi mein” (We loved in English). How does one love in the English language and sing about it in Hindi?

Be that as it may: lyricist Gulzar’s masterly word play in Bloody Hell is a fun-filled romp belted out with panache by Sunidhi Chauhan. Bhardwaj keeps the composition frothy. Between the sounds of the whip lash and the horns, it’s the chorus “bloody hell” that gives the number its je ne sais quoi quality.

Bloody Hell.

The word “ishq” is the mainstay in the soulful track Yeh Ishq Hai. It is sung by Arijit Singh, who enunciates each word like a canticle reaching for the heavens. The melody is reminiscent of AR Rahman’s slow-burn love ballad Dil Se Re (Dil Se, 1998), also written by Gulzar. Singh’s soaring voice is backed by a gorgeous interplay of guitars and flute. Singer Rekha Bhardwaj renders another version of the track in a qawwali style interspersed with harmonium, tabla, flute, dholak and chorus refrains but it doesn’t quite add up.

In the other Arijit Singh solo, Alvida, a haunting saxophone interlude trails his vocals like a shadow. The track spirals into grunge and turns towards a melodic finish. Alvida is a hallmark of Bhardwaj’s intense musical tropes, such as Jhelum in Haider (2014), Bekaraan in 7 Khoon Maaf (2011) and the title track of Kaminey (2009). These tunes begin as placid elegies that gradually rise into a cathartic crescendo, expressing a lead character’s psychological state of mind.

Mere Miyan Gaye England.

The droll humour of Mere Miyan Gaye England takes its cue from Mere Piya Gaye Rangoon (Patanga, 1949) and includes the names of Adolf Hitler and Winston Churchill. Rekha Bhardwaj sings a hilarious tribute to her soldier husband who has been catapulted like a loose cannon from the Eiffel Tower in Paris to a bus stand in an Indian village. The opening bars of the track have been sped up from the prelude of Rahoo Rahoo, a pop song Rekha Bhardwaj sang in the non-film album Ishqa Ishqa in 2004. Rahoo Rahoo was written by Gulzar and composed by Vishal Bhardwaj.

In Ek Dooni Do, Rekha Bhardwaj is surrounded with the chorus strains of Spanish phrases such as “baila baila” (dance dance) and “arriba arriba” (above). Chori Chori is a flirty number with coquettish lines such as “Moongphali ke daane aise phenka na karo” (Don’t chuck peanuts at me), evoking a period in Hindi film music when a paper cone filled with peanuts could trigger a romantic tug of war. Chori Chori has the vibe of an OP Nayyar melody and it gives Bhardwaj a chance to modulate her voice like the playback singers of the 1940s.

Tippa is a narrative song, borrowing elements of rhythm and lyrics from a ditty Bhardwaj and Gulzar created in the mid-nineties for the Hindi dubbed version of the Japanese animated television series Alice in Wonderland. Incorporating ambient sounds of water drops and chugging train wheels, singers Sunidhi Chauhan, Rekha Bhardwaj, Sukhwinder Singh and O S Arun turn the melody into a storytelling session, interjected by dramatic orchestration.

Julia is a balladeer’s tribute to its super-heroine, and in this case, it takes more than one: Sukhwinder Singh, KK, Kunal Ganjawala and composer Bhardwaj croon in sync. The composition jumps through styles, from vaudeville and dirge to even a dated trashy tune from the 90s where heroics were compared to a “zalzala” (earthquake) and “bijli” (lightning).

The two English tracks Be Still, sung by Dominique Cerejo, and Shimmy Shake, sung by Vivienne Pocha, are written by actress Lekha Washington. Be Still is a languid jazz number, in contrast to Shimmy Shake’s boisterous rhythm. The sharp sound of a viola is followed by a full-blown orchestra in the instrumental track Rangoon Theme, giving the score the epic scale of a Chinese opera that it deserves.

The 12 songs of Rangoon bear Bhardwaj’s indelible stamp, but are they authentic to the film’s period setting? Bhardwaj experiments with several musical styles that are often showy and eclipse the genres they encompass. Lyricist Gulzar gets a free hand with his verse. He conjures up an array of images through his words that are equally dazzling and overwhelming at times. The soundtrack requires repeat listening to catch up with the composer-lyricist duo who stridently march to their own beats.

Rangoon jukebox.
We welcome your comments at
Sponsored Content BY 

What’s the difference between ‘a’ washing machine and a ‘great’ washing machine?

The right machine can save water, power consumption, time, energy and your clothes from damage.

In 2010, Hans Rosling, a Swedish statistician, convinced a room full of people that the washing machine was the greatest invention of the industrial revolution. In the TED talk delivered by him, he illuminates how the washing machine freed women from doing hours of labour intensive laundry, giving them the time to read books and eventually join the labour force. Rosling’s argument rings true even today as it is difficult to deny the significance of the washing machine in our everyday lives.

For many households, buying a washing machine is a sizable investment. Oddly, buyers underestimate the importance of the decision-making process while buying one and don’t research the purchase as much as they would for a television or refrigerator. Most buyers limit their buying criteria to type, size and price of the washing machine.

Visible technological advancements can be seen all around us, making it fair to expect a lot more from household appliances, especially washing machines. Here are a few features to expect and look out for before investing in a washing machine:

Cover your basics

Do you wash your towels every day? How frequently do you do your laundry? Are you okay with a bit of manual intervention during the wash cycle? These questions will help filter the basic type of washing machine you need. The semi-automatics require manual intervention to move clothes from the washing tub to the drying tub and are priced lower than a fully-automatic. A fully-automatic comes in two types: front load and top load. Front loading machines use less water by rotating the inner drum and using gravity to move the clothes through water.

Size matters

The size or the capacity of the machine is directly proportional to the consumption of electricity. The right machine capacity depends on the daily requirement of the household. For instance, for couples or individuals, a 6kg capacity would be adequate whereas a family of four might need an 8 kg or bigger capacity for their laundry needs. This is an important factor to consider since the wrong decision can consume an unnecessary amount of electricity.

Machine intelligence that helps save time

In situations when time works against you and your laundry, features of a well-designed washing machine can come to rescue. There are programmes for urgent laundry needs that provide clean laundry in a super quick 15 to 30 minutes’ cycle; a time delay feature that can assist you to start the laundry at a desired time etc. Many of these features dispel the notion that longer wash cycles mean cleaner clothes. In fact, some washing machines come with pre-activated wash cycles that offer shortest wash cycles across all programmes without compromising on cleanliness.

The green quotient

Despite the conveniences washing machines offer, many of them also consume a substantial amount of electricity and water. By paying close attention to performance features, it’s possible to find washing machines that use less water and energy. For example, there are machines which can adjust the levels of water used based on the size of the load. The reduced water usage, in turn, helps reduce the usage of electricity. Further, machines that promise a silent, no-vibration wash don’t just reduce noise – they are also more efficient as they are designed to work with less friction, thus reducing the energy consumed.

Customisable washing modes

Crushed dresses, out-of-shape shirts and shrunken sweaters are stuff of laundry nightmares. Most of us would rather take out the time to hand wash our expensive items of clothing rather than trusting the washing machine. To get the dirt out of clothes, washing machines use speed to first agitate the clothes and spin the water out of them, a process that takes a toll on the fabric. Fortunately, advanced machines come equipped with washing modes that control speed and water temperature depending on the fabric. While jeans and towels can endure a high-speed tumble and spin action, delicate fabrics like silk need a gentler wash at low speeds. Some machines also have a monsoon mode. This is an India specific mode that gives clothes a hot rinse and spin to reduce drying time during monsoons. A super clean mode will use hot water to clean the clothes deeply.

Washing machines have come a long way, from a wooden drum powered by motor to high-tech machines that come equipped with automatic washing modes. Bosch washing machines include all the above-mentioned features and provide damage free laundry in an energy efficient way. With 32 different washing modes, Bosch washing machines can create custom wash cycles for different types of laundry, be it lightly soiled linens, or stained woollens. The ActiveWater feature in Bosch washing machines senses the laundry load and optimises the usage of water and electricity. Its EcoSilentDrive motor draws energy from a permanent magnet, thereby saving energy and giving a silent wash. The fear of expensive clothes being wringed to shapelessness in a washing machine is a common one. The video below explains how Bosch’s unique VarioDrumTM technology achieves damage free laundry.


To start your search for the perfect washing machine, see here.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Bosch and not by the Scroll editorial team.