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Essential film songs from 2017

by Assessor

Instep lists down five songs from a diverse set of Pakistani films that must be heard.

The year 2017 is close to ending, with three films – Arth, Chupan Chupai and Rangreza – scheduled to release in the coming days. How these films fare at the box office and beyond remains to be seen but music is an integral element to these films, much like most Pakistani films.

Film songs are all about furthering the narrative of a film, at least when done right. And though 2017 remains a mixed year for Pakistani cinema (more on that later), musically speaking a number of films managed to deliver via their soundtracks.

Instep lists down the five songs that make for essential listening from 2017 film soundtracks.

Song: ‘Power Di Game’

Film: Verna

Artist: Xpolymer Dar

‘Power Di Game’, a hard-hitting rap song depicting Pakistan’s nightmarish reality, is one of the best film songs to release this year.

Sung/rapped by Xpolymer Dar, the song challenges the status quo and holds everyone accountable including the vile, the powerful and the corrupt. No subject is too grim for this song and it takes on everyone without worrying about making things palatable. ¬

Song: ‘Khalis Makhan’

Film: Chalay Thay Saath

Artist: Bakshi Brothers and Natasha Noorani

Chalay Thay Saath may have opened to mixed reviews upon release but the film’s soundtrack is easily the strongest one we have heard this year. And it is for this reason that we’re struggling to pick just one song from this excellent soundtrack.

Our choice from this score goes to the song ‘Khalis Makhan’. Running over 6 minutes, it is everything a song should be: elating, surprising and gorgeous.

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The brothers (Shahryar, Bilal Bakhshi, Aafi and Yawar) also sang this song on Coke Studio a couple of years ago but it’s this version featuring Natasha Noorani that has our vote.

Footnote: CTS soundtrack also features Sikandar Ka Mandar, Mooroo and Bell, all of whom have done a spectacular job.

Song: ‘Murshed Ji’

Film: Arth – The Destination

Artist: Sahir Ali Bagga, Rahat Fateh Ali Khan

As film songs go, this one is better than many others who have tried to do something similar. Part spiritual elegy, part rock song, it is carried by its two vocalists in terrific fashion. This is Bagga like we haven’t heard before. It also doesn’t hurt to see Shaan Shahid essaying his inner rock star in the song’s original video. He is joined by Rahat Fateh Ali Khan in the video and Fuzon’s Emu too, which elevates the song further.

Song: ‘Balamwa’

Film: Rangreza

Artist: Fareed Ayaz, Abu Muhammad and Hamza Akram Qawwal

Rangreza, an upcoming film starring Urwa Hocane, Bilal Ashraf and Goher Rasheed, deals with the subject of music. Its soundtrack, meanwhile, features a number of artists who are making their debut as film composers for the first time. One of them is Qurram Hussain and the other is Hamza Akram Qawaal.

But if we had to pick one song from Rangreza, it would be this lilting melody called ‘Balamwa’ that is composed by Hamza Akram Qawaal and sung by the absolute kings of qawwali, Farid Ayaz and Abu Muhammad alongside Hamza. Apart from the fact that you can never go wrong with Farid Ayaz and Abu Muhammad, this qawwali is a testament to Hamza Akram’s talent and is superior to everything else out there even as it manages to experiment.

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Song: ‘Jhoom Jhoom’

Film: Chupan Chupai

Artist: Adnan Dhool

Chupan Chupai, another upcoming Pakistani film, starring Ahsan Khan and Neelam Muneer in principal roles, has an interesting soundtrack attached to it. Though it features Adnan Dhool (of Soch) on a number of songs, it’s this part-angry, part obscure track called ‘Jhoom Jhoom’ that has our undivided attention. Laced with edgy beats, synth and a singer who is tipsy one minute and indifferent the next, it’s the biggest weapon on this soundtrack. There is something very wild and experimental about this song and it has our endorsement.

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