The vintage Rahman is back! And he’s back with a gusto. The album is a melange of soul-stirring awe-inspiring melodies, feet tapping rhythms, wonderful poetry and some impressive singing that you just can’t get enough of. Every song in this album is a gem.
Like Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra’s last outing with ARR, Rang De Basanti, this album too opens up with a religious track Tumre Bhavan Mein. A short and serene track that, if you ignore the lyrics, sounds more like a traditional wedding song.
Arziyan, a qawwali, is like an ode to the Islamic culture of the old Delhi. In the very beginning of the song, Javed Ali sounds very much like Sonu Nigam and that made me wonder why arr has been giving these songs (Kehne Ko Jashn-e-Bahara, Guzarish) to Javed Ali instead of his favorite Sonu Nigam who might have been a better choice for these songs. But as the song progresses, Javed Ali quickly clears up my doubts. He, along with Kailash Kher, excels in singing this divine qawwali. The jugalbandi between Javed and Kailash in the second antra is awesome. The clapping, the beats of tabla, the sounds of harmonium, the supporting chorus, simple yet meaningful lyrics, everything is just perfect in this song – and together they all create a mesmerizing listening experience that I yearn for again and again.
Sar utha kar maine, kitni khwahishein ki thi
Kitne khwab dekhe the, kitni koshishein ki thi
Jab tu rubaru aaya, nazrein naa mila paaya
Sar jhooka ke ek pal mein, maine kya naheen paaya.
Shreya Ghosal has big shoes to fill in Bhor Bahye, where ARR invokes a legend from the past – Late Ustan Bade Ghulam Ali Khan, but she does an excellent job in singing this classical thumri. (Here’s a link the original thumri sung by the legend.)
Prasoon Joshi writes some nice lyrics in Dil Gira Daffatan. Geez, when was the last time we heard the word daffatan (which means ‘suddenly’) in a song? Wasn’t it Ghulam Ali’s immortal ghazal Chupke Chupke? (‘Kheench le na voh mera parde ka kona daffatan.’) Although I thought Ash King faltered on some high notes, the heavenly melody and simplistic arrangement (continual mild chords like water flowing in a river) overshadows the minor glitches. The song and especially the interludes takes several unexpected twists and turns that keep surprising you every time you hear them. Chinmayee’s minimal yet impressive backup vocal reminds us how wonderful singer she is (who made quite an astonishing debut in Kannathil Muthamittal).
The lady with a haunting, sensuous and unconventional voice, Rekha Bhardwaj sings for ARR for the first time in a feet tapping and teasing folk song Genda Phool. Jaw dropping fusion of folk and techno beats. ARR almost shows off his unparalleled expertise in creating a fusion song! Watch out for the sudden explosion of techno beats (right after ‘Saiyaji vyapari chale hai pardes.‘)… swept me off my feet during first few listens. Prasoon Joshi again comes up with some commendable lyrics, which reminded me of Gulzar’s Naina Milaike and Chalka from Saathiya.
Mohit Chauhan makes his second appearance with ARR after Khoon Chala from Rang De Basanti. What a song! (From what I heard, Masakkali is the name of the pigeon, by the way.) A free flowing, addictive and fun song… the last time ARR did something close to this was in Saathiya (Aye Udi Udi). I love how arr have been using accordion in his songs lately. (The celestial opening music of Aye Hairatein in Guru.) I always thought that Mohit Chauhan’s voice was only suited for ghazals and soft romantic songs. Never realized that he could handle such a power packed and expressive song with such ease. This song is already been shown in the promos, and is becoming an instant hit.
Amitabh Bachchan, needless to say, does justice to a small couplet titled Noor that sounds almost like a left-over shayari from Fanaa (where Amir Khan vocalized some shayaris that were written by Prasoon Joshi). Hey Kaala Bandar is a funky, hip-hop’ish and easily my least favorite song in this album. The chorus in the interludes is very similar to the tune of ‘Door dil se naheen hai hum door‘ from Yuvvraaj.
Prasoon Joshi’s poetry in Rehna Tu is reminiscent of Munna Dhiman’s Apne Rang Gawaye Bin from U Me Aur Hum. The sound arrangement in this song alone is enough to establish the fact that no other musician comes even close to him when it comes to innovative sounds and song structures. Excellent back-up vocals by Benny Dayal (who appears consecutively in all of the last four Hindi albums by ARR) Claire, Vivinenne and Tanvi Shah (who sang Fanaa with ARR in Yuva, and also Jai Ho from Slumdog Millionaire).
Delhi 6 (Ye Delhi Hai Mere Yaar) is mind blowing. Wild stuff. The best line by Prasoon Joshi comes in this song ‘Ye shehar naheen, mehfil hai’. Over the years we have heard and cherished many songs about our beloved city Bombay, now Delhi gets a sensational and groovy song of its own.
All of Prasoon Joshi’s “sins” in Ghajini are washed away by his work in Delhi 6. The only minor gripe I have is that I thought some reference(s) to places/areas in Delhi would have been apt for a movie that’s so fascinated with the city… like how Gulzar referred to places in Delhi in the Kajrare song from Bunty Aur Babli (‘Ballimaran se daribe talak, teri meri kahani Dilli mein.’).
As I write this, the audio CD is not out yet. I have been listening to the songs online (here). Please buy the CD if you like the songs, it’s worth every penny.
PS. The zip code of Chandani Chowk area (where Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra grew up) in Delhi is 110006, and that’s what’s behind the namesake. I am really enjoying Bollywood directors’ newfound fascination with the old Delhi (Khosla Ka Ghosla, Rang De Basanti, Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye!)