The eagerly anticipated music of Raavan has finally released. About 12 years ago, Mani Ratnam, A R Rahman and Gulzar gave us one of the best albums the Indian cinema has ever produced: Dil Se. Three years ago, they recreated some of that magic in Guru. And now, they collaborate for the third time, in one of the most awaited movies of the year.
There are six songs in this album – alas, none rendered by the maestro himself, and no instrumental piece.
Vijay Prakash, a disciple of Suresh Wadekar, who did wonders with Man Mohini (Yuvraj), but butchered Fiqrana (Blue) with his almost incomprehensible pronunciations, joins with the newcomer Mustafa for this upbeat energetic introduction of the lead character: Beera. Unlike Omkara (another character-defining song), in which Gulzar had two antaras at his disposal to create a sketch of Omi, Beera Beera is a short song. So Gulzar had to use his words sparingly to introduce the lead character who has ten heads and hundred names (referring to the multitude of his personality?). But he gives us enough clues and teasers to keep us mystified and intrigued about Beera: “Janm na poochho, jaat na poochho; poochho jo pehchaan, Beera ka abhimaan hai.” Ask not about his lineage, or about his caste. Ask about his identify. His identity is his pride. (Wasn’t pride one of the vices Ravana supposed to have?)
The next song Behene De somehow reminds me of Satrangi Re. It has that passion, that intensity, that agony (which Shahrukh portrayed so well on screen) but everything is toned down quite a bit. Compared to (ironically named) Amar’s desire “Mujhe maut ki god mein sone de”, Beera’s plea for “Behne de” might seem much less esoteric, but the song does captivate the listener and succeeds in evoking a sense of yearning. Karthik’s crisp and earnest rendition does full justice to this wonderful song.
Thok De Killi is high on attitude and adrenaline. A R Rahman knows when to rope in Sukhwinder, whose lively voice and energetic style perfectly suits this song. However, I am not sure if this situational song has a lot of repeat-value. I read somewhere that this movie features the Dravidian martial art Kalarippayattu, and since this song sounds like a war-song it might have been used as a background score to a fight sequence. (I wonder if Thok De Killi refers to the phrase “the last nail in the coffin”…)
The only duet in the album is Ranjha Ranjha, with an unusual pair of singers: Rekha Bharadwaj and Javed Ali. Gulzar takes cue from the great Punjabi poet Bulleh Shah: Rahnjha ranjha kardi wey mein, aape ranjha hui. [Chanting Ranjha’s name over and over, I’ve become Ranjha myself.] The last time Gulzar did something like this was in Mausam, where he borrowed a sher from Ghalib: Dil dhoondhta hai. The simple and playful structure of this song, and background percussion beats are similar to Yaar Mila Tha from Blue. But Rekha and Javed’s voice, Anuradha Sriram’s background vocals, and Gulzar’s poetry makes this song a treat to hear.
Reena Bhardwaj’s pristine voice, chorus (seven singers are credited for providing background vocals), flute, sitar and tabla creates a quasi-devotional mood in Khili Re. This song will probably grow over time. Good to see Reena’s come-back after a long time – her first and only song was Ye Rishta in Meenaxi. Kata Kata is an explosion of bugles, heavy percussion (dhol), shehnai and a diverse consortium of singers who celebrate the last few moments of bride and groom before their wedding. Ranjit Barot’s music arrangement is quite impressive. The lyrics are teasing and sarcastic for the most part, but there are some sincere words of advice for the bride as well! (Remember Chhalka Chhalka Re from Saathiya?) Reportedly, this song was shot with 1,000 dancers in Orcha, Madhya Pradesh.
It’s only been a day since I’ve been listening to this album, and I don’t want to give a hurried verdict. But I would say that it’s quite an enjoyable album and worth your money (please buy original music!)
[You can listen to Raavan songs on MeraMood.]