By Abid, Glamsham Editorial
Expectations are indeed humongous from any musical offering from the music wizard, A.R. Rahman, as the maestro has set very high standards for himself. His hallmark of brilliance was last visible in the album of Yash Chopra's swan-song JAB TAK HAI JAAN. The music of EROS's Aanand L. Rai directed (of TANU WEDS MANU fame) RAANJHANAA, which introduces the 'Kolaveri Di' star Dhanush (to the Hindi audience), is set against the backdrop of the pious city of 'ghats' Banaras, and promises to be a classic. This time though lyricist Irshad Kamil is the chosen one and Gulzar Sahab will certainly be missed. So we get down to business and check the 'Oscar Rahman' music of the film. The 'Raanjhanaa' title track is a superb fusion of Hindustani classical and western symphony and is rendered by Sukhwinder and Shiraz Uppal. The song underlines the strong feelings of the lead protagonists brilliantly with excellent words penned by Irshad Kamil. The neo nightingale Shreya Ghoshal's endearing vocals is accompanied by Meenal Jain, Amwesha Datta Gupta in chorus. Rahman's alluring semi-classical melody and of course, the scintillating 'sitar', flute and 'tabla' jugalbnadi are the highlights of 'Benarasiya'. Irshad Kamil's lyrics too are in sync and add to the earthy folk flavor of the song. A musical treat indeed! Finally the number that has been the center of attention ever since its first teaser, 'Tum Tak', an excellent love ballad that has so many shades that it is difficult to classify. At times it's the simple raga based melody that hooks, then it's the traditional 'qawwali' form that attracts, then the 'bhajan' part takes over, and of course the semi-classical notes are just exceptional and only the wizard himself could have created a track like that. Javed Ali excels and Pooja Av and Keerti Sagathia support well. Rahman has done this time and again with aplomb and he does it yet again with 'Piya Milenge', a sufi-classical 'tasawwuf' song (where the beloved is akin to god) is converted to fit into the situation, keeping in mind the 'Ganga-Jamuni' sanskriti/ tahzeeb of Banaras. Kamil's lyrics which infuse divinity with love, are the icing on the cake. Sung superbly by trusted aide, Sukhwinder (no one else could have justice to this) and is given company by KMMC Sufi Ensemble and Rahman himself who comes in briefly and together they carve out a timeless classic. 'Aye Sakhi' sung by a host of female singers Aanchal Sethi, Vaishali, Chinmayi and Madhushree, is situational in nature and has a touch of retro with the girls teasing the lead playfully, though the song may find limited appeal. Wonderful orchestral arrangements and scintillating display of soft flowing melody encase 'Nazar Laaye' sung brilliantly by Rashid Ali and Neeti Mohan and Rahman joins the breezy chorus. Irshad's lyrics are simply outstanding. Rabbi and Rahman have together delivered the memorable 'Challa' and the Persian title 'Tu Mun Shudi' ('Tu Man Shudi, Man Tu Shudam' - I have become you, You have become me) comes a close second and that says a lot. A situational track that speaks about the free spirited nature of the lead and is rendered impeccably by Rabbi with superb back up support by Rahman. Irshad Kamil's lyrics, a mix of Persian, Urdu, Hindi and Punjabi, are class act though they may not be comprehensible to the masses. Light, breezy jazz flavoured romantic track, 'Aise Na Dekho', sung solo by Rahman is just a bit ordinary by Rahman's own standards. It is let down by some ordinary lyrics, although Rahman does make it worthwhile with his singing and good background arrangements of saxophone, guitar and harmonica. Conch shell sounds (shankh naad), holy chants, temple bells and vigorous musical arrangements that symbolise Lord Shiva's 'Tandav', mark the brief but enlightening instrumental "Land Of Shiva", an ode to the holy city of Banaras. To sum up an album, which is a tribute to the great Ustad Bismillah Khan (with liberal use of 'Shehnai'), is a difficult task. We can only say - Once in a while one comes across an album that is above commercial considerations (not that this one lacks in commercial appeal), and RAANJHANAA is one such album. After JAB TAK HAI JAAN, Rahman does it again, though he is couple of notches higher as far as class in concerned. There couldn't been a better musical compositions than this for an album like RAANJHANAA. Our favourites are 'Tum Tak', 'Piya Milenge' and 'Nazar Laaye' . The album will definitely go a long way in ensuring that the film opens well when it releases all over this Friday.