musical, who hangs out at the Drift with us and has knowledge to match her interest in music takes an early listen of A. R. Rahman's much buzzed about soundtrack to Delhi-6.
Aspi asked me to do a review for Delhi 6 music. And the album isn't even out, yet! But a quick search on the internet will reveal the mayajaal, the muzik is everywhere! Without knowing that the music wasn't officially available yet, and having looked up iTunes several times to no avail, curiosity won over (don't get me wrong, I haven't downloaded any songs) and I ended up listening to this marvelous soundtrack through that search. And again, and again and yet again.
A. R. Rahman opens 2009 with an album that easily is one of his more versatile scores. In his previous outing with Rakyesh Omprakash Mehra, he gave us the fun and fresh Rang de Basanti. They team up again for Delhi 6 and the result is a fairly enjoyable soundtrack. What's more is that you get to hear different genres and great new voices, which, for me is always a plus!
People are calling it Rahman's comeback score. (Wait a minute, that's wrong on so many levels. I don't think he ever went away, did he?). But I digress.
The album brings us two devotional numbers: a Devi aarti 'Tumre Bhavan Mein' and a Sufi prayer 'Arziyan'. The aarti, sung by Rekha Bharadwaj, Kishori Gowariker, Shraddha Pandit and Sujata Mazumdar is a simple aarti, set to minimal orchestra, and has a soothing effect.
Arziyan is a Sufi qawwali, most likely in a Dargah setting, and has good vocals by Javed Ali and Kailash Kher. Rahman has, in the past, given us some really great devotional songs: 'Roshan hui raat' (Sapne), 'Piya Haji Ali' (Fiza), 'O Palan Hare' (Lagaan) and 'Khwaja mere Khwaja' (Jodha-Akbar). Somehow, these two songs from Delhi 6 are not quite in the same league (but a good listen, nonetheless).
We then have Shreya Ghoshal facing the challenge of singing along with what has been eternalized by Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan saheb's vocals. 'Bhor Bhaye' is a beautiful morning song set to Gujari Todi, and it is refreshing to see a classical melody here. And while Shreya does a great job, the sing along concept sort of dampened the effect of this beautiful song. But based on the movie trailer (which showed Sonam singing along/doing Riyaaz), this possibly is a requirement of the movie.
Next comes a pleasant surprise in the form of Rekha Bhardwaj's voice in a wedding number 'Genda Phool', backed up by Sharddha Pandit and Sujata Mazumdar and packed with earthy, folksy flavor. Did I suddenly think 'Maa da ladla'?? Ah, the 'quack-quack' makes an appearance here. While it suited 'Maa da ladla' in keeping with fun spirit of the song, it only hinders the enjoyment here. A version of the song sans duck vocals, please? Try it for the sheer pleasure of listening to Rekha Bhardwaj.
Given the effect the title song of 'Rang De Basanti', I am sure the expectations from the title song here must be very high. 'Delhi 6' has Blaaze, Benny Dayal, Vivienne Pocha, Tanvi Shah and Claire gettng together for the title song. And what happens next? We get a mishmash sort of track, which opens fine, but derails soon! Are expectations getting the better of me here? Good instrumentals, but I found something lacking and can not place my finger on it yet. Help! But hey, the "gali hai deewanon ki dilli" line is really infectious :)
'Noor' unfolds Amitabh Bachchan's philosophical voice over and will be a pleaser for his fans.
Follow it up with some rap, shall we? 'Hey Kala Bandar' is a fun song with some innovative lyrics (props to Prasoon Joshi), and is performed by Karthik, Naresh Iyer and Bony Chakraborty (who is also responsible for singing the mad, mad 'Emosanal Atyachar' from Dev D). A cool track, this one, which scores on so many levels!
For those moments when you want a soft, feather-light number to soothe you, you have Rahman presenting us a delightful, whispering number in 'Dil Gira Dafatan', sung by Ash King and Chinmayee. It is a delight to see Chinmayee here - I've been a fan of hers since 'Kannathil Muthamittal'. Ash King does a great job, considering that (according to Chinmayee) this is his first song in Hindi. The song just grows on you like magic (cliched, but true)!
'Rehna Tu' is another song with very different lyrics and has Rahman singing this soft number along with Benny Dayal and Tanvi Shah, with really impressive results. This song is why I love Rahman as a singer. The song packs a lilting surprise, leaving you mesmerized! Rahman uses a new instrument - Continuum to great effect for the instrumental piece in Carnatic style. You really wish the song to go on forever.
And here comes the best part, the classic Rahman, in 'Masakali' ! Mohit Chauhan (Silk Route) opens this song brilliantly with cool sing-song lyrics "Masakali, masakali, ud, matakali, matakali". Rahman blends the old world charm with today's music and creates a song that will last a long, long time. This is an inherently versatile song! Apparently 'masakali' is the name of Sonam's pet dove in Delhi 6, and the song almost didn't make it to the movie. Thank heavens it did :). Clearly my pick of the album!
Waiting for the 21st, when the music gets officially released.
The Delhi 6 trailor
Maula (Arziyan) promo