Ok…so, I am convinced that I am not the only one who is guilty of the following confession: when you see a Hindi film soundtrack that boasts of a big production team like Dharma Productions (i.e. Karan Johar, mastermind behind such box office successes such as Kuch Kuch Hota Hai and Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham) and top-name stars like Shah Rukh Khan, Saif Ali Khan, Preity Zinta, and Jaya Bachchan, the immediate inclination is to think that the songs for the film are going to be above average to excellent. Yeah, it probably seems a bit unfair to raise the expectations for a film like Kal Ho Naa Ho, but I believe that it is something each one of us is guilty of doing. Unfortunately, the music for this film falls flat. With only six tracks on the entire album, this soundtrack is an utter disappointment. Of course, titles such as Pretty Women, Heartbeat, and It’s Time to Disco do not help matters.
Sonu Nigam paves the way for the title track, which is rehashed later in a sad version featuring Nigam, Alka Yagnik, and Richa Sharma, who in my opinion is an excellent singer with strong vocals but highly underrated. A flute serves as the song’s intro, followed by Sonu Nigam’s vocals, which are great as expected. The theme of the song is obviously one of living life to its fullest as you never know what can happen tomorrow, hence kal ho naa ho. The song is a bit on the slow side, but nevertheless catchy mainly due to Nigam’s vocal abilities. No, he doesn’t try something new with his voice, but sings as one would expect. Javed Akhtar does a fine job with the lyrics, but that is no surprise considering his previous work in films like Refugee and Border.
The sad version of the title track starts off with Punjabi lyrics, which seem a prerequisite in films made in today’s era. Sung by Richa Sharma, the intro is supported by a chorus that compliments her voice beautifully. The song then eases its way into Alka Yagnik’s voice, which is beautiful as well in its own right. It’s nice to hear the clear disparity between the two singers’ voices – one strong, deep, and heavy, while the other is sweet and light; however, Shankar-Esaan-Loy disappoint when combining the Punjabi chorus with the title track’s feel, which has been slowed down further to give it a sad sentiment. It almost appears as if two songs have been unsuccessfully woven into one.
The second track is Maahi Ve, sung by Udit Narayan, Sonu Nigam, Sadhana Sargam, Shankar Mahadevan, and Sujata Bhattacharya. It appears as if Karan Johar thought he had a formula in “Say Shava Shava” from Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham that he tries desperately to repeat in this song. Again, another disappointment! Udit Narayan and Sonu Nigam sound fine, but Shankar Mahadevan is trying too hard to infuse life into this highly unappealing song. This song also does nothing for Sadhana Sargam, as she appears to be stretching her vocals to keep up with the others.
Maahi Ve is followed by another loser, It’s Time to Disco. It sounds to me like the song was a leftover from an Alisha Chinai album from the late 80s. I can at least say that the music is foot-tapping, but the lyrics are absurd. I can picture it now – millions of barely-clad women in tight, hot pink short-skirts dancing (read: gyrating) with hardly muscular male background dancers wearing tight leather pants, all of whom are trying so hard to appear amused while dancing in a Bombay night club. The vocals are given by Vasundhara Das, Kay Kay, Shankar Mahadevan, and Loy Mendonsa. Das, another highly underrated singer, sounds great, but I would much rather hear her sing Rabba Rabba from Aks. The male singers are sufficient, but nothing can save this track from pressing the fast forward button.
No album these days is complete without Shaan, who joins Alka Yagnik in Kuch To Hua Hai. The song is average, but in this album, shines as a star because it is one of the two tracks worth listening to (the other, of course, being the title track). Shaan sounds great and so does Alka Yagnik. This is probably the best song on the album, which is not saying much since everything else is pretty much junk.
Finally, the last SONG on the album, Pretty Women! Shankar Mahadevan is the culprit behind this monstrosity, supported by Ravi “Rags” Khote who appears to have stolen actress-cum-pop singer Raageshwari’s nickname. The song initially sounds appealing, but then is interrupted with an over-used Punjabi beat. The result being another bad apple in this sour bunch. At this point, this track is not even worth reviewing.
The album ends with an instrumental piece, Heartbeat. Instrumental pieces are intended to support the rest of the album. But seriously, did the music composers think a track called Heartbeat could serve as a pillar of strength to this already-weak soundtrack. I don’t think so. And to think, this track is only a rehash of the title song’s music anyways.
Shame on Karan Johar and Shankar-Esaan-Loy for putting this album out on the market! This album is not worth listening to, let alone buying. Sure, die-hard Shah Rukh, Preity, or Saif (no laughing please) fans may line up at the music store to add this CD to their collection. My advice – be realistic! This album is no Kuch Kuch Hota Hai or Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham. Save your eight bucks on the movie ticket, which I’m still asserting may be a great film. Karan Johar must be a fool if he thought uniting Preity Zinta, Saif Ali Khan, and Shankar-Esaan-Loy would guarantee another Dil Chahta Hai. If anything comes out of this music review, it’s the fact that I have never had so much fun writing one.