A Yash Raj Films presentation. A Mani Ratnam creation. An A. R. Rahman musical. After seeing these lines flash across the screen during Saathiya’s trailer, I was certain that the soundtrack for the film would be something to look out for. My anticipation built further when I learned that Gulzar was writing the lyrics. Alas, my anticipation ends - sadly however, with a bit of disappointment. When the above mentioned names are involved in a project, the results are expected to be spectacular. However, Saathiya’s music doesn’t belong in that league. It’s hard to believe that the individuals (Ratnam, Gulzar, and Rahman) who were behind the best Hindi film soundtrack made during the last five years (Dil Se..) are also the creators of these songs.
Sonu Nigam’s syrupy sweet vocals do wonders for the title track. Gulzar’s lyrics are a breath of fresh air and he seems to be in fine form here. Rahman has created a very soft and soothing number, and Shaad Ali seems to have done justice to it by picturising it beautifully as it’s evident from the trailers.
Chhalka Chhalka Re, sung by Richa Sharma, Mahalaxmi, Vaishali, and Shoma, is also one of the better numbers of the album. The song starts off slow and the pace picks up slightly as it moves on, and the transition is a highlight.
Adnan Sami sings for Rahman for the first time in Aye Udi Udi Udi. Sami goes overboard with his rendition and sounds overly energetic at times. He needs to remember the difference between singing for pop albums and soundtracks. A singer like Sonu Nigam may have made a better choice.
O Humdum Suniyo Re is sung by Kay Kay, Shaan, Kunaal, and Pravin Mani. It’s really hard to distinguish between the singers in this song, mainly due to the fact that the song doesn’t have many lines. It can be best described as a theme song, and definitely one of the few highlights of this album. However, the idiotic rap piece (do they celebrate Halloween in India?) does hamper the quality of the song. Mangalayam is the second (and shorter) version of the song and more preferable over the former.
In today’s world of Hindi film music Gulzar is probably the only lyricist (along with maybe Javed Akhtar) who can do full justice to a Sufi style/Urdu based song. Precisely that’s what he’s done in Mera Yaar Mila De. Rahman takes the mike himself this time, which turns out to be a big mistake. Though Rahman has sung nicely before, here his uneasiness with Hindi/Urdu pronunciations is evident - and that significantly affects the quality of the song.
Sadhna Sargam is seldom heard these days. Hearing her in Chupke Se and Naina Milaaike is a welcome change from the numerous Alka Yagnik numbers we’re so often subjected to. Both songs are pleasant and Sargam does a fine job with them. The chorus (Murtuza and Qadir) in the former are a definite plus for the number, Madhushree also joins Sargam in the latter.
Asha Bhosle and Karthik sing the finale Chori Pe Chori. The fast paced song did have potential to be one of the better songs of the album. However, the unwanted and inane rap pieces just made me want to reach for the “next” button. I have never been in favor of using English words in Hindi film songs for the obvious reasons. This song is a good example of what kind of damage can be done to a potentially listenable song with “wannabe” elements.
Saathiya had potential to perhaps be the best soundtrack of the year, which it certainly isn’t. However, it must be mentioned that Saathiya is still a decent album. Being an ardent A. R. Rahman fan however, I must say that it’s not normal to associate the word decent with a maestro like Rahman.