So our tapori buddies are back to the usual mischief, with Producer Vidhu Vinod Chopra and Director Rajkumar Hirani at the helm in Lage Raho Munnabhai. Now, if you’re like me, then you are gasping for fresh air among the over-polluted Reshammiya skies. Besides a little Pritam and Vishal-Shekhar interspersed throughout the first half of 2006, it’s pretty much been a Reshammiya dictatorship (with no sign of a democracy looming in sight!).
However, the man who brought us exceptional music in the forms of Hazaaron Khwahishen Aisi, Yahaan, and Parineeta has returned to give the listening audiences a break from repetitive song structures and nasal voices! Shantanu Moitra is the man to replace Anu Malik as the musical head in the second season of Munnabhai and Circuit’s adventurous journey, and the replacement pays off big time. Swanand Kirkire [Hazaaron Khwahishen Aisi, Sehar, Parineeta] picks up the pen for Moitra once more.
First up we have the two tapori numbers, which were prevalent in the prequel. Lage Raho Munnabhai has vocals by Vinod Rathod with a very lively chorus infiltrating the piece throughout. Although the composition is ecstatic and joyous in nature; it’s quite evident to the trained ear that Shantanu Moitra gets his hands dirty with something he’s not quite familiar with. Place this number next to say, Parineeta’s Raat Hamari To and you can discern the familiarity that he has with each genre. Nonetheless, he makes a commendable effort. And due to the raw talent and musical impulses he possesses, he creates a composition that should be a treat to unravel on screen. Swanand Kirkire does his job right by writing some situational lyrics to fit the composition and mood of the film as a whole. Verdict: A valiant effort that will come alive on screen.
Jatin Sharma puts his spin on the remix version that features Shaan in place of Vinod Rathod. A typical remix, that has its share of pep and flare.
Samjho Ho Hi Gaya is the second tapori number. Featuring Sanjay Dutt, Arshad Warsi, and Vinod Rathod, this piece is all but boring! Yet another situational piece, with similar arrangements as its predecessor, the track excels in the lyrical department. Swanand Kirkire, Farhad, and Sajid come together to write some witty lines that, once again, will have an optimal effect while experienced on screen.
Shantanu Moitra goes to the Caribbean way to compose Aane Char Aane. Rendered by debutant Karunya (runner up of Indian Idol 2), the piece has some tropical arrangements enacted by hyper bass, trumpets, and flutes. Although it may take some time to grow on you, Karunya’s soft vocals blend into the piece with ease. Moitra uses this piece to flex his muscles when it comes to knowledge of world music. The chorus that backs Karunya only adds to the tropical flavor of the piece. VVC himself picks up the pen to write alongside Kirkire, as they write some simple situational words for Karunya to croon. Jatin Sharma’s remix adds nothing to the original and is unnecessary.
Pal Pal Har Pal is by far the best piece in the soundtrack and amongst the most melodious of the year. Now this is the Shantanu Moitra we have all come to know and love. The piece is like another Piyu Bole, which has Shreya Ghoshal and Sonu Nigam romancing over Moitra’s sublime creation. The PizzStrings, infused with a lonesome play of the bass, the piano, the chorus, and the flute, make for a heavenly experience. Melody triumphs, as Moitra creates a very contemporary waltz that should have you humming in no time. Shreya Ghoshal is at her peak, hitting ever note perfectly, while dragging the beauty out of each and every phrase. Just like Moitra, Kirkire too returns to his niche to write some simple, sweet, and romantic lyrics. Verdict: Brilliant work by everyone involved!
But…there’s some bad news. It appears that Shantanu Moitra has ripped off the title line from British singer Cliff Richard’s hit single Theme For A Dream. It should be noted that Shantanu Moitra had also lifted his Kaisi Paheli Zindagani from Parineeta. Also, Urzu Urzu Durkut from Yahaa had bits and pieces lifted as well. Let’s just hope that this doesn’t turn into a re-occurring habit!
To finish the soundtrack off is Bande Mein Tha Dum – Vande Mataram. Write off the bat, Shantanu Moitra puts his signature touch with the guitar serving as the harmonic base, upon which Sonu Nigam renders a flawless song. Apart from a distinguished composition, VVC and Swanand Kirkire write of The Father of The Nation, Mahatma Gandhi. Shreya Ghoshal makes her presence felt with the classy Vande Mataram interludes, while Pranab Biswas does justice to his limited role of repeating the Bande Mein Tha Dum chorus.
Shantanu Moitra presents us with an Instrumental version of the previous, with Ashvin Shrinivasan’s flute taking over Sonu’s vocals. Kudos to Moitra for creating a very classy, yet varied composition by throwing instruments like the crunch guitar, harmonium, and the flute into one basket and creating a mirage of sorts.
Lage Raho Munnabhai is a keeper for sure. If Shantanu Moitra’s name on the cover wasn’t already enough to get you to buy the CD, then just do it to give your system a break from the Reshammiya regime.