Itís strange how fortunes change over such a short period of time. The musician of the year so far, Pritam, is on a downward slope, stuck in a rut and in need of redress. In the first half of the year, we saw consistency of a positive kind peaking with the fantastic Life In AÖMetro. Then we had consecutive soundtracks with mediocrity written all over them; Raqeeb, Naqaab and more recently Kaisay Kahein. Whatís happening Pritam? Is the workload getting to you? Actually to be fair, the composer has admitted this much already and off his own back, took a two month break to recharge the batteries. So is RGVís latest love thriller Darling, his long awaited comeback? Firstly, it should be pointed out that Pritam is supported by two fellow composers including Himesh Reshammiya and Prasanna Shekhar. Is that a sign of Pritamís weakening position or moreover RGVís tendency to use more than one composer? Probably the latter.
As it turns out, Himesh Reshammiya is brought in, to give the movie a good promo with just a single song. HR being HR, looks hard in his closet, dons his cap for the day and decides to go with Tadap Tadap for his sole contribution here, which also happens to be the first track of Darling. Now an early word of warning for you listeners! Keep the volume down as you get him crooning these words at high decibels on the very opening of the track and then oddly, you get nothing for a full minute other than the occasional crooning - is this build up so necessary? When he decides to kick in the music, you hope that the music would be different and unique but then you curse your luck as itís not! Same nasal crooning, rehashed heavy rock beats (from multiple songs of Aap Kaa Surroor Ė the album!) and average lyrics.
Actually the song isnít that bad and has at least one thing going for it which is the stark contrast in vocals between the ever sweet Tulsi Kumar and the intense Himesh. You have to give credit to him here for bringing on her talents and she has formed a great duet with the composer for the said reason.
Tadap Tadap Remix will also be lapped up only by HR fans. Everybody else may become disinterested very quickly!
So with Himesh Reshammiya doing his bit for the album, can Pritam take the Darling mantle from him?
Well his opening track Aa Khushi Se Khud Khushi Kar Le is a bad sign, to say the least! What could have been an enjoyable peppy dance track is ruined by a repeated but annoying comic strip tune that contains a cheesy English line ĎNow what I really want you to tell me, is how, how much you need meí. Shaan and Sunidhi Chauhan do a good job with their verses but itís sadly to no avail. The lyrics by Sameer are bizarre and silly. Maybe this one is for the screen but that annoying tune has just kicked in again and Iím about to jump for the skip button! Thankfully, the Remix is much more bearable for one reason only. It eliminates to a great extent the annoying tune! On a rare occasion, the remix is recommended over the original!
The beautiful vocals of Adnan Sami introduce the next track Saathiya and it brings a turn in fortune in the soundtrack as this love song is a winner from start to finish! It is easy on the ears, instantly likeable and full of melody; all of Pritamís favourite instruments are used including the guitar and the drums but their impact is softened to allow the singer to take the lead and this how Adnan saab takes it! The inimitable star has seemingly been out of action for ages and on this superlative performance, you wonder why! This is his best effort for a very long time and his impact is so great that you forget Tulsi Kumarís contribution (although there is another version of Saathiya where she takes a bigger chunk of the singing). Sameerís lyrics also take a turn for the better. Saathiya is arguably the best track of Darling and a fitting return for Adnan Sami; highly recommended for his singing alone!
From one good track to another; now that is rare consistency for Pritam of late! But he achieves it with the pleasant Hasaye Bhi Rulaye Bhi. This one has all the hallmarks of Pritam - right from the introduction when he gives you a taster with the soothing sound of the organ mixed with his favorite strings. And if this doesnít get you in the mood for this love ballad, then nothing will! What follows is a semi-rock tune that is extremely enjoyable without being too different. Yet the composer tries to infuse freshness e.g. with the use of hand clippings, and melody.
However, it is the singing and in particular Shaan, which make the track such an enjoyable number. (It has to be mentioned that Shaanís consistency this year must make him an early favorite for the playback singer of the year award). Tulsi Kumar provides good support with her cherry sweet tones. All in all a good listen!
The Remix is pretty average really and does no justice to the original which has the right pace for the mood of the song.
More consistency follows with Akele Tanha, which is another very ear pleasing love track packed with semi-classical arrangements with instruments such as the evergreen tabla. Tulsi Kumar returns for a solo here and makes the most of her opportunity. I canít believe how much her vocals have improved over the past year and she sounds as sweet as the one and only Shreya Ghoshal in this number. 'Akele Tanha' is another good listen for that idle moment that needs a light relief!
Finally we have the haunting piece Awaaz Koi, composed by Prasanna Shekhar, which feels very much like an instrumental until Priyadarshini pops up out of nowhere with some creepy vocals that suit the atmosphere here! This eerie track is extremely odd in that itís different to all the other songs, yet somehow you feel it gives you a better flavor of the theme of the movie. However itís definitely worth at least one listen and has the ability to make you jump out of your seat with fear!
Overall, Darling is a decent soundtrack and should bode well for the movie. As for Pritam, there is nothing truly excellent or distinct here as there was in ĎWoh Lamheí last year (his only really comparable album of late). Yet somehow his tracks are quite enjoyable and have common qualities including melody, theme and some fresh singing by the likes of Adnan Sami which only add to the replay value. You can therefore argue that Pritam is turning the corner but alas, this is definitely not his comeback soundtrack. He will need to dig deep into his music plethora and improve furthermore for what is left of the year. With his current popularity, he will have plenty of opportunity to cement his position; as numero uno for 2007. Only time will tell if he achieves this feat!