Ah, to be young and in love. Itâs one of Bollywoodâs most frequent clichĂ©s and itâs back with a purported twist in the new film, âJab We Metâ. The movie stars what had been one of Bollywoodâs hottest couples, Shahid Kapoor and Kareena Kapoor. Alas, as of the time of this writing, rumor has it that the young ânâ in love couple has parted ways and are no longer together. Thatâs a twist! Usually the marketing department spreads rumors that the lead pair has fallen in love in real life. Of course they usually break up right after the movie is released. Now, in this case, the lead pair have broken up and your last chance to see them make âgoogieâ (The term âgoogieâ is âą and copyright 2007 by Samir) eyes towards each other. AHA! You Bollywood hype mavens almost had me going!
The one thing in common about any movie featuring these two is that the movie has been a supreme flop (see âFida, 36 China Town, and Chup Chup Keâ); however the music has been well appreciated and often times a hit. Director Imtiaz Ali (âSocha Na Thaâ) hopes to reverse that trend with a hit movie plus hit music. I canât speak for the former, but for the latter, read on!
Disillusioned that I am with recent soundtracks, I wondered if I would ever fall in love with Bolly music again (notice, dear reader that the writer has gone to great lengths in weaving in tons âoâ love in his review just for you). This is why I pressed the play button with bated breath, and the first song began to play.
Pritam resurfaces after his above average album âDholâ and is accompanied by lyricist Irshad Kamil. To get in the proper mental state for this album, I took a walk to the park and watched all the young couples dancing to the âJab We Metâ soundtrack. Ok, so they werenât dancing to the music as I was listening to the music on my IPOD, but stick with me here. Amidst the dirty looks and glares from the couples that thought I was some voyeuristic oddball, I realized something very quickly. People in love donât want to be bothered, and Pritam has made a comeback with this album (more on that later).
The first track, âMauja Hi Maujaâ blasts the listener with its Reggaeton percussion and vocals. Vocals by Daler Mehndiâs brother Mika Singh (who previously had the hit song âGanpatâ from âShootout at Lokhandwallaâ) provides the lively vocals (with deft lyrics by Irshad Kamil) that will get everyone off their seats and on the dance floor. Pritam has a sure-fire chart buster and this is surely one of his best dance tracks in a long time. Get up and groove to a song that will make you shout out loud that Pritamâs backâŠ. to make you say, âJab We Listen!â
Oh no, please Pritam say it isnât so! Donât tell me your inspiration is already lost, and you are back to copying your earlier songs? The third track, âMahiyaâ, oops, I mean âYeh Ishq Haiâ is the first disappointing song so far. Itâs pretty much a rehash of Pritamâs âMahiyaâ song from the film âAwaarapanâ. The lyrics are nothing to write home about either. The one saving grace of the song is lead vocalist Shreya Ghoshal, who normally is cast as the âsweetâ voice and not the âsexyâ one. In this, she does a commendable job in going the Sunidhi Chauhan route, by providing the come hither vocals. Itâs still not enough to save the song. Itâs not bad by any means, itâs just has a âbeen there, done thatâ feel. This one takes you a bit out of the euphoria of the first two tracks and makes you say, âJab I Wish We Never Metâ. (Perhaps that will be the name of the sequel to this movie if itâs a hit).
But fear not my friends, for track four, âNagada Nagada Nagada Bajaâ arrives just in time to save the day. Sonu Nigam provides the bhangratastic vocals and the song just doesnât miss a beat. In fact, itâs the first lively and catchy bhangra song in a while. The bhangra genre itself was totally run to the ground by the unwritten Bollywood rule: There must be at least one bhangra song on each and every film soundtrack with the word âSohniyeâ included in the lyrics. For a lot of people, bhangra music is all about the beats, but truly itâs a synthesis of melody, lyrics, music and vocals that really make a Bhangra song stand out from the generic crop. Pritam brings it all together for this one with a driving dhol beat, the right use of synths and the searing vocals by Sonu Nigam and Javed Ali. The adaptation of a traditional Punjabi folk tune in the middle only adds to the wow factor. This one makes you hop on one leg and shout out, âJAB WE LISTENâ! (Just hop on one leg in the park, while listening to your IPOD to ensure some really interesting looks).
The fifth track, âAao Miloâ is the best one on the album, and perhaps the best track in recent memory from Pritamâs talented mind. The lyrics by Irshad Kamil are spot on in detailing the journey of two young lovers. Shaan, who I consider one of the best playback singers in India, provides the near perfect vocals, with a guest appearance by Ustad Sultan Khan to sing the refrain/alaap. The impact is surreal, and this is one track for which you will immediately hit the repeat button. The music softly cushions the vocals with a nice use of the violin throughout the song. This is one that will make you swoon as it makes you say, âJab We Listenâ.
Thus ends the Pritam compositions on the soundtrack, and I would give his compositions an 8 out of 10. The remaining two compositions/tracks are by composer Sandesh Shandilya. Iâm not a big fan of changing composers on an album, as the transition between two distinct musical styles can sometimes be very jarring for the listener. Track six, âAaoge Jab Tumâ turns out to be a nice classical based ghazal like song, with vocals by Ustad Rashid Khan. Itâs a nice track, but the overuse of synth violins hurts the beauty of the song. Itâs a perfect example of how a music director should realize when to use synths and when to use real instruments. No matter what, synth violins do not sound as vivid as the real thing. The song itself is nice to listen to, but you wonât find yourself humming the tune once it is finished. Itâs not a drop in quality, but itâs not a high point of the album. Most probably the track will be played in the background of a scene. Makes you kinda want to shrug your shoulders and say, â EhâŠjab we listen or maybe notâ.
The remaining three tracks that are interspersed throughout the album are remixes of âYeh Ishq Haiâ by DJ Amyth, which speeds up the song and adds (surprise!) a heavy percussion beat. Itâs ready for the club, and in some ways surpasses the original, because it gets slightly away from sounding like a complete copy of âMahiyaâ. Then thereâs the remix of âTum Se Hiâ by DJ Sunil, which transforms the nice mellow song, into a techno club song. Itâs not terribly annoying, which is a good thing as far as remixes go. Finally we have the inevitable remix of âMauja Hi Maujaâ , which pumps up the Reggaeton beats and adds volume to the dhol interludes, but ultimately winds up not as memorable as the original, go figure. Unfortunately, these days remixes are almost added on as an afterthought. Itâs become the norm, but Iâve rarely found any remix to truly be classic in any way.
Well, the sun is setting in the park, and the young lovers are leaving. Some will stay together some will break up. Love may be fickle, but music is forever. Shahid Kapoor and Kareena Kapoor may no longer be a couple, but the music for their movie, âJab We Metâ will stay on your playlist for a while (at least the Pritam composed tracks). Add âMauja Hi Maujaâ, âTum Se Hiâ, âNagada Nagada Nagada Bajaâ, and , âAao Miloâ to your playlist and forget the rest. For me, itâs time to leave the park hand in hand with the girl I love. Now, thatâs what I callâŠmusic and one of Pritamâs best albums since the amazing âLife in a Metroâ.