The sheer name dropping of the talent associated with this album raises the expectations sky high. Vishal Bhardwaj and Gulzaar Saab have come together with some real gems over the last few years, be it the haunting ‘Chod Aaye Hum Woh Galiyan’ or the soothing ‘Baadlon Se Kaat Kaat Ke Kagazon Pe Naam Jodna’ or the more recent ‘Naina Thag Lenge’ from Omkara, their team has always oozed real class both in the music and specially the lyrics department. And I haven’t even touched the more popular ones like ‘Beedi Jalaye Le’ – a song which even Javed Akhtar, the cold war competitor of Gulzar Saab couldn’t help praising. Add to that the controversial but definitely brainy subjects of Anurag Kashyap’s movies ( Gulal and Paanch never saw the light of the day and Black Friday had it’s share of controversies too, but the quality was never in doubt) and one can rest assured that this one is gonna be different in absolute terms, not different as often proclaimed by Bollywood.
The album starts off with Adnan Sami’s version of ‘Jab Bhi Ciggaret Jalti Hai, Main Jalta Hoon’. Adnan is very much in his comfort zone here, since this song has stamp of jazz all over it and jazz is definitely one of the real forte of Adnan’s style of singing. Also, jazz is kinda in his blood as well since his father was trained professionally in jazz music too. So, he knows his cards real well here. The lyrics mostly revolve around depicting the harmful effects of smoking and convey the message quite well, though something seems lacking there and lyrics sound a bit repetitive too at some point. The music is effective and will be completely in sync with the clouds of smoke at any of the overcrowded lounges in the city, though I highly doubt any ardent smoker will give up smoking just on hearing this song. Another version of the same number is sung later by Sunidhi Chauhan. That one is pure Trance material and will be more at home in the clouds of smoke among the dancing youth at the night club or discotheque. Sunidhi uses her baritone to good effect and proves once again that she is one of the most versatile singers in the industry.
‘Phoonk De – The Club Mix’ is the best song of the lot, to say it in straight terms. Vishal definitely reserves the best for his better half, first Beedi and now this. Rekha Bharadwaj’s classically trained vocals do full justice to the feel of this song. The techno heavy beats coupled with soft singing makes this one a must listen and leaves a cherishable experience at the end. The version by Sukhwinder Singh is less appealing in comparison, but as usual, Sukhwinder brings his earthier zing to the song, which will probably appeal more to the masses. The song is surely played in the background ( Anurag definitely wouldn’t waste reel space and time in shooting the songs on film) at a serious juncture.
Deva Sen Gupta’s ‘Ash Tray’ is an interesting listen to say the least. But this one is rooted in philosophy and when you talk philosophy, you have to mention the lyrics. Gulzaar saab comes truly to the form here and completely overshadows the music and singing which is competitive in it’s own way. But this one belongs to Gulzaar saab. To fit in that English word in his poetry must have been a challenge, but the man, as always, rises to the fore. Listen to this one in loneliness preferably with the lights off and, I never thought I would say this, you “might” just give up smoking.
Vishal himself take to the mike along with Daler Mehandi and Sukhwinder Singh for ‘Kash Laga’. As can be gauged from the singers on view, this one is a high energy number which goes on the opposite route from the other songs of this album. One can see this one soon becoming an anthem for smokers all over along with the recent ‘Suttah’.
Over all, as expected, the music turns out to be daringly different and in complete contrast to anything that you might have ever listened. Almost all the songs carry the message of the film along and for that reason only, one can’t be sure of this album on a stand alone basis but seen along side the concept of the movie, it sure hits the bulls eye.