Aaja Nachle- what a title, I’m sold by it completely! So can this soundtrack get us in the groove for a little foot tapping? Well as luck would have it listeners there’s not only magic in the title here since, for many of us, this was already an eagerly anticipated soundtrack carrying with it some degree of expectations; the YRF banner being one reason (wearing out very quickly admittedly!) but most important of all the fact that it marks the return of the queen of bollywood...the beautiful ‘Mohini’, the one and only…Madhuri Dixit (MD) in a musical produced by Aditya Chopra. Now can you see why all these factors collectively would present a challenge for any music director? Yes? So the next question is who would take on such a challenge?
Well YRF’s choice of music directors have been interesting of late albeit with mixed success, we have had the usual reliable music directors such as V-S (Ta Ra Rum Pum) and S-E-L (SEI and JBJ) but we have also had underutilised composers like Salim / Sulaiman Merchant (CDI) and Shantanu Moitra (LCMD). So the question is who gets the nod to show off their talents in a musical like Aaja Nachle? Why it’s the duo that brought us CDI of course! On paper, this is probably the best choice as CDI music was arguably the most original and refreshing of the lot (which is even more impressive considering the theme of the movie). Right, enough of that, let’s go find out if the soundtrack can stimulate our body and mind to get up and dance to the diva’s call of Aaja Nachle!
Ladies and Gentlemen! Please welcome the return of MD with the title track Aaja Nachle, a peppy all out showstopper that centres on the diva doing what she does best; dance and entertain! The catchy tune is dominated by classical instruments such as the dhol and tabla whilst the drums and violin add a melodious touch. Add to that Sunidhi Chauhan’s superb gusto vocals and some apt lyrics by Piyush Mishra and you have a winner right? Well yes and no. For a purely nostalgic trip marking the return of MD, it’s a good listen and you can expect plenty of fireworks on screen but apart from that let’s not get carried away with all the hysteria! The track is otherwise unspectacular on your ears and hardly leaves a lasting impression on you as the classic
‘Ek Do Teen’ did so many years ago. So what do you say…Aaja Nachle? Of course, but only onscreen with MD please!
Aaja Nachle Reprise is not your ordinary remix which is a good thing! So worth a listen.
And just when MD begins to dazzle you in the title track, another voice, much sweeter and subdued comes along and ushers your thoughts away with the opening liner hulchul hui, zara shor hua, dil chor hua, tere aur hua… marking the start of the next track, the romantic Ishq Hua. Those enchanting vocals are instantly recognisable and belong to…Shreya Ghoshal- WOW what an instant impact confirming this singer’s amazing talents! Sadly when the music kicks in it’s all a bit of an anticlimax; typical romantic arrangements with a monotonous tabla beat that sounds so average you want to hit the skip button! The composers display an apparent lack of inspiration here. Even the lyrics by Jaideep Sahni are of the ‘heard it before’ ilk. And try as they might, even the now classical pairing of Sonu Nigam and Shreya Ghoshal can do little to save this track; indeed their talents are hardly tested. So…Aaja Nachle? Barely getting on my feet actually!
Thankfully some credibility is restored with the next track Show me your Jalwa, yes even with the presence of English words (as in the title) which are used in the main chorus. Firstly it gets back to the light-hearted dance theme that underlines the musical here. Secondly the extremely peppy music manages to hold your attention with sufficient variety in the arrangements which are modern yet always holding a traditional and soft classical qawaali-like structure. All things withstanding it’s the singers, Richa Sharma and Khailash Kher that turn out to be the aces in the pack delivering their vocals superbly! Even one of the composers, Salim Merchant gets in on the fun with the singing! The lyrics by Jaideep Sahni too are excellent and varied. If you give this one a chance you will almost certainly be heading to the dance floor, grabbing the mic and shouting Aaja Nachle!
Talking of dancing, you may as well take a break whilst listening to the next track, O Re Piya as it’s easily the slowest paced song here! But do not fret listeners, put your feet up for this one, take a deep breath and close your eyes, eventually after a few listens it will hopefully connect and become a satisfying and soothing experience- this is largely attributable to the soft percussion which leaves a delightful impression on the ears! The arrangements otherwise contain an interesting mix of classical melody and if you listen closely you will notice the pace changing sporadically especially with a nicely timed qawaali alaap. And then onto the singing, well listeners I ask you, do you need an excuse to listen to vocals as good as those uttered by Rahat Fateh Ali Khan? After brilliant performances in Main Jahaan Hoon (Namaste London), Bhol Na Halke (JBJ) and lately Jag Soona Lage (OSO), the impressive singer gives us more evidence of his singing talents. One hopes to hear more from him in the near future. Lyrics by Jaideep Sahni are also noteworthy. Overall a very nice addition to the soundtrack if a tad lengthy!
If O Re Piya did not meet your approval then Soniye Mil Ja should make amends as it returns to the Show me your Jalwa mood, i.e. fun and dance! And if that wasn’t enough to get you on your feet then listen up, Madhuri Dixit herself performs the opening lines (and a few others) in brilliant fashion (which you sense have some underlying tone to her own comeback as well as that in the movie); contemplate for a second the meaning of these simple words:
Patang sang urr gaya bachpan, chanak chanak mann, dagar suhani re, niratpan aya ab tho kasak masakye kya mastani re …arre kya haye jawani ki hoti hai yehi nishani re…ke chitwan tirche tirche hui jaye haan ayi jawani re!
Sukhwinder Singh then takes the mantle from MD and ups the ante with some great vocals (supported briefly by Sunidhi Chauhan). Salim Sulaiman really pep up the traditional dance music here supported by some crisp ‘dholak’ effects and hand clapping that will have your feet tapping in no time! The lyrics are likewise fun and frivolous with an underlying message so a job well done by Piyush Mishra. Although it’s a short song, Soniye Mil Ja is a worthy listen and whatever you do don’t miss out on MD’s rendition of the opening lines and a few lines in the middle and then get up and dance away to Sukhwinder’s uplifting tones….Aaja Nachle! Just remember to select the repeat button!
We then return to the romantic theme with the classical feeling Is Pal and before you ask, yes it is better than the earlier Ishq Hua albeit still well short of being anything special. At least that annoying beat (from Ishq Hua) has been replaced with a more interesting and classical tabla arrangement supported by a soothing flute and the strings of a beautiful sounding sitar. The formidable jori of Sonu and Shreya reconvene for another duet and you have to applaud their performance here, it’s as if they seek inspiration and perfection from hearing each other’s verses…this singing jori is brilliant and long may it continue! The words are penned by Piyul Mishra and are ok at best.
The penultimate track, Koi Patthar Se Na Maare is a completely situational number with an underlying sad tone. The less said about this track the better to be honest as it does nothing for Aaja Nachle’s audio offering. All three singers including Sunidhi, Shreya and Sonu provide adequate vocals. Lyrics by Piyush Mishra are average. Just hit the skip button as if this never existed!
The final track Dance with Me is even harder to fathom yet adds little more to the soundtrack so I will keep it short; it’s an all out English track accompanied with 80s beats, 80s singing (by Sonia Saigal) and well…everything about it takes you back to the 80s! As a friend remarked the ‘nonsensical’ lyrics (by Asif Ali Beg) sum it up perfectly:
Move it!….groove it!…show me show me show me how do groove it!
Overall Aaja Nachle is probably a winner more than it is a loser. It’s a winner because it features some strong traditional and semi classical music which holds an element of nostalgia to mark the return of the famous actress Madhuri Dixit. In addition, there are several tracks here that (with some perseverance) achieve the desired output in terms of getting you up and showing your Jalwa i.e. dancing and generally having fun! On the other hand it also disappoints coming from such talented composers of Salim Sulaiman as it generally lacks inspiration and innovation. However the soundtrack is a good pedestal for the movie to do well. Now it’s over to her majesty to perform some magic…and let’s face it who would refuse an invitation of ‘Aaja Nachle’ from the one and only Madhuri Dixit?