Planet Bollywood
U, Me, Aur Hum
 
Producer: Devgan Entertainment Software Ltd. (Ajay Devgan)
Director: Ajay Devgan
Starring: Ajay Devgan, Kajol, Divya Dutta, Isha Shervani, Sumeet Raghavan, and Karan Khanna
Music: Vishal Bharadwaj
Lyrics: Munna Dhiman
Singers: Adnan Sami, Shreya Ghoshal, Sunidhi Chauhan, Vishal
Audio On: EROS Music    Number of Songs: 6
Album Released on: 14 February 2008
Reviewed by: Samir Dave  - Rating: 8.5 / 10
 
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Ajay Devgan pulls triple duty with his new movie "U, Me Aur Hum" serving not only as the main romantic lead, but also as director and producer. Ajay, the director is not taking any chances with his directorial debut. I'm sure the debacle of "Hindustan Ki Kasam", Devgan Films first production directed by father Veeru Devgan is very much a film that the actor would like to forget. To make sure that he doesn't make the same mistakes as his father made, he has roped in arguably the best actress in the industry (not to mention his significant other), Kajol to play the female lead. The chemistry that the two share in real life as husband and wife is sure to crossover into the reel world on film. The audience fondly remembers their first movie together, "Pyar To Hona Hi Tha" as a showcase for the two actors synergy. The screenplay by Robin Bhatt, Sutanu Gupta and Akarsh Khurana is reportedly based on the Hollywood flick, "The Notebook", and if that's the case, then we are in for one intense romantic ride.

It's refreshing to note that as far as the music is concerned, Devgan didn't go the standard route and simply pick the hot music director who happens to be the flavor of the month. He seems to realize how important music is in setting the romantic mood. In this day and age of techno dance dime a dozen soundtracks; romantic albums are few and far between. Perhaps that's why instead of Pritam or Himesh Reshammiya, Devgan signed maestro Vishal Bhardwaj to compose the music. One thing that Bhardwaj is known for is that he is a very creative music director that can come up with appealing offbeat music. The question stands as to whether a music director with offbeat sensibilities can compose a soundtrack that can have class as well as mass appeal? Read on dear reader to find out.

The music for “U, Me Aur Hum” has been released on the EROS music label. As readers of my reviews know, I always like to mention the packaging of the CD, especially if it is well done. In this day and age of instant gratification via downloading of music, it takes more effort than ever for a music company to get the fan to actually buy the CD. EROS has put together a nice digi-pack for the album that contains not only some high quality pictures of the charismatic leads, but also director’s notes (which serve as an interesting insight to Ajay Devgan’s directorial mind), the diary of “U, Me Aur Hum” and lyrics for each of the songs on the album. The art design on the album is light, airy, and for lack of a better description is very romantic. Now, a beautiful package is worthless if the music is lacking, and I can say that the music is outstanding. So far, other than “Jodha Akbar” and perhaps“Race” (though the music for “Race” is fast becoming tiresome), there haven’t been many memorable music releases this year. This album breaks the creative drought that has so far been the trademark of 2008.

Vishal Bhardwaj’s usual lyricist Gulzar is missing from this album; however, lyricist Munna Dhiman proves himself more than capable of proving his mettle by providing extremely memorable lyrics for all the tracks. So, let’s wrap our arms around our significant other, bask in the warmth of true love and let the music of “U, Me Aur Hum” wash over us……..

The album starts out with the energetically fresh “Jee Le”. Vishal has created an instantly memorable melody that only gets better upon each listen. The track has a flamenco backdrop complete with the excellent use of palmeros (hand-clappers) against the sensuous strumming of the Spanish guitar. Spanish lyrics sung by a back up vocalist only add to the romantic glee of the track. King of romance Adnan Sami provides the excellent vocals and is back in fine form after some recent mediocre songs from other albums. My one criticism of Sami is that sometimes he lazily drawls through a song and the listener feels that he is not putting in enough effort. Not so with this track, Adnan totally rocks the house and sings the beautiful refrain with mucho gusto. Vishal makes the interesting choice of Shreya Ghoshal for the female vocals on this tune (where other music directors might have chosen the more obvious heavier vocals of Sunidhi Chauhan). Shreya’s sweet yet fragile voice perfectly complements the boisterous Adnan’s vocals. The lyrics by Munna Dhiman are beautiful and fit well into the creative melody of the track. I wouldn’t be surprised if this track makes it to every top ten list at the end of 2008. It was a very wise choice for Ajay Devgan to use this song for the initial promos of the film. Vishal proves that a romantic track need not have a slow tempo, but can also be beautifully conveyed through an up-tempo track. This one will make you shout, “OLE”! Hit that repeat button over and over again, this song deserves it.

After a blisteringly good start, one heads into the second track with some trepidation, wondering if Vishal can continue the momentum. The momentum is continued, but not in the most obvious way, as it becomes obvious that this soundtrack is all about quality and diversity. The second track is simply titled, “U, Me Aur Hum (Part I)” and if there was a typical trademark Vishal style of tune, then this is it. That’s not to say it’s bad, in fact the track has an excellent melody. Lyrics, melody, and the sensually whispered vocals by Shreya Ghoshal combine to make a track that will instantly dim the lights for romance. The highlight of this track is the playback by Shreya as the shuffling drums and bass of the music supports her lilting voice. Perfect for that late night romantic getaway with your significant other. Play it softly and whisper into each other’s ear, “U, Me Aur Hum”.

Sunidhi Chauhan makes an appearance for the playful third track, “Saiyaan”. Vishal wisely switches from Shreya’s sweet yet fragile vocals to Sunidhi’s more husky voice for this playful song that has well written lyrics by Munna Dhiman. On the surface, it’s a very straight forward tune, but the playfulness of the lyrics combined with the naughty ‘n’ nice tone in Sunidhi’s voice, elevate the song to another level. One can almost picture Kajol dancing away with that gleam in her eye. The musical arrangement is perfect, and Vishal escapes that canned studio sound instead providing the listener with a more organic experience. A slight Punjabi influence can be felt throughout the track with the steady strumming of strings. A muted trumpet adds a jazzy element to this catchy song and electric guitar rocks it out to make for a unique listening experience. Playful naughtiness abounds as the vocals search for the perfect, “Saiyaan".

Vishal created the perfect traditional sounding Bhangra song with “Chappa Chappa” from Gulzar’s masterpiece “Maachis”, and now the talented music director takes Bhangra to another level with, “Phatte”. Adnan Sami returns to provide the male playback and is joined by Sunidhi Chauhan in this scintillating track that brings Punjabi music into the 21st century. It starts out with some excellent guitar playing and combines a rock sensibility with the best of Bhangra dhol beats. The fusion works well with the melody and both playback artists sing their hearts out. Play this one loud, grab your partner and shout out, “Chak de Phatte"!


So far, we’ve gotten a nice variety of up/slow tempo tracks that have memorable lyrics, melodies and playback vocals; however, none of the tracks have matched the first track “Jee Le” in energy and creativity. That’s about to change with the excellent, “Dil Dhadka Hai”which is quite frankly the second best song on the soundtrack. The infectious repetitive staccato beat combines with an unusual melody to create a tantalizingly addictive track. You won’t want this one to end. The percussion is like a punk rock heart beat that beats for love throughout the track. The lyrics are playful and in your face. Adnan Sami sings with his trademark growl, while Shreya Ghoshal surprisingly excels in a song that one would normally expect to hear Sunidhi Chauhan singing for. Listen to the heartbeat of the one you love and rock the house as you sing to each other, “Dil dhadka hai, kuch lufda hai”.

The sixth and final track might seem like a retread of the second track, , but it’s not. This is part 2, and Vishal himself takes center stage to provide the vocals. In many ways, the second part is superior to the first. It starts out with a beautiful solo acoustic guitar solo, which then segues into Vishal’s vocals. The music director should sing more often, as his voice really complements the guitar and vice versa. It’s a wise choice on Vishals’ part to keep the instrumentation to a bare minimum, reminiscent of the now defunct MTV Unplugged style. The song is an excellent and very romantic way to end this memorable soundtrack. If this doesn’t get you in the mood, then I don’t know what will. Here’s some advice to keep in mind, if “U, Me Aur Hum” gets too crazy, then you could find yourself in the, “U, Me Aur Baby” situation. So, be as mindblowingly romantic as you want and you never know what will happen!

It’s been a while since I’ve heard a soundtrack in which each and every track is listenable and memorable. Usually we can hope for one or two really good songs with the rest being mediocre. Vishal Bhardwaj’s music for “U, Me Aur Hum” is certainly a breath of fresh air that breaks the current stale mold that Bollywood music has fallen into. Vishal has created music that is immensely likable. This one will have a lot of crossover appeal to both the classes and the masses. What’s even better is that the record label didn’t add any run of the mill remixes to the soundtrack, instead letting the original music shine without being diluted. Add the whole album to your playlist and enjoy a soundtrack that will stand up to repeated listens. This one is perfect to celebrate the romance with your significant other, while you whisper, “U, Me, Aur Hum”.

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