As a composer, Jasleen Royal is associated with a particular sound and the young composer has failed to show her versatility or range in the work she has done so far in the Hindi film industry. Most of her songs have had more or less the same structure which suits her child-like voice. Now that she got the opportunity to compose the an entire album for 'Hichki', a film produced by a leading production company like Yash Raj Films, one looks forward to see whether she manages to bring something new to the table this time around.
"Oye Hichki" is a promotional song but it is not a track that is far away from the spirit or theme of the film. The tune, arrangements and the overall feel of the song has a distinct touch of Mumbai to it and also represent the impregnable spirit of the children who Naina (Ranni Mukerji) teaches in the film. Harshdeep Kaur is fabulous with the vocals and gets some good support from the choral vocalists. The song has another two-minute long alternate version "Soul Of Hichki" which has some electronic beats used to good effect.
"Madamji Easy", surprisingly, has a South Indian touch to it. Right from the way David Klyton performs the rap portions and Benny Dayal renders a few lines, one senses a South Indian angle coming into it. One does not mind that at all as it blends in seamlessly in the song. Like "Oye Hichki", percussions play an important role in this song too. The fun vibe of the track comes across very well and it sounds entertaining as a whole.
Jasleen continues to experiment with percussions but in a completely different setup in "Khol De Par". This Arijit Singh sung number has a breezy and sing along like vibe to it and gets on your lips in no time. Much of that credit also goes to Rajshekhar for writing some lovely lines that add to the vibrancy of the song. There is a reference to hichki/hiccups here as well - "chup kyon hai rehna, mann ka tu kehna, roke chahe hichkiyaan."
Jasleen gets behind the mic for "Teri Dastaan". The song does sound similar to the ones she has composed and lent her voice to in the past but unlike those songs, it sounds fresh and has enough novelty value to keep yourself invested in it as a listener. The backgrounds, laced with a bit of drums, violins and flute and sarangi, compliment the tune very well. The lyrics (Neeraj Rajawat) indicate that the song will arrive at a crucial juncture in the film.
Listening to "Phir Kya Hai Gham" makes you wonder why an exceptionally talented vocalist like Shipa Rao is not heard sporadically in Hindi films. The song reminded me of the kind of the songs A R Rahman composed at the dawn of his career. That, of course, is a compliment. The uplifting tune, lovely orchestral arrangements and great singing by Shilpa Rao make it an absolutely delightful number.
"Naina Theme" is a highly immersive instrumental piece that makes for a very soothing listen. The track is primarily led by the sound of a violin and a piano and backed by a comforting humming of a female voice, presumably that of Jasleen Royal, in the background. One looks forward hear this track in the background while watching the film.
Jasleen Royal, proves her naysayers, one of whom is this writer, wrong by putting together a good range of songs and proving that she is far from being a composer who has limited skills or control over a fixed set of sounds or tunes. The music of 'Hichki' is actually much better than what one would normally expect from a film which, because of various factors, does not have much scope for songs.