Creating a blockbuster soundtrack at your first attempt in Bollywood is no mean feat but that is exactly what new Bollywood composer Krsna did with the superbly composed album for the hit film Tanu Weds Manu. Since the film is based in Northern India the composer had to user appropriate sounds and fusion that fitted with the nuance of places like Lucknow and Punjab. To say he achieved that would be an understatement! Sadly most listeners only recognise the soundtrack for the two hit songs (“Sadi Gali” and “Jugni”) but there’s so much quality to unearth here…it’s time to revisit one of the best soundtracks of 2011 to find out its hidden treasures!
Track 1 is of course “Sadi Gali”, an incredibly addictive song thanks to its peppy Punjabi fusion along with fresh vocals by Lehmber Hussainpuri. Krsna proves his competence of the electronics here but adds plenty of melody particularly with string instruments. Rajshekhar is the debutant lyricist for the soundtrack and he pens some stunning (Punjabi) lines that hit the bull’s-eye! It’s a shame the song wasn’t used extensively in the film but it didn’t matter because in the promotions this became a HUGE hit!
Track 2 “Yun Hi” is the first melodic song of the album sung by Mohit Chauhan who makes an instant impact. As far as the music is concerned, Krsna proves that he’s no one trick pony by dropping his electronic wizardry here in favour for more traditional sounding instruments. The end result is a very soothing track indeed. Mohit Chauhan sounds as soothing as ever and his emotive rendition of Rajshekhar's fresh romantic lines will have you on the clouds in no time. A beautiful romantic song seeping with melody that deserves to be shared with that special person in your life…
One listen to Track 3 and you soon come to appreciate Krsna’s multi faceted composing talents. Here we learn his semi-classical side in the splendid “Piya” . The song is melody rich thanks to a beautiful mesh of classical instrumentation and Krsna’s perfect balance of the tablas, strings and flute. No one instrument dominates and as a result there is no irritation just pure heavenly bliss! The singer, Roopkumar Rathod, is again of the highest order though the choice is not surprising whatsoever (note the T-Series CD has incorrectly credited this song to "Shafqat Amanat Ali"). Roopkumar is undoubtedly one of the most underrated and under-utilised singers around and it does not go unnoticed that Krsna has used this talent here. Roopkumar’s application of the classical lines by Rajshekhar are enacted powerfully as expected, yet the emotions that are evoked from his vocals confirm the existance of greater qualities albeit subtle ones. Kudos to Krsna for recalling this powerhouse where other composers would go for the 'in singers'. This is easily one of the best songs on the album and a must listen for those thirsty for soul, melody and purity in their music.
Yes Krsna impresses an awful lot in his debut soundtrack but without question he even outdoes himself with the single exceptional track on the entire album, the quite amazing sufi inspired qawwali track “Rangrez” . There is a fascinating charm and spiritual quality prevalent here but it might not hit you on first listen- word of advice, don't give up! The penny might drop on repeated listening or watching it unfold on the big screen and then you will be hooked. The original version of the song used in the film can be found at Track 7 and this is sung by Krsna himself. Whilst he does a commendable job particularly with the high pitched vocals, his version still ers on the romantic side and lacks some of the qualities that Krsna was trying to achieve, says the composer “Rangrez is a song that needed to ooze romance, intensity, crescendo, pain, confession, submission, prayer and a mix of many feelings in one go.” As far as lyrics go, he got this thanks to Rajshekhar’s soulful lines but it was the vocal impact that was missing...
So instead of resting on his laurels, he went for the juggernaut and somehow managed to persuade the famous Wadali Brothers to sing a hardcore sufi version which you will find at Track 4 “Rangrez (Wadali Bros)”...not only that but during parts of the instrumentation he included Sanjiv Sen on the tablas, Madhukar Ji on the Shehnai, and Firoz Shah on the harmonium! Finally Krsna’s dream is realised in what must rank as the best sufi / qawwali track since A .R. Rahman’s “Khawaja Mere Khawaja” (Jodhaa Akbar, 2008). Such impressive compositions are rare so treasure this one as much as you can because not many songs will top this one in 2011. Incidentally if you find the Wadali Bros version too heavy going then stick to the original, it's still a terrific composition.
“Manu Bhaiya” (Track 5) may well be the weakest song here but without it we might never have seen Krsna at the helm of this soundtrack. Indeed it was this particular song that impressed the production team so much that they gave Krsna full backing to produce all the songs. The rest as they say is history! Unsurprisingly, the music here is very raw belonging to Northern India and aptly sung in UP dialect by a host of singers including Sunidhi Chauhan, Ujjaini Mukherjee, Niladri Debnath. Well suited to the film.
The second promotion song which was also a big hit can be found at Track 6 “Jugni” . Nothing much to say here as you probably know everything about it. It’s another Punjabi infused inferno that kicks some serious ass thanks to Mika’s awesome rendition and his on screen dance with "Naughty jugni" Kangna Renaut...Wiked!
It’s a shame that most people will remember this soundtrack only for “Sadi Gali” and “Jugni” when the true underlying qualities are uncovered elsewhere. Undoubtedly one of the best soundtrack of 2011, Tanu Weds Manu is also a superb soundtrack for the film as it meshes perfectly with the story and the locations of Northern India. It has the foot tapping music for the masses and the traditional, folksy sounds that are colourful and fresh but most impressive of all are the soulful and melodious tunes- these are qualities that appear to be rare these days…all thanks to newcomer Krsna. Welcome to Bollywood Sir and long may you stay!