To be quite honest, music director Rajesh Roshan is a bit hit or miss for me. There have been times when I have been thrilled (“Kaho Na Pyar Hai”, “Koi Mil Gaya”, “Karan Arjun”, “Yaarana”, “Kudrat” and more ) and times when I have been thoroughly disappointed (“Krrish”, “Krrazy 4”, “Koyla”, “Subse Bada Khiladi” and more). He’s a thoroughly anachronistic music director who saves his best compositions (usually) for his brother, mega successful director Rakesh Roshan. Yet, the man has composed one of my favorite tracks of all time, “Dil Kya Kare” (Julie), that to this day lilts its melody into my soul. There’s no doubt that Rajesh Roshan is a talented artist, his many melodic compositions have all but guaranteed him a spot in the Bollywood Hall of Fame, it’s just his inconsistency which is sometimes disconcerting. Certainly it is interesting to see how a music director whose career spans decades can reinvent himself to still be resonant with the new generation.
This brings us to his latest soundtrack, once again for a film under his brother’s banner, Filmkraft. Also, again we have a movie that starts with the letter K, a letter considered very lucky for Rakesh Roshan, this time going with the title “Kites”. Anurag Basu has been given the directorial reigns for this film (rumors have it that there was quite a clash of ideologies between Mr. Roshan and Mr. Basu). The movie was pushed back quite a bit due to the film strike of 2009, but it’s finally seeing the light of day. Starring Hrithik Roshan (the talented actor’s return to the silver screen after quite a hiatus) and the debut of Mexican actress Barbara Mori ("Azul Tequila"). The two supposedly share a sizzling chemistry on screen. Throw in a certain spicy Kangana Ranaut, and we are sure to get a romantic film with a lemon twist.
So let’s get out our kites, and start flying them on high as we rev up the soundtrack of, “Kites” courtesy of music director Rajesh Roshan and lyricists Nasir Faraaz/Asif Ali Beg!
First up, “Zindagi Do Pal Ki” is the one showcased in the promos for the movie. At first listen, the track is very Pritam-like (circa “Gangster”). They may be because playback singer K.K. provides the soothing vocals, but it’s also the melody. The track sounds somehow familiar, yet has a charm of its own. Perhaps that’s due to the musical arrangement that includes sitar, electric guitar and a harmonica solo against a laid back beat. This one won’t blow you away, but it definitely is charming in a soft pop romantic ditty kind of way. It might touch the romantic side of you, and make you want to…go fly a kite!
After the very good second track we have the third, “Tum Bhi Ho Wahi”, which takes the mood in a different direction. Vishal Dadlani and Suraj Jagan provide vocals this time around and one can tell that this one will showcase Hrithik quite well. The melody and changes in temp are quite unique with this track. It starts off with a slow grinding percussion, and jumps into a techno trance Depeche Mode on acid trip without a moment’s hesitation. Vishal handles the angry ‘n’ forceful vocals quite well. Then, just when you think the track has settled into a regular pattern, the rhythm changes via Arabic sounding percussion. It’s quite a cool track that makes you stand up and take notice. You’ll be shouting out angrily with your fist pumping in the air, “GO FLY A KITE!”
Whew, after the sweat inducing “Tum Bhi Ho Wahi”, the heart started racing, now it’s time to calm down and soar on the pseudo spiritual kite plane in the sky, "Kites In The Sky". This track marks the debut of Hirthik Roshan…singer. The man acts well, dances incredibly, and now is singing as well (watch out Aamir). The good news, he does a fairly decent job, as his uncle keeps the theatrics to a minimum. The track starts out with some scintillating Spanish singing by Suzanne D'mello. Hrithik sings in English. “Kites in the sky, soaring together…lovers forever….forever is a lie.” The interesting lyrics are by Asif Ali Beg. Hmmm…bit of a downturn towards the end of that line. By all rights this shouldn’t work, but somehow the track is not that bad. It’s got a great cinematic feel, the sparse instrumentation (consisting of Spanish guitar, keyboard pan flute, the prerequisite soaring violins and dramatic use of timpani), are perfect. This one fits that melancholic mania we all get into once in a while. Say it emotionally, “Go fly a kite….kites in the sky…..forever!”
Finally, there has to be a track to showcase the (schwiinnnnging) dancing and snakelike movements of Hrithik Roshan. The final original track, “Fire” provides just the backdrop for some cool dancing (choreography by New York based choreographer Flexi). It starts out with a killer hip-hop rhythm that is best when played loud. Who better than Vishal Dadlani to provide the ultra modern gruff vocals? He’s also joined by Rajesh Roshan (the music director himself), Anirudh Bhola, and Anushka Manchanda (with lyrics by Asif Beg Ali). It’s segues from hip hop to a Robert Miles feel by the use of the keyboards. “Fire….pyar se…pyar se…..sell your soul” is sung with anthem like grace in a hypnotic rhythm over and over. It’s certainly not a sweet track, and the aggressiveness of attitude comes across. Don’t be surprised if this track sneaks up on you, it’s quite addictive. So dance like a madman…and jaake patang udao!
“Kites” is an interesting album. Rajesh Roshan reminds us that a music director’s job is to “score” a film, and not just create jingles for the promos. He gives us a diverse five songs that upon first listen may seem fragile in terms of catchiness; however, should you have the patience to overcome our modern fascination with ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder and moving on to the next new thing), you’ll find the music grows upon each listen, creating cinematic magic (and not MTV magic). That’s a rarity these days, and for that I applaud Mr. Roshan. Give it a chance, you’ll be pleasantly surprised. A bit of old school magic wrapped in new world charm, “Kites” is one of the best soundtracks of 2010 (so far). Plus, if you have a romantic heart, you will absolutely fall in love with “Dil Kyun Yeh Mera”. So get out, get down, get dirty, get loud…go fly a kite!