Vishal and Shekhar have always been the duo to look up to for the youth and the listeners of fresh and vibrant music. Right from their initial success with Jhankaar Beats all the way till the later ones (Bluffmaster, Dus, Cash, Om Shanti Om), they have tried to experiment whilst maintaining class in almost all the projects they’ve create so far. 2008 gave the duo immense commercial success with Tashan, Dostana and Bachna Ae Haseeno topping the charts! Though their last Aladin was a sore disappointment, with just a few situational tracks, the audience hasn’t yet lost faith in Vishal-Shekhar. With the promos of their latest release I Hate Luv Stories making an immense impact with it’s youthful flavour and zest, and the song promos generating immense curiosity level, does the album deliver what is expected of it? Do the composers deliver? The answer is fortunately a positive yes, with the composers making a metaphorical comeback here, a soundtrack that boasts of several potential winners besides the title track “I Hate Luv Storys” and “Jab Mila Tu” (promoted widely). “Bahara” and “Bin Tere” hit the nail on the head respectively and “Sadka” is the grows-on-you number that will be accepted over time. Go grab it, cause it’s worth the buy! (This album also sets the expectations higher for the hyped Siddharth Raj Anand musical Anjaana Anjaani, due for release later this year with music by V-S).
Right since their debut soundtrack in 2002 (Jhankaar Beats), Vishal Dadlani and Shekhar Ravjiani popularly known as a duo as Vishal-Shekhar (V-S) have been the numero uno choice for the youth and the listeners of new genres and foot-tapping music! Take anything from Musafir, Bluffmaster, Om Shanti Om, Tashan, Bachna Ae Haseeno and Dostana, and you will find many chart-topping numbers. Then unusually the duo had a quiet 2009 with only one soundtrack (Aladin), something that turned out to be more situational than melodic, and arguably their worst soundtrack till date?
Almost a year later, the duo is back with another album for another big banner (Dharma Productions, supported by UTV Motion Pictures, another biggie) signaling high expectations. The title track (featured in the theatrical trailer) and “Jab Mila Tu” (with the song promo already out) has already become a craze for many fans!
So do V-S fulfil the needs and expectations of fans and music lovers alike? Do they give another bonafide hit, or do they end up doing another Aladin or De Taali?
Western is the feel when you hear the opening prelude of the bumper opener “Jab Mila Tu” sung with full gusto by Vishal Dadlani in his open-voiced vocals that become so contagious after a while, you end up wanting to memorize each word of the song to sing-along to it! Anvita Dutt’s lyrics hook the listener – they’re literally a breath of fresh air; in fact you get to have a very fun reminiscence of the time when lalalas and rututus used to be lyric-fillers in quite a few songs of yesteryear! Otherwise the lyrics are simple fun, relatable and hip; merging in with the feel of the song so well you’ll want to put this on repeat mode. At the risk of repeating myself, Vishal’s vocals are a surefire trump card, with his smooth and full-of-energy vocals giving the listener the feeling of openness, freedom and fun. The music is reminiscent of the feel of their own chartbuster “Jaane Kyun” from Dostana, incidentally also crooned by Vishal. But that doesn’t mean there’s any déjà vu; it’s just the feel and energy of the song that is carried forward in what is perhaps more fun (than the one in Dostana) for more reasons than one. Give it just two listens, and it will grow upon you so much that you’ll be humming it absent-mindedly anywhere you go! This one’s a killer opener that makes you want to explore the rest of the album.
Reverbed guitar strums with a distant male vocal sets a strong base for this romantic track that is sure to steal your hearts. Written this time around by Vishal Dadlani, the last time he successfully wrote a honey-dipped song was in his “Ajab Si” crooned by Krishna Kumar Kunnath in Om Shanti Om. Here too, comparisons shouldn’t be made as there isn’t a single trace of déjà vu to that smash-hit. Ex- Fuzon (Pakistani band) vocalist Shafqat Amanat Ali appears to have become an instant hit with the Indian crowd with successes like “Yeh Honsla” from Dor, “Mitwa” from Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna, the rock version of the title track “Tum Mile”, and more recently, “Tere Naina” from My Name Is Khan. Here too he strikes back with his smooth, classically trained vocals. The lyrics, written by Vishal Dadlani completely suit his vocals and ultimately the romantic vibe of the song. And just when you begin to wonder about Sunidhi, you find yourself having a complete surprise package at the final stanza of the song – her soft crooning completely floors the listener, and it is at this point that the song reaches another dizzying level altogether. The synth-strings at the end remind you of trademark V-S. And once the song ends, you know you’ve started liking it already. Lovers of soft, romantic music will lap this up and will want to revisit this track again and again.
And fortunately for the fans of this track, the song returns in two more versions; the first one of which is an acoustic “Bin Tere Reprise”, crooned this time by a solo Shekhar Ravjiani who you have to say has also done a fantastic job with the song with his husky but impacting voice. The fact that he’s classically trained actually makes the song more flexible considering his vocal prowess. We’ve already heard him impress us with songs like “Jogi Mahi” from Bachna Ae Haseeno, but here he presents a more softer side to himself. This sounds more like an unofficial cover version and would have been eerily more like it had the lyrics been the same. Fortunately Kumaar, another gem of a lyricist, has written the lyrics which make things a bit different. What I appreciate about this song is the lack of wet-mixing (reverbs and delays) which makes the song raw and somehow gives it a better feel; it’s that simplicity and non-pretentiousness that takes the listener closer to the song. This one turns out to be yet another winner for V-S, and the listener expects more to come.
There is also a remix by DJ Kiran, which is nicely produced though in all honesty the remix doesn’t do anything different to the original or doesn’t stand out in any way thus making it a conventional remix.
THUMP! Be it “Bachna Ae Haseeno”, “Halo Halo” (I See You) or “Ek Ajnabee”, you always find a 'thump' in every dance track they make which gets insanely catchy depending on the number of times you listen to it. Vishal returns here to give a mixture of his trademark grungy and free vocals. And once the song starts you know that this is going to be one mad dance number with lyrics that are super-fun and getting progressively crazier with each minute of the song. Kumaar returns to pen this zany song. And for this very quality of the lyrics, you feel this could be another classic V-S dance track. Be it the occasional electro bass, the beat, the western influence, the club synth pads and loops, you know that this is going to be one song you can’t help but dance to! Also many Hindi film songs have English lyrics that sound a lot forced but in tracks by this duo, the English lines don’t sound forced but gel in well with the song. Addictive to the core and one helluva insane track, this is something you won’t be able to let go of for many days to come.
Rustic and traditional are the words that come to your mind when you hear the prelude of “Bahara” supported by the rustic vocals of backing vocalist Sona Mohapatra (of “Daav Laga” , Aagey Se Right and “Aaja Ve” from indipop-album ¬Sona fame). Once Shreya Ghoshal takes over to Kumaar’s beautiful lyrics, you are taken to another world altogether. Mohapatra comes back in the middle to give the rustic touch to the otherwise classy song produced with a solid sound design. You’ll fall in love with this song instantly, considering the melody, the beats, and pads, the mixing and Ghoshal’s sweet-as-ever vocals. The lyrics completely floor you from the start. And considering the genre of the song, this is sure to be the instant heart-stealer of Ghoshal fans and lovers of mushy songs, and post “Bin Tere”, this is an excellent follow-up! A MUST hear.
For fans of the song be sure to check out “Bahara Chill Version” where Rahat Fateh Ali Khan replaces Shreya Ghoshal behind the mike. The song is basically a lounge track and goes all out international in its feel, fortunately keeping in track with the rustic soul of the original! The lyrics are not much different this time, only keeping in track with the male’s point of view, considering the writer of the original version (Kumaar) has penned them. Another winner.
The last track on the album is different for many reasons. Having an urban touch, it gives you a very haunting feel with the introductory beats and synth pads leading to an upbeat, peppy piece with a distinct haunting underline. Suraj Jaggan does really well in his rendition but in some places the listener ends up feeling that V-S should have chosen Mohit Chauhan instead. The interlude between the intro and the first stanza crooned by Mahalaxmi Iyer (another fine singer back after a pretty long hiatus) ups the dreamy feel, but once Jagan comes back to croon the vocals, you have the striking feel once again. The lyrics by Anvita Dutt are meaningful. Being a different song though I really liked it on a personal note but considering the overall feel of the album, this one might get mixed reactions from the listeners compared to the other songs. What redeems the song to an extent however is the sound design and the frequent use of synth-strings for the interludes. Worth a listen, though the placement of the track just might spoil the show for the unsuspecting listener. The song does grow on you though after a few listens so don't judge it on the first listen!
Though V-S haven’t done much post Dostana, Tashan and Bachna Ae Haseeno, fans wanted the duo to make a metaphorical comeback, and a comeback they sure have given us and how! Most of the soundtrack works in favour of the masses as well as the class audience thanks to its exquisite sound design and mixing! Grab this one at your nearest store – the experience will be worth it – and considering the quality of this soundtrack we sure have a lot to expect from the film now.