Who can forget the fabulous tunes of Imtiaz Ali’s Jab We Met (2007) which many of us are still listening to? That was Pritam at his very best and he finally returns to some of that form for Imtiaz Ali’s latest movie, the much anticipated Love Aaj Kal (LAK). Unfortunately the music director has been in the news for the wrong reasons again recently with allegations that he plagiarised the song Hai Junoon (New York), something which he has vehemently denied. However this is further damning for his integrity and begs the question: How many of his songs are actually his own? One thing is for sure, working with the supremely talented Imtiaz Ali, you know Pritam would never get away with mediocrity let alone plagiarism so for now at least, we should give him the benefit of doubt and look forward to what promises to be a great soundtrack…incidentally it's important to clarify that the music is very much in sync with the movie's concept which portrays the behaviour of human interaction in the "Love Aaj" era compared to that of the past i.e. "Love Kal".
“Twist” is the first of several ADDICTIVE and very FUN dance tracks that ooze chart-busting potential! The retro fusion here gives the track a fresh perspective making it perfect for the youth audience and Pritam achieves this by mixing current hip-hop grooves and classical melody (topped with plenty of dhol dhamaka) to go with the “Love Aaj Kal” theme. To his credit Pritam is one of the best music mixers / arrangers around and here is further proof of that mixing talent…Furthermore in light of his controversy over plagiarism it should be noted that he credits that classical instrumental hook to Man Dole, Nagin (1954) courtesy of the award winning Music Director, the late Hemant Kumar. As for the singing, we all know Neeraj Shridhar is a favorite of Pritam and he vindicates his selection for this rolla rappa of a song, in particular the hook line “And We Twist, We Twist, We Twist, We Twist…” is insanely CATCHY! To top it all off we have some killer Hinglish lyrics: “Pakad Kissi Ki Wrist”… “Yehi Life Ki Gist” etc, which are provided by the very underrated lyricist Irshad Kamil. Suffice to say, you will be twisting all day and night after listening to this one. CHART-BUSTER!
“Twist Remix” appearing later on the CD provides more twisting mayhem from start to finish….recommended!
“Chori Bazaari” is a light hearted romantic number that sounds like it is very much relevant to the “Love Aaj” era only…there are no traditional melodies here and no credits by Pritam…this one is all his making or so he says! It is fun and breezy but lacks the killer USP of Twist …however you would expect Imtiaz Ali to make it work better on screen. Maybe Pritam was running on a tight budget but his choice of singer is odd. That’s not a criticism of Neeraj Shridhar who is best suited to one-off songs. Unfortunately he sings far too often in LAK and that undermines his fresh vocals and the variety of the soundtrack as a whole. At least Sunidhi Chauhan steps in to provide a much needed double act to the song and steals the show with a gorgeous line in the chorus “…Seedhi Saadhi Kudi Bighar Gaye”. Lyrics are of the usual ilk for a romantic duet i.e. average. GIVE IT A TRY!
“Chori Bazaari Remix” is another reasonable attempt at remixing with more beats and pace over the original without going over the top.
“Aahun Aahun” is similar in its execution to the opening track Twist in that it mixes traditional melody with current vibes. As a result we get another crazy dance track to party to! Shoukat Ali’s (Pakistani folklore singer) famous line “Kadi Te Hass Bol Ve, Na Jind Saadi Rol Ve…” resonates impeccably throughout via the haunting vocals of Master Salim giving the song a “Love Kal” feel (note the traditional melody and lyrics are mentioned once again on the CD cover) ….and who else do we have but Neeraj himself to provide the perfect foil of urban Hinglish singing for the “Love Aaj” feel….Lyrics are spot on again by Irshad. Overall you have to conclude this is another well-executed track by Pritam although not quite as polished as the opener. FUN LISTEN!
“Aahun Aahun Remix” is worth a try but don’t expect drastic changes with this remix as it maintains the feel of the original whilst increasing the tempo).
Had enough of the twisting, partying and the rolla rappa folks? Ready for something a little more serious? Which tone do you prefer? “Love Aaj” or “Love Kal”? Well “Dooriyan” will come as a welcome relief to the “Love Aaj” fans….in fact it’s one the most anticipated tracks from LAK in any case due to the singer in question. Mohit Chauhan has quickly become the singing voice of 2009 and to wet your appetite even further, the first sombre track of LAK is his song- alas it marginally fails to live up to expectations despite a good effort. That’s not to blame Mohit who delivers another solid performance but in this particular tone of singing he is beginning to sound too familiar (compared to the versatility we know he is capable of as shown in Masakali and Gulon Mein)…for that you have to ask Pritam why, instead of pushing his vocals with some fresh impetuous (oozing from the LAK project), he relies on the singer to deploy his dependable tone? Was it perhaps in order to hide some pretty uninspiring musical arrangements in the process? Ask yourself a simple question: are you attracted to this song for Mohit’s singing or the music? At least Irshad’s lyrics are meaningful and touching. Overall, the song is by no means a bad and Mohit fans will enjoy it but the attraction won’t last like it did with his other winners including Pritam’s very own Tum Se Hi from JWM. GOOD BUT SHOULD BE SO MUCH BETTER!
On the back of the last song, Pritam doesn’t even allow any time for disappointment to sink in as the enchanting sound of a tabla slowly grows in the background, marking the start of the next track…Put simply his answer to a romantic “Love Kal” song is the mesmerising “Ajj Din Chadeya”…a genuine heart-felt plea for a loved one that is so beautiful and touching in it’s simplicity, it makes you wonder why composers make things so complicated these day? Collating your thoughts at this point, you quickly realise the source of the brilliance! With all due respect to Pritam who rightly gets the credit for composing this song, the true brilliance is not found in his melody but the singing by the incredible Rahat Fateh Ali Khan. For a predominantly sufiyaan / qawaali singer with strengths in high-pitched vocals, his rendition here is breathless in its softness, control and dexterity. Pritam rightly takes a back seat with the music, which is actually good in its own right mixing traditional string instruments with other soul soothing sounds from the tabla and harmonica, and allows this immense talent to elevate the song to greater heights. The Punjabi flavoured lyrics by Irshad are another highlight. HIDDEN GEM OF LAK!
“Thoda Thoda Pyar” provides another backdrop for the “Love Kal” theme with enough dholak melody to infuriate the most patient of listeners! That coupled with the otherwise lackluster arrangements make this song hard work on the ears and as a result it’s not likely to appear much on your playlist although you can expect Imtiaz Ali to pull out all the stops to ensure it’s a winner on screen. Sunidhi Chauhan can only do what is asked of her so no criticism her way. Same goes for the lyrics by Irshad. DISAPPOINTING!
By the time we get to the last track “Main Kya Hoon” , it is clear that Pritam is running out of ideas as the song is the weakest on offer and bears little relevance to the theme of the movie, a quality prevalent in all the other tracks. In fact, this is one of those club tracks you get very often in soundtracks and listen to once or twice and then forget in a hurry….One feels sorry for K.K. for having to sing to it. Irshad’s lyrics are mediocre for once. SKIP!
The inevitable success of LAK music should not only be put down to Pritam. In fact, the biggest applause should go to Imtiaz Ali for demanding quality music to go with his quality cinema and as we saw in Socha Na Tha and Jab We Met, that quality is consistently high... Yes Pritam has delivered again for LAK but only just! For some reason he’s made hard work of it this time round and whilst the soundtrack is undeniably fun and enjoyable, it is simply not as memorable….as a result don’t be surprised if Imtiaz Ali goes elsewhere for the music of his next venture.