Pankaj Kapoor’s debut directorial venture and Shahid Kapoor’s only film in the last year since the terribly dated Milenge Milenge (which didn’t work either musically or as a film) and possibly Sonam Kapoor’s chance at bagging that one role that will change her life, Mausam stands like an acid test for a whole lot of people involved in the film. But for Pritam, it’s also a challenge, as he hasn’t delivered a single impressive package this year, save for a few songs here and there, which on the whole don’t really make for that single package deal that we look for from the composer, as we reminisce his classics such as Jab We Met, Love Aaj Kal and Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani days. And now arrives the soundtrack of Mausam and the return of the composer-lyricist combo of Pritam and Irshad Kamil after a tepid Kucch Luv Jaisaa. With the heavy burden of expectation on my mind, I start off on the hitherto unpredictable musical journey that would be filling my ears.
Easy on the ears, the instrumental intro, with the acoustic guitar transporting you into another world altogether, and as Shahid Mallya (earlier heard in Mere Brother Ki Dulhan’s “Do Dhaari Talwar”) starts crooning to “Rabba” , the honey-dipped single breathes a whiff of fresh air as consistent melody overtakes the usually predictable stuff Pritam usually does. Occasionally reminding you of “Bheegi Si Bhaagi Si” (Raajneeti) and “Ajj Din Chadheya” (Love Aaj Kal), this track’s beautifully written lyrics and an attractive fusion of the antara and mukhda, both built on a very strong semi-classical base, with the gentle dholak beat and some commendable sound arrangements and mixing doesn’t make it sound like a rip-off, but more like a gentle reminder of the good music that Pritam does. For those enthusiasts who would love to explore the song further, there’s yet another version crooned by Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, which is sure to satiate the hearts of Rahat Fateh Ali Khan’s true fans, and though Mallya’s raw Punjabi accent correctly forms the atmosphere of the song, you don’t end up feeling this is an unnecessary addition at all. Awesome!
Remember “Mauja Hi Mauja” from Jab We Met? Or better still, “Twist” from Love Aaj Kal or the title track of Dil Bole Hadippa? “Sajh Dhaj Ke” totally fits into the bill of a very Punjabi song that might not necessarily be groundbreaking per se, but the whole song has a very addictive feel, and has all the ingredients to make it a chartbuster, and indeed, chartbuster it becomes! Mika Singh has become like instant coffee, any Punjabi/Bhangra/Masala single you fit him in, he produces a success, for the obvious reason that his vocals fit these genres very well. Here too, the song succeeds in every front and has it in it to be a topper on radio airwaves, because not only does the song fit a perfect situation, it’s also really fun to hear with an amazing bass-line that is accentuated well enough in the “Desi Mix” by Tiger Style, who’s also produced a “Club” version and though we wonder why, I guess our questions are very well answered when we hear the respective remixes in our headphones or crank the volume of our speakers way up. Aggressive promotion will ensure that this is one track that can never be ignored. Thumbs up!
Ustad Sultan Khan starts the next song with his alaap backed by a haunting pad and this is where Hans Raj Hans takes over “Ik Tu Hi Tu Hi” . We all know that he has great potential if given the right track, but what we have seen instead see is him getting misfit in situationals or musical disasters (“Tumba Tumba” anyone?) and this is where we’re given this track to renew our view of him to a more positive light. He has a good hold over the song throughout and the composition, aided by some terrific arrangements and mixing, make this song a classy affair. This being a song describing the pain of separation, it differs highly from the usual “sad version” of songs forcefully interjected into many a soundtrack (and this used to be a fashion almost two decades ago), making it a cut above the rest and putting it into the league of songs like “Dooriyan” (Love Aaj Kal) Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna’s title track, Dil Chahta Hai’s “Tanhayee” and most importantly, “Aaoge Jab Tum” from Jab We Met which make a difference from all the other conventional sad songs we’re handed over now. For music enthu-cutlets, there’s a “Reprise” version by Shahid Mallya who yet again impresses with his range of emotive abilities but has otherwise no changes in the music and is almost a minute shorter than the epic original version. The ultimate version however is the “Mehfil Mix” by the Wadali brothers who previously displayed their finesse to Bollywood’s music with their rendition of “Rangrez” from Tanu Weds Manu. Their raw, rustic, mostly unmixed feel throughout the soundtrack, with dollops of harmonium, just create the right effect! The Wadali brothers’ vocal range is damn impressive and contributes to the classical atmosphere that rings throughout the whole album. This is one track that will linger in the minds of the listener and demands replay value due to its sheer brilliance.
Though the essence of these lyrics has been executed in numerous romantic songs in the 70s, there’s a certain freshness, class and finesse here that cannot be ignored. Pritam’s composition is striking and the music will surely haunt connoisseurs long after they’ve heard it with tremendous repeat value. This song might not have what’s now given the dubious honor of “mass appeal” but there’s surely going to be a major section of the audience who will appreciate the song for it’s true worth. It’s arguably one of the best of the album.
Karsan Sagathia helms the next number “Aag Lage Us Aag Ko” and though the song has a very folksy rustic element to it, this one relegates to being a situational number, which will evidently look good on screen but clearly doesn’t really work as a standalone single. However, one must applaud Pritam for being a versatile composer and there’s more evidence of that here. There is a very Gujarati feel to the whole song, and after listening to it, one eventually concludes that the song will be used for an important portion of the film, with an intense underlay throughout the scene’s surroundings hence the short length of the song.
The soundtrack of Mausam came with humungous expectations and ends up fulfilling the expectations of not just music connoisseurs, but also the lovers of pumped up and universally appealing music. If you have a “Rabba” and a “Sajh Dhaj Ke” stealing the hearts and minds of people all over, there’s also a “Poore Se Zara Sa Kam Hain” and “Ik Tu Hi Tu Hi” (all three version) that sends music lovers into a trance! This one’s a complete package of an album that proves yet again that Pritam knows his ropes very well; it’s only a matter of opportunity the filmmakers would provide him to further his experimentation and undoubted talent. Overall the album is strongly recommended for adding to your music collection as soon as possible!