Raeess Jamal Khan is a little known music director. Ruslaan is an equally little known movie. Too bad then that the masses will ignore a gem of a soundtrack (albeit a short one). Why is it a gem you ask? For the simple reason that it absolutely oozes the essence of music: SOUL. Most listeners have forgotten what this means such is the alarming absence of this quality in Hindi music of late (save of course for Rahman’s soundtracks). To put things into perspective, let’s make comparisons with another music director Pritam: his music has not contained as much soul (as Ruslaan) since his career best Life in a Metro (2007). And to think that Pritam’s soundtracks have been chart-topping for years until current date…Just one listen to Ruslaan will reveal a new world of music to many and remind the rest what you are missing out on!
With a qawwali theme running at the core, Raeess Jamal Khan’s first offering,“Maula Maula”, packs the traditional sounds of a tabla / harmonium against a delicious soft rock backdrop, including a slow but emerging electric guitar, that makes for a truly irresistible listen! Note how the composer slows down the stanza to give the song a more qawwali feel and then peps up the arrangements culminating in the catchy hook line “Maula Maula” (which also resonates throughout the song with the aid of a supporting chorus). Master Salim’s gifted vocals are perfect and the richness and dexterity of his talents are in full flow here. Lyrics by Vicky Nagar are touching. “Maula Maula” is a soul-stirring start to the soundtrack and then some, an absolute must listen!
For those who felt the original was a little short on the tempo front should check out “Maula Maula Remix” (which appears as Track 4 on the CD). Abhimanyu Singh has a done a great remixing this one but the original is still unbeatable.
The next track “Pyar Ki Parsayee”, ranks in the top 5 romantic songs of 2009 (thus far) alongside “Dil Gira Dafatan” (Delhi 6), “Tumse Iqraar” (Let’s Dance) and “Khudaya Ve” (Luck). Notice the one quality that runs throughout each of these songs? In a word: SOUL…that indefinable touch or feeling that brings you back to the song for repeated listening time after time. “Pyar Ki Parsayee” is thus carefully crafted by Raeess Jamal Khan (pure eclectic sound of the piano, guitar, dhol, tabla and other fine instruments) such that its effect is both magical and enlightening. It’s easy to say after you listen to the song but I can’t think of a better singing pairing than Hariharan and Sadhna Sargam (for this song). They are simply mesmerising and remind you of their immense talents. Take a bow you two! The lyrics by A.M. Turaz are another highlight. Overall, the song may not be as genius as say “Dil Gira Dafatan” but the impact of the soft intricate music is equally touching. It’s a song that flows like a river from start to finish. It’s beautiful!
There is an equally beautiful alternative in “Pyar Ki Parsayee (Instrumental)” which contains a “flute” by Pankaj Nath. Credit to Shailesh Suvama for creating this instrumental.
The final piece of this short soundtrack is an uplifting love song called “Har Ek Lamhe” which will appeal to those listeners that found the previous song too slow. However the composer does not let up on ensuring that his soundtrack is completely soulful from start to finish with a soft tabla beat meshed into otherwise Western arrangements. Whilst the singing duet here (Sunidhi Chauhan and Javed Ali) is not as good as in the previous song, it’s still good enough. It is particularly pleasing to hear Sunidhi sing in such a soft and eloquent tone compared to all the pathetic dance tracks she has to waste her talent on; shame on other music directors for not pushing her talent! On the other hand Javed Ali’s rise in the industry is remarkable but deserving and he performs admirably here as he does in all his songs. Lyrics by A.M. Turaz are fine but not as touching as in “Pyar Ki Parsayee”. This is a good ending to a fine soundtrack.
“Har Ek Lamhe Club Mix” is an enjoyable alternative to the original and is composed by Shailesh Suvama.
Thank god! At long last we get a soulful soundtrack, arguably the most (soulful) since Delhi-6. Ruslaan OST stands as one of the rare treats we have had in 2009 for encapsulating the true essence of music. Other chart-busting producers such as Pritam need not apply to this list but as ever, will no doubt walk away with the awards again - what a crying shame. Just do yourself a favour folks: rediscover music with Ruslaan, you won't regret it!