It is but strange that the music lovers’ heart flutter with excitement as the name on the cover of the audio disc of London Dreams read Shankar, Ehsaan & Loy. Strange though it may be, it is not a surprise, because considering the string of hit music they have started to deliver right after the success of Dil Chahta Hai, with the likes of Kal Ho Naa Ho, Bunty Aur Babli, Don, Taare Zameen Par, Rock On!!, and the recently released Wake Up Sid!.
And the added bonus of the trio working with Vipul Shah is the fact that Shah has always had really good music in his past directorial ventures, be it Aankhen, Waqt or Namastey London. With a really big star cast consisting of Ajay Devgan, Salman Khan and Asin Thottumkal, expectations rise tenfold. And post the success of Rock On!!, Luck by Chance, and Wake Up Sid!, you expect Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy to strike gold with this soundtrack. So what does one get out of the album after listening to it?
The answer is – a surprise; albeit a pleasant one, what with the trio going crazy and becoming experimental, in an album where most of the songs are successful experiments. And with lyricist Prasoon Joshi collaborating with the trio after the critically acclaimed Taare Zameen Par, nothing can go wrong, can it? Well, you guessed right – it can’t; and it doesn’t go wrong!
The opening track, Barso Yaaron, gets into the Rock On!! mode, where commercial rock takes no time in revealing itself on the listeners’ ears. Vishal Dadlani’s husky vocals are best suited for this song, and one wonders what Shankar, Ehsaan & Loy were doing when they chose Suraj Jagan for ‘Zehreeley’ in Rock On!!, as it was the only song in the whole album that received mixed reactions from everybody. The arrangements on this song are more like a ‘Sinbad the Sailor’ meets ‘Dil Ka Rishta’ (Yuvvraaj) and one gets this really very on-your-face hint that this could be a thrilling climax song. The electric guitar is really addictive, and the first half as a rock song really appeals due to the amazing pads, keys and some nice mixing. But once Roop Kumar Rathod enters the scene, you know that the track is never going to have the déjà vu Rock-On!! feel, and it gets turned into a very Desi rock song, what with extra emphasis given to the Bhangra beat. A very fun-filled song with a slight depth to it, the lyrics speak all about life, love, ambition and fun in a very poetic way. And knowing Prasoon Joshi’s style of writing gives this song an added impression to the singing, and listeners. Where one part of the song encourages you to win the world over in a very fun and energetic way, the other talks about gives a new meaning to the already themed lyrics. Furthermore, Roop Kumar Rathod sings to those lyrics in his classical/semi-classical style and it gives a feeling of elation to the listeners.
The best part of Prasoon Joshi’s lyrics is that despite the poetic style he writes it in, it just keeps sounding newer and fresher with each song. The song reaches its crescendo when Rathod (who is later revealed to be the main singer, as he ends up singing most of the song) starts chanting the first few lines of the respected Hanuman Chalisa; it is then that all you have to do is to close your eyes and feel the energy in those chants – trust me; you will feel like never before!
Overall, fans of Rock On!! will compare as hell, but well, this song is NOT Rock On!! It has shades, but it’s so not it! A fantastic opener that has raised the bar of expectations for the tracks to come consecutively; this one turns out to win the hearts of audiences, provided audiences are ready to warm up to it! And if you thought the era of light-hearted, upbeat romantic proposal tracks with a desi maska touch is long gone, then think again. It seems that Salman is in love with those kind of songs, which is why he always ends up having some of those in most of his movies, testimony being ‘Jaane Ke Jaane Na’ from Jaan-E-Mann, ‘Aaja Soniye’ from Mujhse Shaadi Karogi, ‘Mastam Mastam’ from Yuvvraaj, ‘Dupatta Tera Nau Rang Da’ from Partner, ‘Tose Pyaar Karte Hain’ from Wanted and ‘Chalti Kya’ from God Tussi Great Ho, to name a few. This song titled Mann Ko Ati Bhaave as well, makes for the “typical-Salman-number”. And there’s just one word written all over the song – HIT! It gives you a wide grin, it makes you want to sing it for your loved one (for its whacky lyrics), and it also makes you dance (howsoever horrible you may)!
It has a really ordinary start, and the beats also make you wonder what the song might sound like, but once Shankar Mahadevan starts crooning in a very slight nasal style, which gives his vocal attire a completely new uniqueness to it. And once the fusion of the Indian and Western beats start, you begin to like the song with each second passing by. And what with the very, very unusual lyrics that not only give you that REALLY WIDE grin, but also makes you shake your head and enjoy it, you get totally into the feel of the song. Credits go to Prasoon Joshi for giving the shuddh Hindi a rustic feel (Mann Ko Ati Bhaave Saiyyaan, Kar Taa Taa Thaiyyan, Mann Bhaaye Re, Haaye Re Haaye Re Haaye Re – Mann Priyatam Hriday Basaiyyan, Paagal Ho Gaiyyan, Mann Gaaye Re, Haaye Re Haaye Re Haaye Re) By the end of the first hear, rest assured, this track will grow on you! Hear it, and you’ll love it!
It is good to see that from the past few months the DJs are making a conscious attempt to make the remixes hearable and not just random stuff. The remix of ‘Mann Ko Ati Bhaave’ actually testifies this fact yet again that the remixes are being worked hard upon, where the beats, pads, vallo and loops have been chosen carefully for the mix. A nice, slightly more club version that would help in the songs recollection and also get extra radio airplay and hog the clubs in days to come.
Tapkey Masti (Remix) is fine and fun, and as nothing much can be said for the song, this one turns out to be fun, as it seems DJ A-Myth is trying to make efforts to make ‘the best remix’, and the result is good! If ‘Mann Ko Ati Bhaave’ impressed you, then Khanabadosh (which strangely enough means ‘nomad’ – what a beautiful word to describe nomads) will elate you to the highest level. Starting with artificial finger clicks making for percussions, after which a little bit of the snare comes in before Shankar Mahadevan and Mohan come to sing yet another fantastic outing in this track, which speaks about achieving the dreams, no matter what the weather.
Only Prasoon Joshi could pen lyrics as thoughtful and as beautifully poetic as ‘Aa Zamaane Aa, Aazmaane Aa, Desh-e-Marhaba, Mushkilen Sajaa/Khwaab Naa Sage, Zindagi Thugge, Phir Bhi Jaane Kyun, Ummeed Jage’. The upbeat feel and the fantastic beats, compiled with the random sound effects and fantastic pads really elate the viewer. The last odd minute really ups the energy, thus taking the song to another level, touching dizzier heights. Shankar Mahadevan’s powerhouse vocals really compliment the music, and along with Mohan, create this electric effect that will floor you. This reminds you of the old-school Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy compositions in the late nineties when the trio made a sashaying entry with Dus (also not to be mistaken with the 2005 flick – this 1997 movie never released due to the death of the director Mukul Anand) and charmed all hearts and minds alike. This song is for every music lover in this world, as not only will it make an instant impression on the listeners, it will also encourage them to ‘take life over’. At least I was encouraged and pumped up after listening to this track, which gave me this positively hair-raising feeling, where the song exuded really fantastically optimistic vibes! This one’s another fantastic outing from Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy after ‘Barso Yaaron’ and ‘Mann Ko Ati Bhaave’.
Khanabadosh (Remix) is surprisingly really enjoyable, as DJ A-Myth has done an outstanding job in producing a really club song out of an already outstanding number. A must listen for repeat value and recollection! And the hits keep on raining, we think, as the strums of the electric guitar herald the opening of the next song, Khwaab Jo, a poignant soft rock track on life and dreams and how to tackle and live those dreams to convert them into reality. Prasoon Joshi is a magician of writing and this time again he has managed to beautifully capture the true spirit of dreaming on and achieving those dreams. But the real reason one should hear the song is for the unusual vocal pairing of Shankar Mahadevan and Rahat Fateh Ali Khan (yes, you read right!) for the first time, thus creating a vocal magic and a complete transformation to the already striking lyrics which makes this the best song of the album so far! This song, like the previous one, encourages you to the highest level of encouragement, and by the end of the track, listeners will find themselves smiling, and at peace with themselves. This makes for the fourth consecutive chartbuster in this album full of surprises!
Yaari Bina is a very different number – a very poignant take on friendship in a qawwali-styled number full of desi beats which remind you again of ‘Mast Kalandar’ and ‘Pretty Woman’ from Heyy Babyy and Kal Ho Naa Ho respectively, but that’s not a problem, as Roop Kumar Rathod delivers powerful vocals to a song that dangerously tilts toward the situational side. Though the song impresses due to the ‘feel’ given to the lyrics in the vocals by Rathod. A song that’s worth listening to at least once for the lyrics and the way the singer sings to them.
Another situational song is Jashnn Hai Jeet Kaa, a song about winning and fame (both of which come at a very huge price), though in comparison, this one turns out to be slightly better due to its modern feel, which will gain mass appeal. Here as well, it is the lyrics that save the day, though Abhijeet Ghoshal’s vocals are impressive and make an impact. A one-time listen that may grow on the listener only after the movie has been released; this one isn’t disappointing, but it isn’t great shakes either.
Redemption finally comes back in this album with Zubeen Garg with Shola Shola behind the mike after a long time (one can forget Fast Forward, because the album came and went without a trace) for this electric song on – you guessed right – redemption after loss! The beats are very urban in nature, as is the arrangement, sound design and music, which really generate the required feel for the song, which itself is a winner from all the sides – be it the music, or the vocals. One need not mention the lyrics, as all of us know what a genius Joshi is! A fine ending to a really good album!
Overall, London Dreams deserves high praise for its lyrics and vocals, where the music also becomes experimental in nature in the case of this particular album where the trio really go wild with their music (a la ‘Tapkey Masti’, ‘Shola Shola’, and ‘Mann Ko Ati Bhaave’), though they do no disappoint their fans who love trademark Shankar, Ehsaan & Loy music, as there are numbers like ’Barso Yaaron’, ‘Khwab Jo’, and ‘Khanabadosh’. Though there are dips in the album in the form of ‘Yaari Bina’ and ‘Jashnn Hai Jeet Ka’, it is yet to be seen if these two songs will be liked during the course of the movie’s screening, as Shankar, Ehsaan & Loy’s tracks are known for taking some time to be warmed up to. Overall, a must-buy for SEL and Prasoon Joshi enthusiasts and music lovers alike, as this album has come to impress all the way!