Planet Bollywood
Producer: Ronnie Screwvala, Karan Johar
Director: Rensil De Silva
Starring: Saif Ali Khan, Kareena Kapoor, Om Puri, Dia Mirza, Vivek Oberoi
Music: Salim-Sulaiman
Lyrics: Niranjan Iyengar, Irfan Siddiqui
Singers: Salim Merchant, Sonu Nigam, Shreya Ghoshal, Vishal Dadlani, Sukhwinder Singh, Kailash Kher, Marianne D’Cruz Aiman, Shruti Pathak, Kareena Kapoor
Audio On: Sony Music    Number of Songs: 6
Album Released on: 21 October 2009
Reviewed by: Ankit Ojha  - Rating: 7.0 / 10
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Composer duo Salim & Sulaiman, popularly known for their stunning background scores in blockbusters like Krrish and Love Aaj Kal, have also doubled up as Music Directors on a number of occasions (particularly for Yash Raj Films in recent times). And their music has always been noticed for its fantastic arrangements and sound design, regardless of the critical response to any of their soundtracks. And now, after the mixed response to Luck comes another soundtrack from their stables – Kurbaan, a movie that has been highly anticipated for three reasons – Dharma Productions, Karan Johar’s faith in another new director (Rensil DeSilva) after Ayan Mukerji in Wake Up Sid, and the pairing of Saif Ali Khan and Kareena Kapoor. The promos have already upped the curiosity level of the viewer, and the music as a result has been eagerly awaited, considering Karan Johar has always maintained a consistent quality as far as the music is concerned. So, do Salim and Sulaiman click this time?

Well in short the answer is YES they do! Mainly by producing a couple of great tracks that linger in the mind of the listener long after the song is over.

The album starts with a bumper opener in the form of “Shukran Allah” , a beautiful number that will sweep music lovers off their feet. Despite having a delicate old-world layer to it, the sound design and arrangements make all the difference. The soft dholak beat, coupled with the right percussions and synthesizers give this song the right feel. Most of the elements of the song have a distinct reverb effect that gives it a touch of elegance. Sonu Nigam’s vocals really touch the chords of your heart while Shreya Ghoshal (who ends up coming much later into the song) wins you over instantly despite her short presence. Salim Merchant’s backing vocals give the song a completely heavenly feel. Lyrics (by Niranjan Iyengar) are contemporary, simple yet effective thus attracting more listeners. A good opening track that deserves replay!

The next track “Dua” is supposed to be somewhat situational, but the overall composition is quite well arranged giving the duo another potential winner on their hands. The eclectic duo of Sukhwinder Singh and Kailash Kher (supported by Marianne D’Cruz Aiman) is back yet again after this year’s bumper number “Fatak” from Kaminey and end up giving yet another great performance. The lyrics by Niranjan are a little situational but the overall energetic feel in this one gives it a boost nevertheless. This one too will be noticed and liked by music lovers.

Now this one deserves everyone’s appreciation! If you thought “Shukran Allah” was good, then you’ll have to eat your words, as “Ali Maula” is the piece de resistance of the album! With such fantastic lyrics, amazing vocals, and a superb composition, what can go wrong? This certainly turns out to be a haunting track that buzzes in the mind of the listener long after the track has ended. Whilst Salim Merchant’s vocals and the lyrics by Irfan Siddiqui end up being the strongest attributes, the music too has some fresh stylized beats moving away from the usual Rabba / Maula / Ali type songs. It also consists of some very urban yet suitable synths which gives the song a completely different outcome altogether. This is a fantastic outing by the duo and one which will make you hit the repeat button.Now this one does NOT need a remix is a thought shared by many of you (including myself!) but the "Ali Maula Remix" by Abhijit Vaghani is carefully handled with a good dosage of House and Trance that sweeps you off your feet. You end up shaking your head a bit and tapping your feet to this one unexpectedly! The delay used in Salim Merchant’s vocals enhances the song’s attraction. Overall this is a remix that deserves appreciation.

Shruti Pathak floored everyone with her “Mar Jawaan” from Fashion. She impressed even further with her performance in “Paayaliya” from Dev.D and now she’s back to give you yet another avatar with "Rasiya"- a song that really turns you off in the first and second listens, but grows on you from then onwards. Pathak’s semi-classical vocals with a seductive undertone really give this song an edge. The instruments used in this track and the arrangements and designing of those instruments along with a subtle beat really end up producing another haunting feeling, something which you will want to experience again once the song gets hold of you. The lyrics by Niranjan are more or less suitable to the theme of the song. Kareena Kapoor’s vocal entry into the song makes it even more interesting. Another impressive song by Salim & Sulaiman!

The closing track of the album turns out to be a bit of a disappointment though. Not that "Kurbaan Hua" is a poor track, in fact it is pleasant and fairly enjoyable with Vishal Dadlani’s vocals complementing things well. But there is one nagging problem. This one sounds like a reprise or a second part of Salim and Sulaiman’s previous “Nazaara Hai” from 8 x 10 Tasveer. Even the same singer (Vishal Dadlani) being roped in to sing the track – a fact that could go against the song and damage its prospects to some extent. On the plus side, it might sound better on screen so one awaits for that potential.

Overall, Kurbaan is a good album which has a combination of some fine Sufi lyrics and some surprisingly enjoyable situational tracks that make for a more rounded album (despite the inclusion of a minimal number of songs). Here, the urbanization goes for a toss to give more emphasis to the melody as a whole. Worth-a-buy!

REVIEWER’S TIP – This album might take some time to grow upon some listeners, but ardent Bollywood music buffs will love it if they notice Salim & Sulaiman’s signature style and sound design in this one!

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