The soundtrack of Veer doesn’t need my review. Hell, it doesn’t need anyone’s review. Why, you question. The answer is simple – there are so many Salman Khan fans out there that even if the music was disappointing, it would be hailed as good by many of the clan, that’s fan power for you!
But then again, given that Sajid Wajid’s reputation for providing solid music (save for Salman starring movies) has not been too great in the past, it’s apt that expectations have been curtailed somewhat. Having said that, the duo have improved this year with the music for Wanted and Main Aurr Mrs Khanna, unsurprisingly both of which starred Salman Khan. What’s more, for the music of Veer, they have another catalyst for success and for potential listeners to sit upright with curiosity. And that catalyst and inspiration is non other than the award winning lyricist Gulzar, whose recent hits include his poetry inYuvvraaj, Slumdog Millionaire’s "Jai Ho", and Kaminey. His collaboration with Sajid and Wajid for the music of Veer is his first and the end result is simply one of the duo’s most accomplished works to date…
The haunting pad to the opening track “Taali” sets the perfect mood for the rest of the song, and though some will point out that the tune has a distinct similarity to Mangal Pandey’s “Takey Takey”, strangely this one has its own distinct charm as well. Of course, it goes without saying that Sukhwinder Singh brings his own style and groove to this very Indian rooted song. Sound arrangements are fantastic from Sajid and Wajid. Sonu Nigam combines his vocals with Singh’s to make an eclectic vocal combination. They are supported by backing vocals of Wajid and Neuman Pinto. The sheer energy is supported by the mind-blowing beats that have a slight Middle-Eastern flavor in the middle of the song. The synthesizer samples hold a distinct earthy flavor to it that will give immense appeal to the listener. As for Gulzar’s lyrics, they are flawless. He truly is a master with earthy lyrics, they are poetry in motion and the best part about them here is that you can actually visualize the events through your own imagination (through his lyrics) that completes the package. A rocking start to the album!
The second version of the song called “Taali (Solo)” appears later on (Track 6) and as per the title is a solo by Sukhwinder Singh- whilst it is just as powerful as the original I guess the impact is greater with the original duet of Sukhwinder Singh and Sonu Nigam. Still a nice alternative.
If you thought Veer was all about power-packed songs, then Track 2 will completely change your mind. Rahat Fateh Ali Khan soothes you with a very romantic track called "Surili Akhiyon Wale". The beauty of this song is that one can literally feel it – so much so that you are at risk of being transported to another world! Suzanne has become a regular backing vocalist for uttering mundane English lyrics in many Sajid Wajid songs, but thanks to Gulzar she has some decent English lyrics here to work with. Starting with some soothing guitar strums and a cosmic sound effect in the background, the arrangements are later accompanied by the harmonica and Suzanne’s vocals. The beats are very Indian, and the percussions, bass and the pads give it a totally pleasant and romantic aura with a periodic feel to it! Gulzar’s lyrics yet again hit the bulls eye, and how. The subtlety of the lyrics make you smile, and (for those in love) think about your loved one or (for those not in love) want to fall in love with someone. Another fine song in the making this should deservedly rise to the top of the charts – this one will floor the lovers of romantic tracks.
Those who enjoyed the song will welcome “Surili Akhiyon Wale (Duet)” which adds Sunidhi Chauhan to the equation and she does what she does best – sing in that sweet, fluffy and perfectly restrained manner. While some listeners will be divided on which version is better, most will accept both the versions with open arms. Personally, I wonder which of the versions will be used on screen?
The whole romantic feeling continues with the next track called “Salaam Aaya”, which marks the return of a hugely talented (but underrated and underused) singer in the form of Roop kumar Rathod who teams up with Shreya Ghoshal to provide another superb duet. The sound arrangements are so sweet and romantic, the song actually feels like it is dipped in honey. Roop Kumar Rathod’s vocals are perfectly suited for such songs and he croons his lines amazingly well. Shreya Ghoshal must be the most reliable singer in Bollywood – she rarely disappoints and here she croons her coy lines with semi-classical perfection. Is it any wonder that she has so many admirers worldwide? The music, in keeping with the theme of the movie, is very much rooted to semi-classical Indian with the dhol, sitar and flute pivotal to the arrangements. The feeling after listening to the song will be something that dangles between exhilaration and love. Suzanne gives the perfect backing vocals yet again in the right places, and the music at that point compliments her croons with heightened verbs. Lyrics are good again. Wow by the end of it I’m asking myself if this is really a Sajid Wajid track I’m reviewing?!
The beats return with Track 4,“Meherbaniyan”, but of a totally different kind. A complete 70s touch is met with this one bringing a Western old-world feel to it’s core provided by the synthesizer samples and the beats. And those claps! They make you feel like you’re back there when the people were more interested in tap-dancing in the open air. Sonu Nigam’s vocals perfectly suit the bill – something that requires him to be on a typical modern Western tinge, and yet sounding classic at the same time. That’s his trademark – a versatile singer who knows his melody and can fit into the bill of any song. Gulzar’s lyrics are really imaginative, and easy to decipher. If promoted well this song should become a favorite amongst the masses. Sajid Wajid have already scored a hat trick of winners with the first three songs of the album. This one whilst not as good, should promote the album well.
The penultimate track arguably highlights the most intense and powerful track of the entire album called “Kanha (Thumri)” that is very much rooted in the Indian classical genre. Though semi-classical in nature, it tilts very much towards almost classical thanks in main to the superb singing and the intense but meaningful lyrics. In fact, it is due to these lyrics that the song becomes a really difficult one to compose but Sajid Wajid have proved here that they know their melody to the core, and they haven’t taken the easy way out through gimmicking- instead they have created a solid rustic song that give justice to the lyrics. Then we have Rekha Bharadwaj’s rendition which encapsulates a superb combination of rustic edges with intensity, vulnerability and emotion that totally touches your heart. Listen out for the final minute of the song which is the complete highpoint where the combination of music, mixing, arrangements, lyrics and vocals elevates the song to dizzying heights. Rekha is supported by backing vocals from Shabab Sabri, Toshi & Sharib. Overall this is an excellent track from the stables of a music directing duo that has been churning out nothing but commercial masala songs. While there will be many people thumbing down the song because of the lack of universal appeal, I personally feel that the song is one of the best from Sajid Wajid, and also arguably the best track of the album. This one is for the connoisseurs of music. Highly recommended.
The album ends with an instrumental called“Spirit of Veer”. Whilst it is a cool and peppy theme song , at only 58 seconds long it is far too short to make a lasting impression!
For an album with limited expectations this has been a rewarding experience. The surprisingly good score boasts of very good sound design coupled with the amazing choice of singers and a masterful lyricist. And considering Sajid Wajid’s only other credible work in the last two years has been for the previously released soundtrack of Main Aurr Mrs Khanna, this one actually sets a benchmark for themselves as composers. Non-Salman fans will be equally enthralled by the versatility of the music director duo, and will now expect better things in the future. Thankfully, this is also Anil Sharma’s first film in a long time that has very good music – and this can only be good news for the movie at the box office!