Living upto high expectations is not something easy - and
A R Rahman has been consistently doing this, thereby also raising the bar for his next.
Coming close on the heels on Taal and 1947:
Earth, it is hard for one not to measure this score against the best of the year. The
rating of 9, if anything is constrained by that expectation, and should perhaps have been
a lot higher - however higher it could go. As much as a positive review this is, I would
admit that this album has taken the longest to get used to (for want of a better phrase).
Surprising as it does seem, while a typical good number these days sounds fresh and
listenable for about a couple weeks, we seem patient to hear out Rahman numbers - and let
it grow on us - which even takes a couple of weeks - like THAKSHAK
did for me. Are we being more patient with Rahman, or is it just the way his songs work.
The first day I heard THAKSHAK, I was lost for any direction in the music - in rhythm or
melody. At this point, for sheer brilliance in arrangements, this would have been rated
4/10. A couple of days of listening, and most songs seemed to strike a chord and the album
sounded good but short of brilliant- maybe 7.5/10. A few more days, almost of week gone,
and the songs seem to charm you like being very different and lengths better than what I
heard over a week ago - and now I rate it at 9/10.
While I describe how the album caught favor, one song went the other way - Jumbalika
- by Alisha Chinai and Shankar Mahadevan. For those who
would care, this song has been reworked from Rahman's own composition of a similar name
for a recent Tamil movie. Having listened to that, perhaps I could identify with the song
faster - but the lyrics seemed force-fitted and far from inspiring. Despite this negative
description - the song has a nice pacy beat.
The album opener - Rang De - by Asha Bhosle
is my pick from the album though competition for the best is close here. That is a good
indicator of a good album too. Lyrics by Sukhwindara Singh lend a folk flavor to this
number, which is very different from any other Rahman-Asha songs of the past (Taal, Kabhi Na Kabhi, Daud,
and Rangeela). Like many of these songs, Rang De is
fast - with slow interlude wonderfully rendered by Asha Bhosle. The voice modulation and
the smooth transitions in the pace of the song make the song special and different.
Roop Kumar Rathod does wonders with Khamosh Raat
- a smooth, romantic song that has a very different melody and rhythm working for it. This
song took perhaps the longest time to grow on me - and continues to do so. The highlight
of this song, for me, is wonderful poetry by Mehboob. The singing is as good as the song,
but just a personal preference that I might have enjoyed Hariharan's vocals here. That is
not to take anything away from how well Roop Kumar Rathod sings this sure winner.
Hema Sardesai has two songs in the album, both of which are at the
upper end of the speed range, louder end of sound and arrangements range, and the higher
end of the shouting range. Lyrics by Mehboob play second fiddle to the synthesizer,
percussions, rhythm programming and perhaps even a fiddler. Jaan Meri Jane
Jaana is a fast semi-romantic song if one could use that as description. Toofan
Ki Raat sounds much like a cabaret song, that doesnt quite appeal as much as
the rest of the album - except for the singing and orchestration that make the song
different from being just another cabaret song.
Sukhwindara Singh shares a great working rapport with Rahman, and this
is only too apparent in Dholna. This extremely slow folk number,
has Sukhwindara singing his own lyrics - and Rahman perhaps compliments his singer and
lyricist with adequate musical support. These musical interludes do remind you about
"Mil Hi Gaye" from Mr. Romeo, at many paces
slower - but the tune itself is far different from anything we have heard before. Perhaps
such stray resemblances can best be attributed to the seven notes of music as many
attribute every similarity to.
Dheem Ta Dare Dare - would fit the bill of a semi-classical
semi-instrumental number. Classical vocals by Surjo Bhattacharya (perhaps
a first-timer to Hindi movies) are sans words. I would think that Mehboob wouldn't
necessarily demand credit for the lyrics for this number - which has no sane word but mere
classical expressions. Makes me guess that this would be a background, dance, or theme
Boondon Se Baatein has Sujata Trivedi (heard
recently in 1947 Earth) singing a nice and easy rain-song, that has the same freshness of Rimjhim
Rimjhim (1942 - A Love Story). Lyrics by Mehboob
compliment the mood created by the singer and musical arrangements, to create an
enjoyable, easy melody. And should we look forward to an equally enjoyed picturization
Going back to the idea of creating expectations - while A R Rahman has lived up to what
many expected from him with THAKSHAK, this also being Govind Nihalani's first real
musical, commercial entertainer - Rahman has only raised the already high expectations
from this movie to the next orbit.