The great Rahman is back on the music scene with Saif Ali Khan۪s production Lekar Hum Deewana Dil۪ starring newcomer Armaan Jain and Telugu starlet Deeksha Seth making her Bollywood debut. Famous director Imtiaz Ali’s brother Arif Ali is the new man behind the camera leading the film as his directorial venture and has managed to nail Rahman for his debut project which is quite commendable to say the least. Rahman created some waves earlier this year with the music of Highway۪ (2014) with a different concept and storyline than the usual. With Lekar Hum Deewana Dil۪ being a young romantic flick it would be interesting to hear what Rahman comes up with considering his last romantic project was Raanjhanaa۪ (2013) which had some really good songs and was extremely passionate. He has Amitabh Bhattacharya working the lyrics of his songs who is reeling in the musical success of 2 States۪ (2014) and Hasee Toh Phasee۪ (2014).
Khalifa is a very urban upbeat song with youthful vibrancy overflowing through its strong musical programming and arrangement. Rahman steps away from his forte and comfort area of working with large bands and takes an electronic programming approach with a strong base line and digital beats making a tune to work well in the clubs making it fit well for the audience it is designed for. Although the music works, not sure if the lyrics do as they are little too complex for the youth to even comprehend talking about the zest and outgoing youth of today. Plus it is not a song one can sing along to. Rahman۪s voice adds further zing and vibrancy to the song and it could find success in clubs but surely only radio and TV play. The song is quite particularly designed for the movie and thus sets the tone for the film and the album overall.
Maaloom in the voices of Hriday Gattani with Jonita Gandhi and Nakash Aziz is a soft romantic song that Rahman really does specialise in and has his stamp on it all across with some really good harmonies and deep bass with cute guitar and flute work signifying young love. With all new singers Rahman helps them deliver good performances to create a few new careers. Hriday clearly stands out with a soft undertone to his voice making him quite unique in the male backing vocals space. The arrangement of the song sounds similar to some of Rahman۪s previous work but Bhattacharya۪s lyrics are the real differentiator with quite unique choice of words but yet simplistic in the message.
Alaahda is a contrasting song with a very interesting mix of sad lyrics of separation but quite cheerful music. The song almost sounds like something that Rahman would sing himself and deliver a lot of depth too but he hands the mic to Pakistani singer Shiraz Uppal who does a stunning job holding the notes from going really soft and low to really high in just a few seconds. The lyrics are the real hero of the song that Rahman supports with tons of acoustic guitar, violins and soft percussions. This is definitely a good song to listen to and stands out above the earlier two songs even though it is a sad song.
Fun and frolic take a new direction as Rahman comes out with one of the best musical pieces of summer with the next song called Mawwali Qawwali. The song is simply genius in its arrangement with combination of a number of instruments and vocal scatting. The instrumentation is pretty much as if a live jamming session between a ton of musicians that flows effortlessly and could get a dead person bouncing and bobbing their head as well. Pop star Raghav Mathur gives his vocals giving the song a lot more excitement and vigour which is some of his best work. Tanvi Shah is outstanding as well on the chorus with her high pitched Mawwali Qawwali renditions. The thought to making a qawwali۪ naughty (mawwali) is just genius thought by Bhattacharya with some really good lyrics making this a great song to listen to and truly creative in every way. Must Listen!
Shweta Pandit delivers a performance of a lifetime in Beqasoor which is perhaps one of the most romantic tunes to come out this year and will no doubt score well with every heart. The message of love is really strong in its lyrics that have been beautifully pieced together by Bhattacharya making one want to listen to the song a few times. Nakash Aziz joins Shweta Pandit to deliver excellent vocals that are perfectly delivered for a soft undertone that are really difficult to execute. Rahman has composed this song really well keeping it pure and simplistic and thus easy to fall in love with and do ball dance to with dim lights.
Tu Shining has the vocals of Hriday Gattani who sound totally different compared to his earlier performance in Maaloom. With a mix of English and Hindi lyrics this is just a cute and fun song with clear appeal to college students with a touch of rock music to it with electric guitars and drums taking the lead in the instruments ensemble. A short song of just three minutes, there is not much lyrical aspect to the song except for the title line that loops throughout the song as Rahman works through his arrangement taking the song through various high points. The appeal is quite restricted for this song while it is still a good listen.
There is a certain level of deliveries that one expects out of a music album that has A R Rahman۪s name on it and this album meets those expectations. As always the concentration on ensuring that the vocals are perfect on every song is clearly seen even with launching a number of fresh voices on to the Bollywood music scene. Hriday and Nakash are very promising and their voices work very well on the songs they deliver on this album. Rahman then likes to have a certain bit of complexity to his lyrics with strong titles and hook words that are clearly there in songs including Khalifa and Alaahda. Bhattacharya creates a pull in his lyrics on this album that engross one into the songs from the moment you start paying attention to them as they are very well thought with a good flow. Finally Rahman creates a unique composition just to excite and blow some minds with his work and Mawwali Qawwali and Alaahda are brilliant examples of this work. Khalifa and Beqasoor are commercially attractive songs that will surely hit high rotation on the airwaves although Khalifa does sound a bit disappointing for Rahman۪s standard. Overall this is a good album to add to any collection of Rahman work with some songs worth listening to on repeat.
BizAsia Showbiz Rating 8/10