Gowariker Introduces us to a New Musical Maestro
By MovieTalkies.com, 18 August 2009
Everything about What's Your Raashee? is outside what we as audiences have grown accustomed to as director Ashutosh Gowariker's 'comfort zone'. But then again, he has always been one director who has consistently pushed the envelope and so after films like Lagaan, Swades and the recent Jodhaa Akbar, maybe helming the reigns of What's Your Raashee?, the first romantic comedy of his career, was a natural progression. It may be a new genre, but the expectations from him are immense, especially from the songs, since the track record of his earlier films have proven his ear for fine melodies and creating songs which remain with us years after the film has released.
Furthermore, after having worked with the musical maestro A R Rahman on his previous three films, this time Ashutosh has roped in newcomer Sohail Sen to compose a record thirteen songs for the film. One cannot help but wonder if Sohail would be able to handle the pressure of having to impress Gowariker with his scores, the pressure of having to create thirteen different songs along with the pressure of having to match the level of expectations set by his predecessor, the now Oscar winning music director, Rahman. However, upon hearing the songs of What's Your Raashee? one can only wonder where Sohail had been hidden and how Ashutosh discovered him. Sohail is truly the musical find of the decade, and hats off to Gowariker for giving a newcomer a chance to compose for a film which has music at its heart & soul. Surprisingly, we are introduced not only to Sohail Sen the music director, but also Sohail Sen the singer who has sung nine out of the thirteen tracks and seems to be the perfect playback voice for Harman Baweja.
Each girl in the film, representing a different raashee–sun sign, has a song picturized on her and hence Sohail has literally created twelve distinct melodies in order to presumably give us a feel of each girl's personality. The thirteenth track is a culmination of the earlier twelve songs and hence while retaining a flavour of each of the earlier tracks, yet manages to create its own distinct tune.
The album opens with a rare jazz piece titled 'What's Your Raashee?–Pal Pal Dil Jisko Dhoonde, the Aries–Mesh song. True to jazz, it is dominated by the saxophone, simple drums, piano and brass instruments like the trumpet. The song is not only extremely melodious and well sung by Sohail, it remains truly faithful to the jazz genre, giving us a musical treat rarely heard in Hindi films. If you have ever loved jazz, then this song will be one of your favourites from the album.
Jao Na, the Aquarius–Kumbh song, is a melodious romantic number which this time allows the strumming guitar to take centre stage along with Sohail's vocals. It's simple, sweet, beautifully composed and sets a romantic mood with its almost unplugged sound. In fact it is a good two minutes into the song before you hear anything other than the guitar and Sohail's voice. A romantic gem, this song is one which grows on you with every listen. Javed Akhtar's lyrics are simple and real and yet so poetic, a rare combination.
Aaja Lehraate is a dance number for the Gemini–Mithun girl and is of a mood, genre and sound that we have never heard in an Ashutosh Gowariker film. But change is a good thing and this change in style we truly love! The song is peppy, full of attitude, with a little bit of hip hop, and some great singing from Shaan and Bhavya Pandit. The wo-o, wo-o is catchy and the lyrics are so young and contemporary that Javed saab should be saluted for remaining so young at heart with his words and being able to give such variety in his lyrics as he has demonstrated in this one album. This number is drastically different from both the earlier tracks which proves to be just a small indication of how distinct each of the songs that follow will be.
The piano gives a beautiful start to Bikhri Bikhri the song for the Cancer–Kark girl. This song is without a doubt the most soulful track in the entire album as a result of the overall composition and lyrics like 'gham ka yeh pal guzar jaayega, phir koi humsafar aayega.' Sohail's voice again brings to life Javedsaab's words and Marianne D'Cruz's voice is perfect as the female background support. The song doesn't try hard to make any statement and hence in the process strikes all the right emotional chords with its simplicity. Bikhri Bikhri is a song about moving on in life and opening your heart once more-'gham na kar tu jo murjha gaye, phool khil jaayengay phir naye'. The more you will listen to the song, the more you will fall in love with it.
Welcome Ashutosh Gowariker the playback singer in Maanunga Maanunga, the Libra–Tula song. He starts with a very powerful voice but takes you by surprise with his sweet 'na na na na nanana na". It's a song where the deep powerful voice of Ashustosh is within the song submissive to the much softer and higher pitched Pamela Jain in terms of the lyrics and that contrast works completely in favour of the song. 'Maanunga Maanunga jo tera kehna hai, tere ishaaron pe ab mujhe chalna hai' is what Gowariker is singing but with talent like that, that's what everyone will be saying to him. The composition is extremely electronics based to suit the flavour of the song and also to once again create a distinct personality for the girl. This one is a fun song which has a very catchy tune that you will find yourself humming after the song is over.
Sau Janam, the Pisces–Meen song, is a dreamy, saccharine sweet melody with the electric guitar and drums fused in nicely to give the song, which is overall reminiscent of the late 80's early 90's types of romantic numbers, a slightly modern touch. Udit Narayan and Madhushree suit this genre to the tee while Sohail again makes his mark as singer.
Another playback debut is made in Aa Le Chal, the Scorpio-Vrishchik song. No, we are not referring to Harman who chips in with a couple of dialogues but rather of Aslesha Gowariker, Ashutosh's sister who makes such a confident and polished debut with this song that we cannot help but wonder where he was hiding her and why she has never sung for any of his earlier films as she clearly sounds like a trained singer. The song has a soft hip hop touch and overall the composition is not just unique but catchy. Aslesha's voice has a distinct quality to it which makes it a perfect fit for this number. This is one track which ends way too soon and leaves you wishing for it to have been a little longer than its three minute duration. Lyrics like 'chaahat ki baarish ho, aisi nawaazish ho, meri jo farmaaish ho, mane duniya' make you realize that only Javedsaab can use such 'shudh' language for a contemporary, hip hop ish song, and actually make it work so well. Again, Sohail has created a completely different sound for this song, and hence for the girl that it represents.
Pyaari Pyaari, the Virgo–Kanya song is another beautiful melody with poetic lyrics, while Alka Yagnik and Sohail add even more soul to the number with their rendition. Like Bikhri BIkhri, this song too begins with a beautiful piano piece and the composition throughout remains uncomplicated which is why this song strikes a romantic chord. The lyrics too are simple and expressive creating a perfect marriage amongst the composition, singing and words.
A film about a Gujarati boy, without a Gujarati song would be incomplete and hence Su Chhe, the Taurus–Vrishabh song is no surprise in that sense. The composition this time is full of different songs and instruments, starting with the accordion and even mixing in an Arabian feel in the middle. The beats of the song make it a perfect number for Navratri, which happens to be just around the corner. The "Ah Oh" portions will leave you humming the song and Bela Shende is perfect for the song, along with Sohail. This is a fun song from the moment it begins and makes you want to get up and dance.
Salone Kya, the Sagittarius–Dhanu song is a seductive number sung by Tarannum Mallik and Sohail. It's composition has a slightly Spanish flamingo dance type of feel to it but the lyrics are what really give the song its seductive mood; "koi aaye to, mann ko bhaaye to, hoti hai kya dasha". This song too makes use of the accordion in a distinct manner and overall the sound is unique, giving the listener a new sound for another girl.
The next song, Dhadkan Dhadkan, the Leo-Simha song, is more heavy and intense than any other composition in the entire album and Tarannum's style of singing in this song is completely different from Salone Kya. Dhadkhan Dhadkan seems to be a performance number and is dominated by the musical interludes, more than the vocal portions. This song has the quality to send a chill down your spine, especially the way the piano is reintroduced after a background vocal crescendo and the composition registers a strong impact. Sohail joins in for vocals and by now we only expect his voice to be absolutely perfect, which it is again. Looking at the pictures in the audio booklet, we can expect a marvellous dance performance by Priyanka to this number.
We have had a mix of sounds, compositions and finally with Koi Jaane Na the Capricorn–Makkar song, we are hit with pure, traditional Indian sounds, instruments and of course the singing of Rajab Ali Bharti which make this another unique track in the album. The lyrics and Rajabsaab's singing are the true aces of this number as words like 'mann ki batiyaan, mann mein liye hai, ghut ghut key un gori jiye hai, bolna chahe bolna paaye, bebas neer bahaaye, koi jaane na' touch a chord deep within. This is not a song for the masses for sure, but yet this will remain a song we will all remember even post the film's release.
What's Your Raashee–Chehre Jo Dekhe Hain is a song which creates a distinct sound by bringing in pieces of the melodies for each of the earlier twelve songs. The lyrics and the fact that the song picks up musical bits from each of the earlier songs hints that this is probably a climax type of song. However Sohail succeeds in making this song one of the more enjoyable numbers, even though it uses musical pieces we have already heard earlier in the album as now we are identifying each tune with each girl and his own voice is as perfect in this track as it has been throughout the album. Even with a very techno, electronics beginning to the song, it has a more lounge type of feel to it in those portions. This song essentially sums up the entire premise of the film and the musical interludes in between the chorus and verse are the highlight of the song.
What's Your Raashee? is an example of how a romantic comedy need not have only frivolous songs which are temporary hits that fade quickly from the listener's memory post the film's release. These songs make a mark and each of the songs have a distinct quality to them, making each memorable. There isn't a single weak composition or weak song in this entire album which is an astonishing feat for an album with thirteen songs! Each song grows on you with subsequent listens and the team of Ashutosh, Sohail and Javedsaab have created a truly magical album. Two thumbs up for this brilliant musical score.