A Song For Every Season, 'Mausam' Mesmerises!
By MovieTalkies.com, 13 September 2011
(Ratings: Poor * Average ** Good *** Very Good**** Excellent *****)
With one of India's best actors turning director here, Pankaj Kapur's Mausam has to be one of the most awaited films of 2011's second half, not in the least for pairing his son Shahid Kapoor with Sonam Kapoor. The promos of the film are already creating a buzz amongst audiences, who can't wait to get a dekko of this 'timeless love story', as one might call it. The film's music is out now, with Pritam on composing duties and lyricist Irshad Kamil contributing lyrics, and offers the first true taste of Mausam. So, is this truly a 'timeless' affair? Let's see.
Already a crowd favourite, having been used quite prominently in the promos on-air, Shahid Mallya's rabba main toh mar gaya oye is also the opening number on the album. With a slow, soulful melody, this one opens up with some gentle guitarwork, before Mallya's vocals come in. The track's tune has a Punjabi folksy touch, which is complemented beautifully by the folk meets new age arrangement that brings together some beautiful flute and dholak sections with synthesised beats and strings. Though Shahid sounds perfect for the number, rabba main toh mar gaya oye is also reprised later down the album with Rahat Fateh Ali Khan standing in on the vocals. The twoversions don't sound very different, with few changes in arrangements, and it really comes down to the listener as to which version is more preferable. In any case, with a truly lilting melody, the track sets pace for the rest of the album.
It must be admitted that the strains of aaya laadiye ne that open up the second track on the album, sajh dhaj ke, are immensely enticing. Though the Mika Singh track quickly turns into a standard bhangra number, one would have liked to hear a bit more of the traditional wedding song being sampled here though the track. Still, the main melody of the track has a rather catchy groove of its own, with some great dhol work and Mika in his element, infusing life into Irshad Kamil's hinglish lyrics. Even director Pankaj Kapur gets into the thick of things, with a bit of a spokenword cameo in between. The track is reprised twice, in two remixes titled desi mix tiger style and club mix tiger style. While the former goes the desi way, taking out almost all synthesised elements from the arrangement, the latter goes 180 degrees in the opposite direction, going completely synth and electro in its sound. The winner between the three versions though, has to be the desi mix tiger style edit, that gives centre stage to all the elements that make this track so lively.
Sufi great Hans Raj Hans comes in on the truly beautiful ik tu hi tu hi, a song of love and longing that perhaps forms the central theme of Mausam. The track's arrangement is completely natural, which only adds to the appeal of the soft melody here. The song's true appeal, however, comes from Irshad Kamil's poetry, the lyrics, which are worth paying attention to. The string interlude, perhaps on a sarangi, is a nice touch from Pritam, as is the classical alaap that backs up Hans Raj Hans' vocals through key moments of the track. Shahid Mallya reprises the track on vocals later down the playlist, in a version that seems significantly louder than the Hans Raj version. Although Mallya is a great vocalist, one has to say that Hans Raj Hans is much more suited to a number like this. The second reprise of the track,however, gives Hans Raj a run for his money, as it brings the famed Wadali Brothers on vocals. This version of the track is titled the mehfil mix, which is only appropriate, as the arrangement here is perfectly geared towards a mehfil feel, with a prominent harmonium and the Wadali Brothers in full flow with their trademark vocal stylings. Still, personally, with the soft, affected structure of the melody, the original Hans Raj Hans version of the number would rank as a favourite on the album.
The album's penchant for unlikely Bollywood singers continues with the entry of the superb Ustad Rashid Khan on poore se zara sa kam hain, the fourth track on the playlist. The track opens up with just Ustad Khan's vocals in the first verse, unaccompanied by any instrument. It's only in the second verse that the arrangement kicks in, with some light percussion, a barely-there flute section and a bit of string work as well. The spotlight is clearly on Ustad Khan here, as it should be, as his perfect vocal work elevates this contemplative track and its lyrics to a different level.
With a story that seems to be set in Punjab, the most unlikely track would have to be aag lage us aag ko, a traditional garba track composed and performed by Karsan Das Sagathia. Though the track's lyrics are in Hindi, the melody is distinctly 'Gujarati' in its feel. The arrangement is appropriately traditional as well, with a huge dhol-dholak backing section that makes the track a superb infusion of energy. This is one of those tracks that you can't help but tap your feet to, though it would be interesting to see how the track fits into the narrative of the film.
The final track, Tochi Raina's mallo malli, takes the album back to standard Bollywood territory, being a regular, run-of-the-mill bhangra dance number, complete with a club, dance floor sound. The arrangement is completely synthesised, though one has to wonder why Pritam would choose to auto-tune the vocals of a singer as talented as Raina. Raina's version is featured a second time on the album is a beat-heavy remix produced by Kiran Kamath, which adds little value to the track. However, Lehmber Hussainpuri's version of the track, where the singer partners with Hard Kaur is certainly worth a listen, Hussainpuri channelling his bhangra energy to take the track to the next level. Still, in contrast to the rest of the music on the album, mallo malli has to count as Pritam's weakest effort here.
With few, rather negligible missteps, mostly in the remixes it features, Mausam has to count as Pritam's finest effort in a long, long time. The composer has a flair for creating memorable melodies that few others in Bollywood can match up to, and that is what he displays here. Like he did earlier with Jab We Met, the beauty of Mausam comes from the way Pritam partners with lyricist Irshad Kamil to create a soundtrack that breaks away from the tendency of Bollywood these days to focus simply on creating pub and club-worthy albums that find easy airplay on the radio in their initial days, but are quickly forgotten in a few months. Instead, with tracks like rabba main toh mar gaya oye and ik tu hi tu hi, Mausam is an OST that one can be sure of finding on steady rotation for years to come. Mr.Pritam Chakraborty, take a bow…!