Surprises. Now there is something that the "Paap" soundtrack throws at you in abundance. It is no surprise that it is a very good album. Indeed, coming from the Bhatts who are well known for their good music sense, we most likely always expected nothing less than a superlative soundtrack for this film. Firstly, Anu Malik is not the dominant composer on the album as expected (he has only composed two scores out of a possible eleven). Secondly, the theme and feel of the whole album is very different. It is very atmospheric and reflective and that is possibly due to the Pakistani pop influence caused by the artists that Pooja Bhatt had especially invited from across the border. And another revelation is Anuradha Paudwal.
I had half-expected to see Shreya Ghosal´s name on the cassette sleeve. She has become a regular for soundtracks of Bhatt productions. Instead, she is not anywhere at all and Anuradha Paudwal is in her place. It is a welcome change as Shreya Ghosal is beginning to be overused slightly. An overworked artist is not a good thing and it can gradually affect the person´s voice. Anuradha Paudwal must know this very well. She was at her peak ten years ago singing melodious songs in Pooja Bhatt´s films. Unfortunately, she burnt out too quickly and in the late ´90´s she was dishing out lack-lustre renditions.
Anuradha´s brief break seems to have done her good as she is mind-blowing in the first song of Paap´s album, "Intezaar" (written by Sayeed Quadri). The number opens up with an alaap, which produces an Arabian/Middle Eastern sound. Thereafter Anuradha makes her magical entrance and enchants the listener. A beautiful and pure melody.
Rahat Fateh Ali Khan´s evocative voice rules in "Mann Ki Lagan" (lyrics by Amjad Islam Amjad). Related to Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, this singer refreshingly does not try to copy the legend. His vocals are rustic and beguiling at the same time. The music by Shahi is pure ecstasy; the Sufi score will have you swaying in an enthralled trance.
Ali Azmat. Now if you recognise that name then you must be one of the thousands who are hooked on his songs from pop/rock band, "Junoon". Ali Azmat takes to the microphone for "Garaj Baras Saawan Gir Aayo". He has also written it along with Sabir Zafar. "Garaj Baras" is at once engaging and hugely enjoyable and Ali´s enthusiasm is infectious. The song has the stamp of "Junoon" all over it and that is understandable as the track is taken from the band's latest album, "Deewar".
Anu Malik´s second composition is "Sun Ae Mere Dil", rendered by Anuradha Paudwal and Udit Narayan. What a ravishing score! The music really takes the haunting theme of the album to new heights. The singers are made to constantly switch keys and that maybe is why the song never completely satisfies. One minute, the singers are singing on a high key and then their vocals go deep on a lower key the next minute. Only Anuradha benefits slightly as it shows her versatility. Udit does not really leave an impact and his voice does not seem as emotional as Anuradha´s is here.
Next on the agenda is "Laal (Alaap)" by Rahat Fateh Ali Khan and Farrukh Fateh Ali Khan. Shahi´s music is the most important aspect here as it is just so captivating and dazzling. The singers do not really utter words (except repeat "jhoole laal" a few times) but still hum their way through the number. Therefore, the song has no lyricist. But it really is an excellent piece of music with its influence coming from Pakistani rock. The music is quite suspenseful but the male vocals also add a mournful effect to it.
On the album, there are five instrumentals and they are all credited to a Pakistani music company named Music Mushrooms. Not all compositions have been put onto the CD/cassette (possibly for limited space) and there seem to be some more instrumentals floating around on the Internet. Anyhow, this review will only concentrate on those tracks that have been made available on the audiocassette. The first is "Hamesha Ke Liye Kuch Nahin Rehta". This piece is spiritual and an uncredited male vocal enhances that aspect. The score too is intriguing and operatic. It seems to follow the saying of its own title as the piece only lasts for one minute. I wish it lasted longer than that. The next piece, "Apni Chahato Pe Kaboo" is quite good. There are some dialogues here and they are an unwelcome hindrance. Not that they drag on Ajay-Devgan-soundtrack style, it is just that they seem unnecessary. Drums are prominent in "Kis Kis Ko Maro Ge" and give the impression that someone is on the run. Mystery seems to be the name of the game in this one. A cool instrumental piece if a little repetitive in bits (this is the longest track out of all the instrumentals).
It is refreshing that the album does not follow the crowd and offer a full instrumental version of "Intezaar". Instead, there is "Intezaar Interlude". This is such a stunning piece of music. It is only one minute long and leaves us begging for more. Interestingly, Music Mushrooms have composed this one even though Anu Malik is the composer of the full-length number. Finally, there is "Zindapal". This is the least impressive out of all the creations but is worth listening to as a follow-up to "Kis Kis Ko Maro Ge". Whereas that piece seems to be full of action, "Zindapal" is slower and more relaxed. It seems to be about the awakening of something, the music suggests the establishment of a new order after a disruption in the plot.
"Paap" proves Pooja Bhatt´s ear for great music. Hopefully, the film will show Pooja Bhatt´s eye for good, if not great, direction.