Ever since Pooja Bhatt ventured into production, she has been concentrating on making films with ideas of assertive female sexuality with "Jism" and her directorial debut "Paap". Whether she successfully put across those ideas in the films is a matter for debate. The music certainly reflected the soul of a woman crying out. For example, we had Shreya Ghoshal whispering seductively "Chalo Tumko Lekar Chalen" ("Jism") while Anuradha Paudwal pensively crooned "Intezaar" ("Paap").
With new discovery, Ilene Hamman, asserting her confident sexuality in the film promos, "Rog" looks like it is going to run along the same lines. Yet the interesting thing about Pooja Bhatt´s latest production, "Rog", is that there is hardly a song that suggests the female character´s deepest feelings. Most of the numbers concentrate on the emotions of the male protagonist (here played by Irfan Khan).
The longing and desire of the male character is expressed beautifully in the opening number, "Maine Dil Se Kaha". Listening to K.K.´s singing is like listening to a flute. It calls out bringing with it the deep messages of the heart. K.K.´s quiet rendition has a powerful impact and his call just echoes in the wind, over the seas and into the wilderness... His voice stays with you even after you have finished listening to the sparkling number. Neelesh Mishra has done a wonderful job with the lyrics. K.K.´s haunting voice matches the intensity of the poetry. He emotes the themes of loneliness and the search for happiness just excellently. These are themes that we can all identify with.
The next song has a similar style but it does not register the same impact as "Maine Dil Se Kaha". Another solo number by K.K., "Tere Is Jahan Mein" is an acquired taste. Although I prefer to listen to KK in the previous number, his singing cannot be faulted here. I am sure M.M. Kreem composed this song keeping in mind the developments of the film´s plot but it is not a track that I can enjoy. For one, the instrumentation has been kept to a bare minimum in the composition and another thing; K.K.´s voice is too quiet at times (though that is not a criticism of his singing, it is something that a quiet tune like this requires). It is not often that a number like this crops up in a Hindi film soundtrack so those who like this genre of songs will relish the opportunity to listen to "Tere Is Jahan Mein". A regular lyricist for Bhatt production movies, Sayeed Quadri has made his only contribution to the album with this number. As usual, he has done a commendable job.
More enjoyable is "Khoobsurat". There are two versions of this song. M.M. Kreem has lent his voice to one version while the other version has Udit Narayan. M.M. Kreem´s voice is spellbinding and arrests you with its charismatic quality. He has a similar singing style to KK but his voice is still very distinctive in its own right. Udit Narayan, too, is equally good in his version. He reliably sings with a lot of feeling. The use of tabla adds a special punch to the lyrical tune. Out of all the songs on this album, I would say that this composition is the most recognisable in terms of M.M. Kreem´s style. He is a master at melody and he displays that talent here.
Another track that has two versions is "Guzar Na Jaaye". One is mostly dominated by K.K. (with input from Shreya Ghoshal) while the second song is a solo by Ghoshal herself. As you can probably defer from the title, it is about not wanting a special moment or place to come to an end. It may sound romantic but the composition does not give that sort of feel. It has more of a suspenseful feel to it. The singers´ voices have been synthesised adding even more to that offbeat feel. I find Ghoshal´s vocals more pleasing to the ear though K.K. does well in his version too. Overall, it is quite a unique number.
"Rog Theme" is a fabulous blending of western and eastern sounds with piano notes combining with classical Indian sounds. Most Bollywood movie theme tunes tend to sound the same these days so this one scores on the account of being very different! It successfully sets the mysterious tone of the film. This has been produced by Music Mushrooms, the company that gave us the elegiac instrumental pieces in "Paap". Finally, there is “Sufani”, written and produced by Gaudi. It is like a Sufi qawalli but with a difference. A heavy bass has been incorporated into it making it a rather unusual composition. It is a mesmerising piece and Gaudi’s vocals are resonant. However, his vocals are sort of buried by the beats so it is hard to decipher most of what he is singing.
Having had no interest in “Rog” whatsoever, the enjoyable soundtrack has made me curious enough to want to see the film. This is where Pooja Bhatt and M.M. Kreem have succeeded for no doubt, others will also be curious about the film after listening to the album. And for a movie with a not so huge starcast, that is a big achievement.