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Sehar
Producer: Choice Films
Director: Kabeer Kaushik
Starring: Arshad Warsi, Mahima Chaudhary, Pankaj Kapoor, Sushant Singh, Suhasini Mulay
Music: Daniel B George
Lyrics: Swanand Kirkire, Nilanjana Kishore
Singers: Alka Yagnik, Adnan Sami, Meenal Jain, Swanand Kirkire, Shubha Mudgal, Shobha Joshi, Pankaj Kapoor, Underprivileged Girls
Audio On: Music Today
Number of Songs: 9
Released on: May 30, 2005
Reviewed by: Shahid Khan
Reviewer's Rating: 7 out of 10
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Unfazed by the failure of "Kuchh Meetha Ho Jaye", Arshad Warsi and Mahima Chaudhary team up once again for Kabeer Kaushik´s directorial debut, "Sehar". "Sehar" appears to be very promising on account of the hard-hitting promos and Warsi´s surprising change of image as the no-nonsense cop. Add to this the interesting supporting cast with Pankaj Kapoor, Sushant Singh and Suhasini Mulay.

For such a gritty film, a soundtrack release is very surprising as it is obviously a movie where songs have little scope in the story. But music and poetry always adds soul to a film and while the Sehar audio is not exactly going to top the charts, Daniel B George´s instrumental pieces do help whet the appetite for those awaiting the movie.

Pankaj Kapoor lends his atmospheric voice to "Faiz". The whole piece may only be a minute long but it is effectively powerful and very striking. Kapoor breathes life into Swanand Kirkire´s Urdu words, "Yeh daag daag ujaala, yeh shabgazeeda sehar...” After his picturesque words for"Parineeta", Kirkire is emerging as a very promising lyricist. Daniel B George´s vivid music provides a picture of the sun setting over a crowded yet lonely city.

The next instrumental piece "Force" begins with notes that remind one of film director Sergio Leone´s spaghetti westerns. The flute draws up an image of a man on a lonely mission in an unfamiliar territory. A very gratifiying composition to listen to and it will be compelling to see how Kaushik uses the score to enhance scenes in the film (and if he succeeds in doing so).

We certainly haven´t heard much of Alka Yagnik recently and she makes a return with"Sapno Ka Shaher Ho", by far my favourite song of the soundtrack. Yagnik sings with a lot of feeling and her euphonious voice is a delight to hear. You feel with her as she sings"Kab aayegi saher woh?" The chorus of children humming is similar to"Kasto Mazza" ("Parineeta"). The chorus is named as"Underprivileged Girls" so I assume these are genuine children who have seen hardship in their lives. The song comes from the heart of India - the poor and underprivileged who are waiting to see a better dawn.

The album switches from its sombre mood to the playful "NakhredaarBanno". Shubha Mudgal is a great choice for this wedding sangeet, which has an earthy and rustic flavour. A situational song, Mugdal´s animated rendition makes for a delectable hearing. This one only adds to the small town image that the album has conjured up so far. George selectively uses certain instruments to compose traditional folk music. Listening to this feels like you are taking a peek into a wedding occasion as an outsider.

Who do you call if you need a singer for a mellow love duet? Adnan Sami, of course! Sami and Alka Yagnik render"Palkein Jhukaao Na" - a slow and moody romantic number. I am not satisfied with Sami´s rendition, he is too quiet and whispers for most of the song. Yagnik gets the balance just right - quiet but not to the level of whispering. She is the perfect ending to the duet. There is"Palkein Jhukaao Na - Part 2", which has Meenal Jain and Swanand Kirkire taking to the microphone. This is the more likeable version with the singers catering perfectly to the demands of the complex song.

Time for a couple more instrumentals. "Prayer" has the devotional touch to it with Shobha Joshi rendering a muted bhajan. This cannot be called an instrumental as the focus is on the words. It succeeds in being quite disturbing, emotional and yet very peaceful at the same time. Applauds must go to Daniel B. George for accomplishing all this in a two-minute instrumental piece!"Sacrifice" continues on where "Force" ended and gives birth to the same vision. But"Sacrifice" differs in that it is much calmer as if serenity has arrived. Also, it is more of an extended intro to"Sapno Ka Shaher Ho".

The album has the instrumental version of "Palkein Jhukaao Na"."Sapno Ka Shaher Ho" is also repeated.

The admirable aspect of this soundtrack is that the score sticks loyally to the theme of the film."Sehar" won´t appeal to those who are used to albums that have the mandatory dance and item songs as well as chartbusting love duets. Daniel B. George uses the flute as the motif to signify the dawn (sehar) and you can hear the pleasant notes in all the compositions. His work must be commended. All the tracks have a deep connection to the plot of Kabeer Kaushik´s "Sehar" and that is why they will work much better within the context of the film rather than as isolated listenings.