Soul. “Ahista Ahista”, the fourth song on the album truly resonates the feel of the entire soundtrack of “Swades”. Slowly but undoubtedly the song and all the others, soothes its way into the heart of its listener as A.R. Rahman composes another classic once more.
Much like other Rahman soundtracks, the music for Swades is classical and slowly appealing but it is not lacking in any area. A.R. Rahman and director/producer Ashutosh Gowariker have once more not lost track of what is important in composing the music for their collaborations. The music for Swades, much like Lagaan, is like listening to a drama play enfold track after track and the soul, thankfully, is all worth listening to.
“Yeh Tara Woh Tara” opens with the musical interlude being featured on the promos. Udit Narayan is in his expected A.R. Rahman form and sounds amazing. The song is featured on a set of kids but you can leave it to Rahman to make such a situational song sound so appealing. This lengthy song features voices from the children who present the irony in the lyrics with the theme of the movie, sung by Master Vignesh and Baby Pooja.
No one composes for Alka Yagnik like A.R. Rahman. Her two songs on this soundtrack are sufficed for evidence. Her first, “Saanwariya” is a quintessential romantic ditty adoring her love. Rahman keeps his more modern work as the basic backdrop to the song, leaving remnants from Yuva in there but as the song progresses we are privy to the musical melody that has classic A.R. Rahman running through and through. Again, there is nothing better in this song than Alka Yagnik.
Like “Saanwariya”, “Dekho Naa”, where she sings opposite Udit Narayan, is also a semi-modern mixture of retro Rahman and the new jazzy composer. Unique would probably be an understatement.
As situational as “Yun Hi Chala Chal” may sound to an average day listener there is something added to it that makes Rahman the irresistible composer that he is. It is the luminously infectious guitar backdrop that sets your fingers tapping. Udit Narayan is the highlight of this song and the long heard from Hari Haran’s appearance is also appreciable.
One of this year’s best songs is ironically sung by our composer itself. It is undeniable to think that Rahman wasn’t being greedy when he saved it for himself but any regular listener can gladly share in this greed. “Yeh Jo Des Hai Tera” has Rahman singing like he’s never sung before. The best part of the song is the tabla follow up towards the latter portions. And when you can’t get enough head towards track nine for a shehnai instrumental that once more no composer can compose like this one. Songs don´t get more thematic than this.
After “Oh Palanahare” from Lagaan, Rahman and Gowariker have opted for the situational religious oriented tune in “Pal Pal Hai Bhari” which features Madhushree, the Sadhna Sargam replica, along with Vijay Prakash and director Ashutosh Gowariker himself. The song is situational, well composed with remnants of its contemporary from Lagaan, but naturally entertaining for anyone who will sit through it. An instrumental follows which is composed only of the flute and is even more pleasant to listen to.
Though an album like this may have every other song being every other person’s favorites, my personal one is Udit Narayan and Sadhna Sargam’s “Ahista Ahista” - a dauntingly slow melodically orchestrated duet which is immersed in a very appealing lyrically superb overtone. This song represents the soundtrack well in how it works and how the song appeals to a listener. Excellent singing-particularly the portion where Sadhna is stopped after uttering a word and later when they both sing together and ending the song as best as the album could be-perfect.
After listening to Swades it becomes clear that the music was composed with soul. For once, and as rarely as it may happen in Bollywood, the music was composed without thinking of a genre of listeners, a stereotype (the masses or the classes), but simply of composing meaningful, soulful music. Swades is soulful in that dual aspect of the musical composition and what it represents holding that golden token of appealing to everyone.