Having just witnessed the Temptation 2004 concert starring Shah Rukh Khan, Preity Zinta, and Rani Mukherjee among others, I can personally attest to the popularity of this threesome judging by the endless screaming I heard this past weekend. The truth is I didn’t even have to attend the concert to realize that Khan, Zinta, and Mukherjee have become darlings of both the masses and the classes of late. In recent years, these three, especially Khan, have given us some of the biggest hits: Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, Kal Ho Naa Ho, Saathiya, Chalte Chalte, Koi…Mil Gaya, Main Hoon Na, and Hum Tum. So, it was no surprise that when Yash Chopra decided to finalize the cast of his next film, it would star these three. In fact, SRK has been a Chopra favorite since his first film with them in ’93, Yashraj’s brilliant Darr, co-starring Juhi Chawla and Sunny Deol. Now, Chopra returns to the silver screen after a span of almost 7 years, when he created Dil To Pagal Hai.
In light of lyricist Anand Bakshi’s untimely death, one thought that always crossed my mind was how Chopra would manage to recreate the magic the two created in their previous films. This time, he has roped in Javed Akhtar, a lyricist who has created his own niche in Hindi cinema and is probably the best among the many today. He has also brought in his favorite, Lata Mangeshkar, who has managed to make her presence felt in most films that Yash Chopra has produced and directed. The music has been recreated by Sanjeev Kohli, the son of yesteryear’s music director Madan Mohan, whose unreleased tunes have been used for the music of Chopra’s latest, Veer-Zaara.
The album begins with a beautiful piano introduction, a tune that has been used in the initial promos of this film. The song, entitled “Tere Liye”, is a slow, romantic number that even in today’s music scene, will be loved by the old and the young. Kohli attempts to create a classic, with vocals rendered by Mangeshkar and Roopkumar Rathod. He does a beautiful job and the song is instantly likeable. Rathod complements Mangeshkar’s vocals quite well, and both strive well to convey the hope and yearning that love offers.
The next song is another one that starts off slow, but picks up pace occasionally throughout the track. Called “Main Yahaan Hoon”, it is sung by Udit Narayan, who always manages to do a wonderful job with any song he is given. It is a solo effort by Narayan whose vocals will provide the voice for SRK on screen. Interestingly, Kohli has added a musical piece in the middle of this song set to one of the most famous Punjabi classics, “Mera Laung Gavacha”.
Gurdas Maan, one of the Punjabi music scene’s most popular singers, makes an appearance in the third song, “Aisa Des Hai Mera”. Accompanying Udit Narayan, Lata Mangeshkar, and Preeti Mazumdar, Maan is a nice change as he adds a very classic Punjabi sound to the song occasionally interrupting the flow of the song with some bhangra. The lyrics, a mix of Punjabi and Hindi, are ones that boast of pro-India sentiments and love for one’s country. Narayan dominates the track and conveys the sentiments very well with his vocal range. Mazumdar is heard only in the background as a faint voice, but nonetheless serves her purpose. Added to the song are some popular Punjabi folk songs that have been blended into the rest of the track. Mangeshkar makes a late appearance in the song and her part is intended to convey the similarities between India and its neighboring country Pakistan. The song is one that grows on you and will be instantly appealing to the older generation.
Narayan makes his third appearance with Mangeshkar in the fourth song, “Yeh Hum Aa Gaye”, which can easily be one of the best songs on the album. Again, it’s another romantic duet and the music has been arranged beautifully to combine a classical feel with a more contemporary sound without being loud.
Sonu Nigam replaces Narayan in the next song, “Do Pal”, a duet with Lata Mangeshkar. Nigam sounds brilliant and his voice completely reflects the emotions that Akhtar intended to convey with his lyrics. This song also has a very classic feel to it and should appeal any in search of a simple romantic tune.
Yash Chopra’s voice is used at the beginning of the sixth song to recite poetry. It almost sounds as though the song should have been used in a Chopra classic starring Amitabh Bachchan from back in the day. The song transitions with Mangeshkar’s voice who does not sing any lyrics, but lends her voice to the background. The song is sung mostly by Sonu Nigam, who basically makes this song as his vocals completely express the joy and excitement of one’s first love. Akhtar’s lyrics fully relay the emotions every person has felt the first he or she fell in love.
The album picks up pace with Lata Mangeshkar’s solo track, “Hum To Bhai Jaise Hain”. Initially, the song feels a bit out of place with the tone of the rest of the album. Nonetheless, it offers a change that will be appreciated by those searching for a more upbeat song. Its lyrics are basically meant to echo the sentiments of “I am the way I am” and Mangeshkar tries hard to keep up. Unfortunately, it ends up being one of the less likeable songs on the album.
Ahmed and Mohammed Hussain join together to create “Aaya Tere Dar Par Deewana”, a qawaali that will probably be used in the film as Veer, played by SRK, makes his way closer to finding his love, Zaara played by Preity Zinta. The song is rendered well by the singers and sounds as though it is being used during the climax of the film.
Gurdas Maan returns with “Lodi”, a Punjabi song by Lata Mangeshkar and Udit Narayan as well. The song will be loved by those who like classic Punjabi songs and not the remixed bhangra craze that has been witnessed in countless songs in the past decade. That being said, the song does a fair job and its appeal will increase after the song is seen on screen. The lyrics are mostly in Punjabi and Maan sounds perfect; however, Mangeshkar is not your typical Punjabi voice and the song would probably have sounded better had it been sung by Jaspinder Narula or Richa Sharma. Narayan is reduced to only a few lines, but regardless, his vocals are appreciated.
The last two tracks featured on the CD have apparently been recorded especially for the soundtrack, but will not feature in the film. The first is sung by Jagjit Singh, accompanied by Lata Mangeshkar, while the second is a Mangeshkar solo. The first song, entitled, “Tum Paas Aa Rahe Ho”, is a romantic ghazal that sounds timeless. Singh is in top form and Mangeshkar’s vocals compliment him well. The second song, “Jaane Kyon”, is a soft track that does not have quite the appeal as the Singh-Mangeshkar duet. Its pace is quite slow and again feels as though it should have been picturized on Jaya Bhaduri back in the 70s. Yet, it is worth a listen as it concludes the album.
Amitabh Bachchan has apparently found the music for Yash Chopra’s Veer-Zaara to be unbelievable. As I can imagine, this album will appeal to many individuals from Bachchan’s generation as it offers a nice diversion from the techno, bhangra beats that dominate today’s music scene. But, I believe the album has something to offer even to my generation. Admittedly the album was a disappointment on the first listen; however, upon repeated listening, it completely grows on you. Overall, the album has a bit of everything and proves to be another welcome addition to previous Chopra classics