Awaiting the music of Ab Tumhare Hawale Watan Sathiyo, one can’t help but remember the magnificent music that Anu Malik had created in J.P. Dutta’s war epic trilogy (Border, Refugee, and LoC-Kargil). With ATHWS being set amidst the 1971 Indo-Pak war, Malik joins hands with Anil Sharma in his third patriotic film after Gadar and The Hero.
Anil Sharma, after working with Uttam Singh in both Gadar and The Hero, decides to sign Malik since he has proven that when it comes to war melodies, he’s among the elite. With lyrical partner Sameer set to pen the songs, let’s see if Anil Sharma has made the right decision…
Malik starts the journey on a mediocre step. Humein Tumse Hua Hai Pyar has its very few moments. The only highlight it has is the vocal rendition, which is carried out by the repetitive due of Udit Narayan and Alka Yagnik. Although repetitive, there is clear reason why, as these two give their best. Unfortunately, that isn’t enough to bring this song out of the ‘average’ category. Apart from the shehnai interlude and the piano introduction, Malik resorts to conventionalism, as does Sameer. Sameer’s words are worth nothing at all, as they rarely ever are. Verdict: Pure average at best!
Disgust! I don’t know what other word to use to describe this bhangra piece. It is really beginning to get ridiculous; as time progresses each director is requiring atleast one bhangra influenced song in their music album! Why? The reason escapes me as most of the time these pieces don’t even fit into the screenplay of the film. Anyway, Malik tries to compose some kind of Punjabi influenced bhangra track but falls flat on his face. Sudesh Bhonsle’s famous Bachchan voice begins to grind on your nerves as the seven minute long song progresses. The talent of Kailash Kher and Sonu Nigam is completely wasted and the western infusion was completely out of place. Further, Malik doesn’t give Sneha Pant the slightest opportunity to shine. The best thing this song has is Anuradha Paudwal, her voice is a gift to this song; unfortunately, I don’t know what Malik was thinking when he asked her to render for this type of song, which requires the likes of possibly a Jaspinder Narula or even a Gayatri Iyer. Trying to support the song by the Vaisakhi Dhol throughout the entire piece only adds to the demise of this creatively limited number. The lyrics by Sameer are…well, let’s just say the song would have been better if there were no lyrics! Verdict: Let’s just climb under a rock…Yuck!
One breathes a sigh of relief while listening to Mujhe Pyar Do, as it takes a U-turn from the previous torturous track. This song is a love duet sung by Sonu Nigam and Anuradha Paudwal, and flows nicely. Although their duet together is above par, it isn’t able to live up to their magical chemistry that was evident in Choti Choti Raatein (Tum Bin) and Kismat Se Tum (Pukar). Karsan Sargathia does a fine job with the classical task handed to him. Anu Malik creates a soothing tune but with a bit of fine tuning could have made this one a more memorable track. With Sameer’s lyrics being significantly better than the previous two, he finally lifts himself into mediocrity, which is a relieving sign. On whole, the track is average…at best a bit above the mark.
With Chali Aa Chali Aa I can happily introduce the first appealing piece of the album. The piece opens up on a great note, the sound of a mysterious singer resonating the words Chali Aa. The reason I say “mysterious” is because the singer was not acknowledged on the label. It’s quite a shame as that is probably the best part of the track. Nonetheless, Malik creates a quick-paced rhythm upon which Sonu and Alka play off of each others’ voice impressively. With an electric guitar added in the vocal breaks, Malik does play with creativity a little here and that’s what improves the appeal of the track. The lyrics by Sameer are average. With a slightly catchy melody, some nice musical arrangements, and impressive renditions, Chali Aa is a good track, and may be worth a few repeats.
Mere Sarpe Dupatta comes from the recent Dupatta school of lyrics. With all the dupatta tracks releasing as of late, this one would have to rank right in the middle. The track opens nicely and Malik does a decent job with the musical arrangements throughout the song. Alka Yagnik’s rendition is nothing revolutionary but she is at her usual best. Udit makes a grand entrance into the piece and does justice to his role. The surprise though would have to be Jaspinder Narula. Only appearing for a very short time, I was pleasantly surprised to hear her croon the classical rendition with confidence, class, and quality! She is a fine singer no doubt, but she outdoes herself here. I applaud Malik for utilizing her to her potential. The lyrics for Sameer are average once again. Verdict: Decent
While listening to the title track Ab Tumhare Hawale Watan Sathiyo, one can’t help but remember Malik’s unforgettable contribution to LoC-Kargil. Undoubtedly, this song is the best of the album by far! Malik’s musical arrangements are first rate and he uses all his singers appropriately, including Alka Yagnik, Udit Narayan, Sonu Nigam, and Kailash Kher. Important to note, there were two other vocalists, one male and one female who lent their vocal alaaps throughout the piece, which were extremely soothing; but once again those vocalist are nowhere to be found in the credits. After being discovered by Vishal-Shekhar’s Allah Ke Bandhe, Kher has proven himself worthy of vocal stardom. Ever since, he has been heard in Shrivastav’s Rang Dheeni (Dev) and Rahman’s Yun Hi Chala Chala (Swades), both of which are exquisite pieces. There is a second part of the song as well, where Sameer writes some fresh verses for our ears. These are Sameer’s best verses of the entire album, as he does an adequate job in arousing emotion and compassion toward the soldiers. Yet when compared to Javed Akhtar’s work in LoC, Sameer doesn’t even live up to comparison. Verdict: Great compositions.
Following is a devotion number by the name of Shivji Satya Hai. This one picks up where the previous track left off in terms of composition. Malik surprises with his utility of percussion. Malik’s first rate music accompanies Sukhwinder Singh and Sonu Nigam nicely. Sukhwinder takes over Kailash Kher’s job in classical rendering and does a fine job. Sonu Nigam is definitely not at his best but reaches par. Sameer does a rather good job in writing to praise Lord Shiva. After Shrivastav praised Lord Ganesha in Dev and Rahman honored Lord Rama in Swades, it’s Malik’s turn to admire Lord Shiva in ATHWS. Yet, this composition is at the bottom when compared to the other two. Verdict: A good devotional song.
The album comes to a close with the sad Dil Rota Hai Baar Baar. If you can’t guess who sung this piece then you haven’t been listening to enough Hindi music. Yes, this one is once again rendered by the modern Rafi, Sonu Nigam. With all the sad songs credited to his name, this one has nothing to make it stand out. Malik’s mundane composition coupled with Sameer’s hackneyed lyrics create a bland piece to say the least. Verdict: Poor
With a few good tracks, a few average tracks, and a few sub-par tracks, ATHWS’s music really can’t help the film get off to that “head-start” that has become instrumental in the success of films these days. Nothing short of a magnum-opus, Sharma’s epic will have to rely on its pre-hype and impressive star-cast, as its music is nothing out of the ordinary. After recent duds in the form of Dobara, Fida, and Chehraa; Malik is starting to fall behind this year after having an impressive 2003 (Inteha, Saaya, and LoC-Kargil). What should be interesting to see is how Sharma decides to incorporate these rather lovey-dovey songs into his war-epic. Best of luck to the much anticipated crew of ATHWS.