After “Dushman” and “Sangharsh”, director Tanuja Chandra is back with her third “female-partial” (“woman-oriented” sounds too clichéd…) film – “Yeh Zindagi Ka Safar”, starring Amisha Patel and Jimmy Shergill. The pathbreaker that Ms. Chandra strives to be, she has signed on as music director a relative newcomer to the Hindi film music scene, despite his “close” family connections. Well, Daboo Malik – we aren’t ready to call you Anu just yet, but you certainly make a commendable debut here.
The gem of this album is easily “Aye Chand Khubsoorat”. It begins as a harmonica strumming through the night sky and builds to a beautiful, soft number in which the protagonist asks the moon and stars to come down from the sky to heal his loneliness. Sonu Nigam demonstrates that besides being a technically proficient singer, one of his greatest strengths is his expressive ability. The yearning in his voice jumps through the speakers as if it were headed straight for the sky. This is how it’s done!
“Dil To Kehta Hai” appears in two different versions. The opening rifts sound like the theme music of “Zakhm”, but we’ll forgive that. What follows is a beautiful ghazal about the struggles of the heart. Like most ghazals – this is about the lyrics more than anything. Both the Alka Yagnik and Kumar Sanu versions are equally deep and meaningful.
“Main Kaun Hoon” starts out beautifully with the piano and dream-like chorus. I happen to love the piano when used right in Hindi film music. I also love Jaspinder Narula. So why don’t I love this song? The problem is that when Jaspinder belts in her higher range, she sounds like she’s struggling – and it becomes apparent in her voice in the verses between the chorus. I didn’t like it in “Pyar To Hona Hi Tha” and it doesn’t sound appealing here either.
“Nikal Padi” is a fun number in the genre of “Tujhko Kya” from “Ghulam" in which Udit Narayan seems to be having the time of his life. Nothing more, nothing less. Incidentally, you gotta love the “Yeh Hindi hui English pe bhaari re” line… True, true.
Another soft ghazal comes in the form of Hariharan’s “Zamane Mein Sabhie Ko”. Here again is another singer with immense talent for expression of his music. He manages to raise even this uplifting song to a new level. The lyrics here (and overall in the album – well, mostly) are beautiful. When you compare this song to Kumar Sanu’s earlier number or even his other ghazal “Halat Na Poochon”, you realize the lack of emotive power in his voice. He is an amazingly talented singer, but somewhere the feeling is lacking.
Again – we have Sonu in all his glory with “Ahista Ahista”, probably the closest thing to a conventional love song on this album. He is supported here by interludes sang by Shraddha Pandit. Keeping in tone with most of the album, it’s a softer number that manages to create the right romantic mood.
Tanuja Chandra cares about music – that should be apparent by now. More than that – her lyrics are very important to her. All of these songs come off as the kind that will move the story along while expanding upon it. This isn’t the best of her lot (“Dushman” had much more conventional appeal), but it still retains a certain level of quality. Having heard 3 of the Lucky Ali songs (including the AMAZING title song) from her next Lucky Ali-starrer “Tujhko Kya Chahiye Zindagi”, I know that the best is yet to come. Until then, we’ll make do with this “journey of life”.