Planet Bollywood
Woh Lamhe
Producer: Vishesh Films
Director: Mohit Suri
Starring: Shiney Ahuja, Kangna Ranaut, Purab Kohli
Music: Pritam and Roop Kumar Rathod
Lyrics: Sayeed Quadri, Neelesh Mishra, and Shakeel Aazmi
Singers: Glenn John, James, Jawad Ahmad, K.K., Kunal Ganjawala, and Shreya Ghoshal
Audio On: T-Series    Number of Songs: 8
Album Released on: August 2006
Reviewed by: Aakash Gandhi  - Rating: 8.0 / 10
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A film decades in the making, has finally been realized by one of the Industry’s youngest directorial talents, Mohit Suri. Inspired by the high-profile romance of yester-year, Woh Lamhe treads the relationship of actress Parveen Babi and director/producer Mahesh Bhatt.

However, today we tell a different story. We delve into the enigmatic fragrance and intoxicating aroma of the film’s hauntingly beautiful score, a score that not only continues a trend…but redefines it. It’s hard to fathom Suri’s professed ideology of his rather tasteless ear for good music, given that he has encapsulated some fine compositions in his past films [Zeher and Kalyug], essaying the nuances of each tune beautifully to fit vividly within the ornamented silver screen.

Mr. Suri: Modesty is not always a working factor behind the work of a successful filmmaker. And by far not one of your best skills either! You have a mighty fine ear for rich and textured sounds, as Woh Lamhe’s musically diverse feather fits snug in that director’s cap of yours.

Sometimes a Romance such as the one in question can only be expressed through the unparalleled chemistry portrayed by a tranquilly layered composition and a phosphorescent stanza of poesy, enlaced with the finishing touches of a sensually raw, yet melodiously flawless rendition.

So, are you ready to embark on a journey that promises to protect the sanctity of filmi music, while adding volumes to it? And the masses raise their hands in desperation…

Title: Tu Jo Nahin

Artist: Glenn John

Music Arranged By: Pritam

Lyrics: Sayeed Quadri

Original/Uncredited Composer: Sunny Benjamin John

Ah hell, I never was a fan of that save-the-best-for-last school of thought; so we’re going to open things up with the extremely moving Tu Jo Nahin. Tenderly lit with the resonance of a flute, the opening is an accurate foreshadow to the parched feel of nostalgia to come, which has lost its way in a generation of very varied music scenes. The upright spine of this piece, which is the main reason this song reaches such astronomical heights, is the ever-so seductive, yet traditional, rhythm left unaltered (rightfully so) in the somber backdrops of this lyrically heart-rending song. Another aspect of this track that is very uncharacteristic of Pritam is the technical subtlety showcased and the fact that the song itself does not try so hard to gain your approval. Rather, it does its thing, slowly enticing you…captivating you…and inevitably entrapping you within its bare embodiment. Enameled with a classy play of the piano (a la Agar Tum Mil Jao of Zeher) coupled with the richness of the strings help this piece soak in the sea of remembrances.

Apart from the mastery of the composition, I find the melody to be the fulcrum of admiration here. Sunny Benjamin John, a famous Pakistani artist, created this absolutely gorgeous tune. Pritam has been credited as the musical arranger; unfortunately no reference or credit has been given to the original artist [surprise surprise]. Legal matters apart, Pritam and the Bhatts have really landed ass-backwards in something extraordinary here. Just like the rhythm, the melody, in all its innocence, is drawn out just enough to shine light on every distinction the melody carries, with each passing bar you shutter within yourself at the mournful euphony of separation.

This takes us to the unblemished rendition of Mr. Glenn John (son of aforementioned SB John). It’s a shame Indian talent is not given much scope in Pakistan, but when you turn the statement around, great things are happening. Pakistani talent is being realized like never before and Glenn John is amongst the finest of them to enter the Industry. John’s rendition is so perfectly balanced with skill and emotion, never letting one overpower the other. Doing immaculate justice to his father’s invincible melody, Glenn John has set a standard that few can only dream of meeting.

Moreover, such a piece would be vastly hollow if it were not for an insightful, coherent, allusive, and poetically charismatic set of lyrics. Who better to call on than Mr. Sayeed Quadri, a romance guru when it comes to such syrupy sweet lyrics, with a twist of anguish and heart-felt despair? To live up to the art of nostalgia so elegantly essayed in ‘Tu Jo Nahin’, Sayeed Quadri has a different mindset while writing this piece. One can almost compare the style of poesy and diction used to that of lyrical greats like Majrooh Sultanpuri, Shailendra, and Sahir Ludhianvi. To sum it up, his lyrics complete the musical trinity in perfect harmony and sublime fashion. Verdict: If this is heaven, then I don’t want to live…

“Mujhe phir tabaah kar. Mujhe phir rulaaja. Sitam karne waali, kahin se tu aaja. Aankhon mein teri surat basi hai. Teri hi tarah, tera gham bhi haseen hai.” – Sayeed Quadri

Title: Chal Chale

Artist: James

Music: Pritam

Lyrics: Sayeed Quadri

Pritam makes it two in a row with a brilliant little piece titled Chal Chale. The trademark acoustics that gets this piece underway melts into a peppy/rhythmic harmony, which slowly slithers behind the lead instrument, the harmonica. I don’t believe Pritam has used this instrument as a lead before, but it fits uncannily well with the extremely sweet atmosphere of this petite song. Behind the mic is the man who shook us all with his unbelievable rendition of Bheegi Bheegi in Gangster, James. Entangled in the very stringy composition, James gives a commanding performance, hitting every note perfectly with a strong and stable voice.

However, the key element that rides his success is the feel and attitude with which he renders the entire piece. From his previous rendition and this, I can deduce that he is one of the most vocally animated singers we have heard, putting his soul into every word and every note. Sayeed Quadri does a semi-U-turn from Tu Jo Nahi to write some really sweet lyrics that should catch the fancy of nearly all who listen with an attentive ear! My only regret is that Pritam didn’t decide to ride this gem of a song a bit longer than merely three and a half minutes. I would have loved to hear another stanza sung by James and some more fantastic lines written by the Romance Guru! But hey, it’s Pritam…we might hear this piece re-worked and re-released five years from now…who’s waiting with me huh?

Title: Bin Tere

Artist: Jawad Ahmad

Music Arranged By: Pritam

Lyrics: Sayeed Quadri

Original/Uncredited Composer/Lyricist: Jawad Ahmad

Up next we have an extremely popular track from an extremely popular Paki artist, Jawad Ahmad. The track in question is Bin Tere, which has been re-worked on by Pritam obviously. The first thing I noticed while listening to this piece is that Pritam (like in ;Tu Jo Nahin’), has pulled the reigns back while re-composing this piece. In almost all of his previous lifts, Pritam has done a complete over-haul, giving the song a very attractive make-over (I guess to make up for the fact that he has lifted the tune). However, here he is much more subtle in his mannerisms, and thankfully so! The acoustic feel mixes very well with Ahmad’s authentically rustic voice. And no by rustic I do NOT mean sufiish.

Once again a Paki artist has made a very novel entrance into the industry. Apart from no credit being given to Ahmad as the composer, the label has given the lyrical credit to Quadri saab. However, if you’ve heard the original you’ll notice that 2/3 of the words are identical. Quadri has simply written the second stanza of the piece. Hey, I’m just pointing out the facts! Nonetheless, Ahmad’s lyrics are not as extraordinary as some of the samples we’ve heard previously, but are a treat nonetheless.

Title: Kya Mujhe Pyar Hai

Artist: K.K.

Music: Pritam

Lyrics: Neelesh Mishra

Original/Uncredited Title: Tak Bikasah

Original/Uncredited Composer: Peterpan

Now this is the Pritam we have all come to know and love/hate.

His Characteristics: 1) K.K., Kunal, or Sonu --- CHECK 2) Hyped up composition --- CHECK 3) Mindless remixing --- CHECK 4) Blatant lift of Middle-Eastern/Pakistani Track --- CHECK

But I digress. As far as the song itself is concerned, irrespective of any outside or stereotypical influences, is composed at a high level. K.K. would have to be the star of the cast, as his rendition is on target throughout the entire piece. The metal highlights coupled with the groovy chorus mix to create a piece that should have its remix [By DJ A-Myth and DJ Kiran] playing in all the clubs/discs, whichever you prefer. Neelesh Mishra is another one of those rare gems in the world of lyrics. Although he’s not given a piece in which he can excel to his fullest potential, his attempt is more than enough to lift the piece from the lyrically average category. Verdict: A solid attempt that could have done away with the blatant plagiarism.

Title: So Jaoon Main (Male/Female)

Artist: Kunal Ganjawala/Shreya Ghoshal

Music: Roop Kumar Rathod

Lyrics: Shakeel Aazm

Although I am a mild fan of Roop Kumar Rathod and his work as an MD, I strongly feel that this album would have stood taller without this extremely detached piece. Not saying that the composition is bad necessarily; but one must take into consideration their surroundings. Here, we have a very varied style of composition, however RKR’s style is typical filmy stuff at best, which disrupts the flow of this otherwise exceptional group of songs. Furthermore, the melody is not substantiated, and really begins to test your patience half way through. The 6+ minute length of each version does not help one bit either. Shakeel Aazmi’s lyrics pale horribly while placed next to the lyrics of pieces like Tu Jo Nahin and Chal Chale. As was the case in Zeher, it is my assumption that this is a tune from RKR’s collection of unused compositions. Mohit Suri, maybe your taste for good music isn’t as consistent as I had presumed!

An enigmatic array of flavorful sounds and ingenious words such as this is a spectacle for music lovers to treasure for a very long time. Although the last piece drags the appeal of the soundtrack as a whole down somewhat, the other four tunes are a spectacle of sound with intonations from India, Pakistan, and the Middle East.

Over the years we’ve traded the true essence of music for an over-dosage of heavy remixing, nonsensical lyrics, and monotonous sounds. But with the recent emergence of albums such as Bas Ek Pal and Woh Lamhe, we may be in the midst of a revival of progressive Indian music that carries the potential of transforming hackneyed and lackluster compositions back into a universal language through which millions can connect and rediscover the true essence of Music.

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