Planet Bollywood
Producer: Siddharth Roy Kapur, Vishal Bhardwaj
Director: Vishal Bhardwaj
Starring: Shahid Kapoor, Shraddha Kapoor, Tabu, Kay Kay Menon and Irrfan Khan
Music: Vishal Bhardwaj
Lyrics: Gulzar
Singers: Vishal Dadlani, Sukhwinder Singh, Arijit Singh, Suresh Wadekar, Vishal Bhardwaj, Rekha Bhardwaj,Alaap Majgavkar, Sourabh Joshi, Mayukh Sarkar, Muzamil Bhawani, Bashir Bhawani, Bashir Lone and Shraddha Kapoor
Audio On: UTV    Number of Songs: 9
Album Released on: September 2014
Reviewed by: Anish Mohanty  - Rating: 8.0 / 10
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Vishal Bhardwaj mostly composes for films with which he is associated as a director or a producer. The last film in which he was credited only as a music composer was ‘Striker’ way back in 2010. After delivering a very impressive soundtrack in ‘Dedh Ishqiya’ earlier this year, he returns as a composer to score the music of his directorial venture ‘Haider’. As the film is based in Kashmir, one expects to find some trace of Kashmiri music in the soundtrack.

Almost fourteen years ago, Vishal Bhardwaj introduced Hindi film music listeners to rock music by incorporating the elements of rock music in the soundtrack of ‘Paanch’. Today, rock songs, in films, are no longer a novelty. However, Vishal Bhardwaj’s unusual composition is what sets ‘Aao Na’. apart from numerous other rock based songs you hear. With this song, Bhardwaj yet again gives a testimony to his command over the genre. Vishal Dadlani’s grungy vocals are just appropriate for the song. The arrangements are dominated by drums, bass guitar and electric guitar. Gulzar’s insightful lyrics successfully bring to fore the angst of the lead character Haider.

The use of musical instruments like oud, rabaab and santoor make ‘Bismil’. sound like a cross between Kashmiri folk music and Middle Eastern music. The result is simply put, brilliant. The song follows a storytelling approach where the protagonist is narrating a story in front of an audience with a lot of aggression in his demeanour. You need to pay attention to the lyrics otherwise you will not be able to understand the story. Gulzar beautifully weaves a story through his poetry. Sukhwinder Singh sings the song with a lot of energy and delivers the right expressions at the right juncture as required by the song which narrates a story. The chorus singers deserve special mention.

‘Khul Kabhi’, the third song in the album, takes your breath away. Be it the vocal, composition, lyrics, arrangements- the song is flawless. Vishal brings together many genres of music together, including jazz, to create a song that spellbinds you. The song sounds faintly similar to Baadalon Se Kaat Kaat Ke (‘Satya’), another terrific number composed by Bhardwaj. However, ‘Khul Kabhi’ is miles ahead of that song in brilliance. That says a lot, right? Ideally, Vishal would opt for Suresh Wadkar for such a song or sing it himself. However, he picks Arijit for this song and the singer does not disappoint at all. His rendition of the song is top notch. Words would fail to describe the beauty of Gulzar’s lyrics. I leave you with a phrase from the song to devour: ‘Lab Tere Yoon Khule Jaise Harf Thhe, Honth Par Yoon Ghule Jaise Barf Thhe, Aana Zara Zabaan Mein Haule Haule Saans Sa, Seink Doon Tujhe…’

Gulzar’s lyrics set the tone for ‘Gulon Mein Rang Bhare’. which has Faiz Ahmed Faiz’s famous poem set to tune by Vishal. Faiz’s poem has been composed and interpreted differently by different composers/ artists in both films and non film albums. The most composition based on this poem is by Mehdi Hassan Khan. As far as films are concerned, this poem was last used in Sikandar (2009). Vishal’s composition does complete justice to the beauty of this poem. The song has melancholic undertones to it which is brought about wonderfully by Arijit Singh.

At first hearing, ‘Ek Aur Bismil’ sounds like a remixed version of ‘Bismil’ (which it is). However, the remix is very interestingly done. While ‘Bismil’ sounded like a mix of Kashmiri folk and Middle Eastern music, ‘Ek Aur Bismil’, is completely dominated by Middle Eastern sounds. Unlike most remixes today, which boast of very little innovation, you can see that a lot of effort has gone into ‘Ek Aur Bismil’.

Vishal Bhardwaj gets behind the mike for ‘Jhelum’, a raga based song that does not deviate much from the template of the raga upon which it is based and hence, the composition comes across as very routine. The song might appeal to connoisseurs of Indian classical music.

‘So Jao’ can be best described as a reprise of ‘Aao Na’ sung in a folksy style. The song lasts for a little more than two minutes and does not make much of an impression.

‘Do Jahaan’ is a lovely tune that could also work as a lullaby with different lyrics. Suresh Wadkar’s mellow voice is apt for the song and has a soothing effect on the listener. The use of guitars and drums in a very jazz based manner at 1:44 minutes into the song is reminiscent of similar arrangements in another song composed by Vishal Bhardwaj, ‘Zabaan Jale Hai’ (‘Dedh Ishqiya’). In ‘Zabaan Jale Hai’, one can hear a similar pattern of musical arrangements at 1:55 into the song. The only thing that works against the song is the casting of Shraddha Kapoor as the female vocalist. Her child-like vocals do not work for the song and her singing comes across as superficial and laboured.

The last song on the album is a ghazal sung by Rekha Bhardwaj called ‘Aaj Ke Naam’. The ghazal is based on a nazm written by Faiz Ahmed Faiz. A sad number, with a tinge of jingoism, it has an important story to tell. The song should fit seamlessly into the film’s narrative. However, the listeners may take some time to warm up to the complex tune. Faiz Ahmed Faiz’s heart rending words are the highlight of the song.

Haider is a very good album that stays true to the context of the film and has songs which have the potential to become hits with the listeners. People may take some time to develop a liking for a couple of songs. However, if the film does well, the songs will,eventually, be liked by the listeners.

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