Right from the time some of the earliest films in the banner were produced, Rajshri Productions was associated with quality music. ‘Dosti’ (1962), ‘Jeevan Mrityu’ (1970), ‘Piya Ka Ghar’ (1972), ‘Geet Gaata Chal’ (1975), ‘Chitchor’ (1976) and ‘Ankhiyon Ke Jharokhon Se’ (1978) were some of the major musical hits produced by Rajshri Productions. Since ‘Maine Pyar Kiya’, Rajshri Productions has largely produced films directed by Sooraj Barjatya, most of which had memorable music. While most of the films that were not produced by Sooraj Barjatya failed to leave a mark, some of them like ‘Uuf Kya Jadoo Mohabbat Hai’ had tuneful songs. In the ‘90s and 2000s, Rajshri also backed some popular non-film albums like ‘Pyar Ke Geet’ and ‘Yeh Hai Prem’.
One has got several reasons to expect good music from ‘Dono’, the new film produced by the 76-year-old banner. The film marks the directorial debut of Avnish S. Barjatya, Sooraj Barjatya’s son and one looks forward to see whether the son has inherited his father’s sense of music. The film, featuring Rajveer Deol and Paloma, has been designed as a romantic drama around a destination wedding and therefore, one expects it to have enough space for multiple songs to be inserted. More importantly, the album has been put together by reputable names like Shankar – Ehsaan – Loy and Irshad Kamil. Shankar – Ehsaan – Loy, incidentally, had composed a bunch of songs for Sunny Deol’s directorial debut ‘Dillagi’. The only time the composer trio and the lyricist had collaborated in the past was on the Karan Johar produced drama ‘We Are Family’. Barring the melodious ‘Aankhon Mein Neendein’, the album didn’t offer anything exciting. One hopes that this time around, Shankar – Ehsaan – Loy and Irshad Kamil have created an album that features the kind of songs that stand the test of time.
The album opens with “Dono”, the title track which has been sung beautifully by Armaan Malik. The tune is very pleasant and has a sing-along quality to it. Shankar – Ehsaan – Loy keep the arrangements minimal and layer the song with acoustic guitar, piano, pads and some mildly played electronic beats. The vocal harmonies add to the dreamy vibe to the song. Irshad Kamil writes some simple but effective lyrics that depict the relationship of two young individuals who, presumably, are in the early stages of love. The reprise version of the song is just the same, except for the fact it has a female vocalist in the form of Shrinidhi Ghatate.
From a dulcet romantic number, we move to a dance number as “Agg Lagdi” arrives on the scene. Though the song has been designed as a dance number, it has a certain sweetness to it. While the song makes for a harmless hear and has its high points as well, it also reminds you of several other songs in this space. The energy, which vocalists Siddharth Mahadevan and Lisa Mishra bring to the fore, helps the song considerably. The EDM background in the song, too, has been produced well.
Since the film is set in Rajasthan, one expected the music to feature some elements from the state. “Khamma Ghani”, the title of the third song on the album, is a phrase means “hello” in the Rajasthani language. Once you finish listening to the song, you wonder whether it was a left-over song from ‘Bandish Bandits’ which Shankar – Ehsaan –Loy decided to use in the film. ‘Bandish Bandits’, incidentally, was also set in Rajasthan. While Shreya Ghoshal and Shivam Mahadevan are great behind the mic, that is not enough to salvage this song which is average, at best. Though Shankar Mahadevan, too, chips in with a few lines in the background, he has not been credited as one of the vocalists.
We get a whiff of Rajasthan again in “Raangla”, sung by Pratibha Singh Baghel. The inherent sweetness in the song is carried off well by Pratibha. The portions, rendered by Shankar Mahdevan, too, add value to the song. The lyrics (Irshad Kamil), too, contribute towards adding a sense of innocence in the song. The composition is good, if not extraordinary, and is complemented well by the use of traditional instruments hailing from Rajasthan.
Javed Ali engages in some playful banter in “Man Mauji”, a song which benefits hugely from the wordplay by Irshad Kamil. While Shrinidhi Ghatate has been credited as the female vocalist, one hears her briefly towards the end of the song. The composition, however, is nothing worth writing home about. Given the sound of the song, one expects it to be played during a wedding in the film. Along with western instruments and electronic beats, one hears Indian instruments like dhol (Aslam Dafrani and Hanif Dafrani) in the song.
Next arrives “Khatt Mitthiyaan”, one of the better songs on the album. Led by Himani Kapoor’s vocals, the song boasts of an engaging tune by Shankar – Ehsaan – Loy and poetic verses by Irshad Kamil. Apart from string instruments like the acoustic guitar and esraj, the song also features percussions. The arrangements contribute greatly towards making the song vibrant. Himani carries the song very well on her shoulders and delivers a very confident rendition.
“Lehenga Padd Gaya Mehenga”, sung by Romy, is the weakest track on the album and carries no appeal, whatsoever, as an audio track. As this EDM-driven track moves forward, you expect it to have some redeeming factor but there is none. Barring Romy’s energetic rendition, there is absolutely nothing that works for the song.
The album of ‘Dono’, put together by Shankar – Ehsaan – Loy and Irshad Kamil, is a mixed bag. While some of the tracks on the album are well-written and nicely, a majority of songs do not leave the desired impact. One definitely expected much better music from a young love story featuring fresh faces.