‘Haathi Mere Saathi’, a film shot simultaneously in Hindi, Tamil and Telugu is all set to be one of the first major films to hit the theatres in a post Covid-19 world. The film was announced in late 2017 and was set to hit the theatres last year in April. The promotions had begun but then lockdown happened and the film, along with several other films, could not make it to the theatres. While the film is a few days away from its release, the buzz has not been very strong so far and the music, too, has not been promoted very well.
With the kind of subject (elephant abuse) the film deals with, it is difficult to place too many songs in the narrative. There are just about three songs in the album. One still has good expectations from the music of the film as it has names like Shantanu Moitra (composer) and Swanand Kirkire (lyricist) attached to it.
The album opens with “Shukriya”, a song which was launched almost a year back when the promotional activities for the film had begun. It is exactly the kind of song you would expect to come across in a film the plot of which centres on wildlife. Through the song, the characters in the film, for whom the forest is home, express their gratitude to nature for all that it has given them. Though a ‘situational’ song that would very well with visuals, it also makes for a good hear as a standalone audio track. The innocence of the characters is conveyed by Swanand Kirkire’s lyrics and the choral vocals of the children. Rituraj Mohanty sings and emotes the lines well.
What arrives next is one of the best songs one has heard in a Hindi film in a long time. “Dheeme Dheeme” is a romantic number that offers one a glimpse into the kind of emotions a character in the film has for the other. The mellifluous melody by Shantanu, incredible lines by Swanand and smooth rendition by Adriz Ghosh, all contribute equally towards making it a memorable song. The song makes a good impression in the very first hearing and then, keeps growing on you as you listen to it repeatedly. The percussions in the background add energy and accentuate the earthiness in the song.
“Hriday mein yeh goonj chale, praan yeh raakh se ho gaye….” – as Javed Ali croons these lines in his inimitable voice with minimal music playing in the background, you sit up and take notice of the third song in the album which has been titled “Ae Hawa”. Javed’s renditions and the wonderful poetry written by Swanand are the highlights of this somber number. They, along with Shantanu, do a good job at putting across the sense of helplessness which the characters in the film are going through. With long verses, interspersed by elaborate music pieces, this is a song that would take some time to grow on you. But if you give it the number of hearings it requires for you to fully envelope your heart, you will warm up to it eventually.
Shantanu Moitra puts together a good album for ‘Haathi Mere Saathi’ comprising of songs, which apart from doing justice to the theme of the film, make a lasting impact as standalone audio tracks. The album also boasts of rich lyrical value courtesy Swanand Kirkire. The duo, in the past, have collaborated for several high-quality albums like ‘Hazaaron Khwahishein Aisi’, ‘Parineeta’ and ‘Inkaar’. Even films like ‘Lage Raho Munnabhai’, ‘3 Idiots’ and ‘PK’, which they worked on together, had popular songs that largely benefitted from the huge success of the films. ‘Haathi Mere Saathi’ is another album which the duo should be proud of creating together.