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Since ‘Mom’ (2017), A.R. Rahman stayed away from composing for a Hindi film for a very long time. If we do not take 2.0, which was a Tamil film and dubbed in Hindi and Telugu, into account, ’99 Songs’ was his first score for a Hindi film in four years. Now, a couple of months after that album arrived, the music of ‘Dil Bechara’ has been released. There are many reasons why one looks forward to this album. It marks the second collaboration between A.R. Rahman and lyricist Amitabh Bhattacharya after ‘Lekar Hum Deewana Dil’ (2014). The film had a very good soundtrack but for some reason, the music just did not reach out to the listeners. The fact that the film bombed at the box-office did not help the cause either. Being a romantic drama that promises to be high on emotions, one expects ‘Dil Bechara’ to offer a lot of space for songs.

“Dil Bechara”, the title track, features A.R. Rahman as the male vocalist. Music composers often make the mistake of singing a few of their own compositions which do not suit their voice. Thankfully, that is not the case here as Rahman’s voice seems tailor-made for the frothy tune he has composed. “Dil Bechara, Friendzone Ka Maara….” – the opening lines give a good idea about the kind of lyrics one should expect from this song. Amitabh Bhattacharya uses a couple of English words throughout the song to do justice to the conversational feel of the track. The lyrics complement the breezy tune very well. Ideally, you expect a composer to create a simple and catchy tune for a situation like this. Here, Rahman puts together a slow burner that grows on you with repeated hearings. The song has a remixed version called “Friendzone” which has been done quite tastefully.

The title “Taare Ginn” reminds one of the title of the book (‘The Fault In Our Stars’) the film is based on. The violin, piano and flute pieces lend a dreamy vibe to the song. And, when you hear the lyrics, you can almost imagine the two protagonists looking at the sky and counting the stars. The song has a free-flowing tune to it and is very pleasant. Sure, it does not have a catchy ‘hook-line’ or a conventional structure that would make it a chartbuster instantly but just like the first track on the album, it would grow on you in due course of time. The instrumental track “The Horizon Of Saudade” is largely weaved around the tune of “Taare Ginn” and replicates its wonderfully languid appeal very well.

“Khulke Jeene Ka” embodies the philosophy which the two protagonists, at one point in the film, decide to embrace. “Aao Filmon Ke Beadab Gaane Gaate Hain, Heroine Hero Aaj Hum Tum Ban Jaate Hain…” – Amitabh Bhattacharya writes some wonderfully playful lines that have a conversational quality to them and serve the purpose of the song very well. The song required the vocalists to be very expressive while voicing out the lines and both Arijit Singh and Shashaa Tirupati rise to the occasion and a do a splendid job at that. The arrangements create a texture of Europian music throughout the song.

In ‘Lekar Hum Deewana Dil’, which had the same composer and lyricist team, the best song was “Maaloom” which had vocals by Jonita Gandhi and Hriday Gattani. Incidentally, the best song on the ‘Dil Bechara’ album has also been rendered by them. “Main Tumhara” is steeped in romance and melancholy in equal measures and is bound to tug at your heartstrings when you listen to it. Going by the kind of lyrics it has, one expects some heart-wrenching lyrics to go along with it. Hriday and Jonita bring out the emotions in this immersive composition wonderfully to the fore.

Hriday Gattani goes behind the mic again, this time with Sunidhi Chauhan, for “Maskhari”. Unlike the sombre “Main Tumhara”, this one is an out-and-out lively number that would, presumably, arrive at a juncture when the two protagonists are in a very happy space in their lives. The texture and mood of the song is quite similar to “Khulke Jeene Ka” but it has enough differentiating elements to help a listener easily make out the differences between the two. The orchestral arrangements are the highlight of the song. It has a nice sing-along quality to it and makes for a good sonic experience. Having said that, it is a song that would work better with visuals.

A.R. Rahman’s penchant for experimenting with different kind of sonic properties or creating a new kind of melody by putting together a concoction of sounds comes to the fore in “Afreeda”. The track has a predominantly Middle-Eastern sound to it with some rap portions added at appropriate places. Sanaa Mousaa is the lead vocalist here. Having mastered and renowned for her command over classical Arabic music, Sanaa brings a lot of authenticity to the song with her rendition. Raja Kumari, who had earlier collaborated with Rahman on tracks like “Jugni” (‘Kaatru Veliyidai’) and “Freaking Life” (‘Mom’), handles the rap portions very well.

The film was earlier titled ‘Kizie Aur Mazzie’ and thus, the song “Mera Naam Kizie” could have served as the title track for the film. In the song, the two characters describe themselves as individuals and also, the kind of relationship they share (“Main Din Hoon, Tu Raat Hai….”) with each other. The orchestral arrangements lend a jazz-based musical structure to the song. Amitabh Bhattacharya writes some cutesy lines which work very well considering the theme of the song. Aditya Narayan does a fine job but co-singer Poorvi Koutish leaves a much bigger mark with her rendition which is expressive and natural in equal measures.

Six years after ‘Lekar Hum Deewana Dil’, A. R. Rahman and Amitabh Bhattacharya deliver yet another solid soundtrack in the form of ‘Dil Bechara’. While the two films are completely different from each other as far as the narrative is concerned, the one common factor is that both the films depict young love. Hence, the music of the two films needed to have a youthful energy to it. ‘Dil Bechara’, of course, has a storyline that is steeped in intense emotions and that shows in the soundscape of the film as well.