2006 was a landmark year for Pritam. After scoring his first superhit album as a solo composer with ‘Dhoom’ (2004), the composer started delivering hit songs consistently. Regardless of the box-office outcome of the films he worked on, his music found resonance with both the mass and the class audience. In 2006, he had as many as nine films to his credit and this was one of the earliest signs of him becoming one of the leading composers in the Hindi film industry in the near future.
Some of the prominent films Pritam scored the music for that year include ‘Gangster’, ‘Pyaar Ke Side Effects’, ‘Who Lamhe’ and ‘Dhoom 2’. It must be noted that ‘Dhoom 2’ was the first ever Hindi film whose music was released on Audio DVD. During this time, Pritam had got so busy that he had to let go of some films he had signed. After scoring one song (“Hai Ishq Yeh Kya Ek Khata”) for ‘Bas Ek Pal’, he had to opt out of the film because of his busy schedule. While most of his songs, which released that year, got very popular, the superlative music he put together for director Vikram Bhatt’s ‘Ankahee’ did not quite get its due. Today, we rewind that album.
“Ek Pal Ke Liye” is a song that appears in three different versions in the album. The first version (in terms of the album listing) has been sung by KK. An un-credited male voice, strums of acoustic guitar and piano notes set the tone for the prelude of this song. And then, KK marks his arrival at the 42 second mark. The moment he sings “kal kya ho kya khabar….”, you know it is a song set to tune by Pritam as this particular portion has his stamp all over it. I have not seen the film but from the lyrics (Amitabh Varma), one can make out that the song marks the beginning of a forbidden yet beautiful relationship.
Both the tune and the words bring out the bitter-sweet nature of the song to the fore effectively. The arrangements, consisting of western instruments, are good. There is a particular programmed music piece (3:04 – 3:14) which adds a nice touch to the orchestral arrangement. The track boasts of some fantastic guitar pieces. The antara of the other two versions, sung by Sonu Nigam and Shreya Ghoshal respectively, has a different tune to it. This ‘differentiating factor’ make the alternate versions sound fresh.
Apart from being an intricate and complex composition, “Aa Paas Aa” is a song that needed a voice that could do justice to the emotions weaved in it. Shreya Ghoshal rises to the occasion and brings out the sense of longing steeped in the composition and the lyrics (Sameer) wonderfully well. She is subtle while doing the same and does not go overboard at any point in the song. A combination of acoustic guitar, piano, pads and violin spruces up the tune well. There is also the sound of dholak/dafli in the antara portions which adds up well. The only thing that plays truant in the song is predictable lyrics.
“Tumse Yun Milenge” has the kind of emotional base which the foundation of “Ek Pal Ke Liye” rested on. Having said that, it has a completely different compositional structure. The lyrics by Subrat Sinha are good. Along with Amitabh Varma, who has written “Ek Pal Ke Liye” here, he is somebody who must write more often. Kunal Ganjawala sings the song with gusto. There is an alternate version of the song called “Lamha”, which has been written by Sameer. The effective tune remains the same, with some change in the arrangements and this time, we are treated to Babul Supriyo’s mellifluous voice.
The best track on the album is “Ankahee”, the title track. A slow burner, that has a wonderfully haunting feel to it, the song manages to evoke a sense of melancholy in you while you are listening to it and lingers in your mind for a long time after you are done listening to it. Sameer writes some simple but effective lines that complement the haunting and sombre tune. Kunal Ganjawala does a very good job behind the mic. So does Shaan, who sings the alternate version which has the same title and similar lyrics. The tune is also the same but this one has a more upbeat tempo/rhythm to it.
It has been fourteen years since the album released. It did not get its due back then. Now, with the kind of success Pritam has had and the amount of respect listeners have for him, it is imperative that the music of ‘Ankahee’ gets discovered or revisited by a large number of people.