Rahul Dholakia has made films on a variety of subjects and one thing that has been a common factor in most of his films is good music. He made his feature film debut with the romantic drama ‘Kehta Hai Dil Baar Baar’ which had some lilting tunes by Jatin-Lalit. After that, he made a hard-hitting film (‘Parzania’) on a real-life event that also fetched him a National Award. The film did not have songs but the background score, put together by Zakir Hussain and Taufiq Qureshi, made a solid impact. ‘Lamhaa’, his third feature film, was based on a serious subject but unlike the last time, the director took a far more commercial approach while telling a sensitive story.
‘Lamhaa’ boasted of one of the best soundtracks put together by Mithoon for a film. Since the film was set in Kashmir, the album had songs where one could hear the sound of some instruments that originate from that area. Since the film explored the trouble brewing in the paradise, Mithoon, quite masterfully, made sure that aspect came to the fore in the music as well. All the songs were written by Sayeed Quadri, except for “Main Kaun Hoon”, which was written by Amitabh Varma.
Sometimes, a good tune does not get the company of orchestral arrangements that help in augmenting its beauty. That is not the case with “Madno” as Mithoon layers this gorgeous tune with the sound of different instruments that help in bringing out the emotions in it effectively to the fore. The santoor has been used in just the right places and it was definitely a good decision to use percussion instruments (dholak/dafli) throughout the song. Sayeed Quadri’s lyrics are highly effective and so is the rendition by Chinmayi and Kshitij Tarey.
“Madno” (and its alternate version “Saajna”) also happens to be the only song on the soundtrack which talks about the love shared by two people. The other songs contribute towards depicting the core theme of the film. What is interesting about “Saajna” is that it has been sung by Mika who is largely known for singing dance numbers. This could be the only romantic number he has sung for a film. His voice definitely brings novelty value to this song.
Arun Daga’s voice is not heard very frequently in films. One would mostly remember for his solo non-film album ‘Jeena Tere Bina’. “Jis Cheez Ko Paane Ki Thi Ummeed Kho Chuki, Uss Cheez Ko Paa Kar Bahut Dil Ko Khushi Hui” – Sayeed Quadri sets the tone for “Salaam Zindagi” with these lines and then, the phrase “Salaam Zindagi” plays out like a chant. The song takes an unpredictable turn when the first antara “Hum Saath Rahenge Aur Saath Rahein…” arrives. Then, another surprise pops up in the form of a bunch of young children/choral vocalists coming forward and representing some young voices from the valley who wish to share their plight. The Kashmiri lines add a lot of weight to the song.
Palash Sen, the lead vocalist of the pop band Euphoria, does not sing for films very frequently. When he does, it turns out to be quite a special outing. “Main Kaun Hoon” is one such song. “Jannat Thi Apni Sarzameen, Sufi Humko Kehte Sabhi, Ab Toh Koi Mujrim Koi, Aatanki Keh Raha….”, Amitabh Varma wrote some heart-wrenching lines to depict the plight of the many of the people living in Kashmir. Along with several contemporary instruments, the Kashmiri instrument rabaab plays an important role throughout the song. The composition, lyrics and the rendition make a lasting impression in the very first listen and stay with you long after you have heard it.
Kshitij Tarey pours his heart into singing “Zameen O Aasmaan” and his rendition is, without an iota of doubt, the highlight of the song. By that, one does not imply that the composition or the lyrics fall short. Mithoon creates a sombre tune that conveys a sense of gloom and despair effectively. Sayeed Quadri writes some poignant lines that does complete justice to the melancholic tone of the song. The song ends with the lines “Lamhaa Har Lamhaa Khauff Bhara…Kyon Hain Yahaan…Kyon Hai Yahaan” and you feel like revisiting it a couple of times more to soak in the highly effective manner a message has been conveyed through this musical piece.
In the entire album, if there is one song which has Mithoon’s stamp all over it and reminds one of a couple of songs he has composed in a similar musical style, then it has to be “Rehmat Zara”. Now, when you hear this song, you could think of numbers like “Aye Khuda” (‘Murder 2’) and “Aawara” (‘Alone’). The song is fast-paced, upbeat and has a catchy rhythm. The pauses between the vocal parts help the listener in pondering over the lines. Mohammed Irfan Ali does a job behind the mic and Mithoon lends him adequate support as a co-singer.
‘Lamhaa’ remains one of the best albums by Mithoon and one which definitely deserves more attention. The score, yet again, exemplified the fact that Rahul Dholakia has a good ear for music. After ‘Lamhaa’, Rahul directed another film called ‘Raees’ (2018; Shah Rukh Khan, Mahira Khan and Nawazuddin Siddiqui) which had one of the background scores (Ram Sampath) for a Hindi film in the recent times. Also, he is a director who knows the art of incorporating music well in a film.