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Music Review: Aarakshan

Music Review: Aarakshan

July 19, 2011

Prakash Jha's latest film offers an underwhelming soundtrack by Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy.

Click HERE for our review of the movie.

Below is a review of the soundtrack.

The master of grandiose political sagas and casting coups is back! After garnering plenty of critical and popular acclaim last year with Raajneeti, director Prakash Jha is now ready with his next, Aarakshan. Not to be outdone on loaded one-word titles that scream "serious issue," Jha's latest tackles the ever-prickly monster that is caste reservation. Starring Amitabh Bachchan, Saif Ali Khan, Deepika Padukone, Manoj Bajpai and Prateik Babbar, Aarakshan looks like another heavy drama from the Jha camp. The soundtrack, composed by Shanker-Ehsaan-Loy (S-E-L) with lyrics by Prasoon Joshi, is unfortunately rather unimpressive. It has four original tracks, and two alternate versions, but of these only one stands out.

The album starts with Achha Lagta Hai, which pairs Mohit Chauhan and Shreya Ghoshal. It starts off with a catchy beat but then turns into an odd mix of previous S-E-L songs. You can see where they were trying to go with the very conversational lyrics but it bears a strong resemblance to 'Agar Main Kahoon' from Lakshya, which was a fun song in its own right. Ultimately, what is meant to be a playful romantic number loses steam very quickly mostly for sounding like something we've heard before.

The second track, Mauka, brings together Mahalaxmi Iyer, Raman Mahadevan, Tarun Sagar, Gaurav Gupta and Rehan. It has the peppy stamp of S-E-L with a rustic/small town feel. While the singers give it their energetic best, the lyrics and music don't leave much of an impression. With the use of "chanas" as a rustic pronunciation of "chance" in the main line of the chorus, the song tries too hard to create the milieu and sound authentic. Perhaps it will be more effective in the film if given the right treatment.

The Mauka (Remix) simply adds a generic club vibe to the track.

The only saving grace of the album is Kaun Si Dor, sung by Pt. Chunnalal Mishra and Shreya Ghoshal. The song bears a strong classical essence with a great arrangement of traditional sounds, especially the percussion. Pt. Mishra and Ghoshal's passionate vocals make the song bewitching. Ghoshal's smoothness compliments Pt. Mishra's bristly voice to create a duet that rises well above the rest of the tracks in this album.

The song returns as a solo by Pt. Chunnalal Mishra, this time titled Saans Albeli. It misses the graceful voice of Ghoshal but Pt. Mishra keeps it captivating with his powerful vocals.

The last track is Roshanee by Shankar Mahadevan. It is designed as the anthem or theme track of the film and will probably be used repeatedly in bits and pieces throughout the film. The music here finally nears the large orchestra feel that most of Jha's film soundtracks carry. Parts of the composition here are quite well done but overall it lacks the balance of emotion and grand scale that made a song like 'Dhan Dhan Dharti' in Raajneeti so compelling.

Jha's films usually deliver some powerful music, but this outing fails to meet expectations. S-E-L could have done so much more using the versatility we all know they possess. Here's hoping the film does much better.

Image courtesy of Reliance Big Pictures. 

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