This is a review of the soundtrack.
For the full film review, click HERE.
The Dharma Productions slate is alive and kicking, never ceasing to churn out one romantic comedy after another. While the story and originality of the films is up for debate (and will be in our film reviews), the music of these films is a different topic altogether. Their next offering is Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu, pairing Imran Khan and Kareena Kapoor, and directed by Shakun Batra, yet another addition to Dharma's growing stable of in-house directors.
The promos are trying hard to make it look like fresh, indie-like rom-com, but far more intriguing than the look of the film is the music. The power duo of composer Amit Trivedi and lyricist Amitabh Bhattacharya, in their first joint collaboration with Dharma Productions, deliver yet another hummable and refreshing album, albeit dialed down and sweetened significantly from their usually zingy albums.
The title track Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu kicks off to an instantly catchy beat. Sung by Benny Dayal, Anushka Manchanda, and Shefali Alvaris, the song is all about a couple having the time of their lives together. However, the lyrics are a bit of a letdown here. Bhattacharya seems to have been tamed significantly from his usually innovative and edgy lyrics, forced to resort to verses that don't do much beyond just being saccharine and rhyming. Lines like "ghum ki baatein bhool ja, khushiyan sajaa, jo bhi hoga, I am with you" are fine and pleasant, but not when you expect so much more originality from the lyrics. Regardless, Trivedi's tune makes up for it with it's addictive quality. The Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu - Remix amps up the upbeat feel even more and is actually an enjoyable remix.
The next track, Gubbare, bears a strong resemblance to the brilliant 'Sham' from Aisha. It's a chilled out, feel-good track with an incredibly hummable tune. Amit Trivedi does the honors as the singer here as well with his smooth vocals, joined aptly by Shilpa Rao, Nikhil D'Souza, and Amitabh Bhattacharya. The lyrics are much more inventive this time around, with the gubbare, or balloons, being used a metaphor for the roller-coaster of emotions in life - "Koi thoda zara bhara hai, koi dheela phoos pada hai, hawa pe khada hai, har ek mein maza hai..." Trivedi adds the jazz touch to this song, which he used as a common element throughout the album for Aisha. 'Gubbare' is one of the highlights this time around.
Even the most talented people can miss the target every now and then. Aunty Ji, sung by Ash King, is meant to be a fun and quirky party song but ends up being a grating experience. Trivedi gives it a retro-jazz sound, which would have worked much better had the lyrics and singing not come off as jarring. It will probably work better as a situational song and doesn't carry the repeat or addictive value of most Trivedi compositions.
Trivedi quickly returns to form and redeems himself with Aahatein. It's the most somber track of the album and both singers Karthik and Shilpa Rao bring to it the right amount of passion and romance to give it real impact. Bhattacharya's lyrics are subtle, creative and explore the nuances of being in love. It's one of those songs by Trivedi where the music, lyrics and singing just work so fluidly to establish the right mood. This one is probably the best track in the album, tempting you to play it on repeat. The Aahatein - Remix brings in Shekhar Ravjiani for the male vocals and carries a catchy techno beat. It would have been easy to ruin the original song with a remix but it is handled carefully as the remixing never goes overboard. Despite the techno and trance beats, the song still maintains its mellow romantic feel.
Vishal Dadlani makes his customary appearance in a Trivedi album with Kar Chalna Shuru Tu, joined by Shilpa Rao. The song continues in the vein of happy, upbeat songs from Trivedi-Bhattacharya, this time fashioned a motivational track about looking forward and not worrying about the past. The tune bears hints of the jazz sounds Trivedi seems to love so much, and is an enjoyable listen. However, the song isn't as catchy or hummable as some of the better tracks in this album.
With Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu, Amit Trivedi enters the most commercial mainstream realm of Hindi cinema by composing for a Dharma Productions film. While his earlier albums for smaller, more independent films, exhibited his talents the best, this one doesn't disappoint. It's seems an apt compromise between Trivedi and Bhattacharya's unique talents and the sugary romances that define Dharma Productions. How the songs fare in the film itself remains to be seen.
Listen to the full album here.