Here’s a double feature music review of the two new big film soundtracks to be released recently: Vishal-Shekhar’s Anjaana Anjaani (directed by Siddharth Anand) and A.R. Rahman’s Robot (directed by Shankar). Both soundtracks are by very talented composers, whose sounds are as different as pasta and biryani, for films that are just as different. However, one makes an impact while the other just misses the target.
Siddharth Anand’s upcoming Ranbir Kapoor – Priyanka Chopra starrer Anjaana Anjaani arrives with yet another winning peppy soundtrack by the duo of music-cool Vishal-Shekhar. After the successful music of I Hate Luv Storys the team of Vishal-Shekhar prove once again that they know how to appeal to the youth with fresh sounds, fresher voices, and music that guarantees to be in the charts for a while.
The title track of the album comes in two incarnations. The first – the one doing the rounds in the promos – called Anjaana Anjaani Ki Kahaani, is destined to be popular in the clubs. It has a thumping beat with fresh vocals by Nikhil D’Souza and Monali Thakur. It has a very catchy chorus, which is bound to be big with the youngsters, and sets the tone for the rest of the album. The second version comes later in the album. Simply titled Anjaana Anjaani and sung by Vishal Dadlani and Shilpa Rao, it’s the “sad” version with a slower, more melodious tune and a soft rock feel to it. It’s obviously meant for a different mood in the film but fails to leave much of an impression.
Lucky Ali helms Hairat, a song that’s quickly climbing the charts helped by a hip road-trip promo. It’s heavy on electric guitar and drums and has hints of Aahista Aahista from Bachna Ae Haseeno, mostly because of the way Ali sounds. The weakest song in the album is probably I Feel Good. Sung by Vishal Dadlani and Shilpa Rao, it sounds the most ordinary compared to the other very refreshing tracks in this album.
The three best tracks here, in my opinion, are Aas Paas Khuda, Tumse Hi Tumse, and Tujhe Bhula Diya. Sung by Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, Aas Paas Khuda is a love ballad with a rock feel to it. Khan’s qawwali-esque voice with the rock beats work very well and leaves a strong emotional impact. Tumse Hi Tumse is a charming number with a youthful innocence to it. Shekhar Ravjiani’s voice brings a playful bounce to the track accompanied by English interludes by Caralisa Monteiro. Tujhe Bhula Diya has an opening that makes it instantly addictive. Shruti Pathak soulfully croons a verse in Punjabi to the sound of a guitar being softly plucked in the background. Then Mohit Chauhan enters singing about heartbreak and loneliness. Though it’s a sad song, it has a scintillating mix of melody and Pathak’s Punjabi verse with interludes of qawwali sung by Shekhar Ravjiani. Definitely a very fresh angle to the quintessential “sad song” that each Hindi love story must have.
Overall, Vishal-Shekhar’s Anjaana Anjaani is just what you expect from the duo – hip, refreshing sounds, appealing to their target audience, and just enjoyable music. They’re quite the reliable team. Check this one out for sure.
How does a robot serenading Aishwarya Rai Bachchan compliment her beauty? He asks how many neutrons and electrons are in those blue eyes, of course! Yes, A.R.Rahman is back with a soundtrack only he can put together – he invents words, makes physics romantic, and brings his signature fusion music to a full-on South Indian sci-fi flick. The film – starring Rajnikanth with Mrs. Rai Bachchan – is releasing in Tamil and Telegu as Endhiran and in Hindi as Robot. This review is only for the Hindi version of the soundtrack.
It takes a while for Rahman tracks to grow on the listener. After all, he experiments fearlessly, something that isn’t always appreciated immediately. With Robot, there are hints of his trademark experimentation but there’s also a sense of the ordinary with most of the tracks. The album starts with O Naye Insaan, which has a very ominous feel to it. Sung by Srinivas D and Khatija Rahman (yup, Rahman’s daughter), it’s a song dedicated to the robot. It’s the kind of song that will probably sound better with visuals. Srinivas lends a very dominant voice to it while Khatija sounds sweet. The next song is Pagal Anukan (Pyaara Tera Gussa Bhi), the one with the romantic scientific lingo. Despite its odd lyrics – which I guess are fitting for a film about a robot – this song works pretty well. Mohit Chauhan makes the words “neutron” and “electron” sound quite sensual while Shreya Goshal complements him well.
Rahman makes his vocal presence in Naina Mile, accompanied by Suzanne and Kash ‘N’ Krissy. Designed as a romantic dance number, it falls prey to heavy synthesizing, making the song sound rather plain. Arima Arima brings the voices of Hariharan and Sadhana Sargam back after a long time. It’s the trademark grand song that every Rahman album needs, with trumpets and everything. The best song of the album is Kilimanjaro. Yes, it’s titled after a mountain but Javed Ali and Chinmayi , along with the most diverse musical arrangement of the lot, make this the most peppy and likeable song.
The two “theme” tracks - Chitti Dance Showcase and Boom Boom Robo Da – require you to really get into the mood of the film, which will probably happen after the film comes out. Chitti Dance Showcase seems uneven in its tempo – it fluctuates between slow and fast beats, hyper drums and mellow strings, that don’t quite gel well together. Boom Boom Robo Da is a track that really needs visuals to make it appealing. The song mentions everyone from Newton to Einstein to describe this Rajnikanth-shaped robot and really begs for some Shankar-esque special effects to make it come to life.
Rahman, as the regular composer for all of Shankar’s films, has delivered truly quirky songs for all these films, including some that have become chartbusters (who can forget Shakalaka Baby from Nayak?). With Robot, however, Rahman doesn’t deliver that same punch. It’s a quirky soundtrack for sure, but it fails to jump out at the listener as another high-profile collaboration between Shankar and Rahman. Even though it’s tailored towards a sci-fi theme, the songs often end up with very similar sounds to one another. Rahman excels at assembling the most diverse array of singers, but unfortunately it’s not his most inspired soundtrack and will probably make much more sense once the film comes out.