Love or hate the way he tells a story, there in no denying that Sanjay Leela Bhansali knows how to shoot a film. He is known for the visual art he creates on screen and from what we have seen of Guzaarish so far, he has succeeded again. The film stars Hrithik Roshan and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, but this is not your average Bollywood prem kahani. Hrithik’s character Ethan was once the world’s greatest magician, but 14 years ago tragedy struck and confined him to a wheelchair. His nurse Sofia D’Souza, played by Aishwarya, is his world. Their love is silent but true, but then Ethan petitions the court to end his own life. The journey, and what happens to Ethan, to Sofia, and the man who comes to learn the master’s magic, is the tale of Guzaarish.
The film’s music had to live up to such a deep and layered story and the visuals that he creates on screen so, Bhansali decided it had to be his vision and his notes. “I’ve done the music of the film as I felt the way I understood the characters of the film, the thought and feelings they might be going through. I would not be able to make a music director understand all that. The deep thought that would go into expressing what the characters felt musically, I knew that instinctively, hence, I decided to put the little knowledge I have about music to use.”
With Guzaarish, Bhansali’s “little knowledge” shows that it is actually vast in his scope and command of a musical score. He composed 10 pieces, and with each he impresses. He makes you want to hear more, and even more important, see what Guzaarish is about.
The sound of rain, Romeo calling to Juliet, a lovely piano, and a lone guitar begin the title track ‘Guzaarish’. KK is in gorgeous voice (but he always is) and has that perfect nuance and richness needed; he puts so much feeling into every note. The music develops into an orchestral piece with a mournful violin. In an odd step, there are screamed lines from Romeo and Juliet in the background and though it may make sense in the film, listening to it really distracts from the lush vocals and music. ‘Guzaarish’ has gorgeous words by Turaz:
With the beautiful music and lyrics all you can say is, WOW! At its essence it is a track that is romantic, lovely, soothing and many other adjectives… I loved it.
Sau Gram Zindagi
A piano line starts this with a lively mirchi beat that is played with great infusion of energy. Kunal Ganjawala takes on these notes, and he is a singer who has smoothness with a perfect tone. While listening to his performance you get lost in the notes and feeling. The music backs up his vocals perfectly and it all combines to make a great song. A soaring orchestral line adds that next layer to make it even more rich and shows off SLB’s skill. But thennnnn (sometimes the “but then” is bad and in this case that is true) the track suddenly has a very hard rock infused section with lyrics sung in English… and you think, huh? That section is very good, with the Ganjawala’s rough vocals hitting it spot on. I would have actually loved a whole track with that section expanded, BUT combined with the rest of the song it takes away from all that was established in mood and feeling. Maybe in the context of the film you will think: “oh, now I see”, but listening to it out of context it is hard to see the continuity.
Shail Hada and Rakesh Pandit are the voices on ‘Tera Zikr’, which sings of the silent love between Ethan and Sofia. SLB really likes the piano to ground his songs, but this one has a really cool percussion line on top that makes for a new sound. The songs develops into something different, something much more light, which was surprising. Vocally it is terrific, with the sharp inflection that is a perfect accompaniment. The composition of the song is definitely something we have not heard before. I admire what he put together but I think he went in too many directions. So, did I like it… I am not sure. I will say I was much more intrigued in the beginning then I was once the song hit the refrains. This is not your average song, which is good but is it good to listen too? Give it a spin and see what you think. I think it is going to grow on me.
Spanish in guitar and percussion style, it reminds me very much of the Portuguese Fado songs. There is longing in every note. Vibhavari Joshi is absolutely outstanding on this track. The feeling, the notes, and the expression… she blew me away! The lyrics are full of romance and poetry about how she has lost her heart:
This song is fabulous and once it is combined with SLB’s unique and incredibly rich visuals that he puts is in every frame I cannot WAIT to see what is happening on screen. Vah and Bravo!
Jaane Kiske Khwaab
Simple acoustic guitar plus simple piano equals music love to me; add in KK’s voice and I am in heaven. Bhansali adds a bit more here and a bit more there musically, but still at heart this is a ballad full of sadness about dreams that seem impossible. The lyrics by Turaz seem to be about the soul trapped in the body; the man has lost hope. He’s there but not there, awake but not awake. It’s as good as being dead or invisible. One of KK’s finest, and SLB showed he can compose a bared down track and make it pure musical goodness. This one got added to my Favorite Songs playlist after the first notes.
Bhansali channels Spain again with this flamenco styled track with the requisite rush of notes played on the guitar and accordion and the driving percussion. Sunidhi Chauhan is amazing because she can make her voice tell so much and it sways and flows along with the joyous notes of ‘Udi’. You can see why Aishwarya has to play the air drums and then join in the baile (dance) and it makes you want to, too (no, I did not attempt this in my office, really!). Another highlight for me! Will this be played in the clubs? Well, maybe, maybe not, but expand your horizons and take this in!
Keh Na Sakoon
Shail Hada is the lone vocal on the lovely ‘Keh Na Sakoon’. I love the depth of his voice in the lower registers and the emotion he expresses even in the “aaaaas”. The music is soft and melodic that swirls around you. I do feel like we have heard this before on the album, but this one is beautiful, too.
The lyrics by Late Jagdish Joshi and Vibhu Puri are the shining star of this track!
Meri saas tere hi ishaaro pe chalti hai (My breathe moves with you)
Ek pal bhi rehna sakoon, itna pyaar karta hoon (I can’t live alone without you even for a single moment, that much I love you)
Chaand Ki Katori
A very otherworldly beginning transforms into a slow number sung by Harshdeep Kaur. She is brilliant, and sings with power and softness, but there is a warmth to her voice that really evokes the emotions, and almost aches, that you feel when listening. Musically it is nice, very nice, and I loved the addition of the trumpet, it really added to the yearning feeling of the song. However, on an album full of songs like this, what makes this one stand out is her performance.
KK is back with a bright performance on Daayein Baayein that has so many layers that it creates a wonderful full sound. I am not a big fan of harmonica and the steel guitar but it fits here and gives the track a unique tone in sound and feeling. It is a very sweet song with lyrics by the fabulous Turaz! I love this stanza:
While probably my least favorite on the album, it is a very impressive track that many will love! I have a feeling once seen in the film I will love it!
When I saw that Shankar Mahadevan was the voice of this track I had a feeling I was about to be moved and I was right! I love, love, love when Shankar sings slow melodic songs and ‘Dhundli Dhundli’ has those moments and sweeping vocals as well. He really gives himself into the world of this song and shows his perfect tones in the quiet moments, and the power of his voice when the music reaches new heights. The music is sublime, with unadorned sections that show off the vocals but then it swell to symphonies. Magic!
Once again adding to the brilliance is the words by Turaz. Read, feel and listen:
Tum tou gaye par yaad naa gayi (You went but your memories never left)
Zubaa se meri fariyaad naa gayi (My wish never left)
Guzri na aisi koi saas (Not one breathe has gone by)
Jiseme tumhaara naam na ho (Which did not have your name on it)
Tab tak karunga yaad mein, jab tak aumra tamaam na ho (I will remember you till I die)
This album will mean different things to different people, but it is a soundtrack fully worthy of what Bhansali wants to create on screen. It is not a bunch of songs to go with a movie, but a series of movements that we will see enacted once Guzaarish hits the theaters. There is not a bad song in it by any stretch of the imagination. My personal favorites are ‘Guzaarish’, ‘Jaane Kiske Khwaab’, ‘Chaand Ki Katori’, ‘Dhundli Dhundli’, ‘Udi’, and ‘Saiba’, okay, the whole album. The lyrics just make the picture even more gorgeous and I am in awe of the story they create. The singers also have to be given a standing ovation each performance is wonderful. You MUST experience this sensitive and artistic musical vision of Sanjay Leela Bhansali.