There is something very nostalgic about listening to a Himesh Reshammiya soundtrack. These days, Himesh is more interested in trying for stardom in front of the camera than in writing the chart-busting songs he specialized in all through the early part of the 2000s. Milenge Milenge itself is a bit of a blast from the past, originally supposed to have come out in 2005 it was unearthed from Boney Kapoor’s vaults to give the fans one last chance to see the magic of the Shahid Kapoor and Kareena Kapoor jodi. Directed by Satish Kaushik, the story has the erstwhile lovers playing a couple who are trusting in fate to tell them if they are meant to be together.
The album opens with the one song on the soundtrack that doesn’t date back to 2005. Kuch To Baakhi Hai is a surprisingly spare number sung by Himesh himself. A winding harmonium line draws your attention to the lyrics, which play on the similarities between Shahid and Kareena’s real life romance and their ‘reel life’ romance. While the original track has a wistful charm, the remixes – both the “bright remix” and the regular “remix” – sound dated.
Milenge Milenge, the title track, is an exercise in epic song-writing. Dripping with strings and synthesizers and sung with aplomb by Alka Yagnik, the song builds and builds to a climax of emotion. Alka’s voice gives a feeling of timelessness, especially since she is so rarely heard from these days. Jayesh Gandhi provides the male vocals. Milenge Milenge Part 2 sung by Shreya Ghoshal and Himesh does not have the same heft to it.
Sonu Niigaam joins Alka Yagnik for Tum Chain Ho in a tired duet that sounds like it came straight from Himesh’s glory days and assults the ear with wind chimes, dreadful synthesizers, and a lop-sided drum beat. But in a nod to the new feel of Bollywood sountracks, Tum Chain Ho (unplugged) is a showcase for Sonu Niigaam’s beautiful voice. Backed only by an acoustic guitar, Sonu takes center stage and gives turns the love song an authenticity missing from the earlier version.
The real winner of the soundtrack is the irresistible Ishq Ki Gali, sung with fervent longing by Rateh Fateh Ali Khan. His voice is supported by percussion and strings at first but in qawwali style, the mood builds and builds until the joyous release. The remix gives the track a Punjabi flavor that sounds jarring at first but will soon have you hooked.
Finally, the album finishes with Hare Kanch Ki Chuddiyan,, which brings to mind songs like “Mendhi Mendhi” from “Chori Chori Chupke Chupke.” It’s only appropriate that Alka Yagnik is again brought on to sing this song, pumping it full of angst.
Overall, the Milenge Milenge soundtrack is a mixed bag with the amazing moments like “Ishq Ki Gali” almost overshadowed by songs that sound like they were written and produced a good five or six years ago. While this album doesn’t signal a return of Himesh Reshammiya to songwriting, it does remind us what we are missing while he is off in front of the camera.