Fashion is set up to be one of THE movies this year – from the very beginning it has intrigued everyone, and the first trailer made all sit up and take notice. Directed by 3-time National Award winner Madhur Bhandarkar, the cast includes Priyanka Chopra and Kangana Ranaut as models in the cutthroat world of the fashion industry. For the music of this high profile project, Bhandarkar selected the composing duo of Salim-Sulaiman with Irfan Siddiqui joining them as lyricist. The soundtrack encompasses 5 tracks, each with a remix. So is the music Fashion worthy? Well, the album impressed me in several ways but disappointed me in one big way. Read on to find out why.
Fashion Ka Jalwa, with lyrics by Sandeep Nath, is a fusion of western, rap and Indian beats. You can probably imagine that with all three of those styles in one song it could be quite good or quite dreadful. Well, it is quite OK, not great but not dreadful either. The fusion of the musical genres was definitely better than some we have heard recently but the various styles seemed crowded for one track and just did not fit together well. Each section was very good, but when they put the sections together something just did not work. Sukwhinder Singh’s voice excels on the track, with Satya Hinduja and Robert Omulo backing him up very nicely. The English lyrics were better than most and actually did not make me cringe like so many have in the past. The refrain had a very cool sound but it was repeated way too many times. Overall, it had great vocals with the music only being good.
The Remix was faster, but much of the music was different. I actually liked this as much as the original, and in some ways better, because it had less of the extraneous rap lyrics. It was also simpler, which was better, but it lacked a lot of the cool vocal harmonies and music, so let’s say it is better than some.
Salim Merchant sings Aashiyana. It has a very club-feeling beat to the music that got my feet a tappin’. However the thump thump of the back beat could be in any song. It felt like they picked synth track 1 drums, check, synth track 2 beats, check, synth track 3 keyboard, check. If you were in a club you could not have picked out which song this was and the music was so generic. So for that it was disappointing. Don’t get me wrong, I like that beat, but it has been done so many times before. I expected more, especially with the wonderful vocal arrangement, such as the incredible sounding harmony on the ‘Aashiyana’ refrain. Salim Merchant sings the track wonderfully, the music just let him down. ‘Aashiyana’s’ remix is fine too, but the original is better.
Theme Of Fashion is an instrumental track. It is mainly an electronica Western track, but with the addition of a santoor, which is an interesting stringed instrument that to me sounded a lot like a harpsichord. The santoor played a very nice melody line and the wonderful tones added another layer to the song – I wish it had been heard more. The rest of the background music is very danceable and you can see it being played in clubs. There are also some female vocals, but they really were not needed and were sort of distracting. We will have to wait to see if I’m right, but I’m thinking this composition and the remix are what will accompany the fashion show sequences.
There is also a longer, purely instrumental version of ‘Theme Of Fashion’, a remix done by Medeival Punditz and Karsh Kale. There was a heavy use of the synthesizer beats and the mixing board. The middle changes to more of a rock flavor in the underlying beat, and I liked that better since it seemed to have more oomph, but it is still pretty generic. A thumpin’ remix that will rock the clubs and probably the runways in the movie, but to me it was just OK – nothing really that grabs your attention.
When I first started to listen to Kuchh Khaas, which featured Mohit Chauhan and Neha Bhasin, I thought: Oh no, not again. Then fortunately I realized that I was listening to the remix. When I started the original version I said Ahhh, finally! Finally a track with some music! It starts with a very melodious piano that is joined by an acoustic guitar and they make lovely music for the ballad. The vocals by the two singers are outstanding, smooth and full of feeling. This is one of the highlights of the album, and one you must check out!
Getting back to the ‘Kuchh Khaas’ remix, it again relies on the standard thump thump bang bang back beat which is fine but not very original. The back beat is also too loud and the singers’ incredible vocals are totally lost to the loud percussion line. I would definitely stick with the original, especially with an album so full of club beats.
By far the best song on the album is Mar Jawaan with Shruti Pathak and Salim Merchant. It is one of those songs that is so full of sound it feels like it gets inside you. (I love when music makes me feel like that!) Again with this one, it is the vocals that really stand out. The arrangements and harmonies of the vocal line are brilliant and get 5 stars. I loved Shruti Pathak’s voice quality throughout the track; it is so good to listen to, you can over and over again, and I have. The back up music is pretty but it fades into the background except for the pretty piano line. One complaint is that I wish the fly up lyric was not there, but I will forgive them that because the rest of the song is just too too too good! It’s on my favorite list now!
The remix has the standard additions with the requisite speeding of the tempos seen in many remixes. However, because the vocal is so good, the remix is quite enjoyable as well, though I would stay with the original composition on repeat!
It really is a shame that with all the excellent vocals on this album the music was so uninspired on so many of the tracks. ‘Theme of Fashion’ and ‘Aashiyana’ probably would have stood out more if the rest of the tracks with the remixes weren’t so full of the same beats. The only two that had a well-done mix of great music and great vocals were ‘Mar Jawaan’ and ‘Kuchh Khaas’, which were the saving grace of the album. Overall, I would say even with the “generic” back beats it is still a good album so be sure to get your copy!