Starring the new jodi of Ranbir Kapoor and Priyanka Chopra, Anjaana Anjaani follows the story of two strangers who meet and spend some time together, but then want to part as they began, as strangers. But, what happens if during that time they fall in love and end up changing each other’s lives? We will get to see the story of Anjaana Anjaani unfold on September 24th. For the music of the film the brief that director Siddharth Anand gave to music directors Vishal-Shekhar was simple: “I wanted music that grows on me and that stays with me forever.” Simple in words, but actually composing songs to meet that ideal would be a bit more difficult. To create Anand’s vision the duo not only tapped many different singers including Nikhil D’Souza, Monali, Lucky Ali, Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, Caralisa Monteiro, Shruti Pathak, Mohit Chauhan, and Shilpa Rao, they also added their brill voices. They also brought in a fabulous mix of lyricists to make each note and word count. Did they achieve Anand’s brief and create something that will appeal to every listener and every mood of the listeners? Let’s see…
First up is Anjaana Anjaani Ki Kahani which fans have heard in one of the promos for the film. Set in a club with choreography by Ahmad Khan, the music is fast paced with a basis of classic dance beats, but Vishal Shekhar took it up a notch with choices of great vocals by Nikhil D’Souza and Monali, some different instruments, and varied phrasing of the lyrics. I really loved the addition of the brass section and the touches of acoustic guitar peppering the beat. The track will really get you pepped up if you are having a slow day. Not sure about the get-stuck-in-your-head hook line ‘All the Anjaana Say yea yea yea All the Anjaani say yeah’, but that may grow on me. In fact, every time I read the title of the film that starts playing in my head. This one will play even better on screen.
Hairat starts off with a very interesting mix of rock with some really cool sound effects. With the emphasis of a very hard hitting beat, ‘Hairat’ is a new sound for the music directors and makes your ears perk up. The music is accompanied by Lucky Ali’s strong but smooth delivery. His tone and voice quality are perfect for the song. I love the mixing of the vocals on the ‘Hairat Hai’ stanza, but it is the music stands out on this track, almost overshadowing the vocals. Definitely not something we have heard before and something you must play over and over. I think it will get even better with each listen. One of my favs!
Vishal Shekhar created a must listen to song with the track Aas Pass Khuda. The song starts off with a lovely acoustic guitar line, and once the distinctive voice of Rahat Fateh Ali Khan comes in all you can do is sit back and enjoy. You think ahh, what a pretty, simple song. Then…isn’t it always great when there is a then…then the song transposes into a rock ballad with wailing guitar and chorus. The change up is nice and shows off the power of his voice. The musicians perform both the simple and more complex sections brilliantly. The only thing I question is the chorus…it seems out of place and not needed. A song that shows off Khan’s vocals plus some impressive music makes ‘Aas Pass Khuda’ another track that you will want to hear again.
There is also another version of ‘Aas Paas Khuda’, and it adds Shruti Pathak’s gorgeous, whispery, pitch-perfect vocals to the mix. The combination of their voices is wonderful because both can deliver the soft as well as rougher intonations. I love the part where it is almost like she is singing along with him in the background. Just easy flowing acoustic guitars accompany the treat of their vocal blending thus why it is called the Unplugged version. The guitar line sounds so simple but is quite full of music – perfect. Again the chorus was really not needed but they did not stand out as badly as in the original version. I loved this one but I am a sucker for simple acoustic guitar lines with layered vocals so this one gets a gold star from me.
Tumse Hi Tumse once again brings a new flavor to the album, with a surprise musical amalgamation of jazz, R&B and pop. Shekhar at the mike does a fine job, if a little bland. Caralisa Monteiro sings a rap-ish section in English that is actually very good, for English lyrics. It is very cool when at the end when it is just the female a Capella. Overall a good song, but on first listen plays just okay. Maybe it will grow on me once I see it in the context of the film. A good effort, but in trying to make something different I think it is missing something.
Shruti Pathak has such a fabulous and deep texture to her vocals and they shine in the beginning of Tujhe Bhula Diya. Then, Mohit Chauhan joins in and you get lost in his voice. I love, love the beginning of this song. ‘Tujhe Bhula Diya’ transforms to a different space with the addition of the Indian dhols and instruments with the more classic phrasing and vocal quality performed by Shekhar in the next section. That underlying classic beat speaks to the heart and soul. It then transposes back to the airy tune and Mohit Chauhan once again makes the track sing. Another excellent section is the touch of the Indian flavor combined into the simplicity of just having the acoustic guitar line play. The switching between the ballad to the richer tones and back again and finally combined to one is magic. This one you HAVE to hear. I can’t wait to see what possibly could be going on screen. The mind soars with ideas while listening to this track.
There is also a remix version of ‘Tujhe Bhula Diya’. This is a completely different song – the outstanding vocals of Shruti and Monit are retained and mixed to a dance beat. They kept some of the musical elements in there as well and along with the remix beats added a really simple but strong piano line that I liked. I don’t think Shekhar’s vocal line mixed as well at first, but then it all grew on me. An interesting take on the song, but I prefer the original. Will work very well in the clubs to get the bodies moving.
I will be honest: I am always worried when I see an English title to a song and hope I will be pleasantly surprised when I hear the track, and with I Feel Good I really, really, really was. Not only do you have the exceptional voices of Vishal and Shilpa Rao, but the music is also really well done. Ranging from an unadorned musical style that changes into a full pop ballad with a bit of rock thrown in there too, the music is a great composition. However, it is the vocals of two of the best that really makes this song so good and makes you want to hit repeat. Like the song says, I don’t know why but after hearing this song, I feel good! So give it a play and don’t be surprised if you find yourself dancing around your room (not that I did that…)
The title track Anjaana Anjaani starts out with almost a new age feel to the music, especially with the flute. Both Shilpa Rao and Vishal give performances full of rich vocals that are a perfect match to the Vishal Shekhar composed tones. Again like many of the tracks on the album, they change the song to something totally different than you are lead to believe it will be from the beginning notes. The composers bring in a rock set with guitar and drum kit and with the expansive vocals of Vishal you have a full on power ballad. It does retain the new age feel to the music in parts, which actually goes a bit wrong when they bring in the chorus. But, in the refrains with Shilpa, and the orchestral sections that new age vibe makes the track so full of sound. Vishal and Shekhar took so many different layers and laid them down to make a song that is a treat to listen to either blasting through your stereo or through your earbuds. I applaud the mastery and the new ideas they tried and succeeded with on this track.
So, the brief was to give audiences something new that will grow to become classic. Did Vishal and Shekhar succeed? I have to say yes, mostly because each song is not something that you can say you have heard before or, oh, that reminds me of this song. They took chances, and made some really cool tracks. From what I can tell about the film, it is also going to be something different and so I think the music will be even better once seen in the scenes of the film. By far my favorites are ‘Hairat’, ‘Anjaana Anjaani’ and ‘Aas Paas Khuda-Unplugged’ and can’t forget ‘Tujhe Bhual Diya’. For the excellence of the singers and the unique combinations of sounds they brought to the table with this music I am going to go with a 3.5. I think it will grow to even more after a few spins and seeing the film.