Cheeni Kum, just like its title, lacks the frills of addictive beats and a fast-paced tempo that seems to dominate the music industry nowadays. Rather, it relies on the sweet melodious sounds of the notes and the voices of the singers to captivate its audience. Maestro Ilaiyaraaja teams up with the commercial and usually conventional Sameer to deliver this surprisingly sweet album that is not only ear-pleasing, but heart-warming as well.
Shreya Ghoshal is the leading lady’s voice, and once again she proves her incredible talent in the title track Cheeni Kum. Since this is a song based mainly on melody, her voice (which starts off the song without any prelude) is relied upon heavily. Young and talent Shreya pulls through with ease and grace. The tune itself is sweet and endearing, not quite fast-paced, but at an upbeat tempo emphasized by Shreya’s light voice. Unlike many other composers nowadays, Ilaiyaraaja draws the best out of Sameer. Hit the repeat button and make sure you keep your ears alert when this song comes on, because it surely is one of the nicest and most different tracks to hit the stores this year!
Baatein Hawa follows in a similar vein. It’s slightly more playful and mischievous, but the same undercurrent of sweet innocence flows through it. What really pleases the ear is the soft but expertly directed orchestra which one can truly appreciate, since it is not overbearing in any way. Also watch out for that saxophone solo, whose paradoxically sharp yet soothing notes hit the right nerve! Of course, once again the person who really guides this song is Shreya Ghoshal. It is an impressive number.
To add to the lightness, there are two versions of this song — with and without Amitabh’s own voice interspersed. Although it somewhat interrupts the fluidity of the song, his words are just so funny that it more than makes up for it! Amitabh’s voice in the song comments on the popular styles of paataoing a girl and why they are absolute rubbish. His character’s quirkiness really shines through those few lines, and makes one really want to see the picturization of this song!
On a slightly more serious note (pun intended), enters the song Jaane Do Na. The voice is immediately recognizable as we have been hearing her for the past couple of songs — the unique Shreya. Unsurprisingly, her performance in this song is flawless. Don’t worry, it’s not a depressing track — just a bit mellow! The audience cannot help but marvel at the master orchestration present in this track that has been missing in Hindi movies so long. Although not quite as amazing as the others, this track does keep us happy.
Sooni Sooni, which could be called something of a sequel to the title track ‘Cheeni Kum’ since it follows the same tune (with a little slower tempo) introduces singer Vijay Prakash in this album. He does a commendable job with expressing the emotions evoked with Sameer’s surprisingly humane lyrics. With soft violins blending masterfully into piano notes, flutes and various other unrecognizable instruments flow together in a colorful blend. Although the audience for this song will be more selective than the title track, listen to it before you decide whether it’s in your taste or not!
Lastly, there are the two instrumentals left. In Melody (Saxophone) the (surprise, surprise) saxophone is beautifully presented, yet at some point the music seems to turn a bit bland. Plus, it cuts off quickly and almost abruptly. It includes parts from the track ‘Jaane Do Na’.
In contrast, however, the Theme Melody utilizes the power of piano to create a compelling musical version of the title track, ‘Cheeni Kum’. Wonderfully done, it will add greater depth into any scene when played in the background. If one word had to be chosen to describe this, it would be peaceful. Sit back and close your eyes; let the music flow.
With little frills and many harmonic tunes, Cheeni Kum is a surprising album that brings with it the flavor of light-hearted fun. While it varies greatly from today’s average beat-heavy and melody-lacking songs, all the songs seem to be similar and deficient in variation. So while it is a masterful composition, and we know that Ilaiyaraaja is immensely talented, it requires that little bit of spice that would take it to the top