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What seems like a wait that lasted decades is slowly coming to an end. As cinegoers await A.R. Murugadoss’s Ghajini to the hit the screens, the music of the eagerly awaited remake of the Tamil blockbuster (of the same name) has hit the stores. Partially inspired by Chris Nolan’s Memento, Ghajini‘s Hindi remake stars Aamir Khan and South-Indian actress Asin, who reprises her original role again for the remake. While the original score was done by Harris Jayaraj (Rehna Hai Tere Dil Mein), A. R. Rahman is sitting in the music director’s chair this time round. Accompanying him is lyricist Prasoon Joshi (Rang De Basanti and Taare Zameen Par).

Ghajini‘s list of singers comprise of Javed Ali (‘Jashn-e-Bahara’ – Jodha Akbar), Benny Dayal (‘Tu Meri Dost Hai’ – Yuvvraaj), Shreya Ghosal, Suzy Q (‘S for Sonia’ – Kidnap and ‘Mahiya’ – Awarapan), Sonu Nigam (guest appearance) and South singing sensation Karthik who sings his first full-fledged Hindi number.

Ghajini is produced under the banner of Allu Aravind and hits the screens on 25th December 2008.

The album begins with the already popular Guzarish sung by Javed Ali. The track commences with guest vocals by Sonu Nigam who is heard through the song. While Javed Ali’s rendition is effective, it lacks the emotion that the lyrics demand. Sonu’s vocals on the other hand, although mere humming, enrich the song and makes one wonder if Sonu would have been a better choice to sing the number than Javed. The music has a soothing and relatively simple melody, almost mediocre. Lyrics have been penned well by Joshi, especially the verses in the middle that depict the protagonist’s fears of losing his beloved through metaphors of dreams made of glass and heavy clouds threatening to obscure the moon. It seems that too much emphasis was put on rhyming words in the chorus, and this may have worked towards it mediocrity.

Next is Aye Bachchu, a hip and rocking track, sung enthusiastically by Suzy Q. Her western style of singing suits this track to the T and unlike her peppy number ‘S for Sonia’ in Kidnap, ‘Aye Bachchu’ does not reek of pretentiousness. The music is fast-paced, full of cool attitude and oomph and transcends Rahman’s previous so-called dance numbers (‘Pappu’ – Jaane Tu and ‘Shano Shano’ – Yuvvraaj). Prasoon Joshi pens an excellent track about seizing the moment and living life to the fullest. Most likely to be picturised on Jiah Khan, this track will go a long way if it is well choreographed.

The album slows down with Kaise Mujhe, rendered by the Benny Dayal and Shreya Ghosal, who recently impressed audiences with ‘Tu Meri Dost Hai’ from Yuvvraaj. Benny gives a power-house performance for someone who has just debuted. His rendition mirrors the intense emotional lyrics (excellently penned by Joshi) and tugs on your heart strings. Shreya emerges in the later portions of the track and also impresses. Musically, the track is relatively traditional with just the right amount of modern touches. The track also appears as an instrumental later on in the album.

Karthik’s Behka is up next. A jazzy track that has all the makings of an excellent show number, it is brilliantly rendered by Karthik. Karthik has the lovelorn, head-over-heels feel of the song down pat. A member of Ghajini‘s Tamil soundtrack, listeners are urged to check out Karthik’s ‘Oru Maalai’. The music is outstanding, especially the drums in the latter portions of the song. Joshi pens another brilliant song that takes a poetic and somewhat comic take on being in love from a guy’s perspective.

After ‘Behka’ comes the vibrant and energetic Latoo sung by an equally vibrant Shreya Ghoshal. The track is full of life, very much like Asin’s character, beautiful and playful. Once again the musical and lyrical talents of Rahman and Joshi create magic. Like ‘Behka’, ‘Latoo’ is a sweet and comic take on a girl head-over-heels in love. Joshi depicts this brilliantly while Rahman reflects those emotions with a lively mix of modern sounds.

In comparison with the Tamil soundtrack, Ghajni‘s Hindi remake maintains the high caliber of music that was given by Harris Jayaraj. Also, like original, the album is relatively lively and romantic for a movie that is quite grim and action orientated.

Ghajini suffers from the great-expectations syndrome. The prolonged heavy media coverage combined with the pressure of matching the blockbuster status of the original, not to mention the scrutinizing eyes of the fans of the original film, will no doubt cause the music to be heavily construed upon. As a result, its appeal may vary with varying audiences.

Nonetheless, Ghajini is definitely Rahman’s strongest album this year. ‘Guzarish’, while being popular with the masses, is musically and lyrically quite mediocre. ‘Kaise Mujhe’ might prove to be too intense and situational for some, despite it being a power-house of a song. Jazzy ‘Behka’, rocking ‘Aye Bachchu’ and the lively ‘Latoo’ are definitely the best tracks of the album. All in all, Ghajini is an impressive album.

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