Love him or hate him, Himesh Reshammiya is back in Kajraare. The film is being directed by actress turned director Pooja Bhatt, (well known for making love stories with an edge such as Paap and Dhokha) explores the story of a lawyer who falls in love with a prostitute (played by debutant Amrita Singh), and their path to finding true love.
Once a hugely prolific composer, with releases seemingly every other week, Himesh now only composes for films he acts in. Himesh has composed the entire Kajraare album, with lyrics by Sameer; plus he has sung every track, with vocal contributions from Shreya Ghoshal, Harshdeep Kaur and Sunidhi Chauhan.
While Himesh is undeniably a talented composer, there’s also no denying that people either love or hate his distinctively nasal voice. For Himesh fans, this album will be a winner. The compositions are solid. For those who are not 100% sold on the voice, getting through 11 tracks may be a struggle, because if one thing is for sure, the Kajraare album is ALL ABOUT HIMESH!
The album opens with title track Kajra Kajra Kajraare. A club-influenced track, Himesh intones the refrain “Kajra kajra kajraare” over a pounding, hypnotic drumbeat, with Sunidhi Chauhan’s credited contribution to this track kept to a minimum – an ethereal opening and some murmured interludes. It’s a long – some might say slightly repetitive – track, clocking in around five minutes, with touches of strings and instrumentation added to keep it from being totally boring. Not the most amazing opener ever, but a solid poppy track that will probably hit the right spot with Himesh’s fan base.
A Party Mix of this track included on the album speeds up the tempo and adds some techno grooves to the song, making it slightly more danceable, but is not an improvement on the original mix.
The second track on the album is a love song, Rabba Luck Barsa, sung by well you guessed it, Himesh Reshammiya. This track caught my interest with its unusual spoken word intro, before Himesh launches into the song full throttle, imploring God to rain luck down upon him so he can be with his beloved. The focus of this song really is all in the lyrics and the changing dynamics of Himesh’s voice, which he uses to lovely effect over a simple rhythmic backbeat.
The Party Mix of Rabba Luck Barsa is radically different to the original, living up to the ‘party’ in its name. A thumping bass beat, a speeded up tempo and the addition of electro/house synth effects liven up the song and make it dance-floor and party ready. Definitely a successful remix!
Third track Aafreen changes the feel totally. After two tracks that wouldn’t be at all out of place pumping from the speakers in a nightclub, comes this low-key, utterly Indian-flavoured love song. With layered Eastern instrumentation over a repetitive drumbeat kept in the foreground, this one has romance written all over it. Harshdeep Kaur’s distinctive lower register is lovely but – like many of the songs on this album – the female vocalist seems woefully underutilized, only contributing a line or two to the song. A standout track.
Tujhe Dekh Ke Armaan Jaage continues the low key vibe. This one is a sultry, jazzy, thoroughly Eastern influenced duet between Himesh and female vocalist Shreya Ghoshal. Himesh’s voice sounds smooth as liquid chocolate on this track, and contrasts beautifully with the fragile, ethereal quality he seems to bring out in his female vocalists. Another standout track.
Teriyan Meriyan starts off slowly with haunting mournful strings, and choppy folksy percussion providing the backing for Himesh’s somewhat nasal vocals. Shreya Ghoshal contributes wavering, delicate vocals to this track, but is underutilized – I would have liked more balance between the male and female vocals.
Woh Lamha Phir Se Jeena Hai picks the tempo back up, with electronic flourishes and a steady danceable beat, and Himesh sounding particularly earnest in his vocal delivery. A slight Latin flavor and multiple techno flourishes add interest to this song, as do Harshdeep Kaur’s vocals, but overall it’s a bit overblown. One of the weaker tracks on the album.
The Party Mix doesn’t do much to improve the song – if anything, adding more techno elements just makes it a bigger mess.
The final song of the album is Sanu Guzara Zamana, a lyrical, melodic ghazal-type track. With minimal instrumentation, and clocking in at 7 minutes, this track allows you to get wrapped up in the soaring melody, and again forefronts Himesh’s vocals. A driving percussive backing adds rhythm without being distracting. Sunidhi Chauhan is featured on this track, her vocals providing a deliciously smooth counterpoint to Himesh’s more nasal delivery. This is a fitting end to the album, another standout track.
Also on the album is a Lounge Mix of Sanu Guzara – an equally strong track, slightly more trancey and ethereal in flavour than the original.
Overall – issues about ‘the voice” aside, this is a pretty solid album, in terms of the composition. If you are a Himesh fan then do check it out.