Close your eyes. Forget SRK’s six-pack, Mallika’s huge bust-line and foreign girls dancing practically naked all over our stars. Instead, transport yourself back through the decades of Indian cinema and come to a halt at the 1950’s. Often called the “golden age” of Hindi films, the 1940’s and 50’s saw films arriving with their own distinct style and witnessed the birth of song and dance through cinema. Here, in the midst of Bollywood’s golden age, you will find Sudhir Mishra’s Khoya Khoya Chand.
Starring Soha Ali Khan, Shiney Ahuja, Sonia Jehan and Rajat Kapoor as principal characters, the film gives us a glimpse into the rollicking era of the 40’s and 50’s, in particular, the filmy scene at the time. A film of this sort certainly demands quite an original score; a score that has the ability to make you feel like you are listening to tunes from that particular era. Music and lyrics duo Shantanu Moitra and Swanand Kirkire are back once again in absolute full form after going slightly commercial with Laaga Chunari Mein Daag. With their latest offering, it seems that they have decided to provide a treat to their original fan base that prefers classic Indian tunes rather than the mass-oriented tracks of LCMD. So if you were disappointed with their last album, check this one out as it’s quite soulful and really brings to life the 1940-1950 era.
Setting the tone is the title track Khoya Khoya Chand which honestly does not feel like it’s a track from 2007. It truly sounds like a tune straight from the golden era, with beautiful lyrics, and great vocals by Ajay Jhingran and Swanand Kirkire himself. It’s not too slow and monotonous or too fast for your ears; it’s just right. It’s got this really fun spirit behind its olden-day feel which makes it fun to listen to. Plus, we haven’t heard anything like this in a really long time.
While listening to Yeh Nigahein, you picture a lavish and classy party, musicians’ playing in the background and women with funky hair-do’s with gallant men dancing the night away. The music is subtle, the kind you can sway slowly too, taking in the poetic lyrics. Sonu Nigam and Antara Choudhary are perfect, though I feel like Shreya could have done slightly better than Antara. Still, both singers match each other beautifully and create a classic piece of music.
Speaking of Miss Ghoshal, here she is with Chale Aao Saiyan, a track which roots itself in hardcore classical beats. I can’t see the younger generation taking to this very fast, but I know that quite a large fraction of the older generation loves classical tracks like these. If anything, it gives Shreya the power to flex her vocal cords. If you’re a fan of classical music, you’ll love this one though if not you better stay away.
Hamsika Iyer, who we last heard in ‘Chanda Re’ from Eklavya smoothly croons Khushboo Sa. Stepping away from the classical genre, this one is along the lines of ‘Kaisi Paheli’ from Parineeta. Iyer’s voice is fresh and suited perfectly for the track, moving far away from her earlier ‘Chanda Re’. The orchestra in the background is the most appealing factor of the track and if you are looking for a genuinely nice composition without any commercial airs, get your hands on this one.
It’s now Sonu Nigam’s turn to carry a song on his shoulders only. Titled O Re Paakhi, it starts off extremely slow and changes halfway through though it remains quite slow. If there was ever a definition of mellow, this track would be it. It almost sounds like a lullaby! Kirkire deserves to be applauded for creating great lyrics throughout the entire album so far. Just like Shreya earlier, this is Sonu’s perfect chance to weave his vocal magic all over again. Sonu fans, lap it up!
After three solos, Sakhi Piya is a welcome duet with Pranav Biswas and Shreya Ghoshal. Lovers of ghazals, classical music and even bhajans will be delighted at such a simple yet endearing track. Biswas proves his mettle as a classical singer once again and gets the meatiest parts of the track.
No matter what, you can guarantee that the Sonu-Shreya combo will work. Don’t expect any less from Thirak Thirak as they are truly at their finest. Honestly, this track makes me feel nostalgic and makes me want to snuggle up to my couch and enjoy a good old black and white film. Definitely one of the finest tracks of the entire album, it provides great closure to an already wonderful album. Wah, kya gaana hai!
After Parineeta, I honestly fell in love with the Shantanu Moitra — Swanand Kirkire combo. However, with the recent Laaga Chunari Mein Daag, I felt like their true potential was dampened by the need for a slightly commercial score that would reach out to the masses at least on some level. With Khoya Khoya Chand, they shed their inhibitions and prove how unbelievably talented they are. Moitra’s music coupled with Kirkire’s poetry (yes, I have decided to cease from calling them lyrics) take you way back in time. What’s so great about the album is that not once does it bother to go hardcore commercial to please viewers. What you see is what you get, take it or leave it. And what you get is a beautiful score straight from the heart that is completely consistent and works well as an album on the whole.
I can’t really say there’s something for everyone here, because there definitely isn’t. The four stars do not mean this album is for everyone! Most likely, the younger generation will scorn it and continue grooving to ‘Dard-e-Disco’. Either way, it’s such a pleasant surprise to find an album like this in the twenty-first century and to discover that neither Moitra nor Kirkire have lost their charm. If you’re tired of so-called modern and hip tracks, I suggest you give Khoya Khoya Chand a listen and get ready for a journey in the golden era of Hindi cinema.