Taare Zameen Par is the directorial debut of the fabulous actor Aamir Khan. The director took great pains to make sure the music for his first film was top-notch, even delaying the release because he was not happy with the quality of the glass master of the master recording. Taare Zameen Par’s tag-line is that every child is special because the film is mainly about children, childhood and the story of one teacher’s experiences. The script was written by Amole Gupte and was based on his own experience working with kids and what Aamir calls “his love of childhood”. Gupte not only wrote the script, he was also involved with many aspects of the film including the creation and production of the soundtrack. One of the tracks has lyrics penned by him and that song was composed by Shailendra Barve. The rest of the songs were composed by the magnificent team of Shankar-Essan-Loy with lyrics by Prasoon Joshi. The lyrics are one of the highlights of the album and truly stand out. Aamir was so happy with the lyrics of all the songs that he wanted everyone to read the beautiful poetry. He said on his blog, “Over the next few days what I plan to do is to translate the songs into English. This is for the benefit of those of you who don’t speak Hindustani, or for those who need a little help. I feel the lyrics are really special and I would like to help you enjoy them.”
The soundtrack seems perfect for a movie about children even before one sees how the songs fit into the film. Each one of the songs gives you a surprise musically and they all fit together to make a beautiful album. Let’s take a look at each track:
The title song Taare Zameen Par (Like Stars on Earth) is one of the finest on the album. I once heard that the melody of a song is important but it is the lyrics that make you feel. Nothing could be more true about this track. The song starts off very sweet but then it grows into a very musically complex piece. Sung brilliantly by Shankar Madehavan, whose voice quality is perfect for the song. The song has a very heartwarming feel, with lyrics such as:
Utarein jo aangan ko sunhera sa karne (Bathes the courtyard in gold)
Mann ke andheron ko roshan sa kar dein (They banish the darkness from our hearts)
Thithurti hatheli ki rangat badal dein (And warm us to the core)
Kho na jaaye ye taare zameen par (Let us not lose these stars on earth)
You can’t help but love the song even more.
Dominque Cerejo and Vivienne Pocha join Madehavan for another beautiful section and the three of them blend together perfectly:
Jaise titliyan phoolon ki kyari (Like butterflies upon blossoms)
Jaise bina matlab ka pyara rishta ho koi (Like selfless love)
SEL have definitely done it again with this track. This song is one you will listen to over and over and over again.
Next is Kholo Kholo (Open Up), another triumph. Sung by Raman Mahadevan and backed by an acoustic guitar it is a superb match for this singer’s moving voice. The lyrics again are special and are inspiring not only to kids (for who it is probably sung for in the film) but for all people.
Tu hai nadee o bekhabar (You are the river, don’t you know?)
Beh chal kahin ud chal kahin (You’ll find your purpose)
Dil khush jahan teri toh manzil hai wahin (Where you find your happiness)
Again the song has may different musical moods, from simple to strong beats and all done with great feeling. Another wonderful track that makes you excited to see what the picturization will be.
Bum Bum Bole completely changes the mood of the album and is the peppiest track. It starts out rather silly with Aamir talking gibberish to the children. Evidently this song is for the kids in the film and for the kids in the audience. It is a very catchy tune (I am still singing in my head Bum bum bole, masti mein dole bum bum bole masti mein tu dol re!) You picture Aamir entertaining the kids and then they all join in and dance around. Shaan sings the song with great energy and he is backed up by a great beat with the drums and music. A great to track to listen to and it makes you want to get up and dance!
Jame Raho (Keep At It) is done in a very different style and is hard to pin to one genre of music. It represents a day in the life of a child beginning with an alarm clock waking him up. The beat and the vocals are very strong in the beginning and then it moves to a rock beat for the chorus section. The song then takes another musical turn, becomes much softer, filled with poetic lyrics. Back to rock and then even another turn to a great harmony section continuing on with the poetic lyrics, finishing up with the rock beat. Reading this, one might think it was a mess of a song but it all fits together seamlessly. It is sung exceptionally by Vishaal Dadlani, especially so, since there are so many different musicals styles rolled into one.
Inhain kisis baat ka dhyan nahin (They’re carefree)
Titli se milne jaate hain (Having meetings with butterflies)
Ye pedon se batiyate hain (And discussions with trees)
Next up is one of the songs that tugs at your heartstrings. The track is simply called Maa and is another song tailor-made for Shankar Mahadevan’s voice. The song is about a child telling his mother about his fears but saying, “you know don’t you, you know everything.” It is a tranquil love song to mothers and Shankar excels at bringing out the emotion in the lyrics. The music, again with acoustic guitar is very soothing and beautifully backs up the lyrics. It will be very interesting to see how the song is portrayed in the film.
Bheja Kum (Brainless) is the only song that disappoints and it was expected to be one of the best since Shankar said the song was the highlight of the album. Only 2 minutes in length, it has 10 different singers on the track including Aamir and his wife Kiran. The song has all these different people yelling at a child, calling him idiot and I guess represents what that must sound like to a child. The song is discordant and is terrible to listen to. The only thing that sounds good is Kiran Rao saying in her sweet voice, “Tumhara problem kya hai beta?” Also on the track are Shankar, Bugs Bhargav, Shankar Sachdev, Raj Gopal Iyer, Ravi Khanwilker, Loy, Ram Madhvani. It is an interesting experiment, but it does not work, and probably should have been left off the album.
Musically, Mera Jahaan (My World) is probably the best song on the album and has a fullness of sound and music that takes it to another plain. This song begins simply but then transforms into an intricate musical number. The track includes the children’s choir Gleehive along with Adnan Sami, Auriel Cordo and Ananya Wadkar, with backup vocals provided by Suraj and Shailendra Barve. The track starts with a child singing acapella and who later is joined by the other children in the chorus, singing about wanting to be free. Then the incomparable Adnan Sami joins in and the song becomes something special. He sings:
Chai padum to kitna door (But disappears like a mirage)
Sapno ka buna sweater sa warm (Knitted in dreams, warm as a sweater)
Safed baadalon ke paar (Beyond the fluffy white clouds)
Mera Jahaan (Is my world).
You begin to think this song can’t get better but it surprises you and does. The next part of the song reminds me of the album Life in a Metro, so rich, especially the notes and music to the words mera jahaan. The blending of Sami’s voice with the other singers is something truly amazing to hear. Best part of the entire song.
The songs ends with the single child voices singing:
Na aayenge baar baar (Will never return)
Jee le jee le mere yaar (So live them now)
Jeib khaali to udhaar (You’re on borrowed time)
Jee zindagi (Live life kingsize)
It seems the ideal ending to the song expressing what I think is the essence of the film and childhood is all about.
The soundtrack as a whole is wonderful and will compliment the story of the film perfectly. If you are looking for an album to get your groove on at the clubs this is probably not for you, but it a very enjoyable album to listen to and musically it is superior to many albums out now. The songs will probably be even better in the context of the film, but while you are impatiently waiting for its release it is a good album to listen to. Another excellent outing by SEL and the lyrics are some of the most beautiful I have read. (Thank you Mr. Khan for translating them!)