Screen grab of T-Series Youtube page
When three great minds come together, there is bound to be magic. A R Rahman, Ashutosh Gowarikar and Javed Akhtar have teamed up after 8 long years (their last work together was Jodha Akbar) and boy-o-boy, the soundtrack of Mohenjo Daro has left me speechless. ARR does not fail to weave an experience of surreal hypnotism with his myriad sounds.
Last time I wrote a music review on my blog, it was Raanjhanaa. I proudly belong to the Rahmaniac cult, but not always does the music of ARR touch your heart like it did with Mohenjo Daro. Like Lagaan and Swades, ARR and Ashutosh gift us their romantic best with haunting melodies.
And the wizard is at his acoustic best in this album. I am not an expert in history and cannot profess on the evolution of music in the Indus Valley Civilization. But the element of tribal music infused throughout the album, with the mix of drums and percussions, will be nectar for your ears.
It is no easy task to compose music for period films. ARR has always excelled and delivered beyond expectations – whether it was the rudra veena in Lagaan or the baul composition in Mangal Pandey, the Mozart of Madras redefined music with his eccentricities. What sets Mohenjo Daro apart is the calmness of the compositions, as if divinity resides in the notes.
The album begins with grandeur, a celebratory composition. The title track ‘Mohenjo Daro’ would remind you of Azeem O Shan Shehenshah. The loud, confident and boisterous drums will clearly make you want to get up and shake a leg. The confluence of various elements in this melting pot of music will transport you to a state of trance. Sung elegantly by Arijit Singh, this amazing melee of myriad instruments is sure to make a mark in your hearts.
The title track is followed by ‘Sindhu Maa’. The serenity of the song reminds me of compositions by Tagore where his devotional songs and love songs became indistinguishable. Rahman’s music, combined with Akhtar’s poetry creates a long-lasting memory that sends shivers of joy down your spine. The voice of Sanah Moidutty, accompanied by the melodious flute, will dive straight into your heart, lock themselves in and throw the keys into an ocean of melody.
And as you recover from the trance, Sarsariya will grip you firm in its notes. You have no recourse but to give in to the catchy beats of the semi-romantic number which has mesmerising drum beats. In fact, as the song builds up pace in the beginning, you cannot help falling in love with the honey-laced vocals of Shaashaa Tirupati. Shashwat Singh is a great find by ARR.
‘Tu Hai’ has driven me crazy ever since I first listened to this album. A toned down version of Sindhu Maa, this song is the next ‘Tum Saath Ho’ with its heart-wrenching melody and love-laced lyrics. In the league of Marudaani, Medhuvagathan and O Rey Chhori, the song’s gravitas is heightened by ARR’s vocals. The flute interlaced with the tribal-military sounds, the melodious chirping of birds, the fantastic chorus in the end – every element just fits in to produce the best acoustic experience of a lifetime.
Whispers of the heart/mind are instrumental pieces where Arjun Chandy lends his vocals in a beautiful canvas of music. Every instrument used in these pieces are like palettes of colour that come together to paint a vibrant landscape that acts as your gateway to the world of fantasies. Similarly, The Shimmer of Sindhu is an instrumental rendition of Sindhuu Maa where the guitar and the flute string a note of ethereal bliss. The album ends with Lakh Lakh Tora, another instrumental version of Sarsariya. Tapas Roy strikes the notes of perfection with his mandolin and leaves you crave for more.
Mohenjo Daro is the kind of album you can listen to on loop from dawn to dusk, yet feel an emptiness overpower you after you press the stop button on your iPad. After a long time, here is an album that boasts of pure, unadulterated melodies sans the nerve-wrecking, mindless noise in the name of chartbusters. The honesty in the composition and the serenity of the notes will surely strike a chord.
My rating: 4.5/5 stars
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I would not pretend to be a fair critic of music here or try to dissect the intricacies or technicalities gone into creating one of the most memorable albums of 2013 so far. It is not unknown to anyone that i am a blind fan of A R Rahman sir (my phone’s bluetooth is named Rahmaniac) but i hope and believe that everyone else will concur with me on my view of Raanjhanaa’s music.
After a disastrous album Jab Tak Hain Jaan (for which I blame Yash Chopra more than Rahman sir), Raanjhanaa comes as a breath of fresh air. Although we did get some mesemrising compositions in Kadhal or Maryaan, none can match the standards of Raanjhanaa in any way. Reminiscent of the ARR of the late 90’s and early 2000’s, every song in the album has an element of Rahman ingrained in them. Like the good old days, Rahman sir experiments with Indian instruments and sound, leaving me – a great admirer of Indian classical music (instrumental) – jumping with joy. The ensemble of artists that Rahman sir has put together in the album, would make any Rahman fan nostalgic – from teaming up again with Sukhwinder to a duet of Shreya Ghoshal and prodigy Anwesha Dattagupta, Rahman sir proves yet again he is a musical genius.
Raanjhanaa Title Track – Sung by Jaswinder Singh and Shiraz Uppal, the song has some brilliant interludes. At a point of time, the Sitar almost reminded me of Pt Ravi Shankar’s compositions for Pather Panchali. However, the song was ruined by a shoddy editing.
Banarasiya – As soon as I heard this song, i pinged Bham on Hangout to tell him about it. Reminiscent of Zubeidaa, the song is a brilliant mix of indian classical with western sound.
Piya Milenge – Sukhwinder is back with Rahman sir, and what a comeback it is! A soft Sufi rock, the composition has shades of Noor-Un-Ala from Meenaxi. The words will hit you in the soul, Sukhwinder’s enchanting singing being an added bonus.
Aye Sakhi – I wasn’t sure whether i like this song, until the portion came where Madhuree, Chinmayee and other singers start humming “Tyun Tyun”. THAT was the high point of the composition and made me listen to the number in a loop, with a child-like glee.
Nazar Laaye – You know what happens when Neeti Mohan and Rashid Ali are paired up for a song? History is created. A seemingly simple composition, with even the minutest details of the song expressed like a poem, this is one song you can cherish on a rainy day, trying to touch the droplets of rain on the other side of the glass pane of the window.
Tu Munn Shudi – Passionate, innovative and extremely seductive, Rabbi and Rahman add new dimensions of class to Indian film music. The blend of west and east is perhaps reflected best in this song, among the rest.
Aise Na Dekho – Anyone listening to the song for the first time would invariably think that it is similar to the title track of Jaane Tu Ya Jane Na. Well, the genre is same, but this song is more haunting. The first antara is so well written that it brings tears to your eyes! Rahman sir always reserves the best song of the album for himself 😉
Tum Tak – By now i must have listened to this song at least hundred times. Javed Ali’s voice and the shehnai make you wish you could dance!
All in all, a very romantic album by Rahman sir, Raanjhanaa surely breaks the saying that Rahman gives his best only for Mani Ratnam. 🙂
My Rating: 4/5 stars. Happy Listening 🙂
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