Narendra Kusnur's music musings …


Aashiqui 2/ Music: Jeet Gangulli, Mithoon, Ankit Tiwari

Genre: Hindi film music

T-Series/ Rs 175

Rating: ****

BACK in 1990, the songs of Mahesh Bhatt’s Aashiqui had become a rage, catapulting music directors Nadeem-Shravan and singer Kumar Sanu to stardom, and giving Anuradha Paudwal some of her biggest hits. Even today, songs like ‘Main duniya bhula doonga’, ‘Ek sanam chahiye’, ‘Dheere dheere se’, ‘Nazar ke saamne’, ‘Dil ka aalam’, ‘Jaane jigar jaaneman’, ‘Ab tere bin’ and ‘Tu meri zindagi’ are hummed by many.

Naturally, for those who’ve grown up on those classics, the first reaction to the music of Mohit Suri’s Aashiqui 2 would be to compare the two. But then, such a comparison would be unfair and pointless as there is a huge 23-year gap between these two films. If one listens to the new album with that mind-block, one may never appreciate it in its truest sense.

Remove that bias, and you slowly discover that Aashiqui 2 is one of the best music albums to come out over the past three or four years. At a time when composers are experimenting with sounds, going in for dance numbers. Punjabi and Sufi flavours or alternative approaches, Aashiqui 2 works because it is simple, clean and lyrically-appealing. And what’s really commendable is that though it features three music directors (Jeet Gangulli, Mithoon and Ankit Tiwari) and four lyricists (Irshad Kamil, Mithoon, Sandeep Nath and Sanjay Masoomm), there’s a certain consistency and coherence in the sound and songwriting.

A clear highlight of the 11-track CD is the quality of the arrangements. The acoustic guitar, electric guitar, keyboards, bansuri and santoor have been used charmingly, and the production and recording are of the highest standard. And even if one senses a bit of monotony in some of the later tracks, it is offset by the smart instrumentation.

The set begins with ‘Tum hi ho’, composed and written by Mithoon. It begins with a pleasant keyboard stretch after which Arijit Singh renders the lines “Hum tere bin reh nahin sakte, tere bina kya wajood mera.” Sung with depth and feel, it impresses on the lines, “Tera mera rishta hai kaisa, ik pal door gawaraa nahin, tere liye har roz hai jeete, tujh ko diya mera waqt sabhi.”

Mithoon contributes to two other numbers. ‘Meri Aashiqui’, written by Irshad Kamil and sung by Palak Muchhal and Arijit, continues from ‘Tum hi ho’, retaining the lines ‘Kyunki tum hi ho, ab tum hi ho, zindagi ab tum hi ho; chain bhi, mera dard bhi, meri aashiqui tum hi ho’. Then, there is ‘Aashiqui —The Love Theme’, a soothing piano-based instrumental using the same tune as ‘Meri aashiqui’.

One of the film’s clear highlights is ‘Sunn raha hai’. Composed and sung by Ankit Tiwari, and written by Sandeep Nath, it uses a rock power ballad style, with a repeated guitar line in the beginning, a sudden burst of electric guitar, charming use of the zitar (a cross between the sitar and guitar) and a pumped-up crowd-clapping backdrop at the end. The lines ‘Sun raha hai tu, ro raha hoon mein’ are the kind that’ll make you sing along.

The female version of this song, sung by Shreya Ghoshal, changes the orchestration completely, using acoustic guitar, bansuri, santoor and the claypot percussion instrument ghatam, reminding you of the Shiv-Hari style.

The other numbers are composed by Jeet Gangulli, who once worked as part of a duo with Pritam before concentrating on Bengali films. ‘Chahun mein ya naa’, written by Irshad Kamil and sung by Palak Muchhal and Arijit Singh, is a pleasant love song, with some striking orchestrations, a melodic electric guitar passage and wonderful lines like “Mere chhote chhote khwaab hain, khwaabon mein geet hain, geeton mein zindagi hai, chaahat hai, preet hai.”

‘Hum mar jaayenge’, sung by the sweet-voiced Tulsi Kumar and Arijit, boasts of some incredible flute portions, set mostly to acoustic guitar and keyboard backdrop. ‘Piya aaye na’ (Tulsi Kumar and KK) is one of the peppier tunes, using vocal overdubs and back-up singers.

‘Bhula dena’, sung by Mustafa Zahid, is melancholic and pathos-filled, and has an outstanding lead guitar passage in the middle. Both the keyboard-driven ‘Aasan nahin yahan’ and guitar-backed ‘Milne hai mujhse aayi’ begin with brilliant lines by Irshad Kamil, and both have been sung powerfully by Arijit. While the former starts with “Aasaan nahin yahaan aashiq ho jaana, palkon pe kaanton ko sajaana; aashiq ko milta hai gham ki saugaatein, sabko na milta yeh khazana,” the latter begins, “Milne hai mujhse aayi, phir jaane kyon tanhai, kis mod pe laayi aashiqui.”

To be sure, a couple of songs take time to grow on you. But the more you listen to them, the more refreshing they sound. Only time can tell whether they will match the popularity of the original Aashiqui, with today’s audiences being more impatient and exposed to wider choice. But on its own, the Aashiqui 2 music stands out. It’s the kind of CD you’ll want to play on loop, discovering something new each time. That happens rarely these days.

RATING SCALE: * Poor; ** Average; *** Good; **** Excellent; ***** Simply outstanding


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