For a film which is pitching itself as Bollywood's biggest espionage thriller ever, Aazaan has been promising good music as it's another strength. Though one still waits to check out if these claims are indeed true, the fact that Salim-Sulaiman are at the helm of affairs makes one look forward to the album with good hopes. Amitabh Bhattacharya, Irfan Siddiqui and Shradha Pandit pitch in as lyricists for this album that has four songs and a theme track with some remixes to boast of as well.
One can pretty much sense that of late Salim Merchant has been really enjoying his stint as a singer as well. This is evident from the fact that after a loveable 'Rozaana' and a few other tracks in Love Breakups Zindagi, he has sung for Aazaan as well. The song in question is 'Afreen' which is a winner all the way with a melody that is not just instantly catchy but also haunting to the core. A love song which could have been gladly accepted by the director/actor of any big romantic musical, 'Afreen' is an Amitabh Bhattacharya written track that has a touch of Sufi to it but presented in a Western avtar, hence making it special.
Deservingly, the song is heard in three more versions - 'Desert Mix ', 'Remix' and 'Reprise' version. Expectedly the 'Desert Mix' version has a Middle East feel to it and takes one into Arabian Nights setting, though with a liberal Western dose to it. The 'remix' version is for a club outing and turns out to be good enough for a dance floor. However real bonus comes in the form of 'reprise' version by Rahat Fateh Ali Khan. From Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan's ever-so-popular number 'Aafreen Aafreen' to Rahat Fateh Ali Khan's rendition of 'Aafreen' for Aazaan, it is quite a journey that music lovers would be glad to traverse.
Fun doesn't stop at 'Aafreen' though, what with Salim Merchant continuing to make the lovers smile with his rendition of 'Khuda Ke Liye'. He has Shradha Pandit for company who actually opens the song and does quite well in setting up the mood for this immensely likeable number that makes it two-in-a-row for Aazaan. Yet another number that could just have been the right inclusion in a Yash Raj/Karan Johar film, courtesy the melody that it excels in, 'Khuda Ke Liye' written by Amitabh Bhattacharya is a soft number that is not just sung quite well by Salim and Shradha but also makes one look forward to Aazaan as a film which otherwise was known mainly for it's action all this while. 'Remix version' of the song only ends up bringing added variety for the album which has been flowing on a good note till now.
The mood of the album changes though with 'Bismillah', an out and out Sufi number which is on the lines of 'Khwaja Mere Khwaja' [Jodhaa Akbar]. This time around the singer at the helm of affairs is Kailesh Kher and though he sings as per the song's mood, overall the song turns out to be highly situational. Expected to make an impact only as a part of the film's narrative instead of grabbing one's attention in a stand alone manner, this Irfan Siddiqui written number may not really be accommodated for its entire four minutes run.
Taking forward the Middle East tone of the album, next to come is 'Habibi Habibi' which is an item number picturised on the film's leading lady Candice Boucher. A kind of song that reminds one of the 70s setting where Zeenat Aman was often seen (remember The Great Gambler, Abdullah, Alibaba Aur 40 Chor etc.?), 'Habibi Habibi' is a number that immediately makes one visualise a belly dance in the offering. Written by Shradha Pandit, 'Habibi Habibi' sees Mitika doing a good job behind the mike as she comes up with a rendition that aptly suits the song's setting. Benny Dayal joins her in this song which, though not extraordinary by any means, should be a 'masala' addition to the film.
Last to arrive is the 'Aazaan - Theme' which promises a lot due to the action setting of the film. It starts off well too and gradually picks up pace to reach a crescendo which is grand and lavish enough to create good excitement for a big screen extravaganza. However what's disappointing it that it is too short and lasts a mere two minutes.
Aazaan is a good album and what makes it special is the fact that there are two melodies in the form of 'Afreen' and 'Khuda Ke Liye' that could have fitted into the biggest of romantic musicals. As for some instant gratification, there is 'Habibi Habibi' that should suffice. If these songs are promoted to the fullest for weeks at stretch, there is very good probability of the music of Aazaan seeing a shelf life beyond the film's run in theatres as well.
Afreen, Khuda Ke Liye