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Dum Laga Ke Haisha

Music: Anu Malik

Lyrics: Varun Grover

Music Label: Yash Raj Music

Expectations:

The novel Aditya Chopra combination with Anu Malik sets the bar of our expectations very high as these two legends come together for the first time.

Music:

It can be called the song of the season, for such masterpieces are heard only once in a blue moon of late. Anu Malik sparkles with the dazzling classical nuances (especially in the third line that goes into komal notes) of 'Moh moh ke dhaage' with brilliant lyrics by Varun Grover and the perfect selection of singer Papon and also Monali Thakur.

Getting meat they can rarely hope for in today's era, the two singers sink all their creative teeth into their respective solo versions of this fantastic and caressingly created musical gem. We will not be surprised if, like our older legends so effortlessly did with many singers, this composition becomes the prime signature tune of these playback artistes.

The orchestration is amazingly timeless, fitting seamlessly as much into 1994 (the film's timeframe when Anu first reached his peak) as it does into today's era. The sonorous, sweet and haunting use of Indian instrumentation is exemplary to the point of being a textbook in these days, when style and substance are sacrificed big-time for trendiness by half-baked musicians unaware of the basics of a good composition.

Malik has excelled in such songs time and again with a natural sense rather than a deep knowledge of Indian classical music (Asoka, Filhaal, Saaya, Refugee, Tamanna and many more) and this time he hits us on our musical solar plexus - that inborn area that lies submerged underneath the glut of ninety percent of today's songs that have no tomorrow.

Kailash Kher and the Nooran sisters Jyoti and Sultana get into celebratory mode for 'Dum laga ke haisha'. The enthusiasm of these three singers can be sensed all through, while the lyrics (Varun Grover) go the pure Hindi way. This is the one flawed song on the score, and the orchestration could have been softer. Also, we wonder why the song sounds as if the four words of the title were first set to music and the rest filled in later, somehow!

Kumar Sanu's 'Tu' is too brief - we get into the flow of the melody and the song is over! But we liked the typically Sanu-esque feel and his way of singing the composition, which in turn, is tailor-made for him.

Rahul Ram and Malini Awasthi robustly deliver the old-world style 'filmi' but folksy song 'Sundar susheel' that has interesting comments about today's requirements of an ideal spouse ('Bike bhi ho, car bhi ho / Acche sanskar bhi ho / Poora wafadar bhi ho / Sochenge tab').

Kumar Sanu and Sadhana Sargam get into a full and delicious '90s-Anu Malik zone with 'Dard karaara'. After two decades, we see the classic Malik pattern of rhythm-meets-melody, a musical whiff of 'Tumsa koi masoom' (Khuddar in 1994) and a Bakshi-like paradox in the structure of the lyrics ('Jeene laga wohi jisse ishq na maara') that are frothily fabulous without being flippant, and vividly put ('Jeb hain khaali / Pyar ke sikko se aao kar lein guzaara').

'Prem's theme' (Papon) is a brief piece, more instrumental than vocal, in which the singer merely (but superbly) elucidates alaaps of 'Moh moh ke dhaage', and takes it beyond the boundaries of that song with sweeping vocal flourishes. There is a hint of Western music in the guitar strums and a part of the voice, but the essence is wonderfully Indian.

Overall:

Celebrate, for a genius, a legendary composer is back - back to show how far he is above the rookies who have made it big at a game in which he is a past master. All our living legends need to return to rescue music from the morass it has fallen into, but everyone does not get an Aditya Chopra to back him. In that sense, both, Anu and the music lover within us are extremely lucky!

Our Pick:

'Moh moh ke dhaage', 'Dard karaara', 'Tu', 'Sundar susheel'