Fashion is the biggest project for Madhur Bhandarkar. Majority of his films have been low budget affairs (no, we are not counting Aan - Men At Work), whether it is Trishakti, Chandni Bar, Satta or Traffic Signal. Page 3 and Corporate saw the bar being raised when it came to money being spent on projects but Fashion jumps all bars when it comes to budget being set for a Bhandarkar film. The film has been mounted on a lavish scale and boasts of the trio of pretty women (Priyanka Chopra, Kangana, Mugdha Godse) and even sees Salim-Sulaiman coming on board as composers (with Irfan Siddiqui as the lyricist) while replacing Shamir Tandon with whom Bhandarkar has worked in quite a few projects. This is the first step in the right direction for the director since the composer duo come up with the tunes that don't just go by the theme of the film; they also have a couple of numbers in the offering which have a chartbuster appeal to them.
Ten seconds into the title song 'Fashion Ka Jalwa' and you would find your feet tapping to the song's beats. Interestingly arranged and orchestrated, the song (which has Sandeep Nath as the guest lyricist) has 'Jalwa' as it's punch word with Satya Hinduja and Robert "Bob" Omulo giving Sukhwinder Singh company behind the mike. Though the song's base remains to be entirely Western, it is 'singing-with-a-punch' by Sukhwinder Singh which gets an Indian feel to the proceedings. Lasting close to five minutes and also appearing in a 'remix version', this is not a number, which you find humming around the town but would enjoy it being played on screen at a strategic point of the narrative.
Soon after comes the best song of the album, 'Mar Jaava'. A true blue lounge number, which requires only one listening to be declared as one of the best tracks, heard so far in 2008, it is made special by Shruti Pathak who comes up with an amazing rendition. It's her husky, low-key voice, which spins magic in this Salim-Sulaiman composition that flows smoothly at a leisurely pace and has in it to be put on a repeat mode and played on for hours at stretch. Moreover, Salim Merchant's back-up vocals add on to the lounge appeal of this love song, which should be a highlight of the film. The number later arrives in a 'remix version' as well and though club hoppers won't mind it blazing hard, for the ones who are looking at a quite outing with themselves, the original composition is always a better bet.
It is time to enter composer Pritam's territory with the emergence of 'Aashiyana'. A soft rock track that has Salim Merchant going ahead with a solo rendition, 'Aashiyana' is a love song which follows the same path as 'Kya Mujhe Pyaar Hai' [Gangster] and 'Aksar' [Hijack], both of which have proved to be popular with the music lovers. DJ Amyth created 'remix version' is just an added bonus as it heads straight for a night club, hence adding on to the glam theme of Fashion. The song, which would have been milked to the hilt had it landed with the Bhatts, 'Aashiyana' makes it three-in-a-row for Fashion.
Coming together of Mohit Chauhan and Neha Bhasin ensures that a song would have a contemporary setting to it and that exactly is the case for 'Kuchh Khaas' as well. In any other film belonging to romance genre, this one would have been grabbed by both hands by the makers though one wonders that how long it would last on screen in Fashion. Ok, so the number isn't an exceptional hearing but if you have liked the haunting sound of Vishal-Shekhar's 'Khuda Jaane' [Bachna Ae Haseeno], it won't be surprising if you end up putting 'Kuchh Khaas' on a repeat mode as well. The 'remix version' only keeps the contemporary urban mood of the film on and gives a different account of Madhur Bhandarkar who has more or less stayed away from conventional peppy love songs in his earlier projects.
The album continues to impress till the very end with the sound of 'santoor' at the start of 'Fashion-Theme' turning out to be such an enticing piece that it is hard to ignore it after the very first listening. A club sound begins soon after to keep the pace on for this theme track, which should be playing when the models are walking the ramp and some of the dramatic points in the narrative. However, it is the sound of 'santoor' followed by the same piece being played on violin, which gives this theme track a grand feel.
A winner all the way, it also appears in a six-minute 'remix' version. However, Karsh Kale and Medeival Punditz, the men behind the remix, don't just add on a few touch-ups here and there but actually twist and turn the composition to enhance the dramatic appeal. In fact, while the original composition still had some relief to it, the remix version takes a full-on approach and it is only after 80 seconds that the signature theme piece is heard again.
Fashion works in totality and while numbers like 'Fashion Ka Jalwa', 'Aashiyana' and 'Kuchh Khaas' are good in their own right, the cake is taken by the 'Fashion - Theme' and 'Mar Jaava' which are the pick of the lot. In his career so far, Madhur Bhandarkar films haven't been known for their music, even though the albums of Corporate and Page 3 still saw some sales on the stands. However, Fashion is all set to break the jinx while turning out to be the first Madhur Bhandarkar film ever to boast of a truly mass as well as class appealing score.