These are exciting times for Bollywood. Otherwise how else could one see so many films in queue for multiplexes when till a few years back, titles like Welcome To Sajjanpur, Saas Bahu Aur Sensex, Dasvidaniya or I Am 24 would not even have been approved, let alone being commissioned to be made into films. However, things have changed that has resulted in directors like Shyam Benegal too changing routes and telling a sensible story in a comic narrative. That's Welcome To Sajjanpur which has music by Shantanu Moitra and lyrics by Ashok Mishra and Swanand Kirkire.
Since the film tells the story of a small town, it is expected that the music too would carry a similar flavor. First to arrive is 'Sita Ram Sita Ram' which is not really a 'bhajan' in the offering but conveys the regular form of greeting people in many parts of the country. Going by the theme of the film which has its lead protagonist in the profession of writing letters for others, the song has a rustic feel to it and is aided by a catchy rhythm. Sung by newcomer Krishna Kumar who gets the vocals just right for the small town effect, 'Sita Ram' written by Ashok Mishra is the flagship number of the album as it also sees a music video (featuring the entire cast) being built around it. The lure of remix doesn't leave a small time film like Welcome To Sajjanpur and the result is another version of 'Sita Ram' which arrives at the album's end.
Presence of names like Mohit Chauhan and Madhushree is good enough to ensure that the number to follow would be a quality outing. 'Ek Meetha Marz De Ke' written by Swanand Kirkire is the song which follows the tradition of all Mohit Chauhan numbers so far which have a soulful melodic touch to them. However, the number doesn't go an extra distance in being the kind which would become the 'next big hit' since it is a little too lazy in feel and misses the kind of spirit which one expected from a love song.
Krishna Kumar returns with Shreya Ghoshal for second duet in the album, 'Bheeni Bheeni Mehki Mehki', which seems to take off from where 'Ek Meetha Marz De Ke' left. For those who loved Shantanu Moitra's compositions in Parineeta, 'Bheeni Bheeni' comes across as a comfortable listening due to similar feel and texture. A love song that has it's roots in Bangla music and has been left untouched by modern day arrangements, 'Bheeni Bheeni' follows a simple route and is just the perfect love song for the couple played by Sheryas Talpade and Amrita Rao.
Written by Ashok Mishra, 'Dildara Dildara Sine Mein' is the much hyped item number which has been picturised on the lead pair of the film. However, yet again the simplicity is maintained in spite of the glossy look and feel of the song (reminding of 'Tumse Milke Dil Ka' from Main Hoon Na) as Sonu Nigam and Sunidhi Chauhan underplay their rendition and stop themselves from going overboard. A sweet sounding number which should keep the audience engaged when it plays on screen.
Getting back to the Bengali roots, Shantanu Moitra bases 'Aadmi Azaad Hai Desh' on the similar musical style and comes up with a situational track which reminds one of the kind of music heard in the TV serials of the 80s that had a village backdrop. Carrying a message about India being a democratic country and every individual having the right of freedom, 'Aadmi Azaad Hai Desh' rendered by Kailash Kher and written by Ashok Mishra can expect an audience only when the song appears as a part of the narrative.
A number picturised on a eunuch named 'Munnibai' who is out to run for elections in the town of Sajjanpur, 'Munni Ki Baari Are Mandir' is the concluding song of the album. Ajay Jhingran sings the entire song in the voice of eunuch and though this may make the narrative of Welcome To Sajjapur interesting, it is a strict no-no when it comes to playing the album at home or in a car!
Going by the setting of the film, the music of Welcome To Sajjanpur sticks to the theme though without coming up with a single exceptional score. While most of the songs by Shantanu Moitra are situational in nature, the only number which leaves some impression is 'Sita Ram Sita Ram'.