Cast: Shabana Azmi, Abhishek Bachchan, Aishwarya Rai, Suniel Shetty, Divya Dutta, Himani Shivpuri, Puru Raaj Kumar & Kulbhushan Kharbanda
Music: Anu Malik
Lyrics: Javed Akhtar
The expectations from this movie have been enormous, as it stars some of the biggest names in Bollywood currently, and has been directed by J.P. Dutta, who has given us some memorable films, with equally memorable music. The choice of Anu Malik for the music of this period classic came as a shock to many, including myself. But then, if you look at Malik’s work for J.P. Dutta, you cannot question his obvious choice. What remained then was how authentic and original will the music be.
I must say, Anu Malik has outdone himself here. The music is mesmerizing to say the least!
Song: Salaam Karne Ki Aarzoo..
This is an instantly likeable song, moving at a smooth pace, and engulfing you with its melodious simplicity. Alka Yagnik’s voice is touching, and Javed Akhtar writes simple yet powerful poetry. Sample this: Jise Bhi Hum Dekh Le Palat Ke, Usi Ko Apna Ghulam Kar Lein. I wonder how did Anu compose this absolutely awesome track, which is classical, soothing, touching, and popular at the same time. It only proves Anu has class, you just have to harness him.
Song: Pehle Pehel..
This song is slow and haunting. Once again having a classical base, it has really meaningful words, which are yet again very simple. Alka Yagnik again shines with a controlled voice. She surely shows she is the best when it comes to Indian Classical music. The song conveys the aura of the first meeting between lovers in a very subtle and touching manner. Sample this: Dekha Ye Khwab To, Dil Hai Betaab To, Dono Ghabra Gaye, Tum Bhi Pehle Pehel, Hum Bhi..
Song: Jhoote Ilzaam..
This is the best song among the previous ones. The trademark in this album so far has been classical music with simple yet effective words, and topped with exquisite singing. This song follows the same tradition, but manages to touch just a bit more, with the words conveying pain while being understandable. Sample: Tum Kisi Aur Ki Kismat Mein ho, Tum Mere Nahi.. Yeh Agar Sach bhi Hai to Mujhko Bataya Na Karo..Dil Hai Nazuk Ise Tum Aise Dukhaya Na Karo. The song is basically a complain by the girl, requesting the boy not to play with her emotions. Alka Yagnik rules.
Song: Main Na Mil Sakoon Jo Tumse
This song makes it difficult to rank the songs, a fantastic number again. Yet again, it is classical, relaxed, simple, and conveying the ethos so well. It is about the girl explaining her helplessness to the guy and telling him to forget her, while complaining about his behaviour also. Remarkable song, once again. This makes it 4 on 4 so far, which is reason enough to buy the album. Alkya Yagnik is the soul of this album. Sample: Maine Chaha Tha Kisiko, Mera Haal Kya Hai Dekho… Jo Kasoor Kiya Tha Maine, Woh Tum Kabhi Na Karna..
Let me make it clear at this point that this album is classy, having slow haunting numbers, and not the high octane type, with thumping beats. It is simple, Indian classical music at its best. So take your pick.
Song: Pooch Rahe Hain
This song takes time to grow on you, unlike the other instantly likeable songs. But it slowly owns you with repeated hearings, with its sheer melody and pain. This song has more classical background, in terms of Tabla and other instruments playing in the background. Basically, it has more instruments in its arrangement. Yet again slow, simple, yet touching. I am at a loss of words here, using the same words everytime, but beleive me, this itself the hallmark of this album. The song is again about the girl sighing about the pain in love. Sample: Kaun Yaha Hai Sunne Wala, Dil Ki Baat Sunayein Kya, Daag Yeh Dil Mein Aaye Hain Kaise, Unko Hum Samjhaye Kya.
Song: Agle Janam Mohe Bitiya
This song really makes you cry, with its emotions. This is about a mother requesting hte God not to give her a girl child. It has two versions, one by Anu’s daughter Anmol, and the other by Richa Sharma. Anmol’s version doesnt register the same impact as the other version does, though she does well for a debutant. For the first time, Alka Yagnik gets a break in the album. I guess one version is sung by young Aishwarya, and the other by Shabana Azmi. The melody is once again brilliant with minimal arrangements, which is in sync with the demands of the song. The lyrics have a UP touch in terms of lyrics, which makes it even further rooted to reality. Brilliant, Mr. Malik and Javed Saab!
Song: Dekha Humein Aise Ke
For the first time, we have a male voice, in the form of Sonu Nigam, along with Alka.Sonu does wonders in this song, proving his worth yet again. This song is the least classical among the lot, and grows on you with repeated hearings. This song is a love song, yet manages to be different than the routine love songs, thanks to the lyrics and the music. This is probably the most upbeat and happy song in the album. Another gem. Sample: Aankhon Mein Hai Nasheele Bhanwar, Zulf Mein Lahar, Dariya Yeh Kaisa Husn Ka, Dikhla Diya Humein.
Song: Ek Toote Hue Dil Ki..
This is a small song by Alka (yet again!), with absolutely minimal arrangements, and yet it conveys the pain with the combination of lyrics, music and voice. It makes you look forward to a great song, but ends just when you have warmed upto it. Kind of deceives you, with its small length.
Overall, the music is fabulous, and a welcome break from what we have been getting in recent past. Though it might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but none can deny the honesty and sincerity of the people involved. Anu Malik deserves yet another National Award, for being so true to the period, and living upto the original’s music. Javed Akhtar shows his class yet again. Alka Yagnik makes an indelible impression.
I cant judge which Umrao Jaan has better music, and there should not be any comparisons made between the two. This music has its own identity, and it recreates the bygone era in the most infectious manner. Another winner for Anu Malik after Janeman.