Sunday, September 19, 2004

Triumphant return of Madan Mohan

I have always been a great Madan Mohan fan. In my opinion, he is one of the best composers to have given music to Hindi cinema. He was the one to gain maximum success with ghazals, reserved his best for Lata Mangeshkar and gave us unforgettable music. Sadly, this great man was never given his due respect when he was alive. Who can ever forget the music in movies like Mera Saaya, Woh Kaun Thi, Anpadh, Heer Ranjha, Haqeeqat, Mausam .... the list is huge and the so is the quality and variety of songs he composed. Read this interesting article by his son Sanjeev which gives you a brief inside look at his life and times.

Yash Chopra's films have always been associated with good music. Whether you agree to the content of his films, its hard to disagree with his music. Melodious, soulful, eminently hummable. Yash Chopra has come up with an interesting experiment this time. Madan Mohan left behind various unutilized compositions, which could not be recorded by him during his lifetime. Yash Chopra and Sanjeev Kohli went through the recordings and pencilled 11 of those compositions for his forthcoming movie 'Veer-Zaara'. The highlight being the presence of Lata Mangeshkar on this sound-track. At the age of 75, she has recorded 9 songs for Madan Mohan, and only true connoisseurs of Hindi film music can understand how significant this reunion is.

I have been eagerly waiting for a few months for the sound-track to come out. For the past two days, I have been listening to the songs repeatedly to get a feel of the music and answer the crucial question: Was this experiment successful? I'd have to answer yes. Before you listen to the music and make up your mind, please note the following factors.
1. The composer has been dead for the past 30 years, and has no active input in the songs
2. The director is the one responsible for picking the tunes. He has no way of knowing what the composer really thought of what was essentially, trial work.
3. While Javed Akhtar is a very good lyricist, I am a great believer in composer-lyricist teams. Frankly, he is not Raja Mehndi Ali Khan.
4. The music arrangements have been done by the composer's son. There is a conscious attempt to make the music sound 'contemporary'. It tests how timeless the compositions are, and frankly, can have mixed results.

Ok, here's the deal. The entire album is full of soft, melodious songs. There is a distinct lack of any 'fast' or 'peppy' numbers. This is more on the lines of Silsila or Lamhe. Lata Mangeshkar sounds really sweet and melodious at her age. Hopefully, this should shut the traps of those who have been criticising her voice quality for the past few years. You miss Rafi so badly in some of the tracks .... Udit and Sonu can only try to fill that void. It will take time for the songs to grow on you, so give it more than one hearing. Here are the songs that you should really watch out for.
1. Tere Liye (Terrific composition, Roop Kumar's rendition is not a let-down)
2. Yeh Hum Aa Gaye (Tujhe Dekha to yeh ... wannabe, this is easily the breeziest track of the album)
3. Main Yahaan Hoon (Udit tries hard, really hard ... make your own mind up about his success here)
4. Do Pal (very good composition)
5. Aaya Tere Dar Par (a qawalli without a difference, probably situational)
6. Tum Paas Aa Rahe Ho (bonus track, Lata and Jagjit ... I am a sucker for slow compositions like these)
7. Jaane Kyon (Lata solo ... rejoice)

The remaining 4 are also good, but I thought I'd suggest a few from the list that I liked the most. This work is not of the same calibre as Madan Mohan's earlier work, but in the context of the aforementioned points, I would call this album a success. Come Nov 12th (this is a Diwali release), I am going to be in the theatre humming these songs.

Before I forget, you can listen to the songs at this link. Find more information about the movie 'Veer-Zaara' on


Sachin said...

Excellent article. I do agree with your statement, that it takes time to catch on to the songs of Veer Zaara. I did not know any more than that the new soundtrack was out, but it was entertaining reading your article and getting to know some of the background stuff

Avinash said...

Thanks for the heads up. will listen to them. BTW whats with the wierd title Veer Zaara?

Parth said...

Here goes. The initial proposed title of the movie was 'Yeh Kahaan Aa Gaye Hum' (for those who aren't aware, that's a line from a song in Sisila). However, since the story is one of an Indian pilot and Pakistani girl, and on the lines of them being star-crossed lovers, the title reflects their names. For those who may have doubts, Veer is the guy's name and Zaara is the female's name.

Avinash said...

I still like the original title. :-)

Shaily said...

Excellent article! I just loved Veer Zaara's songs. I think this Madan Mohan score is one of the best score I have heard in this decade. Earlier, I did not too much about him. It is only after listening to Veer Zaara that I tried to know more about him! What a guy he was.