An action film with a tough sounding title cannot be expected to have any scope for music. But "Deewaar" surprises you with its rich haul of tunes.
Director Milan Luthria's earlier film, "Kachche Dhaage", had an outstanding score by the late Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. It proved that action films can accommodate quality music, if done with care.
Sadly this score doesn't have the all-defining presence of the mighty Lata Mangeshkar who sang "Tere bin nahin jeena" in "Kachche Dhaage" with soul-piercing emotion. However, there's variety and vigour in Aadesh Shrivastava's tunes.
The music composer has made rapid strides in the last two years, arriving at a kind of peak with last year's Amitabh Bachchan blockbuster "Baghban".
The Bachchan-Shrivastava combination is a bit of a creative configuration. The music composer openly admits he hero-worships Bachchan and saves his best for the mega star.
After rattling off a repository of ragas in "Baghban" and Gaurang Doshi's earlier production "Aankhen", Shrivastava again pulls out a bagful of treats wrapped up and packaged in an extremely appetising show of sonorous strength.
Sonu Nigam rocks in the Sufi-disco track "Mahrabba". He bends his vocals into enticing shapes...only to bounce back with a whooping sound of melodic makeover as the tune goes from one level of rhythm to another. Irresistible!
The musical arrangements are first rate in both "Mahrabba" and the patriotic "Chaliye ve chaliye". In the latter, the vocal combination of Udit Narayan and Roopkumar Rathod and Nusrat Badr's nostalgic words may remind you of Anu Malik's music in J.P. Dutta's cinema, specially "Sandese aate hain" in "Border". But Shrivastava creates his own seductiveness...always.
His blend of rhythm-oriented sounds and traditional raga elements give to the sound of Hindi film music a sense of renewed glory.
And though the semi-classical "Piya bawri" by Alka Yagnik and Kailash Kher - the latter rose to sudden fame last year with the track "Allah ke bande" - borrows distinct elements from Sanjay Leela Bhansali's "Devdas" soundtrack, it nonetheless creates an utterly charming tune.
I'm afraid the other delicately perched feminine number "Kara kaga" suffers due to Yagnik's inability to carry the higher notes without shades of shrillness creeping into her delivery. In an album suffused with high-pitched glory her failure stands out.
The album is clogged with robust raga-rich renderings. The qawwali, back with a big welcome bang in Hindi cinema, gets a bracing treatment here in "Ali ali". The vocals by Krishna lift the composition to an above-ordinary experience.
Unlike his peers like Anu Malik and Jatin-Lalit, Shrivastava tends to fill the silences between stanzas with meaningful sounds.
Though this album takes time to grow on you, it's ultimately a very satisfying experience, far more so than the 1970s' "Deewaar", which also starred Bachchan. It contained one of R.D. Burman's weakest scores ever.
"Deewaar" reinforces Shrivastava's versatile talent. He has a penchant for painting pictures through his words. Whether it's the enchantingly graceful "Piya bawri" or the inspirational "Todenge deewaar hum", the soundtrack supplements the strong macho mood of the film. I can hardly wait to see the film.