Shah Rukh Khan, Gayatri Joshi
By Raunaq Kotecha
He was once a struggling character actor striving dogmatically to get himself noticed in an industry where millions of such faces thwart themselves almost every day. Ashutosh Gowariker was a non-entity and a total failure until one day he weaved a story that was never told before…not in 100 years. It was a story of an unadorned village boy - Bhuvan whose grit self-confidence, courage and belief in truth made history. Aamir Khan who has all three virtues listed above agreed to play the role of Bhuvan and Gowariker knew right then that he was in for some solid fortune. Lagaan - his directorial debut set new milestones in the history of Indian Cinema. It was not only a major hit all across the world, but also a nominee for the prestigious Oscar Awards. It shattered all the records at the box office its hysteria was phenomenal. The music of the movie is a legend in itself and is definitely a collector's item.
Almost 3 years after Lagaan, Gowariker is geared up with his next mega project - Swades. The last name of his hero however remains Khan, but this time the first name is even more commercially viable - Shahrukh. Gowariker sure identifies & empathizes with the greenhorn strugglers making every effort to get as far as they can in the tinsel town and consequentially gives break to one Gayatri Joshi who marks her debut with Swades. Thankfully, Gowariker continues to be loyal to A.R. Rahman and Javed Akhtar for music and lyrics respectively.
"Yeh Tara Who Tara" is an astounding melody that takes no time to gross its place within your heart. Rahman's clever usages of musical instruments sounds absolutely divine, especially the flute pieces and this Udit Narayan solo is an effortless winner. Being the best on the album, the track is already up for media hype. Master Vignesh, Baby pooja and other kids do merit a mention for their splendid or rather cute prop up. Javed Akhtar's best lyrical reserves infuse adequate vivacity in the track.
"Aahista Aahista" is a soft duet by Udit Narayan and Sadhana Sargam. The track is a lullaby and its potential to sedate knows No Age Bar. Minimum yet apt usage of musical instruments sounds peaceful and celestial while lyrics only add to the mysticism. The track is highly inspired from "O Palanhare" from Lagaan and let me tell you, this is just the beginning.
A.R. Rahman gets himself at the back of the mike for "Yeh Jo Des Hai Tera". The track conveys the fondness that hauls one toward his native soil. Rahman does have panache for singing nationalistic songs and this one only goes to confirm the fact more cogently. The melody of the track is average, but being a Rahman composition, it might just grow on you. Lyrically, the track is extremely rich.
"Pal Pal hai Bhaari" is a prayer or a request by a character playing Sita from Ramayana. Since the track is highly situational and the situation is the one of Ram Leela (an onstage reconstruction of great Indian epic - Ramayana). The melody of the track is also situational and does go well with it. Expressive singing by Madhusree, Vijay Prakash and Ashutosh Gowariker himself, depth of the lyrics and the historic backdrop of music are some of the highlights of this track.
The rustic folk mood of the album takes a backseat and the album moves onto a slight tangent with "Dekho Na". Udit Narayan and Alka Yagnik recreate the usual magic of their voices, which are enhanced when together. The track does not make the grade in generating the desired impact or appeal due to a humdrum melody, which is neither very contemporary nor very conventional.
What followed next is an exquisite Shehnai instrumental of "Yeh Jo Des Hai Tera" and an elegant Flute sonata with other beats as well for "Pal Pal Hai Bhaari". Both the pieces are extremely superior and one reason for this is that they sound very Indian.
Alka Yagnik gives a solo performance with "Saanwariya Saanwariya". The track has a decent melody that grows as you listen. The best part of the track is its ability to sound modish and at the same time so traditional. Again, this would not have been possible, had it not been for Rahman's dexterous music sense. Akhtar's youthful lyrics are another advantage.
The final track of the album "Yun Hi Chala Chal" squanders three enormously competent singers namely Udit Narayan, Hariharan and Kailash Kher. A pop feel of the track does not truly go with the mood of the album at large, but Gowariker & Rahman are too smart to let anything go wrong and therefore one can expect a very clever placement of this track in the movie.
Success is difficult to attain and it is twice as convoluted to let it go off hands when you have already tasted the tingle. The music of Swades is inspired from Lagaan to some extent, but alas the extent of goodness of Lagaan's music that has actually transpired is rather minimal.