Gautham Vasudev Menon (GVM from here on) and A.R.Rahman created history when they came together for the 1st time in Vinnaithaandi Varuvaaya/Ye Maaya Chesave. GVM earlier had always worked with Harris Jayaraj in the past until they parted mutually after Vaaranam Aayiram. With expectations reaching gigantic proportions from the combo of GVM and ARR it was heartening to note that the soundtrack of VTV hit the bull’s eye with accurate precision. VTV/YMC was Karthik and Jessie’s story and their story was only aided by the songs. So when the Hindi version was announced by GVM it was initially met with a lot of enthusiasm. But then for a long time the lead pair wasn’t really confirmed at all and at that time what helped to keep the spirits of people high was the fact the music would again come from ARR himself, with lyrics by Javed Akhtar.
But once the lead pair of Prateik Babbar and Amy Jackson was confirmed, doubts started setting in. Will Prateik match upto Simbu who had clearly put in a wonderful restrained performance as Karthik? While Amy Jackson had earned accolades for her debut in Madharasapattinam (Tamil), she had played a British National over there. So here it made people wonder why GVM had chosen her to play a Malayali i.e Jessie. When the initial promo was unveiled all hell seemed to break loose with a lot of fears suddenly looming large, especially with the tiny segment of Hosanna that one could take away from the promo.
Still we waited & waited patiently till the music was finally released against the backdrop of the Taj recently. Now that a lot of us have heard the songs finally how do they measure against ARR’s recent works & most importantly how do they measure against the compositions of VTV? Well if you are curious enough then let me take you through the tracks of Ekk Deewana Tha, one after the other.
Kya Hai Mohabbat- This song sung by ARR himself is an original and wasn’t there in the Tamil and Telugu versions. A love ballad as the words indicate it’s at best a half decent start to the album. Most ARR compositions sung by the maestro himself are usually infectious enough but sadly this one lacks that vital element- zing.“Mohabbat mein sab kuch hasein lagta hai kyon, sitam jo karein dilnashi to lagta hai kyon” lyrics by Javed Akhtar over here seem to go in sync with the song and the end result is more of a monotonous stream of questions on love. But like some of ARR’s compositions we can probably expect it to grow on us with more repeated hearing.
Dost Hai- This is a variation of “Kannukul Kannai” ( as the eye of the eye ) from VTV and is a good variation indeed. A full on hi-hop number, it helps that Naresh Iyer the singer of the original version is the singer here as well. With added vocals by Jaspreet Jasz and Arya and also featuring additional arrangements by Sachin-Jigar, this is a nice sing along track, that’s as good as the original number if not better.
Aaromale- If Hosanna on one hand was the most infectious number from VTV’s soundtrack then Aaromale was probably the knockout number. A song completely sung in Malayalam in both VTV and YMC, a lot of credit for the song goes to Alphonse Joseph for the high octane vocals and Kaithapram Namboothiri’s lyrics. In the Hindi version while ARR has utilized Alphonse Joseph again, there are 2 issues with the song- 1. While Alphonse is at his wonderful best again while doing the Aaromale chant, he seems to be slightly sounding uncomfortable mouthing the Hindi lyrics and 2.the lyrics by themselves are surprisingly silly especially the background chant. Sample this “Shubh shubh ghadi shubh hai lagan, shubh shubh sajni ka jeevan,rom rom lage sukh chandan, som som rahe tera darpan” . If that isn’t enough then how about “Priyadarshini, swarn hansini, sun le, mann pukare,doobenge donon hi inme”. Only Javed Saab can probably explain the rationale behind these lines. As someone asked me earlier, in this era of Kolaveri why would you shy away from trying out a Malayalam song in its entirety which has already worked for you before?
Broken Promises – If Aaromale was a letdown then ARR more than makes it up with this variant of Aaromale with the voice of Shreya Ghoshal more than doing justice to the wonderful composition. Basically more of a humming/chant, this one clearly is a standout track from the album. I am very curious to know if this will feature in the movie and if it does then I hope GVM has done justice to this lovely World class rendition. This version also featured in the collector’s edition pack of VTV.
Hosanna- The number that was most looked forward to along with Aaromale, this one actually starts off pretty well and in almost identical fashion to the original composition. Suzanne D’Mello breezes through with her humming after Leon D’Souza’s start (Dil hote jo mere seene mein do, doosra dil bhi main tumhe deta todne ko) which is a slightly cheesy take on the original Tamil lyrics – “Yenn Idhayam…udaithaai norungavey, Yenn maru idhayam,tharuven nee udaikavey” ( loosely translated as “my heart if broken into pieces by you, I’ll give you my other heart for you to break” ). The attempt is just to re-create the same meaning & doesn’t carry the same impact.However the actual problem begins only with the start of the English rap portion. While the Tamil/Telugu versions had Blaaze rendering it, here it seems to be done probably by Leon himself and it doesn’t carry the same impact. Also ARR has definitely gone wrong in choosing Leon in place of Vijay Prakash who had done a far better job in the original.
Phoolon Jaisi Ladki- The Hindi version of Omana Penne, this one has pedestrian lyrics by Javed Akhtar. Sample these- “Phoolon jaisi hai yeh ladki,hai yeh ladki pariyon jaisi hai na, who ho ho… bholi bholi khoyi khoyi hirni si,hai yeh ladki,komal-komal si ladki,sundar ladki nazuk nazuk yeh ladki”, need I say more?And Clinton Cerejo is no match for Benny Dayal who by far excels in the original. The only saving grace is the fact the female accompanying voice and the corresponding Malayalam lyrics (written and sung by Kalyani Menon) have been thankfully retained.
Sharminda Hoon- A soulful ballad which worked majorly in the original version (Mannipaaya) thanks to the superlative lyrics by Thamarai, Sharminda Hoon begins very badly. The introductory lines sung by Madhushree “ Main ik lehar hoon jo samay ki nadi se, bas tumse milne kinaare thi aayi, magar jo bhi ho, har ik lehar ko mit jaana hai,nadi mein hi jaake” seem to be a desperate attempt to replicate the original introductory lines ( Kadalinil meenagha,irundhval naan, unakkena karai thaandi vandhaval-thaan,thudithirunthen, tharainilehnthen… thirumbivitten yen kadalidame.. loosely translated as “As the fish in the sea who crossed the shore for you,squirmed around and struggled and then returned to my love itself” ). Replace the imagery of the fish in the original with that of a wave in the Hindi version and you’ll get what I mean. Vocals by ARR himself and Madhushree do make an impact after the weak start and salvage the song to an extent.
Sunlo Zara- A pop number this one works quite well and is as good as the original (Anbil Avan i.e He in love). Sung with gusto by Rashid Ali, Shreya Ghoshal and Timmy, this one is a feel good, foot tapping number. The percussions that feature in between have been completely re-arranged and add to the zing.Good work indeed by ARR.
Zohra Jabeen- This is a takeoff on the title song in the Tamil original and the vocals by Karthik had more than done justice to ARR’s wonderful composition. Here we have Javed Ali trying his bit and he does more than a fantastic job over here. While the attempt has been to maintain the same somber mood over with this composition (similar to the original), thankfully the lyrics haven’t been force fed here and actually seem to work pretty well.
“Jaane yeh kaisi kashish hai, ik pal mein gaya dil yun paas tumhare
toot ke girte jai jaise zameen par,aksar raaton mein sitaare”
This one is definitely one of the highlights of the album, no doubt about it.
Moments in Kerala- This instrumental piece featuring a solo violin by Prabhakar against the strains of ARR’s tune with some faint chorus vocals in the background is soothing and a good compliment to the album.
Jessie’s Land- This instrumental piece features Megha humming parts from the songs of the album, most prominent being Hosanna and Sharminda Hoon. This one again did feature in the collector’s edition pack of VTV.
Jessie’s Driving Me Crazy- Featuring some heavy duty instrumentals and vocals by Sanjeev Thomas and Timmy, this one is a decent enough track to round up the album.
On an overall note Ekk Deewana Tha is a very inconsistent album with Broken Promises (female version of Aaromale ) and Zohra Jabeen being standout efforts and with some hummable tracks like Dost Hai and Sunlo Zara. But it’s a missed opportunity as what should have been standout numbers (considering the original) like Hosanna, Aaromale (male version), Phoolon Jaisi Ladki majorly disappoint. Here’s hoping that at least GVM weaves his magic on screen with the picturisation of the songs.