A little fun, a little aarghAnd that's only the music of Fanaa. I'm not too keen on watching the film, given that the ingredients consist of the Chopra clan, Kunal Kohli (no surprise given my views on "Dumb Chums"), the title that makes me itch to add an "h", and it doesn't help that there is "an ending contest" that no matter how much fun George makes of it, the comments in the contest page will always beat him hands down, albeit unintentionally.
That establishing rant aside, a few thoughts on the music. I chose to write this post mainly because the music has a couple of interesting points to it. This soundtrack is, as is probably well-known by now, Jatin-Lalit's last as a composing duo. Fanaa (soundtrack credits) is a fitting sample of their wares: a couple of nice melodies, an sense of candy-floss and some rather mediocre tracks.
Mahalaxmi Iyer, who I personally think has been under-utilised and underrated, gets a lot of footage (byte-age?) in the album. But sadly, she doesn't snag any of the good ones. "Des Ra.ngiilaa" is extremely cliched, especially as in recent times, we've seen similar ventures in Veer Zaara and a good one in Swades. "Cha.ndaa Cha.mke", the insipid introduction to Hindi tongue-twisters is made annoying by Babul Supriyo and so poor Mahalaxmi has to grin and belt out the "mushkil gaanaa" - but we let it off on the excuse that it is some sort of a "fun" situation song. Reasons to not like "Chaa.nd Sifaarish": Shaan tending to Sanu, bad choice of choral riffs and sight of up-and-down-the-stairs dance steps. Electric guitar and Kailash Kher inserts - not so bad. Prediction: will be catchy, in the way many J-L songs have been.
Let's go to the nice stuff, both of which have Sunidhi Chauhan and Sonu Nigam. "Mere Haath Me.n" has the guest voices of Aamir Khan (this is turning out to be an unnecessary trademark in many of his films now) and Kajol reading out intense lines including the clearly reverse-engineered "panaah-fanaah" kaafiyaa. The arrangements didn't catch my fancy on the whole, but the tune is melodiously strong enough to survive that and so is the singing. It's about time Sunidhi Chauhan's "item song pinchhitter" status changes for the better.
Which brings us to the best song in the album (all IMHO if you haven't guessed yet): "Dekho Naa" by Nigam and Chauhan is well-made and worth a few listens. The sitaar and santoor strains (would like to know if my inference of the instruments are wrong) form a fine base, with the J-L choral inserts not detracting too much from this addition to the Bollywood rain-song collection.
A couple of instrumentals round off the album: "Destroyed in Love(Lounge Mix)" is nice in its lounge orchestration of "Dekho Naa" and "Mere Haath Me.n" (riding on the melody), while I didn't think much of "Fanaa for You (Chand Sifarish - DJ Aqeel Club Mix)". Lyrics by Prasoon Joshi are not bad, though he doesn't quite transcend the typical Bollywood genres unlike his masterful efforts in Rang De Basanti. The better songs somehow give out a private-album feeling rather than a cohesive film album, while the not-so-good songs are merely average hindi film songs in the tradition of the past. Let's see what the Pandit brothers do in their separate ways in the future.