Album + Soundtrack
en: I Hate Luv Storys#Soundtrack [info]
Bollywood and the banjo. Not necessarily a combination that would be at the forefront of anyone's mind, but the soundtrack to Karan Johar's latest Bollywood offering does indeed open with a banjo. And it's accompanied by the cheery vocals of Vishal Dadlani, one half of the musical duo Vishal-Shekhar, who are responsible for the album's music.
Since their first outing with the score for the film Pyaar Mein Kabhi Kabhi in 1999, Dadlani and Shekhar Ravijani have firmly established themselves as the cool kids of Bollywood music. So don't be fooled by the glib, deliberately misspelt title of I Hate Luv Storys - the pair has once again put together a soundtrack that confirms they belong in a category of their own amongst their peers.
The delightful banjo-punctuated opener, Jab Mila Tu, is followed by the wonderful pairing of Shafqat Amanat Ali and Sunidhi Chauhan on Bin Tere, for which Dadlani takes lyrical as well as musical credit. The surprise highlight of this album, however, is said track's reprise, where the vocals of Shekhar are accompanied by just a couple of guitars. By stripping back to an acoustic sound, Vishal-Shekhar prove that they can compose music that doesn't require over-production in order to appeal.
That said, these men know a good arrangement too, and the upbeat title-track, on which the banjo reappears, will induce involuntary toe-tapping whilst raising a smile with its tongue-in-cheek lyrics. This is contrasted by Bahara, bringing together the ethereal voice of Shreya Ghoshal with the earthy sound of Sona Mohapatra. If Miss Ghoshal is not yet the Queen of Bollywood playback singing, she can't be far off gaining the crown. The beautiful melody of the song is delivered flawlessly, and she enunciates the charming lyrics by Kumaar perfectly.
The only flaw in this gem of a score is Sadka, nestled in the middle of the soundtrack, as though hoping not to be noticed. The melody is pleasant enough, and singers Suraj Jagan and Mahalaxmi Iyer do a good job delivering it, but the pace of track feels wrong and it plods along with a seeming lack of purpose.
It's fair to say that Vishal-Shekhar have always been a little ahead of the curve when it comes to making Bollywood music, and they definitely show an edge that sets them apart from the rest of the pack. I Hate Luv Stories sees them confidently add to this reputation.