Cross border friendship between India and Pakistan is something we have all been yearning for. I would say in no other field has it been as successful as in the music industry. From Junoon to The Call we have been mesmerized by their style of music which is a delightful blend of Sufi, Qawwali and good old Rock. The music of Awarapan stands as a tribute to their contribution; lets hold our breath here; as ALL the songs are Pakistani originals which are rearranged by our very own Pritam.
First up on the list, we have Toh Phir Aao sung by newcomer Mustafa Zahid. Newcomer is a rather false title to be given to this talented lad, as he is the lead singer of the Pakistani rock band called Roxen. Toh Phir Aao, visits the album in three avatars. The Toh Phir Aao (Original) is a beautiful masterpiece of the band Roxen. Sung magnificently by Mustafa Zahid, he takes us through a ride of high voltage mushy romance with good aid from lyricist Sayeed Quadri. Toh Phir Aao (Lounge Version) bags total credits to Pritam to show what a music arranger can actually do. He takes the same tune and lifts it into a very ambient realm with some amazing synth sounds and accompaniments.
The next song in the album is again by Mustafa Zahid, and this time he comes up with Tera Mera Rishta. In first listen it is a very ordinary kind of tune with some very Chinese instrumentals backing it up. But give it a second or a third and you can sense the singing of Mustafa taking you over. The way he sings the title part of the song itself is worth every second of the song transformed into solid gold. Guys, do try singing this song and you can see why the rendition is especially difficult. Two down and the album is already worth your greens. But wait, we have more.
Playback singers sometimes go rather unappreciated. They need to have more than just a good voice and faultless pitch. This is evident in the song Mahiya which is sung by Suzanne and another version (which is also a DJ Suketu Remix) sung by Annie. Annie is the original artiste of this song and it goes to show how much of infectious charm and energy she has put into it. I personally find most of the Hindi and Tamil songs which has English lyrics interspersed to be rather annoying. But this one is a welcome break, as it is cute. It is strawberry candy cute. It has a very catchy and fast paced tune, with lyrics singing about a girl who’s waiting for her Prince Charming (yes, Emraan Hashmi with a horse’s mane). The lyrics effortlessly move from English to Hindi. Arrangement-wise there is not much difference between the original and the remixed version, but I would go for the remixed version any day so that Annie’s rendition brings a smile to your face.
Maula Maula is a very traditional Qawwali song which has some very bare minimum accompaniments. Its rendered in the usual full throated Qawwali style by Rafaquat Ali Khan. A very situational number, Maula is a break from the power packed track list found in the album till then. Nevertheless it is a must listen for the Qawwali lovers amongst us.
Like all hindi movie albums, this one also has its set of remixed versions. The remix of Toh Phir Aao is easily the best in the pack with DJ Suketu packing in the beats for this otherwise very emotional number. The remix is a decent one, but thanks to the innate energy packed in the original number, this is one song that will be seen moving to the top of the charts soon. The slickly shot promo video for this song which features the band Roxen, Emraan Hashmi and DJ Suketu, ensures that this song will become a rage pretty soon, if not already. The other remix we have in the album is that of Tera Mera Rishta. With some offbeat English vocals, this remix really cannot do justice as a floor burner. It sticks more or less to the original tempo of the song and really cannot drive you to dance. Again, it’s the beauty of the original that holds it on for this particular remix as well.
To summarise it all, Pakistani music is what Himesh’s should have been. The tone, construction and ambience of almost all the Pakistani artistes are remarkably similar. But somewhere in there lies a very pure musical form which never makes us really tired of it. We had Junoon doing it for us in 1998s, Strings in the 2000s and with Awarapan, it definitely looks like Pakistani artistes have established their foothold in Indian Music Industry, and that too for the good of all of us.