You can listen to the soundtrack here.
Riding on catchy guitars and Vishal Dadlani’s ever-reliable power-packed vocals, Aao Na makes for a wonderfully engaging composition, the occasional repeat feel notwithstanding (I could sense Yaaram in places). Composer Vishal Bhardwaj picks up the title refrain of the song and fashions a folksy worker song out of it with some variation in Gulzar’s lines as well, called So Jao. Ingenious, the way the shovelling sound has been used to maintain the rhythm, and the bass and oud are two other notable components. Bashir Lone, Bashir Bhawani, Muzamil Bhawani and Mayukh Sarkar aren’t able to do as great a job as Dadlani, but that doesn’t really matter in this case. The composer gets Suresh Wadkar for the melodic piece Do Jahaan. Wadkar sounds soulful as always of course, but the song is a tad monotonous in its tune and treatment. The only occasional respite comes in the form of the leading lady Shraddha Kapoor’s cameo with the esoteric-sounding folk (Kashmiri?) bits. Similar issues weigh down Aaj Ke Naam as well; there is a lovely ghazal-style arrangement highlighted by the violins, and Rekha Bhardwaj’s singing is spot on, but it is all a little too familiar to not sound tedious beyond a few listens.
Rubabs and other native sounds abound in the high energy Bismil that undergoes multiple mode-shifts, set as it is to a play. The fact that Sukhwinder Singh also sang a song set in a comparable situation in Kaminey might have something to do with him leading the vocals here too, the man does a brilliant job of singing Gulzar saab’s wonderfully worded lyrics yet again. I am keener to see this song than hear it alone though, the visuals in that two minute teaser looked too enticing! The lesser keenness in the audio also arises because of my mental comparison with the stellar work that the reprise version of the same song, called Ek Aur Bismil, is. The core tune and Sukhwinder are kept intact, but everything else is revamped turning it into a heady Arabic fusion song! Arijit Singh checks off Vishal B as well from his list with this soundtrack, getting not one but two songs. Khul Kabhi Toh, which already came out last week, is a fabulous melody that the composer arranges superbly with an understated bluesy base (particular neat usage of the double bass). And Faiz Ahmed Faiz’s legendary work Gulon Mein Rang Bhare gets yet another makeover here. Not the best cover of the song I have heard, but Arijit presents a fine nuanced rendition. The composer himself gets behind the mic to render the last song, another of the soundtrack’s best. Dark song with a clear classical flavour (puriya dhanashri, I am guessing), the arrangement dominated by string instruments – santoor, guitar and most importantly the violins that impart the thrilling moments in the song with the occasional peaks (wonder if the peaking and ebbing is symbolic of the river). Amidst all this is Vishal Bhardwaj’s placid singing that goes perfectly with the mood of the song.
Haider is only the seventh Vishal Bhardwaj soundtrack that has been reviewed on this site (there have been only 7 albums since 2009), and this is the best soundtrack from the man after that first one. Incidentally that movie also featured Shahid Kapoor.
PS: All songs except Jhelum have been produced by Ketan Sodha, and Jhelum by Simaab Sen. Really happy that Jhelum ended up among my favorite songs, Simaab is a person I value much as a musician.
Music Aloud Rating: 9/10
Top Recos: Jhelum, Ek Aur Bismil, Khul Kabhi Toh, Aao Na