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A.R. Rahman is in a peculiar state today. Whatever he churns out, especially when a film is as big as Delhi 6, is expected to be huge now, especially after a powerful trail that he has left behind in 2008. Add to that a rocking beginning to the year with Slumdog Millionaire and it has to be a very bad frame of mind for Rahman to churn anything less superior. No wonder, Delhi 6 comes with expectations of the highest order, especially with names like Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra, UTV, Prasoon Joshi, Abhishek Bachchan and Sonam Kapoor attached to it.
Why such excitement about the soundtrack of Delhi 6? Well, one hearing of 'Masakali' and you know that this would be a song remembered for months to come. An instant chartbuster from the word 'Go', it has a characteristic Rahman flavor to it and sounds a unique and extremely fresh piece of music. The orchestra is kept at bare minimum and still makes a huge impact in bringing on a recollection value.
Reminding of 'Pia Haji Ali' and 'Khwaja Mere Khwaja', 'Arziyan', as required by the genre, has tabla and harmonium taking it through its 9 minute long duration. The impact of this devotional track with a haunting sound is such that after a couple of minutes, a listener completely surrenders by loosing himself in the ambience created by it.
Well, if one thought that Delhi 6 was more inclined towards rustic music then watch out for the title song that comes next. Delhi 6 is what 'Paathshala' and 'Khalbali Hai Khalbali' were to Rang De Basanti. This is the track that deserves to be placed at number of instances in the film's narrative and if at all a music video is created around it, rest assured the number would be hummed by every campus goer. The beats are simply groovy and don't be surprised if the pubs and lounges, at least in North India, have the number playing on in a few days from now. In fact there is a number that goes as 'Hey Kaala Bandar' and is set in a mode similar to that of Delhi 6 if one has to consider the intrinsic groovy elements that it carries.
Most remarkable of the enterprise so far, 'Rehna Tu' is melody at its best with a Western base to it. A kind of number that can be instantly associated with Rahman, it has its strength in the smooth flowing narrative that makes it an ideal candidate to be played on your date with the one you love! And if the date extends for another hour or so, don't forget to play on 'Dil Gira Dafatan' which is just an ideal follow up to 'Rehna Tu' and keeps the romantic tempo on when it comes to melody. In fact there is hardly any instrument that plays in the background, hence making 'Dil Gira Dafatan' even more special!
For about 50 seconds, 'Genda Phool' appears to be all rustic and rooted but soon Western arrangements come into picture hence making it a cool fusion number that continues to get on variety for the soundtrack of Delhi 6. Composer Rajat Dholakia comes into picture for this unique number which leaves one wondering that in which situation it would be used. Surprise comes in the form of classical 'Bhor Bhaye' which is based on raaga Gujri Todi followed by an aarti 'Tumre Bhavan Mein', both of which promise to add on to the narrative of Delhi 6 in the background. Essence of love is all over again, though for a mere 50 seconds, as Amitabh Bachchan runs his commentary on 'Noor' that concludes the album.
Prasoon Joshi certainly likes to write something that has never been heard before. When he plays it all around to mix and match with words that could either be totally poetic or straight out of day to day conversations, songs like 'Masakali' are made. He gets devotional with 'Arziyan' and 'Aarti (Tumre Bhavan Mein)' with the classical 'Bhor Bhaye' and folk based 'Genda Phool' showing an altogether different facet of his writing.
Prasoon returns with the love songs 'Rehna Tu' and 'Dil Gira Dafatan' and gives Rahman quite a lot to experiment around. On the other hand, he would have certainly given Rahman a tough time to compose lyrics that go as 'Hey Kaala Bandar'.
Viviane & Claire are the guest lyricists for the title song Delhi 6 where they bring in the flavor of Delhites. This one is an ultra cool and modern number where lyricists cleverly mix words written in both English and Hindi.
Mohit Chauhan gets to sing on a completely different pitch, something that he hasn't been known for much after a slew of mushy romantic numbers that he has sung so far. He is terrific with 'Masakali' that would add on to his ever increasing repertoire. Javed Ali opens 'Arziyan' and Kailash Kher joins him later to create a mesmerizing impact that makes the number a heartfelt experience.
Blaaze, Benny, Viviane, Tanvi and Claire would have certainly had fun while coming together for Delhi 6 which is the first 'cool' number to make an appearance in the soundtrack. Another teamwork is seen in 'Hey Kaala Bandar' where Karthik, Naresh, Srinivas and Bony Chakravorty come together to make it an all-boys outing. Certainly, this makes for an enjoyable journey! However, ladies are not to be left behind, as apparent with 'Genda Phool' that sees Rekha Bharadwaj, Shrradha Pandit, Sujata Majumdar and V.N. Mahathi joining in and also 'Tumre Bhavan Mein' that features the trio of Rekha, Shrradha and Sujata Majumdar with Kishori Ashok Gowariker.
Rahman goes selfish with 'Rehna Tu' as he saves the best track of the album for himself and comes behind the mike for it. Just hear it to believe it as he is just so perfect in his rendition and makes you play on the number repeatedly. However, Ash King, a male singer who hasn't been heard on the Bollywood scene so far, gives Rahman tough competition as a singer with the number 'Dil Gira Dafatan'. He makes an excellent debut with Chinmayee doing well as a backup vocalist.
Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan and Shreya Ghoshal come together for 'Bhor Bhaye' and the latter especially shows her prowess as a singer as she comfortably slips out of her playback singing veil and gets into the groove of hardcore classical music.
Delhi 6 is near perfect. Period. If one thought that Slumdog Millionaire, Ghajini and Jaane Tu... Ya Jaane Naa were superb then just listen to Delhi 6 once. Rahman beats his own score with Delhi 6 which would easily go down as one of his best scores till date. Simply said, even though the year has just begun with some exemplary soundtracks like Dev D, Slumdog Millionaire and Luck By Chance already making a very good impression, Delhi 6 would qualify as a comfortable nomination amongst the Top albums of the year. And to thing of it, 2009 still has more than 11 months to go!