You obviously have very good expectations from the music of London Paris New York. After all the promos have been catchy, the song that plays in the background has caught attention and most importantly it is the man of the moment, Ali Zafar, who is responsible for composition, lyrics as well as singing. With him playing the lead protagonist, it makes it four roles in all. Whew! With as many as half a dozen songs in the offering, one plays on London Paris New York with good anticipation.
Expectedly, the album kick-starts with the title song ‘London Paris New York‘. With a Kabhi Alvidaa Naa Kehna kind of start that Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy had given to the title song there, this one forms its own identity soon enough with Sunidhi Chauhan joining Ali Zafar behind the mike. A feel good urban number with a Western sound to it that is in the same mould as one experiences in many a Hollywood romcom, ‘London, Paris, New York‘ is yet another track that can find a tagging of ‘coming of age’ composition. Okay, so you won’t be singing this one along but if it arrives at different points in the film’s narrative, it is bound to work.
Next to arrive is a conversational song ‘Voh Dekhnay Mein‘ which belongs to the mode which is fast gaining popularity in mainstream Bollywood cinema today. This one is a Hinglish track where the guy is picking up the girl for her quirks and traits while narrating her various characteristics and even pulling her leg at places. A situational track which is basically driven by Ali Zafar’s lyrics and singing with musical instruments taking a backseat, ‘Voh Dekhnay Mein‘ is easy on ears. Honestly one does take time to warm up to ‘Voh Dekhnay Mein‘ though but by the time the female version comes (which is almost unplugged in its presentation), you settle down with it. What also impresses is the fact that it is none other than the leading lady Aditi Rao Hydari who renders the number here and one must admit that in this barely 80 seconds duration, she does make her presence felt.
Soon after arrives a quintessential bhangra track with ‘mauj-masti’ written all over it. Though there are bits of Western influences here and there, it is the quintessential Punjabi flavour that forms an inherent part of ‘Ting Rang‘. Also, such has been the hold of Shahid Kapoor over this stage and setting that you almost associate the actor with a composition like the one that is heard here. However Ali Zafar makes the song as his own and though this one isn’t the kind that would turn out to be a chartbuster outing, it adds on well to the packaging that he wanted to put together for London Paris New York.
The song that does manage to impress more though is ‘Thehree Si Zindagi‘. A love song which has the kind of lyrics that one does expect from an up market product like this, it is also elevated further due to the kind of sound that stays intact right through its five minute long duration. The longest track of the album, this one too is situational as well but has a heartfelt quality to it that hooks on the romantic in you. This time around Aditi Rao Hydari gets to croon for a much longer duration and though rough edges are quite audible, it is apparent that this is the way Ali Zafar wanted the song to remain to ensure believability.
What follows next surprises though because from a melodic setting, London Paris New York gets into a club mode with an element of trance and Sufi with contemporary urban elements interspersed in it. The ones who join Ali Zafar this time around are Sanam Marvi and Hadiqa Kiani, both from Pakistan. With an 80s touch to it, this song which goes by the title of ‘Ooh Laa Laa‘ is an entirely different experience when compared to the namesake track that one had heard in Vidya Balan’s The Dirty Picture. This one too is fast paced but instead of being a ‘masala’ outing that caters to the gallery, it instead pitches itself as a dance floor track. Not just that as Ali Zafar too gets into the rap-n-reggae mode, something that he hadn’t done in the album so far or any of the other songs that he has sung for a Bollywood film so far.
The mood becomes dark soon after with ‘Aaja‘ which is seemingly in the same mode as ‘Tum Jo Mil Gaye Ho‘ [Hanste Zakham]. There are a couple of major differences though. While ‘Tum Jo…’ was a passionate love song, this one is about pain of loneliness. Also, though the start here is slow and sombre, the mood shifts a minute or so down the line with Sufi-pop taking over. From this point on it’s the word ‘Aaja‘ that holds most prominence with Ali Zafar also letting on the heat with the kind of arrangements that are fast, furious and (of course) passionate. This one should add on to the momentum of the film’s narrative.
One thing which is quite apparent after listening through the score of London Paris New York is that Ali Zafar hasn’t taken a (presumably) safe route of putting together an album that covers a wider market segment. Instead he has stuck to the theme of the film and barring an odd ‘bhangra’ number or so, he has attempted to come up with something that goes with the mood and theme of the album. Thankfully he hasn’t changes his route drastically but still for a movie which doesn’t pitch itself as a regular romcom, he manages to come up with a soundtrack that goes well with the narrative.
‘London, Paris, New York’, ‘Thehree Si Zindagi’, ‘Oo Lala’, ‘Voh Dekhnay Mein’