This is an offbeat film. However, Gulzar's presence does raise hopes for some powerful blend of mass appeal with class.
The lyrics are the mainstay of this offbeat album. Gulzar excels in the words, shedding his usual esoteric imagery for meaningful substance.
And he also comes up with one whopping image that's perfect and poignant too – of the Indo-Pakistan border being like the line drawn on the ground for opposite teams in a kabaddi match!
The theme of the score, cross-border harmony, continues throughout the four-track album like a distinct lyrical signature, though the first track, 'Kisse Lambe' (Sukhwinder Singh-Sandesh Shandilya-Rahat Fateh Ali Khan) is largely in incomprehensible Punjabi, which, we feel, could (in fact, should) have been avoided. Within the song, Sukhwinder Singh dominates effortlessly with his powerful throw. The song takes a Punjabi folk base but has a modern treatment.
Papon tries to sing both like himself and (in parts of the song) like Ghulam Ali in 'Lakeerein', which starts off with Gulzar reciting the first few lines of the track. The lines 'Lakeeren hain to rehne do / Kisi ne rooth kar / Gusse mein shayad khench di thi / Inhi ko ab banao paala /Aur aao babaddi khelte hain' speak treating our border just like a mere symbol of enjoyable day-to-day games played with the other side, as mentioned earlier. The song is in modern mode, but Papon's accent should have been really worked upon as it is the one sore point in a nice little ditty.
The fourth song is sung by Ustad Hamid Ali Khan, refreshingly delivering the musically light but lyrically expressive 'Kaleje Mein'. His vocals and singing are remarkably like his composer Sandesh Shandilya's singing style. A bit of good-natured satire, it still makes an incisive point ('Tujhe tanhaai khaa jaati / Tu paagal ho gaya hota / Bina dushman akela reh gaya hota') by suggesting that we would have been lonely without the enemy! Only Gulzar could have thought of such a paradox in this day and age, maybe because the poet's roots were in a town that is now on the other side of the border.
Having said that, this is the most simple yet complex musical composition in the score, and looks deceptively straight despite ist layers.
Our rating is purely from a commercial point of view, because the tunes decidedly lack popular appeal (except to an extent 'Kaleje Mein'), and in that sense they pull down the brilliance of the verse.
'Lakeerein', 'Jo Dikhte Ho', 'Kaleje Mein'
Music: Sandesh Shandilya
Music Label: T-Series