Bollywood beware. The unmistakable alchemy that exists between Shankar, Ehsaan and Loy strikes again with a delicious assortment of splendidly composed and arranged melodies for Zoya Akhtar's debut film, Luck By Chance. After a first listen, one cannot help but think back to the decade's opening with the legendary Dil Chahta Hai album, in which SEL seem to have experimented to their heart's content. Luck by Chance might just be the scintillating equivalent to that soundtrack as the end of our decade approaches.
A feel good gem opens the soundtrack, with Loy's and Shekhar Ravjiani's warm and airy voices singing for our ears' delight. Yeh Zindagi Bhi's melody and arrangements evoke breezy sunlit skies, paired with inspiring and hope inducing lyrics penned by respected Javed Akhtar, definitely leaving a flowing feeling of cheer behind.
Baawre follows as a unique piece of work, slowly beginning with a qawwali, only to surprise the listener with a sudden turn into a psychedelic "East meets West" rythmic frenzy, complete with tabla, dholak and the works, delivering a performance full of zing! A track that should not be missed, in neither of its two available versions, with Midival Punditz pitching in to create a stupendous remix capable of bringing anyone back to life.
If you can catch your breath after having danced to the second track, a dreamy piece of romance awaits you with the talented vocals of Mahalakshmi Iyer and Amit Paul, singing Pyaar Ki Daastaan, in which the melody tends to recall the magic of memorable romantic songs composed by SEL in previous soundtracks such as KANK.
Sunidhi Chauhan's vocals enter the scene and soothe the soul in a refreshing and summery Yeh Aaj Kya Ho Gaya, bringing a 70s peppy atmosphere to the fore just before the soundtrack takes a dive into a more dark and haunting realm... Sapnon Se Bhare Naina, one of the album's superior tracks, features Shankar Mahadevan's absolute genius in using his hypnotic voice, never failing to leave listeners amazed and wondering why the universe is sometimes so generous towards a lucky few. Poetic lyrics as well as a subtle trance background also contribute in stirring the audience's sensitivity.
Shankar's voice carries on touching deep and sensitive chords with the heartening O Rahi Re, which has been a personal favourite ever since the first listen, enjoying Ehsaan's guitar riffs, the lingering sitar and Shankar's sweetly melodious "Bol tera hai kaunsa rastaa Rahi re O rahi re".
Highly recommended to all, the Luck By Chance soundtrack remarkably exudes freedom and audacity, whether it is brought across by the melody and instrumentation or by the breaking of musical boundaries that SEL have achieved, creating an unmistakably original sound for each track. The album can proudly boast an authentic Shankar Ehsaan Loy quality seal. It is indeed a unique piece of work and an example that many bands should definitely look up to.