I was in for a pleasant surprise when I received Sohail Sen’s “What’s Your Rashee” (soundtrack of renowned Ashutosh Gowariker's upcoming film), which had generated some tepid reviews from the Indian media, probably due to the fact that the young musician does not yet have more soundtracks to his credit. As I listened to the first notes flowing from the speakers I just knew my next review would have to concentrate on this album, if only to express what a commendable job Sen has achieved by composing a challengingly long soundtrack, consisting of 13 tunes, 12 of which cleverly morph into one in the ending track. Among these thirteen songs, there are several which definitely deserve to occupy a solid position in the playlists of contemporary Hindi music lovers:
Let us roll back a couple of minutes to those first notes jazzily oozing from the sound system and capturing my attention. Pal Pal Dil Jisko Dhoonde (ARIES) is an auspicious introduction to Sen’s music style, which seems to have a wide palette of jazz and pop influences. From time to time the listener can almost sense Sting winking through the bass arrangements, organ drills or the saxophone and trumpet interludes. Latin American music lovers may sense other references cropping up one second and disappearing the next, as the room is filled with smooth and spunky sounds.
Aa le Chal (SCORPIO)’s pure melodic lines unveil a certain charm that hooks the listener in. Could it be that the Scorpio in me has been ultimately seduced by my corresponding song? No, the sexy tune has a “special something” to it. As I listen on I can finally pinpoint that the faintly quirky, fresh and sweet treat for the ears is indeed Aslesha Gowariker’s low pitched and seemingly carefree vocals... a welcome novelty in the female voice panorama.
Engaging piano introductions seem to be a common denominator to several tracks. Pyaari Pyaari (VIRGO) deserves a special mention, as Sohail Sen’s crisp and airy voice is joined by legendary Alka Yagnik, singing mellow lyrics signed by Javed Akhtar. This is a clean cut romantic song, very characteristic of Indian soft pop which a catchy tune that lingers on for weeks and beyond.
A striking Koi Jaane Na (CAPRICORN) exquisitely emerges with a dulcimer-like piano, closing the soundtrack’s 12 Rashee (star sign) cycle. Our ears are tickled with Rajab Ali Bharti's talent for effectively translating the lyrics into melodious emotion. A palette of musical instruments and arrangements, such as the use of choirs, a Western classical interlude, bells and soulful strings colour it all.
“What’s Your Rashee?” is indeed a refreshing musical concoction, revealing a promising composer that we will continue looking out for. Our hands are now itching to get the recent “The Murderer” soundtrack, which he has also directed, eager to repeat the pleasant experience.