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Finally the review of Dilli 6 that has been long overdue. A.R. Rahman is back again with this album for Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra after their previous success Rang De Basanti.
The album kicks off with Masakalli. By now everyone should know this is a great track. There is just one reason for it : Mohit Chauhan. The lead singer of Silk Route, Mohit has been going from strength to strength the last year giving us something new with every track of his. Masakalli sees that and raises it ! You have to listen to his rendition of the words “tamanna” and “manmaani“; masterfully done. If I were an actor, I would have nightmares enacting his singing; such is his power in this song.
I am glad Masakalli did not feature in Om Shanti Om, the movie it was originally composed for. It just looks perfect for this movie.
Next up is Arziyan, a sufi number and a genre Rahman literally owns now. This track goes right into the league of the great sufi songs by Rahman, which is basically a list of all sufi songs composed by him (Piya Haji Ali, Khwaja Mere Khwaja, Zikr, Noor-Un-Allah to name a few). Not for a second does this 9-minute track drag; in fact, I would be surprised if you did not play it back again. Javed Ali (of Jashn-e-Bahaara fame) sounds just perfect and easily overshadows Kailash Kher with his simplicity of singing. The video sets the tone for the movie.
I hear that Rahman composed this track around 8 years ago but kept it to himself. I am just glad we got to hear it finally.
Noor is a voiceover by Amitabh Bachchan with some good lyrics (I am never a fan of lyrics). It is strange that Amitabh Bachchan has never acted in a movie for which Rahman has composed (or am I wrong here ?) apart from voiceovers in Lagaan, Delhi 6 and Jodha Akbar.
The title track Delhi 6 follows. This is a tribute to the capital city, an ode to its newer vibrant version. Blaaze raps while the female lead does perfect justice to the song with her anglicized Hindi.
It would be stupid to compare this tribute to Rabbi’s tribute Dilli. Almost every city has an image that has built up over decades and a newer version that is rising above the horizon. Rabbi’s was to the vintage Delhi, Rahman’s is to the newer one. But if I had to pick, obviously Rabbi’s version.
Rahman handles the mike for Rehna Tu, a slow romantic number that is completely fresh in both sound and feel. But can someone please tell me what is the instrument that plays a classical piece towards the end of this track ? I have been breaking my head over it for quite a few days now !! This piece is no doubt the best part of the track.
Hey Kaal Bandar is probably best left to be judged in the movie. It refers to the Monkeyman episode of Delhi a few years ago, something that holds special significance in the movie according to Rakeysh Mehra. In some places, it reminded me of Dil Ka Rishta from Yuvvraaj, but overall a decent number.
Dil Gira Kahin Dafatan is another brilliant track sung beautifully by Ash King and Chinmayee. The riff in the background is the best part. This is a track that will go into repeated hearing for most.
Genda Phool is one of those wedding songs which normally irritate. But Rahman livens it up with a bass track (not to be confused with Brass Tacks, the fantasy land of Zaid Hamid) while Rekha Bharadwaj keeps the singing simple. Overall a nice track.
Bhor Bhaye is a pure classical number attempted for the first time by Rahman. I hear it uses some old tracks of Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan mixed with Shreya Ghosal’s voice. You will only enjoy this if you are a fan of Hindustani music. No bass guitar, no beats, just classical music in its pure form. Shreya Ghosal impresses here; something I say very rarely about her.
Last is an Aarti – Tumre Bhavan Mein, just arranged by Rahman. This was recorded in a temple that Rakeysh Mehra used to visit. There isn’t much to review in this track, just that it recreates a temple.
Overall, A.R. Rahman is back in form which is always good news for fans. I am sure most people share my view that many of his songs are well beyond the respect an Oscar bestows. But I still hope for atleast one Oscar for the maestro just for the recognition is brings along for someone who has been consistenly churning out brilliant tracks non-stop for about 2 decades now, continuing his simple life and high ideals, staying out of controversy and treating music not as an art but as a religion.