If you are looking for a premise, Mausam seems to be all over space and time. Judging from the trailer, it is a costume drama, a war film with all men in uniform, an exotic location romance and a salt-of-the-earth Indian love story. Sure, director Pankaj Kapoor obviously has his reasons to flit around with the look and feel of the film, and with that, one can expect the music styles to be spread generously too.
‘Rabba Main Toh Mar Gaya’ is the safest start the album can have. Music director Pritam begins this varied sonic journey with a lilting intro to what is yet another ‘Rabba’ song (is there just no end to all this ‘maula’ and ‘rabba’ abuse?) Shahid Mallya’s voice is decent because he has a nice husky undertone that sneaks in without losing the smoothness. Yes, it’s a ballad and if the lyrics click with you, then this song will work.
The promise of variation is kept when the second song unfolds with a full-on Punjabi vibe, Mika included. ‘Sajh Dhaj ke’ is a fun, sangeet type song but is actually a welcome party for someone returning from a foreign land. The tune is lively and the predictable percussion keeps the song on its toes.
Hans Raj Hans handles the vocals on ‘Ik Tu Hi Tu Hi’ and I wonder why he is not heard more often in film music. As the song flows, it becomes the one to beat here and topping this one could be unlikely. Oh yes, and don’t miss the Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan alaap that slips in the middle. Nice!
More sadness is channeled through ‘Poore se Zara Kam Hai,’ sung by Rashid Khan. It’s pretty much in the same mood as the two songs before and a gear shift would be welcome now.
This upshift comes in the form of ‘Aag lage Us Aag Ko’. With its misleading start, the song shoots its intensity into you with the dramatic singing of Karsan D and the heavy beats of the music. This one can get either very irritating or very uplifting.
Pritam is actually doing a fine job so far. Like the film, the music is slowly revealing different textures and styles. Mild electronica enters the mix with ‘Mallo Malli’ but sadly, this one does not really pick a side. While Tochi Rainaa’s voice is really not sitting well on Pritam’s ambitions, the song stays on the fence between western beats and a desi groove.
As usual, the album then free falls into a number of remixes of the above songs. This seems to be some kind of rule, but it’s not entirely out of place. The version of ‘Mallo Malli’ is better than what you may hear in the movie so dig deep into the album if just for this track.
Mausam is all Pritam, all the way. The man has a way of translating the director’s brief and coming up with an album that stays true to his own sensibilities. As a listening experience, Mausam is one of the better filmy albums out now and hopefully it will manage to stay beyond its season.