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The musical divide:
Love Aaj Kal versus Jab We Met

Instep lends an ear to the soundtrack for upcoming Bollywood film Love Aaj Kal. But while its predecessor - Jab We Met - was a classic gem, this outing by Pritam and film director Imtiaz Ali pales in comparison. 

By Saba Imtiaz
OST Love Aaj Kal**
Composer: Pritam Chakraborty

The soundtrack to Love Aaj Kal marks composer Pritam Chakraborty's second outing with the film's director Imtiaz Ali. His last work with Ali resulted in the soundtrack to Jab We Met, which was perhaps one of the best to have come out of Bollywood in the past decade. However, the Love Aaj Kal (LAK) soundtrack falls flat when compared to Jab We Met (JWM), and while it may not be entirely fair considering Pritam has composed music for films like Billu Barber, Aa Dekhen Zara and New York as well, the inevitable comparisons have to be made.

That isn't to say the Love Aaj Kal score doesn't have its moments. Considering the film features two parallel storylines - set in modern-day and also a 1960s Punjab setting - the soundtrack reflects those two moods. But where JWM was touchingly beautiful, with its carefree gems 'Aao Meelon Chalein' and 'Yeh Ishq Hai' and the mehndi favourite, dance-heavy 'Mauja Hi Mauja', LAK has none of those evergreen songs. It swings wildly between being irritatingly Minglish-heavy or featuring a combination between bhangra and hip-hop, and also has the requisite syrupy ballads, including one by Pakistan's own Rahat Fateh Ali Khan.

While the film's promos promised a new version of the once-popular Punjabi song 'Kadi Te Hans Bol Ve' - on the soundtrack it turned out to be meshed into a song called 'Aahun Aahun' which not only features the beginning stanza of 'Kadi Te' but also a irritating Aahun Aahun chorus and near-rap vocals. While the chorus makes it grating the song does grow on you after a while. Though what was going through Pritam's head when he decided to meld a number of different things into 'Aahun Aahun' is anyone's guess.

However, that atrocity is made up for in the form of 'Twist', which one suspects will be this year's answer to 'Mauja Hi Mauja' and 'Marjaani'. It's already received heavy airplay on television - particularly its 'making of' video which shows Saif Ali Khan delivering an upward of 40 takes while dancing on the song - and 'Twist' definitely has hit written all over it. It melds a conventional bhangra beat with snake-charmer strains to make a way for a Minglish hit. 'Lets have some raunaq shaunaq, lets have some party now, lets have some rola rappa…pakar le kissi ki wrist, and we twist, we twist, we twist, we twist.' Hey, Bollywood lyrics may not be known for their intelligence quotient, but as far as catchy beats go this one's a winner.

The other letdowns on the LAK album include - 'Chor Bazari' and 'Mai Kya Hoon', both entirely forgettable and that the soundtrack really could have done without.

Of the two ballads - Rahat's 'Ajj Din Chadheya' and Mohit Chauhan's 'Yeh Dooriyan' - it is (sadly for fans of Rahat) 'Yeh Dooriyan' that wins out. While Rahat's vocals are impeccable, the song leaves no impact unlike his earlier, far more memorable Bollywood songs 'Morey Piya' and 'Jiya Dhadak Dhadak'. One feels that 'Yeh Dooriyan' leaves more of a wistful, lovelorn impact while 'Ajj Din Chadheya', is pleasant enough but easily forgettable. There are also three remixes featured on the soundtrack but given that the songs are all so fast-paced, their inclusion really does seem unnecessary. However this has become a trend with Bollywood, to include remixes in the original soundtrack, and it has worked in a few cases such as the 'Dard-e-Disco' remix from Om Shanti Om or the 'Talli Hua' remix by Jay Dhabi off Singh is Kinng.

In all, the soundtrack of Love Aaj Kal is worth buying or downloading - if just for 'Twist' and 'Yeh Dooriyan' - but this isn't a Jab We Met by any standards. One expects some of the songs will leave more an impact once the videos accompanying them are released, but for now, this is a letdown from Pritam.

Disclaimer: This scribe has learned her lesson; all that glitters in film promos is not gold. She should have learned from the letdowns A.R.Rahman/Gulzar and Shankar-Ehsan-Loy/Javed Akhtar delivered last year in the form of the atrocious Yuvvraaj and Rock On!!! respectively.

*****Get it NOW!
****Just get it
***Maybe maybe not
**Just download the best song
*Forget that this was made