The last Vishal-Gulzar outing was with No Smoking, the stoner movie by Anurag Kashyap. The duo is back in Vishal’s own directorial venture named “Kaminey“. The trend of using swear words in songs has been around for a while and was popularized in the recent past by “Kambakht Ishq“, a high energy number from the RGV flick “Pyaar tune kya kiya“. It was sung with tremendous gusto by Sukhwinder and Asha Bhosale (Sonu Nigam also had some lines, but he fails miserably in comparison to Sukhi and Asha).
Fast forward to 2009 and we have reached a new high (or low, depending on how you look at it) – with a movie title called “Kaminey” (as in the wise words of wisdom from Dharam paji: “Kutte Kaminey, main tera khoon pee jaoonga“).

Kaminey looks like a gangster comedy set in the ever fascinating underworld of Bombay. Gulzar once again deftly weaves English, Hindi, Urdu and street slang into his words and challenges the composer to weave melody around his sometimes unusual and complex poetry. Vishal does a fantastic job at it – RD would have been proud of this man.

Dhan tan nan
This one is what one calls a complete KNOCK-YOUR-SOCKS-OFF number. It’s a heady concoction of a James Bond theme, 70s Hindi Cinema background score and RD Burman (somewhere I sensed the Pulp Fiction’s theme in the background). Sukhwinder Singh and Vishal Dadlani (of Vishal-Shekhar) are in high gear and in a complete masti mood. This one will have you hit the repeat button on your mp3 player a number of times (and it also makes for a fantastic running track). There is a remix version of this, which is also groovy, but I am still hooked to the original one, and why not when it’s so damn good. Sample these lines and you will notice how Gulzar weaves English words seamlessly:

Aaja ke one way hain yeh zindagi ki galee ek hi chance hain
Aage hawaa hi hawaa hain agar saans hain toh yeh romance hain

(Another brilliant usage was in ‘Kajra re’ of Bunty aur Babli:
Aankhen bhi kamaal karti hain, personal se sawaal karti hain)

Who else can weave this obnoxious word in a delicate verse other than Gulzar?

Meri aarzoo bhi kaminee
Mere khwaab bhi kaminey
Ek dil se dosti ki thi, yeh huzoor bhi kaminey!!

Maan gaye ustaad! Vishal Bharadwaj keeps this for himself and lends his voice for this number which is soaked in a beautiful symphony with interesting orchestration (notably – piano and trumpet). This is like a glass of good wine, will win you slowly, steadily but surely.

Listening to this one for the first time, it was hard to comprehend what the song was about, the occassional sound of a whiplash just added to the puzzle. And then there was the revelation in the end:
Yeh ishq nahin aasaan, AIDS ka khatraa hain
– the entire song fell into perspective. Yes, this is a song with a social message around safe sex and AIDS. This one could be an anthem for the AIDS awareness campaign. Kailash Kher and Sukhwinder Singh both have the throaty quality in their voice which lends well to such songs. Gulzar uses many similes and metaphors in the lyrics which are revealed to you once you know the underlying message in the song.

Raat ke dhaai baje
Rekha Bharadwaj can do no wrong. She teased in “Namak” in Omkara, she was melancholic and naughty in “Gendaa phool” of Dilli-6 and here she is back to rock our world. She is joined by Sunidhi Chauhan, Kunal Ganjawala and Suresh Wadkar. It’s always a treat to hear Wadkar’s voice, last heard in another Vishal composition – Jag ja from Omkara.

Rekha has the unique quality of giving an impression of just fleetingly touching the words, like hovering over words without actually saying them. Right from the opening notes this one keeps you wanting for more and more. A great ensemble song.

Pehli baar mohabbat ki hain
This is a lazy love ballad sung by Mohit Chauhan who delivers on every note, staying and lingering on sounds and words just enough for creating the right effect. Once again Gulzar’s words are dripping with many emotions:

Khwaab ke bojh se kapkapaati huyee halki palkein teri,
yaad aata hain sab, tujhe gudgudaana sataana yunhi sote huye,
gaal pe teepna meechna bewajah besabab,
yaad hain peepal ke jiske ghane saaye the,
humne gilharee ke jhoothe matar khaaye the!

Classic Gulzar – hits all the right spots.

Overall a knock-out soundtrack. More power to the Gulzaar/Vishal teaming.