Honestly, expectations aren't mammoth from the music of Veer. Yes, the film stars Salman Khan but Veer is a departure for him when it comes to his on-screen image. Yes, the film has music by Sajid-Wajid but this was clearly a setting that brought them out of their comfort zone. In fact, presence of Gulzar as the lyricist further makes one wonder how this unique combination will actually click. Moreover, since the film is a historical, there is always a 'what if' factor involved.
However, there is a surprise in store from the very first note of Veer with a grand feel with which 'Taali' arrives. An uncharacteristic beginning to the album due to the fact that it is not really a love song that kick starts the proceedings, 'Taali' is a spirited track that boasts of great energy. A truly Indian number which has Sukhwinder Singh at his boisterous best (who later returns to do a 'solo version' of the song), 'Taali' boasts of some fine arrangements with a variety of instruments coming into play. In fact if not for Sajid-Wajid on the credits, one may have well imagined A.R. Rahman to be at the helm of affairs here. With Sonu Nigam joining the show and Wajid along with Neuman Pinto providing added support, 'Taali' takes a couple of listenings to settle down but once that happens, one looks forward to how director Anil Sharma has got the kind of grandeur that the song deserves. A good start.
From here on the album takes a turn for something even better with 'Surili Akhiyon Wale' coming next. A melodic romantic number that boasts of some heartfelt and never heard before lyrics (has anyone ever heard of 'ankhiyan' being 'surili'?), it is further elevated due to silky vocals of Rahat Fateh Ali Khan. He sings 'Surili Akhiyon Wale' at a low pitch and in the process of doing so comes up with a rendition that would certainly make a mark for months to come. Sajid-Wajid take a complete departure from the kind of score they have made for films like Wanted and get into a classy scheme of things.
The song also includes an English portion (obviously created for a Brit woman who is in love) and singer Suzanne D'mello pretty much justifies her inclusion. In fact it's not just the 'mukhda' but even the 'antara' that works so very well that one finds it difficult to move on to the next track in the offing. A brilliant track that also appears in a much deserving duet which also features Sunidhi Chauhan. If the film is successful at the box office, it would be hard to ignore 'Surili Akhiyon Wale' which is as pure as it gets.
It is the same purity that can be evidenced in 'Salaam Aaya' and by the time the song is one minute through, one is convinced that Sajid-Wajid had some of their best compositions reserved for Veer. In fact the song makes one wonder that why had they been choosing a different route for most of their masala outings when they had so much to offer. A soothing track that sees the coming together of Roop Kumar Rathod and Shreya Goshal, 'Salaam Aaya' is a moderately paced love song which is a complete shift from the high-on-beats club tracks that are in vogue today. This one has a truly Indian appeal to it and though one doesn't quite hum around such songs on road, it does make a good impact on audio.
For Salman Khan fans through there is 'Meherbaniyan'. A Sonu Nigam solo, this one has an elaborate beginning to it and while there is a definite old world feel to 'Meherbaniyan', one can't deny the fact that Salman will have his fans asking for more once the track plays on screen. The beginning of the track doesn't quite indicate where it is heading but the moment the word 'Meherbaniyan' is heard for the first time (after about 60 seconds), it is obvious that there won't be any looking back. A dance number that could well have been placed in a movie belonging to today's time, 'Meherbaniyan' may not carry the same appeal as the opening three tracks but would go down reasonably well with the masses.
However, for class lovers there is a 'thumri' - 'Kanha' which establishes once again that Sajid-Wajid do come with a good enough classical background. They may be making a Paying Guest on and off but listening to 'Kanha' brings an entirely different facet of their composing skills. They also rope in the best in the business with Rekha Bhardwaj leading the charge. Even though the track has a strong classical base to it, the accompanying vocals of Shabab Sabri, Toshi & Sharib ensure that it doesn't just restrict itself to the class audiences. A very good piece musically, it should add value to the film's narrative.
Last to come is a one minute instrumental piece 'Spirit Of Veer' which has a 'Meherbaniyan' feel to it while being laced with fun and humour.
Veer throws a pleasant surprise. There were apprehensions galore (as explained eariler) but a couple of listening pretty much facilitates their dilution. Sajid-Wajid have indeed given their best three soundtracks ever in Veer and though they may have had managed chartbusters earlier, Veer is the kind of album that would fetch them a much deserving respect. Along with Gulzar they have created the kind of tunes that may not necessarily turn out to be the hugest chartbusters of the year but would certainly be remembered for time to come.
'Surili Akhiyon Wale', 'Salaam Aaya', 'Taali'