What's Your Raashee? isn't quite a quintessential Ashutosh Gowariker film. All his films from Lagaan onwards, whether it is Swades or Jodhaa Akbar, have come with a 'magnum opus' tag to them. This is why when he shifts tracks and comes up with a relatively smaller film like What's Your Rasshee? , you are curious to know what really is in store in this album? Well, as it turns out, this album actually turns out to be his hugest till date. Just when one would have thought that this film starring Priyanka Chopra and Harman Baweja won't quite be relying upon the music, Ashutosh springs a huge surprise by roping in composer Sohail Sen and lyricist Javed Akhtar to come up with an out and out musical by incorporating as many as 13 full length tracks. Yes, you read it right - 13 tracks!
Music of What's Your Raashee? is quite interestingly done. For the first time in the history of Bollywood cinema (and perhaps even internationally), a song has been created for each of the 12 characters (played by Priyanka Chopra) that are differentiated by sun signs.
First to come is the title song What's Your Raashee? 'Pal Pal Dil Jisko Dhoonde'. A number with a jazz setting to it, 'Pal Pal' sees Sohail Sen coming behind the mike himself and he does a fabulous job in going along with the mood and setting of the song. Boasting of a lazy flow that gives the album just the right kick start, the song is about the lead protagonist (Harman) searching for that one girl who fits in the kind of image that he is carrying in his heart.
Now this one is not just the best song of the album but is also easily one of the top romantic tracks that one has heard in Hindi cinema this year. Beginning with the sound of guitar (which actually goes on to be the primary supporting instrument throughout the song's duration), 'Jao Na' is just the kind of song that one would wish to sing to his/her date. Sohail Sen is excellent in his twin role of a composer and a singer here and does extremely well in making a smooth moving number like this which has the potential to go a long distance. Tarannum Malik's backup vocals further add a zing to this number that reminds of 'Tum Jo Mil Gaye Ho' [Hanste Zakhm] which had a similar (romantic) mood and (car drive) setting to it.
After a couple of romantic tracks comes a dance number 'Aaja Lehraate', which as indicated in the album details, is featured on the 'bubbly avatar' of Priyanka Chopra. As she promises to match steps with Harman Baweja in this rhythmic number that has a good melody associated to it, 'Aaja Lehraate' has a new voice being heard in the form of Bhavya Pandit. She brings in the right attitude to this song that has a Western touch to it with Shaan doing well to bring that youthful feel to the proceedings.
As the sound of piano is heard in 'Bikhri Bikhri', one is rest assured that this one is a serene melodious romantic number in the offering. With a slight classical touch to it; 'Bikhri Bikhri' has a poetic feel to it with Sohail Sen (yet again) justifying his presence behind the mike. Though the number has a touch of sadness to it, what with the male protagonist trying to brighten up the situation, the proceedings never turn dull. The 'antra' portions especially have that Pritam touch to them that only make 'Bikhri Bikhri' (that has Mariannne D'Cruz's voice in the background) yet another track after 'Jao Na' to make it to the list of those looking for a romantic outing.
Surprise, surprise. We have heard composers or actors turning singers. However, for a change, it is the turn of a director to get behind the mike. Yes, Ashutosh Gowariker actually does croon 'Maanunga Maanunga' which is featured on that 'avatar' of Priyanka who is dominating in nature. A situational track about this guy agreeing to do whatever he is asked to do by this forceful and no-compromise woman, 'Maanunga', which has Pamela Jain as the female vocalist, has a Western flow to it. For this song to succeed with the audience, a lot would depend upon the way it is picturised. By the look of the things though, it seems that it would have a light hearted and a little over-the-top treatment to it.
The moment one sees Udit Narayan on the credits for a song, expectations soar. Reason being that he has been singing quite sparsely over last few years and his presence in a project like this only makes you get curious about what he has to offer. He doesn't disappoint at all as he comes together with Sohail Sen for 'Sau Janam' which is a romantic number with a soft rock touch to it, hence bringing that new age feel to it. A song that moves at a slow pace, 'Sau Janam' reminds one of the music of 90s but one doesn't mind that at all as it only brings in the positive elements of the era gone by. Madhushree does what Alka Yagnik has done with Udit Narayan in dozens of chartbuster songs and it would be interesting to see how far does 'Sau Janam' go.
It's a unique sound that begins 'Aa Le Chal' which soon turns out to be a song with an old world setting to it. Reminding of the kind of songs that are best associated with the 50s and 60s, 'Aa Le Chal' is perked up though with modern day arrangements. Crooned by Aslesha Gowariker, sister of Ashutosh Gowariker, the song is about this young woman who is hopelessly romantic in nature, something that seemingly results in a perplexed Harman (who also chips in with a few words here and there). Aslesha's voice is different for sure and in terms of comparison comes closest to that of Alisha Chinai.
Just when one was missing Alka Yagnik, she comes on the scene with 'Pyaari Pyaari' where she has Sohail Sen for company. In fact it's Sohail who begins 'Pyaar Pyaari', yet another beautiful romantic number that makes an instant impression. A smooth sailing number that has minimal usage of instruments in the background to get the right mood in place, 'Pyaari Pyaari' has Alka Yagnik making her entry only during 'antara' portions. She does well in the romantic setting that 'Pyaari Pyaari' boasts of and makes sure that the number is remembered for its simplicity.
One of the 'avatars' of Priyanka Chopra in What's Your Raashee? is that of a young Gujarati woman, hence the number 'Su Chhe'. However, instead of a typical 'he jee re' sound that has been done to death, 'Su chhe' follows a contemporary route while still being attached to the roots. There are a few Gujarati words here and there but the music as well as the arrangements do not restrict themselves to the song's setting and still carry a universal setting. Sung by Bela Shinde and Sohail Sen, 'Su Chhe' is a fun romantic number and promises smiles throughout its duration.
Now if only this song would have been composed in the 60s or the 70s, it would have straight away made it's way into Helen's repertoire. A song of seduction that does carry the sound from the past, this Tarannum Malik number carries some heavy duty lyrics and is strictly situational in feel. Sohail Sen joins the proceedings as well but just like the character, he is dominated by Tarannum in the song.
Tarannum sounds different in 'Dhadkan' though which has a stage setting to it. A number that carries a sound of intense passion to it, 'Dhadkan' has Sohail pitching in as well though again as a secondary lead. Seemingly a climax track due to it's elaborate setting and grand orchestra, 'Dhadkan' promises a visual appeal to it while being strictly situational.
A number with a classical touch to it, 'Koi Jaane Na' is sung by Rajab Ali Bharti who brings in a fresh voice to What's Your Rashee? With a sad feel to it, mainly in order to be in synch with the character that Priyanka plays in one of her 'avatars' here, the song (which also sees Bela Shinde chipping in) mainly has its high points at places where the words 'Koi Jaane Na' come. After 'Dhadkan', this is yet another situational track in a row.
Situation thankfully perks up once again with a new take on title song What's Your Rashee? which goes as 'Chehre Jo Dekhe Hain'. This time around its decision making time for Harman Baweja as he has had a dekko at all the 12 girls and now has to pick the one he feels is best suited for him. A decently placed number with a lively setting to it, Sohail Sen sung 'Chehre Jo Dekhe Hai' features all the 'avatars' of Priyanka and should be a good watch.
Ashutosh Gowariker has directed four films in the past - Baazi, Lagaan: Once Upon A Time In India, Swades and Jodhaa Akbar. Though music played an important part in each of his films, none of the films could be branded as a musical per se. However, for the first time ever, he comes up with a film that has been designed as a musical, courtesy the entire designing around each of the sun signs. Kudos to the film maker, Sohail Sen and Javed Akhtar for getting their thinking hats together and making something as innovative and fresh as What's Your Raashee?. Listen to this one for a unique experience. This one is not to be missed!
'Jao Na', 'Pyaari Pyaari', 'Bikhri Bikhri', 'Sau Janam', 'What's Your Raashee? Pal Pal', 'Aaja Lehraate'