When it comes to a film from the house of Karan Johar, you know that the music here would be big. And big doesn't necessarily mean opulent here, as has been the case with Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham or Kabhi Alvidaa Naa Kehna. It also means big in terms of class, setting, treatment and overall appeal, as was the case in Karan's productions (which were helmed by other directors) like Dostana, Kurbaan or Kaal. These films may not have entered the 'shaava shaava' zone but had their own place in the sun while fitting in perfectly right as per the genre. Same is expected from I Hate Luv Storys as well which is a romcom with music by Vishal-Shekhar and lyrics by Kumaar, Anvita Dutt and Vishal Dadlani.
With the name Vishal Dadlani flashing on the cards as the lead singer of the opening 'Jab Mila Tu', one gets the feeling that the composer is fast becoming a prolific singer as well. Is that a reason to complain? Not at all if the end result of 'Jab Mila Tu' is any indication. A young and happening track which has the potential to get popular amongst the campus crowds, this Anvita Dutt track belongs to the kind of soundtrack that goes along with many a Hollywood romcom. A sweet sounding rhythmic track, it does touch upon the Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy zone, especially the kind of music that was heard in Wake Up Sid.
What follows next is a beautiful number 'Bin Tere' which is certainly the highlight of IHLS. This time around Vishal Dadlani pitches in as a lyricist and along with Shekhar Ravjiani, he makes sure that the song stays with you long after the album is through. How do the composers do that? Well, they present as many as three versions of the song right from start till the end of the album. First to come is a duet by Shafqat Amanat Ali and Sunidhi Chauhan. A pensive track that thankfully doesn't turn into a 'sad outing' despite its mood, 'Bin Tere' has a classy feel to it and should make a better impact when seen with the film.
A song about a couple which is longing to be together again after a period of separation, 'Bin Tere' later sees a reprise version where Shekhar Ravjiani comes behind the mike for a solo. With just a guitar playing in the background, this well laid out musical piece sees some good lyrics by Kumaar who ensures that this version stands out as well. There is one complain point for Shekhar here - Why does he sing so sparsely? Given the clarity in his voice and the right notes that he hits, he deserves to record his own voice more often. Finally comes the 'remix version' of this song which is designed for a club outing. Yet again, Shafqat Amanat Ali and Sunidhi Chauhan get together and one doesn't mind hearing the song all over again.
After a mushy and a sad track, there is time for a peppy outing with Vishal Dadlani letting himself loose (as a singer) for the title song 'I Hate Luv Storys'. Written by Kumaar, this youthful number (which deserved a remix version for itself but surprisingly doesn't find any) has a Vishal-Shekhar stamp to it. A first of its kinds track if one goes by the theme and the lyrics, 'I Hate Luv Storys' is an instant hit number which should see audience coming to it in the first hearing itself.
Rajasthani folk flavour kick starts 'Bahara' which is written by Kumaar. While Sona Mohapatra comes up with her folksy rendition, it is Shreya Ghoshal who takes the song through an out and out Bollywood route. While this part of the song does work, the fusion doesn't with the folk part seemingly more like an intrusion rather than an integral part of the romantic outing. However, there is respite just round the corner with the 'chill version' turning out to be highly effective. This time around, it is Rahat Fateh Ali Khan who goes solo for the song and ensures that he does such a fantastic job that one ignores the female version that had just preceded it. One wonders why this version wasn't placed earlier in the album?
Last to come is 'Sadka' which has a surprise in store. Suraj Jagan, who has been known for his rock and high adrenalin tracks (with an exception of 'Give Me Some Sunshine' - 3 Idiots), is pleasantly restrained in 'Sadka' where he has Mahalaxmi Iyer for company. Watch out for Anvita Dutt's lyrics here which are indeed different from the routine. A romantic track that has a grand feel to it, 'Sadka' belongs to the kind of romantic outings that can be expected in Karan Johar films.
The biggest positive about the music of IHLS is the uniformity that it has from start till the finish. There are no major ups or downs as well as no striking highlights or lowlights. What works is the fact that the album has a constant theme to it which remains within boundaries without meandering into different directions. For those who love to hear those youthful melodious tracks composed by Vishal-Shekhar, I Hate Luv Storys is the one for them.
'Bin Tere - Reprise', 'Jab Mila Tu', 'I Hate Luv Storys', 'Bahara - Chill Version'