This is one team that is always ready to bend the way Hindi film music is perceived, conceptualised and presented. Time and again Gulzar and Vishal Bhardwaj have created a kind of musical outing which sounds absolutely fresh and yet bears their trademark quality stamp. Also, the power of soundtrack which is made as a result of their collaboration belongs to the kind that doesn't just loose itself amongst all the noise created by beats but also has a lyrical tale to tell. One doesn't expect anything lesser from Ishqiya.
Ever since the release of Kaminey, it has been established that Vishal Bhardwaj is a strong admirer of Quentin Tarantino. This is evidenced once again in the opening sound of ' Dil To Bachcha Hai' (first in the original and more prominently in the 'remix version') with clear influence of Tarantino. Due to the country flavour of the film, the music too carries a similar mood. One can be assured that even Rahat Fateh Ali Khan would have been challenged by the way he is required to render 'Dil To Bachcha Hai' since it is a complete departure from the sufi numbers that he has been singing (on a rather successful note) off late. Gulzar's lyrics make you play the track repeatedly to get the crux of the matter while the music reminds one of the kind of songs that Mukesh used to sing for Raj Kapoor in his earlier days.
The only track in the album which has it's eye on the commercial sales is ' Ibn-E-Batuta', which pretty much appears to be kind that would gain an entry during the early part of the film. One has to a Google search though to explore the real meaning of 'Ibn-E-Batuta'. While one of the links indicates a namesake mall in Dubai, the top search result indicates that 'Ibn Battuta' is the name of a Moroccan Berber Muslim scholar and traveller who is known for the account of his travels and excursions called the Rihla (Voyage).
Going by the theme of the song which has Sukhwinder Singh and Mika pairing up for Naseeruddin Shah and Arshad Warsi, one makes a fair assumption that the song takes the viewer through their bird like journey in the free world where they are living life on their own terms. A rhythmic track that appears in as many as two 'remix versions', 'Ibn-E-Batuta' is no 'Dhan Te Nan' [Kaminey] but still the most 'commercial friendly' number that Ishqiya has to offer. Also, there is this intrinsic 'desi' touch (which unfortunately looses it's way in the 'remix version') in the song that strikes most.
However, if one is really looking for something magnificent musically, it's the two songs that follow next - ' Ab Mujhe Koi' and ' Badi Dheere Jali'. Sung by Rekha Bhardwaj, these are sheer gems and while they have a class appeal prevalent from first till the last note, they boast of that quintessential Vishal Bharadwaj and Gulzar which is as much uncompromising as a Bollywood soundtrack could promise.
'Ab Mujhe Koi' is a beautiful laidback track which moves at such a smooth pace that one can hardly sense any ups and downs. That's the beauty of 'Ab Mujhe Koi' that it can be kept in repeat mode and you won't even realise when it has begun, come to a conclusion and started all over again. 'Badi Dheere Jali' has a slightly more classical appeal to it and begins with a brief 'alaap' by Rekha before she embarks on a musical journey (with a hint of Western fusion to it) that lasts for as long as 7 minutes. This one would of course not come on lips of a regular Bollywood follower but would be grabbed by the connoisseurs of quality Indian classical music.
What would immediately attract a music lover to Ishqiya is the credit details that include Vishal Bhardwaj and Gulzar. However, even their hardcore fans would have to be cognizant of the fact that Ishqiya doesn't promise a popular soundtrack a la Kaminey (which had 'Dhan Te Nan' as it's anchor) or Omkara (which picked up beyond the rage created by 'Beedi Jalaile'). Instead Ishqiya is more rooted in it's appeal and maintains a classical touch for most it's part.
Ibn-E-Batuta, Ab Mujhe Koi