Composer Hanif Shaikh and choreographer turned filmmaker Ahmed Khan go back a long way. Hanif had sung 'Yeh Dooriyan' for Ahmed's directorial debut effort Fool N Final. Years after the release of the film, their association has gone to the next level with Hanif writing as well as composing all the five songs in Ahmed Khan's production Paathshaala. With Shahid Kapoor playing a major role in the film, one looks forward to what Hanif has in store for listeners in his first major project.
First things first - Paathshaala must have created a record of sorts because each of the five songs in the album are sung by, believe it or not, a composer who also sings occasionally. Salim Merchant (of Salim-Sulaiman), Vishal Dadlani (of Vishal-Shekhar), Lucky Ali, Kailash Kher and Hanif Shaikh himself come behind the mike for a song apiece. Now is 'Limca Book of Records' hearing this?
Coming to the first track in the album, 'Aye Khuda' is as soothing as it gets. A soft number with Western orchestra to it, this Salim Merchant number is an urban number with an Indi-pop touch to it. The kind of number that instantly gets you into the mood and makes you look forward to the album to follow, 'Aye Khuda' is a youthful track and completely in line with what one expects from the soundtrack of a Shahid Kapoor starrer. Barring 'Khushnuma' (which is the next to arrive), each of the tracks in Paathshala has a remix to boast of and the one which accompanies 'Aye Khuda' is no less entertaining.
Arrival of 'Paathshaala - Khushnuma' is most welcome as it is the song with an attitude. An out and out Western track with a club feel to it, this Vishal Dadlani sung track has an extremely arresting beginning to it and gets your neck swinging in no time. Kudos to Hanif Shaikh for coming up with the kind of groovy arrangements that ensure that youth laps up to 'Khushnuma'. Now one looks forward to how the song is picturised for screen.
Lucky Ali is the third to arrive and he makes sure that he has a gala time behind the mike as he gets into a melodious outing with 'Bekarar'. A haunting number which only sounds more and more better with every listening, 'Bekarar' goes perfectly well with the overall mood and setting of the soundtrack of Paathshaala. Going by the title of the film, one would have expected that it would primarily be made of theme songs or some situational numbers. However, a track like 'Bekarar' isn't really dependent on a film and would be enjoyable even if it is heard standalone. No wonder, its 'remix version' is also welcomed with open arms.
For the first time in the album, a female voice is heard and the lucky one is Tulsi Kumar. She is roped in for 'Mujhe Teri', a soft romantic number which she totally enjoys singing. A track which has Hanif Shaikh not just co-composing with Vijay Lama but also lending his voice, 'Mujhe Teri' (which also has added vocals by Akansha Lama) moves on quite seamlessly and adds further variety to Paathshaala. With each of the songs managing to bring in something to the album, it turns out to be an entertaining outing so far.
'Teri Marzi Aye Khuda', though being a slightly pensive outing, is not boring at all. Kailash Kher is the solo singer for this situational track which has an out and out 'hindustani' feel to it. Promising to arrive at a crucial juncture in the film where the graph goes a little downhill (from the story standpoint) 'Teri Marzi Aye Khuda' turns out to be a fairly decent track.
Finally arrives 'Paathshaala - Theme' which begins with the sound of 'Aye Khuda' but soon takes a far more euphoric route with a horde of children coming together and sharing their happiness of attending a 'paathshaala'. A short two minute piece which should form a part of the film's background score, 'Paathshaala - Theme' is a nice way of bringing this album to a close.
Paathshaala is a good album with at least three tracks that carry the potential of being popular in days to come - 'Aye Khuda', 'Bekarar' and 'Khushnuma'. Hanif Shaikh does well in churning out a good first album, both as a composer and lyricist. However, the need of the hour is aggressive promotion of the album which should enable these songs to get their due. With just a month to go for the film's release, couple of dozen films releasing in the interim and IPL going strong, it would take a lot for Paathshaala to be noticed. However, with Shahid Kapoor staring hard from the promos of the film, there are good hopes that this effort from Hanif Shaikh would get noticed.
Aye Khuda, Bekarar, Paathshaala - Khushnuma