After Oscar finalist Lagaan, Ashutosh Gowariker brings another magnum opus - Swades - We, the people. A UTV Motion Pictures presentation and Ashutosh Gowariker production, Swades is one of the top three most awaited movies of the year with Veer Zaara and Kisna.
And why not, when it boasts of numbero uno star Shahrukh Khan and the legendary musical 'jodi' of A.R. Rehman and Javed Akhtar saab. Both Lagaan and Swades deal with the theme of taking pride in being an Indian.
The difference here being that while Lagaan told a story set in the 19th century, Swades is more contemporary (unlike the misconception of it being set in the pre-independence era) and tells the story of a scientist in NASA (played by Shahrukh Khan) who returns to his motherland to find his roots.
Introducing Gayatri Joshi as the lead heroine, Swades (just like Lagaan) too is character driven rather than star driven and hence has a bagful of talented stage and small time actors.
When the canvas is as big as Swades, ones expectations are sky high from the music. And more so if the team has delivered a massive hit earlier. Coming in the wake of musical Veer Zaara, this one is a second biggie for SRK in the span of just one week.
In the opening number 'Yeh Tara Woh Tara', Udit Narayan sounds as fresh as always and sings with a childlike excitement. The nuber has a beautiful melody and rhythm and in fact is reminiscent of a lullaby. Lyrics are far from routine and talk about the strengths of being united.
Child artistes Vignesh and Pooja sing their lines well and add on to the rural feel. After listening to the number completely, you are sure that SRK will be doing something different from his lover boy image in this movie that has a classical feel about it.
Alka Yagnik enchants once again in 'Saanwariya Saanwariya', an excellent romantic solo by her that proves that fact that just like Lataji and Ashaji, her vocals too are getting better and better with every passing year. Her pitch is just perfect in this 'very much an original' composition by A.R. Rehman that make you admire his music - yet again. A simple love song, it will grow on you after listening for a few times.
A number attached to the roots makes an appearance with 'Yun Hi Chala Chal' by Udit Narayan, Hariharan and Kaailsh Kher. Though the number is accompanied by strong beats throughout, never once does the number get off track from its theme.
Picturized on SRK and Makrand Deshpande, this lively road number talks about life and its various moments that bring a smile on the face. All the three singers are excellent in their rendition and make this rather lengthy track (of about eight minutes) quite enjoyable. Now this is what you call an original tune!
If the previous three tracks were based around rhythm, then listen to 'Aahista Aahista', which is melody at it's best. Udit Narayan comes together with Sadhna Sargam in this quite'n'nice love song that goes on and on and never once do you feel tired of listening to the tune. This is vintage A.R. Rehman!!
'Yeh Jo Des Hai Tera ', which follows next is the call of the nation to the lead protagonist to come back home. The theme song sung by A.R. Rehman (that also appears in a 'Shehnai' instrumental) is a situational track and raises the question of why a person has to be away from his country when everything is here in his own country?
'Pal Pal Hai Bhari' is a chapter from Ramayana set as a stage play. Sung by Madhushree, Vijay Prakash and Ashutosh Gowariker, the song is narration of the scene when Sita is in the trap of Ravana and he is trying to instigate her against Lord Ram.
But Sita doesn't bow down to his wishes and continues her worship with 'Raam-naam'. A devotional song, it should appeal to the ladies and the worshippers of Lord Ram. Just like 'Yeh Jo Des', 'Pal Pal' also appears in a 'Flute' instrumental .
Album ends with the love duet 'Dekho Na' that is again rich in melody and shows the class of Rehman. Sung by Udit Narayan and Alka Yagnik, it is a sugarcoated number that you can sing along to your beloved on a long drive. Another original number, it doesn't borrow its inspiration from anything new or old.
The first obvious question that one may ask after hearing to Swades is - 'Will the tracks be as popular as Lagaan?' The answer is 'YES'. The tracks have everything going with them to be popular amongst all age groups and societies. All the tracks are original and have a certain class associated with them that make them stand apart from the routine dish served by Bollywood.
Interesting promos on the air will further make sure that the songs make their presence felt. From here on, it should be interesting to see which one out of Veer Zaara and Swades reaches a one million sales mark first!
Rating: *** 1/2