Aarop is my first taste of Bhupen Hazaika's music and, as far as I can tell, this soundtrack is distinctly 70's yet the music has a very organic feel. The closest I can compare it to is Ananda Shankar's Sa Re Ga Machan album (you can get a track on eastern eye), yet this one is a lot less experimental and more filmi. This "organic feel" is mostly caused by Hazaika's choice of instruments. Even though most songs have the classic high pitch violin intros, most of the time a light mix of classical and western instruments added to the sweetest melodies which are often played on the flute, are accompanied by some traditional folk instruments. The singers all have very good classical background, especially Manna Dey and Lakshmi Shankar, but you won't hear pure classical music on the record. Basically, this album has great vocals with music that has hints of earthy/indian/filmi/classical/western/folk music etc. Yeah, I know it's a mix of a lot of things, and weirdly enough, except for the last song, each category is so diluted by one or the other, that it creates a united feeling yet at the same time creates one that points in no particular direction.
I would never have guessed that my favourite song on the album, "Jab Se Too Ne Bansi Bajayi Re",was sung by a 47 year old woman. Lakshmi Shankar is a trained classical singer with a lovely youthful voice that portrays, in the song, innocents and a feeling of loss and hope at the same time. I love it.
"Nainon Men Darpan Hai'' is the only song I could find the video for. It is probably the most popular as it is sung by top playback singers Lata Mangeshkar and Kishore Kumar. But I find it very ordinary and moulded to be very filmi. Deja Vu or in this case Deja Entendu. Yawn.
The album ends with a totally R. D. Burman sounding cabaret number that seems a little out of place compared to the rest of the record. I feel as if the composer just wrote it because the film format, especially of the 70's, demanded a sexy upbeat track for the vamp. In this case, the song called "Sub Kuchh Mila Too Na Mila" is sung by no other than Asha Bhosle and, judging by the back cover, is picturised on Bindu.
Even though no specific songs, except "Jab Se Too Ne Bansi Bajayi Re" really capture my attention, the whole soundtrack is well constructed and I feel connected to the overall sound. It's kind of like I know what he's going for, and he's almost there but not quite. Also, I find Hazarika used each singer to his advantage, Lata and Kumar for the popular tune, Asha for the cabaret, Manna Dey to sing for the mature hero and Lakshmi Shankar, somewhat underused, for the simple melody. He knew what each singer could do best.
For more info on Bhupen Hazarika (he's coming out with a new album) here is a link to a fan blog and to his web site.
1. Manna Dey: O Phoolon Ke Desh Wali
2. Manna Dey: Haath Mere Hai Madhu Ka Pyala
3. Lata Mangeshkar & Kishore Kumar: Nainon Men Darpan Hai
4. Asha Bhosle: Chale Aao
5. Manna Dey: Toot Gaya Mera Sapna Suhana
6. Bhupen Hazarika & K. N. Sharma: Hey Jai Yashoda Nandan
7. Lakshmi Shankar: Jab Se Too Ne Bansi Bajayi Re
8. Asha Bhosle & Chorus: Sub Kuchh Mila Too Na Mila
Lyrics: Maya Govind
Stella_1's score: 3.5/5
Get the music now: Bhupen Hazarika Aarop