The late Raj Kanwar was a director who excelled in family/romantic dramas. The man had a keen ear for music and almost all his films carried good music. It all started with his first film ‘Deewana’ (1992) for which Nadeem-Shravan scored some terrific music which helped the composer duo win many awards. The musical journey continued till ‘Sadiyaan’ (2010) which was a bit of a disappointment when compared to the music of his other films. Nevertheless, the director will always be remembered for the many hit films he directed; the songs of which will remain etched in one’s memory for long. ‘Dhaai Akshar Prem Ke’ was the only film in which Raj Kanwar joined hands with composers Jatin-Lalit. He has worked with Anu Malik in ‘Badal’ (2000), ‘Har Dil Jo Pyar Karega’ (2000), ‘Ab Ke Baras’ (2002) and ‘Humko Deewana Kar Gaye’ (2006). The soundtrack could well pass off as a Babul Supriyo-Anuradha Paudwal soundtrack as both their voices dominate this eleven track soundtrack.
“Dhaai Akshar Prem Ke”, the title track, is soaked in Indian melody. Right from the choral vocals chanting a phrase in Punjabi to the arrangements consisting of a mélange of Indian instruments, the track is high on Indian melody. Jatin-Lalit’s music, remarkably different from their usual style, is very good. The lyrics are simple but the way they move around the phrase ‘Dhaai Akshar Prem Ke’ (Two and half letters of love) is praiseworthy. Babul Supriyo and Anuradha Paudwal’s performances are exceptional.
Next comes “Do Lafzon Mein”, the most popular track of the soundtrack. Like the title track, this one too deviates from the composers’ usual style of composing music and seems like a crossover between an Anand-Milind and Anu Malik (who was the numero uno music director in the early 2000s) number. The way the various percussion instruments (dholak, tabla) have been used is very impressive. Though the tune sounds a little familiar, it is engaging nevertheless.
Instead of the Indian melody that one got in the first two tracks, “Hai Deewana Yeh Ishq Mera”, has a light Western orchestral background. Unlike the last two tracks this one has Jatin-Lalit’s stamp all over it. The music is devoid of any complexities and is easy on the lips. The lyrics are fairly predictable.
“Yeh Sama Yeh Nazaare”, sung by Babul Supriyo and Anuradha Paudwal, is one of the best tracks on the soundtrack. This breezy track has an infectious quality to it which demands repeated listens. The song boasts of some neat use of guitars, keyboards, drums, bongo and tabla and has a very lively rhythm structure. There is a dream sequence accompanying the song and the breezy feel of the song fits the situation appropriately.
The next track is called “Koi Taza Hawa” which roughly translates to ‘a fresh waft of air’. Honestly, one could not find a better phrase to describe the song. Except for a portion in which a female vocalist warbles, the song is a complete winner. The tune is unpredictable and very catchy. The techno beats and atmospheric sound reminds one of Viju Shah’s school of music but Jatin-Lalit manage to leave their imprint on this highly melodious song.
“O Mere Rabba” is a sad number, in which Anuradha Paudwal is joined by K.K. This gorgeous number bears no resemblance to any Jatin-Lalit composed numbers from their entire discography. The song, with some heavy arrangements, has an earthy feel to it. Be it the tune, the choice of singers, arrangements and the lyrics, the song shines in every department. Anuradha Paudwal’s rendition is extraordinary; she brings out the pain of the lovelorn Sahiba (Aishwarya Rai Bachchan) wonderfully. K.K sings in his “Tadap Tadap Ke” (‘Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam’) avatar and is good.
“Mera Mahi Bada Sona Hai” conveys the anxiety of a young woman who is waiting for the arrival of her lover, whom she is madly in love with. The music is energetic and is very appealing to the ears. The various Indian instruments lend a festive feel to the song. The song is high on emotional quotient and appears at a very important point in the film. While Anuradha Paudwal leads the song, the backing vocalists get some good lines to sing as well.
‘Now where did this come from?’, you wonder as you hear “Ek Haseen Ladki”. The song not only breaks the flow of love songs but also does not quite fit in with the rest of soundtrack. The song intends to add some fun element to the soundtrack but does not really succeed in doing so. An extremely situational number, this one should be heard with the visuals only.
There are three short versions of the “Dhaai Akshar Prem Ke”, the title track. Two of these have been sung by Anuradha Paudwal and one by both Anuradha and Babul Supriyo. The three tracks have a slower tempo than the original with two of them being sad numbers. For those who have enjoyed the title track, these alternate versions will be enjoyed too.
‘Dhaai Akshar Prem Ke’ is one of the most underrated soundtracks by Jatin-Lalit. The composers had experimented with different styles and come up with songs that are completely different from their style (“Dhaai Akshar Prem Ke”, “Do Lafzon Mein”, “O Mere Rabba”) and some beautiful tracks that bear the stamp of their signature melody. The only track which sticks out as a sore thumb in the soundtrack is “Ek Haseen Ladki”. Raj Kanwar’s other release in 2000 (‘Har Dil Jo Pyar Karega’) music did better than the Jatin-Lalit composed soundtrack but ‘Dhaai Akshar Prem Ke’, arguably, was a much better soundtrack. Babul Supriyo and Anuradha Paudwal made a very good pair as singers and it is sheer delight to hear their voices on the same track. Some songs like “Do Lafzon Mein” have stood the test of the time and are popular till date but the entire soundtrack definitely deserved more attention. It works very well as a package and brings the best out of Jatin-Lalit.
Anish Mohanty tweets @anishmohanty