The Rathods (Roopkumar and Sunali) have collaborated on several Ghazal based albums together. They had last released the album ‘Kalmaa’ which came out more than three years back. They are back with another album called Zikr Tera, which as is the case with all their albums, has all the songs composed by Roopkumar. The ghazals have been written by Shakeel Azmi, Saani Aslam, Madan Pal and Parveen Kumar Ashk.
Expectations are skyrocketed what with “Haathon Mein Haath” setting the standards really high for the album. ‘Haathon Mein Haath’ is a breezy, sweeping melody that takes your breath away. Shakeel Azmi, who has written most of the songs for Roopkumar Rathod’s film compositions, writes a beautiful ghazal. The poetry is simple but high on imagery. Roopkumar’s composition is flawless and is complemented by Deepak Pandit’s arrangements.
It’s difficult to think of a ghazal based album that does not feature a song on betrayal in love. “Zaroorat Uski” is a highly evocative track composed and sung by Roopkumar Rathod. ‘Rukh Badalte Hue Mausam Si Hai Fitrat Uski, Kuchh Dinon Ke Liye Main Bhi Thha Zaroorat Uski’ – these lines written by Saani Aslam convey the pain of a lover effectively. Roopkumar’s expertise as a vocalist can be gauged by the fact that he not only sings but expresses beautifully.
Pay close attention to the lyrics (Shakeel Azmi) while you listen to “Aur Kuchh Din” and you will notice that the ghazal has a deep philosophical bent to it. Lines like ‘Le Gaye Hum Bhi Usse Mandir Aur Masjid Ki Taraf, Varna Har Raah Mein Uska Hi Thikana Milta’ compel you to think. The violin works as a wonderful accompaniment to the somber feel of the song. Sanjay Jaipurwale plays some wonderful raga based riffs on the guitar. Sunali Rathod sings the song extremely well, making one empathize with the plight of a person going through a lot of pain in his/her life.
The mood gets a bit lighter with “Paron Ko Khol”, a song that talks about being optimistic in life. The highlight of the song is the poetry written by Shakeel Azmi. He writes some original lines like ‘Ghatayein Uthti Hain Barsaat Hone Lagti Hai, Jab Aankh Bhar Ke Falak Ko Kisaan Dekhta Hai’ (Dark cloud emerge, it starts pouring when the farmer looks at the sky) which are highly impressive. The music is good and grows on you after a couple of hearings.
Roopkumar Rathod’s breezy tune is in sync with Madan Pal’s romantic verses in “Sawaal Sabne Kiya.” Even though the track has a touch of melancholy to it, it does not come across as dark and depressing. Even though the ghazal, written by Madan Pal, talks about pain and separation, the thoughts are very original and fresh. The arrangements are minimal and give a relaxed feel to the song.
“Abr Guzra” is the third and last track (including the duet) on which Sunali Rathod’s voice is heard. The antara of the song is a lot more impressive than the mukhda. Sunali sings the song really well but somehow, the song does not seem tailor made for her voice. The violin, sitar and percussions create the appropriate mood for the song.
The opening notes of “Meri Chaadar Tha” create a dark and brooding atmosphere which is maintained throughout the entire duration of the song. The song has a strong flavour of ragas and Indian semi-classical music. Though the tune sounds a little familiar, it engages. The orchestral arrangements, by Deepak Pandit, are very good.
“Zamin Ko Aye Khuda” is the most thought provoking ghazal on the album as it talks about world peace. ‘Zamin Ko Aye Khuda Wog Zalzala De, Nishaan Tak Sarhadon Ke Jo Mita De’, Parveen Kumar Ashk some of the finest lines one has heard recently in a film/non-film album. The ghazal has been very well composed and sung by Roopkumar Rathod. The ghazal conveys a very strong message which should reach out to a lot of people.
Zikr Tera is very good album filled with ghazals that speak about love, life, separation and pain. One of the songs, ‘Zamin Ko Aye Khuda’, even promotes world peace and conveys a message that one should learn to respect each other and live in harmony. What comes across as surprising is the fact that despite the romantic title of the album, there is just one duet. The two songs, ‘Haathon Mein Haath’ and ‘Zaroorat Uski’, have the potential to become immensely popular if promoted well. The other songs are good as well and will grow on listeners with repeated listening.