Son of the legendary Pakistani singer Ustad Amanat Ali Khan of Pakistan, Shafqat Amanat Ali has delivered several hits in Bollywood such as “Yeh Honsla” (‘Dor’), “Mitwa” (‘Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna’), “Tere Naina” (‘My Name is Khan’), “Bin Tere” (‘I Hate Luv Storys’), “Teri Jhuki Nazar” (‘Murder 3’), “Phir Le Aaya Dil” (‘Barfi’), “Allah Wariyan” (‘Yaariyan’) and “Manchala” (‘Hasee Toh Phasee’). He released his first solo album ‘Tabeer’ in 2008 followed by another album called ‘Kyun Dooriyan’ in 2010. He is back with his third album ‘Muh Dikhai’, the music of which has been scored by him as well. The album consists of nine tracks portraying various shades of love.
“Dil Kookay”, the video of which was launched recently, is the first track on the album. While the arrangements are very light and modern, the lyrics are in Punjabi. The song is easy on the lips and the chaste Punjabi phrases are not too difficult to comprehend either. This breezy track could have been featured in a film soundtrack.
The lyrics of “Janiya” convey pain and sorrow but the music, with some heavy techno beats and an elaborate violin piece is upbeat. The song is not the kind that you would like to hear on loop but is passable. The Punjabi lyrics are good.
The melancholic touch comes across wonderfully in “Ratiyaan”. The song has contemporary arrangements compliment the raga based tune wonderfully. The music is much more restrained than the first two tracks. Apart from the modern beats, the strains of flute, table and saxophone make for a good listen. The track unravels at a leisurely pace and makes you long for it once it is over.
Electric guitar riffs and loud drum beats mark the arrival of “Sun Lo”, a rock ballad that moves back and forth between a restrained, soft interlude and a fast paced, energetic portion. This multilayered song takes you on a high with its sweeping melody. Shafqat sings the track with a lot of passion making one feel the various emotions that a person goes through in love.
With “Rang” Shafqat pays a tribute to Amir Khusro’s legendary qawalli “Aaj Rang Hai”. The music, composed by Shafqat, is very good and does justice to the immortal lines written by Amir Khusro. The back-up vocalists help in elevating the spiritual feel of the song. Tabla, dholak, flute are occasionally heard while the acoustic guitar creates a wonderful ambience for the song.
“Tere Liye” has simple lines that fit in well with the narrative structure of the song. The song takes some time to grow because of its situational appeal. The track has an almost templatized pop sound and does offer anything new to the listener. “Tere Liye” is far from being a memorable number but is a worthy addition to the album with other similarly themed tracks.
One finds the title track “Teri Khoj (Muh Dikhai)” placed at the seventh position in the album. One can’t help but wonder why was the title track not placed at the beginning itself as it is easily one of the best songs on the album. The song has a very traditional sound with some chaste Punjabi lyrics. The highly melodic folkish tune touches your heart. Be it the vocals, lyrics, tune or orchestral arrangements, the track scores high in all the departments.
“Tum Nahi Aaye” starts with the sound of tinkling bells and soon turns into an intense raga based composition. The violin and sarangi pieces help in punctuating the somber mood of the song. The music, though comes across as a little familiar, is good.
A soothing piano portion followed by Shafqat’s mesmerizing alaaps set the tone for the pathos filled “Dil Dharhaknay Ka Sabab”. Words make an appearance two minutes after Shafqat takes away your breath with his powerful voice. The song has some intricate vocal movements with minimal orchestral arrangements. Shafqat’s smooth flowing voice and the delicate notes of piano and violin will have a calming effect on your senses.
Shafqat Amanat Ali’s earlier albums ‘Tabeer’ and ‘Kyun Dooriyan’ had a blend of traditional and modern sounds and ‘Muh Dikhai’ is no different. The subject of love is the common thread that connects the nine tracks in the album. While most of the songs have a melancholic feel to them, they vary in mood, arrangements and lyrics. Shafqat delivers an impressive solo album for the third time in a row.