Think Mohit Suri’s films and chances are you will start humming a mushy Sufi rock number. If Zeher and Kalyug heralded the arrival of the genre into mainstream Bollywood, the sound continued through films such as Woh Lamhe, Awarapan and Murder 2. The director certainly has a knack for melodies and Ek Villain, close on the heels of his last film, the phenomenally popular Aashiqui 2, comes with expectations. While Suri does make his album tread in familiar territory, he also takes commendable efforts to bring in new things such as Shraddha Kapoor’s pleasantly surprising reprise version of Galliyan, the already popular composition by Ankit Tiwary. Kapoor lends the right amount of huskiness and vulnerability to the song. The original, sung by Tiwary himself, starts on a cliched note and the auto-corrected fine tuning is a mild irritant in the beginning. But the haunting melody grows over a number of listens. Mithoon churns out the album’s most unusual song — and my favourite — Banjara. It has a subliminal, calming quality, a more understated and refreshing departure from the composer’s earlier haunting, heavy and somewhat similar sounding tunes. The minimal acoustic heavy arrangement, with nice touches of harmonium, help.
The composer’s next Zaroorat, is the album’s weakest. The song tries to capture the slow burning anguish of a tortured soul, but the melody sounds too hackneyed. Mustafa Zahid’s singing invokes the feeling of his earlier hits and it doesn’t help. There are interesting things happening in Awari, like the occasional electronica flourishes in the arrangements and the unconventional structure and it has the potential to grow over time. Arijit Singh can almost make any tune work and Humdard isn’t bad at all with an eminently hummable hook. It doesn’t sound as something conceived under the pressure of outdoing Tum hi ho — the composer-singer’s last collaboration that attained popularity of anthemic proportions.
Although it does have a similar melancholic vibe it’s never a problem. Suri manages to pull off a balanced, melodious album for his Aashiqui 2 follow up with his assemblage of composers.