The launch of Aashiqui 2s music last week by Mahesh Bhatt and his the launch of Aashiqui 2s music last week by Mahesh Bhatt and his team was also a celebration of their musical legacy. It is the original,the 1990 musical Aashiqui,which set the precedent for a certain kind of music that would be associated with the Bhatts over the next 10 years,under the Vishesh Films banner that Bhatt created with his brother Mukesh.
That kind of music,a mix of hummable Indian melodies with a generous dose of Western pop influences,came to represent a large part of the 90s Hindi film music the Kumar Sanu-Nadeem-Shravan hits. It became a musical template for their films through the decade and the production house gave the audience several memorable melodies over the years. However,its music took a sharp turn in the mid-2000s and has since been characterised by the Sufi-rock sound that shaped the hits from films such as Murder,Zeher,Kalyug and Gangster.
Aashiqui 2 chiefly represents the latter,with attempts to revisit their legacy of melodies. The two sensibilities dont always mix well. The result is an 11-song album that suffers from hackneyed tunes,bland arrangement and overtly sentimental lyrics.
There are just a couple of tracks,especially the already-popular Tum hi ho composed by Mithoon,and Ankit Tiwarys Sunn raha hain that stand out because of their haunting tunes and unconventional renditions. Singer Arijit Singh owns Tum hi ho with a huskiness that lends the song its shades of melancholy and tragedy. It has a reprise joined by the female voice of Palak Mucchal that one may mistake as Shreya Ghoshals. The voices are strikingly similar except that Mucchal lacks Ghoshals depth or range.
Composer Mithoon turns the central tune of this song into the albums only instrumental, Aashiqui – The Love Theme a quiet piano-driven piece that may work better as a background score rather than an independent track.
The song Hum mar jayenge,sung by Tulsi Kumar and composed by Jeet Ganguly,is outdated even by the standard of the 90s. In addition,one of Gangulys songs,Milne hain mujhse aayi,is a reworking of his hit Bengali number. While the original worked for its catchy tune,this one makes a forced attempt at a rock ballad.
Aashiqui 2 may well encapsulate everything that is wrong with the music of Bhatt movies of late. Their natural sense of melody has been eclipsed by the flashy,synthetic sensibilities. Barring the two songs,the rest of the album is replete with recycled tunes and simplistic arrangement and is a drab,tiring listen.