The first song from the March 4 release Zubaan to get considerable airplay did it more harm than good. For a music-heavy film to introduce itself with a track that bears an uncanny resemblance to a Justin Bieber dance number smacks of laziness rather than originality. “Music Is My Art” is not without heart, though. The song is a dizzy throwback to the disco sounds of Nazia Hassan, with Rachel Verghese singing the catchy tune for composer Ashutosh Phatak, who seems to channelling his inner Daft Punk.
In an attempt at damage control, the filmmakers released the second song, “Aaj Saanu O Mileya,” a formulaic Punjabi dance number on a Bollywood backbeat, throwing in an anthemic mid-chorus for good measure. It works and it doesn’t. Once the damage is done, how does one control the domino effect that is going to affect the rest of the soundtrack, which comprises 14 songs? Some of them will be lost in the din of plagiarism, while others will try to rise out of the mess to climb the charts.
Keerthi Sagathia and Rachel Verghese sing “Dhruvtara,” with lyricist Varun Grover rhapsodising about the cosmos. The parsing of melody into electronic sounds makes it an experiment in head bobbling, at best.
Manraj Patar sings the lyrics of Baba Bulleshah in “Bhaven Tu Jaan” in a heartfelt lament for the beloved. Apeksha Dandekar and Keerthi Sagathia croon “Tu Hai Tera Khuda” for guest composers Ishq Bector–Shree D. The sargams (singing of notes) are the song’s highlight.
“Kori Pukar” puts Verghese’s atmospheric voice to good effect. “Kadi Aa Mil Yaar Pyareya”, with Manraj Patar fronting the mellow guitar and piano, is a sombre accompaniment to the Wadali Brothers’ high sound, both rising from the same house of worship.
From here, the songs take a turn towards the devotional. Gurbanis (hymns from Sikh texts) sung by Bhai Mahinderjit Singh, Minu Bakshi, Mandar Deshpande and Saawan Jaryal serve a niche audience of listeners. The album closes with the “Ek Onkar” prayer, the main tenet of Sikhism calling on the idea of one god – alongside which the eclectic music of Zubaan thrives.