Music Review: Begum Jaan (Hindi)

Composer(s): Anu Malik, Mohammed Zahur Khayyam
Listen to the songs online here: Saavn, YouTube (Vishesh Films)

There is no two ways about it. Prem Mein Tohre is a lovely semi-classical piece, flawlessly sung by veteran Asha Bhosle (amazing really, considering she is 83!). Equally fantastic is the reprise version by Kavitha Seth, who astounds with a nuanced rendition of the song. The anthemic Aazaadiyan captures the pain of partition in the voices of Rahat Fateh Ali Khan and Sonu Nigam, as is Kalpana Patowary-sung O Re Kaharo that poignantly brings forth the struggles of women forced into prostitution. The only celebratory song comes in the form a Holi song titled Holi Khelein, a playful classical tune that gains immensely from Shreya Ghoshal and Anmol Malik's precise vocal inflection. In Begum Jaan, Anu Malik dials up the mawkishness in a theme-driven soundtrack.

Note: All signs point to an Arijit Singh-Shreya Ghoshal sung duet, yet it's curiously absent from the official soundtrack. A promotional strategy perhaps? Update on April 10th: The song is out, and it's called Woh Subah Hum Hi Se Aayegi, a rework of Khayyam's original 1958 tune from the movie Phir Subah Hogi.