Film: "Barfi!"; Music Director: Pritam; Lyricists: Neelesh Mishra, Swanand Kirkire, Ashish Pandit; Singers: Mohit Chauhan, Nikhil Paul George, Papon, Sunidhi Chauhan, Arijit Singh, Shreya Ghoshal, Swanand Kirkire, Rekha Bhardwaj; Rating ****1/2
Pritam has been hit with several allegations of plagiarism in recent times. With "Barfi!", the music director hits back at critics with a vengeance through the soundtrack that has eight numbers. It's vintage Pritam at his best.
The album kicks off with the title track "Barfi!" with the sound of whistles greeting the listener. The song has a very English charm and has Mohit Chauhan behind the mike. He provides a light and soulful start to the number, bringing a smile on. Its peppy yet simple beats are a total delight, while the lyrics bring out the naughtiness of Ranbir's character in the movie.
There is another version of the song "Ala Barfi!". Crooned by Swanand Kirkire, this is a bit different from the original and has more focus on the vocals. It is reminiscent of Kishore Kumar's quirky melodies of yesteryears.
Next up is "Main kya karoon", a romantic track penned by Ashish Pandit and crooned by the melodious Nikhil Paul George. The song recalls the fervour of young romance and the tune is very new age with a very soft feel. However, it is the singer who steals the show here and makes you fall in love with the song.
Assam's poster boy in Bollywood, Papon, takes you back in time with the old school "Kyon", penned by Neelesh Mishra. The sound again is very mellow. It is unusual in its feel and is Papon's show all the way. His raw voice is impeccable, but he also gets good support from Sunidhi Chauhan in the vocals, making the track a fine composition.
It is followed by "Aashiyan', which has a very Spanish feel to it with very good use of flute and other instruments. It's a very sweet song with a mesmerising composition by Pritam. The voices of Shreya Ghoshal and Nikhil Paul George blend oh-so-well to create the perfect mood.
Next on the playlist is "Sawaali Raat". It has a whispery tone and is something you surely haven't heard in a really long time. With its romantic undertones, the song is unique and it's hard to say whether it's a lullaby or something else. Arijit Singh of "Raabta" fame simply bowls you over with his harmonious voice making you put this track on loop.
Rounding up the album is "Phir le aya dil". Singer Rekha Bhardwaj lends her distinct voice to the number, which makes its way to your heart. The composition is good with the interplay of piano and guitar, laced with Indian sounds. Pritam deserves all the kudos for composing such a wonderful song.
It also has a reprise version by Arijit Singh. It is as pleasant as the original but has a more ghazal feel to it. There are different moods here - at times an Indian feel with the tabla and in some intervals, a jazz feel with the piano. However, it is the singer who sets the mood right by creating a captivating experience for the listener with his profound voice.
Overall, the soundtrack is a joyride sans flaws. Pritam has given many hits, but like his tunes in "Life... in a Metro", this one will be remembered for breaking the monotony in his sound. There are no foot-tapping numbers or remixes here, but the simplicity that makes this album a winner.