Listening to the Love Aaj Kal soundtrack the first time without actually seeing the song titles, it was a pleasant surprise to hear the phrase, “Yeh Dooriyaan” pop up in the middle of one of the songs, accompanied by that mock-whistle hook. In a recreation-ravaged Bollywood scene, this was one repetition I didn’t mind. Firstly because, the phrase used, has an actual relationship with the director’s older film of the same name. And secondly owing to its tasteful execution, the composer has restricted the repeated phrase to the above-mentioned refrain. Of course, there’s the odd lyrical reference, like “aa raha paas main ya door main jaa raha” becoming a more affirmative “zyaada paas aana hai asal mein door jaana.”
Despite the tasteful execution, the song is still not a match for the original, despite positives like Mohit Chauhan sounding as good as he did ten years ago. There isn’t a lot happening in the main melody, a large chunk is made up of repeating bits, with the effect that the most memorable part of the song remains the part it borrows from the 2009 song. ‘Yeh Dooriyaan’ isn’t the only throwback song of the album – there is also ‘Haan Main Galat’, the ‘Twist’ redux built around that refrain it originally borrowed from the 1954 film Nagin. The latter is a more engaging number than ‘Yeh Dooriyaan’ – an aptly contemporised and equally groovy take on the piece.
There are repeats from the earlier soundtrack: KK who sang ‘Main Kya Hoon’ back then, gets an absolute belter here in ‘Aur Tanha’. The atmospheric sound with the pensive tune and rock-flavoured arrangement, along with the KK’s evergreen voice (why does he not get to sing more often?) evokes welcome memories of Pritam’s Life In a Metro. Also beautifully employed, are almost gospel choir-esque backing vocals that add to the song. Lyricist Irshad Kamil is in spectacular form with his writing, capturing love’s pain in vivid hues. The chorus comes into play in ‘Dhak Dhak’ as well – but in a more outlandish fashion, that along with the folk arrangement would make this song a great fit in Jagga Jasoos’s ‘Mombaka’. It definitely sits at odds with Love Aaj Kal’s dominant soundscape. ‘Parmeshwara’ (or parmesara as the singers pronounce it) is the final song in that category, led as it is by rapper Raftaar. The “anti-commitment” hip-hop piece sees some smart writing. But the number’s highlight is the title hook which is built on an aarti-style tune.