Album Rating: 7.5/10
Music: Anu Malik

Say ‘Anu Malik’ and be sure that the person you’re talking to will either crack a silly joke or imitate him or worse – crack a silly joke and imitate him. The man brings out extreme emotions in music lovers, and that extreme is always one sided – towards hatred. It’s his doing or is it?

Give one listen to Kareeb and you may mellow your hatred down for him. I mean you’ll still hate his voice. In 2017, you ought to hate his voice, especially after all those Indian Idol sessions we’ve seen in the last decade. One look at his Wikipedia page will make you wonder how he can have fans. You may even wonder if he himself edited his page using a fake ID. It’s hard to believe the words there, only he can shower such a praise on him.

But, there are always exceptions to a rule. It’s not everyday that you can appreciate the work of a person you’ve always made fun of. And when the work is genuinely good, you have to take a step back, put your ego aside and give credit where it’s due.

Kareeb was shot on an epic scale by Vidhu Vinod Chopra, the director behind another epic – 1942 – A Love Story. The music in his previous venture was legendary. Kareeb doesn’t really live up to that album. What it does, though, is to give Anu Malik all the time and space that he generally requires to compose genuine tunes.

Read Throwback Soundtrack: 1942 – A Love Story


Listen to the first few seconds of Tum Juda Hokar Humein Aur Pyaare Ho Gaye. A soft ‘hum’ and then the violin kicks in repeating the ‘hum’. And the tone that violin has, takes you back to 1942’s orchestration qualities. For a moment there, you’ll wonder if Anu Malik arranged music for RD in 1942! That’s how beautiful the orchestration of this song is. Yet, you do know RD can’t be crammed in here, thanks to the trademark stamp of Anu Malik’s style in the tune.

Tum Juda Hokar Humein has some beautiful lyrics penned by Rahat Indori. Sample this ‘the kareeb to duur the, ab humare ho gaye.. ‘ or ‘dar nahi raat ka, meri palkon pe jugnu to hai, saath ab tum nahi, mere saathi yeh aansoo to hai..‘ Saregama winner Sanjivani sings these lines aptly accompanied by Roop Kumar Rathod. Now, that’s very interesting too. Anu picked a reality show winner and his regular music arranger to sing this song! Not sure if that’s how he cuts his costs but, the result is before us to be heard! Although it sounds awkward when Roop Kumar Rathod goes “ehe eh” in a style that’s a hybrid of Anu Malik and Kumar Sanu, the sweetness in RKR’s voice makes it an enjoyable awkwardness. This song, is my pick from the album. Sorry, couldn’t wait till the end to say that! But, it doesn’t mean the story ends there. There are other gems – two more, to be precise.

Anu’s favourite Sanu sings the other two gems accompanied by Sanjivani again. Feels strange to say that Sanu sings gems, really.

Chura Lo Na Dil Mera Sanam is a beautiful, light-hearted, boy-winning-over-girl song with some quirky lyrics. I mean, you don’t get culinary lessons through lines like ‘masala baat loon, main pyaaz kaat loon‘ in a romantic duet even as the presence of such lines are justified. There’s nothing special in the tune or the orchestration, but, the song wins you because of its simplicity and an addictive ‘la la’ humming and whistle pieces – an Anu Malik exclusive.

The third song, is my other favourite from the album. Anu likes to whistle yet again, this time more romantically. Sanu and Sanjivani join the whistling singing Chori Chori Jab Nazrein Mili. The tune is another Anu Malik trademark, again nothing too complex or innovative. What really works is, no prize for guessing, its orchestration and rhythm. Violins, chorus, Congas – just brilliant! There’s a lot of energy to this slow romantic number and it’s such a rarity. The music of 90s were quite crappy barring a few gems and it was extremely rare to find well written, well sung, well arranged slow romantic numbers coupled with a lot of energy. Kumar Sanu’s high pitched antaras, Sanjivani’s partly sensuous partly playful rendition of her parts, the violins, the soft rhythm, the mandolin (or mandolin like instrument) – all come together to give a complete song.

Kareeb has its own highs, mids and lows. Jaspinder Narula and Sanjivani sing a typical “bidaai” song Reet Yehi Jag Ki. The song is slow paced with an instrumentation that’s typical of Anu Malik. Jaspinder Narula opens the song on a slightly harsher wail and then Sanjivani steps in humming her lines like a cuckoo. The lyrics are quite imaginative and beautiful, exploring the parting of two hearts – be it that of a mother and her daughter or that of two lovers. The song fails not because of its pace or tune, but because of its “dulhan bani hai aaj banno shehzadi” line which is not just stereotypical of wedding songs, but also repetitive. Jaspinder’s rendition is also a turn off. A small Veena piece towards the fag end of the song speaks a lot about what this song could’ve been and Jaspinder’s parts speak a lot about what this song couldn’t be.

Anu Malik undoubtedly had one of the best violinists in the industry. Listen to the first few minutes of Haan Judaai Se Darta Hai Dil. The violin actually lasts till the end and has some beautiful pieces for itself – be it in the background or as the lead. Even the saxophone sounds good, although some parts take you to a different song from 2004’s Saaya. There’s a bit of Veena in the interludes which give a distinctive feel to this album. The instrumentation and orchestration is top notch with an addictive Anu Malik trademark tune that’s easy to sing for anyone. So where does the song falter? Actually, it’s not one song – there are two versions of it. The male version by Kumar Sanu has mediocre lyrics that really doesn’t reach you, not just because of the words but also because of the singer’s uninteresting rendition. The female version by Sanjivani succeeds where the male version fails. The lyrics reach your heart because of Sanjivani’s softer rendition.

Abhijeet steps in to scream and enjoy some quirky lyrics in Tera Gussa. The song is situational and is a must listen when you are utterly bored of every good song on earth. Like you’d need an intermission with a short ad when watching a lengthy film. You can use some of its lines and histrionics in real life, but that’s about it. A second listen will make you wanna smash your earphones.

Kareeb is a confused album. Anu Malik lifts you up to some beautiful misty peaks in some songs and drops you into a shitty gorge in others. If only he had avoided composing Tera Gussa for the album, it’d have felt much more complete. He could’ve been a true winner. The winner of the album, more than Anu, his songs and orchestration, is Sanjivani who really rules throughout. I wonder if we are unfortunate that she wasn’t used in future albums after Kareeb. May be. Was she a one album wonder? Don’t know.

Format: MP3 320kbps 44kHz 16-bit
Recording Quality: 4/5
 Label: TIPS
Source: Wynk Music

I bought this album on Wynk Music in the Hi-Quality MP3 format. Visit my page –  Music Originals to know more about legal music available online in India.