Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara: Original Soundtrack Review

Released 2011.  

BBC Review

A perfect cocktail of contemporary Indian and western sounds

Jaspreet Pandohar 2011

Having scored four of Farhan Akhtar’s past features, it was a safe bet that music composer trio Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy would team up once again for the filmmaker-turned-actor’s new picture, Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara. After all who wouldn’t want to employ the maestros behind hit Bollywood soundtracks such as Dil Chahta Hai and Rock On? Like the aforementioned, the soundtrack for director Zoya Akhtar’s coming-of-age road movie is a perfect cocktail of contemporary Indian and western sounds that blend together to make a breezy summertime score.

It’s an energetic start with Dil Dhadakne Do, a campus rock style anthem that for all its rousing drums and electric guitars, somehow remains rather forgettable. Thankfully, things improve hereon in, with Ik Junoon (Paint It Red), a dance track that verges towards trance and is lifted by a super smooth performance from fellow music composer Vishal Dadlani of Vishal-Shekhar fame.

Love is definitely in the air with Khaabon Ke Parinday, a romantic number that floats along wistfully thanks to Alyssa Mendonsa’s delicate vocals and the gentle use of acoustic guitar and accordion. Things take on a Latin flavour in Senorita, easily the liveliest and most entertaining song of the album. Lead actors Farhan, Hrithik Roshan and Abhay Deol take to the mic and sing with genuine gusto, their Hindi working well with the salsa and flamenco rhythms and Spanish vocals from Maria del Mar Fernandez. Having sung before, Farhan and Hrithik come across more confident, but Abhay’s cheeky tone adds to the song’s upbeat, flirty nature.

The film’s message of making the most of the one life we are given comes across clearly in Der Lagi Lekin, a sombre but ultimately uplifting song in which screenwriter/lyricist Javed Akhtar’s introspective writing comes to the fore. His superior penmanship is evident in all the songs on offer, but stand out the most in Toh Zindagi Ho Tum, a poignant poem elegantly voiced by his son, Farhan. Like Sahir Ludhyanvi’s legendary Kabhi Khabi performed by Amitabh Bachchan, this poem has been moulded into a subtle song and scored with a simple violin and guitar with magical effect.

With Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara, Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy take a step back and let the lyrics and melodies speak for themselves. In doing so, they’ve created a reflective and meaningful collection of songs that should stand the test of time.

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