Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga music review: Rochak Kohli's album is lively but marred with rehashes
It is a shame that the music of Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga does not aspire to be as innovative as the cult song that it seeks inspiration from.
Shelly Chopra Dhar's upcoming directorial debut Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga borrows its title from the iconic song of her brother Vidhu Vinod Chopra's 1994 romantic drama 1942: A Love Story. Given the lyrical genius of the song, it seemed like the music of the upcoming film would push the envelope as well. However, that is far from the case.
In an album composed entirely by Rochak Kohli, two out of the three tracks have been recycled from popular '90s songs and the third one, though a decent one to listen to, is not really groundbreaking.
The title track is a rehashed version of RD Burman's original song, from the Anil Kapoor and Manisha Koirala-starrer, which was sung by Kumar Sanu and written by Javed Akhtar. The original song was a watershed development in the history of Hindi cinema given its fresh lyrical scheme and musical structure. Sanu's felt vocals only enhanced the impact of the Akhtar-Burman collaboration.
The new track has been sung by Darshan Raval, known for recent popular Gujarati folk rehashes 'Chogada' (from Loveyatri) and 'Kamariya' (from Mitron) that scaled the chartbusters rather swiftly. This one seems no different despite the change in the tone and style of Raval's vocals. Here, he is more restrained and delves into the romantic zone commendably. Kohli dismantles the original musical arrangement to come up with his own. While the new structure is not even remotely as innovative, it comes as a relief that it does not ape the old song, as is the case with most rejigged numbers today. Actor-writer Gurpreet Saini's lyrics lack the poetic brilliance of Akhtar's craft but nonetheless bring novelty to the new version, aiding Kohli's efforts to create something new out of something as legendary.
The second song, 'Ishq Mitha', is yet another regurgitated song inspired from Bally Sagoo's irresistible 'Gud Naal Ishq Mitha'. Once again, Kohli does not stick to the beats of the all-out dance number that the original song was. He lends the song a folk appeal, particularly in the stanzas, though the chorus is retained both in tune and words. The song loses its voice as the chorus arrives, compelling the audience to revisit the original song. The chorus does increase the tempo but it is a disservice to Saini's lyrics which try to tell a new story despite the lack of originality that haunts the Punjabi song. Harshdeep Kaur's honeyed vocals bring tenderness to the track whereas Navraj Hans powers the song with his energetic voice, laced with quintessential folk appeal.
The third and final track, 'Good Morning', is the only completely original song in the album, even though even this one seems inspired from a High School Musical or a La La Land. Kohli designs the song in a way that it sounds like a Broadway act a la the opening sequence of La La Land, which comes across as a breath of fresh air in a Bollywood album. Given the rich performance-oriented music of Bollywood, the Broadway style could prove to be a gold mine for Hindi cinema. Saini's lyrics are a detour from the other two Punjabi songs as it is replete with quirky, colloquial words, which makes the song more retalable to Gen Y. Vishal Dadlani and Shannon Donald get the language of the song right as they project their voices just right, with the latter's chirpy vocals hitting the perfect pitch.
Overall, the music of Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga is adequate at best. It is a shame that it does not aspire to be more, a far cry from the cult song that it seeks inspiration from.
Listen to the full album here.
Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga stars Sonam K Ahuja, Rajkummar Rao, Anil Kapoor, Juhi Chawla, Akshay Oberoi, Regina Cassandra and Seema Pahwa. It is jointly produced by Vidhu Vinod Chopra Films and Fox Star Hindi. It is slated to release this Friday on 1 February.
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