Ek Thi Daayan – Khatarnak but not quite

There is a saying that familiarity breeds contempt and most people agree to it. As a good friend once mentioned , give a person Idli for three months day in and day out – he will run away from Idlis for the rest of his life , never mind how hungry he is. But that’s not the truth always – isn’t it. There are people who can add interesting twists and tweaks , that makes you long for the familiar and that’s what has happened with Ek Thi Dayan. There is that familiarity when it comes to the music but Gulzar and Vishal add their interesting tweaks and twists which makes for one wonderful listen.

Slow and mellifluous strings herald the beginning of Yaaram where a superlative Sunidhi Chauhan woos her love by listing out chores she can do for him and his love.In a twist to the conventional world where the hero woos the heroine by stating that he’d be her Ghulam for ages , Gulzar makes the lady sing out her promises with gusto and abandon. The strings build up the tempo and one keeps smiling as the lovely lady goes about handing her man his keys , glasses , phone , files , diary along with her lovestruck heart. Just as you wonder about the onesidedness of it all , in comes Clinton Cerejo to serenade one’s senses . The guitar becomes electric , the lyrics mushy but love struck you remain.

Guitars reappear again to play a major role , this time in a grungy avatar to kick start the proceedings for the ever dependable Suresh Wadkar – who has a ball with Tote. “Miyan ji Bach Bach ke chalna ; duniya hai harjaayi ; Hari Hari jo laage , Ghaas nahi hai woh Kaayi ; kaayi Pe Phisle jo Suurrrr Karke” – says Gulzar and he seems to be talking about the song . The tune is meandering and familiar – reminding one of Ibn-e-Batuta at times and Sapne main milti hain at other times – but you go on – thanks to the faadu lyrics and competent singing. Tote is not the best song of the album , but is certainly an ear-worm thanks to the lyric.

Kaali Kaali is where the haunting really starts . Strings , Piano and Clinton weave black magic which keep you entranced.Clocking 6:01 , this is one of the longest songs of the soundtrack – yet one feels that it ended too soon. Such is the magic that I ended up playing the song on a loop through my 45 minute bus journey back home . Rhythmic and rhyming in construction , Kaali is all about a man pining for his Daayan and reciting a kalma on her at the same time. Watch out the interludes where the strings segue seamlessly with Clinton’s choral segments. The song has an almost European/ old world charm that keeps growing on the listener with every strain of the violin/cello. The strings take center stage in the second interlude and stun you with the feelings of melancholy and passion they manage to convey. Kaali is yet another feather to the VB – Gulzar combo that will stay on one’s mind for perpetuity.

What’s a proper haunting without a dark song one may feel and to ease those feelings , comes Lautungi , where an Rekha-ish Rekha Bhardwaj (is it me or does she sound like Ila Arun at places) nails her brief. The minimal orchestra work is reminiscent of Paani Paani re at times , but the choral work and the flute when they appear make you forget the fact. Lautungi is all about angst and wait – the angst of separation and the wait for the beloved. Sombre and Dark Lautungi hits hard and makes an impact but for the last 30 secs which is filled with dialogue.

Age is just a number and Padmanabh Gaekwad proves the fact quite vehemently. This young lad pwns Sapna – his earnest and soulful singing adding depth to the poignancy of the song. Flutes and Strings court each other and serenade our senses with the pianos making them sound extra dreamy.The flutes , Padmanabh’s voice add strength to Gulzar’s lullaby which is one of the best lullaby’s to have been crafted by the duo so far.

As the album winds towards the end , one hits the play button again . The songs are haunting and the words even more so ; but what stays with you is a sense of familiarity and a heard before feel – just like that hint of bitterness you feel after you’ve taken your medicine – regardless of the sugar and honey you’ve been fed to make you ignore the bitterness !!!