Music Review: Ada...A Way of Life

Been meaning for a while to discuss the music to Ada...a Way of Life. The soundtrack released in the same week as did that to Jaane Tu, making it a treat for fans of A. R. Rahman, who has given us some excellent soundtracks this year. Each soundtrack belongs to a film of a different genre, and that each is an excellent product in its own category speaks volumes of the Mozart of Madras (as Time magazine called him). Noted in this post that the music to Ada was composed over several years. This unintentional but innovative approach gives us yet another splendid soundtrack.

The album starts out with Ishq Ada Hai with vocals by Rashid Ali. An all-round excellent track that gets better the more one listens to it, the song is very well done in each of the musical, lyrical, and vocal departments. Some of it reminds one of Maiyya from Guru (2007), another excellent A. R. Rahman soundtrack. It has a similar vibe, and is mystical but awe-inspiring. Also learned (as documented in this post) that this is a perfect track to listen to in the library :) So much knowledge in the world, so much to discover (and to learn to discover)...loveleh!

The second song, Hawa Sun Hawa, is my favorite from the album. Beautifully sung by Sonu Nigam and Alka Yagnik, who take command of the track. The music is splendid (the flute with the tabla and piano is fantastic), and the lyrics even better. Here is a post dedicated to the song, with the lyrics and my translation.

The Sonu-Alka duo are showcased again in Gum Sum. Of all the tracks, this is likely the most conventional (but not necessarily bad). The lyrics are good and the voices excellent, but the bits in which Alka stretches the second 'm' in Gum Sum sound silly (Sonu tackling the same sound, sounds much better), and that is why I think this is a good song in an otherwise excellent album. Watch out for the guitar (and elements of rock) making a significant appearance in the last minute.

Gulfisha features my favorite current artists for a duet (after Udit Narayan-Alka Yagnik), Sonu Nigam and Sunidhi Chauhan. You might recall their duets in Fanaa (2006) were excellent. They are in fine form in Gulfisha, and offer further confusion for one trying to pick a favorite song or two from Ada. Vivianne Chaix, with her chanting (of which I understand very very little), does very well to solidify the elements of lounge music in this track. The result is quite remarkable. Of all songs, this probably also has the greatest to offer in and to a contemporary setting, and the elements of jazz are combined well toward the end.

Meherbaan -- another excellent track and by far the most well-written -- appears next. This is sung by A. R. Rahman, and has much to love. Here is a post dedicated to the song, including lyrics and my translation. The humming half way into the song reminds one of Lucky Ali.

Tu Mera Hai carries forward the devotional theme from Meherbaan, but is obviously more geared to Ishq-e-Mizaji (romantic love of a person) and not Ishq-e-Haqiqi (love of God, literally translated as 'true love') that was the subject of Meherbaan. It is a good song by Chitra, Sukhwinder Singh, and Naresh Iyer, and gets better as it proceeds.

Hai Dard by Udit Narayan is a haunting track, and is extremely well sung. When I first listened to this, I was reminded of Silsila Yeh Chaahat Ka from Devdas (2002), which had music by Ismail Darbar. There is hardly any resemblance besides the syllables at the end of this:

Khoya kyun, aaiine mein us ka chehra?
(Why did her face get lost in the mirror?)

After which I started singing:

Ab aaja re mere piyaa aa aa aa aa
(Come to me, my love)

Wacky, but an interesting listening experience :) The track is interesting, although its repeat value is questionable because it is a sad, sad song. That it manages to bother the listener to an extent likely means it succeeds.

Ishq Ada Hai appears again, this time with (female) vocalist Parul Mishra. The qualities noted while discussing the male version apply. Would have liked to hear what Sunidhi Chauhan might have done with this song, but that is said only because I value the diversity of Ms. Chauhan's vocals, and the fan in me would have liked her to get a shot at this. Certainly do not mean to take anything away from Parul Mishra -- she's done a fine job, and might just have arrived for the long haul.

Milo Wahaan Wahaan is a duet by Jayachandran and Alka Yagnik. A very good song with some very good poetry by Nusrat Badr, some of which is reminiscent of Javed Akhtar's style. Nicely done, and again, a sad song that is successful in its goals.

An instrumental of Meherbaan draws the album to a close.

The cumulative effect of the songs results in one of the very, very good albums of the year. Have yet to listen to this album from start to finish without skipping a single track, which is why I cannot give this a four. But given the depth of the songs, the music, and the quality of the vocals, I must go with the next best rating for a beautiful album. I liked Rahman's soundtracks to Jodhaa Akbar and Jaane Tu more, but let that not take anything away from a fine effort for Ada.

Music rating: 3.75/5 (Very, very good!)

The movie stars Ayaan Ahmad, Nauheed Cyrusi, Ayesha Jhulka (after a while, yay!), Rahul Roy and Milind Gunaji.


Shweta Mehrotra Gahlawat said...

You've convinced me on giving this a hear- will report back....;)

ajnabi said...

Wow, this really sounds stellar! I think I'll have to look it up. :-) Thanks for such a detailed review; I love knowing what to expect.

theBollywoodFan said...

Hi Shweta and Ajnabi: Thank you for stopping by. Look forward to your thoughts.

Hope you enjoy it. The first time I listened to it, it did not sound as good. Give it a couple of tries, and I think you'll like it!


Manoharan, Trivandrum said...

The comments are good. But there is one mistake. The haunting melody "Milo Wahan Wwahan" is not sung by Udit and Alka; But by Jayachandarn and Alka. Jayachandran is the musical legend of South india who is singing in all languages of South for last 43 years.

theBollywoodFan said...

Hi Manoharan: Thank you for stopping by and for your comment. You are right, of course, that singer is Jayachandran. I've corrected that in the post. Apologies for the mistake.

Hope all's well in Trivandrum!

prasanna said...

Could you give a translation of "Ishq Ada Hai"? I want it pretty badly...