Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam

Music: Ismail Darbar
Lyrics: Mehboob
Singers: Kumar Sanu, Kavita Krishnamurthy, Ustad Sultan Khan, Shankar Mahadevan, Udit Narayan Alka Yagnik, Vinod Rathod, Karsan Sargathia, Mohd. Vakil, Dominique Cerejo. Salamat, Hariharan, K.K, Jyotsana
Album Released on: April 1999

In this world, where desire rules the heart, you will discover…love is the flame that lights up the soul…

Sanjay Leela Bhansali has always been associated with quality and he certainly has an ear for quality music! In fact he himself has composed the music for Guzaarish (2010)  and Ram Leela (2013) having already composed “Thode Badmaash Ho Tum” from Saawariya (2007). With Khamoshi: The Musical (1996), Sanjay had already set the bar very high … so did he match those huge expectations with “Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam” ? A resounding YES!

Bhansali has always managed to extract the best out of the then newcomer, Ismail Darbar, case in point HDDCS and Devdas (2002). (Trivia: it was actually the singer Kunal Ganjawala who had recommended Ismail’s name to Bhansali when he was looking for a music director for his magnum opus so it’s a shame Kunal never got to sing in this movie). As you listen to the songs of HDDCS (and I am sure all our readers have already heard them umpteen times), pay close attention to the mehnat put into each song. EACH and EVERY song is not simply another 'song’ … rather it spells authenticity and grandeur on a different level; the way the orchestra excels into majestic purity, witchcraft and innovation, the way the chorus is harmonized throughout, the manner in which a dynasty of elite singers all come together to perform in spellbinding fashion, the highs and the lows in the notes scaling stratospheric heights…in reality there are no superlatives for this piece of sheer opulent genius that has to be heard to be truly believed.

The album opens with one of my personal favorites, "Chand Chhupa Badal Mein", sung by Alka Yagnik and Udit Narayan. With an extremely melodious and uncomplicated tune, Alka and Udit narrate the hide-and-seek games of the moon, with a lot of chhed-chhad thrown in between.

"Nimbooda" is a good solo rendition by Kavita Krishnamurthy … full of energy and verve!! At the time this was released, it was a hot favorite in all the desi dance competitions. Essentially this song is about Nimbooda or lemons, where Nandini (played by Aishwarya Rai) is comparing her beloved with a lemon, teasingly of course. Most of the lyrics (by Mehboob) don't make sense in that respect, but who cares … the energy of the song is enough to blow you away!

Kavita is back for a romantic duet this time, ably supported by Kumar Sanu in the splendid"Aankhon Ki Gustakhiyaan". Now this is a song where the lyrics by Mehboob deserve a mention, “Khayaalon Ki Ye Shokhiyaan Maaf Hon, Har Dam Tumhein Sochte Hain”. The chorus, thankfully not as jarring as “Chaand Chhupa Badal Mein” adds nicely to the song with heavenly alaaps in the background.

So far we have had two love ballads and an energetic dance number and Darbar seems to have hit the proverbial bull’s eye with these! Next up is the explosive"Man Mohini" sung by Shankar Mahadevan – one of the two solos that he had in the movie. The song is very percussive and heavy on the beats but seems to have been tailor-made for Shankar. However such is the pace of the singing, the lyrics go by you pretty fast and well before you can assimilate their meaning … “Tu Hava Ke Ghan Sang Sanana San, Tera Ang Ang Jaise Jaltarang, Koi Leher Leher Chali Tair Tair, Paani Ka Mel Tere Tan Badan, Jhar Jharar Jharar Angaarey Jaisa, Tera Rom Rom Hai Dehka Dehka” but that seems to be Shankar’s specialty as he performs with aplomb!

Hariharan gets one solo in this album … the mellifluous, highly emotional and superbly sung "Jhonka Hawa Ka". The song, very low on instrumentation, rests mostly on Hariharan’s stunning vocals. It also has Kavita Krishnamurthy providing some support towards the end of the song in the form of alaaps. The song depicts a man's yearning for his beloved as he imagines what she might be doing at that time …. “Thandi Hawayein Aaj Bhi Tujhko Thapkiyaan Deti Hongi Na, Chaand Ki Thandak Khwabon Mein Tujhko ..”.

An extremely lively and foot-tapping number appears next as Kavita, Vinod Rathod, newcomer Karsan Sargathia and the chorus get together for "Dholi Taro Dhol Baaje". This is a great group song with an equally mesmerizing dance which was well picturized. In the movie though, it tended to break the speed of the movie somewhat as it appeared in a flashback, bang in the middle of a serious scene.

"Love Theme" is the other solo awarded to Shankar Mahadevan. Set to a western-ish tune, the lyrics are mostly gibberish. For the most part, it is an un-worded tune that begins with the clearing of the throat and goes on to "Shabba Da Day Da…” . This “mini-song” also has Kavita Krishnamurthy doing a "Aa Aa … Lala Lala…" towards the end of the song. However, , the highlight of this otherwise enjoyable song was the taan/alaap that Shankar takes at the end of his song, lasting for a whopping 20 seconds!

The album is already littered with amazing, award worthy songs but none more so than the haunting "Tadap Tadap". The song ebbs and flows in bewildering fashion reaching powerful crescendo’s in between eerily silent lulls, perfectly illustrating the anger, despair and frustration of a man’s unbearable suffering and undeserved punishment at the hands of love. Krishna Kumar Kunnath (better known as K.K.) was pretty new to the industry in 1999 and was lucky to end up with such a gem of a song so early in his career because after this he became an overnight sensation! In fact so good was his singing, it remains his best song till date even after singing hundreds of further songs (this is something the singer admits himself!). Then we have the incredible lyrics by Mehboob who reaches the depth of his soul and unearths a set of truly bewitching lines. Listen to a sample here as it borders on disdain and sarcasm towards the Almighty … “Agar Mile Khuda To, Poochhoonga Khudaya; Jism Mujhe Deke Mitti Ka, Sheeshe Ka Dil Kyon Banaya; Aur Us Pe Diya Fitrat, Ke Woh Karta Hai Mohabbat, Wah Re Wah Teri Kudrat”….this is Bhansali bringing the genius out of the lyricist as well as the composer here in what must surely rank as one of the best songs of its type in the modern era and at the same time highlighting another of Darbar saab’s finest hour!

The album has a lot of semi-classical based numbers but a notch above comes in the form of "Albela Sajan" (Based on Raag Aheer-Bhairav). Rendered by Ustad Sultan Khan, Shankar Mahadevan, and Kavita Krishnamurthy , this song is a fine amalgamation of techno with classical fusion! If you are a musical purist, this may not be your cup of tea, but for lesser mortals like us …. BANG!!!! Ustad Ji and Kavita stick to the classical portions, albeit Shankar (singing for the playful Salman in the movie) takes on the song with the playfulness.

"Kaipoche" is my least favorite from the album, just doesn’t seem to fit in with the rest of the numbers. It seems like a “Nimbooda Nimbooda” or a “Dholi Tharo” rip off, but missing their attractiveness! Shankar Mahadevan, Damayanti Bardai, K.K. and Jyotsna Hardikar and the chorus do a good job with the vocals, but on a rare occasion I wish Bhansali had reserved it for another movie…

Darbar clears any lingering doubts you may have about the standing of this album with the aid of a sensational, award winning climax- one containing the ethereal sounds of the title song "Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam". The sheer beauty of the song is that it’s not all singing from start to finish yet it communicates a plethora of emotions through the phenomenal instrumental passages that elongate the song to a deserving length (6:45min). Look up in the fraternity of authentic Indian instruments and you will find that many of those same instruments are used here. And isn’t it fateful dear reader that the best song of the album was saved for the splendid vocals of Kavita Krishnamurthy? The multi-talented singer is well accompanied by a new playback singer, Mohammad Salamat. Can perfection ever be reached in a song? Well it quite possibly has here.

The true test for any soundtrack is the test of time! It is now over 10 years since the musical release of HDDCS and listening to it once again, you get the feeling that it has certainly passed that test with flying colors! In fact, the album boasts of extraordinary music that has the potential to astound you even now, with its cocktail of songs, each one unique, colorful and brimming with a mirage of authentic flavors covering as much of the A to Z (of Hindi music) as possible on one album.  An unforgettable masterpiece!

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