The Shah Hussain Project – Vasundhara das (Review)

Hun Nai Hatda – A peppy number starts with Vasundhara das crooning in right measure although somewhat uncomfortable with high notes. The song has a very pleasing feel to it overall. This is the Vashundhara das we all have been waiting for since sometime. The song features Mukhtiyar Ali who recites the traditional ‘Heer’ and remains in sync with the song. A good start to the album. It can be called the ‘Music video’ song of the album.

Saiyyon Assi – Piano and Vasundhara das make another effort to treat a traditional song imaginatively. This might grow on repeated listening (not because this version is bad but for the simple reason that the traditional version of this composition is too engraved on the mind). If you haven’t heard other versions, chances are you will like it.

Sajan Bin – Simple notes of guitar start this composition. Mukhtiyar ali takes the lead in this. Excellently arranged and simply composed the problem with this track could be its simplicity itself! The track sounds very amateurish (especially the ‘Mukhda’). Vasundhara das gets some English lines in between as well. Just an average song.

Range So Range – Yet another song that touches some uncomfortable notes for Vasundhara das to perform. The Piano however, saves the song. For those who don’t understand Punjabi, there are good amount of English lines as well. The composition overall feels very cluttered.

Tum Se – A light arrangement coupled with lovely singing by Vasundhara das gently starts the song. This composition feels more like it! Words woven nicely within the tune and lightly arranged. Mukhtiyar ali accompanies Vasundhara very well. This is easily the clearest composition of the album, very clear on what it wants to sound like and thankfully remains uncluttered.

Man AtkiyaMukhtiyar ali starts yet another Punjabi song with a tune that is oddly familiar. A simple composition.

Mera Sona Sajan – Stars very much like the Hum dil de chuke sanam’s Albela sajan. While the base tune remains consistent, the composition, in an attempt to sound layered goes haywire in between when Vasundhara das makes what can be called ‘fusion attempt’. Yet again, the Piano in this song is just top class! Mukhtiyar ali owns the song and how!

Kahun Na Powe Chain – The song is the mandatory ‘bad world what to do?’ song of the album. This song again attempts way too many things altogether. Vasundara das tries too hard. The composition sounds cluttered, yet again. In fact, to state the truth, this song tests your patience!

With most of the songs in Punjabi, the overall take up of the album remains to be seen anyway.

Overall a below average ode to Hazrat Shah hussain, but I am at pains to remember anyone else attempting this in India and hitting it mainstream. So, I will take it!

Vashindara das and Mir Mukhtiyar ali deserve a thumbs up for the attempt. Fusion might not work all the time but the effort is certainly well worth it, always.

As the album marks the return of Vasundhara das, I hope she sings more and more because she holds so much promise!

My Picks – Hunn nahi Hatda, Saiyyon Assi, Tum se and Mera Sona Sajan

The album is available on iTunes for INR 96 (with individual songs priced at INR 12), and at flipkart for INR 120 (with individual songs priced at INR 15). So your excuse for downloading it from ‘free’ sources is?

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