Radha-Krishna images run through this faintly evocative soundtrack creating an aching nostalgia across the tonal horizon.
It isn't often that a filmmaker chooses to turn lyricist to give his film a coherent and credible creative vision. While earlier we had Sawan Kumar Tak and Manoj Kumar penning some of the lyrics in their films, Rituparno Ghosh is a unique case.
"Very frankly I don't even know Hindi well enough to attempt lyrics in the language. I got into it out of sheer helplessness. The exact images of Radha forlorn in Vrindavan that came to mind couldn't be put to words by anyone else. I had to do it on my own. I hope I didn't goof up."
Providentially, Ghosh has got the inimitable Gulzar to write the poetry and recite it in the track "Piya tora kaisa abhimaan". This isn't the first film soundtrack where Gulzar has contributed without being involved with the making of the film. In Basu Bhattacharya's "Astha", he wrote the lyrics and also recited some of the poetry.
Gulzar's voice certainly lends a certain weight to this wispy whisper of an album.
Composer Debojyoti Mishra's compositions blend a vivacious bunch of Bihari and Uttar Pradeshi sounds to create a sense of serene and joyful mingling of cultures within the love lyrics. The wedding song "Hamari galiyan hoke aana" rendered by traditional north Indian folk singers, conveys an austere appeal generally denied to filmy marriage songs.
There's a minstrel song "Raha dekha" which just about gets by. It lacks the weighty grace of Sachin Dev Burman's "Sun mere bandhu re" in "Sujata".
Shubha Mudgal's voice, though expressive, is unable to express as many shades of emotion as the lyrics suggest. "Mathura nagarpati" works better because of a choral build-up in the composition that elevates an otherwise mundane track.
Mudgal is far more evocative in "Akele hum nadiya kinare". But the pick of the lot is "Piya tora kaisa abhiman" in two versions by Mudgal and Hariharan.
Though the images swim to the surface effortlessly and at times fluently, you miss that floating ethereal quality that the divine Lata Mangeshkar could bring to her Radha-Krishna songs "Bhor bhaye panghat pe" ("Satyam Shivum Sunderam"), "Kanha Kanha aan padi main tere dwar" ("Shagird") and "Ek Radha ek Meera" ("Ram Teri Ganga Maili").