It is music for the soul. And it has to be seen from that context. Jai Santoshi Maa has some wonderful Bhajans that will go down well with the families steeped in devotion. And with the festive season already in full swing, the chances of its music being appreciated in bulk is very high. Anu Malik's music sparkles in Maa Santoshi Maa Jai Maa and the unplugged version of Bigdi Bana Do. There are two Bhajans from the original, Main To Aarti Utaroon and Yahaan Wahaan. They are classics but to be fair, they haven't been rearranged that well. Moreover there are at least six compositions which haven't been credited for. Maybe they have been directly taken from the original version without any rearrangements. Musically, this album is a mixed bag. The music arrangements of the modern and the earlier versions don't match. And the love song Suno Suno Kaho Kaho is out of place. If you like Bhajans and devotional music, buy a copy of Jai Santoshi Maa today.
Maa Santoshi Maa Jai Maa is a good blend of a traditional bhajan with contemporary music arrangements. It starts off on an auspicious note with the sound of the Shells, followed by a nice melody created by Sitar-and-flute. Chimes gel well with a Dhapli loop complimented by claps-n-flute. Alka Yagnik and Sonu Nigam's vocals are dipped in honesty and devotion. In other words, it's a perfect song for the festive season.
Bigdi Bana Do begins on an austere note with a Sanskrit Shlok. I must say composer Anu Malik has experimented well once again by giving it a more contemporary feel rather than taking the obvious traditional path. The music arrangements affect you on a cerebral level with no set rhythm pattern and a constant strings section in the background creating a surreal experience. Alka Yagnik tries to sing in Lata Mangeshkar's tone with good effect. But one should never lose one's own originality.
The unplugged version of Bigdi Bana De is a fabulous composition especially coming from Anu Malik. There's a Taanpura drone with N G Karunya's classically manicured vocals invoking Santoshi Maa to mend all the mishaps of life. Karunya's voice has a stark similarity with Sonu Nigam, but nevertheless, he scores brownie points for flights of emotions that touch the soul. Hats off to Malik for pulling off this unplugged version with enormous élan. Swanand Kirkire's lyrics are spot on. Perfect for your peaceful morning chants.
The next in line is the version Main To Arti Utaaroon from the original soundtrack of the super hit 'Jai Santoshi Ma'. The original had been composed by C Arjun while the lyrics had been written by Kavi Pradeep. Here the music has been arranged by Hanif and it has been sung by Usha Mangeshkar. It's a lovely melody, but to be fair, Usha sounds tired. Maybe a slightly higher tempo and a Rekha Bharadwaj or even Shreya Ghoshal may have added a lot of verve to this evergreen bhajan.
The next version is Yahaan Wahaan and the credits are shared by the same as the earlier. Suresh Wadekar, the dependable Bhajan voice pitches in to lend his honey sweet reverential voice. It has a live feel attached to it with the Tabla and flute holding fort with chorus in the background. Once again, Yahaan Wahaan, like Main To Arti Utaron has a limited appeal. Such hit bhajans deserved more energy and better effort both in terms of music arrangements as well as singing.
Lata Mangeshkar, like pure gold, touches the deepest chords within as soon as her timeless voice heralds Aisa Wardan. It's an introspective song that talks about the need for a person to look within and realize one's own mistakes and follies. A beautiful Sitar piece merges effortlessly with layers of Strings. Chorus singers compliment Lata well. Tabla, Flute and Sitar f