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There was a time back in the ’80s and ’90s when an artiste just wasn’t allowed to suck too badly… The fans would leave them. Now, I don’t think the fans really know the difference. Or they just don’t care.
He is referring to Western music here, but the quote is so apt for Indian music too.
Much of the music of Bollywood last year was terrible that I am still happy with Coke Studio (note to self : write that long-pending post on Zeb and Haniya). Himesh was an okay-ish composer until he took to singing and ruined it for everyone. Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy just refuse to budge from their good-but-not-excellent position. Anu Malik can be good, but is hardly consistent to be significant in this debate. Rahman doesn’t come across as the genius whom I used to listen to in awe.
It’s not just film music. There is hardly any popular music besides film music in India. The standards of classical music are way higher which keeps it safe from mediocrity — although exceptions sneak in. I’m not naming names.
I guess we’re to blame. We allowed them to suck so badly.
I reserve the final comment for fusion music. Only a handful of musicians understand what fusion music really is. For the rest, any combination of a drum and one alaap or harkat is fusion. Things are so bad that I am scared when someone recommends a fusion music piece.
Zakir Hussain is one who understands fusion. Shakti is a fine example of fusion of instruments, and his performance at the San Jose Jazz music festival was a fusion of music. Remember Shakti is a good example of not-so-good fusion.
It is hard to come across a sentence involving Anu Malik that isn’t preceded or succeeded by plagiarism. I too have done that in the past. It is easy for us sitting at a vantage point and unconditionally poke fun. But for once, I’d like to credit the music director for one soundtrack that is arguably his absolute best : Refugee.
Until last week, I had just heard the most popular track — Panchi Nadiyan — which I think is a very good track. I had fleeting listens to the other tracks in the past, but never really thought much of them. While I was travelling last week, I heard the other songs of Refugee closely and I’m thoroughly impressed.
It is tough to point out the best track in the album. It has to be a close call between Panchi Nadiyan, Raat Ki Hatheli Par, Aisa Lagta Hai and Mere Humsafar. The lyrics by Javed Akhtar superbly complement the music and I think he has only gone south after this film’s release in 2000.
The strongest link in the entire album is the melody. Malik has gone beyond creating obvious tunes and riffs to explore the possibilities of longer melodic constructs. Udit Narayan is in superb form and while Alka Yagnik usually annoys me, she is fairly good in this album. Sonu Nigam was at his peak around that time, and it shows.
As far as I know, none of the songs of Refugee have been blatantly plagiarized. So it is a well deserved National Award for Anu Malik and a superb effort — I’ll concede that. Malik has himself to blame for biasing our views. If he hadn’t been such a blatant lifter of tunes, he wouldn’t have to defend every new album of his as awe-riginal in interviews — although I’m not sure if he would’ve been around for as long if he hadn’t pleased his directors and producers by not providing those tracks.
But I have my complaints.
For one, the use of the verse and chorus tunes in musical interludes. This is one most obvious difference between the better music directors like A.R. Rahman, Shankar-Ehsaan-Lo, Amit Trivedi, etc. and the lesser ones like Jatin-Lalit, Nadeem-Shravan and Anu Malik. A song loses out on creativity by using the main tune played on different instruments in interludes — and it is one of the things that annoys me most.
Second, is the obvious arrangement. Malik and his like need to think out of the box when it comes to arrangement. Until that, they can never provide a different sound and will have to rely on melody. Rahman stormed into the industry with both strong arrangements and melody. It is no wonder that others still find it tough to catch up with him.
Anu Malik can be good if he wants, and Refugee only proves it. He is talented too, but then anyone whose name is placed next to Abhishek Bachchan in the credits of a movie directly seems talented.
And I’m back at the vantage point.
I finally caught Wake Up Sid and here’s what I thought of it.
The theme is coming of age, and while it seems cliched, I cannot think of many Hindi movies with a similar theme, save Lakshya. Just a heads up, Lakshya is still the best film carrying this theme.
The plot has Sid, an affable rich kid – the reason I don’t call him a spoilt brat is because he isn’t called Monty, Vicky or Rocky. He is a nice guy, who by no fault of his, is rich and is as mature as someone like him should be.
Then there’s Aisha, who is very reminiscent of a similar character again played by Konkana Sen Sharma in Luck By Chance. She is an antipode to Sid, and never really gets past seeing him as a kid until the end, where she realizes she is the heroine, needs to get together with Sid and has just 15 mins. (of movie time) to do that.
Before I give any other ideas (I suspect the review might get harsh further down), let me summarize that Wake Up Sid is a nice one-time watch, and you shouldn’t miss it just for Ranbir Kapoor. Don’t expect a Luck By Chance or Lakshya or Ranbir doing a full monty, and you’ll have a good time.
Back to the movie, the plot is quite linear without deploying any twists and is as simple as the lead character Sid. But there were a few things I couldn’t digest.
Ranbir Kapoor is outstanding; he gets under the skin of the character perfectly and exudes the right amount of innocence. He keeps the performance so understated and real that I almost felt like yelling, “Dude, ham it up !! You’re in a freakin’ Bollywood movie !”.
But the performance, ironically, works against the story, because Sid seems so genuinely nice that his side of the romance never really blooms. When he runs down to meet Aisha in last scene near those wave-breakers in Bombay and says, “I love you”, I swear I was expecting a “Didi” after that. Technically, it is a shortcoming in the script.
Iktara, the superb little gem from Amit Trivedi, is used very effectively, and I am glad it wasn’t wasted. But I couldn’t control my laughter when the slow male version in Punjabi begins. A KJ movie without a single utterance of Soniye, Aavanga, Javanga, Mainu and Tenu is a rarity, and I’m guessing they took their chances with this song as the lead character’s last name is Mehra (Punjabi). But someone please explain why a song in Punjabi !
Here’s the thing – when a background singer sings some lyrics, the characters should atleast understand what the poor guy is singing.
In the acting department, Konkana Sen Sharma is okay, Anupam Kher is thankfully restrained, Supriya Pathak contributes to some sweet moments and Namit Das, of The President is Coming, gets a good shot which I hope translates to more roles in the future.
Lastly, the music doesn’t come across as noteworthy (sparing the obvious Iktara). As mentioned in the music review, I hope SEL reinvent themselves and move out of their comfort zone.
Overall, I like the way Ranbir Kapoor is progressing as an actor. I always thought he was good with that rare quality of screen presence. He was very fine in Saawariya (that reminds me, I liked the movie), never bothered to complete Bachna Ae Haseeno and the promos of Ajab Prem Ki Gajab Kahani seem very interesting.
Please share your thoughts (and defend yourself) if you are among the ones who thought Wake Up Sid was a great movie.
Zoya Akhtar’s directorial debut is nothing short of a great movie that is riveting, real, funny and entertaining all at the same time. This is a movie that could only have been made by someone who has lived all her life in the film industry in Mumbai.
The first scene with some suggestive dialogues and the titles go by, and you know you are watching something different and special.
A word about the titles first, which I am very surprised hasn’t been written about enough. This is the best titles section in a movie in quite a long time. We all know the faces that we see, but this is a tribute to those countless people who work equally hard behind the limelight, with dreams to make it big one day, to be ‘famous’ just for a moment. Luck By Chance tries to give them that moment, perfectly complemented by the track Yeh Zindagi Bhi. It is both dangerous and courageous to start a movie at such a high point; Luck By Chance takes that chance.
It is a fine script by Zoya Akhtar; an honest and real look at those countless strugglers in Bollywood. It follows the story of two struggling actors Vikram (Farhan Akhtar) and Sona (Konkana Sen Sharma). Without going into the details of the story any more, I’ll attempt to review the movie.
The biggest plus for the movie is the casting. Every actor fits into their role *perfectly*.
First Farhan Akhtar. He is not a great actor, you can count all his expressions on one hand. Yet he delivers by showing restraint in most scenes, and sticking to one of his expressions when he really needs them.
Konkana Sen Sharma doesn’t deserve to be reviewed by anyone, ever.
Rishi Kapoor is in one of his best roles *ever*. He is funny, he is emotional, he is a bigshot producer. With this and Delhi 6 to follow, I am sure his acting graph will be taking a new turn for the good.
Dimple Kapadia, as the diva is again brilliantly cast. She is suave when in public eye and b*tchy when not. Isha Sharvani as her daughter and upcoming starlet is another character perfectly cast and perfectly acted.
Hrithik Roshan as the superstar Zafar Khan knows the Khans too well and this role is a cakewalk.
Saurabh Shukla is funny, Mac Mohan (who for the umpteenth time gets to mouth the single dialogue in Sholay he had) gets his moment and Sanjay Kapoor for some reason sounds a lot like Anil Kapoor but is funny in his bit.
Now for the character that according to me was the best. The writer of the movie within the movie, Anurag Kashyap, director of Black Friday, No Smoking and Dev D makes a surprise appearance in this movie and is hilarious in every single shot ! I had no idea he could pull this off so well.
The irony of the two leads is juxtaposed well. One does not believe in destiny, gets fame through destiny but believes it was through his hard work, the second believes in destiny and ends up at a place where hard work takes her. This is obviously not fair, but neither is life.
Among the best shot scenes are the titles, the one when Nikki (Isha Sharvani) walks into Vikram’s room in the outdoor schedule and Sona’s final scene with Vikram.
The songs are all perfect and melodious (review here), the background score is lacking at some places and repetitive at others; the only minor quibble I might have.
All the special appearances by the Khans, the star kids, veterans and that final word of advice from Shah Rukh Khan fit into the movie nicely.
Overall, a must watch and a director to watch out for. In many ways, people like Farhan Akhtar and Zoya Akhtar are more likely to bring about that much needed revolution in Bollywood rather than people like Vinay Pathak, Ranvir Shorey and Rajat Kapoor for the simple fact that they understand a vast majority of the audience like no one else. Zoya Akhtar proves again here that you do not need to come up with strange ideas to make good cinema in Bollywood. Watch Luck By Chance just for this.
Vintage Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy. So no surprises, but a really good album.
The trio is back again after Rock On, which was one of the best 2008 had to offer. Melodious and lyrically philosophical (just the basic paths, choices, dreams, etc.) is how I would sum the album. But when your album is called Luck By Chance, you will get some of that thrown around. Apart from that, you can relate most of the songs to some previous track of SEL.
The albums starts with Yeh Zindagi Bhi, a really melodious track. This is sung beautifully by Shekhar Ravjiani (who is a trained classical vocalist and a former Sa Re Ga Ma contestant) of the Vishal-Shekhar duo. The duo have been frequently singing for SEL in the recent past and I am glad they are. This track has a Rockford feel to it, but it really kicks off when the chorus begins. The chorus completely elevates the song to another level. Loy is also credited as a singer, but I am not sure where he was in the track.
The second track is the fast paced Rajasthani folk song Baawre. It starts off with free vocals in true folk style before the folk rhythm sets in. It has a nice melody and fast feel to it and then proceeds to electronic beats with accompanying strings. They have mastered such tracks previously in Kajra Re and we have heard similar arrangements from SEL before but this track might be a winner just because of Hrithik Roshan performing in the foreground. Shankar Mahadevan sings this fine, the Rajasthani Ensemble is actually quite good and I still cannot figure out where Loy was in this track.
Next up is Pyaar Ki Dastaan. I don’t really need to tell that it is a romantic number. Indian Idol 3 contestant Amit Paul is behind the mike for this one with another SEL regular Mahalakshmi Iyer. You can tell the singer is new just from the detailing, effort and singing within limits. But Amit Paul surprisingly has a voice tailor made for such tracks and his voice is smoother. The melody has that hint of retro feel to it, just like Chup Chup Ke from Bunty Aur Babli. Overall decent track.
Sunidhi Chauhan sings Yeh Aaj Kya Ho Gaya. It is easy to tell this song is going to feel great in the movie with the guitar strumming in the background. Again decent track, but falls short of being a masterpiece like a couple of previous tracks.
The next one makes up for all that. Sapno Se Bhare Naina is easily the best track of the album followed by O Raahi Re. I am not sure of the raaga it is set in, but classical vocals accompanied by the bass guitar and electronic beats in most cases makes for a great listen. So does this. But the singing here is truly great.
A word about the lyrics here. Javed Akhtar is a veteran no doubt but after a point when the words are predictable, I personally cannot appreciate the lyrics as much. This album has classic Bollywood lyrics, not many words or phrases out of syllabus. Rock On was a different effort from Javed Akhtar, and was apt in songs like Pichle Saat Dinon Mein but was disappointing in the title track of Rock On.
The last original track is O Raahi Re, a philosophical call to the protagonist. It is quite melodious and easy on the ears with its pace and arrangement. Sung aptly by Shankar M. And I really liked the lyrics from Javed Akhtar here for a change. Sample this snippet of the stanzas :
Aasaaniya Mil Sakti Hai
Tujhko Zamaane Se
Par Zara Yeh Bataa
Jeena Hai Kya Yunh Tujhe
The last is a remix of the only remixable track, Baawre. It is well, a remix. So you know what to expect.
Overall this is a nice soundtrack from SEL, surely not as brilliant as Rock On, but they are themselves to blame for setting the bar so high. But they keep up their track record of consistently giving good uninspired (to be read as music that is not inspired by other sources) music, which in itself is an achievement. I seriously cannot think of a single bad soundtrack from the trio.
But all those times they fall short of outright brilliance.
Amit Trivedi – Take a bow !
I am usually very skeptical when a music director says that his album is going to be different and even more so if he goes on record saying that his album is going to be the “baap of all genres”.
One album, 18 soundtracks, musical film, varied genres.
Unless you really know what you are doing, you are pretty much screwed if you are a composer. But this guy wins all the way !
Firstly, I am really excited at finally having someone other than A.R. Rahman and Shankar Ehsaan Loy to look up to for good music. And secondly, because Amit Trivedi *baffles* me, atleast for now. There was a time when A.R. Rahman used to baffle people, but now I think most serious musicians won’t listen to any soundtrack of his and go “What the #@##@”.
That happens with Amit Trivedi. It happened in Aamir, it happens in Dev D and is damn exciting if you are a musician !!
The songs in the album are arranged alphabetically for some random reason. Lets get started now :
Aankh Micholi : Sung very nicely by Amit Trivedi, this is a decent number. Mainly composed using electronic sounds and rhythm loops, the highlight is undoubtedly the singing.
Dev Chanda theme 1 : This sounds like a retro jazzy number, decent melody and a short track.
Dev Chanda theme 2 : This song has a very strong melody and for some random reason is whistled, but really raw and unprocessed. I am assuming it is for a reason and this is what makes Amit Trivedi different, his songs are really raw and unprocessed at times, and it will make an A.R. Rahman cringe with discomfort listening to such tracks.
Dhol Yaara Dhol : One of my favourites, this is a Rajanthani folk number. It is a soft number and sung really well by the Shilpa Rao, who gives another great performance after Ek Lau from Aamir. Again melody is the highlight and the arrangement perfectly complements the lead track, be it the sarangi or the strings or that string plucking.
Dil Mein Jaagi : It starts with some classical piano playing and is classical jazzy all the way. Decent number and it proves that the composer understands the genre more than anything else.
Duniya : Wonderful track, again great singing by Amit Trivedi. Looks like he too tends to keep the best songs for himself. This is fast paced with rhythm loops supporting it but the highlight as usual is the melody !
Ek Hulchul Si : Another wonderful track reminiscient of the soft rock tracks of the 80′s. Joi Barua does the honours here. I really hope we don’t lose all these new singers. Almost everyone is going to like this track, just for the melody if not anything else.
If you are wondering why I am stressing melody so many times, I am glad that being a new composer his main focus remains on the melody, something that A.R.Rahman used to do long ago. The songs here are all about the lead melody and everything else is just accompanying it, just the way music earlier was.
Emotional Atyachaar : What a track ! What a track ! I wouldn’t have imagined in my wildest dreams that I would appreciate a song arranged around a brass band !! Brass bands are the ones that play at weddings and processions with the loud trumpet thing, fast snare drums and a base drum that emits just one beat per cycle. This is what I would call as brilliant. The lyrics sound small town and blend in perfectly with the music.
Emotional Atyachar (rock version) : This is as different as it gets from the above track, while keeping the lead vocal melody same. Out and out rock, sung brilliantly by Amit Trivedi by Bonnie. (Thanks Tejas)
Hikknaal : This is the old-school Punjabi track arranged perfectly. The melody is very simple like most Punjabi numbers and something I didn’t really like, proving that he knows the genre pretty well [:)].
Mahi Mennu (sad version) : Sung really well by Labh Janjua, this is a slow version accompanied just by the synth strings.
Mahi Mennu : The fast paced version. It starts off with an amazing groove and is a more contemporary Punjabi number. Far better than the other Punjabi numbers that get thrown at us, and again I liked the lead melody.
Nayan Tarse : Nicely done and nicely sung ! This is a blend of classical, electronic and rock patches.
Payaliya : Another wonderful track sung by a newcomer Shruti Pathak. I still haven’t identified the raaga. But it is a great composition and I am sure he would be proud of this track.
Pardesi : Sung by Toshi, this sounds like a Rajasthani number but without the folk touches in the arrangement. Decent number.
Ranjhana : A very short and slow solo number, but it is really beautiful.
Saali Khushi : It is basically a rant, but singing is again a highlight here. This guy sings almost perfectly for the given lyrics !
Yahi Meri Zindagi : I would have been disappointed if the album ended on a negative note, but that is taken care of by this last track. Sung well by a newcomer Aditi Singh Sharma again, it is a track that sounds very fresh and innocent in the beginning but moves to become fast paced. A good way to end the epic album.
Overall, the production values of the album aren’t great, but that is not what the album or music in general is about. We all have our woofers and subwoofers and speakers that play every damn frequency perfectly, but without the music that sounds good to the ears they are pretty much useless. That is the reason I would recommend this album to everyone. You *have* to like atleast one track, such is the vast area it covers !
A special mention must be made of Amitabh Verma Bhattacharya who writes most songs for Amit Trivedi and also sings in quite a few. The lyrics sound fresh and after all these years of Javed Akhtar, Gulzar and Sameer, Prasoon Joshi and Amitabh Verma Bhattacharya are a welcome change.
Take a bow, Amit Trivedi.
Musically, this was a typical year for Bollywood, a few good releases by A.R.Rahman, Shankar Ehsaan Loy and some good newcomers.
Best Film Album (OST)
This was a tough one, but I think I’ll go with Amit Trivedi for the music of Aamir. Let me defend now.
Jodha Akbar was complex, grand and multi-layered, Slumdog Millionaire was something different from Rahman, Rock On was one of the best albums I heard in quite some time (and if not for Aamir would have been an easy choice), Welcome to Sajjanpur was really melodious but very situational at times and Khuda Ke Liye was a great album overall.
About Aamir, it was earthy, it was simple, it was melodious. Heck, at some points it was so raw that it would make an A.R. Rahman cringe at the sound ! But it was very good music, it was different, it was experimental. I still listen to the songs of Aamir almost daily. The sufi number Ha Raham, the folk and earthy Chakkar Ghumyo, the fast Phas Gaya, the experimental Haara and of course the philosophical Ek Lau, which assumed great significance in the aftermath of the Mumbai terror attacks (lyrics and translation here).
You might also want to listen to this song composed by Amit Trivedi for the Mumbai victims.
Best Non-Film Album
This was me was a contest just between Sonu Nigam’s Classically Mild and Rabbi Shergill’s Avengi Ja Nahin, and it was easy to choose Rabbi (review here). His first album was undoubtedly more catchy but Avengi Ja Nahin was deeper. Every song in this album deserves a proper listen and understanding !
Best Song : Bilqis (Jinhe Naaz Hai) (review here).
I do not think anyone would dispute this. This song is one of the reasons why music can be powerful yet subtle.
Best Singing Male : Sonu Nigam in Soona Soona (song here).
Sonu Nigam came back with some brilliant singing in a classical album this year and still managed to hold fort as one of the best singers we have.
Best Singing Female :
I really liked Dominique in Ye Tumhari Meri Baatein from Rock On but I think I will go with Madhushree in Ek Meetha Marz from Welcome to Sajjanpur. I haven’t heard a female playback voice sweeter than hers and you just have to listen to the way she sings this song (that too just one stanza).
If you have no clue about Slumdog Millionaire is, you might want to read this first.
Firstly, the album of Slumdog Millionaire is not your conventional album, it is a collection of the major pieces and songs that go on in the background; some instrumentals and some vocal tracks put in an almost chronological order of appearance in the movie. The sound is a mixture of heavy percussions and Indian classical music.
Note : If I reference to scenes or parts in the movie, they are enclosed within <M> and </M>, especially for those who haven’t seen the movie. Do not be too curious else you might spoil the movie for yourself.
As expected, it kicks off with O .. Saaya with heavy percussions. A.R. Rahman and M.I.A. take care of the singing. Don’t bother understanding what Rahman sings, more often than not you wouldn’t have a clue.
<M> Really catchy and it sets the pace in the movie, as the kids run through the slums followed by an overweight hawaldar </M>.
The next track is Riots, which is just some rhythm loops and a couple of other sounds thrown in. Quite passable and not really deserving a separate soundtrack.
Now this is a great track. Called Mausam & Escape, it starts with some Indian classical guitar playing accompanied by acoustic rhythms, then suddenly shoots into some amazing sitar playing, heavy percussions and catchy rhythm loops.
<M> This starts when Jamal is waiting at the platform for Latika and continues into the chase as Jamal tries to stop the gang from taking her forcibly. I am sure you remember this track. </M>
Paper Planes is the single by M.I.A. that was a recent hit in Britain. This is taken as it is without any changes. It is a nice track but makes for spectacular viewing in the movie as a train travels through deserts, cities, green plains and mountains. India in 2 minutes. The trailer which features the above scene and track is here.
Paper Planes Remix is okayish and passable. It does not feature in the movie.
Ringa Ringa is a very interesting song. Rahman acknowledged in an interview that he used the ‘Choli ke peeche’ track of Laxmikant-Pyarelal in this album. As you listen to this track, you would probably realize what the word ‘inspiration’, so overused in the Indian music industry, really means. He uses the same singers Ila Arun and Alka Yagnik, heavier background rhythms and a completely different tune but which constantly reminds you of the original track.
<M> This track features as Jamal and Salim walk in Kamathipura (or some similar place) to find Latika. </M>
Liquid Dance, I cannot recollect where it appears in the movie, is a tarana, with the syllables of a tarana, strings that are western classical (remotely resembling the Spirit of Rangeela tune) and heavy percussions again. Nicely done, but resembles a background track rather than a standalone soundtrack.
Latika’s Theme is a masterpiece. The track is just humming, which plays often in the movie and one of the most soothing tracks you would have heard in a long long time.
The next is Aaj ki Raat, which is the same track as it is from the Don OST. I thought there would be some changes, but a quick waveform analysis showed none [:)]. So if you loved the original track but if you didn’t like this, please consult a doctor.
The Millionaire track is another fast track which sounds brilliant in the movie, simply brilliant. This leads to one of the highest points in the movie.
<M> This plays as the country readies itself for the Who Wants To Be A Millionaire show, where everyone is hoping that the first rags to riches story will come true on the show </M>
Gansta Blues is quite passable, which sounds like a track to utilize the 20 hours/week from rapper Blaaze. I cannot recollect when it plays in the movie.
Dreams On Fire is the vocal version of Latika’s theme, again sung beautifully by the same singer Suzanne. Although I would prefer the humming version anyday.
Now for the final soundtrack which is probably the best track in the album, although I am sure to get opposing views. Sung by Sukhwinder Singh, Tanvi Shah & Mahalaxmi Iyer with the best parts in the song taken by Rahman, deservedly so. Lyrics by Gulzar, it is your conventional Bollywood song, and one of the better compositions of Rahman in recent times. This plays at the very end of the movie and the visuals that accompany it are going to be pleasantly surprising for everyone watching the movie. Oh and this track ensures that no one leaves the theater till the last credit has rolled by. Then the lights come on, and if there are enough females in the room, you might also catch a few with tears in their eyes at the end.
P.S. : I propose a ban on the release of more than 1 album of A.R. Rahman within a span of 2 weeks.
As much as I liked the music of Rock On, the movie disappointed me.
Please someone give me your reasons for liking the movie, in case you did.
On the acting front, the movie belongs to one person and it is not Farhan Akhtar. It is Arjun Rampal, who CAN act. And how he can ! Farhan Akhtar again knows what he is doing. Purab Kohli is very likeable and earnest. Luke Kenny brings his character alive, but I am not sure if by bad or brilliant acting. Prachi Desai and Shahana Goswami almost steal the show from the guys.
I liked the movie for the characters. You have seen them all. The Anglo-Indian who is just happy to hold the guitar forever, the rich kid for whom music is a privilege, the good-natured guy whose love for music is higher than anyone but never in the spotlight and above all, the Aditya, who is every person whose answer to the question “What would you do if you had a million bucks ? ” is not the same as his job.
Don’t know about you, but I have seen each of them at some point in my life.
After seeing people’s status messages change faster than Ajit Singh’s loyalties in the trust vote, I knew I had to have a suno at this album. In one word, this album is all about .. rock (it would be just lame if it were something else). For the clueless people, rock also happened to be a genre of music before it got busy replacing every verb, adjective and adverb in English vocabulary.
Handling the music are the composer trio Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy, back after Taare Zameen Par. For a rock album, I cannot think of anyone better in Bollywood (unless of course you don’t mind listening to the songs so long before liking them that you realise you have grown too old for this genre). But to top it all, we do not have Shaan and KK in the credits, and Shankar Mahadevan keeps his singing to himself for this album ! Wise.
This album gets straight to the point and sets the tone from the very first strum of the guitar in Socha Hai. The best song is Sindbad Sailor hands down : good lyrics, melody and singing ! Socha Hai is probably the next best. The biggest surprise in this album was the Zehreelay sung by Suraj Jaggan, who after singing brilliantly must have needed truck loads of Strepsils. This song goes further away from the metalloids in the periodic table, but is a must listen probably for the singing. Rock On and Pichle Saat Dinon mein manage to hold the album tighter, while Tum To Ho and Ye Tumhari Meri Baatein bring in the softer side of rock. Phir Dekhiye loses its way to the Yashraj Camp.
This album is textbook rock, simple riffs, even simpler chord progressions, but the undercurrents of melody is where it wins.
The losses. The lyrics (Javed Akhtar) :
Aasma Hai Neela Kyun, Paani Geela Geela Kyun Gol Kyun Hai Zameen
doesn’t really speak rebellion. Even Koi Kahe from DCH was better. And of course, no self-respecting rocker would croon
Phir Main Aise Josheelay Geet Sunaoon
Mere Geeton Ko Sunke Sab Ye Bolen
And for those of you who didn’t know. This album was recorded in 5 days flat ! Unfortunately, that shows.
Lastly, a few words about the man handling the mike for 6 songs out of 9 in this album. Farhan Akhtar, the person who gave us the great Dil Chahta Hai and the even better Lakshya. Lets just say, this guy knows what he is doing, which in itself is a rare occurence in Bollywood.
This album has Ehsaan written all over it, but Shankar and Loy help translate that to a good album. They continue proving themselves but are still looking for that one masterpiece.
This album surely joins the list of albums coming out of Bollywood recently that I have liked. The other I would recommend are :
Aamir (you have to listen to it to know why it is here).
Khuda Ke Liye (same as above)
A couple of songs from Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na.
Saawariya (I just discovered this album a few days ago. Incidentally, I also liked the movie. Yes, I have an appointment with a shrink next week.)