Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

Ek Tha Tiger – Music Review

Sunday, July 22nd, 2012

Arguably, Ek Tha Tiger is this season’s most awaited film. Consequently, it’s music carries with it an unwarranted high expectations. Just how is a ‘blockbuster music’ supposed to sound? If one peeps into history, most popular music or music from bumper hits wasn’t ‘architected’ to hit the bull’s eye, it just happened in due course of time. Expectations add an unnecessary burden, and most times creators fail to live up to it – not because their deliveries are bad, but because by nature expectation is always a notch higher in some vagure netherworld that is undefinable.

The reviews I read on the internet all seemed to carry some sort of mental measuring scale trying to match that undefined mark with the result in hand. My review is about a bunch of song, the film be damned! In any case, film songs should fit the plot, but at the same time have a life of their own to live beyond the film. In this, I feel Ek Tha Tiger numbers do succeed. Whether they fit into the story or not, is something that can only be gauged once the film releases, but listening to the audio it piques the interest, and standalone they have a life of their own.

Though, I’d be honest to say that I approached it with my own set of expectations – the key composer Sohail Sen is a music director I have been keenly following having taken to his warm, instrument-based compositions (a break away from the cluttered similar sounding composers of today). I still vociferously & firmly assert that his Khelen Hum Jee Jaan Sey is a masterpiece worth its every note weighed in gold!

First things first, the number of songs – four originals, one theme music followed by bunch of remixes. The remixes are redundant, and I will leave them out. Four songs is pathetically low number and seriously gives away the discouraging fact that music was never meant to be the film’s mainstay. But then Yash Raj Films’ romantic blockbuster Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi had a similar number of songs hence a thriller (albeit a romantic one, whatever that means) was bound to have same or less. Thankfully, they kept it at same.

The four songs blend with the main filming locations : Cuba, Ireland, Middle East and of course our very own India.


Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Sey – A Celebration of Sound

Sunday, November 14th, 2010

Its that one album I had been waiting for which I could gush over without attaching any conditions. I had almost given up hope in the current dismal music scenario, though admittedly the past two months have been pretty interesting in an assorted manner. From Pritam’s oeuvre, I liked a couple of ditties from Once Upon A Time in Mumbai and Aakrosh; Vishal-Shekhar provided some good tracks in Anjaana Anjaani; I quite enjoyed Anu Mallik’s Laagi laagi milan dhun laagi (Shreya Ghoshal) from Hisss and of course, Lata Mangeshkar’s mammoth effort in Dunno Y: Na Jaane Kyun’s title track is worth its weight in gold.

However, it was always a song or two picked up and never the full album. Until I discovered Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Sey, composed by Sohail Sen, who had also done Ashutosh Gowarikar‘s previous film What’s Your Rashee‘s brilliant score. In fact, I had discovered What’s Your Rashee very late, when the film and its music had vanished from public memory. By then, I guess, it was too late and I confess that even though I had enjoyed the music, I couldn’t pay complete attention as some other newer stuff had churned out by then and plus old songs continue to occupy majority of my mind space. Now, having re-visited that album with more depth and much attention, I feel like kicking myself for not even including it in my year-end list.

Returning to Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Sey, it is a soundtrack that swiftly sweeps you off your feet and takes into an exquisite musical journey and finally transports you into a landscape where tunes are simple but exquisite and where instruments rule, like they always should in a soundtrack. The album has gripped me, mesmerized me and interested me to an impossibly high extent

Sohail Sen’s compositions are magnificent aural enchantment. His biggest USP (and holds true for What’s Your Raashee too)is his instrumentally rich interludes – music that goes between the words; and here it is pure music. If that is good, the song gains weight and warrants repeated hearings. I have always believed interludes should be tunes in themselves that link the antaras, and they should flow out from one into the other. His second strong point is that his tunes do not rely on a hook line ; these are real tunes given to fine words (Javed Akhtar). For example, in Nayn tere jhuke jhuke the tune effervescently ripples like a gurgling river, without obligation to return to a catch-phrase. This is how old songs were composed and this is precisely how melody is endurably created. Although I understand it doesn’t matter to many, but I am pleased he mostly uses the quintessential film song structure as well (at least for songs having two stanzas): prelude, mukhda (repeated twice), interlude1, antara, interlude2, antara2 and mukhda or main riff-repeat at the end.

On all counts, Sohail Sen has delivered masterfully. As I titled this post (which, incidentally, is not a review but more an appreciation post), Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Sey is a colossal celebration of sound where dollops of sitar, tabla, flute, whistle, accordions, percussions and a heavy strings section combine to seduce listeners into a delightfully satisfying and deeply satiating festivity. The tonal quality is deeply resonating, weighty and one that I absolutely adore (arrangers & programmers: Simaab Sen, Prakash Peters & Rajeev Bhatt) Sohail Sen weaves a musical rich shawl that grips, hugs and warms your heart. Mind it, it s not possible to select one song as the entire soundtrack is an impeccable intricate wholesome design as each tune or riff finds a refrain in another piece. Hence, my strong suggestion is to listen to the full album as it is laid out and do it on a good sound system.

Coming to the songs, the album opens with a splendid number Yeh des hai mera yeh des mera: the tune s stunning attraction lies is in its third line ( Jaan rahe na rahe dil toh ab yeh kahe ) which takes an unexpected but pleasant detour from the opening two lines, and you know you are hooked, and as it progresses the interludes (a soft humming chorus with santoor) and the antara flow like a balmy zephyr, with a dash of Vande Mataram audible in the second interlude. Sohail’s voice adds shine.

But Yeh des hai mera is a mere appetizer to the main course that succeeds it. Nayn tere jhuke jhuke kyun hai tu bata is a song that transports into a totally different era an age of simplicity and heart-achingly beautiful innocence where two friends could giggle about first flush of love, while going about their chores. Remember those Lata-Asha duets, with the heroines on cycle going for a picnic? Almost similar in flavor. And this has an outstanding flutes (especially in its main riff) and a distinctly Bengali flavor. Keeping in line with the same melody there is Sapne saloney hain sach toh hone, a porcelain fragile love duet, which includes lovely sitar pieces (and sitar is a personal favorite). When was the last time you really heard sitar in a Hindi film soundtrack?

Finally, we have the clarion call Ab humko roke na toke koi, a superb choral burst (Suresh Wadkar’s academy students sing with verve and vigor) and where the title words (Khelein hum jee jaan sey) are its lynchpin, and once again some more impressively done arrangements. The music has so much enthusiasm & energy that it can rouse even the dead.

Thereafter, the album is filled with an array of background instrumental pieces each one cross-referencing to one or the other song, and each having a distinct enjoyable sound. My favorites are Long Live Chittagong & The Teenager’s Whistle (back to back, they can be clubbed together), The Escape, Vande Mataram & Revolutionary Comrades.

In each of these, the music is so rich & evocative you can almost visualize & imagine the scene. I eagerly await Ashutosh’s on-screen interpretation(and going by his previous track record I am sure it will have some stunning cinematography & provide equal visual delight).

In all, it’s an album worth spending money on and listen to it with eyes closed deeply immersed in it’s music. And while you are doing so, please do also grab a copy of Ashutosh Gowariker‘s What’s Your Rashee to understand Sohail Sen’s continuum in music space. Hopefully, he will continue to create music in this way.

Overall: Must Buy

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Thursday, July 15th, 2010

Hey bloggers, how has it been all the while I did a Mr. India and disappeared from this space. I guess, blogging is passe now, with every one worth his keypad chirping away on twitter. Frankly, I never really took to this social medium. The space is too short to incorporate my verbose thoughts. Yes, I fell for the initial euphoria of cine-stars’ daily updates, but I soon figured out they are not really there to interact and make friends with us aam-janta, unless of course, there is a forthcoming release, when the charm is more than conspicuously visible. So twitter fell from my grace pretty soon.

Life has been so boringly routine that I really struggle to find something decent to put up here. Plus, my office shifted to far away South Bombay (though it beats me why they still call it ‘town’, and Bandra upwards ‘suburbs’), so I am these days spending quality time with my SX4.


I paid two quick visits to Kerala, with the second one turning out to be mildly exciting. I reached Kochi airport past the counter closing time. A dour looking airline official rudely refused to take me and another late-comer in. It’s not a big airport, and it’s not too crowded either, and I still feel had he wished he could have bended a bit. The flight hadn’t even been fully boarded.

More than his refusal, I found his demeanor and way of speaking very arrogant, rude and definitely not customer friendly. You can’t summarily tell a customer to take the next day’s flight, especially when I cried out that I was on a day trip & wasn’t even carrying a change of clothes. Marie Antoinette and her infamous remarks on ‘if not bread let them have cakes’ from French history flashed across my mind.


Top Songs – 2009

Monday, January 4th, 2010

I had skipped this compilation last year. But breaking traditions is not a good habit. Hence, this year I started to do this in November itself, so that I could complete it before year-end. Though, honestly & admittedly, I am not confident whether I am a good person to do this any longer. My listening to new songs is limited & restricted. The joy in finding a good song is absent because today’s music hardly fascinates me. The song structure has changed, mukhdas have elongated, interludes vanished and melody is on back-seat. Not my ideal situation.

Strangely, the songs that managed to excite me turned out to be ones that their music composers seemed to have abandoned mid-way (Jashn hai jeet ka, Bin tere marjaavan main, Ring ringa, Rafa Dafaet al).

Still, I will give it a shot from the small ambit that I managed to explore. As always, this list is in no particular order. And, this is a purely personal compilation, ingrained with my biases and prejudices.

Daata sun le Maula sun leJail – Lata Mangeshkar’s second foray this year into the recording room (other than Hanuman Chalisa), post her knee operation, was good in parts. I enjoyed the so-called ‘remix’ version better. It had a lilting tabla beat, and overall more cohesiveness than the ‘main’ version. Lata Didi, as usual, uplifted Shamir Tandon’s composition, which to put it politely, was a pretty ordinary composition. If this were Madhur’s answer to Ae maalik tere bande hum (Do Aankhen Barah Haath), it was a very weak reply indeed. Still, it was manna from heaven for Lata Didi devotees.

Otherwise, Jail‘s music held little interest. Sharib-Toshi’s Saiyan Ve burnt the dance floors for a while, but it’s longevity is suspect (especially since the film has bombed badly at box-office).

Tan ganga mann prem ki dhara and Krishna krishnaUmariya Kailli Tohre Naam – I welcome any musical serendipity. This time, in the form of a Bhojpuri film. From a chance ‘google’ search, I learnt that Lata Didi (Lata Mangeshkar) has sung one Bhojpuri song this year, under Raamlaxman’s baton. It took awhile to find the cd. And boy! was I bowled. As the cd unravelled – there was not just one or two but full three songs by the Diva! Krishna Krishna (in two parts; one, a duet with Bhupendra Singh; and second, a solo) sounded to my ears a nineties recording that seemed to have dug its way into this film. It’s purely in Hindi. Wonder which film it was originally recorded for. Tan ganga man prem ki dhara sounded newer. It’s a soft song, with lovely sitar and flute riffs and an effective chorus line.

(Incidentally, the mp3 I bought had hoardes of other Bhojpuri songs, which kept my interest alive. Will write on them later).



Thursday, November 5th, 2009

Number Plate

My car’s front number plate has become a joke. If it had been a chain mail, it would have got forwarded the world over several times over. And perhaps (like all chain mails) return to me.

Some two-three months back, the number plate decided to loosen all its ties, and hang out adventurously. Rather, hang down. Like a good car-owner, I reprimanded it and took it to the repair-shop (one decrepit one, near my place) and replaced its screws (at an exorbitant price for the job that size). Obviously, the number plate didn’t like to get screwed. Next day, when I reached Lonavla (for a review, darlings, not for holiday – just in case you start off on how lucky I am, which I am not) I found that the number plate had again broken free, and was gleefully swinging like a trapeze artiste in a circus.

I thought I’d just leave it. Let the poor kid enjoy it’s living on the edge. (Well, procrastination and laziness were two other reasons, but I am not really going to confess that up, no m’dahlings? )


Lataji : Shat Shat Pranaam

Monday, September 28th, 2009

Eighty years back Goddess Saraswati chose to bless mankind, She incarnated & gave it the most beautiful Voice ever heard. Lata Mangeshkar, born this day in 1929, turns 80 today. On this auspicious day, coinciding with Vijay Dashmi (Dashera) this year, I bow before her and once more pay my gratitude for the innumerable pleasurable moments she has imparted with her mellifluous voice and melodious songs.


Lata Mangeshkar Sings Gulzar’s Lyrics

Wednesday, August 19th, 2009

Yesterday, poet, director & writer Gulzar celebrated is 73rd birthday. Thanks to his recent successes, he is one name who is still pretty reknowned amongst the young generation. These days, his Kaminey‘s Dhan Te Nan is quite popular. And earlier this year, he co-won the prestigious Oscar for Jai Ho (Slumdog Millionaire)

Due to this, every radio channel worth its airwaves played his songs on their daily ‘oldie goldie’ programmes. By ten pm, I was furiously switching between four channels, simultaneously sms’ing to two friends the favorite songs (multi-tasking, eh!).

Well, as the frenzy endied, I thought I had to list out a few of his songs that the Melody Queen Lata Mangeshkar has graced with her mellifluous voice; after all, both have immense mutual respect for each other. She has sung in most of his films. And he has directed her home production (Lekin). The association started right from Bandini, when a young Gulzar wrote a lovely lyric about a love-lorn woman, based on refrains from Radha-Krishna lovetale. Mora gora ang lai le continues to enthrall listeners, old and new; S D Burman’s frugal but fruitful music enchants.

(As always, this is a random list – not in any particular order, and since Mora gora ang lai le has been mentioned above, and deserves to be before any list, it is not mentioned below).


Sorting Through Past -1

Wednesday, March 11th, 2009

In India, old technology, once advanced, is cruelly thrown into the dustbin. Just the way record players lost their importance, today cassettes are almost on their way out. It’s not so elsewhere. While searching on google for record players, I found multitude of foreign sites catering to them, including a Japanese one catering to laser turntable (instead of using a normal stylus), which means the technology is not as dead as it is in India. Similarly, cassettes are no longer favored. It’s the era of CD’s, mp3’s etc.

During this holiday (yes I was in Delhi for Holi) I sifted through my large cassette collection. I had built this up painstakingly during the early nineties, topping it up every month once I started job, but a large portion remains from those lovable college and post-graduation years. Some of them had lived through their life (and played with a weird off-key sound), some had been replaced even then (I recall buying Pathar Ke Phool audio at least three times!) but most survived. Thankfully, my now aged Sony player lived upto its expectations.

During those years, I had built up a formidable collection, and much to my mother’s consternation and irritation, cassettes flow out of every other available drawer. And they include some now-forgotten scores, which, when I heard in the past three days, brought back a tsunami of memories. I will not delve into those. But allow me to pride on these lost films, whose songs are dear to me, and perhaps, if you can find them might interest you too. This is a small list of five, there would be more, but good enough to start of with:

Jaan-E-Tammana – I wonder if Saif Ali Khan and Karisma Kapoor remember they had signed this K C Bokadia film. In fact, I am not even sure if they ever did. I never saw any video. And the audio release, a low-key affair, was on KC Bokadia’s own lable BMB Music (which wound up pretty soon after its initiation). But the songs – composed by Aadesh Srivastava, before he got his two biggies Baghban & Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham – are an absolute delight. Be it Abhijeet-Vijayta’s sensuously nimble Nigaahe milakar nigaahein jhukana or Sanu’s solo Dil ki vaadi mein, they are well orchestrated, and well composed. But the piece-de-resistance are those three Lata Mangeshkar nuggets – Ek dil ki ek dil se mulaaqat ho gayi (with Udit Narayan), Suniye ji haan kahiye ji (with Kumar Sanu) and that grand music-fest of a ditty Mujhe laagi prem dhun (with Roop Kumar Rathod).

Speaking of Lata-Roop Kumar Rathod duets, this is the second one that could not see a proper release. The first is from Jackie Shroff starrer Angaar : Kitni jaldi yeh mulaqat guzar jaati hai. They were definitely lucky the third time round – Tere liye from Veer Zaara topped the charts!

Strangely, the title is spelt Jane-Tamanna.

Nargis – This Zeba Bakhtiyar-Naseeruddin Shah-Hema Malini starrer could have been an artistic affair. Alas, it tanked before it’s release. Tragically, it sank the film’s shimmering music as well. Imagine a singer line up that includes Lata Mangeshkar, Asha Bhonsle & Jagjit Singh. And a composer who has been R D Burman’s erstwhile assistant – Basu Chakraborty. The result is pure magic. Tunes that fondly remind of RDB’s Ghar and Aandhi-type of fare are spread over seven delicious tracks.

While Kisi aashiyaane mein (Lata Mangeshkar) is a theme song that builds interest in the trials and tribulations of the protagonist, Mai kaise kahun jaane-man (Jagjit Singh) is a rose-petal soft love ballad. Together the two legendary singers join their mesmerising vocals for a splendid love duet Dono ke dil hai majboor pyaar se hum kya karein meri jaan tum kya karo. (I suspect there is a Yesudas version to the number as well, and is somewhere available on the internet, but the audio did not have it). Asha Bhonsle comes for a full-on cabaret number O Jaana Qurbaana (with Naseeruddin Shah, who I presume would have been a villain in the film, recites some lusty lines).

However, it’s the two Lata Mangeshkar solos that take the album to dizzying heights – Arre tu pawan basanti kaahe ko ith-laake chalti soaks in vivacity and verve of a young girl in the first throes of adolosence, and Lata Mangeshkar sounds exceedingly soft and sweet. And it’s counterpart, carrying on the soft tana-na-tana-dere-na chorus into its pain-lashed heart, is the album’s best song – Kaahe ab ki ae bahaar pheeka hai har khumaar, where the pawan basanti is silenced into a terrifying stillness, laced with some sumptuous sitar pieces.

Majrooh’s lyrics are excellent.

Venus Audio released the album. Some years later, they fished out these numbers and presented them as a Lata Mangeshkar-Jagjit Singh album tilted ‘Adaa’.

Personally, this album evokes several memories. In those carefree days, pocket-money was always scarce, and if two good albums came simultaneously, it meant more tightening of the already tightened belt. Parampara and Nargis released back-to-back. So, a friend and I split the purchase ( I bought Parampara, he purchased Nargis). Till date, I have that recorded cassette, done from his borrowed copy. I had listed the songs with a pencil…now faded & hazy…like those memories.

Baharon Ke Manzil – Remember Mona Ambegaonkar? She made her debut in this trashy picture about a singer and a group of friends. So shady is the film, it does not even find a mention on The audio cassette cover, in light blue, has a huge guitar, with the leading pair hidden behind it (perhaps in a bid to out-do those famous Aashiqui posters).

I remember faintly having sat through this flick…only for its outstanding music. Raamlaxman composed this, fresh after his Pathar Ke Phool and Maine Pyar Kiya success, and sans Lata Mangeshkar or SP Balasubramanyam. If anything, the music is a showcase for singer Poornima (who at that time, I suspect, was TIPS Audio’s favored singer), who gets to croon all the female parts.

Sabse badi dosti hai yaar captures the joys of friendship, set to a dandiya beat, and Aadhi raat aayi toh is an enthralling new year song. In both, Raamlaxman ensures it’s the interludes that tickles the listener’s heart. In fact, Raamlaxman gave some superb interludes in those days, very different from the then current norm, almost always using real instruments, and joining the antaras in a logical fashion. Sample those lush sitar pieces, set to a static beat, in Tum tana na tana yeh dil hai deewana (Poornima-Amit Kumar).

But what always made my heart soar were these two Udit Narayan-Poornima duets – Meri jaan dua karna and Tera naam likh diya. Especially, the latter, where the tabla sounds different, and a soft chorus upholds the tune, filling it up like a fragrant zephyr entering a well-decorated room.

Vishwasghaat – Mahesh Bhatt’s ex-assitant Himanshu Brahmbhatt directed this soppy Anjali Jathar-Sunil Shetty-Anupam Kher flick, much before his other flop Rog. I could never sit through either film.

Again, the songs are something else altogether. Nadeem-Shravan’s assistants Shyam – Surender gave a score that would have done their mentors proud. But I reckon the biggest coup was to bring in Lata Mangeshkar for four of its best songs (out of a total of six tracks). All these four tracks are worth their weight in gold. Deewangi hai jo yeh pyaar ki opens the album, followed by a delectable Lata Mangeshkar solo – Intezaar hai tera intezaar hai. The latter carries such grace in its tune that had it been a lady it would have won all the beauty titles in the running.

Of the rest, I simply adore the fragile Jaaneman jaanejaan dil ne di yeh sada – with Kumar Sanu, Lata Mangeshkar whips up romance and roses in a vanilla-flavored love duet. The perky and fast-paced Yeh dil kyun dhadakta hai rah rah ke machalta hai rounds up a wonderful array.

The sound quality is A-grade and Shyam Surender provide enough meat in their interludes. Sad, my copy of the cassette is almost on its death-bed. Last time it had acted truant and refused to play. This time, mercifully, it played, and played twice over.

Dhartiputra – If I recall correctly, this Mammooty starrer was a meek hit. At least, I remember its horrendous Mera tohfa tu kar le qabool getting quite a bit of airwaves (with those silly lines where the heroine asserts Kyunki sone pe chhai mahngai mai chaandi le aayi to the hero’s recessionary declaration Kyunki lahnga hua bada mahnga mai chunri le aaya. And this was in 1993, when India was shining, and there was no global meltdown! Wonder what they will sing in current times. But I guess, going by today’s sartorial trends, the heroines today wouldn’t bother with either a lahnga or chunri!)

Anyways, leave this kiddish duet aside, the album carries pretty good numbers, composed by the then-reigning duo Nadeem Shravan. There is the handsome Alka Yagnik solo Bulbul bole angana mere tu kab aayega bata de sajna mere and Kumar Sanu-Alka Yagnik’s hummable Saare rangon se hai .

However, my pick of the lot is the two-part lori – a tender but heart-breaking ode Khamoshi hai ek bajaa hai khali rasta dol raha hai. Nadeem-Shravan rarely got a chance to compose lullaby’s, but in this they displayed a sharp virtuosity. My preference – Alka’s solo version that is kept in the end of the cassette, and stays with you long after the system auto-stops.

I have a few more names in mind, but I will leave it for a sequel to this post. I wonder if you have heard of any of the above, or remember them ever?!

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The Curious Case of Khatiya & Khatmal

Monday, March 9th, 2009

Sometime in early nineties, a raunchy song hit the headlines. Choli ke peeche kya hai created an unnerving, albeit a totally unwanted, furore. How dare they! screamed the feminists. How daring! chuckled the men. Battle-lines were drawn – morality v/s creative license drew arms to herald a musical Mahabharat, with our poor ever-pale and ever-threatened Bhartiya Sanskriti undraped and feeling molested.

Of course, it was a much ado about nothing for the song’s second line exonarates any idea of vulgarity. After all, the heart does reside beneath the blouse! If any thing, the lyricist (ever dependable late Anand Bakshi) has slyly worked at your own pervert mind, and not laid bare his own. I found the song pretty cool, with a wonderful beat, and some commendable singing by Ila Arun & Alka Yagnik. But best of all was its picturisation – Madhuri’s vigorous dance in a riotous red-and-creme dress, against a hugely colorful backdrop!


Chanda Ki Chandni – For All DIL TO PAGAL HAI Fans

Saturday, November 15th, 2008

For those readers who loved and adored Dil To Pagal Hai‘s music (and I am one staunch fan), here is a superb treat in store for you:

Yashraj Music recently released a collection of love duets which includes one hitherto unreleased song. Though, on the jacket sleeve, they do not mention the film for which it was recorded, but one hear, and you know it for sure. The DTPH theme is there in the second interlude, and the tune of ‘Arre re arre’ in the second one.

The mukhda goes:

Kitni hai beqaraar yeh, chanda ki chandni
Kahti hai kar lo pyaar yeh, chanda ki chandni

(Singers – Lata Mangeshkar, Kumar Sanu; Music – Uttam Singh)

A close hear reveals the song to be the original for ‘Chaand ne kuchh kaha…pyaar kar’ (the track that comes on Valentine’s night, amidst bright red balloons). In fact, structurally both songs are similar, down to the interlude movements. Though, honestly, I was a bit surprised to find Kumar Sanu since all other songs of the film were rendered by Udit Narayan.

It is a delight to hear Lata Mangeshkar’s breezy rendition. She is splendid in the breezy track, that has some riveting beats and orchestration. In fact, it is an unparalleled happiness to obtain a fresh song from the diva. My excitement was so supreme that my hands trembled as I put on the CD.

This compilation is titled – ‘ Tum Paas Aa Rahe Ho ‘ (picked up from the ‘bonus’ song of Veer Zaara, which opens this CD) & contains 14 love songs. For more details on the album click here.

For the song’s television promo click here.

Now, if only other producers/music companies would loosen up all those unreleased Lata Mangeshkar numbers…starting, of course, with JP Dutta and his two recorded songs of the now-shelved Sarhad.

Vinyl Records – A Resurfaced Love Affair

Sunday, October 5th, 2008

A colleague’s chance remark brought back memories of the once-upon-a-time ubiquitous vinyl records. And then I read an article which claimed that vinyl records had a ‘warm’ sound. Voila, how true! As I dived into my hazy memory, I felt those words extremely true.

That was it. The urge to own one again started.

For those who were born this side of the nineties, vinyl records were standard music storage formats, till about the eighties when the audio-cassettes took over. They were often called ‘long-playing records’ or simply LP’s (there were smaller versions too, which carried just the ‘singles’). In a way (and in an uncanny genetical resemblance as well) they were the grand-dads to compact-discs.


Reality Blues

Monday, April 28th, 2008

I have nothing against the prolifiration of reality shows on Indian sattelite channels. After all, everyone will try to encash on a successful formula – and frankly, if people are watching, what’s wrong in it?

It’s the lack of creativity & innovation within this genre that gets on the nerves. When one channel starts a kid-hunt show, all of them round up tiny tots in different size & shapes to croon those essentially-adult numbers (admittedly, watching a barely into-teens youngster extolling about burnt beedis and raving about kajra-re eyes is a wee bit discomforting). Why can’t the channels sit together and time their shows differently – at least, the audience will get a wider variety, and perhaps, help the channels garner better TRP’s in the long run.

The current flavor is getting dadajis and dadajis and mummyjis and daddyjis to shake their collective left feet in a ‘family dance show’. Worse, the format & the judges’ comments & the scoring model (and then that urge to vote, vote and more vote) is typically the same in all such shows. I haven’t watched any. But I believe the one with Kajol and family is doing good. Strangely, Kajol (despite being one of my most favorite stars of the nineties generation and one who has starred in most of my favorite films) has the dubious distinction of acting in the most insipid, irksome and irritating advertisements. Perhaps the words on the cheques were much more interesting that what was written on the script!

Anyways, in the clutter of reality shows, one has finally managed to get my attention – Jo Jeeta Wohi Superstar on Star Plus (shown every Fri & Sat night, but I generally watch the back-to-back rerun on Sunday mornings). It’s a challenge between winners of various reality shows (Abhijeet Sawant, Ishmeet, Rooprekha Bannerjee, et al) pitted against the runners-up from the same shows (Rahul Vaidya, Harshit, Vineet etc).


‘Dil Dance Maare’ : Tashan Rocks!

Monday, April 7th, 2008

Another thumping return:- Udit Narayan makes a resounding comeback! And how! In ‘Dil dance maare’ he simply lets loose his vocals, and his enjoyment in singing those bizarre lyrics, is more than audible and palpable and perceptible. Though Sukhvinder and Sunidhi give him tremendous support, however, for me, it is Udit who outshines both. Vishal’s crazy and inane lyrics (in their latest release Yash Raj Films’ Tashan) are…well, crazy and inane. But tell you what? They work! This unabashed and undiluted celebration of nonsense is the most sensible to hit the charts in the past few seasons. Vishal-Shekhar effortlessly tune words that go White white face dekhe dilwa beating fast sasura chance maare re, and the harmonium hookline is addictive, to say the least!

After Tara Rum Pum and Om Shanti Om, where Vishal-Shekhar displayed a keen sense to break away from the contemporary audio trend, (without fully discarding or alienating it), my personal expectation from this album were huge. Though I missed the serenading cascades of violins (Mai agar kahuun), or the tender tones of piano (Ho agar kabhi koi gham), still Tashan has enough sponge to sink one’s senses into! In fact, Vishal-Shekhar are the few new composers who actually look like working on the music between the antaras.

Take for example, the Hey Shona-ish love ditty in Tashan, ‘Falak tak chal saath mere’ : there is a tingling santoor riff in the second interlude, which is instantly uplifted by a sonorous flute strain, leading to the soft and supple antara – that in itself breaks into a dholak-based rhythm mid-way. Now, hearing the dholak so prominently, and so well-used, is surely a cause for joy!

Falak tak chal is the second Udit Narayan number in the score, and this time he is on more familiar ground, having sung innumerable love songs in the nineties. Mahalaxmi Iyer, who is rarely heard, accompanies him in this beautiful number. I liked the lyrics (by Kausar Munir) in this one (even if the chand and suraj metaphors/imagery reminded me of Gulzar’s poems)

Other than Dil Dance Maare, the folkish- or rather , more correctly put, the ‘hinterland effect’, is also found in Sukhwinder Singh’s opening solo ‘Dil haara re’ , another pleasurable song. A teeny weeny complaint, though – did they have to change the rhythm and pattern towards the end of the song?

The dope-y Tashan mein , sung with verve by composer Vishal and singer Saleem takes a while to intoxicate you, but once it does, there is no point in getting away. Surrender to the electric guitars and the curvaceous tune!

I found Sunidhi’s Chhaliya the only weak number in an otherwise inspired album.

Tashan is a unique North-Indian word that can mean style, attitude and arrogance all rolled in one. In the album, all the lead actors speak a line or two of what tashan means to the characters they are playing (interspersed between the songs).

Dunno how the film will end up, but the music sure has lot of tashan!

Overall – Must Buy

Top Songs – 2007

Monday, December 31st, 2007

It’s the time to rewind and assess the music that hit the charts this year. As in the past four such compilations, the below list is my own choice and does not in any way reflect the fate at the charts. Anyways, my music choice is so individualistic, often it doesn’t coincide with the hit parade.

Personally, I found this year’s music scene far superior to 2006. Where last year I had struggled to find one single fulsome album, this year I had at least six of them, and many more where the favorite songs exceeded that one single entry played relentlessly on the music channels and FM radio.

My own award to the music composer of the year goes, undoubtedly and unwaveringly to Vishal and Shekhar. The duo came up with not one, but two, wholesome albums which I thoroughly enjoyed listening to and revisiting.

So without much waste, here we go:


Shat shat pranaam – Lata Didi

Friday, September 28th, 2007

It is the second consecutive year when, on this auspicious day, I am in a new town, without a consistent source of internet to type out a full-fledged message. But the solace is that I am breathing the same air, in the same city, as where the Queen of Melody resides.

It’s amazing how another year has gone by. And yet, in this added year, my love for that perfect voice hasn’t diminished one bit. Only, as I am away from music, the love has grown fonder, and deeper. I miss listening to Lata (Mangeshkar)Didi’s songs, and hope to be re-united with them soon, once my luggage arrives from Delhi. Still, whenever and wherever I can snatch those precious moments, I do try to listen to her. One such instance was when I travelled to Nashik, I put on my own CD in my colleague’s car, and listened to a bunch of marvellous Lata Mangeshkar-Madan Mohan combine songs.

Here’s wishing Lata Didi a very happy, peaceful, wonderful and melodious birthday, and praying to Almighty for her long life and health.

Happy Birthday, Lataji!

The Mystique Moods of Madan Mohan: A Report

Monday, July 16th, 2007

Thirty-two years back, Madan Mohan (or ‘Melody Maker’, as popularly known amongst his fans) left us – leaving behind fervent music lovers sobbingly clutch a wide range of mellifluous melodies; melodies that stood the fierce test of time, and that only grew in stature as time went about its cruel chore. On his thirty second death anniversary (14th July) Manohar Iyer’s Keep Alive, true to the group’s name, brought alive some of his finest tunes in the packed Prabodhankar Thackeray Hall, Borivali (West), Mumbai in a show titled ‘The Mystique Moods of Madan Mohan’.

As my hosts (a wonderful couple, M&R, but more on them a little later) and I hurriedly collected our passes, Mr Suresh Rao, co-editor of the book that would be released during the show, warned us, ‘The show will start on time’. I was skeptical, but needn’t have been. Barely had we seated ourselves that the curtains parted to the mystical strains of ‘Hamare baad mehfil mein afsaane bayaan honge‘ – a most apt way to begin the show. ‘Bahaarein humko dhoodhengi na jaane hum kahan honge’ the song says, and truly, music and nature, mind and heart wondered where the maestro had gone. Thereafter, I immersed into the music, discarding aside all sense of time.

The stage was set like the great Madan Mohan’s music – simple yet not frugal. The musicians sat in a wide arch, on spotless white seats; the percussions on the left, the keyboards on the right and the sitar – Madan Mohan’s most favorite instrument – prominently in the middle.

The chief guests for the show were Madan Mohan’s family – son Sanjeev Kohli (CEO & Director, Yash Raj Films), his wife and his son, Akshay; and Madan Mohan’s second son, Sameer Kohli.


Madan Mohan- An Unforgettable Composer

Thursday, July 12th, 2007

Madan Mohan is not an unknown name to any music lover. He is truly one legend whose work has (to use an awfully overused cliche) survived onslaught of time, and that too when originally they weren’t on the most popular stars. Yet, the power of his melodies were such that someone like me, who was barely two years old when he left for the heavenly abode, it has given me an immense satisfaction. In the past years, I have made a conscious effort to seek and unearth many of his unknown and rare gems, and they are exactly that – gems!

On the occasion of his death anniversary, which falls on 14th July 2007, a musical show has been organized by Keep Alive (Manohar Iyer) at Borivali, Mumbai.

And on this day, a book would be released titled ‘MADAN MOHAN – AN UNFORGETTABLE COMPOSER’ (they really couldn’t have thought of any better way to describe him!). I am right now a bit constrained to speak on the book, or its authors/contributors, but it has a number of celebraties who have written their own views on his music. It would be priced less than Rs 500, and it will be an ‘easy-read’ book, giving insight to a man who did wonders when he entered the recording room.

I will definitely let you know about the book once it is released – and will leave with just one tiny information that it has an article by yours truly as well. I just cannot describe the kind of pride I feel right now, having my piece in a book dedicated to my favorite composer!!!

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Wah Taj!

Sunday, July 8th, 2007

Standing on my balcony late last night, I looked in the darkness towards where Taj Mahal is. I wondered if it realized that millions would be watching about it’s fate in the New Seven Wonders list on their television sets (and live in Lisbon). Did it understand its own grandness? More importantly, did the callous city which houses it realize it’s importance. During my stay here I have heard several derogatory comments against it (many industries had to be shifted/relocated due to the environmental pressures, leading to a lot of unrest and discomfort amongst the business community).

Unfortunately, the cable here chose to vanish and I couldn’t catch the New Seven Wonders results. Today morning as I made way to pick up the newspaper, I stopped again to look at the white marble wonder, standing dignified surrounded by rain-clouds, and I hoped that it would have made it through to the new seven wonders.

It has!

Here is the final result of the New Seven Wonders List, as announced in a glittering function in Lisbon (Portugal), attended by our very own dusky siren Bipasha Basu and Agra’s mayor.

The New Seven Wonders list has evoked several responses – from excitement to indifference to cynicism to controversies (after all it’s just a private new list, without even the official sanction on UNESCO! The Egyptians pulled out of the vote in a huff!). Then some found the ‘false patriotism’ unleashed the past few months to enable voting highly distasteful.


Shankar Jaikishan Expressions – 2 – Non- Lata Mangeshkar Duets

Thursday, May 10th, 2007

Back to my favorite composers – Shankar Jaikishan! I have often stated that I love their music for the deeply intrinsic melody and their interludes which had polished finesse and clear tonal quality rarely heard in HFM. Two more aspects that I love in their music are:

a) Their beautiful use of counter melody the music that runs parallel to the antaras (best heard in the Mukesh number Teri yaad dil se bhulane chala hoon from Haryali Aur Rasta) or the music that rounds of a mukhda: for example, Deewane ka naam to poochho (An Evening In Paris) cannot be hummed without the ta-ta-ta sound after every two words: deewane ka ta- ta- ta naam toh poochho ta- tat- a. I hope you understand!

b) Their music had an unusual richness; in the sense even their tabla or dholak was never alone, it always had an accompanying jhankar to it long before those horrid external ‘jhankar beats’ were devised.

Shankar Jaikishan worked for some 190 films (including Telugu movies and documentaries) and composed a spectacular 1348 songs, of which 334 were duets*. Selecting a few lovable duets (not in any particular order except as and when I recalled them), which do not feature Lata Didi but are nevertheless a pleasure to hear:


The Music Meme

Wednesday, May 2nd, 2007

Juneli tagged me (yet again!) and this time on a topic I am passionate about. But two small caveats a) Usually, I don’t have ‘the’ favorite numbers; hence it is always a wide array of choices that I keep. So, I will twist the rules in this tag; and b) lists like these keep changing; had I taken up this tag a year back the choices might have been vastly different; a year down the line, probably I might not agree with this list. So, these choices are for now, for this moment:

Your favorite lyricist and the lyrics you remember the most:

I am not too lyrics-oriented man, in the sense that I give preferance to the tune, the music, the interludes, the orchestra and the rendition. Hence, even a silly sounding Sunday ko bulaya (I Love You) finds a decent place in my collection!

Shailendra: He pioneered the use of simple Hindi in film music, without dissipating the weight of the thought or emotion he needed to express. His vast repertoire include such shimmering gems like the tongue-in-cheek Chhoti si hai duniya pahchaane raaste hain, the celebratory Aaj phir jeene ki tamanna hai, the philosophical Sajan re jhooth mat bolo, the sorrow-ful Ae mere dil kahiin aur chal, the pious Manmohan krishna murari, the titillating Ang lag ja baalma and the romantic Tum hi tum ho mere jeevan mein.