Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Sey – A Celebration of Sound

I have been quite bad. I start off with a ‘series’ and never really sit to pen its subsequent parts. So, audiologist hemorrhoids let me rectify that immediately. Since eating out is more compulsion than choice, unhealthy I guess it was easier to complete this.

So without much further ado, here is the second installment of this series:

Copper Chimney (Worli, Near Atria Mall) – I had tried Copper Chimney in Delhi, so I was very sure what to expect. Serves Indian cuisine. Am told it has good non-vegetarian fare (though I haven’t tried, since I visited only after converting to vegetarianism). Contrary to many other restaurants, CC in Bombay enjoys ample space, with lots of crevices and corners to enjoy a relaxed private meal. I had ordered pretty standard fare (Dal makhani, naan and paneer) and they were all good.

Vig (Chembur) – If you are in Chembur, and haven’t been to Vig‘s then you ain’t eaten anything. Like Crystal, Vig has small space, not very tidy and pretty ‘down-market’ look. But let it not fool you. The food is simply sumptuous and will have you literally licking your fingers. Serves veg and what we can call ‘snacks’. However, they are more than stomach-ful. The chholas are just amazing.

Guru Ka Dhaba (Lokhandwala) – Rush here for some delicious home-style vegetarian food. Don’t expect any fancy seating area; in fact, it is less than ordinary & you might have to share tables. But the culinary brilliance more than makes up for the lack of space. Or service, which is tad too slow. I loved Rajma and Paneer Bhurji here, though do try out various vegetables like Ladies Finger & Cauliflower too. They serve soft phulkas (instead of the usual tandoori roti).

Papa Pancho’s (Seven Bungalows, Andheri W) – Another awesome Indian food joint, more Punjabi. And pretty authentic. I liked its Baingan Ka Bartha, which is as rare in Bombay as winter chills. Also, talking of the season, do try out the sarson-ka-saag there. Nothing to beat mom’s taste, but quite there. They have another outlet at Pali Hill, Bandra. Yet to visit that one, though.

Falafels (Various outlets) – I have become a fan of this Lebanese delicacy, made of chick-peas. Order their Combo-2 and you get quite a meal: a huge portion of hummus, with two large pita breads, and topping of choice (I usually order falafels), combined with a dessert (chocolate mousse is my favorite) and a drink (lemonade or carbonated drink, choose your pick). I have tried hummus at various places (including Cafe Coffee Day at Juhu-Shopper’s Stop) but the way these people make it something else altogether. Their home-delivery service rivals Domino’s in speed and promptness.

Mondegar‘s & Leopold’s (Colaba) – Two joints which perhaps define Bombay’s spirits are Mondegar’s & Leopold’s – both situated near each other, on Colaba Causeway. Both are crowded in evenings, and is full of foreigners, hippies, back-packers and the young-at-heart. The beer flows freely. The snacks are great. And one has to ‘experience’ these joints to understand the absolute carefree and bindaas attitude available. A perfect place to head to for an evening of fun & frolic with friends.

Leopold has been a degree more famous – thanks to the incessant tourist over-flow, as also the book Shantaram, and (more recently) due to the shootout there, last November. Established in 1871, Leopold’s is as much a landmark as Gateway of India is.

Five Spices (Fort)– Located near RBI’s office, Five Spices is another ‘cool’ place; it serves Chinese cuisine. With some good amount of spices, as the name goes. The portions are more than sufficient, so be careful while you order. The service is impeccable. However, decor could have been more innovative. I am told there is another branch at Bandra or Andheri, yet to try that out.

Chetana (Kala Ghoda, Fort) – Situated next to Rhythm House, Chetana offers an array of thalis – Gujarati, Maharashtrian and Rajasthani. It’s tough to choose the best one. All three are outstanding. I have a soft corner for Rajasthani fare- including dal, baati and choorma, which the thali contains. The service is extremely prompt. And since food in unlimited, stuff yourself! Do also try the Gujarati thali, and it’s white kadhi, served alongwith khaman dhokla and multiple chatnis. This place leaves you more than full, and often a lavish lunch equates skipping dinner.

Panchvati Gaurav (Infiniti Mall, Link Road, Andheri West) – Another marvelous thali joint, similar in concept to Chetana: that is, unlimited thali starting off with snacks (dhokla, small samosas et al), jal-jeera, and then variety of sabzis, dal, rice, raita, and papad; rounding it off with some awesome sweets (moong dal halwa or any other sweet of the day). Thali joints thrive on quick service, and this one is no exception. It’s location (within a famous mall) helps it garner a good crowd. Again, a place guaranteed to give you ‘burps’!

That’s all for this episode. Will be back shortly, with a third installment, as I go discovering (and re-discovering) more Bombay joints.

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I have been quite bad. I start off with a ‘series’ and never really sit to pen its subsequent parts. So, hemorrhoids let me rectify that immediately. Since eating out is more compulsion than choice, I guess it was easier to complete this.

So without much further ado, here is the second installment of this series:

Copper Chimney (Worli, Near Atria Mall) – I had tried Copper Chimney in Delhi, so I was very sure what to expect. Serves Indian cuisine. Am told it has good non-vegetarian fare (though I haven’t tried, since I visited only after converting to vegetarianism). Contrary to many other restaurants, CC in Bombay enjoys ample space, with lots of crevices and corners to enjoy a relaxed private meal. I had ordered pretty standard fare (Dal makhani, naan and paneer) and they were all good.

Vig (Chembur) – If you are in Chembur, and haven’t been to Vig‘s then you ain’t eaten anything. Like Crystal, Vig has small space, not very tidy and pretty ‘down-market’ look. But let it not fool you. The food is simply sumptuous and will have you literally licking your fingers. Serves veg and what we can call ‘snacks’. However, they are more than stomach-ful. The chholas are just amazing.

Guru Ka Dhaba (Lokhandwala) – Rush here for some delicious home-style vegetarian food. Don’t expect any fancy seating area; in fact, it is less than ordinary & you might have to share tables. But the culinary brilliance more than makes up for the lack of space. Or service, which is tad too slow. I loved Rajma and Paneer Bhurji here, though do try out various vegetables like Ladies Finger & Cauliflower too. They serve soft phulkas (instead of the usual tandoori roti).

Papa Pancho’s (Seven Bungalows, Andheri W) – Another awesome Indian food joint, more Punjabi. And pretty authentic. I liked its Baingan Ka Bartha, which is as rare in Bombay as winter chills. Also, talking of the season, do try out the sarson-ka-saag there. Nothing to beat mom’s taste, but quite there. They have another outlet at Pali Hill, Bandra. Yet to visit that one, though.

Falafels (Various outlets) – I have become a fan of this Lebanese delicacy, made of chick-peas. Order their Combo-2 and you get quite a meal: a huge portion of hummus, with two large pita breads, and topping of choice (I usually order falafels), combined with a dessert (chocolate mousse is my favorite) and a drink (lemonade or carbonated drink, choose your pick). I have tried hummus at various places (including Cafe Coffee Day at Juhu-Shopper’s Stop) but the way these people make it something else altogether. Their home-delivery service rivals Domino’s in speed and promptness.

Mondegar‘s & Leopold’s (Colaba) – Two joints which perhaps define Bombay’s spirits are Mondegar’s & Leopold’s – both situated near each other, on Colaba Causeway. Both are crowded in evenings, and is full of foreigners, hippies, back-packers and the young-at-heart. The beer flows freely. The snacks are great. And one has to ‘experience’ these joints to understand the absolute carefree and bindaas attitude available. A perfect place to head to for an evening of fun & frolic with friends.

Leopold has been a degree more famous – thanks to the incessant tourist over-flow, as also the book Shantaram, and (more recently) due to the shootout there, last November. Established in 1871, Leopold’s is as much a landmark as Gateway of India is.

Five Spices (Fort)– Located near RBI’s office, Five Spices is another ‘cool’ place; it serves Chinese cuisine. With some good amount of spices, as the name goes. The portions are more than sufficient, so be careful while you order. The service is impeccable. However, decor could have been more innovative. I am told there is another branch at Bandra or Andheri, yet to try that out.

Chetana (Kala Ghoda, Fort) – Situated next to Rhythm House, Chetana offers an array of thalis – Gujarati, Maharashtrian and Rajasthani. It’s tough to choose the best one. All three are outstanding. I have a soft corner for Rajasthani fare- including dal, baati and choorma, which the thali contains. The service is extremely prompt. And since food in unlimited, stuff yourself! Do also try the Gujarati thali, and it’s white kadhi, served alongwith khaman dhokla and multiple chatnis. This place leaves you more than full, and often a lavish lunch equates skipping dinner.

Panchvati Gaurav (Infiniti Mall, Link Road, Andheri West) – Another marvelous thali joint, similar in concept to Chetana: that is, unlimited thali starting off with snacks (dhokla, small samosas et al), jal-jeera, and then variety of sabzis, dal, rice, raita, and papad; rounding it off with some awesome sweets (moong dal halwa or any other sweet of the day). Thali joints thrive on quick service, and this one is no exception. It’s location (within a famous mall) helps it garner a good crowd. Again, a place guaranteed to give you ‘burps’!

That’s all for this episode. Will be back shortly, with a third installment, as I go discovering (and re-discovering) more Bombay joints.

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Whoa! It’s this blog’s seventh anniversary. Seven is considered an auspicious number:  Seven Wonders, oncologist
seven pheras, approved
seven music notes, seven seas & seven colors.  Let’s wish the number’s luck also rubs onto this site & it gets more prolific.

Happy Anniversary Random Expressions!

Last month my HR manager sent a very sweet mail congratulating on three year completion in the organization. It struck me then that that meant three years completion in Bombay as well. Three years sped by and I didn’t even realize it. If time flies, cardiologist then it most definitely has very large wings to brush under its span 1095 important life-days.

If reader’s recall one strong reason for opting for Bombay (I still cannot get over calling it by its old name) was to understand what makes the city tick; to comprehend & appreciate its pulsating energy; to feel that radiance which seems to make a Bombayiite so uncomfortable elsewhere; to unravel its various layers that compel writers & lyricists to pen novels & songs on it.

Honestly, injection I will confess I am nowhere close to grasping any of the above. Perhaps I allowed myself to be sucked in my work’s unavoidable vortex which left me very little residual time to mull & ruminate on the city. Or perhaps, health I am now one with the city’s electrifying intensity so much so that I didn’t realize that three years have gone by and that is the sum total of my years of stay in Nepal and Agra put together. The gypsy in me seems to be finding a city anchor. Frankly, I do not like it.

But I will park the thought to shift base (once again) for a few more days.

Rewinding back let me run past a few memories now permanently associated with this city. I landed here on 5th September 2007, sans a house or even an inkling of an idea as to where I would stay. It took me three excruciatingly long months (and numerous extended approvals to stay on in the company guest house) to mentally adjust to the house dimensions here, and learn the language of BHK and deposits (which I felt were impossibly high). However, soon I understood that housing is such an important factor in an average Bombayite’s life that there is a well-oiled machinery to cater to all its needs. This was a huge contrast to my previous experience in Agra, where I had just made a loose agreement with the owner (that too, done via the building office & who collected cash rentals every month); and of course, a deep disparity from Nepal where even that loose agreement was done away with.

Discovering Bombay was fun because of its sheer size, though I feel it s a pretty easy city to explore, due to its longitudinal geography. Actually, the city allows you to lose yourself rather than your way. No one bothers what you do and why you do. There are no nosy neighbors at home & no prying eyes on the road. Privacy is respected; each one on his own. Early on, when I was still at the guest house, I returned very late to find the doors locked. Having no other place to go, I roamed around a bit (hiring an auto); since it was a festival month & a weekend, there was pretty much traffic and crowd on streets. Later I went to the airport, bought a few magazines and sat in a cafe sipping coffee till the sun rose. I returned to find a Ganpati on its way to visarjan , followed it till the beach and finally came back to the guest house. In that whole night, not once did I feel uncomfortable (what will they think of me sitting idly in an airport cafe ?) or scared of being stranded in middle of the night or any apprehension or fear of any untoward incident. This kind of security is something that Bombay should cherish & always nurture. Bombay s true charm lies not in its outward beauty (which, admittedly is lacking to a large extent), but in its inner resilience; in its innate strength.

Having seen them in films, visiting areas like Fountain or Town Hall or Gateway of India provided an unmatched thrill. Of course, add to this passing by a celebrity s house (for example, Peddar Road, where Lataji stays) was (or rather, is) definitely exciting. I have already recorded my visit to the famous Chor Bazaar.

Bombay s festivities are unique. Ten-day Ganeshotsav is a mind-boggling & unparalleled array of sound & color & joy & music, and to see the sea of people throng the beach took my breath away. It s a sight to be savored, enjoyed & participated in. It s as if the entire city converges into one large fair. Other than this, Janamashtmi (or Gokul Ashtami) is celebrated in a unique manner where dahi-handi competitions are held at almost all areas. Real fun!

Of course, most of the discovering happened in the early days first via the city’s ubiquitous trains, and later (when I purchased it) my car. I still cherish moments when I would step out every weekend to visit a new place; and sometimes with hilariously disastrous results. For example, I can never forget the painfully long drive to Aksa Beach; which I undertook at a whim, seeing a signboard on the Link Road, and hoping it to be just round the corner ; only, it turned out to be after several corners, and in end a pretty much disappointment.

In those initial days, I used to even enjoy the repeated trips to any beach Juhu or Bandstand, largely, though sometimes to Versova as well. For a Delhiite, watching the sea (and especially the gorgeous sunset) holds high premium. It is soothing & inspiring to observe the rapid waves roll to the shore & lose their energies only to recede back and return with a new force.

Gradually, I too seemed to have rolled over to a comfort routine (which just oscillates between home & office) & have dissipated my energies. Now I barely step out on weekends. I am too burdened by the thought of traffic, which honestly speaking is as good or as bad as any other big city. I think I need to reorganize my strength. Once, I had planned to photograph & archive all the musical legend roads & landmarks. I never could start it. Perhaps, I should try to give it a shot again now.

Anyways, Bombay (or Mumbai) will have to bear with me for some time. I hope it continues to accept me and provide me its radiance & brilliance.

Other posts to read – Myths & Truths – Bombay; Finding A Doctor; Eating Out In Bombay -1 & Eating Out in Bombay-2

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Last month my HR manager sent a very sweet mail congratulating on three year completion in the organization. It struck me then that that meant three years completion in Bombay as well. Three years sped by and I didn’t even realize it. If time flies, glands then it most definitely has very large wings to brush under its span 1095 important life-days.

If reader s recall one strong reason for opting for Bombay (I still cannot get over calling it by its old name) was to understand what makes the city tick; to comprehend & appreciate its pulsating energy; to feel that radiance which seems to make a Bombayiite so uncomfortable elsewhere; to unravel its various layers that compel writers & lyricists to pen novels & songs on it.

Honestly, I will confess I am nowhere close to grasping any of the above. Perhaps I allowed myself to be sucked in my work’s unavoidable vortex which left me very little residual time to mull & ruminate on the city. Or perhaps, I am now one with the city’s electrifying intensity so much so that I didn’t realize that three years have gone by and that is the sum total of my years of stay in Nepal and Agra put together. The gypsy in me seems to be finding a city anchor. Frankly, I do not like it.

But I will park the thought to shift base (once again) for a few more days.

Rewinding back let me run past a few memories now permanently associated with this city. I landed here on 5th September 2007, sans a house or even an inkling of an idea as to where I would stay. It took me three excruciatingly long months (and numerous extended approvals to stay on in the company guest house) to mentally adjust to the house dimensions here, and learn the language of BHK and deposits (which I felt were impossibly high). However, soon I understood that housing is such an important factor in an average Bombayite’s life that there is a well-oiled machinery to cater to all its needs. This was a huge contrast to my previous experience in Agra, where I had just made a loose agreement with the owner (that too, done via the building office & who collected cash rentals every month); and of course, a deep disparity from Nepal where even that loose agreement was done away with.

Discovering Bombay was fun because of its sheer size, though I feel it s a pretty easy city to explore, due to its longitudinal geography. Actually, the city allows you to lose yourself rather than your way. No one bothers what you do and why you do. There are no nosy neighbors at home & no prying eyes on the road. Privacy is respected; each one on his own. Early on, when I was still at the guest house, I returned very late to find the doors locked. Having no other place to go, I roamed around a bit (hiring an auto); since it was a festival month & a weekend, there was pretty much traffic and crowd on streets. Later I went to the airport, bought a few magazines and sat in a cafe sipping coffee till the sun rose. I returned to find a Ganpati on its way to visarjan , followed it till the beach and finally came back to the guest house. In that whole night, not once did I feel uncomfortable (what will they think of me sitting idly in an airport cafe ?) or scared of being stranded in middle of the night or any apprehension or fear of any untoward incident. This kind of security is something that Bombay should cherish & always nurture. Bombay s true charm lies not in its outward beauty (which, admittedly is lacking to a large extent), but in its inner resilience; in its innate strength.

Having seen them in films, visiting areas like Fountain or Town Hall or Gateway of India provided an unmatched thrill. Of course, add to this passing by a celebrity s house (for example, Peddar Road, where Lataji stays) was (or rather, is) definitely exciting. I have already recorded my visit to the famous Chor Bazaar.

Bombay s festivities are unique. Ten-day Ganeshotsav is a mind-boggling & unparalleled array of sound & color & joy & music, and to see the sea of people throng the beach took my breath away. It s a sight to be savored, enjoyed & participated in. It s as if the entire city converges into one large fair. Other than this, Janamashtmi (or Gokul Ashtami) is celebrated in a unique manner where dahi-handi competitions are held at almost all areas. Real fun!

Of course, most of the discovering happened in the early days first via the city’s ubiquitous trains, and later (when I purchased it) my car. I still cherish moments when I would step out every weekend to visit a new place; and sometimes with hilariously disastrous results. For example, I can never forget the painfully long drive to Aksa Beach; which I undertook at a whim, seeing a signboard on the Link Road, and hoping it to be just round the corner ; only, it turned out to be after several corners, and in end a pretty much disappointment.

In those initial days, I used to even enjoy the repeated trips to any beach Juhu or Bandstand, largely, though sometimes to Versova as well. For a Delhiite, watching the sea (and especially the gorgeous sunset) holds high premium. It is soothing & inspiring to observe the rapid waves roll to the shore & lose their energies only to recede back and return with a new force.

Gradually, I too seemed to have rolled over to a comfort routine (which just oscillates between home & office) & have dissipated my energies. Now I barely step out on weekends. I am too burdened by the thought of traffic, which honestly speaking is as good or as bad as any other big city. I think I need to reorganize my strength. Once, I had planned to photograph & archive all the musical legend roads & landmarks. I never could start it. Perhaps, I should try to give it a shot again now.

Anyways, Bombay (or Mumbai) will have to bear with me for some time. I hope it continues to accept me and provide me its radiance & brilliance.

Other posts to read – Myths & Truths – Bombay; Finding A Doctor; Eating Out In Bombay -1 & Eating Out in Bombay-2

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Last month my HR manager sent a very sweet mail congratulating on three year completion in the organization. It struck me then that that meant three years completion in Bombay as well. Three years sped by and I didn’t even realize it. If time flies, discount then it most definitely has very large wings to brush under its span 1095 important life-days.

If reader’s recall one strong reason for opting for Bombay (I still cannot get over calling it by its old name) was to understand what makes the city tick; to comprehend & appreciate its pulsating energy; to feel that radiance which seems to make a Bombayiite so uncomfortable elsewhere; to unravel its various layers that compel writers & lyricists to pen novels & songs on it.

Honestly, there I will confess I am nowhere close to grasping any of the above. Perhaps I allowed myself to be sucked in my work’s unavoidable vortex which left me very little residual time to mull & ruminate on the city. Or perhaps, I am now one with the city’s electrifying intensity so much so that I didn’t realize that three years have gone by and that is the sum total of my years of stay in Nepal and Agra put together. The gypsy in me seems to be finding a city anchor. Frankly, I do not like it.

But I will park the thought to shift base (once again) for a few more days.

Rewinding back let me run past a few memories now permanently associated with this city. I landed here on 5th September 2007, sans a house or even an inkling of an idea as to where I would stay. It took me three excruciatingly long months (and numerous extended approvals to stay on in the company guest house) to mentally adjust to the house dimensions here, and learn the language of BHK and deposits (which I felt were impossibly high). However, soon I understood that housing is such an important factor in an average Bombayite’s life that there is a well-oiled machinery to cater to all its needs. This was a huge contrast to my previous experience in Agra, where I had just made a loose agreement with the owner (that too, done via the building office & who collected cash rentals every month); and of course, a deep disparity from Nepal where even that loose agreement was done away with.

Discovering Bombay was fun because of its sheer size, though I feel it s a pretty easy city to explore, due to its longitudinal geography. Actually, the city allows you to lose yourself rather than your way. No one bothers what you do and why you do. There are no nosy neighbors at home & no prying eyes on the road. Privacy is respected; each one on his own. Early on, when I was still at the guest house, I returned very late to find the doors locked. Having no other place to go, I roamed around a bit (hiring an auto); since it was a festival month & a weekend, there was pretty much traffic and crowd on streets. Later I went to the airport, bought a few magazines and sat in a cafe sipping coffee till the sun rose. I returned to find a Ganpati on its way to visarjan , followed it till the beach and finally came back to the guest house. In that whole night, not once did I feel uncomfortable (what will they think of me sitting idly in an airport cafe ?) or scared of being stranded in middle of the night or any apprehension or fear of any untoward incident. This kind of security is something that Bombay should cherish & always nurture. Bombay s true charm lies not in its outward beauty (which, admittedly is lacking to a large extent), but in its inner resilience; in its innate strength.

Having seen them in films, visiting areas like Fountain or Town Hall or Gateway of India provided an unmatched thrill. Of course, add to this passing by a celebrity s house (for example, Peddar Road, where Lataji stays) was (or rather, is) definitely exciting. I have already recorded my visit to the famous Chor Bazaar.

Bombay s festivities are unique. Ten-day Ganeshotsav is a mind-boggling & unparalleled array of sound & color & joy & music, and to see the sea of people throng the beach took my breath away. It s a sight to be savored, enjoyed & participated in. It s as if the entire city converges into one large fair. Other than this, Janamashtmi (or Gokul Ashtami) is celebrated in a unique manner where dahi-handi competitions are held at almost all areas. Real fun!

Of course, most of the discovering happened in the early days first via the city’s ubiquitous trains, and later (when I purchased it) my car. I still cherish moments when I would step out every weekend to visit a new place; and sometimes with hilariously disastrous results. For example, I can never forget the painfully long drive to Aksa Beach; which I undertook at a whim, seeing a signboard on the Link Road, and hoping it to be just round the corner ; only, it turned out to be after several corners, and in end a pretty much disappointment.

In those initial days, I used to even enjoy the repeated trips to any beach Juhu or Bandstand, largely, though sometimes to Versova as well. For a Delhiite, watching the sea (and especially the gorgeous sunset) holds high premium. It is soothing & inspiring to observe the rapid waves roll to the shore & lose their energies only to recede back and return with a new force.

Gradually, I too seemed to have rolled over to a comfort routine (which just oscillates between home & office) & have dissipated my energies. Now I barely step out on weekends. I am too burdened by the thought of traffic, which honestly speaking is as good or as bad as any other big city. I think I need to reorganize my strength. Once, I had planned to photograph & archive all the musical legend roads & landmarks. I never could start it. Perhaps, I should try to give it a shot again now.

Anyways, Bombay (or Mumbai) will have to bear with me for some time. I hope it continues to accept me and provide me its radiance & brilliance.

Other posts to read – Myths & Truths – Bombay; Finding A Doctor; Eating Out In Bombay -1 & Eating Out in Bombay-2

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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, cialis 40mg 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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Comments

  1. When i watched the movie on TV, honestly, after some time, i didnt pay attenetion, as for every character there was a song n i had run out of patience…will revisit the songs DJ. Good post. keep writing often DJ. Thanks for the post 🙂

  2. @Sweety – Hey thanks. That was quick.

    Do listen to WYR again – have it playing in my car for quite some time now. Music is awesome. I really regret not paying full attention to it at that time.

    And yeah, having 13 songs helps. It’s a nice bulk to dig into.

    In fact, watching a rerun some days back, I didn’t mind the film.