Tuesday, July 06, 2004

musical goals

When he recommended Lakshya's soundtrack, Aditya tactfully dropped names (John Williams, Hans Zimmer, Jethro Tull), knowing fully well that such influences would offer a better USP (is that even valid? saying a better USP?) for me. I've already missed out on an opportunity to catch it the theatre (thanks to bad timing). And the first time I caught the soundtrack, I never had reviews like Aditya's, which would point to more interesting and relevant references instead of unfairly comparing everything that SEL did with Dil Chahta Hai. mai.n aisaa kyuu.N marks a start that is both interesting and disappointing. It's interesting for all the James Bond-esque fills and disappointing because it sounds like A R Rahman recycled (Aditya refers to SEL as ARR minus the melody -- Can't say I agree with that completely, but it's an observation that fits this song). agar mai.n kahuu.N is a more interesting find: the song's spine is an acoustic guitar riff, which -- were it not for the usual memory lapse -- I could place almost within a snap. But there's more to the song: a wavering melody, and some tasteful bits of musical spice (harmonica, flute) thrown into the mix. Unfortunately, I can't stand Alka Yagnik, making the usually unsettling Udit Narayan a bit more palatable. But this would be my pick on the album. If only because of the guitar (TIP: if you want to sell me a song, put in some interesting acoustic guitar, and you have a customer). The Hariharan/Sadhana Sargam ballad kitanii baate.n is a delicious dollop, but the title track, while interesting in the musical arrangement, fits perfectly in the slot of motivational songs, and only works marginally thanks to a flip between the gentle and the aggressive (the bagpipe-toned synth riff accompanied by other furious flourishes of regalia and percussion are a strong plus). Hariharan, Kunal Ganjawala, Roop Kumar Rathod, Shankar Mahadevan and Sonu Nigam appear next to render the "patriotic fervour" for ka.ndho.n se milate, which starts off with the melody of the a.ntaraa of ARR's que sera sera. And the rest is jingoistic history. However the energetic arrangements work in the song's favour (of course, why did I keep thinking of oruvan oruvan from ARR's Muthu?). Following a nice fragment of instrumental music (separation), there's a reprise of kitanii baate.n, which unfortunately dug the maudlin mush of the song deeper. Bad move. But those melodic fills remind me both of heartbeat and the title song of Kal Ho Naa Ho. The next musical fragment (victory) is appropriately arranged but cheeks a quote from John Williams's theme for Jurassic Park -- yep, Aditya right on!). A touch of Brad Fiedel perhaps, even Hans Zimmer (although a whiff for me). Interesting.

CAVEAT ALERT: Javed Akhtar's font of nippy dialogue and lyrical efflugence seems to be running out dry. The words that the tired Alka Yagnik spouts ruin my favourite track on the album: mai.n tumase kahuu.Ngii is baat ko agar tum zaraa aur sajaa ke kahate zaraa ghumaa\-phiraa ke kahate to achchhaa hotaa. One could attempt to make a convincing case for simple conversational more believable lyrics, but it's a weak argument. We've already ignored the fundamental flaw that people don't randomly burst into song anyways. Given that people on screen still have the liberty to summon instant musical arrangements, chorus singers and melodic fills (let's not even get started on random locations and talented guest dancers), it's probably better to go all the way with the escapism. Never hurt in the last few decades anyway.

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