Monday, August 16, 2004

KHGN revisionism

[see also: JR's take]

Not long after MHN, we have another mainstream soundtrack that harks back at the days of yore. S-E-L's soundtrack for the Rai/Oberoi love [in]fest opens with the energetic pyaar me.n sau uljhane.n hai.n first takes you back to stuff in SDB's songs for chalti ka naam gaadi, before landing at the doorstep of the source -- Hollywood musicals. A good beginning, if you ask me. However, the next song, ##no, no##, sends S-E-L back into sounding like ARR. Honestly, if these guys have to really really make a mark for themselves, they'll have to stop this. It's an effort, but at least by staying away from this, they'll be able to grab more points for sounding like themselves. Two things you should be saying as soon as aao naa starts off with the saragam are "Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy" and "Javed Akhtar". Sure enough, this is another slap-in-the-face for all those morons out there who under-utilize a voice like Sadhana Sargam. mai.n huu.N featuring Sunidhi Chauhan and Shaan is the kind of close-to-ARR song that S-E-L excel at. The mix has enough non-ARR attributes, but suffers from a slight Lakshya echo. If only Shaan could have been more forceful in his responses ...baat samajhaa karo has the Konkani ingredients (the beat, and the yaa-yaa-maayaa-yaa melody line) and Chetan Shashital voicing for the big B. That itself (the latter, not the former) gives the song it's titanic anchor. dhiire dhiire almost has the possibility of becoming another chaa.ndanii ruup kii despite its echoes of the KHNH title song (which got Rafi-clone Sonu Nigam the recently announced 2003 National Award). All in all, these guys are becoming a more permanent fixture on my list of interesting music directors today.

Which gives me the legal right to segue silently into S-E-L's other release, the soundtrack to Revathy's Phir Milenge. Once again they get things right (at least from my POV) with a catchy acoustic guitar riff (with tons of fills later on) before Shankar Mahadevan begins jiine ke ishaare mil gaye (aasamaa.N ke paar vibes minus Gulzar's cooler lyrics). The only worry I have is that Javed Akhtar might decide that S-E-L represented the music of his words and decided to write more of these lyrics that seem to make one wonder if he had decided to try and be Anand Bakshi's successor at generating quick and serviceable lyrics. Nice key change near the end, btw. When betaab dil opens with a bad case of Nadeem-Shravan/Anu-Malik-itis, your jaw drops in shock, you become incontinent. And then it dawns on you. This is not S-E-L. This is Nikhil-Vinay. Ok, Revathy-jii, what in the name of all that escaped the murderous blandness of the Dholak made you choose NV when you had S-E-L? Sonu Nigam sounds like the painful Gulshan Kumar prodigy (aka Rafi clone) that he is, and Shreyal Ghoshal does an Anuradha Paudwal albeit with better pronunciation and articulation. And damn me! I've heard the a.ntaraa melody before (like a Jatin-Lalit-ized Pancham melody)!!!! Help, someone. I confess, milord, I skipped this track. S-E-L return with a version of jiine ke ishaare. This one starts off on the sax, before the fingers snap in, and then Abhijeet leads this slow melody with pathos. Bombay Jayshree's Richa-Sharma-esque vocals and some dulcet instrumentation embellish khul ke muskuraa le (although a metaphor like Gam ke moze does raise eyebrows). And up next is another musical dollop called Kushiyo.n kii koshish me.n. The sounds of early light Indian rock mix with a nice use of jingles. Bhavatha Raja (Illayaraja's son, who also did Revathy's Mitr), also responsible for the background score, steps up on the next few songs. The first one up kuchh pal has Vijay Yesudas (that he is KJY's son is evident the moment you hear him). Have to hand it to lyricist Prasoon Joshi for a commendable turn on the S-E-L songs.

Can't resist noting that a dude called Akash Gandhi who reviewed this album for Planet Bollywood ain't heard of Revathy, probably, since he "makes a man of her" as it were: After his cross-over film, Mit [sic], Revathy makes a great entrance into mainstream Hindi cinema with a heart-warming album complimenting his highly-anticipated film.

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