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Keyboard wizard's faltering album

Adnan Sami Khan, the Pakistani wizard who was once rated the world's fastest keyboard player, falters in his attempt to compose love songs

Kabhi To Nazar Milao
Rs 55

Adnan Sami's last encounter with Indian audiences was way back in the early '90s. He toured India and dazzled everyone with his control over the keyboard. A decade on, he returns to an India bursting with music channels and hype.

Adnan came on TV recently and talked about his new album. Asha, he said, was "an amazing artiste" who had been very encouraging. One suspects he has always been in love in Hindi film songs, and wanted to compose something like the songs he has loved.

And so we see Adnan pouting out the songs, and trying to achieve a stylish rendering with breaks in his voice like Kishore Kumar, and sometimes even a loose enunciation reminding you of Hemant Kumar.

All the tracks sound familiar, too familiar in fact. Adnan's competence stands out on the keyboard passages -- he has sequenced both the keyboard and the drum kit.

Asha sounds staid, and a bit like her elder sister Lata. The emotional twang seems to have burned down.

The title track Kabhi to nazar milao is easy, nothing remarkable. Adnan and Asha sing one version, and the second version features Asha alone. Pyar bina has almost the same orchestra as the first song.

The third track Mehndi Masala has the trappings of a comic street song. Adnan sounds heavy, and Asha sounds just right, lively and young. The morsing, the tabla and the ghatam add a sense of levity.

Lift karadey has a more interesting rhythm pattern, and an Arab touch. Sounds a bit like Khaled's Didi with the trumpets but is nowhere as engaging.

The lyrics are by Riaz-ur-rehman. Adnan emotes better in Pyar hai. He is in form on the keyboard. The accordion lends some warmth. The most Hemant Kumar-like composition, slow, dreamy yet resonating. I liked this love song best.

Barsaat has an eerie flute and a good bass track. Sounds suspiciously like R D Burman's Gum hai kisi ki from Jawaani Deewani. Adnan's chords don't progress with RD's delightful unpredictability though. The string section is good and heavy, must be like the rain he is singing about!

Dholki is a celebration-time song. The lovers unite. A more layered rhythm programming on this song makes it different from the rest.

This is Adnan's tribute to Hindi film music. His admirers would like to see him do more original work.

S Suchitra Lata

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