A love story with
Uttam Singh, of Dil To Pagal
Hai fame, makes a conventional score for Gadar
and throws in a number by two classical stars
Lagaan came at almost the same time. Both are period
dramas. Lagaan had a star music director in A R Rahman,
while the music man in Gadar
is the little-known Uttam Singh.
Uttam Singh has worked in the Hindi film industry for several decades, arranging orchestra for other composers, and also doing some independent scores, the most notable being Dil To Pagal Hai (1997), starring Shah Rukh Khan, Karishma Kapoor and Madhuri Dixit.
While Lagaan has won praise across the board, Gadar has been seen as an aggressively jingoistic film, and has angered some Muslim groups. Most reviewers have liked the way director Anil Sharma handled the blossoming of love between Tara Singh, a truck driver, and Sakina, whom the hero recovers from a murderous mob. It's Tara Singh's machismo that hasn't gone down too well with them.
Gadar is produced by Zee Telefilms, and the man at the helm of the Zee empire, Subhash Chandra, makes no secret of his saffron leanings. In fact, some months ago, he attended an RSS convention and proclaimed his admiration for that organisation.
Uttam Singh makes familiar, conventional music in Gadar. He had earlier made a devotional album called Sur (produced by Times Music) to launch his daughter Preeti Uttam, and that didn't show any unusual orchestral talent, probably because the bhajan idiom doesn't allow much mixing of orchestral colour and also because of Uttam Singh's own lack of adventurousness.
Preeti sings three tracks on this album. Hum juda ho gaye, which she sings with Udit Narayan, has a lot of punch in the rhythm, but the tune shows her voice in a far from flattering light. The voice comes across as thin, and the backdrop of voices, singing some interesting sargam overlaps in one of the interludes, provides a highly animated contrast. The second Preeti track, again with Udit Narayan, is Musafir jaane wale.
Udja kale kawan comes in two versions, one called "search" and the other called "marriage". The first underlines Tara Singh's search for his beloved in Lahore, while the second has marriage sounds of the shehnai and a cheerful chorus. Nihar S provides the child voice in both versions. This is the kind of Punjabi-style song you have heard hundreds of times in Hindi films. Both versions feature Udit Narayan and Alka Yagnik.
Gadar also features two celebrities from the classical music circuit. Parveen Sultana, who sang Hame tumse pyar kitna in Kudrat, was successful in rendering the Kishore Kumar hit with free-flowing thumri colours. This is also a thumri-style number, and the bonus is Ajoy Chakrabarty, who sang a lovely number in Hey Ram. He sings some stylish improvisations in raga Khamaj on this track. Parveen Sultana's fondness for the higher frequencies is in evidence here too.
Udaja kale kawan is a folk number, sung by Udit Narayan. Taking into consideration this number, the traditional wedding song that Preeti sings, and Uttam Singh's adherence to the regular Hindi film idiom, you could say this album is strong on a tried, tested and overfamiliar style.
to the editor