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Early Rahman in a new film

Love You Hamesha is a surprise album, with Hindi words pasted on to tunes taken from a Tamil film





Love You Hamesha
Zee Records
Rs 55


Just when everyone thought Rahman was too busy with Bombay Dreams comes this album for a movie starring Akshaye Khanna and Sonali Bendre. Love You Hamesha is a surprise album, but most of its tunes are no surprise to people who have listened to a Tamil film album called May Madham.

To my knowledge, Rahman hasn't been able to bring in as many new tones into Hindi music as he has done into Tamil. Even his more recent Hindi releases like Pukar and Zubeidaa stuck with well-known voices like Kavita Krishnamurthy and Udit Narayan. In Pukar, for instance,  Que sera sera cried out for a more powerful voice, but the conventions of the Hindi market probably prompted him to to take on Kavita.

Usha Uthup did a fabulous job with songs like Shaan se and Rambha ho (for the record, the second number was a lift from the pop hit Heartbreak Hotel). A voice like hers could have given Que sera sera that much more power. Que sera sera praises love against all odds, and may be described as a techno-trance-pop combination. All very new-fangled, but the point is that Rahman didn't try out a new voice there.  

This album takes a step forward. Shweta Shetty, who has been doing Indipop albums and appearing on music videos, sings the title track.  Love you hamesha is no mewling, syrupy number.

This has been Rahman's abiding trick in Tamil: stun listeners with voices and sounds they hardly expect. Shweta Shetty's strong voice proclaiming love to Sonu Nigam's softer male voice makes this an interesting experiment in timbre. A child's voice adds a commentary on how "love happened".

Shweta boldly discounts melody for power. A welcome change from thin voices overly keen about "melody". As I said, the basic track is taken from May Madham, a not so successful Tamil film based in parts on Roman Holiday, which inspires every screenplay about a poor little rich girl running away from an unwanted marriage. May Madham was made by Mani Ratnam's production house, although it was not directed by him.

Gup chup baatein by Sadhana Sargam and Hariharan is the Hindi avatar of En mel vizhintha mazhai tuliyeSone ke palang recreates the simplistic Madrase sutti pakka poren and Ila Arun's raunchy vocals contrast with the polish of Udit Narayan and Kavita Paudwal. 

Kavita's voice strives for those elusive inflexions in the ad-lib phrases towards the end of Ek ladki thi, which Tamil music lovers will recognise as Margazhi poove. Based loosely on raga Hindola, and set on a rap beat, this is my favourite song on the album. 

Mahalaxmi Iyer sings Yaar teri bewafai with violin phrases reminiscent of Rahman in the mid-90s, punchy, loud, along with Hollywood-style soaring flutes and horns. The tune wanders against a deep bass backdrop. Botal tod de is a drunkard's song by Sonu Nigam and Hema Sardesai with rock overtones.

For Tamil listeners this is just a Hindi version of an early Rahman film. For Hindi listeners these songs could still provide some relief from the piano-violin-dholak sweet dish they are mercilessly force-fed!

S Suchitra Lata

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