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Review

Pining for Pancham

Looks like Vidhu Vinod Chopra can't forget R D Burman, his favourite music composer

Mission Kashmir
Tips
Rs 295 (CD)

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For a music trio that started with remixes, Shankar, Ehsaan and Loy have made a fairly successful crossover into mainstream film music with tracks in Dus, Rockford, Dillagi and Bhopal Express. While in most of their earlier works, they shared credit with other composers (like Sandeep Chowta in Dus; Anand Milind and Jatin Lalit in Dillagi), Mission Kashmir is the first soundtrack where they do it all alone!

Vidhu had earlier extracted some good music from Anu Malik for his Kareeb, which didn't do well at the box office. In Mission Kashmir, he's again trying to fill the R D Burman void; Pancham's catchy scores for Parinda and 1942 A Love Story -- Vidhu's earlier movies -- must still be going around in his head. His latest film stars Sanjay Dutt, Hritik Roshan and Preity Zinta.

In the way they arrange their orchestra and make their tunes, Shankar, Ehsaan and Loy generally sound different from mainstream film composers. Mission Kashmir perhaps treads the 'different' line a bit too hard. The tunes take a lot of time to sink in. And a few don't sink in at all!

Chup ke se sun features Udit Narayan and Alka Yagnik, and brings in shades of Chaand chupa from Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam (composer: Ismail Darbar), and you don't understand the tune at the first listening. A few Kashmir-evoking interludes and ghungroo sounds leave you all the more confused. Rahat Indori's lyrics don't help either.

Bumbro makes you wonder if it was composed in a real hurry! The beats are fast, of course, but the song starts almost abruptly, and Sunidhi Chauhan, Jaspinder Narula and Shankar Mahadevan's breathless (literally!) singing leaves you breathless too, with very little time to understand the pattern of the song. It's noisy, mainly because of the heavy percussion.

Rind posh maal is sung evocatively by Shankar Mahadevan. Actually this sounds like an extension to Bumbro -- it's a similar percussion-heavy composition. At least have some good synth interludes in this song.

Soche ke jheelon mein opens well. But the tune is uninspiring even if the trio has by now proven their mastery over rhythm. Sameer takes a leaf out of the Saath saath song where Farook Sheikh and Deepti Naval wonder about their ghar - with a twist as Sameer describes a house for Hritik and Preity, on a Kashmiri lake. Bumbro sans the rhythm makes a brief appearance in this song too!

Maaf karo with Vinod Rathod and Anuradha Paudwal starts off a bit jazzily. Kareeb featured a similar apolegetic/funny song in Tera gussa. Rut na jaana of 1942 A Love Story was also on the same lines. Do we see a pattern here?

So ja chanda is by far the best song on this soundtrack. It's sung by one of the trio's favourites, Mahalaxmi, who has sung quite a lot in their remix albums. The song, a lullaby, shows her at her best. It's the underplaying of percussion that makes this song much more listenable than the other songs in the album. Not to forget Rahat Indori's words.

Shankar Mahadevan's solo Huan dhuan is in praise of the country, somewhat like the one in Roja. Again, the limited percussion makes this bearable.

A couple of things about Mission Kashmir: Vidhu Vinod Chopra still has to find an able replacement for R D Burman, who used to contribute immensely to his storylines. The director is probably trying out Anu Malik and the Shankar, Ehsaan and Loy team.

To know the real feel of the songs we will have to wait till the movie is released -- Hritik Roshan seems to be able to add something to the songs with his mere presence. As in Fiza. And a pat on the back for the designers at Tips -- the inlay card with its black background really looks smart.

Karthik S


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