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One Two Ka Four
Is the "now generation" colour-blind to many emotions? Is that why Rahman is always under pressure to compose fizzy-cola tunes?
Rahman's recent score card in Hindi: For Pukar, he transformed himself into a romantic composer and made some of the loveliest tunes of his career. And then he wasted the opportunity in Zubeidaa to compose an acoustic score with real instruments.
In this Shah Rukh-Juhi starrer, from Shashilal Nair (this producer's earlier effort, Grahan, was notable for one very stylish song composed by Karthik Raja), Rahman tries to be 'Hindi' in his musical nuances. No Karnatak raga snatches, but loads of dholak beats and strains of the shehnai.
The opening Khamoshiyan by Lata Mangeshkar and Sonu Nigam sounds like a remake of Lata Mangeshkar's Diya jale from Dil Se. The occasional Karnatak-style stress in the earlier song is put away for a more Mumbai treatment of the raga Bhairavi (referred to as Sindhu Bhairavi in Karnatak music). There's Rahman's intermittent rhythm track, a santoor somewhere, violins fading in and out.
Just before I heard this album, I heard Lata sing in the old black and white film Tarana, and the contrast of what her voice was what it is today hit me hard. Yet this might be the only memorable tune in the film.
A shehnai playing on parallel tracks and a dholak stand out in Sona nahin, and the song echoes vintage O P Nayyar. Alka Yagnik's voice shows signs of ageing while Udit Narayan seems to retain a boyish timbre.
I am sorry by Udit Narayan, Srinivas and Poonam Bhatia is a cheerful song with some trendy guitar chords, but again there's nothing particulary striking about it.
One two ka four, the title track by Clinton and an unnamed chorus, rings in some intensity. It moves from whispers to a crescendo of exotic sounds that blends African and Arabian elements. Clinton carries off the singing well, and when the violins swoop in you can almost picture swirling dancers. A study in Rahman's orchestral innovativeness.
Osaka muraiya by Sonu Nigam and Rageshwari brings in nostalgia with some '80s disco beats.
Allay allay could remind you of Rahman's Pudiya Mugam (July madham) and Thiruda Thiruda (Putham pudu bhoomi) days. Moves pleasantly, with Sukhwinder Singh and Shaan singing individually and then on parallel tracks.
Haye dil ki baazi laga is yet another happy tune, sung by Alka Yagnik and Sonu Nigam. I liked the colour in the interludes -- layers of voices singing fragments, and then the surprise entry of Ustad Sultan Khan's sarangi.
The pressure on present-day composers, the foremost of them being Rahman, seems to be to compose chirpy numbers. Just 25 years ago, in a film like Sholay, you could hear a whole gamut of emotions -- love-lorn mischief that verges on the painful in Koi haseena (shot on Dharmendra and Hema Malini), smoky seduction in Mehbooba mehbooba, and a spirited yet melancholic resistance in Main nachoongi. By contrast, recent blockbusters seem to confine themselves to just one mood -- that of "having fun". The "now generation" may have much to commend it, but its insistence on endless fun is taking a huge toll on the ouevre of film music composers.
S Suchitra Lata
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