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Discernment. Online

















"Give me a song to sing, give me a bell to ring ... give me a heart to stay, give me a toy to play" is sung by three well-trained child voices





Songs like yesterday's

Anu Malik is attempting understated stuff these days. Rahul has the kind of melody you don't normally associate with today's blockbusters 

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Rahul: kid filmRahul comes from Subhash Ghai's production house Mukta Arts. Rahul, "a man at five" as the promo puts it, lives with his father, played by newcomer Jatin Grewal. The Prakash Jha-directed film pans the grown-up world of conflict and from a child's standpoint. The little man, played by Yash Pathak, kindles "the most impossible love story on earth". Tanvi Hegde plays his nine-year-old guru, Isha.

Ched na mujko by Kavita Krishamurthy-Subramaniam and Hariharan is a love song that's quieter than many you've heard lately. Anu Malik seems to be attempting understated stuff these days. This number has the kind of melody you don't normally associate with today's dance duets. The number ends with some sargams and alaaps overdubbed and Hariharan going off in raga Bhimpalas, and Kavita doing some southern sounding phrases.

Chalti hai purvai surprises you with the tuneful world it goes back to -- is Anu Malik looking at the "golden age" of Hindi film music for inspiration? Good for him, and for lovers of Hindi film music who'd been longing for some respite from loudness. The interludes and the rhythms and the sound texture may jerk you back to the present, but the composing style seems to walk you back some distance. Alka Yagnik and Mahalaxmi don't make any particular impression.

Piya ki jogan is sung by Sunidhi Chauhan, a Sandeep Chowta favourite who made a big impression in Mast. This is a Punjabi-style song and walks in the musical tradition of Choli ke peeche kya hai. This one packs quite a strong punch, thanks to the voices and the nicely done rhythm tones.

Tu mujhe kaise bhool jata hai by Alka Yagnik opens with a piano theme, and breaks into the ghazal style popularised by Jagjit Singh. The orchestra too is in his style: an electronic drum with tinkling sounds and violins added on. The tune has the flow of older hits of Lata Mangeshkar, and some phrases may remind you of the song Agar tu na hote. The same tune is taken up by Sonali Vaypayee on Side B. She sounds flat in many places, although you may be glad to discover this vintage composing side to Anu Malik's music. The last track gives you some instrumental interpretations of this song.

Ustad Sultan Khan (of sarangi and -- in the Indipop world -- Piya basanti re fame) sings Eh kaash aisa hota in his thick voice, and at times he sounds like he is going off-key. The effect attempted is quiet, philosophical resignation and the last interlude brings in a dramatic contrast with a chorus singing stacatto descents.

Yah re yah is sung by Roop Kumar Rathod and Deepali Somaiya, and is a happier song, and the orchestra sounds restrained, by Anu Malik standards, that is. You sometimes get the feeling Deepali's voice is trying to sound like Asha Bhonsle's.

A song to sing is a harmony-rich song that takes its style from gospel music, and you might even remember those classics from Jilie Andrews' hit musical The Sound of Music. "Give me a song to sing, give me a bell to ring ... give me a heart to stay, give me a toy to play" should give you an idea of this song's childlike optimism. Quite neatly executed by the child voices of Calishe, Maria and Jisha.

Is Hindi music retracing its steps and trying to find its best voice? Could be, but it has a long way to go before it can match its vintage best.

Smriti Ananth


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