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Hamsalekha at his ribald best

Preethsod Thappa?
Rs 45

Ravichandran and Hamsalekha were a hit combination, and the news now is that they have fallen out.

Hamsalekha's debut film Premaloka was also Ravichandran's first film as director, and the fresh-sounding songs of that film created a sales record in the Kannada cassette industry. They then came up with equally catchy songs in Ranadhira, and built up a reputation as one of Kannada cinema's most successful pairs.

Preethsod Thappa (Is it wrong to love?) could well be the last offering of this combo, and there is much to commend it.

Ravichandran has been a hero and director for over a decade and a half, and he is known for the spectacular way he shoots his songs. This has seen his films through, rather than any outstanding directorial or acting abilities.

Side A begins with Choriyaagide nanna dil sung by S P Balasubramanyam and Chitra. The stylish key-flute and unison-violin interludes add to its overall appeal. Hamsalekha doffs his hat at Bombay star Shilpa Shetty, the heroine, with his Hindi-ised words: Choriyaagide nanna dil Kaledukollode ondu thrill! (It's stolen, my dil, but to lose it is a thrill!)

Ondu moda is jazz-inspired, slow and languid. Clicked fingers keep time and an occasional drum flourish fills in the syncopated singing. The interludes are created from spaced-out, sparingly used pizzicato and cellos phrases.

A part of Sone sone is a copy of a Robert Miles instrumental track. Jesudas disappoints with his uneven singing. He fares better in Bangaradinda, which he sings with Anuradha Sriram. Hamsalekha uses the swan's gait, the peacock's dance, the glow of gold and other metaphors to describe the beloved. These visually striking images are matched by a heavy, folk-style beat programmed on the drum kit.

Made in India is a catchy number, but Hamsalekha's grasp of Bangalore's English-mixed Kannada finds better expression in the next Dingu dingu dingada. The couples sing the love lambada and anticipate the censors screaming (bayi bambada)! Hamsalekha borrows a couple of Diana King phrases and improvises on them to depict two couples describing their first amorous experiences.

The pop-style Raja raja, sung by Anuradha Sriram, portrays the fantasies of a city girl. For her, Michael Jackson, James Bond and Jackie Chan are but a mere flock of sheep ('kuri mande') in comparison to her dream lover! Stylishly done again.

Hamsalekha's wit, his ability to rhyme the most unlikely words, and his flair for simple, catchy tunes come together in this tape.

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