8.25.2006

Woh Lamhe Soundtrack

I think this is the first time I am buying a movie soundtrack not because of the composer but for the production house and the actors in the movie. I was very much impressed by the performance of Shiney Ahuja and Kanaga Ranaut in “Gangster”. The songs in Gangster are excellent and are well placed in the movie which enhances the impact of the song on the listeners. All the movies from Bhatt productions have got great romantic songs, though they blatantly copy and use the songs without giving any credits to the original makers. They do select some great melodies from Pakistani and Arabic pop music which we Indian music listener’s may miss otherwise.

How To Rate the album: I am and almost everyone is aware that not all the songs are original in this soundtrack so I am not going to waste my time and space complaining the makers for doing so and it turn giving a low rating. Let us treat it as just another album where you have songs that we haven’t heard before and so relatively for us they are original. I am not going to give any credit for the beauty of the melodies in the song to any single composer except for the one composed by Roop Kumar Rathod. So all the curse and praise is for whomever it may concern. But at least this time, on the back of the album cover they have differentiated the songs that are not originally composed by Pritam from that he has composed by putting a note like ”Music arranged by Pritam” which means it is just arranged and orchestrated by Pritam and not originally composed by him.

The album starts on a happy energetic note with “Kya Mujhe Pyar Hai”. The guitar riffs give a casual and energetic tone to the song. A strange and unique vocal harmony singing in some strange language sounds good and adds a new flavour to the song. Kay Kay’s expressive rendition is the life and soul of the song. This is the only song in the album where there is no use of instruments like violins, piano or flute to evoke romanticism which makes it peppy and more easily appealing to all kind of listeners. Instead the tune itself carries the necessary mood and along with a perfect rhythm and beats the song is instantly catchy number of the lot. What I like most about the tune is that the notes just casually fall in right place one after the other. As always the remix version of the song has nothing much to offer except for loud thumping beats added to pep up the track and make it more suitable for playing in pubs.

“Chal Chale” is sung by none other than James who sung the most expressive and emotive song “Bheegi” in Gangster. After hearing Bheegi, I thought this song is way too simple for his caliber and even it doesn’t suit his voice, his so very expressive voice needs song of more emotional depth in tune or may be he should have sung in a softer note. I am not saying that this song is bad, but someone else with a softer voice could have sung this one. Other than that, the song is good with a beautiful tune. The song starts beautifully with Guitar pieces and harmonica with strong strings backing. The violins enter the album in this song but thankfully not in a clichéd way. The strings backing the vocals in the fore are so good and even the string pieces in the interludes are very catchy. I liked the usage of Harmonica; it adds some freshness to the song.

It is as though the lyrics “To jo Nahin to kuch bhi nahin hai” indicating the strings like how a love song feel without strings in it, strings has been used a plenty in this song. Infact, this song has got all the clichés I have listed which was not there in previous songs like loud violins, flute, piano and Dholaks in it. But what makes this song click in spite of the clichéd orchestration is its soulful tune. Just listen to the tune when it is played in Piano. The flute and the way it leads to the main tune played on piano in the prelude are beautiful. Glenn John does a good job in rendering this Ghazal with right feel. The orchestration in the interludes clearly indicates the work of Pritam in its arrangement.

”So Jaaon Main” is my pick of the album. Composed by the singer Roop Kumar Rathod, everything is just so beautiful and perfect in this song. The orchestration is so soothing and pleasant and carries the melody like how a breeze carries a flying leaf on its path. Pouring in enough passion and pain in the song is Shreya Ghosal’s voice. I am tired of praising her again and again; she is already on her way to become a legend soon. I like the rhythm of the song very much; it is very difficult to think of such different rhythms for melodies like this. There is another version of the song sung by Kunal Ganjwala. Please don’t skip this version thinking that it is the same song being repeated. Kunal’s voice and his rendition is yet another treat to listen to.

The start of song with acoustic guitar instantly reminded me a song from Gangster but as the humming starts song “Bin Tera” starts to take stand on its own. Acoustic and bass Guitar is beautifully used throughout the song which has got a minimal orchestration otherwise. The soulful tune and the soothing orchestration are pleasant and romantic.

Go for it. Bhatts keep up their promise yet again.

8.18.2006

8.17.2006

Jillunu Oru Kadhal Soundtrack

Be it the bhangra in Rang De Basanti, Telugu folk in God father and Tamil folk from JOK soundtrack, it is evident that ARR has designed a template to give a unique touch to such songs with traditional flavour. Take the traditional percussion beats to the background; add e-beats loop that is perfectly in synch with the rhythm of the traditional percussions, balance the sound of both in such a way that we don’t miss the local flavour and yet it sounds trendy with the e-beats, use bass guitar and add a bass line that runs throughout the song, and if it is a Tamil folk make Nadhaswaram the main lead among the accompanying instruments, use it in interludes playing main and sub theme of the song, add Morsing here and there, and finally compose the main vocal tune that is close to nativity of the song. With this mixture in right proportions, we get a song with local flavour that is instantly catchy and with what we call a Rahman sound in it. And one such song in this album is “Kummi Adi”. It is an instantly catchy situational song (which is very rare these days). Even though ARR has this fixed template for such songs, I was amazed by the way he comes with some new sounds in each and every song. In this song a synth beat that sounds exactly like a Thavil beat is fused so well with Thavil beats that we don’t really know when it actually started and blended with the live percussion. This can be heard easily in the climax of the song where the tempo of percussion beats gradually reaches the top. Also Rahman touch is there even in small parts of the song like the way the words ‘kummi Adi” is sung like “kummi aadi (not adi)”. It is one of the main catchy elements of the song. The lively and energetic marriage ambience is well brought out in the song by using male and female chorus doing little things here and there. Also all the singers especially Swarnalatha have done a good job in this song. Naresh Iyer is one of the luckiest singers of the lot who gets songs of all different genres to prove his versatility from A.R.Rahman and he utilizes the opportunity quite well.

In one of the audio release functions, Shankar (director) said, ARR’s song is like a black forest cake with lot of tasty layers in it. A single bite of the cake with all layers together will be as delicious as it can get. Though all songs of ARR are a black forest cake, I felt “Munbe Vaa” song can be a perfect sample for the analogy. Like delicious red cherries which fill the space between two layers of cake, the song starts with a beautiful melody played on some keyboard or electronic gadget which sounds like Santoor which later becomes main layer in the background. The main melody of the song is very soothing and soft like a spongy soft chocolate cake. As the main melody and the lead layer in the background blend in a perfect harmony and when we are about to eat the cake thinking that the cake can’t get any more delicious, ARR introduces soft beats in the background and also adds chocolate cream to the already delicious arrangement through soft strings. ARR decks another cake layer and another with all the ingredients along with a surprise addition of dry fruits and nuts in the form of tabla and Thavil beats making the cake a little crunchy. Choco chips are sprinkled on the top of each layer in the form of “Rangoli” chorus part. It is a very soothing interlude sung well by chorus singers. Then there is this mixture of wine and honey that is poured from the top which flows to all parts of the cake in the form of Shreya Ghosal and Naresh Iyer’s voice. Both elevate the melody with their sweet voice and expressive singing. At times, I felt there is too much cream which covers the main cake part of the song, may be a little correction in the sound mixing table would have made it better. But who cares, the cake is so tasty and you can eat a lot of it continuously without getting bored.

Maza Maza is the song that I instantly liked while listening to the album for the first time. ARR has done such sexy sensual numbers before, but each had a different theme and unique approach to it. He gave a divine sound to such number in “Hai Rama”, not just by lyrics but even the way flute and percussions were used clearly sounds the fire theme in “Ayyo pathikichu”, though “Thazhuvudhu” wasn’t a classic it had lot of innovative rhythms flowing all through the song and now we have “Maza Maza” with tribal chanting and beats dominating in the background giving a violent sound to sex. Lot of instruments and sounds comes in and fades all through the song giving an unsettling sound (as the emotions) till the end. The most emotive part of the song is when a same note is plucked four times giving a lazy and exhausted sound when the all other sounds in the song come to a pause. Beautiful sitar bit in the interludes surprisingly adds a new flavour to the song. For such songs, expression and rendition of vocalists must be great enough. Shreya Ghosal and SPB.Charan do a great job.

There is always a complaint about ARR’s music that it always takes a lot of time to grow. Though I don’t entire buy this complaint about ARR, I do believe that one have to listen to his songs at least three or four times for the transition from “It is average. I like this song” opinion to “Hey it is great, I am crazy about this song” to happen. Though I may not have the ability to come to a final opinion on a song on the first hearing itself, I would be able predict whether the song has any scope to grow. One such song in JOK is “Machakkari”. It had this catchy recurring theme flowing in the background all through the song which I liked very much initially. The main tune of the song immediately reminded me “En jodi Manjakuruvi” song from “Vikram” but one cannot say it is a copy. The tune has a similar sound and feel and that is about it. So, when did I become crazy about this song? When I heard the recurring theme hidden in some unexpected places being played on so many instruments in parallel, when I realized the magic and beauty of this theme as we don’t get bored of this theme being used so many times and in so many forms again and again all through the song (I wonder even if ARR had ever used a single tune this much times repetitively in a single song), when I started to like beautiful vocal harmony (arranged by Clinton) in the interludes, when I heard the complex bass lines, when I heard and realized how a not so innovative rhythm or beat may sound great in synch with a melody that gels so well with it, when I noticed the solo humming of Shankar ‘Oh ho oh’ running in the background and finally when I thought that there is so much to dig in what initially sounded like an average song.

My pick of the album is “Newyork nagaram”. It is a very soulful melody done with a sophisticated orchestration. The best thing about the song is that even with so much of layers, beats, sounds and instruments; it has a soothing and calming effect on the listeners. Rahman does a great job in singing this song with just enough emotions. The vocal harmonies are used well. Vaali’s lyrics are so simple and poetic. The blend of the lyrics and the tune is so amazing that we can’t figure whether song was tuned for already written lyrics or lyrics was penned for the composed tune. What better instrument than Saxophone can sound solitude? The most soothing effect comes when silken female vocals sing the song in harmony. Of course initial guitar strumming is misleading but it gives a pretty good start and the song also ends with it. The deliberate lightness in the song sounds like someone though in pain for being lonely away from his beloved, gets some peace and happiness in this form of sadness.

Maricham is the weird song of the lot with techno trance feel to it with ARR’s defining glass breaking sounds. The song sure takes time to grow on us. Initially I couldn’t understand even a single word in the lyrics completely but later when I understood it, I was bowled over by the way it has been set to tune. This song is an addition to the long list of ARR songs with unpredictable twists and turns in it. Caralisa (a regular in SEL’s music) gets her first song with A.R.Rahman. Her voice and rendition fits well to the genre of this song. The male part is very melodious. Mohammed Aslam has a good voice. This is the first time I got to hear his voice clearly in Rahman’s song. By the way, what is Teajomayam?

Jillunu Oru Kadhal Rahman surprises us by choosing a genre (pure old age Jazz) rarely used in Tamil for the title track of this movie. The catchy notes on the words “jillendru oru kadhal” form the main theme of the song. Finally, Tanvi gets to sing a solo song for ARR. She does a great job. She has gone to all possible range of her voice. As ARR sticks to authentic jazz feel in the song, we get to hear less of ARR sound in it. The song with its funny tune and lyrics sets a funny tone to the movie as well when played in the trailer.

Though not his best, it is a must buy A.R.Rahman soundtrack which has got a variety and immensely entertaining songs.