Narendra Kusnur's music musings …

Talaash/ Music: Ram Sampath

Genre: Hindi film music

T-Series/ Rs 175

Rating: *** 1/2

BEFORE he got into composing Hindi film music, Ram Sampath focused on ad jingles and also co-founded the band Colourblind in the late 90s. His cinema break came with the offbeat Indian English flick Let’s Talk in 2002. Ever since, he’s done a few movies like Khakee and Luv Ka The End, without hitting the big time till last year’s Delhi Belly.

Though the Delhi Belly score was known more for the controversial and bizarre lyrics of ‘Bhaag DK Bose’ and ‘Ja Chudail’, the music director got a good platform, beginning a collaboration with the film’s co-producer Aamir Khan. Next came Aamir’s TV show Satyamev Jayate, and Ram became pretty well-known.

Now, with Reema Kagti’s Talaash, Ram gets another chance to work with Aamir, who’s acted in and co-produced the film. The movie has five songs and one remix, and the heartening things are that the tunes stay away from the Delhi Belly formula, employ the lyrical talents of Javed Akhtar, and show a fair amount of variety.

Like in Delhi Belly and Luv Ka The End, Ram doesn’t opt for mainstream singers in Talaash, and in fact, sings two songs himself. The focus these days, of course, has been the rather unusual and distinct voice of Suman Sridhar, who renders the opener ‘Muskaanein Jhoothi Hai’ picturised on Kareena Kapoor.

Suman had earlier rendered ‘Tonight’ in Luv Ka The End, but is otherwise known for her massacred remixes of classics like ‘Khoya Khoya Chand’, ‘Tum Jo Mil Gaye Ho’ and ‘Hawa Hawaii’. Luckily, with originals, one doesn’t get into those comparisons, but though her timbre has oomph, her enunciation is awry, and she tends to lisp and sound forced at times. Yet, despite its technical singing drawbacks, the song is lifted by its bar-room jazz feel, a marvellous double bass, catchy back-up vocals and lines that go “Muskaanein jhooti hain, pehchaanein jhooti hai, rangeeni hai chaayi, phir bhi hai tanhaiyee.”

‘Jee Le Zaraa’ is rendered by Vishal Dadlani, known more as vocalist of the rock Pentagram and as one half of the music director duo Vishal-Shekhar. His voice texture sounds a bit too heavy and gruff here, but he pulls it off with some controlled singing. Interestingly, the tunehas a very fleeting resemblance to a portion from the Musafir song ‘Rabba’, which Vishal-Shekhar composed. The song also comes in a faster, dance-friendly version remixed by Mikey McLeary.

Song No 3, ‘Jiyaa Laage Na’, is a beauty. With a semi-classical thumri vocal style and a peppy rhythm, it grows on repeated listening, with singers Sona Mohapatra and Ravindra Upadhyay complementing each other perfectly, and executing the nuances neatly. The lyrics contain gems like ‘O.. main anjaani, hoon woh kahaani, hogi jo na poori; O.. paas aaoge, toh paaoge, phit bhi hai ek doori’.

The next two numbers are sung by Ram himself, and they’re both stylistically different. ‘Hona Kya Hai’ is upbeat and has some snazzy keyboards and techno interludes, though the main line has a tune that’s somewhat reminiscent of the ‘Shaan se’ part of the old song ‘Doston se pyaar kiya’, albeit in a lower pitch. Whatever, the song is perfect for the club circuit.

Ram’s ‘Laakh Duniya Kahe’ is a moving and smoothly-arranged ballad with the wonderful lines “Tumne chhoda hai kab saath mera, thaamey ho aaj bhi haath mera, koi manzil, koi rehguzar ho, aaj bhi tum mere humsafar ho, jaaoon chaahe jahaan tum wahin ho.” Here too, the voice seems to be under stress on the high notes, especially while singing the words ‘manzil’ and ‘gaaye’, and the chorus drags. But it’s a beautiful tune which haunts you, even though one feels a little more ‘taiyyari’ and vocal robustness was needed in its rendition.

The flaws notwithstanding, ‘Talaash’ is impressive overall, moreso because it’s got a sound of its own. Obviously, this is a high point for Ram, who has so far not been too prolific in terms of number of releases, but who’s got a few good breaks over the past year or so. However, though he’s got a good mentor in Aamir Khan, one hopes he diversifies and works with other filmmakers too. That’ll give him wider exposure and experience.

RATING SCALE: * Poor; ** Average; *** Good; **** Excellent; ***** Classic



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