Naye Manzar/ Anurag Sharma
Label: Saregama HMV
Price: Rs 170
Rating: *** 1/2
I HAD heard ghazal singer Anurag Sharma at a private mehfil about 11 years ago, and then a year later at the Khazana festival organised by Pankaj Udhas. When I met him about a month ago, he mentioned that he had released his first album ‘Naye Manzar’ last year.
The collection has eight songs, six of which have been written by Anurag himself. Composed by him, most of the songs are in ‘chhoti behr’ (short metre), and the words are simple. Anurag has a pleasant voice and good enunciation, though one feels a few more classical nuances and a couple of songs with complex structures would have added depth. While one hears live presentation of the sitar, sarangi, bansuri, guitar and rabab, the percussion instruments have been programmed, and here too, a live rendition would have enhanced the feel and improvisation.
The highlight is the nazm ‘Tum mujhe yoon na pukaaro’, which concludes the album. Meant to be a tribute to the late Jagjit Singh and other departed legends, it echoes the feelings of a deceased artiste, especially on lines like “Main wahaan hoon jahaan sab kuchh nazar aata hai mujhe, roz hoti hai farishton se bhi baatein meri, aur bichde hue kuchh dost bhi mil jaate hain.”
Anurag also impresses on “Mujhko kaisi sazaayein detaa hai, zindagi ki duwaayein deta hai”, which has the sher “Husn toh khud hi ek qayaamat hai, husn ko kyon adaayein deta hai.” With its bansuri intro and melodic sarangi, ‘Bechaini ka aalam hai, tum aa jaao’ grows on repeated hearing.
‘Umr se lambi bojhal raatein sannata’, whose composition has been credited to Nirmal Daftary and lyrics to Mehshar Afridi, has been arranged subtly and sung with feel. ‘Is tarah se gham ka nasha aur badhaaya jaaye’, penned by Haider Najmi, has a Middle Eastern aura and makes effective use of Chintoo Singh’s rabab.
On a couple of songs, the Jagjit influence is obvious. The title track, for instance, has a starting similar to ‘Hoshwalon ko khabar kya’, and even the singing style seems inspired by the master. With the simple matla “Tumhe dekhe zamaane ho gaye hain, naye manzar puraane ho gaye hain” and some soothing sitar parts, this is the kind of song that would attract the masses more than purists.
The slightly uptempo, folk-influenced “Har pal chalta rehta hai, waqt bhi kaisa pagla hai” boasts of the words “Khamoshi ka barson se, dil ke shor se rishta hai.” It has an infectious tune, though here too, one notes a Jagjit inspiration. On the flip slide, one wonders why Anurag had to use a predictable alcohol song, that too with unimpressive lines like ‘Shaam ka waqt ho sharaab na ho, waqt itna kabhi kharaab na ho’.
Overall, of course, this is a commendable debut whose biggest forte is its simplicity. The words are accessible, the tunes catchy and the arrangements simple. I hear from Anurag that he is preparing songs for his next album, and one looks forward to it.
RATING SCALE: * Poor; ** Average; *** Good; **** Excellent; ***** Simply outstanding