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Archive for the ‘CD reviews – Hindi film’ Category

CD review/ Haider – Music: Vishal Bhardwaj



Music: Vishal Bhardwaj

Genre: Hindi film

Label: Junglee Music

Rating: ****

AS a music director, Vishal Bhardwaj has numerous individual hit songs to his credit, but in terms of overall consistency, one usually thinks of his earlier films ‘Maachis’ and ‘Godmother’. In his latest directorial venture ‘Haider’, he returns to that form once again.

Inspired by William Shakespeare’s ‘Hamlet’, the Shahid Kapoor-Shraddha Kapoor film is set in Kashmir. As such, the music is a neat blend of Kashmiri folk tunes, Urdu lyricism and western sounds. The best part is that it is versatile, with a good mix of mass-friendly and soulful numbers.

Barring two pieces by famed Pakistani poet Faiz Ahmed Faiz, the lyrics have been written by Gulzar, mostly in his inimitable style. Though Bhardwaj uses his regular favourites Vishal Dadlani, Sukhwinder Singh, Suresh Wadkar and wife Rekha Bhardwaj, the inclusion of Arijit Singh on two tracks lends freshness.

The album begins with the guitar-fuelled ‘Aao Na’, a grungy rock number sung energetically by Dadlani. With lines like “Arrey aao na, ke jaan gayee, kahaan gaya, so jaao, arrey aao na, ke thak gayee hai zindagi, so jaao”, it’s the kind of song that will instantly appeal to youngsters.

Sukhwinder is in great form on ‘Bismil’, a stage song which effectively changes tempo and makes good use of rabab, violins and oud, blending Kashmiri folk melodies with Middle Eastern sounds. The album also features ‘Ek Aur Bismil’, a rearrangement of the song with a more Arabic feel.

The other songs cut down the tempo. ‘Khul kabhi’, sung with emotion by Arijit, has shades of late 1990s AR Rahman, and is embellished by Gulzar’s words that go, “Khul kabhi to, khul kabhi kahin, main aasmaan, tu meri zameen, boond-boond barsoon main, paani-paani khelun-kheloon aur beh jaaoon, geele-geele hothon ko main, baarishon se choomoon, choomoon aur keh jaaoon, tu zameen hai, tu meri zameen.”

‘Gulon mein rang bhare’, a Faiz Ahmed Faiz ghazal popularised by the legendary Mehdi Hassan, has been sung by Arijit here, changing the sequence of the shers. While his rendition is soulful on its own and the arrangements are pleasant, those who’ve grown up on the original may not take to it. Of course, one wonders why so many people are using the song, as we have had adaptations by Mohit Chauhan and KK in the past.

One of the highlights is ‘Jhelum’, sung in raag Puriya Dhanashree by Bhardwaj himself. A moving string back-up accentuates the song which has the lines, “Jhelum Jhelum dhoonde kinara, Jhelum Jhelum dhoonde kinara, Dooba sooraj kin aankhon mein, Sooraj dooba kin aankhon mein, Jhelum huya khaara.”

‘So jao’, a group song featuring Bashir Lone, Bashir Bhawani, Muzamil Bhawani, Mayukh Sarkar, Aalaap Majgavkar and Sourabh Joshi, has shades of the ‘Satte Pe Satta’ hit ‘Pyaar hamein kis mod pe’ in its composition. ‘Do jahaan’, which blends Gulzar’s lines with Kashmiri folk lyrics, has been sung by Wadkar and Shraddha Kapoor. While singing in the local dialect, the actress shows a pleasant voice but wavers a bit – a full-time singer would have done wonders.

The album concludes with Rekha Bhardwaj singing ‘Aaj ke naam’, which is basically the same as Faiz’s nazm ‘Intesaab’. Here again, if one has heard the older version sung by Nayyara Noor with recitation by Shoaib Hashmi, this one seems a bit plain. However, those hearing it for the first time should be impressed by the sheer power of the poetry.

Overall, the most impressive thing about the soundtrack is that it echoes a feel of Kashmir effectively. Add to that a good variety of songs, and this becomes one of Bhardwaj’s best scores.

RATING SCALE: * Poor; ** Average; *** Good; **** Excellent; ***** Simply outstanding


CD review – Raanjhanaa/ Music: A R Rahman


Raanjhanaa/ Music: A R Rahman
Genre: Hindi film music
Sony Music-Eros Music/ Rs 175
Rating: *** ½

FANS of A R Rahman have been anxiously awaiting his latest release ‘Raanjhanaa’. With his last two Hindi films ‘Ekk Deewana Tha’ and ‘Jab Tak Hai Jaan’ receiving mixed reactions, a lot of hopes were pinned on the new film, whose audio rights were sold for a whopping Rs 6 crore.

To a large extent and despite a few flaws here and there, Rahman fulfils expectations in ‘Raanjhanaa’, using a good mix of classical-based, folk, Sufi and western-styled numbers. Indian instruments like the sitar, bansuri, shehnai and manjira have been used smartly. Most compositions have the Rahman stamp, and Irshad Kamil’s lyrics fit the tunes perfectly, whether the theme is romantic or rustic.

Yet, despite a few really marvellous numbers, we have one major complaint about the ‘Raanjhanaa’ music. And that concerns Rahman’s decision to sing certain songs himself, when he could have settled for singers whose voices and training would have been more suitable. Here, he completely messes up this number ‘Aise na dekho’. Even though it is a well-arranged smooth jazz composition with a hummable whistle part, it is marred by a completely insipid and expressionless vocal line.

To be fair, the composer has tasted reasonable success as a singer in the past. Songs like ‘Dil se re’ (from ‘Dil Se’), ‘Chale chalo’ (‘Lagaan’), ‘Yeh jo des hai mera’ (‘Swades’), ‘Khwaja mere khwaja’ (‘Jodhaa Akbar) and ‘Maa tujhe salaam’ (private album) have been fairly popular. This is besides many Tamil songs. But many of these were peppy songs which relied more on their tune and instrumentation, than on intricate singing technique. And in some of these songs, one has even noticed some obvious computer-generated pitch correction.

In ‘Raanjhanaa’ itself, Rahman also lends his voice to the electronica-meets-hip-hoppish number ‘Tu mun shudi’. Here, there doesn’t seem to be a problem, because it’s a song more dependent on the vocals of Rabbi Shergill, and on its orchestration. But then, Rahman isn’t a full-time singer, and should thus be choosy about what he sings. We’re sure there were many singers who could do better justice to ‘Aise na dekho’.

Barring that one huge flaw, ‘Raanjhanaa’ has quite a few highs. The title track, sung by Jaswinder Singh and Shiraz Uppal, uses the violin, sitar and dhol smartly. The lines “Raanjhana hua main tera, kaun tere bin mera, raunak hai tumhi se meri, kaun tere bin mera’ are simple yet effective.

The folk-classical number ‘Banarasiya’ contains some incredible vocals by Shreya Ghoshal, who is accompanied by Anwesha Datta Gupta and Meenal Jain. A nice sarangi and flute start, followed by a sitar interlude, give this a typical Uttar Pradesh feel.

The rhythm-heavy ‘Piya milenge’, featuring Sukhwinder Singh and the KMMC Sufi Ensemble, is one of the clear highlights. Lines like “Jisko dhoondhe baahar baahar who baitha hai chupke chupke, tere andar ek samandar kyon dhoondhe tubke tubke; akal ke parde peeche kar de, toh piya milenge” are simply outstanding, and the use of Sufi and classical elements adds class.

Also in the classical sphere is ‘Ay sakhi’, where Madhushree, Chinmayee, Vaishali and Aanchal Sethi sing sargams, taans and even some nonsensical syllables with great coordination.

If the first four songs are steeped in folk and classical flavour, ‘Nazar layee’ is a pleasant guitar-backed ballad, sung by Rashid Ali and Neeti Mohan, with the latter sounding very different from her chart-topping ‘Jiya re’ from ‘Jab Tak Hai Jaan’.

Next to follow are ‘Tu mun shudi’ and ‘Aise na dekho’, already discussed above. Strong rhythms and the faint sound of chants characterise the short piece ‘The land of Shiva’, which provides a brief diversion.

The album concludes with ‘Tum tak’, which is a pleasantly orchestrated number featuring Javed Ali, Keerthi Sagathia and Pooja Vaidyanath. It has a nice shehnai stretch and wonderful lyrics (‘Meri har dushwaari tum tak, meri har khumaari tum tak’), but the tune of the main line seems like a rehash of the ‘Jab Tak Hai Jaan’ title song.

Some readers may wonder why this reviewer has given three and a half stars, and not four. Well, though this is his best set of songs after ‘Rockstar’ two years ago, only three of the nine numbers (‘Piya milenge’, ‘Banarasiya’ and ‘Ay sakhi’) can be called really extraordinary and one (‘Aise na dekho’) is a complete mess.

Many of the others have familiar overtones, as Rahman uses orchestral styles he has attempted before. Even his rhythm-structuring seem to follow the formulae that have worked in the past. Yet, though it doesn’t quite match up to his all-time best, it is definitely one of the better Rahman scores over the past three years. And that’s good enough reason to celebrate.

RATING SCALE: * Poor; ** Average; *** Good; **** Excellent; ***** Simply outstanding

CD review/ Aashiqui 2; Music: various


Aashiqui 2/ Music: Jeet Gangulli, Mithoon, Ankit Tiwari

Genre: Hindi film music

T-Series/ Rs 175

Rating: ****

BACK in 1990, the songs of Mahesh Bhatt’s Aashiqui had become a rage, catapulting music directors Nadeem-Shravan and singer Kumar Sanu to stardom, and giving Anuradha Paudwal some of her biggest hits. Even today, songs like ‘Main duniya bhula doonga’, ‘Ek sanam chahiye’, ‘Dheere dheere se’, ‘Nazar ke saamne’, ‘Dil ka aalam’, ‘Jaane jigar jaaneman’, ‘Ab tere bin’ and ‘Tu meri zindagi’ are hummed by many.

Naturally, for those who’ve grown up on those classics, the first reaction to the music of Mohit Suri’s Aashiqui 2 would be to compare the two. But then, such a comparison would be unfair and pointless as there is a huge 23-year gap between these two films. If one listens to the new album with that mind-block, one may never appreciate it in its truest sense.

Remove that bias, and you slowly discover that Aashiqui 2 is one of the best music albums to come out over the past three or four years. At a time when composers are experimenting with sounds, going in for dance numbers. Punjabi and Sufi flavours or alternative approaches, Aashiqui 2 works because it is simple, clean and lyrically-appealing. And what’s really commendable is that though it features three music directors (Jeet Gangulli, Mithoon and Ankit Tiwari) and four lyricists (Irshad Kamil, Mithoon, Sandeep Nath and Sanjay Masoomm), there’s a certain consistency and coherence in the sound and songwriting.

A clear highlight of the 11-track CD is the quality of the arrangements. The acoustic guitar, electric guitar, keyboards, bansuri and santoor have been used charmingly, and the production and recording are of the highest standard. And even if one senses a bit of monotony in some of the later tracks, it is offset by the smart instrumentation.

The set begins with ‘Tum hi ho’, composed and written by Mithoon. It begins with a pleasant keyboard stretch after which Arijit Singh renders the lines “Hum tere bin reh nahin sakte, tere bina kya wajood mera.” Sung with depth and feel, it impresses on the lines, “Tera mera rishta hai kaisa, ik pal door gawaraa nahin, tere liye har roz hai jeete, tujh ko diya mera waqt sabhi.”

Mithoon contributes to two other numbers. ‘Meri Aashiqui’, written by Irshad Kamil and sung by Palak Muchhal and Arijit, continues from ‘Tum hi ho’, retaining the lines ‘Kyunki tum hi ho, ab tum hi ho, zindagi ab tum hi ho; chain bhi, mera dard bhi, meri aashiqui tum hi ho’. Then, there is ‘Aashiqui —The Love Theme’, a soothing piano-based instrumental using the same tune as ‘Meri aashiqui’.

One of the film’s clear highlights is ‘Sunn raha hai’. Composed and sung by Ankit Tiwari, and written by Sandeep Nath, it uses a rock power ballad style, with a repeated guitar line in the beginning, a sudden burst of electric guitar, charming use of the zitar (a cross between the sitar and guitar) and a pumped-up crowd-clapping backdrop at the end. The lines ‘Sun raha hai tu, ro raha hoon mein’ are the kind that’ll make you sing along.

The female version of this song, sung by Shreya Ghoshal, changes the orchestration completely, using acoustic guitar, bansuri, santoor and the claypot percussion instrument ghatam, reminding you of the Shiv-Hari style.

The other numbers are composed by Jeet Gangulli, who once worked as part of a duo with Pritam before concentrating on Bengali films. ‘Chahun mein ya naa’, written by Irshad Kamil and sung by Palak Muchhal and Arijit Singh, is a pleasant love song, with some striking orchestrations, a melodic electric guitar passage and wonderful lines like “Mere chhote chhote khwaab hain, khwaabon mein geet hain, geeton mein zindagi hai, chaahat hai, preet hai.”

‘Hum mar jaayenge’, sung by the sweet-voiced Tulsi Kumar and Arijit, boasts of some incredible flute portions, set mostly to acoustic guitar and keyboard backdrop. ‘Piya aaye na’ (Tulsi Kumar and KK) is one of the peppier tunes, using vocal overdubs and back-up singers.

‘Bhula dena’, sung by Mustafa Zahid, is melancholic and pathos-filled, and has an outstanding lead guitar passage in the middle. Both the keyboard-driven ‘Aasan nahin yahan’ and guitar-backed ‘Milne hai mujhse aayi’ begin with brilliant lines by Irshad Kamil, and both have been sung powerfully by Arijit. While the former starts with “Aasaan nahin yahaan aashiq ho jaana, palkon pe kaanton ko sajaana; aashiq ko milta hai gham ki saugaatein, sabko na milta yeh khazana,” the latter begins, “Milne hai mujhse aayi, phir jaane kyon tanhai, kis mod pe laayi aashiqui.”

To be sure, a couple of songs take time to grow on you. But the more you listen to them, the more refreshing they sound. Only time can tell whether they will match the popularity of the original Aashiqui, with today’s audiences being more impatient and exposed to wider choice. But on its own, the Aashiqui 2 music stands out. It’s the kind of CD you’ll want to play on loop, discovering something new each time. That happens rarely these days.

RATING SCALE: * Poor; ** Average; *** Good; **** Excellent; ***** Simply outstanding

CD review/ Talaash; Music: Ram Sampath

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


CD review/ Jab Tak Hai Jaan; Music: A R Rahman


Jab Tak Hai Jaan/ Music: A R Rahman

Genre: Hindi film music

YRF Music/ Rs 175

Rating: ***

OVER the past couple of years, A R Rahman seems to have drastically cut down on his Hindi film work. In 2010, he had only two releases ― Mani Rathnam’s ‘Raavan’ and Abbas Tyrewala’s ‘Jhootha Hi Sahi’. Last year, there was only Imtiaz Ali’s ‘Rockstar’. And this year, he’s done Gautam Menon’s ‘Ekk Deewana Tha’ and the late Yash Chopra’s ‘Jab Tak Hai Jaan’, with nothing lined up over the next few months.

Of these, only ‘Rockstar’ really matched up to Rahman standards. Though he used only one rock song ‘Sadda haq’ and concentrated on many other genres, he also had successful tunes in ‘Naadaan parindey’, ‘Katiyan karoon’ and ‘Kun faya kun’. The best thing about ‘Rockstar’ was that he used Mohit Chauhan’s voice on all songs to portray Ranbir Kapoor, thus maintaining consistency.

In ‘Jab Tak Hai Jaan’, Rahman goes back to his frequent practice of using an assortment of singers, some of whom are yet to make their mark in Hindi films, or who probably belong to the ‘Rahman camp’.  He’s done that in so many of his later films – ‘Yuva’, ‘Guru’, ‘Rang de Basanti’, ‘Jodhaa Akbar’, ‘Ghajini’ and ‘Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na’ ― and though he did produce many good songs in these films, the overall efforts were not necessarily cent per cent consistent, unlike some of his work in the 90s.

The same thing happens with ‘Jab Tak Hai Jaan’. The songs have been created well, but the singing is rather inconsistent. A couple of songs really work, while some have very obvious drawbacks. Gulzar’s lyrics show flashes of brilliance, but his dependence on pure Punjabi on two numbers may make them hard to follow in some regions.

What’s really creditable, of course, is the quality of the arrangements, and how Rahman has used various instruments. Production-wise, ‘Jab Tak Hai Jaan’ is first-rate, though on a few songs, one also gets the feeling that his dependence on orchestration is at the cost of melody.

The film has six songs, one reprise, one instrumental and one Aditya Chopra-penned poem set to music. The opening Punjabi song ‘Challa’ has been sung by Rabbi, who seems to have an obvious hangover of his hit song ‘Bulla ki jaana’. But what obviously makes this song is Keba Jeremiah’s brilliant guitaring, Ranjit Barot’s tight drumming and the short back-up vocal stretch.

Half the media has alleged that ‘Challa’ is a copy of Eagle Eye Cherry’s ‘Save Tonight’, based on a quote by one source, but there is no similarity between the two, except that they both begin with acoustic guitars and have a similar tempo. Tunewise, they are totally different, and even the orchestrations are not similar.

‘Saans’ has very Gulzar-styled wordplay like ‘Saans mein teri, saans mili toh, mujhe saans aayi; Rooh ne choo li jism ki khoshboo, tu jo paas aayi’. This song has been brilliantly orchestrated, with a haunting symphonic feel and Naveen Kumar’s melodious flute. However, the normally excellent Shreya Ghoshal seems a bit forced and unnatural, specially when reciting the word ‘Saans’, whereas Mohit Chauhan sounds a bit like Udit Narayan. The reprise, sung by Shreya, is shorter and sweeter.

‘Ishq Shava’ again has excellent arrangements, a Middle Eastern feel using the oud, mandolin and saz, and Gulzar gems like ‘Baadalon pe paaon rakho kabhi; Un mein zameen nahin hoti’. But the main melody line has a heard-it before feeling, and the song uses the very obvious Arabic word ‘Marhaba’. Moreover, while Raghav Mathur sounds crisp, Shilpa Rao’s voice jars.

The biggest treat comes from ‘Heer’, with Harshdeep Kaur sounding melodiously outstanding on this Punjabi folk-inspired tune. It’s the kind of song that grows on repeated listening. Of all the singers Rahman has promoted, Harshdeep seems to have the greatest future.

Neeti Mohan, who began with the band Aasma and recently sang the ‘Student of the Year’ song ‘Ishqwala Love’, comes up with the catchy ‘Jiya Re’. Again, her voice may not really be extraordinary and she seems to struggle on the higher notes, but she’s helped by a peppy, sing-along tune, Chandresh Kudwa’s guitarwork and a neat rap stretch by Sofia Ashraf. Nice, party piece.

Singer Javed Ali, a Rahman favourite, sings the title song along with Shaktisree Gopalan. This is perhaps one of the soundtrack’s weak spots, with the singing going haywire, the tune sounding like a nursery rhyme and the antara reminding you of one part of the ‘Padosan’ hit ‘Main chali main chali’.

The instrumental ‘Ishq Dance’ is a rhythmic delight, with drummer Ranjit Barot and percussionists Faizan Hussain and Nishad Chandra bursting with sheer energy, and the back-up vocals, guitar and bass adding life. This could be used as a great interlude in Rahman’s live shows.

Finally, we have Shah Rukh Khan reciting Aditya Chopra’s poem which begins ‘Teri aankhon ke namkeen mastiyaan, teri hansi ki beparwah gustakhiyaan, teri zulfon ke lehrati angdaaiyan, nahin bhooloonga main, jab tak hai jaan’. Again, a great musical backdrop gives this some zest.

Overall, ‘Jab Tak Hai Jaan’ is the kind of soundtrack which may not impress on first hearing, but grows when heard regularly. Though one may crib that this isn’t among Rahman’s best in terms of the nature of the songs, it’s definitely above par as far as instrumentation goes. A little more emphasis on melody than on sound would have taken it a few notches higher.

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

CD review/ Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu – Amit Trivedi

Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu/ Music: Amit Trivedi

Hindi film/ T-Series/ Rs 175

Rating: ****

AFTER making his Hindi film debut with ‘Aamir’, music director Amit Trivedi produced an amazing soundtrack in ‘Dev D’, where songs like ‘Emosanal atyachar’, ‘Pardesi’ and ‘Payaliya’ helped him get the National Film Award for Music Direction. Then came his outstanding ‘Iktara’ in ‘Wake Up Sid’, which overshadowed the film’s other songs composed by Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy. ‘Aisha’ and ‘No One Kissed Jessica’ and the ‘Udaan’ background scorehad neat work too, and he had a hit in the ‘Chillar Party’ song ‘Tai tai phiss’, despite its deplorable lyrics.

Clearly, Trivedi is a man to look out for. Now, he proves his verve and versatility again with the Imran Khan-Kareena Kapoor starrer ‘Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu’. With the help of lyricist Amitabh Bhattacharya, he chooses a variety of singers —not the regular names — to create a score that’s youthful, fresh and effervescent.

Of the five songs, two have additional versions. The title song, which comes with an extra remix by DJ Shiva, strikes you with its smart, synth-friendly orchestration and lively vocals by Benny Dayal and Anushka Manchanda. ‘Gubbare’, sung by Trivedi himself, Shilpa Rao, Nikhil D’Souza and Amitabh Bhattacharya, is boosted by nice whistling stretches, and smooth guitars and saxophones.

‘Aunty Ji’, rendered by Ash King and featuring vibrant choruses and rock-styled electric guitars, is the zingiest of the lot. ‘Aahatein’, featuring Karthik and Shilpa Rao, brings down the tempo, but impresses with solitude-filled lyrics like ‘Sab wohi hai par kuch kami hai, teri aahatein nahin hain’. In Abhijit Vaghani’s remix of this song, singer Shekhar Ravjiani (of Vishal-Shekhar) replaces Karthik.

Vishal Dadlani, the other half of Vishal-Shekhar, teams up with Shilpa Rao on the catchy ‘Kar Chala Shuru Tu’, which again impresses with smart guitars and trumpets. In fact, besides its consistency and freshness, the most impressive thing about ‘Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu’ is the sheer orchestral imagination that Trivedi puts into each song. After quite a lot of bizarre stuff in last year’s movies, this is a welcome musical beginning to 2012.

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

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