Coke Studio India. June 17th. 7 PM. MTV.

Coke Studio is finally in India. And while there may be questions about the credibility of the show and comparisons to its much older Pakistani counterpart, I am quite hopeful and almost sure that this will be a wonderful experience for us.

For now, here is some detail about the show, mostly about who all are gonna be there on the show.

The show will have twenty artistes. While the top Bollywood line of the show comprises of Shankar Mahadevan, Shaan, KK and Sunidhi Chauhan, we’ll also see Kailash Kher, Richa Sharma, Shruti Pathak, and Benny Dayal from Bollywood singers.

Besides, there will be Raghu Dixit, or should I say The Raghu Dixit Project, the well known name from Bangalore; once so popular Colonial Cousins – Hariharan and Leslie Lewis; comparatively lesser known Bollywood singers Harshdeep Kaur and Akriti Kakkar (Harshdeep is winner of two television reality shows and has even sung for A R Rahman in Rang De Basanti, Akriti has almost twenty movies to her credit where she has sung); and the singer of mora saiyyan, aankhon kay sagar, mitwa, and many more, Shafqat Amanat Ali Khan.

Then there are Sabri Brothers*, Aftab and Hashim Sabri, qawwali singers who have sung for Hindi films as well, my best memory being of Allah Allah from Yeh Dil Ashiqana (no idea how crappy the movie was but the songs were good, the qawwali being one of the best) and Tumse mil ke dil ka hai jo haal from Main hoon na.

Also the show will have Sufi singers Puranchand and Pyarelal Wadali i.e. Wadali Brothers there too. The pair has also sung a couple of songs for Bollywood, the latest being Rangrez in Tanu weds Manu.

In lesser known singers, which could and should make the real life of the show, there will be Assamese Bihu specialist Khagen Gogoi, Tamilnadu’s once-a-singer-at-thirteen Chinna Ponnu, another Assamese Mausam Gogoi, maker of boatmen band Majhi Mallah Saurav Mandal and New Delhi’s eclectic music group Advaita.

What is still a confusion though, is that while the list above is given on the ‘Artists’ page of the Coke Studio website, there is another sentence that says ‘The collaborations are so eclectic as to bring together Shafqat Ali and Shruti Pathak, Sunidhi Chauhan and Wadali Brothers, Kailash Kher and Papon, Shankar Mahadevan and Khogen Da, and Bombay Jayshree, Richa Sharma and Rashid Khan among others‘ while going by the list, I won’t find Papon, Bombay Jayshree and Rashid Khan on the show.

* My guess is that there is some mix up regarding them on the Coke Studio’s official website, they claim that Sabri Brothers are a Pakistani Qawwali party.

Mirch: Music Review (Monty Sharma)

Monty Sharma’s Mirch is an album with some wonderful songs, even though there are a few signs of desperateness too. The best thing of the album is Shankar Mahadevan’s rock-meets-classical song Kaare Kaare Badra. The song is a beautiful fusion done with some good effort and Shankar does the song in a way that I feel this was made for him. Do listen to this one.

The next good thing here is Bela Shende’s Mann bhi hai. The song is a beautiful poetry and Bela has sung it beautifully over the simple music. Nothing too high or trying-too-hard. Just simple and lovely so.
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Music Review: Chak Jawana – Gurdaas Maan

Chak Jawana is a Gurdaas Maan album, featuring Akriti Kakkar, Mika, Feroz Khan and Alka Yagnik. Here is a review of the album.

The album opens with a romantically beautiful Pind di Saver where Gurdaas Maan simply falls in love with his village and gives you a wonderful musical description of his village. I think a song to be loved by those who know any amount of Punjabi.
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Jailhouse Rock: Death of an Immortal song

Jailhouse Rock was born on September 24, 1945. This hit of Elvis was written by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, and was on Rolling Stone’s list of 500 Greatest Songs of all times.

And now, Karan Johar buys this song for his remake of Stepmom and gets it almost killed by one of the country’s finest musicians, Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy. Oh, I do count them one. 🙂

Talking of the new version, it’s clear Kajol, Kareena and Arjun are shown trying to sing the song while they don’t remember the words from the song, as Kajol (actually Anushka Manchanda) says chalo hato pare nacho dil khol ke let’s rock, hello ji let’s rock, main to bhool gayi phir kya wordings the, something something Jailhouse Rock. Interestingly, while Anushka does the job of being causal perfectly (as shown in the video on Kajol), Suraj Jagan who has been a lot into rock a lot, and my thinking is, could well have been a big fan of Elvis, doesn’t get all that casual, as he seems to be giving his best to the song, result of which is that he doesn’t really sound casual unlike Anushka. Frankly, I did not like the song after the original version but still the best part of the song for me was where Suraj sings alone, especially where he says ‘yo mama let’s rock.’

And now, after saying such negative things about the song, I’ll tell you why this song will be a hit.

1. It’s a song in a Karan Johar movie with SEL’s music, so any relatively weak song would also have a chance of lasting much longer than it would have had in some other movie.
2. The music is still the same. The one that was there in one of World’s top 500 songs.
3. Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy know what they do. They might have made the song a bit irritating, but it certainly is very tongue sticking. Listen to it thrice and bingo! you’re humming it.

So don’t get irritated, nor try to get used to the song. It’ll be there on your tongue in some time, as long as you’re in contact with TV or radio.

PS: I don’t know how Akriti Kakkar seems to have gone a bit down in the song, most probably it’s Anushka who has been in too high a voltage to let me concentrate much on Akriti’s voice.

Hello Darling: Music Review (Pritam)

Pritam is something like the name of a national Cricket team. Just like countries have a national team and then a second grade national ‘A’ team for some tours, we have ‘Pritam’s music’ and then ‘Pritam A’s music’ for some movies. This one is Pritam A.

I was wondering if I should even listen to the album but then I thought of Sharman Joshi and Tabu’s Toh Baat Pakki and decided to give it a shot. Here is the result, nothing great.
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We are Family: Another similar soundtrack?

I love Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy. But when it comes to Karan Johar, I suddenly become skeptical. I know Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy have given some fabulous music for Karan’s movies from their first song together (Kal ho na ho, title), but somehow I think Karan doesn’t use the full potential of Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy and I think there are several proofs of it. Take any ‘different’ song of Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy and you know it’s not from a Dharma movie (Exceptions are invited).

Now that Karan Johar’s next product We are Family is coming, some of the details are coming out and I’m again getting a feeling that the music of the film will be same again. The typical that happens to be in his movies: one or two songs with a Sufi touch, one party song, like in a bar or something, maybe one philosophical, and quite surely a sad version, and definitely one theme. I think though that after MNIK, WAF also may have one rock-ish number as Suraj Jagan is there again.

For example, I know there is a song called Rehem-o-Karam in the movie and by the very words, I smell a Sufi song. Not that I don’t like Sufi songs but hasn’t he had enough of them in MNIK already? By the way, the song Rehem-o-Karam is sung by Vishal Dadlani along with Shankar Mahadevan. I wish Rehem-o-Karam turns out to be a rock number but chances look kind of bleak.

I know Karan knows what he is doing and I also know that the songs that come out will be wonderful, and at the same time hit, superhit. But I think this way, music loses, and at the end, we lose.

Anyway, all I can do for now is anticipate and guess, until the music release, which is reportedly scheduled for first week of August, though I was expecting end of July, guessing 28th. And all I wish is that I’m proved wrong, and KJo and SEL bring us the best music we have ever heard. Amen.

Update: Here is the detailed soundtrack of the movie.

  1. Ankhon Mein Neendein – Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, Shreya Ghoshal, Shankar Mahadevan (5:02)
  2. Dil Khol Ke Let’s Rock – Anushka Manchanda, Akriti Kakkar, Suraj Jagan (03:57)
  3. Reham O Karam – Vishal Dadlani, Shankar Mahadevan (05:47)
  4. Hamesha & Forever – Sonu Nigam, Shreya Ghoshal, Tara Waaliya (04:51)
  5. Sun Le Dua Yeh Aasmaan (Theme Slow Version) – Shankar Mahadevan (03:53)
  6. We Are Family (Theme) – Dominique Cerejo, Clinton Cerejo, Neuman Pinto, Vivienne Pocha (02:48)

Akriti: Music Review (Akriti Kakkar)

I didn’t have much hopes when I started listening to Akriti Kakkar’s debut album, Akriti. But then, I liked the first song I heard from the album. And liked some of the songs quite enough, so much so that I decided to keep some pending things there and first write about ‘Akriti’.

The album opens with Mehrmaa ve, composed by Shankar Mahadevan. The song is a slow, good song with an oldie touch. Akriti sings the song well even though it’s not the best song of the album and the girl fares better in some forthcoming songs.

Gazab, the second song of the album, is the first composition of Akriti Kakar in the album. The song is not great but certainly good for a first time composer of 23 years of age. The composition reminds me of Sona’s aaja ve, mostly in terms of its programming. An average song, that you will like if you listen to it a few times.

The next song, Chhoone do, is again composed by Akriti herself and written by Neelsh Misra. Now this is an impressive composition by the singer and arrangers/programmers Tubby and Parik keep the music light there. A well composed, well written, and overall impressive song.

Na re na na re was the best song of the album the first time I heard it, without much pondering. The words might remind you of Guru but the song has nothing to do with that na na re. The only thing that matches is that even this one is a wonderful song to listen to. Interestingly, even though composed by Shankar Mahadevan, the song feels like coming from A R Rahman’s school of music, the soft madness it is composed with. No disrespect intended to Shankar; he has certainly created some good stuff. Good work by Gulraj Singh on arrangement and programming.

Dil vi diwana tera is an old, traditional Punjabi song that Akriti tries to sing and does sing pretty well, except that she seems to be trying too hard in some places to get that authentic Punjabi touch. No questions about the song that sounds perfect in its place. Good work by Akriti but she still has a long way to go. (The song is credited as a tribute to Noorjehan ji on the album cover)

The next song, Taabeez, is again a composition by Akriti, this time with a slight touch of Arabic style. The composition needs some full throated singing and the singer seems to do it quite well for herself.

The last song of the album Chal kahin sang mere is a soft, techno song with some good beats. A good, likeable song.

Overall, ‘Akriti’ turns out to be something much above my negligible expectations and certainly worth a try. The album is not very great when compared to those launched by biggies but certainly above an average debut album. Also, the album establishes Akriti Kakar as more than just a singer as she manages to come up with some decent to good tunes of her own. Now I have some expectations from the girl.