Ra.One: Music Review (Vishal-Shekhar)

To start with, Vishal-Shekhar have tried to created an album as international as possible. Out of the fifteen tracks, there are a number of themes, and some four of the songs have good amount of English.

The album starts with Chhammak Chhallo, about which I don’t think I need to write much as the song has been there for long now. The only two things I’d say are, one, Akon’s pronunciation of Hindi words is quite impressive, and two, love the song or hate it, it’s addictive. Highly so.

The second song, Dildara Dildara, based on Ben King’s Stand by me, is nice. Shafqat’s rendition of the song makes it a regular but very much lovable song. May sound templated on Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy’s patterns, but it’s great to listen to anyway.

The third track, Criminal, sung by Akon again, with Shruti Pathak and Vishal Dadlani, is addictive as papappap, as well as dhinna dhinna. Addictive again, though the album seems to be getting a bit repetitive here.
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Always Kabhi Kabhi: Music Review (Pritam, Aashish, Shree D)

The album starts with Aashish Rego and Shree D’s only composition for the album, which happens to be the title track of the album. The song, sung by Bhavin Dhanak, Sanah Moidutty and Apeksha Dandekar, is a usual, funky-colleg-y number that is full of nice beats, but the less than four minutes’ track takes a lovely turn when a Sufiana voice enters the song almost a minute before the end of the song. Still don’t know which of the singers it is, but completely loved the entry, especially the way it happens there. Shame that the voice doesn’t sing much.

From the second song onwards, it gets Pritam. Antenna sounds a lot like some song from Ready, probably the sound matches character dheela hai. Also, the lyrics are written by Amitabh Bhattacharya, but didn’t like the concept of the song itself. Still, the sound of the song IS catchy and can catch up well with some good promotion.
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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.

Patiala House: Music Review (Shankar Ehsaan Loy)

Laung da Lishkara is something that is definitely going to be a hit. A beautifully created Punjabi song by Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy. The not-too-fast pace of the song is lovely, and how you still don’t want it to be fast and furious is the quality of the music here. The main singer, Jassi seems like a new voice here.

The next, Kyun Main Jaagoon by Shafqat Amanat Ali Khan maybe a bit too slow for loving it the first time, but as you listen to it, you love it more and more. A beautiful track with the background music that slowly grows inside the track. The unplugged version of the song is equally good. Oh, pain in Shafaqat’s voice sounds so very natural in here.

Mehndi vi mehndi, mehndi vi mehndi. Gaadha rang je chadhiya te balle ve balle. I am reminded of Kal ho naa ho. And then of Ajab Prem ki Gazab Kahani as Hard Kaur comes in, and then Shankar Mahadevan sounds all in mad-dance mode. Well, the song sounds a bit broken at the start, but once you’re used to it, the song is definitely gonna rock you. Raula pai gaya. Raula pai gaya. Dil se gaya. Raula pai gaya.

Khwabon ke lifafon mein, kisson mein kitabon mein, Vishal Dadlani sings aadat hai woh in his soft-husky voice. Well, I was surprised quite pleasantly, but a bit confused too as to why Vishal was singing this, and then when I heard usko banane wala kuch kuch to behka hoga, I knew Vishal was the perfect singer for the song. Lovely music, superb lyrics, deep singing. Woh aadat hai is a song with some poetry. I loved it, probably the most in the album, almost as much as Kyun Main Jaagoon. Do listen.

Baby when you talk to me is one more song in the Bollywood rock. This one is sung by Suraj and the way he sings it, it reminds me of Sadka kiya, though the song is not much like that one. Simple tune, and very instantly likable.

The next song, Tumba Tumba tudak gaya, is a kinda slow Punjabi-mixed dance number which stands out for its simplicity. Hans Raj Hans does a beautiful job at this one. The song may not be the best thing when you listen to it the first time, but slowly it takes up its space in your head. Also, have hopes from the video of the video.

Kailash Kher. Richa Sharma. OK. Kailash isn’t here this time, but Richa Sharma sings the mukhda of the bhajan Kailash sang for Road to Sangam. Aval Allah. A small track for the background. Not the full bhajan though, sadly.

The next thing is the remix of kyun main jaagoon. I’m not much into remixes, but quite loved this one. Try once even if you don’t listen to remixes.

The last, baby when you talk to me remix isn’t bad either, probably because there are no huge changes made in the song and speed seems to be the same.

Oh, forgot Raula pai gaya remix. Totally enjoying it.

Overall, Patiala House may not be among the best of Shankar Ehsaan Loy, but like most of their albums, the album has some freshness, and some good ol’ things. To say the least, Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy, once again, don’t disappoint. 🙂

Aashayein: Music Review

Salim Sulaiman’s Aashayein was such a long pending album, I was never expecting it to release. But it finally did. It seems in the long time they have added as many remixes as possible, that’s how I can see 13 tracks on the album, made out of 7 songs.

The album surprisingly starts with a Pritam song, Mera Jeena hai kya, sung by Neeraj Shridhar. Interestingly, the song is a bit different from their typical songs as this one seems aligned towards rock. I wonder why Pritam didn’t get KK to sing this one. KK and Nagesh Kukunoor has already been an old hit jodi. Good one but could be better.

Then the next, Dilkash Dildaar duniya comes which is again a Pritam composition and sung by Shaan and Tulsi Kumar. A beat-based song with a nostalgic feel. Shaan is fine but I’m not coming to terms with Tulsi very well. Okay song.

The third song, Rabba comes from Shiraz Uppal. Somehow, I don’t like Shiraz Uppal very much with lower notes. Shiraz is a guy who is best when he sings with his full throat. But here he sings more on lower notes and goes high only for ‘Rabba ye kya hua, Rabba ye dil gaya’ there too not so good I had expected. Some good lyrics and certainly not a bad song, but was expecting more from Shiraz. This is just okay.

Then comes the already heard Zubeen sung ‘Ab mujhko Jeena.’ The song starts somewhat like Summer of 69 but then it moves to a fast, inspiring type song. Can’t say much about the song as I’ve heard it way too much already. It’s even been my ringtone for a long time. So all I can say is the song is definitely good.

Next song of the album, Shukriya Zindagi, that starts on a lovely note and as Shafqat starts singing ‘chhan ke aayi to kya chandni to mili’ in an easy mood, you know you’re going to get an inspirational treat from Salim-Sulaiman and Shafqat. Beautiful lyrics by Mir Ali Husain in continuously second song.

As Shreya Ghoshal starts rendering Pal mein Mila Jahan, in her soft voice, with almost nothing playing in the background, you think it’s a sad version of some song, but then the song proceeds, and after a tough job done by Shreya, instruments appear in the background. A really good song and some superb singing by Shreya but I don’t know how many will have patience to listen to this song. Try to listen to the song anyway.

Finally, Chala Aaya Pyaar brings in Mohit Chauhan. A quite slow, deep song with some romantic lyrics. Somehow after ‘Pal mein’ the song sounds a bit sad as it seems to mix with its predecessor, but as Mohit comes towards the higher notes in the song, you start liking it. Good use of percussion, loved the tabla in the song. Go for it, but it may need some patience before you fall for the song.

Shankar Mahadevan is a choice of many composers when it comes to deep songs, and even more when there are less instruments in the background, as Shankar has got some awesome power in his voice. Therefore, after Raajneeti’s Dhan dhan dharti re, he gets to sing another earthy song with less instruments and more singing. And the song is none other than Shreya sung Pal mein mila Jahan’s male version, but Shankar gives the song much more power than Shreya did. I guess people would like this one more, if they have enough patience to decide.

After this, the album has five remixes but I wouldn’t even hear them as of now, after listening to seven songs already. Oh, btw, there is one sad version of Shukriya Zindagi which is again a wonderful listen for those who appreciate one minute long instrumentless pieces. Cuz I was a fan of Aashayein slow version and always played the song after the slow version.

Overall, the album is not bad, but not very good either. While no song is actually bad, only a few, namely ab mujhko jeena, shukriya zindagi, pal mein mila jahan look upto their level. Mohit Chauhan and Shiraz Uppal are a bit below their own set standards. The biggest problem is that few songs in the album catch you instantly, though I hope many of the songs will sound just perfect in the movie as background.

All I’d say is, I had some more aashayein from aashayein.

I Hate Luv Storys – Music Review

Vishal-Shekhar’s I Hate Love Stories had been a long expected album, at least for me. And I guess they have done it. Bin tere, I hate Love stories, and Sadka kiya, I’m loving it.

The album starts with Jab Mila tu, which is quite like Dostana’s Jaane Kyun. That way, the song cannot be called very fresh but sounds fine, and will be stuck to our tongues the way Jaane kyun did. I think.

The second song of the album is one of the best, or probably the best, Bin Tere (how many songs are called Bin tere, any idea?). Well, the song, sung by Shafqat Amanat Ali Khan and Sunidhi Chauhan is a wonderful piece of music and definitely worth a listen. Go for it.

The third song of the album is a peppy title song, bas pyaar ka naam na lena, I hate love stories, sung by Vishal Dadlani. Very, very tongue sticking,though I don’t think it’s one for longer times.

Bahara is the next song of the album. The song came as a surprise to me as I had not expected Sona Mahapatra in a Vishal-Shekhar album. I wonder if she has ever worked with the duo. Well, Sona is not the only singer in the song, in fact she is more in the background while the song is actually sung by Shreya Ghoshal. A medium-fast-paced song with a touch of folk. Definitely a good one again.

They had one king of rock with them. But they brought in another one. Yes, Vishal Shekhar call in Suraj Jagan for their next number Sadka Kiya, with Mahalaxmi Iyer. Frankly, Sadka is probably the song I have loved the most till date and the more I am listening to it, the more I am falling into the song. A song that keeps itself light, has beats something like Falak tak (Tashan), with Suraj going high in places, in a way that you would love. The best part, on top of the wonderful music and singing, there are those great lyrics, sadka kiya yoon ishq ka, ke sar jhuka jahan, deedar hua. M lovin’it.

If this was not enough, here is more in remixes, no, reprises and mixes and remixes. The first to come up is Shekhar with a reprise of Bin Tere. Now there’s only a guitar (I hope I didn’t miss anything) and Shekhar’s voice. A real reprise, with hardly any background music. One of the toughest and the best things Shekhar has done. Kudos boy.

Now, a chill mix, Rahat Fateh Ali Khan singing what Shreya and Sona sang earlier. Definitely good work by Rahat and worth listening to song, but I think I have fallen for the original version already.

At the end there is a remix version of Bin Tere, which doesn’t sound bad.

Overall, I Hate Luv Storys seems to be a soundtrack which is better than plain good. A few songs may remind you of things here and there, but overall, almost every song of the album is good, which is a big deal. Well done Vishal-Shekhar.

My Picks: Bin Tere, Sadka Kiya.

Bin Tere – I Hate Luv Storys

I was absolutely in love with the song from the very first time I heard Shafqat Amanat Ali Khan singing ‘hai kya jo tere mere darmiyaan hai’ and right through the song I kept loving him, until Sunidhi comes up to sing ‘raah mein roshni ne hai kyun haath chhoda’ which sounds like something additional to the song. The song is actually a sad, kinda mourning piece in a high note mode. Something that reminds me of KK’s songs from Bas ek Pal. Also, I felt a tinge of tumhi dekho na for a second or two in the beginning of the song.

Whatever I felt, the only thing that matters is that the song is a wonderful piece of music that you would love to listen to. Simply go for it.
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My Name is Khan: Music Review

2010 is turning out to be great in terms of music. While Veer was unexpectedly good, Ishqiya was HUGE and My Name is Khan is not disappointing either. The album, composed by Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy, has six songs, no remixes, Shankar Mahadevan in three of them but none sung alone by him. Names of Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, Shafqat Amanat Ali, and Rashid Khan make clear from the very start that the album is majorly Sufi. Here is a review of MNIK.
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