From no music for a while there was suddenly an explosion of tunes that I wanted to listen to, enjoy, think about, and finally, write about. So let’s get started!
Wake Up Sid:
Shankar Ehsaan Loy’s music represents the voice of the youth. The ultimate youth anthem “Koi kahe kehta rahe, Kitna bhi hum ko Diwaana” rocked the nation in Dil Chahta Hai. And it was followed by the rebellious “Chote chote shehron se, Khali bhor dupehron se” (Bunty Aur Babli), the rocking “Move your body” (Johnny Gaddaar), and the rocking “Meri laundry ka ek bill” (Rock On!). So Wake Up Sid seemed like exactly the ticket for more youthful coming of age music from SEL. However, while no track in WUS is bad (including the title track that sort of does that job), the one that stands out, and how, is Iktara! And it is guest composed by Amit Trivedi. This magical number is sung in the soulful and robust voice of Kavita Seth with assist from Amitabh Bhattacharya. It is fusion of a Sufi style verses combined with a modern refrain in Goonja sa hai koi Iktaara Iktaara. The effect is simply stunning.
Next up is Radio:
Himesh Reshammiyya is always an interesting composer, and one wishes he would stop playing with being an actor and just compose. And maybe sing once in a while. I have not really minded the nasality when it is combined with interesting tunes, still love Aa Aa Aashiqui mein Teri! The problem with Himesh’s attempts at acting is that somehow it casts a huge cloud of doubt on everything he does, including his compositions. And it also restricts how much he composes, which may not be a bad thing if he gives us soundtracks like RADIO. The album does not have a single bad song, and it has a few outstanding ones! I will list them in order of my favorites. The best song of the album is no doubt “Piya Jaise Ladoo Motichur Wale”. Rekha Bharadwaj’s uniquely sultry voice follows an excellent shehnai prelude, and she croons “har le jaaye unki do batiyan, jag saara choote ho”! Himesh accompanies, in contrast to the classical tune of the whole, in a more contemporary style, making the song a unique mix of tunes – in fact quite like Iktara in some sense. This is exactly the kind of song that in any but a Himesh film would raise curiosity about picturization sky high!! The title song Mann Ka Radio starts with a soft guitar strumming and then a very non-nasal Himesh takes on some excellent lyrics. “Station koi naya tune kar le zara – toota dil kya hua, ho gaya jo hua, bhoole bisre geet gaa ke bhool ja!!” The lyricist Subrat Sinha does a fantastic job of mixing in the “its over, move on” theme of hope with the radio metaphor. My next favorite is “Shaam ho chali hai” sung by a very restrained Himesh, ably accompanied by Shreya, soulfully croons “main aur mera soonapan teri baat karte hain o humnawaaz” and the refrain “haan jo bhi hai magar yehi to preet hai” is heavenly, though it is reminiscent of some long ago heard tune. An excellent composition no doubt. To round off my top four picks is the rustic Bihari folk song inspired “Damadji Angna mein padhare”. This has been a good year for Bihari folk songs, (it started last year with the Bhojpuri Dil Dance Maare from Tashan) with Sasural Genda Phool (D6) or this true Dashrath greeting his son-in-law style song. Kailash Kher and Himesh mix and match two styles and tunes for a unique song. I should mention that the entire album is of exceptional quality, I just picked my top 4 favorites. But one could go just as well with the ballad Jaaneman, or the other Radio song Jindagi Jaise Ek Radio with its much more Rap-inspired style. Himesh is back, but because of his lame attempts at acting, everything he does is painted with the brush of ridicule. SAD.
This brings me to the final album for this round, BULUUUUUUU!!!! I started out not thinking much of this one, but it has grown on me and the songs I stated out disliking are now slowly growing on me. Top of my list is – CHIGGY WIGGY! I cannot believe I wrote that 😮 . The song starts out as the most inane pop tune, one of a million such in Kylie’s voice, but it does do well at suggesting the naughty and forbidden. I just wait for this part to end so the fun can begin, and it does as soon as Sonu enters the song to dhol beats and in a style one would have expected from Sukhvinder! “Kaatil yeh adaayen, katilaana yeh numaiyish” seems just perfect for the situation and just lifts the song from the mundane and inane. Sonu’s singing tames the pop and takes the song over with great style.
Surprisingly, a more Sonu style song “Aaj dil gustakh hai” is sung by Sukhvinder (and Shreya) but it does not make my cut. Nor does the BULUU theme song. It is energetic and somewhat unique with the chants of Bluuuu and Buluuuu in the background, but it cannot match to theme songs from other recent action films like the Dhoom franchise or Don, The Chase Begins Again. The song that comes and grabs you instantly is Rehnuma. Shreya is at her sultriest and the breaks in her voice make for a near perfect listening experience. Here Sonu accompanies with a much more subtle and muted “Rehnumaaaa” and this song is a definite keeper. The final song in the album is worth listening just for Udit’s uniquely crystal clear voice. I do not think he has sounded as pure, as he does in Yaar Mila Tha. Madhushree’s accompaniment is excellent. I wish Rahman would use the real male singing talents more and not just keep introducing new singers who are not so great. The powerhouse trio of Sukhvinder, Sonu and Udit lift the Blue album and these songs will be remembered. Shreya has been an almost constant in Rahman albums, but here he exposes her new side in Rehnuma. She reminds one of the sexy numbers sung by Asha Bhonsle. While not really a fair comparison yet, Shreya is growing up to be a force to reckon with and may attain the stature of Lata and Asha eventually!