To be heard in a herd

I Am call out to be treated separately. It’s no discredit to co-composers Rajiv Bhalla and Vivek Philip. Just that Trivedi has managed to pull out new tricks from his old hat.

Helping Trivedi distinguish his creations is his strings quartet. Narayan Mani’s veena plays against Sanjoy Das and Shon Pinto’s guitars to a curious effect. And Chandrakant’s mandolin and rabab complement all of them. 

Nowhere is the strings interplay more in-your-face than in the beginning of KK’s Issi baat pe. In Baangur, Mame Khan’s earthy voice is backed by a guitar-laden rhythm, which is then pierced by a hypnotic harmonium (uncredited) to make way for the section sung by Kavita Seth. Rekha Bhardwaj spreads out her beguiling voice in ‘Saye saye’. But Mohan’s warp to Bhardwaj’s weft is as straight as a road divider.

Kartik’s ‘Ankhein’, composed by Philip, falls for the same unexceptional linearity. The only other song that stands out admirably is the bi-lingual ‘Wundoo yeredoo’ — written, composed and sung with gusto by Bhalla. A rare, rollicking album.

Lollipop, anyone?
With Love U Mr Kalakaar, Sandesh Shandilya has recreated the uninspired lollipop romance of the late 1980s that filled the post-disco void. He has managed to make even the pitch-perfect voice of Shreya Ghoshal have the sort of anodyne effect that was Alka Yagnik’s voice behind Juhi Chawla’s lips.

Even the currently ubiquitous Neeraj Shridhar (in ‘Sarphira sa hai dil’) or the not-so-regularly-recorded Kunal Ganjawala (‘Bhoore bhoore badal’ and ‘Love u Mr Kalakaar’) have failed to pour life into their songs.

After remixes and reprisals, we now have a ‘revisit’. ‘Tera intezaar’, a candy first offered by Vijay Prakash and Gayatri Ganjawala, is revisited by Reeky Dev, who has put on the voice of a young man who spends too much time arranging his hair in front of the mirror. In fact, except Mohit Chauhan in ‘Kahin se chali aa’, that’s the voice commandeered by all the singers on the album. Too much sugar and too little spice.

This is one sweet tooth that definitely needed a root canal.

When frolic means fresh
There’s something to be said of composers who can maintain their sense of humour while slaving for formulaic Bollywood. Ram Sampath, the composer from Mumbai’s jingle jungle who grabbed our attention with ‘Mehngai dayein’ in Peepli Live, has conjured up the laconic again in Luv ka The End.

Aiding him to a considerable extent is lyricist Amitabh Bhattacharya. Relish this slice on a person’s transformation from ‘The Mutton Song’: “Six pack ke biskit gol huye/Naabhi mein piercing hole huye. Bhanvre se aaj tabdeel hua hoon/Phool mein all of a sudden sudden.”

Even though they fall along known melodies, Suman Sridhar’s ‘Tonight’ and Ali Zafar’s ‘F.U.N. fun funaa’ keep you foot-tapping. And like in I Am, Pawan Rasaily and Shon Pinto’s guitars sizzle.

Possibly for the first time we have a bonus track — ‘Heppy budday beybee’ by Jimmy Moses — that’s only 44 seconds long. It leaves you with the feeling that the album is snappy and isn’t stretched beyond its natural length.

Either that, or the producers ran out of studio time.

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