Music of Ankhon Dekhi

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Ankhon Dekhi
Lyrics – Varun Grover
Music – Sagar Desai
Times Music
INR 72, iTunes

The album starts with aaj laagi laagi nai dhoop and the song arrests you thanks to the beautiful Sarangi. Kailash kher can sing songs like this one even when he is fast asleep and dreaming french dreams, so that is nothing new that he effortlessly cruises through this song as well. The song has a hummable feel to it.  Next up is Aayi bahar and again what strikes in this peppy song is the brilliant use of khartaals in the beginning and the superlative Sarangi in this song that has a nomadic feel to it. Kailash kher lends his voice to this song and sings it well. My second pick of the album Kaise sukh soyein is composed with so much love that it shows.  Sung superbly by Ronkini Gupta, this one is or keeps! Yaad saari features Kailash kher (again!) along with some good backup vocals. The atmosphere is insightful and even though the song fades out way too soon, the catch is in the lyrics….yaad meri galtiyon si khaley re khaley…Very nice! Hakka bakka has a brass band start and it adds to the comical treatment throughout. It’s good to hear Shaan after long especially when he goes off-key in between (intentionally). You won’t hear this song in discos but be rest assured, it will add to the pace and feel of the film. Mansheel Gujral sings Dheeme re which is best song from the album. Heart breaking lyrics treated to some exquisite music arrangement. I found the feel of babul morai in the lyrics but that could be just me. Find it yourself.

With projects like Ankhon dekhi, you can be rest assured that the music of the film adds to the storyline and takes it further (in most cases) rather than presenting audience an ‘item’ to ogle and forget later. Sagar desai has presented a decent album to us that is hummable and won’t jar the pace of the film.

I have few issues with the album

1. Kailash kher, SO much of Kailash kher makes the album very ‘Saiyyan-Allah ke bande’ predicatable

2. Why no song by Namit das? Mr. Kapoor reply! :)

My picks – Dheeme re, kaise sukh hoyein and aaj laagi laagi nai dhoop

Ankhon dekhi

Humnasheen – Ghazals by Shreya Ghosal

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Shreya Ghosal has teamed up with Deepak Pandit to give us a ghazal album Humnasheen.

The album starts with Ye Aasman. With rich music arrangement (that remains so throughout the album), this ghazal is treated like a typical ghazal and that’s a relief. The ghazal has just the right amount of ‘thehraav’ that you come to associate with ghazals, real ghazals. The use of violin in between reminds us of those Jagjit Singh Ghazals during the golden period of ghazal gayaki. Shreya is predictably at ease in higher or lower notes and her neat singing takes the ghazal higher. The use of Mohan veena is exemplary as well.

Naam likh kar has a soothing start thanks to a delicate tête-à-tête between Sitar and Guitar. The tête-à-tête continues well throughout the ghazal. The ghazal is slow and treads well. With good amount of pauses, this ghazal is reserved for those long evenings when you have memories as your companion.

Ye dil jo has a flute beginning. It’s refreshing to hear a ghazal composed like this in 2014 because such efforts are on their way southwards. The use of tabla and the overall feel of the song (and tarana in between) will enthrall you if you are one of those who like ghazal and not a techno fest with ‘slow’ singing.

Raaton ko The ghazal starts with Shreya’s tarana. This is a pure romantic ghazal and the able use of Sitar and Tabla among other things paints a perfect picture of the same. I somehow didn’t like the use of violin in this ghazal though.

Maahi rok na has a delightful beginning, almost thumri like. It’s a delight to hear Shreya reciting those lines in old fashion gayaki. Sarangi finally makes an entry in this geet. Keeping the overall pace of the album, this one falls flat to my ears. (The sarangi riff in between does remind you of ‘maine to tere tere ve chareya doriyan’ part of Patakha guddi!). The digital claps in the background worsen the effect. Passable track.

Meri Talaash starts like one those old songs which were sung by talented singers in big halls. Even though the irritating claps do make a continuous appearance in this song as well, the classy singing by Shreya along with a splendid Sarangi saves this ghazal.

Shamma jalti rahi starts with Shreya again melodiously reciting lines in good old style of gayaki. The treatment of this ghazal appeared a tad filmi to me but there is decent amount of stillness (mainly due to the structure of the tune) to make up for that. Will I listen to this again? No. Is it good? Yes.

Kuch rishtey will hold your attention due to it’s lyrics and sitar. The flute and singing of Shreya Ghosal is, as expected brilliant.

After the 2011 released Irshaad, I couldn’t find a single ghazal album that I would be happy to put my money on. Finally, Humnasheen breaks that jinx and everyone associated with the album should be proud of this effort which sticks to the brief (of ghazals) more often than not and doesn’t miss a note.

Highly recommended for ghazal lovers and lovers of ‘slow’ songs yo bro! :)

Lyrics credit

Ye aasmaan – Manoj Muntashir

Naam likh kar – Vaibhav modi

Ye jo dil pyar ka – Manoj Muntashir

Raaton ko – Ahmed Anees

Maahi rokna aaj (geet) – Manoj Muntashir

Teri Talash – Manoj Muntashir

Shamma jalti rahi – Manoj Muntashir

Kuch rishtey – Ajay jhingran

Queen Between – Susheela Raman


This review was first featured here

Susheela raman is not a new voice thanks to her sticky voice that doesn’t leave you well after the song ends. Her recent offering is ‘Queen between’.

It’s an interesting potpourri of  her English songwriting with the Sufi Qawaali and Rajasthani music. Her collaborators on the album are: Pakistan’s Rizwan-Muazzam Qawwal  and Rajasthan Maestros Kutle Khan and Nathoo Solanki, as well as longstanding accomplices French Cellist Vincent Segal and Producer/Guitarist Sam Mills.

The album starts with the magnificent sharaabi that features foot tapping fusion between Susheela Raman and the qawwals of rizwan-muazzim troop who bring the house down with their bits. The recitation of the Urdu couplets in a ‘not so urdu’ style might put the purists off but it fits in the overall structure of the song very well. The use of Khartaals is wise and melodious. Corn maiden has Susheela all over. With ease, Susheela gives a song that has restlessness written all over it. The song towards the end is euphoric and mesmerizing, unlike anything we have heard in a long time in India. Riverside starts with a melancholic guitar and good amount of ‘nagara’ drums for company. The singing is top class and the backup vocals by Kutle khan add quite a rustic feel to the song. The lyrics by Mills/Susheela are deep throughout the album and demand your attention especially in this song. Sajana has the qawwal group coming back to offer us and Urdu-English offering. You cannot miss the exquisite claps throughout the song, a song that conveys longing for the beloved. Susheela compliments the qawwals ably and her calls of Sajana might actually surprise you! The qawwals in between recite couplets which lend the much expected pathos to the song. Northstar is a lightly composed song and gives you a feel of someone singing it on the roof of her house watching the sky. The song has a calming effect on senses and leaves you insightful. The Queen between has a theatrical sound to it with the arrangement (accentuated by excellent backup vocals at places) that is grand and execution that is spot on! Karunei is a tamil song that features morchang. The song is more like a recitation and keeps the soul of the traditional karunei intact. Taboo is an approx 12 min offering that features the qawwals along with good bass and cello arrangement. The stillness of the entire composition creates an eerie atmosphere. The structure of the song is different than anything we have heard in ‘non-filmi’ albums in a long time. The singing is top class by Susheela and watch out for the backup vocals!

Overall a brilliant album in terms of trying something new. We cannot recall anything similar being tried by any band in a long time and that’s why it is all the more important that more people listen to this. It’s a new sound with which we must be a bit patient to begin with and give due credit to Susheela raman, Rizwan and Muazzam troop, sam mills and everyone else who has come together to present us this album.

Thumbs Up!

Complete album credits

1. Sharabi.
susheela raman: vocals
rizwan-muazzam qawals: vocals, harmonium, handclaps
sam mills: guitar, bass, keyboards
nathoo solanki: nagara drums
kutle khan: kartal, backing vocals
aref durvesh: tabla
vincent segal: cello

2. Corn Maiden
susheela raman: vocals
sam mills: guitar, bass
nathoo solanki: nagara drums
kutle khan: morchang, kartal, drums, backing vocals
aref durvesh: tabla
rana ram bhil: vocal textures

3. Riverside
susheela raman: vocals
sam mills: guitar, bass, bebot
nathoo solanki: nagara drums
kutle khan: drums, backing vocals
rana ram bhil: vocal textures

4. Sajana
susheela raman: vocals
rizwan-muazzam qawals: vocals, harmonium, handclaps
sam mills: guitar, bass
nathoo solanki: nagara drums
kutle khan: kartal, backing vocals
aref durvesh: tabla

5. North Star
susheela raman: vocals
sam mills: guitar

6. Queen Between
susheela raman: vocals
sam mills: guitar, keyboards
nathoo solanki: nagara drums
kutle khan: bapang, drums, backing vocals
vincent segal: cello
rana ram bhil: vocal textures, narh flute

7. Karunei
susheela raman: vocals
sam mills: guitar
kutle khan: morchang
aref durvesh: tabla

8. Taboo
susheela raman: vocals
rizwan-muazzam qawals: vocals, harmonium, handclaps
sam mills: guitar
nathoo solanki: nagara drums
kutle khan: morchang, backing vocals
aref durvesh: tabla
vincent segal: cello
charlie jones: bass
rana ram bhil: vocal textures



Bas mann kiya, likh dia…mera blog, meri marzi :)

1. I liked shahid kapoor’s dance in tu mere agal bagal hai
2. I didn’t like the song ‘tu mere agal bagal hai’
3. I loved saree ke fall sa, kabhi match kia re. I love it too much
4. I love the ‘people on the floor, come and get some more’ part from that akshay kumar starrer film. Not sure what the name is.
5. I took interest in films only because i liked gulaal.
6. I dont like black friday
7. I loved listening to babydoll main sonay di
8. Dont read too much into the ‘listening’ part of the point above.
9. I want to be that person who is able to identify the ragas raags in which a song is composed.
10. I love my hometown Lucknow
11. I wish I grew up in bombay. Why? Because then i would have learnt a thing or two which were not considered good in lucknow. (Music or perhaps film making or what the heck, acting?)
12. I have taken on fights because of anurag kashyap. Some people hate me because they know of my obvious loooouv for him.
13. I know that point number 12 doesnt matter but I just had to get it out. :)
14. I joined twitter because of Rajeev Masand.
15. I started faking it on twtr soon after I joined.
16. I started dissing karan johar because I wanted to sound and be all cool.
17. I started dissing anurag kashyap more or less for the reason mentioned in point 16.
18. I secretly (ok not so secretly anymore) hate point number 16 because the reality is, I really like karan johar. WYSIWYG ka best example and man what an eye for presentation! I know this doesnt matter but *salute*!
19. I met Onir after I joined twitter and a certain discussion around ‘my brother nikhil’ made me like karan johar so so so much!
20. Even after coming to Bombay, i dont have guts to pursue what i want to.
21. I crib a lot about the point number 20
22. I am always looking for music. If you have any recommendation, any genre, any language, anything, be kind and share!
23. I cannot get enough of senraan ra bairiya
24. I want to meet Rohail Hyatt at least once for a full day and want to talk talk talk talk!
25. I have this secret list of some people who are a part of my family now. I always try and impose myself on them. Yes. I want to talk to them a lot and regularly. Yes, you know who you guys are. No the list doesnt stop at 25.
26. I get jealous as hell if others talk to the people mentioned in point above.
27. I love the way Atif Aslam sounds in Charkha nolakha and Channa
28. This is not the only conफession post I will write.

Sorry, but I HAD to say all this.

Ok, bye.

2 Ads (Not 2 states)

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I keep searching for music. I am always looking for it.

Recently came across two TV ads for phones with good music.

1. Samsung S4. They featured ‘i dont care, I love it’ by icona pop. The ad, as you can see here features a lot of guys pumping up themselves before an all important match (or halftime, or whatever!) using the collaborative listening feature. Song is good but I couldnt make much sense of the way it was used in the commercial. I don’t care, I love it?? for a match win? really Samsung??

Anyway, much of what samsung does doesnt make sense to most of us.

2. Apple -  they used Goldfrapp ooh la la la - i dont use iPhone, but there is a ‘Thing’ about how apple uses good music to sell their products. So, to promote their iPhone5s (which had all the glitter going for it, quite literally), they picked up this song and made this ad.. The song has a techno sound to it but the catch is in lyrics.

Dial up my number now
Weaving it through the wire
Switch me on, turn me up
Don’t want it baudelaire
Just glitter lust
Switch me on, turn me up
I want to touch you
You’re just made for love

The bold italic part is a part of the original song and doesn’t feature in the ad but what a spot on description for a ‘gold and glitter’ iPhone5s isn’t it?

While samsung was hell bent on ‘i dont care, i love it’ song with confusing visuals, apple made their phone flirt with their customers by asking them to ‘switch me on, I want to touch you….you are just made for love!’ It sounds chic and frankly if I could afford, I would buy this phone just because of this ad!

So like always, apple won (1), samsung – (0)owaaaaik!

Queen – Music Review


An abridged version of the review first appeared here

Amit Trivedi teams up with the lyricst Anvita Dutt to give us the music of Phantom films’ Kangna Ranaut – Raj Kumar Rao starrer Queen.

True to the film’s theme, London Thumakda starts in Punajbi celebration mood and Labh janjua doesn’t miss a single beat in giving us a foot tapping song. Neha and Sonu Kakkar sing along as well. Even in this done to death genre of punjabi wedding/celebration songs, Amit Trivedi experiments. The excellent use of back up vocals and punjabi words in between are refreshing. Badra bahar features Amit Trivedi behind the microphone amidst a cluttered music setting. Somehow the song and the music comes across as ‘heard before’ and even though it might sound ‘trippy’ thanks to a clever use of Sitar in between, the song is at best average. O Gujaria starts with a club setting and techno sound. Shefali Alvares and Nikhil D’Souza try their best with whatever they are given, tune and lyrics wise. Frankly, the ‘Show me how to party’ bit sounds irritating in a song marred by it’s predictable overalls. Taake Jhaanke gets the romantic Arijit Singh to croon on a (we repeat) Amit trivedi template. The song has an easy feel but ends up sounding like a very recent outing of Amit Trivedi (Remember English Vinglish?). Jugni starts very nicely and Amit Trivedi sings a peppy number which (again!) sounds like a song straight out of the folder titled ‘Udaan’. We have heard so much of Amit trivedi that you can almost second guess the turns in the tune and treatment. Harajaiyaan has a mysterious sound right from the beginning and even though you feel you have heard this song before, it’s the voice quality of Nandini Srikar that elevates the song. Creativity within the walls of Amit trivedi’s now standardized garden  has worked in this case. Kinare has the brilliant Mohan Kannan on the mic and while we cannot get enough of Mohan Kannan, we would have liked to hear a song that doesn’t sound like one out of the album Udaan again! The song is good no doubt, just not something new. Ranjha that features a near silent music arrangement with solid vocals of Rupesh Kumar Ram is a song that will make you long for more, just like Heer longed for Ranjha. How we wished this was more than a 2 minute piece! There is a distinct smell of melody in this song that we cannot get enough of!

The makers are clearly depending on the new found oomph of Kangna Ranaut for this film. We would have liked them to stretch the limits of the Amit Trivedi who still remains Bollywood’s most promising music director.

So which song reminds us of what? Read On…

Badra bahar – Dev D as a whole. More So the O Pardesi treatment
Harjayeyaa – Dil dhuduk dhuduk beats From English Vinglish + Main Pareshaan Pareshaan Feel overall
O Gujaria – Ek main aur ek tu title song, O templates!
Taake jhaanke – English vinglish title song and the album
Jugni  – Udaan
Kinare – Udaan Udaan Udaan!

Our Picks – Ranjha, London Thumakda and Harjaiyan

(If 2 out of 3 songs are traditional template song and the third one is a mash up of something we have already heard, you can imagine the album’s score on ‘innovative’ index. Come On Amit Trivedi, Jazz it up with Bombay Velvet soon!)

2.00/5.00 (If you are looking for rating) :)

Highway – Music review

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This review appeared first here –

Unabridged version of the review is here –

After Rockstar Imtiaz Ali is back with his latest romance-drama Highway starring Randeep Hooda and Alia Bhatt. With the genius of AR Rahman, Ali presents the film’s nine-track soundtrack.

The first and probably most popular song of the album is “Patakha Guddi”, an electronic track with the electric duo of Sultana and Jyoti Nooran who have given us one of the best sufi-sque film songs in a long time. It’s a typical Rahman song, one that is devoid of any hook and flows boldly and confidently throughout. Watch out, party people, DJs have a new song to ensure everyone attacks the dance floor. There is incidentally a male version of “Patakha Guddi” too and even though Rahman has rendered the Punjabi language with zest, his version has more layers than the Nooran could evoke. The excellent near shred guitar play along with lyrical twist makes his rendition a blast! Next up is “Maahi Ve”  that perfect tune for a long drive. Its excellent back-up vocals, however subtle, truly uplift the track. Jonita Gandhi makes “Kahaan Hoon Main” sound irresistibly exotic despite its serious lyrics. Thanks to a generous dose of keyboards and violins, the song has a lot of character and depth which might not suit the film’s premise of a truck driver and rural Indian roads. The next one will surely surprise everyone. Don’t be surprised if you see “Wanna Mash Up?”  borrowed by a Hollywood producer for a Fast and the Furious-esque film. Kash, Krissy and Suvi Suresh (with the former two penning lyrics) literally bring the house down with this top class composition. This is Rahman at his experimental best with no inhibitions. We can understand why Irshad kamil who has worked on most of rest of the album, didn’t provide the words for “Wanna…”

An adorable hum by Alia Bhatt herself kickstarts “Sooha Saha” which has Zeb croon about the folk music of the hills. Zeb lends the solidity to the song whereas the young actress provides cute innocence, making it a perfect balance. The second track of the album by wordsmiths Kash and Krissy is “Implosive Silence” performed by Gandhi. With a hauntingly simple arrangement, the track’s lyrics are extremely difficult to decipher. However, you actually don’t need to find the meaning of the words here. It is all about the feeling and the atmosphere that the song creates. After this is “Tu Kuja” a traditional song sung by Sunidhi Chauhan that envelops you in its trance. It’s actually an old composition in which Kamil has added Hindi words for a contemporary effect. We honestly felt the track was a bit cluttered and would have been better off with Rahman’s voice. Finally, “Heera” ends the album. Rahman ceremoniously presents saint and poet Kabir’s writing in his  trademark fashion with enough Violins to make anyone cry with pleasure.

The lyrics are top class and the music is superlative. After long, we’ve come across an album where we’re not reaching for the fast forward button.

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