By Faridoon Shahryar, Bollywood Trade News Network
KK is the most underrated singer in Bollywood. He never spends time on promoting himself via media, the way most of his tribe do all the time. But the quality songs he churns out in the heat and grime of suburban recording studios are hard to miss by the connoisseurs as well as the masses. In Gangster, music composer Pritam gives him ample opportunity to showcase his immense talent in a song of the lifetime... 'Tu hi meri shab hai'. The producers seem to have liked the song so much that they went ahead and added a couple of remixes of the same song.
Tu hi meri shab hai is inspired from the music of pop groups like A-ha Duran Duran and Johny Hates Jazz which were extremely popular in the 1980s. A loop of drums ornaments the entire song. A magical flute piece intersperses after the antara while a whiff of guitars flirts with the idea of intense romance. A jewel of a chorus line is one of the highlights of this number as one feels like singing it again and again. Arrangements are hip-n-happening as the keyboard fillers dress up the entire song as if a beautician giving final touches to a beautiful bride. KK's vocals test the length and breadth of medium and higher scale. The absolute control that he exhibits while peaking towards the heights of sentiments is a riveting delight.
The remix of 'Tu hi meri shab hai' by Jatin Sharma is exciting. The tempo is slightly faster than the original and it is more drum-n-bass than retro. An English section is added to make it work on the dance floor. But apart from the dance floor, it's a great number to pump up the volume in your car on the highway to heaven. The Euro Mix of the same number by Bunty Rajput is a let down. Too much milking of the good thing often lets to disappointment. The frivolous Scatman and Macarena like brass sounds don't work in a surreal song like this.
One gets a taste of a different-kinda-sound when one hears 'Bheegi Bheegi' immediately after 'Tu hi meri shab hai'. The credit list shows that this song is based on Gautam Chatterjee's Prithvi released by Asha Audio. Sung by a Bangladeshi singer James, 'Bheegi Bheegi' is a true blue soft rock number, something on the lines of German rock band Scorpion's Winds of Change.
'Na jaane koi kaisi hai ye zindagaani
Hamari adhoori kahani'
As James in his untrained-pleasantly-raw voice goes full throttle lamenting the emptiness in life, the heavy sound of electric guitars diligently-clamouring-for-attention gives a sense of euphoric self-identification with the plight of someone in pain. The rhythm progression is partly programmed while some of it has been played live (A rarity in today's time). Mayur's thought-provoking lyrics are an added incentive in a song that gives the feel as if it has been recorded during a live concert. A brilliant effort!
After the enterprising 'Bheegi Bheegi', one is transported back to the sweet Bollywood melody in 'Lamha Lamha'. It has been presented in two versions. The first one is sung by a reticent Abhijeet who is heard sparingly these days. There's something about this song that appeals at the first listening itself in spite of having a heard-before touch attached to it.
'Lamha lamha doori yoon pighalti hai
Jaane kis aag mein ye shabnam jalti hai
Khwahishon ki shaam dhalti hai
Jaane kis aag mein ye shabnam jalti hai'
Lyricist Sayeed Qadri, take a bow for expressing thoughts ensconced in the ghazal idiom, into a filmy situation. Meaningful words always take a good composition to a higher pedestal. Other than Abhijeet's singing and Qadri's lyrics, Pritam must be applauded for arranging this song with a lot of care. The Mandolin solo, the sing-along tender chorus line, the silver lining of strings cushioning the background are some of the attractions. Sunidhi Chauhan joins Abhijeet in the second version of 'Lamha Lamha'. It's a welcome change hearing her sing the lower notes unlike the raunchy upbeat numbers she is heard belting out these days.
'Ya Ali' is a techno sufi number sung by Assamese pop singer Zubeen. The somber subject of the song is diametrically opposite to the trance sound unleashed by the composer. A song asking for help from the divine having such resplendently garish beats defies the idea itself. If you divorce the composition from the lyrics, then it's a good dance number. That's it! Zubeen has sung it with a lot of soul, but alas it goes waste.
Kavita Seth does a Shubha Mudgal by singing in a tear-soaked-voice in 'Mujhe mat roko'. A drone of supporting chords and tanpura-like-plucking forms the background of this situational poem urging the world not to stop the flickering candle of life from getting extinguished. Sayeed Qadri is in top form yet again while Seth is a discovery worth experimenting by other composers.
Gangster is a music score that stands out for its sheer variety. A few hiccups are always there. But in the over all picture, it's a CD that deserves to be in your collection. For, it stays with you when the popcorns fizzle out with the cola.
Gansgter: A lasting impression!