Konkona Sen Sharma
By Subhash K. Jha, IANS
The bewitching appeal of showbiz. The illusion of success shattered by the grim reality under the sheen of pleasure... These flow out in a cascading kaleidoscope of colour and emotions in Shamir Tandon's soundtrack for Madhur Bhandarkar's new avant-garde take on the sham of the show world, "Page 3".
So far Bhandarkar's cinema has not really succeeded in acquiring a musical reputation. His best-known work "Chandni Bar" had lots of songs... but none original. As for the songs in his subsequent film, the less sung the better.
I think Shamir Tandon's fresh vibrant tunes in "Page 3" would rectify Bhandarkar's poor record for music. For a relatively new composer it's no less than a miracle to have the indomitable Lata Mangeshkar lend her voice for a song that makes you get all dreamy and nostalgic about a world lost to most of us.
For sure Lata Mangeshkar's "Kitne ajeeb rishtey yahan par" is the centrepiece of this album. The track is catchy without being a dance item. Then there's the voice chosen to put across the aching words about the illusory side of show world.
Close on the heels of her "Veer-Zara" triumph, Lata Mangeshkar again stuns you into stupefied submission with a song that's so laden with emotions, it could have toppled over in less accomplished hands.
Is there no end to what this Singing Supremo can do to a simple thing called a film lyric? In some strange way the lyrics for "Kitne ajeeb" reminded me of Gulzar's "Yeh saaye hain yeh duniya hai parchaiyon ki" from the film "Sitara".
"Kitne ajeeb" comes to us in three different versions, two of them by Lataji. A third version by Suresh Wadkar is welcome because the adept singer makes himself scarce nowadays.
"Yahan zindagi" by the siblings Shaan and Sagarika with some essential punctuation marks by Shabab Sabri, stresses the theme of show world as a sham. The composition is interesting, though not rendered remarkable the way Lataji's track is. Again, Amit Kumar's "Filmy very filmy" is more remarkable on the intention level and for the welcome return of Amit Kumar (Kishore Kumar's neglected son) than for actually giving us a complete audio-picture of the filmy culture.
Though the songs celebrate the spirit of showbiz they get into the dark areas of the glitterati rather than skim the surface. The tandem "Mere wajood" (inspired by Kishore Kumar's "Mere mehboob qayamat hogi" from the film "Mr. X In Bombay") is way out of the two singers Adnan Sami and Sadhana Sargam's league. They hit the high, inelegant notes with minimal poise.
The other remarkable track of this fulsome score is Huzoor-e-Aala where Asha Bhosle unfurls her own peculiar and distinctive brand of sensuality all over the soundtrack. A pity that this track is not part of the film, but a bonus.
There are other bonuses, like indigenous re-mix versions of international pop stars David Bowie and Kylie Minogue numbers that don't really add to the soundtrack's basic equity value. What they do is give the young new composer a chance to display his talents at restructuring given compositions.
But Shamir Tandon should restrict his creative urges to more original pursuits. "Kitne ajeeb" proves his talent. He can grow into something substantial. God knows we need fresh tuning talent in Hindi films. Names like Sandesh Shandilya ("Uff Kya Jadoo Mohabbat Hai") and Ram Sampat ("Khakee") who promised the whirl earlier this year have gone kaput.