By Satyajit, Bollywood Trade News Network
The year belonged to them with super hit albums (‘Don’ and ‘Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna’) to their credits and surprises are in store with ‘Salaam-e-Ishq’. They created a rage of “yuppie” musical entertainment that proved ground-breaking success in tinsel town.
Shankar Ehsaan Loy (SEL), the impressive and energetic musical triumvirate of Bollywood is back in action but this time they are shouldered with loads of expectations and responsibility to live up to their film magnanimous grandeur and their trend setting records. In ‘Salaam-e-Ishq’ they have experimented with westernized country music and Afro-American styled reggae music in couple of soundtracks to create a different beat and feel. SEL teaming up with Nikhil Advani gave Bollywood a breathtaking superlative album ‘Kal Ho Na Ho’ and now the expectations are monumental from them. This time, its contemporary Sameer to the credits as lyricist than poetically affluent Javed Akhtar. Nikhil Advani, the prodigal directorial talent from Karan Johar camp comes up with biggest line up of star cast with surprises of multifaceted characterizations. The high production value, larger than life opulence, shimmering outfits, breathtaking visuals, exotic locations and magnanimous face value coupled with SEL effective music creates gargantuan hype for the film and album.
The westernized cultural feel of country music and upbeat feel of reggae music creates oceans of romanticism as Adnan Sami comes up with sentimental soundtrack “Dil Kya Kare”. The rhythmic electric guitar strums and reggae styled chorus creates an ambience of romantic idealism. Adnan Sami shows his vocal excellence in this soulful ballad that has “yuppie” flavored lyrics like “Bhool gaya Dil Saal Mahina, January mein bhi aaya pasina…” by Sameer. It can be accounted as finest vocal effort by Adnan this year and by far the most innovative work by SEL in recent times as they strike equilibrium between country music and reggae music with sheer delight.
This time it’s classically nurtured voice of Shanker Mahadevan showing spectacular colors in traditional classical musical “ragas” and “alaaps” embellished in flavors of fusion “jugalbandi” in frolicking soundtrack “Saiyaan Re”. SEL tries to recreate or rather rehash “Kajre Re” but the end product is not as fruitful as Shilpa Rao is no match to seductive Alisha Chinoy. Loy Mendosa chills out with dollops of rap lyrics to make it upbeat but its “qawalli” flavors that rule the soundtrack. It is big let down if one is to expect and compare with “Mahi Ve” or “Kajre Re” for its festive touch but Shanker Mahadevan’s classical and animated performance impresses against all odds.
SEL plans to stick to their ground rules of success and breaks loose from experimentation and comes up with impressive mushy love song “Mera Dil”. This time the soundtrack is been shared by all six couples and it comes with high pitched and full throttle vocals of ever reliable Shaan and new talent Nihira (Zee TV “Sa Re Ga Ma” finalist). Once again it has the spectacular feel of SEL contemporary romanticism (“Kuch to Hua Hain”, “Tumhi Dekho Na” and “Mitwa”) but the youthful zing to pump up adrenaline is missing. Nihira makes it into big league though her voice still lacks the penetrative feel of Shreya Ghoshal and Sunidhi Chauhan. Hear it for Shaan’s fabulous voice that creates decorum for well-spirited love song and should promise to be visual spectacle in film.
The grandiose and opulence of ‘Salaam-e-Ishq’ makes larger than life presence and comes striking in scintillating title track “Salaam-e-Ishq” that should bring laurels to cadre of “feel good factor” films. SEL fires all cylinders and lives up to the expectations with fine concoction of Bagpiper, peppy westernized beat feel and traditional Punjabi folk music. Sonu Nigam’s loud but extravagantly festive voice makes it “tribute and salutation of love” (“Salaam-e-Ishq”) that are sung in tandem with Kunal Ganjawala, Shreya Ghoshal, Sadhna Sargam and Shanker Mahadevan. Kunal Ganjawal strikes a chord with Sonu once again effectively after swashbuckling “Tauba Tauba” (‘Kaal’) in this racy number. Even chirpy Shreya Ghoshal and vociferous Sadhna Sargam balance their voices well as Shankar chips in with brief “alaap” rendition. It has sufficient fuel and fire to charge up passion and promotion for the album and film, so make it special for festive occasions.
The traditional “band-baaja” of “shaadi” celebrations makes it into contemporary Bollywood soundtrack in loud and garish way in “Tenu Leke”. It sounds situational and should sound boisterously festive as Sonu Nigam sings his heart out. The conventional trumpet, Punjabi “dhol” along with marriage band sings out the signature tune of “Saalam-e-Ishq”. Mahalaxmi Iyer makes brief but impressive in this average soundtrack as she adds feminine with her svelte and sensuous voice.
Nihira gets into soul and skin of Geeta Bali’s evergreen melody “Babuji Dheere Chalna…” (‘Aar Paar’) and croons out seductive number “Babuji”. Earlier it was “Ye Mera Dil” (‘Don’) and now it’s another “retro” feel hip-shaking number that should found fancy of leading remix albums than film album. Nihira’s seductive vocal oomph comes in free flowing “lounge” music effect with fine backdrop of feminine chorus “What’s on your mind…” Hear it again and again if you have taste for golden oldies as it may bring new voice of Nihira to your ears.
Kailash Kher’s folksy touch and full throttle voice has always been voice over of sentimental and heartbreaking sentiments and once again he comes up with promise in “Ya Rabba”. Sameer’s lyrics are ostentatiously emotional as it comes in the form of divinity and idealism of spirited lover. Kailash’s affluence and gripping over contemporary “Sufi” music is depicted in every verse and phrase, as this can be another listening delight to his fans.
SEL’s music and soundtracks may not be as penetrative and effective as they were in their previous albums (‘Don’ and ‘Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna’) but delivers the needful for visually spectacled multi-starrer extravaganza. The musical trio has infused different musical beats, style and concepts with élan in tracks in “Dil Kya Kare” and “Saiyan Re” and has entertained with title track. Hear it for different musical flavors and you will feel the versatility of this high profile album and the musical flamboyance of musical trio.