Saturday, May 19, 2012

Selective Hearing

Teri Meri Kahaani
A Music Review by Vishal Oberoi

TMK brings together the music of Sajid-Wajid with the direction of Kunal Kohli, a director with a keen ear for music exemplified by his prior films' soundtracks (Hum Tum, Fanaa and even Break Ke Baad which had an awesome score albeit average in its box office collections). Teri Meri Kahaani is no outlier from such expectations, but one has to practice what I like to call selective hearing. Perhaps I can help.

Let’s start with the traditional sufi number, Allah Jaane, adeptly rendered by Rahat Fateh Ali Khan in an unchallenging fashion. Shahid Kapoor mentioned that this song takes him back to his roots (for those who didn’t figure this one out, his mother is of Muslim faith). The song is picturised in a dargah (shrine) and has a nice soulful feel to it.

The nylon guitar that kicks off Jabse Mere Dil Ko Uff catches you off guard. The song appears to pay homage to the quasi-western music from the Bollywood of yore. The unique style that Shankar-Jaikishen initiated and R.D. Burman carried the flame forward. One can almost picture a young and bouncy Shammi Kapoor erupting on screen when you hear this song kick off. Sonu and Sunidhi are adequate. Love the brass work. Not much else to say really. Could be fun if picturised well.

I’d like to take a quick break here and focus on just how drastically fine Priyanka Chopra is? Hmmm. Yes. Ok back to the score.

'That’s All I Really Wanna Do' is a really easy, sweet track that makes you want to spontaneously go on a bike ride through a meadow. Assuming of course, that you live near a meadow, have good weather and well, have access to a bicycle. The smiley Shaan is supported by Shreya on this track – and although she gets a bit shrill in the higher sections, the shriekiness doesn’t take away from an overall pleasant, happy-happy type song. For me, this song would fall in the same playlist as Colbie Caillat and also Big Girls Don’t Cry (Fergie). And no, I don’t admit to having Colbie Caillat on my iPod. Ok fine I do. How can you not like Bubbly? But I digress. Does anyone know who the female singer on the opening notes of That’s All I Really Wanna Do is? Smooth voice.

And now we go a few steps closer towards Sajid-Wajid’s comfort zone – the chhed-chaad (eve-teasing) type of qawwali. As I tweeted earlier: Hello ‘Humse Pyaar Karle Tu”! Humka Peeni called. It wants its catchy hook back. Although remarkably similar to Humka Peeni Hai (Dabangg), another Sajid Wajid track, all is forgiven quickly because it belongs to a genre that one can never tire of, and its flavored with just the right amount of ‘dum’ by Wajid, Mika, Shreya and the Shabbir Brothers. For those who have seen the video, what’s with the ‘ruffling the salwaar’ dance step? Takes Salman’s belt shuffle to the next level.

And then you have Mukhtasar. There may be many naysayers out there who aren’t big fans of Wajid’s voice. It isn’t the most refined voice, I’ll give you that. But his coarseness and range has a unique like-ability to it. The song is paced faster than one would expect for its melody - it almost feels like its own remix. There are elements of I Gotta Feeling (Black Eyed Peas) and a pretty blatant instrumental lift of the “it was always burning” line from We Didn’t Start The Fire (Billy Joel). But it’s a good song – both from the perspective of lyrics and feel. What I would truly love to hear is an unplugged version – guitars and vocals. Perhaps rendered by Mohit Chauhan or even Kailash Kher.

In my opinion, the true winner on TMK’s soundtrack is Prasoon Joshi for penning some heart-rendered thoughts. Prasoon Joshi kicks it old school with some beautiful verses and bringing back some delicate words back into Bollywood lyrical parlance that have been missing for eons. Especially 'mukhtasar' (brief / simple), which is by far one of my favorite Urdu words. The last time I recall hearing this word is in the legendary verse of Tum Pukar Lo (Khamoshi, 1969) - "mukhtasar si baat hai, tumse pyaar hai, tumhaara intezaar hai". Wow.

When you do listen to the soundtrack of Teri Meri Kahaani, do pay a lot of attention to the words. And you’ll notice that selective hearing isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

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