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MUSIC REVIEWS

Every year the output gets progressively eroded. In 2004 the music industry hit rock bottom until Yash Raj Films’ Dhoom and its title song by Pritam spread like wildfire across the nation. Turned out, it was probably plagiarised. Have you heard' The only hummable songs are either copies or nostalgia music repackaged as remixes. So what happened to all the original trendsetting composers' A shortlist of the best film music during the year.

Veer-Zaara: When he got the late Madan Mohan's son Sanjeev Kohli to rearrange some of his father's unused tunes, Yash Chopra attempted a unique experiment. The gambit paid off. The album swayed to the beats of the legendary lovers' beating hearts. And with Asia's resident Nightingale Lata Mangeshkar to carry the songs to a state of sublimity the album just couldn't go wrong. It didn't. Lata-Roop Kumar Rathod's Tere liye is the best love ballad heard in the last five years. Lata's other duet, Do pal, with Sonu Nigam is also a gem meant to sparkle long after Dhoom stops at the box-office.

Kisna: At year-end came the redoubtable Subhash Ghai's mammoth sounds in Kisna. The sound design and the epic cadences in this sumptuous feast for the senses fill us with hope for the future of Hindi music. The romantic grandeur of the tracks, plus composer Ismail Durbar's ability to evoke classic images through the brilliant orchestration add up to an album that belongs to the top of the shelf. A.R. Rahman's ballad, Hum hain iss pal jahan, is another one to hold close to the heart.

Mughal-e-Azam: Old, as they say, is gold. It's also better than bold. Don't you prefer to hear Lata Mangeshkar sing Mohabbat ki jhoothi kahaani pe roye than Kabhi mere saath koi raat guzaar (Murder)' Naushad's entire soundtrack was re-recorded in digital stereophonic sound. The cleaned-out harmonies didn't diminish the pleasure of hearing Lata's voice creeping into a compelling crescendo in Pyaar kiya to darna kya. A gem of an album.

Murder: Anu Malik gave Mallika Sherawat a grand entry song. The minute she swings her hips to the undulating beats of Kaho na kaho a star is born. Bheege honth tere was again a marvellous tune tempting lovers to do forbidden things in their free time. Anu also got together with his perennial favourite Alisha Chinai to do an .P. Nayyar-Asha Bhosle in Dil ko hazaar baar. But I'm afraid Anu can wash his hands off the awards for this one since a lot of this music came from across the border.

Pancham Beats: The only compilation in this year's Top 10'and what a brilliantly devised compilation! The commodious and utterly compelling album features the timeless trio of Gulzar, R.D. Burman and Asha Bhosle in conversation on the favourite songs that they created. And yes, the collection also has the cosy threesome commenting on and listening to the songs that Asha's didi, Lata Mangeshkar, and Burman's favourite, Kishore Kumar, sang for Gulzar and R.D. Burman. It all added up to an enchanting journey into the heart and soul of one of the most enduring and endearing musical collaborations in Hindi cinema.

Main Hoon Na: Anu Malik hai na! His tuning acumen may have come under a cloud, thanks to the tediousness that has crept into the music industry. But Anu continues to be a chartrocker. His songs for friend Farah's film were so feisty, fun-filled and funny we tended to excuse the lack of forward-thrust in the tunes. There was enough thrust and grind of another kind as the songs got seriously ritzy. The qawwali done to the backbeat sound of Boney M's 'No More Chain Gang was a hoot. But it made us whistle. Sonu Nigam's title song wasn't half as evocative as Kal Ho Na Ho. But it worked. Ditto, the album.

Dev: Aadesh Shrivastava has been doing exemplary work for two years. Last year he gave us much reason to rejoice with his songs in Chalte Chalte and Baghbaan. Now in Dev, Aadesh collaborated with Govind Nihalani who worked with A.R. Rahman in his earlier foray into a star-studded commercial film, Takshak. Rang de has Kailash Kher to create a ravishing tune done up in trendy shades of Raga Darbari. Sonu Nigam is unrecognisable in Tujh sang. In the song written by director Govind Nihalani the versatile singer scales new heights of emotive expression. Kareena Kapoor turns singer in the quaintly assembled Jab nahin. Lyricist Nida Fazli's words are like fresh air blowing through a corridor filled with memories and other intangibles. Kareena hasn't just recited a few poetic lines, but actually sung the entire song and carried the notes with extreme care and delicacy. Dev isn't an album about gimmicky sounds. It pulls no punches and yet manages to wallop a smart blow on our sensibilities. The versatile and virile sounds include a favourite track, Allah hoo where Aadesh gets vocally ambitious in the seductive company of the inimitable Asha Bhosle. Seldom in any of her recent songs has Asha sounded so rich.

Paap: Anu Malik's Paap songs were pretty powerful in their impact especially Intezaar intezaar which had a hugely haunting feel to it. Again, like Murder, a lot of the zingy music was imported from Pakistan. Ali Azmat's Garaj baras and Shahi's Man ki lagan were not Anu's songs for sure.

Lata Sinha

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